Natalie Pryce

August 11, 2011


NATALIE PRYCE
/Glasgow

If you like _ and _ then you will like Natalie Pryce. Fill in the blanks.

Mark Swan (vocals): If you like a band that dresses smartly and plays like their lives depend on it then you will like Natalie Pryce.

Who is Natalie Pryce?

Natalie Pryce is singer Mark Swan, guitarist Greg Taylor, bassist Steven Litts and drummer Stephen Coleman.

How would you describe your sound in three words?

I think if my sound is so facile and meaningless to the point where the entire thing can be accurately surmised in three words then I should really work on it. Three word descriptions may help internet search engines but they don’t tell you anything about whether anything is actually worth listening to. I love jazz and I love classical music but most of what is called jazz and classical is completely dreadful. But, of course, the beautiful thing about music is it isn’t a meritocracy and we’re all able to take very personal and subjective views on the music we like. I’m sure there are those that have only one word descriptions of the music that you love and cherish. The music I make is incredibly important and personal to me and therefore I believe that the task of a three word description is probably best left in the hands of someone a little more removed from the songs than myself. Saying that, for the sake of good sportsmanship, here are some attempts:

Bedlam and squalor
Solid concrete jazz
Progressive art punk
Dark dreamscape rock
Sad sexy gospel
Black tar soul
Dense dark biblical
Strange love songs
Holy velvet noise
Unquiet mind music

Why should someone head down and check out one of your shows?

Primarily just to get out of the house. Far too much music is consumed now on the Internet or on iPods and I’m finding fewer and fewer people are actually listening to albums. I think this is a really bad thing. Quite often when people listen to music on the Internet they get what might be called ‘Internet anxiety’, whereby no matter how good the song that you might be listening to is you still need to open another tab; or find the next song. You can’t just enjoy what you’re listening to. Anxiety kicks in and you find you don’t have enough time to listen to the whole song and as good as this song is, the next one will be even better; you are forever looking for that next, better song. People have told me that this is a common experience and I believe it comes out of the vast amount of music available. There is too much available. Limitlessness is the opposite of freedom.

The solution to this problem is to be locked into something where the responsibility of choice over the next track has been taken from you. This is why records or CD albums are a really good way to listen to music. The best way to experience music is however to see live performances, where you have actually left the house and you are there standing in front of the music and allowing it to become an experience not a consumption.

I have always been a big fan of very visual performers. I remember being very young and seeing a picture of David Bowie long before I heard his music and just being completely fascinated by this strange androgynous creature. Since then I’ve always been interested in the idea of music being more than just music.

With the Natalie Pryce shows I have tried to keep both these things in mind: the idea of creating an experience rather than something anyone can download; and the idea that through visual and other sensorial stimulus the music can take on an added strength. A large inspiration for the performance is dawn from the various motifs throughout religious ceremonies. The use of smoke, and for our bigger shows incense and additional specifically designed lighting, is to try and create an atmosphere analogous to religious ceremony. Whether these affects work on a subconscious level, where a part of the memory associates these things with religion, or whether it is the actual effect of these things on the individual; the idea is to put people in a more hypnotic state of mind where they are more open to ideas. The Catholic Church uses these affects as well as their own music to encourage the state of mind where miracles, heavens and a hell could appear to exist. It is the abandonment of the cerebral and the emersion into the visceral. This level of emotional stirring is what I strive for with each show.

Is it fair to say that you’re a band keen on the theatrical side of music?

That is fair enough to say. I love theatre, especially the work of one of my great heroes – Samuel Beckett. His writing makes me think he has a much better view of my soul than even I do. It is brilliant – it is writing that is completely visionary and couldn’t belong to anyone else, it belongs to an imagination higher than most of humanity’s creative output, and yet it is not introverted; it tells us so much about ourselves. I wish I could write like that.

