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Fight Like Apes Interview

by David Dolphin on Jun.28, 2009, under Concerts, Interviews, Media, Music

Last weekend I caught up with Mary-Kate Geraghty (MayKay) and Jamie Fox (Pockets) of Fight Like Apes (homepage, Wikipedia, myspace) for a chat. The audio (MP3, OGG & FLAC) and text of this interview is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution, No-Derivs License.


Creative Commons License

See Update below. I also (with permission) recorded their gig, which is currently being hosted from Skynet, but hopefully it’ll be up on archive.org’s Live Music Archive soon. The gig is available in four formats with files for each individual song (low MP3, high MP3, OGG and FLAC), plus the entire show as a single file (low MP3, high MP3, OGG and FLAC). Copyright of the music remains with the copyright holders.

Full Gig:

I’m quite fond of one of their new songs, Jenny Kelly (high MP3, low MP3, OGG, FLAC). This is the first public recording of it, as last Friday was the first time they played it.

New Track – Jenny Kelly:

Update: I recieved a mail from Jamie on July 2nd asking to take down their two new songs, Jenny Kelly and I Am Not a Merry Man. This means the full gig recordings have to come down too. Jamie wanted the songs offline as they are very early versions. The will be back up as soon as the band give the OK. I got permission from Mary on the night to record the gig, and Jamie is happy for the rest of the songs to be up, just not the two new tracks.

dd: Were here in Electric Avenue with Mary and Jamie from Fight like Apes. How’s the tour going so far guys?
mk: It’s great, I suppose we haven’t really been doing much of a tour at the moment. We’ve had a pretty strangely easy couple of months. We’ve been writing a lot, we’ve been rehearsing a lot. Getting back to what we started doing, just hating a lot of things and writing about hating a lot of things, writing for ourselves and having fun. There have been a few gigs…
pk: When we started we never really got a break, we got a bit of a break over the last few months, just the odd gig and stuff. So now we’ve finally got new songs and we’re going to start trying them out in the shows now. We’ve got a new lease of life I suppose.
mk: I reckon Waterford marks the start of the summer, officially, because next weekend we’ve got Glastonbury. Every weekend from here on is all Festivals and really fun gigs. If you have a tour coming up you often have one that you pick out and go “Ugh, I could do without that one”. But we’ve pretty much got a solidly exciting three months ahead of us.

dd: Great, so you guys are really starting to get into the swing of things?
mk: yeah, and its an amazing place to start. We haven’t had a Dublin gig for a while, and we’re not going to have one for a while, and so many people have traveled down from Dublin, which is such a massive compliment, young people who’s parents have dropped them off.

dd: You said a minute ago that for the last while you have been in a Haunted Mansion of some kind?
mk: I’m sure it was haunted, someone touched my bum.
pk: Apparently three people were hung in the Green room upstairs. It’s pretty haunted.

dd: Were ye recording there?
mk: We recorded some demos, nothing at all to be released, just for ourselves kind of thing, writing away and seeing what came out. It was really nice, if you’re rehearsing in a studio you’ve got a set time, and you have to be really conscious constantly of the time limit, how much you’re paying and stuff. It’s so nice to be really relaxed and not really give a shit, eat and drink at your leisure.
pk: If somebody doesn’t want to make music, they can just stroll off as opposed to if you’re paying for a room for a certain number of hours, that’s not really cool.

dd: Sticking with music, one of the things I’ve heard about you guys is that you’ve put down the Pixies as an influence, is that mis-attributed?
pk: I don’t know where that came from, we love the Pixies but I suppose…
mk: I can understand where people get it from, but we’ve never…
pk: I think there’s second hand Pixies influences, but nothing we intentionally did, but we do like the Pixies a lot and with Toms bass-lines I can defiantly see the Pixies. But it’s never something we’ve consciously done at at all, but I can defiantly see it in the Music.

dd: Rolling on from that, do you have your eye on anyone for a collaboration?
mk: Shane McGowan.
pk: Shane McGowan. It’s an odd one, but we’ve decided that we want to do a collaboration with Shane McGowan.
mk: We’ve got the song done and dusted
pk: We’ve just got to show it to him
mk: I think it’d be amazing, we need a kind of gruff voice that’s seen to much of life. I think for you, Steve Malkmus has always been…
pk: Yeah, but i think if we did work with someone like that we’d just be too in awe of them to do anything ourselves, and it’d just end up being a Stephen Malkmus song.
mk: I’d love to do something with Il Divo but I think I’d just end up loosing complete faith in myself and the rest of us, “I can never be like them”. I’d love to do a bit more of that, start working with people and stuff. I think it might be too early to be doing any serious collaboration, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re running out of ideas yourself. We’ve got so much that we want to work on ourselves. I think maybe on the third album we’ll defiantly want to…
pk: start collaborating a lot more.

dd: New stuff you’ll be playing tonight, do you have any of that penned down for a future album?
mk: I think, I hope so.
pk: Hopefully, we’re trying not to think about it in terms of the the album, just to write 20 odd songs and see what the best ones are. But at the moment I can’t see them not being on the next album.

