Interview Across the Ocean : Meredith O‘ Connor

mere3

Meredith O’Connor is a singer songwriter and anti bullying activist. She has four songs that are distributed worldwide and she speaks publicly about her experiences with bullying to high schools, letting kids know there are many ways to cope with it. Find her music on iTunes, YouTube and Amazon, https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/meredith-oconnor-ep/id596073152

We asked, Nicolette Smit, a school girl from North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany to conduct a virtual interview with Meredith, finding out about her music, bullying and her aspirations for the future

Nicolette/NBTMusicRadio: Hi Meredith,
I’m a sixteen year old teenage girl growing up in Germany, and I must say that I find it very impressive how you’ve managed to make people notice the consequences of bullying through your music.

1. How did you first get into music at such a young age?

Meredith: Before songwriting I was in a theater company that did original shows and classics, I started at the age of 8 so I was a part of that world for a while and loved it! After singing songs from shows, I figured I should try to write some of my own. Luckily, I made great contacts modeling and doing print work that gave me the opportunity to give it a try.

meredith

2. What made you want to write about bullying?

Meredith: After Celebrity came out, I got some attention both on and off the internet. I realized that with a viral song came a voice- and I also remembered how badly I wanted to change the world for the better. Ever since I realized I had a voice, I promised to use my experiences being bullied to help others

3. If you had the chance to change the bullying policies at your high school, what would you change, and why?

Meredith: I would make sure schools taught acceptance, and valued it a lot more then it is now. I would help the staff become more aware of it, and change teachers’ reactions to students who are different, because passing judgments isn’t fair, and (that Attitude) will be passed on if the teachers themselves do it.

4. What do you think about YouTube shutting down your song Celebrity

Meredith: It was hard for me because right as the media was looking into it, publication disputes were made and got in the way of the songs exposure. However, I’m still looking forward to the next anti bullying video, and m excited to see how people take to that.

5. What type of message do you want your music to bring across? Your new song is a typical break up tune channeling the likes of Taylor Swift. Does this mean it is more about writing what is on your mind than having an actual agenda of what you want to convey to your audience when you write the lyrics?

Meredith: Absolutely, ‘’Celebrity’’ does mean more than just revenge and success to me, it represents the heart breaks and pain we have to get over (like some songs channeling Taylor Swifts music) But I want the people who listen to my music to know that heartbreak, being bullied, being ostracized and put down cannot only break a person but also make you stronger.

6. How do you plan to carry on with your music in the future?

Meredith: I hope to tie music in with acting, and teach my message globally

You can hear tracks from Ms O Connor all over the NBTMusicRadio but especially during the following times:

During our ”Essence Of The Song” hours which go out at 3 PM Berlin Time (that’s 2 PM UK and 9 AM New York) and then again for our USA/Canadian Listeners at 10 PM your time (New York Time)
and ALSO in a more alternative/indie hour at 7 PM New York Time

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RISE ROCKETED

water on canvass

by Helge Janssen

You can hear tracks from the Band on the NBTMusicRadio’s MirrorBall Sessions every night at 10 PM Berlin Time (9 PM UK 4 PM New York) http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com

Headlining the Easter Festivities @ the Bluff Yacht Club on Saturday 30 March was Durban’s dance Rock Electronica band Rise. It was a surprise to discover the Bluff Yacht Club as an idyllic oasis nestled amongst the core of Durban’s heavy pantechnicons and crate carrying trucks to and from the cargo holds of freight ships. The predicted rain backed off and the evening turned out to be a no-wind perfect out-door late summer event!

Opening the set was acoustic guitarist Tony Liddel. Tony has an ease of presence and good command of his cover material. A Crowded House and U2 fan, he soon had the audience relaxed and singing along! It would be wondrous to catch him singing his own material.

The last time I saw Rise perform was at Origin about two years ago at the launch of “Water on Canvas” when the line-up consisted of Martin McHale (DJ, programming), Kerry Wood (lead singer) and Colin Peddie (guitars, backing vocals). They have since notched up huge successes playing massive outdoor events and festivals. However, Martin (ex 330) has left the band and has turned his energies into managing the direction of Origin Nightclub. Filling this huge and difficult gap with aplomb is Donna Peddie (keyboards, backing vocals, percussion (including drum pad) and Dan Wilson (bass). Dan was absent from this Bluff gig as he was at Splashy supporting featured guest artist, Ant Cawthorn-Blazeby.

RISE,1

Rise has progressed to become the premier dance Electronica band of Durban…if not SA….and have rocketed their way into the ever present with their growing innovation, their layered musical constructions that overlap and extend the depth of the aural experience taking the discerning listener into an exciting multi-dimensional territory. Delving into this most important yet largely neglected base (within the average S.A. band) has had a profound effect on Rise’s confidence. With perfect vocal pitch and texture Kerry has thus been freed to spread her wings more broadly, allowing her voice to play with the instruments and richness presented, all of which decisively matches her gift at every level. Added to this, Kerry has a performance energy of unpretentious earthiness and drive and she is exuberance personified. At this gig she had the audience begging for more…and more…and more….

Colin’s guitar work startles! Taking the jangly bits of the Cure influences and mixing it with the driving rhythms of the best of New Order he has found a sound unique to Rise. This live version of ‘All We Have Is Now’ was electrifying! In the highly competitive world music scenario this transformation is no mean feat and it would be interesting to see if this groundbreaking work becomes the well earned stepping stone towards an international stage.

COLIN PEDDIE - lead guitar

Of deep import too have been the subtle yet compulsive melodies of Donna’s discoveries, and her percussive range wings a relationship within the rhythms that are inventive and fresh. She is quiet and unassuming yet displays great strength and focus.

The expansive, inclusive lyrics (“Be The Change” still seems largely under-rated in my humble opinion!) gives body to their work enabling the band to find an important niche in the current politico/social context. “Pop Tart” has been cleverly contextualised to deliver a decisive blow to the shallow meanderings of the corporate music scene by surrendering completely with the pay-off line: ”I believe all the lies…” and deserves to be their next big hit!

Rise is rock solid! They have transcended their respective influences and are creating a unique contribution to the South African music scene.

I could not agree more with a fan statement on Reverbnation: “There are no borders in music when looking for beauty. Feel the beauty of music forever.” Respect and support from I&SON.

Buy their album: “Water on Canvass!” Support their live performances! You will be uplifted and energised!

A live album surely would be the next best thing!

https://www.facebook.com/letitrise?fref=ts

www.riseband.co.za

Lou Gottini (0824589653) booking agent and general manager.

A Synergy Of Expansive Opposites

Sarah Jane Mary Hills – EP Child of Ancestors

cover image - Child of Ancestors

A short Review and an Interview with Sarah Jane Mary Hills by Helge Janssen

All Artwork featured by SJMH ©

Another Review of this album can be found here

 

There is a quote on Sarah Jane Mary Hills’ FB page by Georgia O’Keeffe:

“I’m frightened all the time. But I never let it stop me. Never!”

flower -  photography SJMH

 

Born in England but spending most of her life in South Africa, Sarah Jane Mary Hills has been an active songwriter for fourteen years having begun her musical career as a bass player and backing vocalist in South African band Sunways. After performing, writing and winning Best Rock album at the South African Music Awards with the band and touring extensively between 2003/6 in Ireland and England, Sarah returned to Durban where she is currently based. Aryan Kaganof (artist, author, film and documentary maker) made an exquisite video (The Portrait of a Lady) of her first solo song “Dirty Slut” (2007).

