Posts from the ‘Interviews’ Category

Morgan O’Kane | Interview & ticket competition

Photo credit: Stefan Jeremiah

Morgan O’Kane is back this week, bringing his own brand of raucous Appalachian music to London, on the last leg of a month-long European tour.  If you haven’t seen him play before, here’s your chance to max your fun this Thursday night by winning tickets to see him and his touring band, upstairs at The Garage, Islington.  We have 2 pairs of tickets to give away, email us the answer to the following question by midday (GMT) Wed 27th June and we’ll draw winners out of a hat.

What is the name of Morgan O’Kane’s first album?

  • Your attention-grabbing delivery and sea-shanty type hollerin’ must come from your years of busking: in New York, on the subway, in parks, around the US and subsequently around the world.  What started you off and how have you developed over the years?

It started as way to practice and make a bit of bread, but the more time I spent down there the more people I met and more I noticed how it was appreciated. I fell in love with it and since it’s brought me beautiful things and relationships.

  • Are you still busking or have you put that behind you now?

I busk as much as I can, I’ll never stop and it remains my main source of income.

  • Have you had any mentors that have inspired you along the way?

I’ve been lucky to be very close to all my mentors, Bobby St Ours (of the Hackensaw Boys, also from Charlottesville, VA – Ed) made me pick up the banjo, Zake Orion showed me the ropes and Phillip Roebuck put the door in front of me and kicked me out.
My band are my biggest mentors, Zeke Healey (Dobro), Ferd Moyse the IV (Fiddle – also of the Hackensaw boys) , Liam Crill, Leyla McCalla on Cello (also plays with Carolina Chocolate Drops), and Jr continue to blow my mind every time I hit the street or stage with them.

  • Though you’re originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, you now live in Brooklyn in an old church.  How does your kind of music go down in NY?

In NYC you have people from damn near every walk of life and at the end of the day everyone wants to feel good and have a good time. Music is the quickest road to both and my music seems to do the trick.

  • We hear you’re planning a concert in the church in the near future and you’re planning on incorporating the bells, what’s that about?

Zeke and I are fixing up some church bells in my new home. A beautiful old church in Bushwick that’s become a venue for the next few months. I’ve never played church bells but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  Phillip Roebuck will be playing the pump organ as well and Veveritsi Brass Band is on board. It’s gonna be a good one!

  • Could you tell us a bit about your 2nd album Pendulum, which came out last year, who did you work with on it?

Billy Cambion “Vic Thrill” is one of my closest friends and I recorded both records in his studio. The first “Nine Lives” I did in a bunch of solo one takes to have something to sell on the street, and when I had Zeke, Ferd, and Leyla jump on a few songs this beautiful sound came out. Something none of us had really heard before. So Pendulum was to make a full record of that sound and Billy helped to produce and watch over the project.

  • Are you working on another one this year?

The plan is to get Billy in the church with his gear and record at least half the next album there while we have the space. We’ll start in September and work through the fall. Jr’s been playing a lot more with us and his horn will be very prominent on the next one.  I love what he brings to my music.

  • Though you’re now living in Brooklyn, you still keep issues affecting your Appalachian roots close to your heart.  You have recently contributed music to a film about mountaintop removal that portrays how it has affected local people’s histories and communities.  Could you tell us about the documentary and about the score you contributed?

I met Jordan Freeman three summers ago at the Marsh Fork protest on Coal River. He had been documenting the actions of the locals, miners, and protesters for years and when he asked me to put music to this, I was honored.

  • What other music are you listening to at the moment?

Iswegh Attay by Tinariwen
Anywhere on this road by Lhasa de Sela
Carrick Bend by Phillip Roebuck
Depression Blues by Sam Doors
Hell Ball Rolls by Vic Thrill
54 46 by Toots
Tighten up by Archy Drell and the Drells
The Seeker by the Who
Cocec na pocec by Veveritse Brass Band
Imidiwan Winakalin by Tinariwen
Out of nowhere by Phillip Roebuck
Come on up to the House by Tom Waits
Box of Pine by the Hackensaw Boys

Or listen to a selection of those tunes on this Spotify playlist. Morgan O’Kane – June 2012

Here’s a nicely shot film we found of Morgan busking, by Tom Levin:

Morgan O’Kane from Tom Levin on Vimeo.

The Deep Dark Woods | Interview, Film & Gig Alert

Juno-nominated, Canadian folk rockers Deep Dark Woods are currently in the UK as part of their first European tour, with two London dates which we would reoommend you to attend, one tonight 21st February at the Lexington, Islington and another tomorrow, south of the river at the Windmill, Brixton with good friends and fans of theirs, The Arlenes in support.

We caught up with them last October in Nashville at the Americana Music Conference and Festival on the night of their album  worldwide release date at 3rd & Lindsley and briefly interviewed lead singer Ryan Boldt, drummer Lucas Goetz and organist Geoff Hilhorst backstage before the show. As with New Country Rehab we had seen them play to a packed crowd at the Basement and been in their thrall along with the rest of the crowd.  Since we last saw them they have continued to gain more accolades, having been nominated for a Juno for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year 2012.