dd: Sticking with the songwriting, one thing I’ve noticed about your songs in the past is that at time your lyrics can be explicit, to say the least. Where does that come from? Is that you [Mary] or the band as a whole?
mk: It’s me and Jamie really. When we started writing if I’d ever considered my mother hearing it, or the local priest hearing it, or my old teachers hearing it, I’m sure I wouldn’t have written the likes of Digifucker, I’m sure I wouldn’t have said things like that. But I think that’s the beauty of where we are now, and something that was really important for us. When we’re writing we just need to remind ourselves that we’ve never written for anything but for our own self amusement. I think that’s where it came from. Digifucker is actually a pretty simple song, the lyrics are very simple, there’s nothing that every girl or guy doesn’t think about when they’ve been hurt, but it’s something that no one would every say out loud.
pk: Especially not on a record I suppose. We never thought we were the type of band that would play many gigs, never mind get on the radio. If we were doing that in the confines of our own personal space, it didn’t matter, that allowed us to properly vent, and cater for some sort of radio play.

dd: Flipping back to the collaborative stuff, what are your views on other people on other people remixing your work, taking a bass-line from here, mixing drums from another track. Are ye open to it?
mk: Yeah, we’re defiantly open to it. Recently Jape did a remix of Battlestations for us and that was perfect, he came to us and he said he loved the band, he loved that song and wanted to do a remix. We were like “of course”. That’s a really nice way of doing it.
pk: At the same time we’ve had some terrible remixes.
dd: Sure, but you’re going to get that.
pk: When you open yourself up to being remixed by anybody you’re going to loose the control of what comes out of it. But I think that’s OK, I think that’s kind of nice. I mean, at the end of the day we sample stuff, so what’s the difference between someone sampling our music and we complain about somebody asking for money for a sample, so we’re not going to complain about somebody…
mk: I was out in a club in Dublin last night and I heard the Battlestations remix, which first of all was weird, because my voice is remixed, and I can kind of tell it’s me, but it sounds kind of weird. But then I saw people, friends of mine who I know aren’t that into the band, but are really into dance music. Afterwards they were like “I really like that song that way”. If someone else has a different take on something that we have, why the hell not?

dd: 2manydj’s do a lot of indie remixes In a a very dancy way, would you think of releasing stuff like that yourselves, even as B-Sides?
mk: I think as a B-Side, yeah, if we liked it enough. We wouldn’t release it just because it’s a remix and it might appeal to a certain type of people but if we loved it as a song itself and as a different version of a song I wouldn’t see a reason why not.

dd: Taking it on from remixing, sampling, and not paying for samples, what are your views on piracy in general, and where do you see the industry panning out on that?
pk: With music piracy?

dd: Yeah, not commercial piracy, it’s pretty much accepted that if you’re selling 10,000 copied CDs and the band are getting no cut, it’s not on. But for fan’s downloading themselves, I mean I will honestly admit that I was coming here tonight to listen to you guys and I had [How am I supposed to Kill You If You Have All the Guns] but not [Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion], so I said, “I’ll grab that”, just to listen up and be familiar with the songs. Now obviously it’s not ideal, it would be much better if there was some method in place whereby I can download it, and if I like it I can pay you fair compensation, I can give you a tenner that preferably goes into your pocket. It’s slightly unrealistic to say that all the money should go to a band and not a recording studio or a producer. Where do you see it panning out?
pk: At the moment we’ve got Spotify which seems to be the fairest to me. It’s a streaming streaming website which looks like it’s going to overtake iTunes in a few years. It’s really cool, money goes into the artists pocket and you can stream anything. At the end of the day, we’re not going to be the ones complaining about not getting enough money, we’re not that cynical about the industry. We’ve grown up in this industry, as opposed to growing up as Metallica, turning around and complaining that the world’s changing, saying “Oh god, my ‘07 Jaguar is the old model”. At the end of the day, any money is a bonus.
dd: But this is still your 9-5, so you’ve got to make a living out of this.
pk: Absolutely.
mk: We’ve talked about this so much, especially since we’ve realised that this is the thing we’re hoping to make money from. We have really quite casual chats about it, anyone who says they haven’t downloaded something illegally is lying, I don’t accept this moral high-ground thing that people take, that’s why I think Spotify is such a good idea, because it’s a way of taking something for free without owning it for free, without pissing anyone else off. I think if someone downloads our album and likes it, they might come to a gig, buy a T-Shirt, and that’s where we might earn money from them downloading something illegally. Someone might listen to it and not like it and that’s fine. When we released our album first we put it on-line, streaming for free for a week. I think that was our way of saying we just want people to hear the music, we’re not going to make our fortune off records, we’re probably never going to make a living off record sales alone, that’s why I don’t really mind. If they like it and download it I don’t really care.
pk: Plus I watch Internet TV every day so I’d be a hypocrite.

dd: So, free culture in general, you can see it going further?
pk: Yeah.
mk: I think it has to, I don’t see a way of stopping it.