 

Child of Ancestors is Sarah’s debut solo EP and bristles with inventiveness and originality. Its like something I have never heard before…it slides and slips between rhythms, levels, depths; illusively, trying to escape detection – like an extremely rare creature (an alien combination of animal, fish, plant and human) that has a finely attuned radar that only allows it to have brief moments in moon shadow to forage for food and water at specific depths of the night. And, should it linger a moment too long, its fragility would be the cause of its demise like Cinderella at midnight.

Conversely, it is this same appreciation of lingering, hovering, floating that forms the backbone and strength of Child of Ancestors. This solid mix of extraordinary opposites has resulted in an artistic gravitas which makes the album such a wonderous achievement. Its as if Sarah has taken her detailed close up images of flowers (a photographic passion she has pursued for many years) capturing an ethereal translucent beauty, a world of intricate detail, and transformed them into sound!

petals - photography SJMH

 

This discernment of artistic consciousness permeates the poetic and lyrical phrasing of the rhythms. The sense of time lapse and free form in the musical structure has an expansive impressive and expressive effect. Sarah’s guitar work swirls, strums and provokes through the aural landscape. The lyrics stretch the poetic import underpinning the metre in a dreamlike, meditative and layered (Sarah also on backing vocals and harmonies) exploration of ‘eternal time’. The guitars are crisp and warm. Additional instrumentation, mixing and mastering is by Warrick Sony at Milestone Studios, Cape Town.

“Only Love” is undoubtedly my favourite:

I can hear the sound

music’s all around

the wind is singing

that there is only love

there is only love

it is in the breezes bringing

and if you don’t know

then you will

if you just let it flow

then it will

so find a way to look within

the grace of love is everything

the clouds are just like angels wings

and if you listen you can hear the wind

singing

that there is only love

there is only love

 

I was privileged to be granted an exclusive Sarah Jane Mary Hills interview:

 

H.J.: When were these songs penned?

 

I began writing my own material in 2005. My mother had just passed away and it was a way of dealing with the pain of that event. At the same time I decided I didn’t have the energy required to continue with being an active live member of Sunways. We were making headway in the UK but were also having to do full time day jobs. After the struggle of being a professional musician in South Africa, especially with the constant touring, and then emigrating and attempting the same frenetic pace overseas I was just plain exhausted.

Robbie Boake and I maintained the songwriting side of things and worked on demos for a future Sunways album for a number of years as well as working on our side-project called Ambient Anarchy which was more instrumentally based (guitar and bass) and free-form.

SUNWAYS1

I started thinking seriously about making an album of my own in about 2007 after I released the song Dirty Slut and got a lovely response from it. Previously I had never considered myself as a singer even though I had done backing vocals in the band but I guess it gave me the confidence to believe that perhaps I could be a songwriter in my own right.

About a year after that Robbie and I split up permanently and this had a profound effect on me. I started working on journals, writing in order to make some sense of everything that had happened over the previous few years. The therapeutic writing became something I did so regularly that it wasn’t long before lyric writing became something I did automatically.

Some of the songs on Child Of Ancestors were written a number of years back and some are more recently penned. And all were recorded over the last couple of years in my makeshift studio at home.

 

H.J.: How and when did you connect up with Warrick? (Warrick Sony of Kalahari Surfers fame)

 

I have known Warrick Sony for many years and worked with him for a time at Shifty Records in Johannesburg. I have always been a great admirer of his musical work and he’s a wonderful person. When Warrick heard some of the songs I had on my Myspace page he got in contact with me and asked me whether I would be prepared to do a vocal track for one of his songs on his album, One Party State. It worked out really well and I ended up doing some more singing on his recently released album, Agitprop.

Earlier this year Warrick suggested that I start sending him some of my own songs and suggested that he mix them for me. I had been worrying about how to approach the album because I didn’t feel that what I’d been recording was good enough. In the end I decided to try and relax with it and started sending him some of my tracking and he began the mixing process.

I love what he’s done to the tracks. He’s left them sparse and pared down but at the same time has added some very subtle instrumentation into some of them that adds to the dreamy quality of the music and that’s exactly what I wanted.

 

HJ: What was the easiest part and the most difficult part about this project?

 

I suppose the most difficult part of the project has been my set-up at home. I have a dodgy interface that only allows me to mic up instruments and I have no soundproofing, so there was a lot of background noise and hiss that Warrick had to deal with. I think the best part was putting the discs with my tracking on into envelopes and posting them to Cape Town and knowing that the process was underway.

 

H.J.: Are there any performance plans?

 

I’m considering doing some performing. I’m also doing a lot of writing at the moment, finishing some songs that I hadn’t had a chance to complete before, and working on new material. Child Of Ancestors is really just the beginning for me and I would dearly love to put out another album next year. I am also keen to continue collaborating with other artists and have plans to do an album of South African cover versions at some point.

SUNWAYS3

 

Sunways – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1ipx0ndkVA

Dirty Slut – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Bc2XdDMrO8

http://www.sarahjanemaryhills.bandcamp.com

http://www.myspace.com/sarahjanemaryhills

“Child of Ancestors” is being distributed by Sjambok Music, Cape Town.

 

Tracks from the Album can be heard all over the 24 Hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

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Support

NbtMusicRadio has always been and hopefully will always be a free service for bands and musicians, from all over the world, and for the listeners from every walk of life. However as the ”little radio that could” has grown to become quite the cult pleasure, the costs in running it have increased. So now we have this nifty Support Button, where you can give a little bit and happily know that you are keeping us on the air and providing a platform for new brilliant music, created by great artists, that otherwise may not be given a voice.

so: Support Already

just click on the button.. you know you want to!

The Return Of The Skyt Muties

SKYT MUTIES STORM THE BARRICADES

 

Skyt Muties have their roots in the alternative music scene of Joburg in the late 80s, and consist of Andrew Kay on bass and vocals, Dave Pickover on drums and Charles Grass on guitar.

 

The band formed in the wake left by the demise of Andrew’s glam-rock trash band the Party Dolls following a near-fatal motorbike accident that put him in hospital and  left him out of action for a few months.  Once he was back on his feet he worked in the props department on the Bles Bridges movie, and soon after, was approached by Dave Pickover and Stephen de Swardt to form a band. They used as their base of operations Stephen’s house on a farm outside Potchefstroom, where they would jam on weekends, and turn the volume up to 11.

“The Muties always had a BIG sound, as Stephen was partially deaf, so in order for him to hear anything we had to play really loud.  Add to this Dave is a big lad, who knew only one way to play drums, and that was to pound the skins with all his might.  Stephen was also in the business of making PA speakers, so we had an inside track to getting the gear we needed to play at top volume. I wanted our music to have a hard, industrial edge, which I felt should reflect the state of the nation at the time. Fashionable music had become soft, and I had this vision of a musical explosion in my head.”

 

Thus the Muties were born, the name taken from a character in 2000 AD, the pooular sci-fi comic that was best known for creating the character of Judge Dredd.  The comic had at its core a humorously apocalyptic vision, and in one of the stories a mutant called Feral (half dog half human), a particularly rebellious mutant youth, had emblazoned on his T-shirt “Skate Muties” as he was a skater.  Andrew adapted the name to take on the meaning of Skyt, as in a low-class South African male of questionable character.  Andrew’s vision of SA was tempered by the vision in the comic, and this influenced the writing and early sound of the Muties.  Andrew was also heavily influenced by the writing and songs of Jonathan Handley of the Radio Rats. In songs like 9mil, which have survived to this day and remain a firm crowd favourite, a gritty sci-fi edge posits the anti-hero in an uber violent, sexist and racist context, a comic-book portrayal of characters that were all too real in South Africa at the time, and naturally who remain so in the new, Democratic dispensation.

