Rike M

Rike M

Friday, 29 July 2011 06:32

Wired in #20: PUSTKI

Looking for a band that really embraces the European mind set? Check out PUSTKI, a fantastic band from Warsaw, Poland! This combo writes their songs in Polish, plays international festivals, loves European inspiration and puts together a catchy yet unique sound. It‘s great to come across a band that has managed to create new music that you can relate to whether you understand the Polish lyrics or not. I interviewed PUSTKI‘s bassist Szymon Tarkowski for E&M; read on to find out what he thinks about playing gigs outside his home country and listening to non English music. 

E&M: A couple of years back you wrote quite a lot of music for movies and theatre productions. In what way is that different from being totally free to write?

Pustki: We're still doing it. Last month we wrote some music for a movie about Gdynia (a town in northern Poland). It actually gives you even more freedom than writing songs, because you're not restricted to the typical form of a song - you can expand your ideas and concentrate more on instrumental parts. This is always a nice change from our normal activities.

E&M: Pustki songs have really cool music videos.  Who comes up with the concepts?

Saturday, 02 July 2011 21:10

Wired in #18: John Ghost

In today's Wired in we present the Ghent-based band John Ghost! They play in an ensemble of ten musicians, all of whom study music at the famous Ghent Conservatory in Belgium. Jo De Geest writes their music (hence the name John Ghost) - but the band arrange and refine the music during their many rehearsals. The John Ghost musicians are influenced by jazz and progressive rock, taking their music to the next level by including atmospheric sounds and fascinating improvisation. Check out the interview with band member Wim Segers and if you're in Belgium try to catch them at one of their upcoming shows in Ghent!

E&M: You have a bunch of shows coming up and you're also playing the prestigious Ghent Jazz festival. What has working with this band been like since you founded it last year?

JG: In the beginning it wasn't always easy to rehearse with six musicians. Everyone had their own opinion about making music. There are also a lot of ideas behind John Ghost. After a while though, we all grew into the same direction. That's also when we were all starting to want to get across the same message. And when we started to have fun playing it. People could hear that I guess, because we got the first gigs then too.

Friday, 01 July 2011 20:48

Wired in #19: Boy Mandeville

I've definitely had enough of emerging indie bands who all sound the same and sometimes I'm reluctant to check out a band that someone desribes that way. Boy Mandeville though is a band with a sound that really sets them apart and that you just can't get around. They're one of the hottest new indie rock bands from London these days and the calypso percussion and other tropical sound elements make them a band that writes really catchy and fresh songs. They deserve to be known across Europe! In this weeks wired in interview guitarist Mike Coxhead and bassist Brian Cantwell talk about making music videos, living in a house with an interesting past, and choosing to live in London.

E&M: You have a lot of cool videos on your website.  What's the most important thing for you when you make a music video?

B.C: To try and have as few close-ups as possible. And to trust the friend who is doing the video.

J.C: Well first, a-thank-you… To be honest we love creative people and working with people who are as passionate about video art and photography as we are about music is the important thing. The latest video for our new single 'Gorilla' was made by a good friend of ours, James Drew, the ideas are his and his team's and all credit to them!

Sunday, 19 June 2011 21:22

Wired in #17: Wickeda

Wickeda isn't a particularly new band. Their first album dates back to 1999 and they are a celebrated ska, punk and reggae band from Sofia, Bulgaria. Nevertheless, the guys from Wickeda are not tired and they're playing tons of shows, working on new albums and are still managing to keep their music fresh! E&M talked to their singer and bassist Erol Ibrahimov about life and music in Bulgaria, putting together new songs and listening to your own albums.


E&M: Wickeda is already really well known in Bulgaria. How has the band influenced the country's music scene?

Wickeda: That's hard to say, because we don't have the right perspective. We are too close to what we are doing, but the fact that ska, reggae and punk music became so popular in Bulgaria soon after we released our first album speaks for itself, I guess. Nowadays there is a lot of new "skapunkreggaebalkanwhatever" bands down here and many people argue that they are influenced by Wickeda in some way. The other day I saw a "musician wanted" ad in a forum, someone was looking for a drummer and was describing the style of his band as Sex Pistols meets Wickeda. That sounded to me like a band influenced by Wickeda, but who knows... It is hard for me to tell whether the band has really influenced the Bulgarian music scene or not, but as it goes in the song, time will tell... well, maybe....

E&M: And in what way have you seen the country as a whole evolve over the past years?

Friday, 10 June 2011 07:22

Wired in #16: Dog Whistle

Today we have Wired In's first interview with a band from Poland! Ania and Helena, the girls behind the Warsaw-based band Dog Whistle play toy casio and bass, sing together and manage to create a really hip sound. If their songs sound a little edgy it might be because the band is still young and their recording was not done professionally. Hear past that however and this particular roughness adds something to the music. They're definitely a band to look out for over the next few years! Co-founder Lena talked to E&M about why shitty groups can motivate you to start your own band, and about the people who inspire Dog Whistle's music, like her dad Krzysztof Marzec, the star of a famous Polish children's TV show.

E&M: What's the most difficult part of founding a band?

DW: It's sometimes hard to stay motivated, but since we started the band for pure fun and the joy of not being professional, it's no big deal for us. I believe it's also very hard to find someone who believes in you, but we were lucky enough to be spotted and supported by some people who were important for us.