dd: Do you see a market in the future for the likes of the Universals and the EMIs?
pk: No.
mk: Not the way it’s going, not right now, and especially with the way Spotify is setting a trend.
pk: look at big bands and big record labels at the moment, it’s very temperamental: one album, maybe. Even if they’re doing significantly well they’re going to fall somewhere. Its a waste of time, big labels are going to fall, it’s all about indies at this stage.

dd: OK, so then where do you guys sum up the money to pay a producer and pay for recording studio time?
mk: We were really lucky with the label we’re with, Model Citizen, they’re a totally independent label, we’re the first band on the label. I think the best part is that we have a very personal relationship with them, so we can all see very clearly where it’s going to come from and where it’s going to go. I’m sure from their point of view they’d rather make sure we make a good album, with better potential for making them money back than give us pittance to make a crap album. So I think we have been really lucky. There’s never any… well there probably is a lot of under the table stuff, but nothing that we’d every be worrying about, we’ve a very honest relationship with them.

dd: Brilliant. So, what does the future hold for you guys, beyond your album and gigs in the next few months.
mk: That’s pretty much it. If you had said two years ago, where are you going to be in two years, I certainly wouldn’t have said where we are now. I mean that in a good way, I’m really happy with how things have been going. I think we’ve been so excited this week writing that we just want to…
pk: Get working on another album as soon as possible.
mk: Yeah, and make sure next weeks gigs go well, then next week we’ll worry about the ones after that. If you look at it as a bigger picture you really will just melt down and freak out.

dd: So you’ve no aims and targets and ambitions beyond tonight?
pk: If we play a good gig tonight I’ll be happy.
mk: Yeah, if we can keep doing this and then some day live off it, that’d be nice. We’d love a load of strippers as well.
pk: There are a load of strippers next door.
dd: You personally would like strippers, or the band?
mk: I think I can speak for the band when I say that…
pk: I think we’d all like a few strippers.
mk: Nice ones now, not…
pk: Not skanky ones. I mean, by default they probably will be…
mk: But you can see a bit of potential for a nice person, a good heart.
pk: You could work on them, take them out of that grotty lifestyle.
mk: Save them!
pk: Save them, yeah, be a saver.
mk: Like in pretty woman.
pk: And West Wing.
mk: Oh yeah!
dd: There was a stripper in West Wing?
mk: She’s a high class escort. They deal with all sorts in that, all sorts.

dd: Cool, well, great to chat to you guys. Anything else to say to fans, or potential future fans?
mk: Are you guys in UL? We’re dying to go back to Limerick. We played to the Limerick School off Art and Design in Dolans, it was amazing, that was such a fun gig. We can’t wait to go back, we love Limerick.
dd: You weren’t playing with Crystal Castles, no?
mk: No.
dd: That was another night, it’s all a bit of a blur.

dd: Cool, good luck tonight, and looking forward to chatting to you again.
pk: Thank you very much.
mk: Thank you, you too.

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Interview with Ed MacFarlane of Friendly Fires

by David Dolphin on May.29, 2009, under Concerts, Interviews, Media, Music

I was out in The Forum during the week, at a Heineken Green Spheres gig. The head liners were Friendly Fires (homepage, Wikipedia, Myspace) and I managed to grab an interview with their front man, Ed MacFarlane, after the gig.

As always, the audio is up in MP3, OGG and FLAC formats. Unfortunately I didn’t have the Zoom H4 on me, so I had to record it on my phone. The audio and text of this interview is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution, No-Derivs License.

Creative Commons License

We got chatting about:

  • Why upcoming bands should keep their hits under their hats, don’t throw your best song up on Myspace, use it to woo a record deal
  • How live acts change when people know your music, putting your energy into quality
  • Their label XL Recordings (same label Radiohead, Sigur Rós, Beck, and a plethora of others signed to)
  • How comfortable they were working with producer Paul Epworth, how he became an extra band member
  • Piracy, remixes and sampling

Here’s the full text, enjoi!

Ed MacFarlaneDD: I’m here with Ed from Friendly Fires, how did the gig go tonight?
Ed: The gig was great, it was more than I expected it to be, the crowd reaction was fantastic, especially for a place I’ve never heard of. [Waterford is] a town that, to the eye, looks very small.

DD: How is the tour going?
Ed: It’s been never-ending for quite a long time now, but it’s been really good, it’s been great. We’ve had maybe one or two shit gigs, but every band has that. It’s really good to see our fans and to see how we have an impact on the general public.

DD: How long have Friendly Fire been around for?
Ed: We’ve been around since we were 14, now we’re in our mid twenties, I was 25 on May 15th.

DD: Cool. You signed to XL recently…
Ed: That’s right, that would have been last August.

DD: Other bands who have signed to XL; The Prodigy, Bassment Jaxx, Radiohead, Beck, Peaches, Dizzee Rascals. You guy seem to have a different sound, you use less sampling and you have more of an indie, prog sound.
Ed: I don’t know about that.