 

The Muties literally exploded onto the Joburg scene with a triumphant show at one of the Merv the Swerv events at Jamesons in 1989, that had on its bill the Genuines, the Dyslexics and the Unhinged, as well as many other great bands on the scene at the time.

“For some reason the Genuines decided to play a jazzy set that was laid back, and when we hit the stage, all hell literally broke loose,” remembers Kay.  “It was incredible, chairs flying and a mosh pit that included the whole club, this mass of heaving humanity, sort of all screaming together as the Muties provided the soundtrack to a catharsis that was evidently in great need by the audience at the time.  I’ve never experienced anything quite like it before or since.”

 

Sadly, The Muties disbanded on Andrew’s artistic exile to Britian in the early 90s. “I had to leave as everything was freaking me out, I couldn’t take the hatred and violence anymore, and although our songs were violent, the Muties were definitely a peaceable band.  We incorporated aspects of flower power into our apocalyptic vision, if you can picture such a thing.”

 

One could argue an early and tenuous link to sci-fi films such as District 9 and naturally the phenomenon that is Die Antwoord, who have expanded on the theme to a far greater depth. The Muties never limited themselves to the sci-fi angle, though and on Andrew’s return to the Beloved Country in the mid 90s The Muties reformed briefly.  Andrew had taken up musical studies full time at the Wits School of Music, and had signed to peermusic SA, who fronted the money for a recording that became “unto Thine Own Self Be Cool”, five tracks recorded at Willem Moller’s Sharp Street studios. The writing is upbeat, melodic, catchy and carefree, a world away from the apocalyptic vision that was 9 mil, and also is a testament to the times in as much as the New SA was itself going through a honeymoon period of transformation during which so many positives seemed possible.

 

Gallo records showed interest in signing the band on the strength of the EP, and began negotiating on a deal with the Muties, which for various reasons never materialised, not the least being the band disbanded once more. Just before that happened though,  the Muties recorded a number of tracks at Sharp Street with Willem Moller once again at the helm.  Andrew is in contact with Willem at the present time, and who has so far unearthed a total of seven Muties tracks from the vaults, which will become the backbone of that first Muties album.

 

In the meantime Stephen de Swardt has tragically passed away, but after Dave contacted Andrew in 2012 and posted Unto Thine Own Self Be Cool on Youtube, it was decided to reform the Muties once more, and rope in the services of Charles Grass, with whom Andrew had worked in 2012 under the name AK and the 47s.

 

The Muties’ first gig is happening in Joburg on the 31st of October, literally 13 days before Andrew’s 50th birthday.  The band is rehearsing the material off the EP, including 9 mil, and will showcase some more recent material that is more acoustically oriented, but which contains the characteristic bite and melody of the Muties of old.  Thus far the Muties are also booked to be performing a New Year’s Eve bash in Estcourt, organised by Andi Grannersberger, a long-time friend of the Muties, and who recently pulled off a great musical weekend at Zingela Lodge.

 

For more info contact Andrew Kay on 082 456 2726, or email him at andrewkay97@yahoo.com  Google Skyt Muties Unto Thine Own Self Be Cool to listen to those earlier Muties tracks.

 

You can hear tracks from Skyt Muties and a rare Party Dolls track on the NBTMusicRadio all over the 24 hour stream but specially during the 7 PM and 11 PM Berlin time slots

 

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The NBTMusicRadio Fantastic Themed Hours THREE :”Comfort In the Turbulent World”

”Comfort In the Turbulent World”

11 PM Berlin Time ( 10 PM UK/5 PM New York)

AND

10 PM California Time ( 1 AM New York) For our USA/Canadian Listeners.

Bring the disturbance home! due to many requests to have the hard rock section a little earlier for our European audiences, and a little later for our USA listeners, we have joined together the ”Comfort in a hard place” and ”More Fun In the Turbulent World” in a marriage of much anticipated excitement and organised chaos!

So now its not JUST Rock of the HARD variety, there will be PUNK on all its deviant forms and ages, METAL from the darkest dark to the sweetest pop edge,there will be INDUSTRIAL, a slice of GOTHIC, and a big scoop of PROG. there will also be a smattering of BritPoP just to liven things up.

please note: in this incredibly eclectic category more than any other; i get so many new bands every week, so the line up will CONSTANTLY be changing, shape -shifting, evolving, so If you dont hear your heroes one night you will be sure to hear them the next. but PLEASE do support all our indie bands, as they share the stage with the more famous makers of this noisy art.

Oh and finally broad minds are available at the entrance, dont come in without them :)

Featured (in no particular order)

Stiff Little Fingers, Voice Of Addiction, Hawthorne Project, These New Puritans, The Jam, Black Flag, IceAge, The Eversons, Thee Now Sound, Tokyo Police Club, Big Dipper, Shonen Knife, These Animal Men, Pylon, Interpol, Ty Segall Band, Revel 9, AeB,Eudora Fletcher, Mos Generator, Crawley, Odoghan,Baht, Shattered Destiny, Kill For Eden, The Mighty High, Dropbunny, The 31st Of February, Elizabeth, Title Fight, Love Of Diagrams, The Ruts, Be Your Own Pet, Echobelly, At The Drive In, Link Wray, St J and Rici Martins, Spartan, Grenouer, American Head Charge, Godard, Jai Alai Savant, My Talking Pua, Test Icicles, Wire, Deep Purple, Grifter, Pulled Apart By Horses, Gun Outfit, M185, Sweet Ray Laurel, American Head Charge, The Monks, Late Cambrian, Spizzenergi, Felt, Monochrome Set, Honeymoon Killers, Orange Juice, The Wild Eyes,Ulterior, Eternal Summers, male Bonding, Soft Pack, Dutch Uncles, Buzzcocks, Violent Femmes, Kill Kasper, Mammut, War On Drugs, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Afghan Whigs, Vaccines, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, S.C.U.M. Swell Maps, Stone Iris, Yuck, The Replacements, Dogs Bollocks,Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Phoenix, Sonic Youth, D.U.N.E., Bruiser, Moist, Fen, MaHA Rocks, Carta Marina, Reverend Horton Heat, The Simpletone, The Cooper Temple Clause, Akarusa Yami, The Black Keys, Heavy Pink, Motorhead, screaming Trees, Skyskratcher, Blue Cheer, Ministry, Deftones, Alice Cooper.

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The NBTMusicRadio Fantastic Themed Hours TWO:The MirrorBall Sessions

The MirrorBall Sessions

10 PM Berlin Time (9 PM UK / 4 PM New York)

From the 50’s RnB, to the 60’s Psychedelic soul, thru to hip hop, techno. electronica. From Progressive House to Dubstep, with huge shots of the best new Rap artists as well.

Featuring:

Kimicoh Kimico, Aloe Blacc, The O Jays, Freda Payne, Speech Debelle, Gift Of Gab, Roots Manuva, Jamie T, Matisyahu, Mr Fix DJ, Dragan Pejic, The Black Science Orchestra, Spanky Wilson, Paul Kalkbrenner, Goldie, Machinedrum, A Guy Called Gerald, James Curd, Louie Vega, Body Language, Sonar Pilot, Team Brooklyn, Dave Gahan, Bobby Collas, nina Simone, Esther Phillips, De la Soul, War, Aceyalone and RJD2, Louis Batey, Blow Flyy, Alice Russell, Godspeed,Dukes Go Up, Ify, Shabazz Palaces, James Brown, Bobby Womack, Last Poets, Apollo’s Sun, Chaptabois, Sly and the Family Stone, Harvey Mason, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floys, Dizzee Rascal,Jr Tha 4th, Skilf, LK, Soul Children, Mel and Tim, Johnny taylor, Chairman Of The Board, THEESatisfaction,Tardishead,Lo Fidelity All Stars, Plan B, Orbital, Scuba, Tove Stryke, Kay 2 and the Strange Days, Schiller, Renegade Soundwave,Eoin Hayes, Suuns, Domino Grey, Bassnectar, Edward, Visions Of Trees, Simian Mobile Disco, Cassius, Fresh Heir, MDNR, Anti-Crew, Copyright, Jazzie B, Levon Vincent, Mantronix,Elaine, Skream, Electritribe 101, Kid 606, Anonym, Aphrodisiac, Sleep Archive, Crystal Castles, Kele,Spiller, Alea Karin, Yana Rizhova,Ganesh, Carolyn Baron and BosBeats, Mos Def, Bennie King, Clayton Savage and Jay Quan, PLXDABOSS, Jam and Spoon, Maya Jane Coles, Drums Of Death, The Knife, Jamie Principle, Frankie Knuckles, LadyHawke, High Luxe, Jamie Sparks, Kimbro, Melogain

and MUCH Much More

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The NBTMusicRadio Fantastic Themed Hours ONE

Mood Swing Cool Club
9 PM Berlin Time( 8 PM UK 3 PM New York Time)
all the very best Jazz and blues and beyond. from roots music as far back as the 20s and 30s to the latest experiments within the form.
Featuring :
Little Junior Parker, Louis Batey,Elmore James,Barbara Gilles, Carla Thomas, Albert King, Larrisa and the Raindogs, Thelonious Monk, Ike and Tina Turner, Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee, Romina Di Gasbarro, Tom Rodwell and Storehouse, Chet Baker, Little Willie John, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, Kate Campbell, The Great Recession Orchestra,Nico Wayne Toussaint, Oscar Peterson, Otis Rush, John Coltrane, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Marshall Lawrence, Dave Brubeck, Little Milton, Gene Allison, DC Clark, The Adrienne Hindmarsh Trio, Tiffany Tatum, Cassandra Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Robert Wyatt, Sophie Durnier, Gordon Bonham, Pretty Things, Hank Williams, Coleman Hawkins, Doc Watson, Bobby Soulsby, Odetta, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Wynonie Harris,Bunny Berrigan, Stan Getz, Sun Ra, Junior and the Saharas, Little Esther,Bukka White, Howling Wolf, Josh White, Sarah Vaughan, Glen Miller, John Lee Hooker, Maria Rylander, Doug Prescott, Robert Johnson, Ruth Copeland, Julia Lee, Max Carmichael, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Sonny Boy Williamson, Eddie Mack, Robert Johnson, Steven Caspar and Cowboy Angst, Art Tatum, Mississippi John Hurt, Ali Farke Toure, La Lupe, Carmel, Soul Continentals, James Brown and the Famous Flames, Cab Calloway, Amadou and Mariam, Rufus Thomas, Lenelle Moise, Meredith Monk, Jack Sheldon, John Zorn, Wilson Simonal,Keith Jarrett, Barbara Gilles, John Fahey, Big Mama Thorton, Buddy Guy,
and MUCH Much More
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The NBTMusicRadio ”Essence Of The Song”

NBTMusicRadio once again presents the finest new independent creators of that strange difficult sweet thing we call the SONG. From the First thought birth, to the final note laid down in the studio, we asked a selection of artists about their craft.

Once again Featured Artists brought to you by the wonderful folks at Hemifran An independent A&R, promotion and marketing company, based in the heart of Sweden,The Artists they represent range from the USA’s finest Americana/Country/Rock outfits, to Europe’s most talented singer/songwriters, and EVERYTHING in between.

All these artists and the songs they talk about can be heard every day on the NBTMusicRadio: 9 AM AND 10 PM New York Time

3 PM and 4 AM Berlin Time 2 PM and 3 AM UK Time (Australia/New Zealand plus 6 or 9 Hours on Berlin Time)

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And now without any further Chatter here are the Artists.

My Darling Clementine

www.facebook.com/mydarlingclementine.music

NBTMusicRadio: On your website, you mention how Elvis Costello’s ‘Almost Blue’ Provided a gateway into understanding, and perhaps more importantly, starting to love country music. It had the same effect on me, I realised that there was more to this music than the syrup soaked clichés, AOR stereotypes that the normal indie kid would run miles to avoid. Do you hope that the music you make as My Darling Clementine will do the same thing for a new generation, or is 2012 a very different time, what with music mags and websites constantly championing Country and Alt/Country as the saviours of modern indie pop? ( I notice that, also on the website; you stress that this is not a ‘parody’ record, which would indicate that you feel Country is STILL not being taken seriously)

MDC: It would be nice if it did, and i would be delighted, but i think these days more younger fans are aware of more genres of music and younger kids often look back in time for inspiration. Maybe in our day it was about the ‚‘moment‘ what was happening ‚‘‘now‘‘ as it was all so exciting.

When I first started down this country road, the likes of Uncut and Mojo were not even aware of the alt country thing, Uncle Tupelo, The Jayhawks had just come out, and it was still a genre waiting for a title. These days those magazines champion Americana, and so you get someone like Ryan Adams with an audience of guys ranging from 20 year olds to guys in their 50s and 60s.

The Parody comment was really aimed at the UK, where Country Music maybe still has a bad rep amongst those who only just see the surface. Lou and I are deadly serious about these songs and how we went about trying to re-create the sound and feel of those great country duet albums from the late 60s/early 70s. That said we are having a bit of fun with the look and the imagery, enjoying wearing the polyester!

NBTMusicRadio: You describe ‘ How Do You Plead’ as a collection of songs about ‘love, separation, bitterness and acrimony.’ In country music, the duet, specially the male/female duet has always been the perfect setting to create these themes. Why do you think this is?

MDC:  I guess it appeals to the voyeur in us all, the part of us that turns the TV down when we  gear a row going on nextdoorm so that we can eavesdrop on what they are shouting about.

Also a man and a woman singing to eachother is a very powerful emotional thing, more so, I think, than just singing out to an audience. Ot is a musical conversation, and as we all know, conversations can be polite, loving or often even angry and bitter, or just down right rude! Lou and I are perfecting the latter all the time.

Victor Camozzi

http://www.myspace.com/victorcamozzi

NBTMusicRadio: The title track of your new album ”Roadside Paradise” seems almost to be a lament for a not very polished past, can you tell us how this song came to be written

Victor: It’s a lament. It’s also a love letter. You stumble around for enough years and you start to realize it’s your warts that make you what you are, not your so called “strengths.” Somewhere along the line I figured out that imperfection is far more interesting to me than perfection. That’s true in a lot of ways. Take the people I talk to in bars wherever I go (Christ, I’m a veritable addict of barstool conversation)—my philosophy is that the dude with perfect teeth and a perfect job and the right brand of shirt can go fuck himself. I’d much rather meet the three time divorcee staring down another busted romance and wondering where it all went wrong. There is something honestly human in that. Beautiful in it’s falability. As for the origins of the song “Roadside Paradise”, I can’t tell you where it all came from, but I can tell you where it began. There is an old 24 hour diner not so far from my house in Austin. Once upon a time, it used to be a truckstop. But the town has grown up around it. Still, in the wee hours, when I’m there far more often than I should be, it attracts that uniquely American cast of drifters and underground highway ramblers, the cast offs and coulda beens, and it was there sitting in one of those old vinyl booths…thinking about the countless joints just like it that have always felt like home to me….that the first words began to tumble out on my napkin (penned in left over crayon if I recall). There’s something about a joint that can serve you chicken fried steak, scrambled eggs and gravy at 4:15am that just moves me in ways both idiotic and divine.

