GANGS – London Calling (Video)

 

I recently sat down with GANGS, one of Ireland’s most exciting new bands, for a bit of a chat. Fresh from a short stint over in London where they played the prestigious Dublin Castle, the lads certainly had a lot of interesting stuff to say. I could rabbit on but you’d be better off clicking the play button!

Golden B.C. Interview (Part 2)

What’s more important to you at the moment, Live gigs or studio sessions?
Right now, live appearances.  I’ve written music for years without ever intending to try and recreate anything live.  Now that I’m doing just that, I realise how incredibly fun it can be once you get over the whole “nervous shakes” thing.  But recording music will always be my first and most abusive love.

Do you enjoy playing live gigs?
I love them when they go well.  I’ve gone to a lot of concerts so I know what has connected with me when I see someone playing an acoustic show.  It supposed to be personal, yet not put you above the audience even though you’re up on stage.  It’s a tricky line to walk, but I’m figuring it out.

Do you find it a solitary experience playing as a solo artist?
It does get lonely up there sometimes.  I’m enjoying playing the songs in a stripped down fashion but I’m starting to realize that they’re meant to be powerful.  I’ve been considering getting some other musicians together to help me present the album in the way it was intended: really loud

How do you manage to ‘fill the stage’?
I usually get models to stand around me, ala Robert Palmer, and they mime playing instruments and just generally look pretty.  But with an acoustic show, moving around the stage while playing is difficult because if you screw up something you look a lot less like David Lee Roth and a lot more like an asshole that can’t play.  I just try to give the songs the right amount of emotion in my singing and playing so that people will hopefully be moved enough to ignore their waitresses.  Sorry, waitresses.

What scale is your recording operation? (Home Studio, Production team etc)
A couple of Shure mics, a stereo mic, a mac and instruments all set up in my home office.  I booked time in a real studio once, but realised quickly that if you’re going to experiment with songs while there, you better have some serious cash.  It’s just so easy to set up a home studio now that it’s kind of crazy to pay to use someone else’. I MacGyver’d a studio and I’m happy with that.

Does this add/subtract to Golden BC’s overall sound?
I think that it adds infinitely.  While I understand that engineers and producers have years of knowledge that can really add to a recording, I know what I want to hear coming out of those speakers and it may take longer at times, but I’ll get it.  Experimenting with sounds while recording the new record would never have been possible for me if I had used a studio outside of the one I built.

Do you have any experience in the area of music production and recording?
Besides my own work, no.  I started recording with Audacity, then Garageband, now Logic Express and have taught myself the whole way.  I’m not exactly going to produce someone else’s record, but I’m getting better at perfecting my processes as you can tell in the difference between “The Truth in the Facts” and “Just Take It”.

Does your skill level hinder your ability to truly express yourself?
What are you trying to say? J

Sometimes, but I think that’s the case with most musicians, even the amazingly talented ones.  To me, music is always the best when it’s simple in structure, lush in sound.  So you could have a song like “Get Rid of It” where there is so much shit going on in the song but the whole thing comes from two chords that play the whole time.  So skill is kind of irrelevant when it comes to expressing myself, I’m just going to start playing the guitar like a percussion instrument and sing to that if I can’t come up with something better.

What do you aim to achieve with your music?
I want to have a truckload of Junos dumped on my lawn.  Otherwise, I think the biggest aim of my music is simply to get people to listen to it and buy it.  I know that sounds kind of shitty to say, but honestly, the money all goes back into making and releasing more music.  I see it as an encouragement to create more music, and an investment from a fan that I will repay tenfold.

How close are you to satisfying these goals?
No Junos yet, but if Celine Dion doesn’t put out an album this year it could be a possibility.

So you released an album last year, Just Take It. Are you happy with how it turned out?
For the most part.  There will always be things that I’ll wish I had done differently but once it’s out, I’m not about to George Lucas anything.  But really, its my most fully-formed record and I’m very proud of it.