DD: Oh, so how would you describe yourselves, as a band?
Ed: I would describe us as a pop band, and I like describing ourselves as a pop band, because pop doesn’t really mean anything. The way I see pop; good pop is full of catchy hooks and catchy melodies, stuff you can latch onto. That’s our main goal… we’re influenced my lots of music that isn’t pop; post-rock, house, techno, ambient. We listen to lots of music, and we’ll latch onto little elements we really like, but we’ll try and force them into this very concise three minute pop song.
DD: Yeah, one of the influences you guys have previously said ye had was Prince.

DD: Who would you guys like to collaborate or work with, artist or producer?
Ed: It’s been hard enough for us to start working with a producer; we’ve only just started working with a producer, Paul Epworth. We did “Jump in the Pool” with him, which is the last track we recorded on the album. We’re very used to doing things our own way, working on our own. I don’t know, there are artists who I’d love to collaborate with, but realistically… Foals are a band I’ve been meaning to collaborate with, we share a lot similar tastes in music, we got on very well when we hang out. If I could choose who I could collaborate with it’d probably be Big L but he’s dead.

DD: What advice would you give to upcoming bands?
Ed: If you have a really good song, and you think it’s great, be wary of putting it on Myspace, and opening it up to the general public. I feel like when we wrote Paris, we put it up on our Myspace, and everyone had kind of heard it. If you put music on Myspace or stream off certain websites you’ve kind of released it already. I think if you have a really good one, and you think it’s really good and you think it will take off, just hold onto it. If you’re on the way to signing a deal, make sure you release it as a proper single, and make sure you hype it up really well, do something good with it.

DD: One of the things I’ve heard about you guys is that you’ve very selective about who you want to remix your music, or who you allow to remix your music. Why is that, why so choosy?
Ed: I suppose we listen to a lot of dance music, there’s a lot of shit dance music out there, and good dance music too. We get a lot of offers, suggestions from people in the label saying “you should get remixed by such and such”. We know who they are, but it just isn’t the kind of music I would ever dance to in a club. But the kind of people we do like, and do appreciate, we try and get and get in contact with them. It’s a but unexpected because it’s not expected for [indie bands] to like dance music, or give a shit who they’re remixed by.

DD: You guys use samples in your songs, so it’s a bit strange that you’re selective about who samples your music.
Ed: Naa, people can take samples of us and write their own music from it. But if we’re going to be remixed by somebody, we want to be remixed by somebody who we think is good.

DD: Ok, leading on from that, in terms of remixing and mashing up, what are your views as a band on Piracy? I’m sure as teenagers, you guys downloaded your fair share of songs off the net [ED: right], but now that you’re on the other side, now that you’re actually releasing music, what are your views and how do you see the music industry panning out?
Ed: You can’t fight against it, you’ve got to work with it. It’s a pointless task, pissing and moaning about people downloading your music. I mean if I don’t have any money I’ll download an album, simple as that. Most of time I’ll download stuff off iTunes or Beatpop (?) because I don’t want to install some program onto my computer that will fuck it up and give me a load of viruses, that’s one of the only reasons I don’t illegally download music. IT encourages bands to spend more time creating good artwork, becoming a good live band, because you can’t make any money from selling records. So it forces you to focus on other aspects of the music industry.

DD: So what are your views on fans taping your shows? If a fan wants to record you shows and post them online, are you guys for that or against that?
Ed: If they put us on a blog and write about us they’re helping promote us, so it’s fine. I think that’s great and cool. It’s different if somebody records a live show, and then sells it, that would be a little odd.

DD: No, I’m not saying anyone would make money from [the recording], purely non-profit. But if someone wanted to come along to a show, record a song, and stick it on their blog saying “I heard these guys last night…”
Ed: Well it’s just like people taking tracks off the album and putting it on a blog, I think blogs have really helped us, it’s a way of creating hype around bands. You can’t really do anything about it. If people are talking about you and writing about you, it’s a good thing.

DD: Cool, so are you looking forward to the future?
Ed: Yeah, *laughs* if I wasn’t looking forward to the future I’d be pretty depressed.

DD: Do you’ve anything big coming up?
Ed: Yeah, we’re doing to Istanbul in about three days, it should be fun, then after that we’re going over to America, we’re doing festivals, we’re going over to Brazil, doing a tour of Brazil.

DD: Do you’ve any new records coming out?
Ed: Yeah, we have this new single, we’ve been working with Paul Epworth on, it’s all traditional samba loops and samba rythms, it’s a really kind of euphoric. It’s the right song for a 45. We wanted to write something a bit more interesting and inspiring. I think with Jump in the Pool, we were kind of experimenting, and with this we pushed it aswell. It sounds different.

DD: What’s it been like working with Paul?
Ed: Really good. I can’t imagine working with anyone else to be honest. We’re kind of control freaks; it’s hard when you let someone else take control, you never know what they’re going to do. But Paul’s got the same opinion, what he thinks is good and bad, he’s kind of like an extra member of the band, more than a producer?

DD: What kit do you guys use?
Ed: When we record, I have a Universal Audio 6176 Pre-amp that I record into, that goes into my Apogee Audio Ensemble interface, that goes into Logic. It comes out very… I only have two pairs of speakers, when I get more money I’ll buy some more kit.