Before Natalie Pryce I enjoyed a relatively unsuccessful career as a playwright and I definitely think that the playwrights’ approach to writing and performance has carried over to the work I do with Natalie Pryce. I’m also a big fan of musical theatre; specifically the work of Kurt Weill and Robert Wilson.

I love stories and tales and all the Natalie Pryce songs are either narrative pieces or a kind of dramatic monologue told from an invented character’s perspective. Quite a lot of very bad music is music that is incredibly autobiographical and journals personal events in individuals’ lives; like for instance breaking up with someone. I find music like this rather excruciating, mainly because of the arrogance of the songwriter that assumes anyone cares. Through using theatre methods to put across a message, such as characters or plot, it allows the music to be more inclusive because it doesn’t require experience. The songs are not about getting dumped; the songs are about dreams and we all dream. Characters allow an audience to feel different things like disgust, fear, anger, empathy, sympathy instead of the very stale feeling of mild appreciation one might have for an autobiographical songwriter.

It is important to point out though that if you were to call Natalie Pryce a ‘theatrical’ band there should be no ambiguity about the sincerity of the work. Like I mentioned earlier the songs are very important to me and there is certainly nothing pretend about them or their performance. Like any good actor or director will tell you, theatre is not about lies but about trying to tell a truth. Whenever I perform any of the songs I have to completely mean what I’m saying even if it isn’t my ‘voice’ or my own feelings. There is a quote from a film by Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell – ‘Performance’ – which is something I like to think about at every show. “The only performance that makes it…that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness”.

Who else in the Scottish music scene is floating your boat at the moment?

Dick Gaughan. An incredible guitarist and someone who really means everything he sings. It comes through in his voice. A powerful figure in Scottish music.

And finally, what’s the best time of the day to listen to Natalie Pryce?

When we play live, for all the reasons I’ve stated above. Failing that however; the best time to listen to Natalie Pryce is late at night when you are on your own. The night does beautiful things to the world that seems so familiar during the day. At night everything takes on a surreal mysticism that wasn’t there before. In the dark and in the quiet of the night it allows your own imagination to run. It is the absence of things that frighten us. Not what is hidden in the darkness but the void itself. We don’t like to deal with the nothingness so we create ghosts and ghouls to fill it. Relax and let the sounds of Natalie Pryce fill in the darkness; or at any rate enhance it.

http://soundcloud.com/natalie-pryce or find them on Facebook

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Café Disco

July 21, 2011


Café Disco: Tea in the park

CAFÉ DISCO/Glasgow

If you like _ and _ then you will like Café Disco. Fill in the blanks.

If you like strong anthemic hooks and the sound of a wailing Scotsman then you will like Café Disco.

How would you describe your sound in three words?

Honest, Melodic, Altpop (Altpop is a word,I think…)

You’re pretty much newcomers to the scene. Have you got a strategy planned in order to make an impact?

Well we’ve been gigging quite regularly, with many more lined up, which is honing our live show well. We will be having a gig in October to show all our friends the recordings we have been making at Jamhut Studios in Irvine. Apart from that, to make sure whatever we do we are enjoying it, and hopefully share that joy with others.

Are you named after an episode of the Office – or is it complete coincidence?

Not many people know this, but we have actually been on the scene for a number of decades now, and Greg Daniels (executive producer of The Office) rang us up and asked if he could name an episode arc after us, because he is a huge fan. Of course we said yes. Lovely lad Greg, we know his mum.

Who is the most important member of the band?

That depends completely on which member of the band is asked. Café Disco isn’t well known for modesty…

If you perform a duet with any one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Scotty Walker! He’s a fucking nutjob! No other human being could get such a sweet noise from the carcass of a dead cow.

And finally, what’s your favourite square on Monopoly and why?

Free Parking without a doubt. We live in a world rife with corruption and war, and for many Free Parking is top of the list of why they get up in the morning. FYI, Café Disco is No. 32 on that list.