 NBTMusicRadio: The album has a big bar room band sound with more than a touch of bravado and sadness mixed with a hint of devil may care humour, yet its just the two musicians driving the tracks,what prompted you to use just yourself and Matt Downs, and what differences arise when recording like this as opposed to a full band.

Victor: Matt and I go way back. Waaaaaaay back. Back before I ever even got the balls to perform my songs in front of anyone other than my cat Picasso (RIP). Matt and I were buddies. Buddies who shared a similar vibe and a similar taste in music. Aside from being a damn musical genius, he was just a close friend. So early on he was the guy I played my songs for when I was starting out. For my first album, that evolved into us laying down some basic tracks, which I then took to Bill Small and Walt Wilkins and produced into “3 Peso Cigar” with a full band. But for the second album–“Roadside Paradise”–Matt and I got to messing around with some early tracks, and at some point he just looked at me after a couple whiskeys and said “Y’know…I think I might like to see this one through.” And that was enough for me. Matt gets what I’m going for…sonically and cosmically. It doesn’t take a lot of words. A couple hand gestures, a belch and a fart, and he’s nodding his head, good to go. I could add more musicians…and for the next album we may bring in a couple folks here in there…but adding too many cooks just creates more people I have to explain to. I’m just lazy enough (and smart enough) to lean on the musical telepathy Matt and I share and not question the good thing that I’ve found.

I See Hawks In La

http://www.iseehawks.com/

NBTMusicRadio: Dear Flash was inspired by a novel, ‘Divine Right’s Trip’ by Gurney Norman, How did that come about ? and how hard is it to install the essence of a novel into a four minute song?

ISHILA( Paul Lacques): The Whole Earth Catalog was a big part of my life when I was 17 years old, back in the1970s. The hippie movement in the U.S. had fled for the countryside, lots of small farmsand communes starting up in every state, and I wanted to be a part of that. The Catalogwas a compendium of farming/survivalist knowledge, everything from home birthing to geodesic dome making to hunting and composting. We recently found a copy of the 1974 Last Whole EarthCatalog, and Rob and I got immersed in Gurney Norman’s serialized novel “Divine Right’s Trip,” which appeared every few pages throughout the catalog. Gurney’s a fine writer, captures some very dark contradictions deep in the hippie/gypsy lifestyle, and we are pleased to have contacted him and made his acquaintance. He likes our music, which is quite a thrill for us.

“Dear Flash” is an imagined letter 40 years later, from protagonist Divine Right (DR), a kindof everyman hippie, to the cooler and more together Anaheim Flash, whom we imagine as having some idyllic mountain farm. DR has lived all the conflicts of the 60s onward, and wants to rest and grow a garden.

NBTMusicRadio: the cover of the album is either sunset or sunrise, though the underlying mood on a lot of the songs is a end of day weariness, acceptance, lament, very similar in mood to Springsteen’s Nebraska, (emotionally of course if not musically), there are exceptions, but what was it in the writing and conception that made this album in particular such a ”sunset/sunrise” record?

ISHILA( Paul Lacques): You’re right on all counts! We got lucky with the lighting, did the photo at sunset underbrooding skies, and it poured rain on us as soon as we were done. A beautiful afternoon.

The mood of the album is definitely one of battered souls accepting life as it is, a bit stripped of our activist/political stance of past recordings. It’s just where we’re at today, writing what’s on our minds, like all of our albums. Our previous songs were very influenced, willingly or not, by the darkness of the Bush administration and our urge to fight,however hopeless that fight might be.

“New Kind Of Lonely” is certainly the sunset to that era, with the irony that the Obama administration is a carbon copy of Bush, with perhaps an added layer of deceit and false promises.

So in a way we’ve thrown up our hands, given up on the American people and the fate of America, and are trying to live our lives as peacefully (and low carbon) as we can.

The preaching era is over for us, at least for the moment. The songs are far more personal,are actually about our own lives in some intimate detail, and that’s a big change for us.It is a sunrise of sorts. I’m not sure what the new day is, but it feels different. We feel great personal hope, but our apocalyptic views of the future are unfortunately intact.

Tom Rodwell

http://www.tomrodwell.com/

NBTMusicRadio: The album is recorded with no effects, edits or overdubs, would you call yourself a musical ‘purist’ or would you be absolutely horrified by that description?

Tom: Well on one hand, no I’m not a purist, since I like to blend and change my source material and influences, and I consciously experiment and improvise with the structure of the songs I work with. It all melts together into my own language of sorts – so it’s more like a raw and personal “style” than a collection of tunes.

But that in itself is quite a purist idea really. I’m a fan of the blues players who were a law unto themselves – like Skip James, Albert Collins and Fred McDowell. Each had their own unique characters, even if their songs could at first glance be drawn from the same well as another musician’s. Which goes to show that really blues is communal music that no-one owns, where inflection and interpretation – art – matters more than ‘skill’ or braggadocio. Look at Lightnin‘ Hopkins or John Lee Hooker – on the surface quite similar players, but with utterly different temperaments and ways of seeing, and utterly different lives. I only hope to be purist in the sense of trying to continue developing my own musical language, and follow my nose and be honest with myself. That’s all you can hope for.

 NBTMusicRadio: On the website you speak about the Blues as a dance form, does this come naturally from the traditional lyrics’ rhythm or does it only become obvious once the guitar and percussion is attached, and how does this affect how you approach the creation of a song?

Tom: The music comes first mostly; I typically start a song from a brief, blunt musical accent, and then think of what to sing on top of it. But sometimes the lyrics do suggest a phrasing, and it’s fun to experiment with it all. What happens if you take a lyric that conventionally works in a shuffle atmosphere, but lay it over a reggae-dancehall rhythm instead?

Tempo is important too – and because my right foot taps out the rhythm to all my songs, it has to start from there. So the feet lead the head! I’m always trying to get people to move to this music – surely that is what it is for, this feeling of warmth leading you out of the darkness. Plus if women dance, then men dance, then people buy beer and then musicians get paid.

 HungryTown

http://hungrytown.net/

 NBTMusicRadio: A few of the songs on the album are triggered by events within the world at large, A volcano’s Eruption, Moving into an old house and so on, but then the themes are pointed inward, become an exposure of the ‘internal’ as it were (The Title track could be about the inactivity of depression for example) and this mix is rather wonderful, so my question (‘at last!’ I hear you sigh) how do you create these personal miniatures, is it a long process of introspection, or does this balance come without thought.

HungryTown: Every song requires a slightly different approach, and I often experiment to find the one that works best. Over the years, I’ve discovered that I like to tell stories from the first person perspective. My characters tend to be fictional, but I use my own experience and perceptions in a way that might make those characters and stories more believable

Our songs usually begin with an idea—a tale we’d like to tell, or an event that we want to relate. Ken often comes up with these ideas.

 After that, I try to find the right perspective. This can sometimes happen quickly, but it may take months. I’ve always been intrigued by the year 1816—a volcanic eruption the year before created a thin layer of ash that encircled the globe. Enough light was blocked so that the temperature in some northern regions experienced winter conditions the following summer. At first, I envisioned a narrative poem set to music.

 I tried writing in the third person, but the result felt detached and academic. I couldn’t imagine myself singing such a song. At some point, I decided to turn away from delivering a history lecture, and instead made 1816 a setting for a fable. I told a story from the viewpoint of a pregnant young girl, who is promised marriage by her lover in a spring that never arrives. Once I got this idea, “Year Without A Summer” seemed to write itself, and the resulting lyrics were more fluid and much more natural to sing.