DD: Do you write for the band or is it a collaborative process?
Ed: I come up with most of the vocals. A lot of the time I’ll come up with the basis of the tune, I come up with the initial idea, and bring it to the table, and everyone and put int the it input, lime most bands, but we tent not to start with a guitar, but then some songs we have started with a guitar, but it’s not based around chords, with some songs we might just have a drum track, and then just write everything around that, or with vocals.

DD: I noticed that live you guys have quite a big display, with trumpets. Have you tried recording a live set? And would you think of releasing them?
Ed: Yeah, we’ve recorded shows we’ve done. Recently we did a show at the HMV Forum, XL funded and brought in a load of cameras and recording equipment. The gig was really successful, it felt so effortless, it was so nice, I felt like I was so in command of the crowd. Tonight was different, we’re in Waterford and who the fuck would know about us?

DD: This is one of the great powers of the internet; people hear about you, they hear your stuff, they get familiar with it, then they see you live.
Ed: It defiantly changes an artist, as you grow older. When we started and were playing small venues, we had to fucking prove ourselves, we had run up in peoples faces, and yell in their faces. But as the show got bigger you focus more on the details, on how well everyone’s playing. It’s not just about the energy, but how well it translates.

DD: Cool, well, thanks very much and good luck with the rest of the tour.
Ed: Yeah, good luck too.

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Industry (Donal Skehan, Morgan Deane, Michele McGrath and Lee Hutton) Interview

by David Dolphin on May.14, 2009, under Concerts, Interviews, Media, Music

Interview with Industry, at the launch of their debut single “My Baby’s Waiting” (MP3, OGG and FLAC). Recorded on Wed, May 13th 2009 in The Sugar Club, Dublin. Industry are Donal Skehan, Morgan Deane, Michele McGrath and Lee Hutton.

Copyright for the following recording of “My Baby’s Waiting” remains with MIG Artists.

My Baby’s Waiting:

Audio of this interview is available in MP3, OGG and FLAC. The audio and text of this interview is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution, No-Derivs License.


Creative Commons License

Industry will be in Trinity rooms, Limerick on Friday May 29th 2009.

BasshunterDavid: I’m here in the Sugar Club with Industry who have just finished their debut single gig, how did it go guys?

Lee: Great

Morgan: Great

Michele: Brilliant

Donal: It was really good. We got a great reaction, that’s all you could ask for.

David: Excellent. there were some really good tunes in there, I particularly liked your second last song,

Michele: Angles can’t die. Yeah, that’s getting great feedback. It’s a bit of a mad story, our manager played us that track last week in the car, we thought “We have to record it” and literally flew to Sweden the very next day to record it. Within a week we were performing it on-stage in our set list.

David: How did you guys get together? What’s the story behind Industry?

Donal: I used to work at Bubble hits, James Hylands company. I came to him with the idea of putting a mixed group together. I knew Lee, we were mates, and he thought he’d come and join us. James had also know Morgan from gigs, that’s how Morgan got involved, and we knew Michelle as well so it just [came together].

Michelle: James has been in the music business for years, so when Donal came to him and said “we want to put a band together” James picked out the people he thought would gel. He contacted us all, and that was it.

David: Were ye in bands before?

Lee: I’ve been in loads of bands, but mostly just local bands.

David: So this is you’re ticket to fame?

Michelle: I don’t think any of us are looking at it as a ticket to fame. We all want to be credible artists: we all sing, Lee plays guitar, Morgan plays piano, we all song-write. We’re not in it for fame, we’ve much more going for us than that.

David: Ye sound much more down to earth than most.

Donal: We take it seriously.

Michelle: Fame has its downsides.

Lee: It’s success in something you love that we strive for, more than fame.

Morgan: Beautiful put Lee, I can see that quoted.

Lee: Sounded good.

All laugh.

Michelle: I think a pop band has a shelf life, and we’re all very realistic about that. It is a business but this is also something we love doing.

Donal: We’ve all seen bits of the music industry before, like Michele said, we have a realistic view on it.

Lee: The music what?

Donal: The music biz!

Lee: Biz?! You said the music Industry, then you changed it to Biz!

David: You’re downplaying the name of the band.

Donal: We like to subliminally put it in there during interviews.

David: Who would you consider to be influences, who do you look up to as artists?

Michell: We all have different people, Donal?

Donal: I love Take That, I think their new stuff is really cool. Gary Barlow is an amazing writer, he’d be someone I look up to.

Lee: Some of the old rock bands, I love rock music. Brian McKnight is vocally amazing. Some newer bands like Creed, Alterbridge. It really is varied.

Morgan: I love allot of pop that’s around at the moment, I love Beyoncé and Rihanna, their albums are really good. An older influence would be Elvis Presley, I’ve loved him since I’ve been really young, I think hes amazing as well.

Michell: At the moment Beyoncé, I’ve been following her career since she’s been in Destinies child. I also love Peggy Lee, Sade, and some of the older performers.