E&M: Did you ever attend a concert where the musician impressed you so much you thought: "Wow, this is something I really want to do as well"?

Friday, 03 June 2011 08:55

Wired in #15: Lack of Afro

Lack of Afro's music sounds like you're listening to one great soul band and it's hard to believe there's actually only one man behind it. Adam Gibbons is a talented multi instrumentalist who plays with samples from 60s and 70s soul music to create a fascinating new, dancy sound. His first two albums "Press On" and "My Groove your Move" have been quite a big success and give reason to be excited for his new CD coming out this September!

E&M: What is it like playing in a one man band?

LOA: Well it is both a blessing and a curse in many ways. Because 'Lack of Afro' is my thing, I don't have to run decisions past other band members or anything, so the whole 'band diplomacy' aspect that can be such a problem doesn't really come in to what I do. However, the flipside to that is that I miss the regular interaction with other musicians. The creative spark that comes from like-minded musicians playing in a room is hard to replicate on my own. I just play various things on different instruments and see what happens.

E&M: Your music has elements of soul and jazz from the 60s and 70s. When did you first become fascinated by this kind of music?

Friday, 27 May 2011 08:51

Wired in #14: Mighty Oaks

Inspired by nature and quite an international group, the guys from Mighty Oaks write beautiful folk music that is perfect to escape the stressful life of the city. Thanks to my friend and E&M fan Parker Higgins I found this great band. They've only been playing together for just over a year and but have already discovered a developed sound and a clear identity as a band. Make sure to check out one of their upcoming shows and if you live in Berlin you might even get lucky and catch them playing in Mauerpark. E&M talked to their singer and co-founder Ian Hooper about the advantages of Berlin, making music and living mighty!

Mighty Oaks - All My Days from Claudio Donzelli on Vimeo.

IH: My Ma is actually from Ireland, so I was over in Europe quite a lot as a kid. Making the trek back here at this age was very humane, and I never really feel out of place over here. Also, Seattle and Portland, with their rich cafe and cycling cultures, are often described as somewhat European in culture. I guess the people are just different, but I break that down to a more micro level than continent or country.

E&M: In what way does having band members from four different countries shape the sound of your music?

Friday, 20 May 2011 10:25

Wired in #13: Wilhelm Tell Me

Looking for music to dance through the summer nights? Thanks to our reader Julia Schulte, E&M is happy to present the four guys of the Hamburg pop band Wilhelm Tell Me! Make sure you catch one of their concerts in Germany and be ready for a night of dancy electro pop. Check out E&M's interview with their guitarist Frederik Deluweit and find out about the label they founded, the advantages of vinyl and why Beethoven is important for Europe.

E&M: There are so many stories about William/Wilhelm Tell - is your band name a reference to this Swiss national hero?

FD: Actually there was no reference to Wilhelm Tell when we first chose this name, it was just a coincidence. We always give new songs working titles until the lyrics are finished. One was Wilhelm Tell Me and our drummer Jan suggested that we should make it our band name. But we imagined an old lord in England sitting together with a friend in the early 19th century, who has huge knowledge about Europe, history and travelling the world, and asking him: "Wilhelm, tell me". It only really began to be seen as a reference to Wilhelm Tell once we started to do everything on our own, including our label, producing, booking, management. We try to be as independent as possible and to have full control over what we do.

E&M: All four band members are from Hamburg. Are there also other places in Europe that have influenced you?

Friday, 06 May 2011 08:39

Wired in #11: Okinawa Lifestyle

This week's interview features two great musicians, Gigi Jikia and David Datunashvili from the Georgian capital Tbilisi. They play as an electro duo under the name of Okinawa Lifestyle. If you have already seen the first episode of E&M's documentary A Transnational Adventure, their music might already sound familiar, because Okinawa Lifestyle provided a lot of the soundtrack!

Find more artists like Okinawa Lifestyle at Myspace Musik

E&M: Okinawa lifestyle seems like a reference to life in a Japan, why did you choose that name as a Georgian band?  

OL: It actually happened accidentally. We needed a bandname for a Georgian music course, it was last day before the application was due. So we quickly started to read English directories to find some titles, and we found this name, it sounded exotic and in some way really fitting for our Georgian life.

E&M: What do you enjoy most about living in Tbilisi? 

Wired in is 10! And to celebrate this is a special edition that gains a real insight into a European city by talking to the artists that shape it. This week we interview a great online project called 'urban observations' and a fascinating artist who participated in it! Journalist Christoph Janosch Delcker, who participated in E&M's Hamburg workshop in January, put together twelve interviews with artists from NYC and Berlin and inquired into their relationship with these cities. His last video features Berlin based painter Chris Winter, originally from the UK, to explore the city's vibrant art scene. Check out E&M's Wired in # 10 and find out what they think about art, music and Europe! 

Urban Observations: Christopher Winter from Urban Observations on Vimeo.

E&M: Janosch, when did you first come up with the idea of this project?

JD: That was in the autumn of 2009. I had just moved from Berlin to New York and many people told me, "The cities of New York and Berlin are just like sisters." This roused my interest, and I wanted to investigate it further. The idea was to have six artists in each city speaking about what their city meant to them. The first episode of the series went online in March 2010. Each month, a new episode was released; in February 2011, the last and 12th episode featuring Chris Winter closed the series.

E&M: So your blog started with artist portraits from NYC. In what way is focusing on a European city different?

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