How did you find the overall process of creating an album?
Tedious at times.  This was the first time I had attempted to have an ongoing theme through an entire album and sometimes getting the pieces to fit took a little smashing.  “The Idiots” was rewritten about 4 times before it ended up as what you hear on the record.  It was a folk song, then it was very ambient sounding, then I ripped apart everything and made the final version.

How has it been received?
Pretty well so far, its kind of strange record to review because it can be all over the place from song to song.  But I’m hoping people will give it a few chances to grow on them because, (and I’m not biased at all) it’s a pretty great record.

So finally, what do you have planned for 2013? Any new projects on the horizon?
After taking 2 years to make one record, 2013 is going to be hyper productive.  I have a plan to write, record, and release 40 songs this year.  There may be a full length album here or there, or maybe just a lot of EPs, I haven’t really decided how to divide it up yet.  But yeah, there’s going to be tons of new Golden B.C. stuff this year as well as some live appearances, maybe even with a full band.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Golden B.C. Interview (Part 1)

I recently caught up with Brian Offredi A.K.A. Golden B.C. to talk about life, the universe and everything but somehow ended up discussing the merits of ‘Robert Palmer-esque’ stagecraft, stealing the limelight back from waitresses and even modern day umbrella jousting. I’ve had to split this interview into two posts as Brian was more than generous when it came to answering questions. I’ll put part two up later this week. But for now, enjoy the wit, humour and genuine talent of Golden B.C.Golden BC

So let’s start with the name “Golden BC”. Where exactly does it come from?
It was the only place I’ve seen someone impaled with an umbrella.  I was enjoying a coffee in a nice café in Golden, a small town in British Columbia, when I saw two men fighting over an umbrella in the middle of the street.  One man overpowered the other and thus, impalement.  I knew then that I would name my band after this odd town.

As a solo artist why do you feel the need to hide behind a stage name?
I picked a stage name not really to hide behind, but just in case I ever wanted to bring in other band members.  When I first started making music, I was 17 and had a hard time finding anyone willing to play around with as many genres as I did.  So I figured I’d go solo but use a band name just in case I found others to collaborate with.

Rather than ask about your musical influences, who or what made you first fall in love with music?
All of my earliest music was Weird Al.  And weirdly, it was Tenacious D’s first album that made me first want to get a guitar.  I thought it was amazing how they would rock the hell out while making you laugh and I thought that was just fantastic.  Comedy has always had a weird relationship with music, with rock stars wanting so hard to be taken serious that they become so humourless.  That gets really old.  I take my music seriously, but I make fun of myself relentlessly.  I hope I’ve found a good balance.

Why do you make music? What made you pick up the guitar and put pen to paper?
I make music because I feel like I have to.  I get really antsy if I haven’t written anything in a while and start to behave strangely.  Nervous twitching, scratching, singing Billy Idol songs at people in the park.  It is the most rewarding thing in the world to put something creative together and it does wonders to expand my ego.

As for what made me start writing music, it was my little sister who was always far braver than I and it usually took her doing something first for me to get competitive and do it myself.  She bought a guitar first, and I ended up stealing it from her room when she wasn’t home so often that my parents made me buy my own.  So I guess it was part love of music, part sibling rivalry.

Your music is like the soundtrack to a gritty b-movie. How important is the theme/back story to your music?

On my first two records, not at all.  I was just excited to be putting out an album and didn’t really pay attention to a unifying theme.  But with “Just Take It”, I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to get everything to align in both the lyrics and the music so that the album sounds like one long piece that tells the story of these kids.  I wanted it to be subtle enough so that listeners had to pay attention to get the whole story, but not too subtle and lose narrative completely.  Hopefully, I’ve done that.

What comes first when writing new music, the story or the song?

Always the song.  Lyrics can be rewritten dozens of times, and don’t really even have to be good.  But if the music sucks, then the whole thing fails.  Music is supposed to stick in your ear on the first listen, then maybe the lyrics pop out later.  If you can’t hook people early on, they’ll never come back for another listen.
Whilst your music may be very thematic, what genres do you think it falls into?