David: Cool, so if ye, as a band, could collaborate with somebody, who would it be?

Michele: Neo.

Lee: For a track, yeah Neo.

Morgan: That could nearly be done, we’re supporting Neo.

Donal: Yeah, we could work our magic.

Morgan: Our managers are always talking. Hopefully, with a bit more road underneath us…

Lee: Or Timbaland.

Michele: Yeah!

David: You guys are supporting the Pussycat Dolls too. Are you looking forward to it?

Lee: Defiantly.

Michele: Hello?! They’re so hot.

Donal: When we got that news, it was like “oh my god, that’s crazy”. It just takes this to another level.

Morgan: That’s down in Kerry, and there are some other big names on the bill that haven’t conformed yet.

David: Any other gig dates or tours coming up that people can look forward to?

Donal: We’re going to be in Sweden, we’re releasing the track over there as well, so we’ll be doing some promo over there.

Morgan: It’ll be a ten day promo tour over there.

Michele: We’ll be on a radio tour starting tomorrow for the single release, which is out on the 19th of June.

David: Is there any advice you guys would give to upcoming artists, people singing into their hairbrushes at home who want a break?

Lee: Just keep on trying, relentlessly go for it.

Donal: Never give up.

Morgan: Between us we’ve had so many knocks. You’ll be ready to give up 101 times. Unfortunately there’s no such thing as overnight success, people who say that are talking absolute rubbish. If it does happen it’s one in a million, so be realistic about it. If you want to do it you have to be in it for the long haul.

Donal: I know it’s cheesy, but believe in yourself.

Michele: And follow your dream.

Donal: So cheesy.

All laugh.

Morgan: Persistence is the main thing.

Lee: You know you’re only good at one thing, that’s what you want to do with your life. You have to be relentless.

Michele: What you should do is: All the knocks people give you just make you stronger.

Donal: Turn them around. Nobody else is going to make this happen for you.

Michele: It’s so cheesy, but that’s the gods honest truth.

Donal: This is your fault for asking the cheesy question.

Michele: Be realistic, don’t think you’re Mariah Carey (?) if you’re clearly not. Know your place and work with what you have.

Lee: Don’t work with what you think you have.

Michele: I feel so sorry for the people on the X-Factor and other shows who say “My mum tells me I’m an amazing singer”. That’s just bad… I wont elaborate.

Donal: But those people can still persist.

Michele: Yeah, work with what you’re good at.

David: I was chatting to Donal earlier who said he released a cook book recently. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be at?

Lee: I’d love to be…

Morgan: A cowboy?

Donal: An elephant trainer?

Lee: A fireman.

Michele: God, you’d be a hot fireman.

Lee: Thank you. I’ve always wanted to do that. If I wasn’t in music, that’d be my second choice.

Morgan: I’d like to get into producing, I’d probably be a producer.

Michele: She’s an amazing song writer.

David: Did you write any of the songs for [Industry]?

Morgan: No, none of the songs…

David: Yet?

Lee: It is a big yet, because she’s brilliant.

Michele: I can’t stress this enough, Morgan and Lee are amazing.

David: So where does that leave you and Donal?

Michele imitates a do-wop backing vocalist.

All laugh.

Michele: We all sing, but I’m not a songwriter, these two are talented, they blow me away.

Donal: We’ve gotten very close to our two producers, Jake and Oscar, they’ve been asking us to give input.

Michele: So, anyway, before I was doing this I was modeling and acting. I would probably be in London, chasing the dream, or in PR.

David: You guys, I can envisage, are about to become big. One thing that comes with that are people who want to listen to your music, people wanting to get it. What’s your take on Piracy?

Donal: That’s a hard one.

David: I imagine as teenagers you downloaded one or two tracks, but now that you’re on the other side what are your views?

Donal: The music industry is changing so much. At the moment the industry is finding itself and the issue with piracy is going to resolve itself. There has to be a happy medium for both artists and people who want to listen to music. It’s going to come with time, the recent case with The Pirate Bay is going to really have an impact on the music business as it is right now. It’s a matter of time I think, but we’d like people to be buying our records.

Lee: That’s what keeps it going, obviously there needs to be money coming in. But there’s two sides to a story, music does allot for people. And a way to get it is to download it.

Donal: It’s so available at the moment. If you ask a kid whether they’re going to pay or not… Well, it’s a temptation, it’s there: would you not take it? But we’re against it, so buy our records.

David: One thing I’m hearing more and more, is that artists are making their money from gigs, tours and merchandise.

Lee: That’s very true.

David: So, best of luck to you guys in touring.

Morgan: Thank you.

Donal: Thanks very much.

David: Any closing words for future fans?

Michele: Just that our music is really happy.

All laugh.

Donal: Are we going to close with that? Our music is really happy!?

Michele: A Michele random model moment.

Morgan: Michele is adorable.

Michele: I can’t believe I said that, it’s defiantly one for my book. You know the “Overheard in Dublin” book, that should be “Overheard: Michele’s life”.

Lee: We’d love to build a fan-base.