Café Disco on Facebook


Letters

July 14, 2011


Photo: Steven Birrell

LETTERS/Edinburgh

If you like _ and _ then you will like Letters. Fill in the blanks.

(Mikey Ferguson, guitar/lead vocals): If you like distorted pop and cellos then you will like Letters.

How would you describe your sound to an extra-terrestrial visitor who has never heard a note of music in their life?

Cthulhu fhtagn Rraatmazz.

Who is the most important member of the band?

Mr Edward Ellis for his ability to stretch across 12 frets and three octaves on a piano with his single webbed hand.

How many listens will it take before one of your songs will get stuck in someone’s head?

Just the one. We only write HITZ here lads. HITZ with class and imagination.

What is the best time of day to listen to Letters?

Sunday afternoon at exactly five minutes to four before the radio chart begins. Compare and contrast. End of.

What does the rest of 2011 hold for Letters?

Well, we’ve just released our second single ‘Flash! Lights’ (free to download at www.wewriteletters.co.uk/music) so we’ll be promoting that with a few gigs here and there including a gig with Aerials Up and Detour Scotland at the Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore. Then we’re playing Wickerman the week after. We’ll be hibernating in August as we need time to keep writing the album (released next spring) and around October time we’ll be releasing our next single ‘The Halfway house’ through Tape which we’ll also be touring (details to follow shortly). Busy busy!

And finally, what is the best kind of letter to receive?

Well our name does what it says on the tin. Every time we send a CD to someone we write a letter to accompany. So how about I give you an example of a letter I wrote to the NME when sending out ‘Flash! Lights’ (see HERE).

The Daily Dose is hosting a night of live music at The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore on Saturday 16 July with Aerials Up, Letters and a DJ set from Detour. It is free entry so come on up/down. There is more information here.

www.wewriteletters.co.uk


PartWindPartWolf

May 12, 2011

PARTWINDPARTWOLF/Glasgow

If you like _ and _ then you will like PartWindPartWolf. Fill in the blanks.

Shona McVicar (drums): If you like Kylie and Jason then you will like PartWindPartWolf.

Why do PartWindPartWolf deserved to be listened to?

The songs are written with the purpose of playing them very loud with a lot of energy. We get a kick from creating music that is mostly a very personal and pissed off outlook on life, but at the same time masking it with big melodies and constantly playing around with the dynamics. We enjoy making our music, so hopefully people will enjoy listening to it to.

What are the band’s plans for the next few months?

We plan to release our debut EP at the end of summer time. We really just want to spend as much time as we can out playing shows and writing.

Are you more part wolf or part wind? I don’t think anyone would want to be part wind, to be fair…

I’d say it’s a perfect blend of both. There is nothing wrong with a little fragrant wind.

What do you do outside of the band?

Charlie, Ross and myself are still living the student life, and I guess you could call Andy a bit of a ‘wheeler dealer’.

For you, is music a potential career or a hobby?

It’s a lot more than a hobby. Career? I’d never say never.

And finally, how much wood would the woodchuck chuck?

If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

www.facebook.com/partwindpartwolf


Amber Wilson

April 28, 2011

AMBER WILSON/Aberdeen

If you like _ and _ then you will like Amber Wilson. Fill in the blanks.

If you like biscuits and bear hats then you will like Amber Wilson.

You’re from Aberdeen. Is this a help or a hindrance with regards to making an impact in the Scottish music scene?

It is hard work because there isn’t really much of an acoustic scene, and there also isn’t any industry people kicking about or attending gigs like you have in Glasgow etc. The internet helps me get gigs and gets my music heard but I do plan on moving to Glasgow soon and joining the scene there. It seems more ‘normal’ there to be working away and surviving on your art. There’s more enthusiasm.

How much of Aberdeen’s granitey doom ‘n’ gloom makes it into your music?

Haha, a lot! I got given a SAD lamp for my birthday though and have started writing happier tunes…

What drink is best consumed whilst listening to your music? Tea? A nice gin and tonic?