NfMP: How has your experience in Nashville been, have you enjoyed it? Is it your first time at the conference?

Ryan Boldt: Yes, it’s always great, from the BBQs to the live music.  We’ve been here about, say twice before? Something like that. We’ve always had fun, but this is the funnest of all the times, like right now.  We’re having a blast.

You’re here promoting your new album?

Ryan Boldt: Yes, it’s called ‘The Place I Left Behind’, it’s out on the Sugar Hill label, comes out tomorrow 18th October (2011) on worldwide release, it released in Canada about a month and a half ago.

What can you tell us about the album?

Lucas Goetz: It’s our fourth album, we recorded it in Halifax Nova Scotia on the East coast of Canada.  The album was self-produced and was the first time we’ve worked with Geoffrey here, who plays keyboards; the organ and the piano and Mellotron, electric pianos…

Geoff Hilhorst: And grand piano, on that record. It was such a great experience to produce it ourselves.  Yeah, we had a lot of fun.

Ryan Boldt:  It was the start of the hockey season

Geoff Hillhorst: The Leafs were doing good.

Ryan Boldt: And the Oilers won their first game.  It was really great! They lost pretty much every one after that though.

Geoff Hillhorst: So did the Leafs.  It was great, our teams were winning when we were recording the record which plays a role in the fantastic memories we have of that time.

Ryan Boldt: We stayed in a bed & breakfast, the people in the B&B were really nice to us, if a little crazy.

Geoff Hillhorst: In a fun way, not like ‘oh my god I’m afraid to go to sleep’

Lucas Goetz: We were there for about 2 weeks, and recorded the album, and that was that, we all flew back home.

So you self-produced your album?

Geoff Hillhorst:  Yeah all five of us.  We had a great recording engineer Darren Van Niekerk, the studio was called The Sonic Temple.  We happened upon the studio cause we were on the road and we had to record this song for the CBC Song Quest, and had to record it while we were on the road, so our bass player Chris Mason found this studio so we went in, it was such a fantastic room and Darren was just an awesome engineer, willing to go the extra mile in just about every aspect of the process.  So we went back there to record the full length record there because of that. He gave us some great input.

Lucas Goetz: He’s also good at interpreting our ways of describing our ideas, cause we don’t really know how to speak the engineers’ speak.

Geoff Hillhorst: Yeah, we’d just make motions and sounds, like: Woooongh wooongh, you know? Woooongh (laughs) and Darren would say ‘yeah I TOTALLY know what you mean, we’ll do that’.  And then he does it.

Ryan Boldt: It’s kind of like James Brown in the studio, he would do all sorts of things.

Geoff Hillhorst: Hand signals? Yeah, or like Bob Dylan.  He’d rehearse his band super hard and then the band’s all ready to go and then Bob Dylan will throw out a song they never ever played before.  It keeps them on their toes.  I don’t know where I’m going with that…

So who’s the primary song writer?

Lucas Goetz points to Ryan: This guy (Ryan shrugs), and Chris Mason writes some songs too, and our road manager and friend Evan Dunlop wrote a song as well that’s on the album.

How long had you been playing the songs live before you recorded them?

Ryan Boldt: We’d been playing three of them for about 2 years, then learnt three of them just before we went in, maybe played them once or twice on the road.

Geoff Hillhorst: I’m surprised we didn’t do more.  I like it that way though, it’s nice to learn them and then record them. It’s neat how certain songs will change and develop over time as well.  You learn a song in the rehearsal room and you record it and you think it’s good, we recorded a coupla the rehearsals when the songs were brand new from this record and the difference between them then and now is from playing live, rather than going over and over them in a rehearsal situation.  They kind of happen live and it’s pretty cool that way for sure…and then they change up even more in the studio.

Ryan Boldt: And now they’re changing even more on the road.  You always want to kinda change them a little, otherwise it gets too boring.

Your performances are particularly engaging, do you think that crosses over into your recordings?

Ryan Boldt: Recording and playing live, yeah, they’re completely different.  I love recording, cause sometimes, at certain live shows, you can’t sing with emotion cause there’s one person in the audience that just doesn’t care or something, whereas in the studio you can really, you know, sing it really hard if you get the mood right in the room.  It just depends on the live show, when there’s loads of people it’s wicked, awesome.  Like at the Basement the other night!

Geoff Hillhorst: When you have everyone’s attention in the room, when something like that happens, from the musical and the lyrical perspective, the lyrics that Ryan writes you really need to pay attention to the whole dynamic, and if we know that people are doing that and listening to what Ryan is singing about that becomes just as powerful for us as it would for anyone in the audience as well.

Check out our website to find out more about us.  There’s a free single on there from our record, it’s called West Side Street and we’ll be over in the UK in the Spring of 2012, so come see us.

Don’t miss Deep Dark Woods: there are two London dates to choose from so there should be no excuse.

After the 3rd & Lindsley show Ryan came outside, across the street and performed a solo version of Virgina for us from the album.

You can also watch this beautifully filmed version of Two Time Loser, recorded by The Neighbor’s Dog, a channel that lovingly records house gigs in Canada with beautiful production values.  Well worth checking out their channel.