Morgan: Stick with us. We’re not going to stick with one type of music, we want to delve into different aspects of pop because it’s so wide and so varied. We’re going to be constantly changing.

Donal: I think that even the songs we have now have good variety.

Lee: It’s going to be great to see a fan-base building, we’ll be good to our fans.

David: Brilliant. I’m looking forward to it, and good luck guys.

All: Thanks.

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Jonas Erik Altberg (Basshunter) Interview

by David Dolphin on May.03, 2009, under Concerts, Interviews, Media, Music

The following interview with Jonas Erik Altberg (Basshunter) was taken on Friday May 1st 2009 for An Focal, the ULSU paper. Audio of the interview is available in MP3, OGG and FLAC formats.

This interview has been referenced from Basshunter’s Wikipedia page. If you have found this via Wikipedia, please note that the same text is also hosted (with permission) on ian.ie and a french translation is available from basshunter.fr.

BasshunterDD: Good show tonight, congrats.
BH: I loved it.
DD: How did you get into DJing?
BH: I didn’t DJ.
DD: Producing?
BH: There’s is a big difference between producing and DJing. It was about 8 years ago I think, one of my mates burned me a CD with a couple of programs that included a music program.
DD: Fruity Loops?
BH: That’s right, Fruity Loops. So I was trying it out, because I spend basically my whole life in front of a computer. So then I got hooked, I loved it, I kept on doing it.
DD: Do you still use Fruity Loops?
BH: Yeah actually I do.
DD: You haven’t moved onto Traktor?
BH: I use Logic as well. I’ve been using a PC all my life, but I got myself a Mac Pro, an iMac and a Macbook Pro because I really need to start working with Mac, it’s like he ultimate thing now. But I don’t have so much time to sit at home, it takes time to study and learn a new music program, you’re always afraid that you’re going to loose your sound. So I’m kinda stuck with FLStudio, when I three months off in my schedule then I’ll probably start using Logic full time.
DD: One of your songs, Boten Anna is about an IRC bot.
BH: That’s right.
DD: You’ve been involved with computers for a long time, how did you get into IRC?
BH: When I started playing counter strike, it took a couple of weeks, everyone spoke of this #gather channel on Quakenet. I was like “What is that?”, “Just download this IRC client, mIRC”. So that’s how it all began. I’ve been using ICQ, MSN, everything. I don’t use any of them any more, except for IRC, because I know that’s just my kind of people, that’s where I can be myself, and just chill out.
DD: Brilliant, what games are you playing at the moment, or do you have any time?
BH: Yeah, I do have [time], I mean you have to make time, especially for gaming. I’m always travelling with laptops, if it’s a really bad connection I can play World of Warcraft, because it’s OK if there’s a little latency. At home I play DotA or Warcraft 3, I love Tower Wars and Tower Defence, and line TD, of course DotA and Counter-Strike. Do you play any games?
DD: Some games, I used play Counter Strike back in the day.
BH: Call of Duty?
DD: Call of Duty is very good, Modern Warfare.
BH: I’ve heard that Call of Duty is almost bigger than Counter-Strike, especially in Ireland and England.
DD: It is, but it’s different, personally I was always a fan of the faster games, like Unreal Tournament, UT.
BH: Oh yeah, that’s big! I actually have my own Unreal Tournament (UT) server.
DD: Nice. UT2003/2004 were awesome, particularly because there are so fast. You’re in there playing, you kill three guys [in a row], it’s great.
BH: Unreal Tournament came out before Quake 3, didn’t it?
DD: Yeah.
BH: I mean, Quake 3 is almost inspired by Unreal Tournament. I remember Quake 2, the edge, shooting rocket launchers to the spawn points, if you have a good system…
DD: You’re set. Gaming is very cool, and I know you’re big in the gaming scene.
DD: Boten Anna, when you translated it into “Now you’re gone” you changed the meaning, almost completely
BH: So, half a year, 6-7 months after I started my career with Boten Anna I thought I should write some English lyrics. So I tried to translate it several times into English and still keep the story and the hook, and that’s impossible, it’s so hard. So at the end of the day I was collaborating a little bit with a guy in Holland – not for the Basshunter project, we did productions for a couple of vocalists, just some side projects – and we worked out the [lyrics] together. We didn’t have any inspiration so we were just playing around, drinking beer, and it all was there.
DD: Cool, well it’s a huge hit and you’ve done well from it.
DD: Speaking of the Netherlands, how is your jumpstyle?
BH: My jumpstyle, I’ll see if I can do this, it was a long time ago.
BH performs a few jumps.
DD laughs.
DD: Very good.
BH: I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance and as you probably saw I have no idea how to dance, I’m just jumping around waving my arms and just freak out. Some day it would be nice to have some choreography. You know about tectonic, there is a French dance called tectonic, and shuffle. I think shuffle is [from] the UK or Ireland.
DD: Yeah, I think shuffle is hardcore UK. Ireland just takes [all types of dance].
BH: I think it started in the subways. Shuffle and tectonic, that’s something I could get into.
DD: Do you have any advice for upcoming producers?
BH: I’m on a boat motherfucker, with my flippy floppies. I jizzed in my pants.
DD laughs.
DD: Lonely island are very good.
BH: Aw man, that song, when we heard that one, we were in that car and see a guy lying on a bench, “I’m on a bench motherfucker”, and “I’m on a bike motherfucker”, it was fun.