I’d say tea, yes. Or a chocolate milkshake, perhaps.

Will we be hearing a lot of you in 2011?

You shall indeed. I am releasing a new single in May called ‘An Affirmation’ and releasing my second EP ‘The Wolf EP’ after summer, amidst playing lots of gigs up and down the country.

If you had to invent a completely new genre to describe your music, what would it be?

Knitted moon melodies.

And finally, if you had to duet musically with one of the the cast of Friends, who would it be and why?

Most definitely Phoebe, because I would love to sing ‘Smelly Cat’ with her.

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The Douglas Firs

April 21, 2011

Photo: Neil Cammock

THE DOUGLAS FIRS/Edinburgh

If you like _ and _ then you will like The Douglas Firs. Fill in the blanks.

(Neil Insh): If you like MDMA and Ketamine then you will like The Douglas Firs.

Where did the name come from?

It’s from Twin Peaks.

How would you describe your music to an alien visiting earth who has never heard music before?

Well, it was recently described as ‘Belle and Sebastian on a spirit quest’. I would agree, but only if the ‘spirit’ was hard liquor, and Belle and Sebastian had some balls. Aliens would probably laugh at my attempt at self-expression anyway.

Your album ‘Happy As A Windless Flag’ is coming out soon. What should people expect?

Introversion, Perversion…hang on…

Two syllables: persian, version

Three syllables: aspersion, aversion, conversion, dispersion, diversion, excursion, immersion, incursion, inversion, reversion, submersion, subversion

I particularly agree with ‘aspersion’.

It seems like a bit of dour title. Or do flags enjoy a windless, calm day?

Yes, because they would be inside, where it was warm and the wind wasn’t fucking with them.

What time of the day is your music best heard?

At the crack of dawn, after a full night of disgusting sex on crack with Dawn.

And finally, it is Easter soon. How do you eat your Creme Egg?

Scrambled on a low heat, with salt and tabasco.

http://thedouglasfirs.co.uk/

Win a copy of The Douglas Firs‘ new album ‘Happy As a Windless Flag’ in our 1st Birthday Giveaway. Click for more details…


The Winter Tradition

April 14, 2011


THE WINTER TRADITION/Edinburgh

If you like _ and _ then you will like The Winter Tradition. Fill in the blanks.

If you like ‘Park’ and ‘Jurassic’ then you will like The Winter Tradition.

Why should people take the time to listen to your music?

We take a wide range of influences from different types of music and traditions to create something that we could listen to ourselves. Hopefully other people will appreciate it as well!

What is a winter tradition? Sledging? Santa?

A winter tradition can be anything you want it to be. One person told us that they had a winter tradition of stealing Christmas trees and planting them on Thurso beach!

You used to be called The Void. Why the name change?

We were on tour down in London and the topic of changing our name came up. We were writing a lot of new stuff for our album at the time and the material we were producing was a lot maturer than anything we’d come up with before. I guess we didn’t really feel comfortable under the name of The Void and you can never really put 100% effort into something you’re not happy with, so we changed the name to something we could be proud of.

What other Scottish bands around at the moment do you see as influences for The Winter Tradition?

We take a lot of influence from local bands we play with such as LightGuides and Make Sparks, who we’ve been on tour with and have become close friends. We listen to other more established bands as well such as Idlewild, Admiral Fallow, We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Xcerts.

What does 2011 hold for the band?

We’re currently finishing recording our debut album which will be released later in the year. We’ll also be touring as much as we can now that the band is turning full-time, with some festival slots along the way. We’re really excited about it all, and can’t wait to get the album out to everyone as we feel it’s the best music we’ve come up with yet.

And finally, what’s your favourite season? Winter? Summer?

Ewan – Winter

Mark – Winter

Stephen – Spring

Euan – Spring

www.thewintertradition.com

Win a copy of The Winter Tradition‘s single ‘Firelight’ in our 1st Birthday Giveaway. Click for more details…