The process was similar with the song, “Any Forgotten Thing.” Ken came up with the title, and the idea of using an old house as a metaphor for loneliness. I really liked this idea, but couldn’t get a grasp on how to make it into a song, especially one to which others could relate. To this end, I tried to be loose with the metaphor, to leave plenty of room for listener interpretation. I waited a while, hoping for the right images to appear.

Eventually I began to picture a person’s hands becoming unreliable–maybe because they shake, or they’re arthritic, or whatever. I liked the idea of the body breaking down, like any old machine. So that was the first verse. For the second, it seemed important to incorporate time and solitude. For the person in the song, there’s no point trying to keep up with the clock, so why bother winding it?

 My favorite part of this song to write was the subject thinking about replacing the doorbell, if only to hear it ring once again. This image seemed to fit, and to show–hopefully in a subtle way–how much time has passed since this person has had a visitor. For the last verse, I wanted to deal with the issue of regret, because it seems as though that might be connected with loneliness. And I got the image of someone examining their memories or themselves the way one might rummage through old items tossed into an attic, trying separate the treasures from the trash. Finally, I wanted to suggest the possibility that this period of loneliness is only temporary–an in-between time that allows for self-reflection.

 NBTMusicRadio: I believe Ken worked on the Rebecca ‘solo’ recordings as well, so to both of you; what is the fundamental difference between those and Hungrytown?
HungryTown: The fundamental difference between the Rebecca Hall and Hungrytown recordings is basically the passage of time–performing and recording as a duo is something that happenedgradually for us. When we met in NYC many years ago, Ken was a rock drummer in about seven different bands and I was singing torch songs in Soho bars. I was not writing songs at all at that time, just learning to perform and do my own interpretation of standards.

Then, inspired by the 1997 re-issue of the Harry Smith Folk Anthology, I picked up a guitar for the first time and began to write songs based on traditional ballads.
My first album, Rebecca Hall Sings!, was recorded very simply on a Tascam 4-track. The songs were coming so quickly for me at that time, and I was just trying to get them down.Ken helped me with some basic arrangements, and wrote all the harmony parts. We were very casual about this recording; it was something we just did for ourselves, so we were surprised when a local radio station, WFMU, got hold of a copy and started playing it
regularly. That was really encouraging, and we started work on my second solo album,Sunday Afternoon, very shortly afterwards.

This time, Ken was even more involved, he wasresponsible for all the arrangements and production, and we co-wrote a few of those songs.By that time, I was performing regularly with various New York City musician friends–my lineup was basically whoever could get to the gig that week. And Ken would come up on
stage and play harmonica sometimes, and would sing harmonies with me. Once we had a gig booked, but all my usual band members were out of town, so Ken and I just decided to dothe gig by ourselves.

We realized that we really liked this new, stripped-down approach.We began performing as a duo, traveling to gigs all around New England. We both still had day jobs at that point, but we were so unhappy at work, and so contented when we were playing music, that we just decided to see if we could make a living by touring. So in late 2003 we quit NYC, and moved to the hills of Vermont–a great place to write and record, and much more affordable than Manhattan!

We were still performing under the rather ungainly name “Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson,” and realized that we needed a band name for ourselves. At around that point, we had just finished writing a song called Hungrytown Road–a country waltz inspired by a real road in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia–that seemed to be popular at our shows. One day Kensaid, “why don’t we just call ourselves Hungrytown?” and the name just stuck. Very soon
afterwards we began work on our eponymously titled debut album. Hungrytown took about three years to record, and featured several guest musicians–excellent bluegrass pickers The Virginia Ramblers, as well as our friends Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar from The Mammals. We had so much fun making that album, and the mobile recording method really reflected our travels during that time. It was recorded at various locations along the
east coast–a double-wide trailer in Virginia, a home studio in the Catskills and a traditional New England meeting house.

A few years of almost non-stop touring went by, and we wrote many songs while we were on the road. Finally, in 2010 we realized we were ready to make a new album. We took a two-month break from performing, and this time around decided to do the whole thing byourselves, in our home studio. We co-wrote many of the songs for Any Forgotten Thing, and Ken wrote all the arrangements and played multiple instruments on these recordings. We
brought in our talented neighbor, Laura Molinelli, to sing backing vocals on a few tracks, but otherwise, it’s just us. We wanted this album, more than any other, to reflect our sound as a duo, and were very pleased with the result.

Oh My Darling

http://www.ohmydarling.ca/

NBTMusicRadio: Although your album is titled ‘’Sweet Nostalgia’’ and the music you make is steeped in tradition, the listener never feels that your album is a museum piece, there is something reassuringly modern in the feel.  Could you explain how this ‘’essence’ of 2012 onwards slips into your music, and what modern acts thrill the ladies of OMD

Oh My Darling : We all have a true love for traditional sounds and songs, whether they are Old-Time Appalachian, Franco-Canadian Métis, Bluegrass, Irish traditional or classic country, we find our common ground in the love of the traditional sounds. But we all are very inspired by what is going on in the music scene on the current stage as well. We find ourselves inspired by amazing groups like The Punch Brothers, Joy Kills Sorrow, Andrew Bird, The Goat Rodeo Sessions and modern songwriting styles, anything that is pushing the boundaries within this genre. We are inspired by the traditional sounds and put elements of that into our sound but we love to create new rhythms, chord progressions, lyrical and melodic styles that may be unorthodox to the hardcore traditionalists, we like the blend of something old and something new

NBTMusicRadio: While the music is indeed sweet, the lyrics hint at darker themes at times, illicit affairs, love and betrayal, escaping the city and so on, was this something that only cropped up in this album or is the balance tween dark and light a very necessary thing for a perfect album.

Oh My Darling: When we were looking at the collection of songs that we had for Sweet Nostalgia, there was an underlying theme of nostalgia that ran through all of the songs. Nostalgia can hold many sentiments, love, loss, hope, despair, sadness, joy… We weren’t looking to write songs that had particularly dark or light sentiments, we just wrote. As the songs came together the feeling of nostalgia pulled all the songs together. The presence and balance of dark and light belong to us within the songs and on the album but also the feelings of sweetness and beauty of reflecting on the past

Marty Rivers

http://www.martyrivers.com/

NBTMusicRadio: The album was recorded in Nashville; do you think it’s important to go to the ‘source’ as it were when recording a country music album or could just as fine album be created in Malta for instance?

Marty: Although I believe that a fine album can be produced almost anywhere but to bring together in one place such a wonderful group of top ‘country music’ session musicians together with such a producer like Gary Carter is very hard unless I’ll bring them all over to Malta; even still, Nashville itself is a source of inspiration to any musician or songwriter so even though it will be interesting to records my next project here on the island but Nashville surely is The Place.

NBTMusicRadio: In the Song Run Angel Run are you writing about any city in particular when you call it ‘this damn Babylon’?

Marty: Well, the City in mind was ‘L.A.'; many young people’s dreams are being shattered there; They go to Babylon with just a dream and so many of them end up living in the street; but in reality Babylon can be New York, London or any other big city or even Nashville; it’s great to see so many people living their dream but sometimes it’s also painful to see where so many of them can end up when they trust the wrong people

Nico Wayne Toussaint

http://www.wix.com/nicowaynetoussaint/lonelynumber

NBTMusicRadio: There is an unhurried languid feel about the songs on the album, were the recording sessions as calm and comfortable as this suggests?