Stay tuned as we’ve also got The Deep Dark Woods in for a special recorded studio session in Reservoir Studios which we’ll be putting up soon.

New Country Rehab | Film, Interview and London gig alert

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hailing from Canada, each of them accomplished session musicians, New Country Rehab are ‘the guys everyone wants in their band, in a band’ (Tom Power | CBC).  They released their debut album last January 2011, carrying a mix of original material and imaginatively reworked covers of Hank Williams (Sr) and Bruce Springsteen.

I came across them in Nashville at the Americana Music Festival in October 2011.  I had missed their first show at the Basement, but the buzz they created on the back of that show meant I wasn’t going to miss the chance to see them play a few days later at the Rutledge.

Filming and interviewing a band on the hoof just before a show can often be a tense experience, finding a location, filming and conducting an interview with a very limited window.  Not with these guys.  Their dynamism and co-operativeness helped produce these films.  Set up outside the Rutledge on the street (with passing traffic thrown in the mix) the first film is a performance especially for us, along with an exclusive interview in the back of their tour bus and a film of their fantastic show-opener, a cover of Springsteen’s State Trooper.

They’re in the UK this week, in Glasgow for Celtic Connections opening for CW Stoneking today, 26th January 2012.  Then playing their first London gig at The Wilmington on Monday 3oth January, free entry.  Make sure you catch them while they’re here.

Danny Schmidt | Film

We filmed Danny Schmidt earlier this year when the sun was shining down on Regent’s Park and the Regent’s canal.  He was in London as part of his UK tour, playing at the Green Note cafe in Camden. For the full interview with him that we did at the time you can skip here, or watch below for a little bit of sunshine and blue skies.

Dawes | Interview & Acoustic session

Interview by Tim Cooper | Film by Kathy Magee

In a double-header that might well have gone down in mid-Seventies LA as “One Of Those Nights” (to coin a phrase), a sold-out Borderline hosted a stunning show by Dawes and Jonathan Wilson.

On a steamy July night Dawes opened the show with their Seventies-influenced jams, evoking echoes of everyone from Little Feat to The Band, before being joined by Wilson, showcasing songs from similarly Seventies-influenced solo debut Gentle Spirit.

It was a night of tight rhythms and harmonies, loose guitar solos and keyboard improvisations. After two hours of spellbinding interplay, and in one of the worst kept secrets in town, up jumped Jackson Browne, who was doing this sort of thing before the guys onstage with him were born.

He gave the rapt crowd, including luminaries ranging from Roy Harper to Caitlin Rose, half an hour more including These Days and a tribute to Warrren Zevon before closing with – inevitably – a mass singalong of Take It Easy.

It was a magical night and it’s a tribute to the present-day keepers of the Laurel Canyon flame that both Dawes and Wilson held their own against the living legend alongside them.

Before that we caught up with Dawes backstage and persuaded them to tell us a little about themselves before playing an acoustic version of ‘How Far We’ve Come’ from their album ‘Nothing is Wrong’.

Sean Dunne – Director | Interview

We stumbled across Sean Dunne after seeing his short film Stray Dawg featuring Jonny Corndawg (who will be playing a series of UK shows in the coming week and soon to be featured on here).  One of his first documentaries, The Archive, was selected for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and he has gone on to direct several noteworthy documentaries.  We love what he’s doing and got in touch for an interview and to get him to share some favourite tunes with us.  Check out some of his short films below, we’re pretty sure you’ll love them as much as we do.

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

  • How long have you been making films? And what got you started?  

I have been making films since around 2007. When I graduated High School the film schools I wanted to go to wouldn’t have me.  I guess I didn’t have enough experience or show any potential whatsoever, so they told me to fuck off.  Instead I went to Purchase College, a small state-run school just north of New York City. There I studied cinema history and criticism. Nothing hands on. When I graduated college the jobs I wanted wouldn’t have me. I guess I didn’t have enough experience or show any potential whatsoever, so they told me to fuck off. I worked in a goddamn deli for a year after college, gaining no experience in film.

Finally I caught a break and was given a chance to be a postproduction assistant on Pepsi corporate videos. I got to see all aspects of postproductions. Eventually I worked my way up the ranks and was given a chance to do some writing for them. I guess I was pretty good at that because it led to an opportunity to write and produce for the History Channel. Once I was over there I was exposed to other creatives and given a chance to have my ideas heard and see them through from concept to completion. Basically that became my film school. I was lucky enough to be able to learn on the job and discover what I liked and didn’t like and develop an aesthetic. I gravitated towards documentary because I really liked talking to people and hearing their stories and I thought I was pretty good at developing a rapport with my subjects and telling their stories in a unique way.

In June 2008 History Channel sent me to Pittsburgh, PA to direct some commercials for an upcoming show they had. On our way out of town I convinced my Director of Photography (DP), Ed David to stop off and shoot a little piece about Paul Mawhinney, the owner of the world’s largest record collection. We spent 6 hours with Paul and the result was The Archive, my first short documentary.

Read more…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers

%d bloggers like this: