The London-based duo Death Rattle has a name with a gothic appeal which could also grace a hardcore metal band. But don’t be fooled—their dark’n’heavy gloom (or is it doom?) pop is rooted in the darker sonic experimentation of Fever Ray and industrial shadows of Nine Inch Nails. After their debut ep He&I on Frontal Noize and a massive tour schedule set to conquer continental Europe in the last couple of months, Helen and Chris Hamilton are currently working on their new album in an abandoned Normandian house, and it’s set to be released this year. We asked them to answer our famous questionnaire to find out more about them.
1. Most memorable show?
Chris: For me it was last night! It was really good in Cluj, Romania. And we played in a prison for our first show which was in Leeuwardenken in Holland. It was really good to feeling to travel to Europe and have our first show in a proper prison with the cells.
2. The album that changed the way you thought?
Helen: Mine is Fever Ray’s only album. It’s really cinematic and not so much about songs but about sound… It was massively influential for me.
Chris: It’s the El Diablo by American band Will Haven, a really slow heavy band. I was 13 and my brother took me to one of their shows and it was the first time I paid attention to anything that had no interest in being a really successful big band. It was purely about making the noise they wanted to make. That changed everything for me, I wanted to do this all my life, just make music.
3. Name three essential artists.
Helen: Depeche Mode.
Chris: Nine Inch Nails.
4. One thing you can’t live without?
5. What defines your creative process?
Chris: A big house in Normandy, France.
Helen: We rent a 17th century house built on the ruins of an abbey; historic and old, massive and empty. We record there. For us to be able to get away and create, to write the album, this is the place.
6. Together or alone?
Chris: Together wins.
Helen: Together. We mix our ideas.
7. Should music be free?
Helen: Not if we want to survive as a band. We have to try to make money somewhere. We can do T-shirts and live shows and we’re happy to play every night of the year doing live shows because that’s what we enjoy over selling CDs or vinyl… But we have to get something back from the stuff going away in order to keep it rolling. I don’t want to be rich or famous, I just want to have enough money to do it, moving forward.
Chris: The best way to try to live from this is sell your CDs as cheap as you can, maybe online or through giving stuff away for free. You make your music accessible so people come to your shows, then you live from selling T-shirts and the money you get for the concert just covers the petrol.
8. What goes in your coffee?
Helen: Sweetener, no sugar.
Chris: Nothing goes in mine.
9. Is any aspect of fame important?
Helen: If having a voice becoming known presents the power to talk about issues then trying to raise awareness is important. I’d like to try influence people to look at the way the world works and do something about it. If there is any way I want to be famous I’d want to use my fame like that.
Chris: But you make music, what right do you have to tell someone to change their life?
Helen: I wouldn’t be telling them… Okay, you’re right, I’m not going to tell anyone what to do, but I can show what I believe in. And you have a voice and people are watching.
Chris: And there is another side of it. People are paying attention, do you have that responsibility? It’s just a part of it: people are listening and if you feel strong about something you have that responsibility to try showing something different.
The San Franciscan producer Charlie Yin, aka Giraffage, debuted a year ago with his self-released Comfort LP and quickly gained attention due to his heady blend of homespun garage embellished with intricate percussion and drifting, drifted vocals. He recently finished a 30-plus date European tour along with his friend Marcel Everett of XXYYXX. Giraffage is currently preparing his new LP, due to come out early next year.
Your most memorable show?
It was in Dublin, Ireland. It was really cool because I was as really drunk, so purely dancing. And it was crazy because people were actually singing along to my songs, which is weird because I sample, like, gibberish.
Raging or chilling out?
Definitely chilling out. I think it’s reflected in my music a little bit; I just like keep things chill.
Are you interested in politics?
Actually, I studied politics in college. I graduated with a degree in Political Economy and I have to say that what I took from studying politics is that I really don’t like it. I guess I’m not interested in politics after studying it so much and seeing how corrupt everything is.
An album that changed the way you thought.
From Here We Go Sublime by The Field. It’s a very different album from what I usually listen to. It’s very repetitive and it has definitely changed how I make music too.
One thing you can’t live without?
Internet. We were travelling for 17 days and everywhere we go is a fifty-fifty chance that we won’t have internet. If we don’t have internet I just shut down—I’m scared or shaking! I’m addicted. [laughs]
What defines your creative process?
I draw influences from my life and what’s going around me. When I make music or make a song, I like to think that in a year I’ll look back on a song and it will be a specific snapshot in time and what I was going to do in life. So I like that aspect of making music for sure. It’s definitely the process merging with memories a little bit, like nostalgia. So many times I just listen to a song and I get teleported back to that time.
Together or alone?
It depends on what it is but I think generally I’m a pretty introverted person so I like to be alone, generally, when I make music. I work way better alone than with a collaborative effort. I only have one successful collaboration which is with Marcel of XXYYXX. Yet, I’ve tried many times.
Should music be free?
Yeah, I think music should totally be free. I have my own music for free, I mean, I probably wouldn’t have been making music if I wasn’t able to access for free. I guess I grew up with the internet and Napster, so getting free music is definitely a major part of my making music.
Current favorite song?
“Heaven or Las Vegas” by Cocteau Twins.
I like wearing all black, really. Or dark colors, so gray or black.
Triad God is the latest and greatest thing to push out of the holy maw that is Hippos In Tanks. Hong Kong-raised Vinh Ngan’s ephemeral hip-hop sketches are centered around the brotherhood of his New Cross Crew in his home of South East London. We fired some questions his way and got them answered by producer Palmistry, who crafted the beats for Ngan’s debut NXB.
1. Your most memorable show?
I feel indifferent about this but probably Watch the Throne because Kanye West fell into my section of the crowd and promptly had the fans who pulled him in thrown out.
2. Is any aspect of fame important and if yes, why’s that?
3. If you were still in high school, which clique would you belong to?
Definitely rejoin the religious zealots.
4. An album that changed the way you thought?
I never really had that experience with a record yet. It’s always been my peers and friends who have inspired my approach. At the moment Lorenzo Senni‘s work is bringing about change.
5. What does underground and mainstream mean to you?
Major and Minor.
6. What defines your music-making process?
Prince’s mindstate from 2mins20 in Swear down.
7. Your current favorite track?
8. Raging or chilling out?
Gotta have venom and the antidote.
9. One thing you can’t live without?
Steam Buns Baozi.
10. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
Gu huo zi: Zhi ren zai jiang hu
Kerris Chandler‘s latest signing on his new MadTech imprint is the Leeds-based house duo Voyeur, consisting of Benson Herbert and Leo Picking.
Their acclaimed Blame It On The Youth EP was released this week, and that’s why we caught up with the boys to flash through our small but perfectly formed interview series 10 x 4. Time to get acquainted, then.
1 . Your most memorable show?
Gottwood Festival, playing in a caravan on a beautiful day with beautiful people!
2. If you were still in high school, which clique would you belong to?
4 . Should music be free?
A difficult question to answer… I’m all for artists giving away free tracks; it’s a nice idea and a nice thank you to the people who support them. But not everything should be free, people work hard and when you buy something you tend to value it more. It makes you listen more considerably to the music.
5 What defines your music-making process?
In general? Listening. Lots of listening. To as many different styles of music as possible! The mood we’re in always has a strong bearing on the style of music we make.
6. Latest find on Soundcloud?
7. Name three essential artists.
Detroit Swindle, Robert Glasper, Smallpeople
8. Indispensable outfit?
Leo: Brogues and string vest!
B: Hawain shirt, gold chain.
9. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
Book: The AB Guide to Music Theory
Film: 24 Hour Party People
10. Your current favorite song?
Leo: Patti Page – Old Cape Cod
Benson: Smallpeople – Salty Days
Voyeur ‘Blame It On A Youth’ EP is out this week on MadTech Record.
Friendly Fires have always been dance music cheerleaders, stealthily dropping references to Kompakt within the pages of NME. Their enthusiasm certainly pre-dates the current vogue for house music referencing washing through indie right now, and for this reason their intense performance at EB Festival Bratislava earlier this year felt like a perfect fit. Recently, the four-piece have put together a Late Night Tales compilation which, much like their contemporaries Foals‘ K7 mix earlier this year, suggests a deep rooted passion for this music that goes beyond 12-inch oneupmanship. We caught up with Edd Gibson, the band’s DJ elect, to take us a little deeper.
1. Your most memorable show?
The first time we played Mexico City was incredible. We were escorted around town by men-mountains in black suits, mainly for the risk of bands being abducted rather than our own level of stardom, but let’s not let the truth obscure my dreams. We were ushered through the tightLY packed crowd to the stage, our own miniaturized taste of Beatlemania. When we began playing, the roar of the crowd was louder than I’d ever heard. I almost stopped playing in surprise and shock. The gig was a genuine carnival atmosphere. So much fun.
2. What goes in your coffee?
If i’m feeling decadent then two sugars, cream and whisky. Usually just a spoon.
3. Should music be free?
I think if you get music for free, it can devalue it in many other ways too. Music should be appreciated and cherished. It can become all too disposable a commodity otherwise.
4. Better show: Buffy or X-Files?
X-Files, for Gillian Anderson and Eugene Victor Tooms.
5. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
Aldous Huxley’s Island.
6. Your current favorite song?
7. Do you believe in the paranormal?
Hell no. Although very sensible people around me have claimed to have had ‘encounters’, it’s clearly all flim-flam. Doesn’t mean I’m not scared by it though.
8. Raging or chilling out?
Chilling the f out.
9. One thing you can’t live without?
Duck (the food, not the verb).
10. Together, or alone?