Nico: The recording sessions were done in Montreal, Canada. The sound engineer / producer / drummer Nicky Estor is a long time friend, such as the guitar player. That session was like old friends getting back together. So it was efficient but without the pressure. Another element for your answer is that Nicky Estor comes from a New Orleans musical background, as well as blues. He loves music like Keb Mo’ or G Love and the Special Sauce. That kind of influences show also in his way to handle the mix and the overall approach of the production

NBTMusicRadio: Guy Davis contributes a stunning bluesy vocal on ‘How Long To Heal’ can you tell us how this recording came about?

Nico: My encounter with Guy happened in my home town, Bayonne, France, were Guy came to do a show, 5 days before i was flying to Montreal to cut my album. We played together that evening and his manager mentioned that it would be a great idea to have Guy on the album, since we were going to be so close one and the other, Guy lives in NY. I had only one song I wanted to play acoustic on the CD and that was ‘’How Long To Heal’’. It couldn’t be a better song for Guy and me to meet.

Brock Zeman

http://www.brockzeman.com/

NBTMusicRadio: The track, ‘Light in the Attic’ from a lyrical point of view has a cool and interesting structure, in that although it’s about the ‘traditional’ song theme of Break UP, it focuses rather on observing life AROUND it rather. How did the creation of this song come about?

Brock: That song was written all in one shot on my porch. I just picked everything out of the air as it fell into place. I like to put a lot of my surroundings and experiences into my songs. If you’re honest about what you do, what you do will always sound new.

NBTMusicRadio: How do you balance running a label and the fine focus that a new album insists on, and will you get some Mud Records artists to us to play on NBTMusicRadio ?

Brock: I like being in the studio as much as possible. Having a label gives me the chance to do that. People have given all of our releases some great praise, so we just keep doing what we do. I tend to lean on the side of music I’m getting the most response from. Sometimes it’s playing live, sometimes it’s writing and recording. I bounce back and forth and it somehow works.
Love to send you all the releases! Robert Larisey, Brothers Through The Hill & Tom House!

Elisabeth Carlisle

http://www.glacierrecords.com/

NBTMusicRadio: Songs like 6000 Miles have a lovely widescreen, cinematic feel to the way they flow, yet feel unforced and not over dramatic. How do you as a songwriter maintain that balance tween, a personal theme, and being detached enough to craft a tune that all of us can relate to?

Elisabeth:If you listen to my first 2 CDs you’ll discover that I primarily write from experiences, whether they’re my own or someone else’s. I can get pretty detailed in those descriptions, as I did in 6000 Miles. I think every songwriter that has spent a fair amount of time touring has a song about “coming home” or being away from those we love. I actually have a song called “Coming Home” on my Roll With the Flow CD! When it came to production the verses seemed to be more reflective and in thought, with the chorus popping out in more desperation. I love the band Train and feel that my production history is very similar to theirs. It must be that we’re both from the Bay Area and have grown up on the same style of music such as Journey, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, etc. So I think that the emotional energy that Bay Area bands have always produced comes out in me on a song like 6000 Miles.

NBTMusicRadio: for the EP, two songs were recorded in Sweden and two in California, to YOU when you have the finished songs what is the major difference in how the songs sound? (For example with the Swedish productions I found that delightful POP sensibility sneaking its way into the tracks)

Elisabeth: It’s not uncommon to have different producers on a CD. The trick is trying to keep a thread of consistency throughout the songs so they flow well together. For me that has always been my voice and keeping the keyboard prominent, which is my main instrument other than my voice. My first CD had 3 producers, with me as co-producer and had a “live” band feel throughout. For my second CD I wanted to have one producer with me and focus on a coherent style for each song. I also felt I was dangerously teetering on becoming too “Folk Rock” with my Northern California roots. I had been working in Sweden as a pianist and loved the “Pop” sound that many Swedish artists have. I thought that if I could combine those two elements of Folk Rock and Pop I’d have a true representation of me as an artist. My friend led me to Amir Aly at Yla (pronounced oo-la) Studios in Malmo where I ended up recording Roll With The Flow. I had moved back to California when writing for the EP, so time and distance only allotted for the two songs to be recorded in Malmo with Amir and my original band from Sweden. For me, it just doesn’t get better than that.

 Kenny Schick produced the last two songs and did a great job. He’s also from the Bay Area so they definitely swing more towards that original “Folk Rock” I was talking about. The major difference is that Amir does a lot more layering and looping, which brings a fullness and energy to the songs. I actually wanted Call Me A Mystery to be full on electronica, but my drummer Mattias wouldn’t have it. That’s where working with excellent musicians can help keep the balance. Of course, he was right in the end and the songs came out exactly as they should be.

 Kyle Carey

http://www.kyleannecarey.com/

NBTMusicRadio: from a lyrical point of view how difficult is the creation of a song, do the words just slip in themselves like old friends, or do they have to be coaxed into the structure of the tune?

Kyle: Lyrically every song is different, and the writing process is something I never try to push too hard. Some songs come very quickly, for example I wrote ‘Orange Blossom’ during my sophomore year of college. I remember I’d just returned home from a party where I’d felt very out of place and alone. I figured I might as well do something with the emotions charging through me so I sat down and ‘Orange Blossom’ came to me in a span of about ten minutes. On the other hand, ‘Adenine’ took about a week to write, and most of my other songs at least a couple days. I’m working on a song at the moment I think could take up to a month. When I’m writing I try to take breaks, and if I’m struggling for the right word or rhyme, I just let the idea sit for a while, and like clockwork, it eventually comes.

NBTMusicRadio: You describe your music as ‘’Gaelic Americana’’ when  the songs are still in demo form, do they veer to one aspect of this over another, or are the nuances of both those styles added subtly in the studio?

Kyle: Most of my originals are stylistically Americana in terms of their subject matter. The Gaelic/Celtic side of what I do comes from a background of having studied Scottish Gaelic and having lived in places like Cape Breton, Ireland and Scotland. The more Celtic influences found in my album are due to the fact that it was recorded in Ireland and produced by Donogh Hennessy, with mostly Celtic artists in the collaboration. So while the music started off as almost straight Americana, the other influences were added primarily in-studio.

I think Donogh and I balanced each other well during the creation process, for example ‘Gaol ise Gaol i’ the one Gaelic track on the album, is where his Celtic expertise really shines, and he was certainly at the forefront for the vision of the song’s arrangement. However, when the song was nearly complete, I worried that it lacked the Americana influence that it the main theme of the album, so I suggested we throw in a banjo part, and surprisingly, it fit great!

Tom Kell

http://www.tomkell.com/

NBTMusicRadio: ‘This Desert City’ marks a return to the studio after a lengthy absence , How easy was it to slip back into the ‘habit’ as it were, and what was the same and what was different  compared to past sessions, technically and personally?

Tom: Recording has really never been a “rare” occurrence for me.
While “This Desert City” does indeed mark my return to the radio, I’ve always been recording something it seems. I did a few “Gospel” records over the past few years and am constantly doing “publishing” demos of my songs. I write almost every day, so there’s always something to record.
The beauty of the “This Desert City” sessions was that I once again got to record with some amazing musician friends I’ve made over the years in LA. There just is no better band for my kind of songwriting. Every player and singer on that record was a perfect choice. They happened to be friends of mine too, which made the experience all the better. This project also marked the return of my collaboration with producer Jeffery Cox.

NBTMusicRadio: The track, ‘’The Way Of The World’’ is a gentle bitter sweet take on fame that twists half way through to become a much darker thing, can you tell us more about the writing and creation on this song?