Pretentious. But seriously, “Just Take It” jumps around to a bunch of different styles that, if press, I’d have to say alternative rock.

Womens Murder Club Q&A

Womens Murder Club are a five man musical collaboration from Dublin City. They formed a band while studying at St. Marys college and have been together ever since. They have just released their debut E.P. ‘Pop Music’ which is available over on their Soundcloud page. I recently caught up with Sean from the band to ask him about musical influences, the process of recording an EP and where Womens Murder Club’s own brand of ‘Pop Music’ originates from.

 So first of all, where did the idea for the name ‘Womens Murder Club’ come from?
‘Womens Murder Club’ is an American CSI-esque television show about a group of women who solve murder mysteries. None of us have watched it however, Cian, our guitarist saw it in a television listings in the newspaper and we all really liked the ring to it. It’s not profound or has any deep meaning, we just thought it sounded great.

When and how did the you first come together as a group?
It came together at school really , or at the end of our final year. We’ve always had a keen interest in sound and using it as a device of communication , so it wasn’t long before we decided to come together as a unit and share ideas.

At what point did you start to take it all seriously? When did you first start thinking about writing music and recording EP’s?
Well, we were never that much into doing covers of other peoples songs , so the writing part started immediately. As soon as we felt happy enough with songs, the recording of an EP came into question.

Did it take long to reach that point?
Our good friend Chris McCormack came to hear us play , and was kind enough to produce us in his home studio. Before the recording part started we talked endlessly on how it should sound . However, our busy time schedules pushed the recording process back a little. That was very frustrating.

How does the group work as a collective unit? What does each member bring to the table?
We share our ideas and try to combine them to make a song. Its hard for me to explain the process as it’s different each time .Influence and style varies from member to member , which is awesome because so many different sounds seem to flourish when writing songs .

If you were to put a label on your sound what would it be?
That’s a hard one to answer as I like the idea of our sound progressing and changing as time goes on.
It is clear that you have a very unique sound. How important is it to maintain this?
I think its very important, ye. But I try not to think of that when writing songs . We’re open to new ideas and sounds, which can often lead to a unique sound.

What inspires and encourages you to keep making music?
We’ve always been attracted to sound. All types of sound that we hear has a great influence in the music we make . And we use the music we make as a device to express our feeling and thoughts.

How does it feel to have completed your debut EP?
Very good indeed. I mean its been sitting around for almost a year. We just wanted to put it out and let people hear it.

What were your main musical influences for the EP ‘Pop Music’?
Thats also a hard question to answer as we completed the EP some time ago, and I’m sure our choice of music has changed since then. We all share different influences . Some of us really like My Bloody Valentine and Joy Orbison, others tip there hat to Holy Other and David Axelrod , and others the Cure and These New Puritans. But its forever changing.

Do you feel that ‘Pop Music’ has a more personal appeal as it was recorded in a home studio?
For us it certainly did. We had the opportunity to take our time with the record so that was awesome.

Where did the title for the EP come from?
Its our version of ‘pop music’ I guess.

And do you think that today’s music scene is ready for your own brand of ‘Pop Music’?
Of course. Its just what it needs. We’re sick of hearing musicians release something or put a brand of music that sounds just like ‘day time radio music’. However we’re getting to hear some really great musicians from Dublin as of late, with really interesting sounds and styles and are looking forward to their upcoming releases.

What has the general reaction to the EP been? Are you happy with reviews it’s gotten so far?
Yeah we’re really glad that people like. Some people think its obscure sounding which is ok. Once people are honest when they tell us what they think.

How did you find the whole recording experience?
It was really awesome at times, as it was a whole new experience recording an EP. But it can be very stressful .

Is it something you would be eager in getting involved with again soon?
Yes of course. We plan on getting back in the studio very soon to record another record. I’m very excited as I’m extremely happy with our new material.

Are there any immediate plans to record an album?
So far, we don’t really know .

And finally, what are your plans for the future?
We wanna keep recording and writing , and gig a lot more also.