Tom: “The Way of The World” is really just a compilation of the many stories I’ve read about or seen happen while living in Los Angeles for all these years. The next “big” thing is celebrated then discarded day after day, time after time. “She was a French girl, she came to LA for the heat” is the opening line. The rest was easy. It’s a story of fame, lust and envy, with the darkest of endings. I’m pretty sure I must’ve read about the shooting in The LA Times but don’t recall for sure.

West Of Eden

http://www.westofeden.com/

NBTMusicRadio:  the creative and recording process of this fine album is fascinating! Did these periods of isolation (the ‘Plura’ and recording at a remote coastal location, PLUS the tragic subject matter), affect the musicians mood in any negative way, after all on the surface of it; this is all rather dark stuff!

West Of Eden: Of course it had an impact on us. This is after all rather serious and tragic tales, but I wouldn’t say that it affected us personally in a negative way. I think that it made us work harder than ever before to create an ambience in the songwriting and recording that would suit the subject of each song.

NBTMusicRadio: on Songs like ‘Coffin Ship’ i was intrigued by the fact that there was a country/Americana feel to the music, how did this come about?

West Of Eden: I would say that the Celtic music and the Americana / country-music have a strong connection. In our part of the world (Scandinavia) we hear more of American music such as Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams than Celtic music on the radio, so it‘s no wonder that there could be some influences in our music. That said, I think a song like Coffin Ship also has a strong connection to the music of The Waterboys which was a heavy influence on us when we started West of Eden 15 year ago

Katrin

http://www.katrinmusic.com/

NBTMusicRadio:“Blame” is very Gospel in feel, a soulful requiem of sorts, did that sound spring from the subject matter, or was that something that happened in the studio?

Katrin: I wrote and previously recorded “Blame” in a more acoustic, stripped down way. The melody and lyrics have always been the foundation of the song. With the opportunity to revisit the song, and the atmosphere we had to record in ( a renovated church called Dreamland) That MUST have been an influence to the gospel comparison you speak of, but also, the musicians especially Daniel Weiss on organ made for a whole new vibe on this recording. Then there is the way that I have evolved as a singer, and there has been a deepening and a passage that I have experienced. I guess can attribute that to time, perseverance, and life kicking me in the ass. I keep coming back stronger

NBTMusicRadio: Songs like ‘ Far Away’ are pretty layered lyrically, both emotional and story driven, how long do you ‘live’ with a piece, before you take it to the next level of Musicians and the studio, and once there do you sometimes find that the process takes them into completely new directions or do they stay as close to your original concept as possible?

Katrin: All the musicians helped me take this song and make it into more. They rocked it where it called for it, and brought the intimacy in the lyrically vulnerable moments. Jerry Marotta produced this song and it was one of the first tracks we started with in the studio. I wrote part of “Far Away” a long time ago and decided to put it in the junk yard and scrap it for parts. It was either that or put it in the song cemetery. (A Scary place!)

That is when the chorus came to me “Got a minivan, parked right outside. Got a full tank, I could take a ride” and I thought about the person I was when I began writing the original tune. Stuck, and torn in a relationship I needed to leave.

It wasn’t long after the new chorus came, that the song was fully arranged and ready for musician’s input and some pre-production rehearsals.

There are so many ways songs journey to their fruition. This one was particularly long, but that’s what it needed I guess. It was worth the wait and to have the courage to allow the evolution to happen.

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SXSW Diary

We here at NBTMusic are extremly honoured to have Tokyo Rosenthal write about the great SXSW Festival for us:

 

Sometimes it’s easier to play the gig then to get to the gig. This was the situation as I tried to get to Austin for my first show at SXSW. I originally had booked a flight on Friday March 16th not yet knowing I was going to be asked to play the prestigious Music Fog live feed from the world famous music venue, Threadgills. So now I had a flite that arrived at 4pm and a 7pm gig at Threadgills. Could it be done. I had connecting flights so one little delay and the coveted showcase was out the window. Of course I tried to change the flight but change fees made it economically impossible.

 

I arrived at Raleigh airport to find my first flight was delayed 20 minute. Instead of thinking about my set list I was thinking of how I would explain to the Music Fog Execs why I wasn’t there to play. But rather then drag this out I’ll tell you all that I made it, played the show along with Charlie Chamberlain on mandolin, and the results were what I consider to be one of the best live videos I’ve ever done, especially the quality of the shoot. Oh, and the place was packed but listening intently.

 

The folks running Music Fog at Threadgills could not have been more cordial. That’s the case all over Austin during SXSW. It’s not some drunken spring break scene. Instead it’s thousand of dedicated music lovers moving peacefully and enthusiastically from venue to venue. Very few of the folks I ever meet actually are enrolled in the official event. there’s really no need for that. There’s quality and well known musicians everywhere you look, playing venue after venue with no admission charge.

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say again how well the Threadgills gig went. Full house, great sound, and exceptional video. And the room had all the ghosts of the past that have played there,Gram Parsons included. You could feel the vibes all over, and they were good ones. Here’s the link to the show we did:

http://www.livestream.com/musicfog/video?clipId=pla_9b2d191d-88e7-4359-adc5-ecfb26f6c66f

 

After sleeping in forever on Saturday morning and hitting Denny’s for breakfast I slowly made my way to South Ausitn to meet up with my friend from the UK, Mike Green. Mike had accompanied two young female singers from the Northwest of England who were going to make there U.S. debut at a singer/songwriter stage. It was a restaurant with an outdoor stage called Waterloo Ice House. Well these two enthusiastic young ladies reminded me what it’s all about.. Their enthusiasm was infectious and Mike beamed with pride as the girls, 16 and 19, performed with no fear, never knowing if they’d ever make it back to the States. But it didn’t matter, they had a story that would last a lifetime.

 

I had to rush back to change into “Tokyo” and play my show at The G&S Lounge that night. I was scheduled to play the Midnight show but wanted to get there at 9pm to catch Grant Peeple’s set, followed by a good player named Mike, and a young songwriter named John Fullbright. .

The place was packed and I enjoyed all of their shows. The only bummer was John’s show ran over and I didn’t play until about 12:20, losing half the house by the time I took the stage and eventually bumping Mare Wakefield from playing her 1AM show. This made me a little aggravated and took me half a set to calm down but we played it and ended the gig at about 1:10AM. After selling a few CDs I headed back to the hotel. Charlie, his wife, and mother in-law were staying outside of town so I found myself alone in the hotel with post gig energy which is always the case no matter how late you play. Your body is tired but your mind is wide awake. Fortunately my wife was wide awake as well back in Chapel Hill so we spoke for about an hour. Then the ultimate crash came and I was out, thinking about the following night’s show as the sandman entered.

 

Sunday morning came with me finding a way to post the Threadgill’s video and allow those that missed it to give it a view. Also the lumpy mattress was taking its toll on my back. Time for Ibuprofen!!! Breakfast again at Denny’s, they know me there now. Have my own booth, LOL. Came back and never left the room as I nursed my back. But I had to have the great Mexican food at Guerro’s so I hit there for a quick burrito before heading back over the G&S Lounge where I’ve been pegged to close the NOT SXSW marathon of music.

Charlie and I hit the stage at about 10:45pm and played a solid 45 minutes before saying “Goodnight Carrie I’m Coming Home”. I treated myself to a strawberry shake on the way back to the hotel and ready to head for home tomorrow afternoon. Charlie and I won’t play again together until I we go on the 3 week Northeast Tour in May. In the meantime I continue to promote and market my new single, “What Did I Used To Be?”, which got a response in Austin.

 

There you have it. Seeya in Austin next year or wherever I land in between.

Peace,

Toke

you can hear music from Tokyo’s latest Album and many of the bands that featured at this years festival spread all over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

 

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