BH: Advice? Are you looking for a recipe for success?
DD: I’m looking for what someone, an upcoming producer do. You started out with Fruity Loops in your bedroom, now you’re playing to 2,000 people in University in a different country.
BH: If you compare to 15 years ago, today it’s so easy to produce music, anyone can, actually. There is, for example, the Nexus VST plug-in, pre-made sounds, you don’t have to touch it, it just sounds perfect from the beginning. The only thing you need is to know how to use the program and produce some beats. You need to have an ear as well. To be honest the best thing to do is to try and make something that no one else has done before. Make it as simple as possible and as catchy as possible. If you do that, and do it in a good way of course, everyone will be [able to sing along], even a person who can’t sing “It’s a long way to Tipperary”. That’s one of the easiest songs to sing.
DD: It’s catchy and people remember it.
BH: Picture a bunch of guys partying in the pub, suddenly a sound starts to play. It’s not a song you sing, you just scream it out. Use all the free promotion you can get, why do you want to spend €10,000 on one weeks radio promotion when you can reach out to millions and millions of people with MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. Seriously, there is the future, and it’s free. So, just become a member on all communities, Asian communities, everything, with the same name, and hand out your music for free. Free downloads, people love that.
DD: Speaking of free downloads, what are your views on the Pirate Bay?
BH: I know the guys personally, they’re Swedish so of course.
DD: And their unfortunate court-case recently.
BH: Yeah, they’ve had a hard time. Actually, I think it was the first of April, a new law stepped in in Sweden and it says, you’re not allowed anything, and you’re not allowed to upload anything. That’s like movies, music or anything copyrighted. They’ve found a way to track, even if you download with torrents. You remember DC++, Limewire or WinMX, it was so easy to track the IP number, but with torrents they couldn’t but now they’ve found a way. So basically what they do is, they don’t even tell you, they just send you a bill, of €2,500, and say “you’ve downloaded this, this, this files, we’ve registered your IP number. If you have any objections, go to court.”. So basically, that’s quite fucked.
DD: So, what do you think the future of music on-line is?
BH: You can never stop the download or upload, never. I mean look at me; without the internet and downloads I would be a fart in the wind. It’s true, if my label read this interview they’re probably going to kick my ass. I think the future is like iTunes, they were the first [to] put out songs for sale very cheap. Some songs, you download 10 versions and it’s just shitty copies. This is like 320Kbps.
DD: Same with Amazon and VBR.
BH: Exactly, everyone follows. So I think that’s the future, you just order things on-line to your laptop and transfer to your iPod. No one uses portable CD players or anything.
DD: Even still, they say that only maybe 15% of iPods’ music is legitimate. A majority is either torrents or you get it from your friends. So, will people continue paying for music, do you think?
BH: I think people will continue paying for music, yeah. I know [what] it’s like being a student, I’ve never had a job in my entire life, I couldn’t get one, I don’t know why, I tried. I know [what] it’s like, you have very little money to spend. Imagine if there is a new album out by your favourite artist and you cant buy the album for 3 months. Is that going to prevent you from listening to the music? No. Of course I think it’s more than right that this person should download it.Basshunter Crowd
DD: I know that as a student I would much rather spend money on a live show, I would much rather buy a ticket to a gig of an artist I like and get the music for free on-line.
BH: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
DD: This way, hopefully, the artist gets more money. Rather than getting screwed by a label.
BH: Basically all artists today, I mean artists in general, their income is from the shows, not the sales. There aren’t many artists today who produce and write their own music, but I do, so I get the whole cookie. As long as you can pay your bills and rent, put food on the table every day, that’s my goal. Everything else is just a bonus. If people like my music and want to listen to my music I don’t care how they get it, as long as they like it and are having fun.
DD: Do you have any new stuff coming up?
BH: You heard the last song, that is going to be the new single, after the summer, it’s called “Every morning”. I’ve been at home now for one and a half months, working on a new album. I’m about 70% done, so the album will be out at the end of the summer.
DD: Good luck, I look forward to hearing it.
BH: I’m working quite hard on it. For “Now you’re gone, the album” they only gave me two and a half weeks in the studio, so there are tons of things I want to change, but there wasn’t any time for it. But this time I said, “if you don’t give me two months in the studio you’re not getting an album”. So what are they going to do, you know?
BH laughs.
DD: So, how’s the tour going?
BH: Very good. This year I’ve been in America for one and a half months, in Canada, in France, I did the Dance Nation tour which was quite successful, and now I’m here in Ireland. It’s good to be back. This summer will be another major tour in America, around fifty shows, then New Zealand and Australia for one and a half months, then I’m going back to the UK and Ireland for a tour.
DD: So, do you spend any time in Sweden at all?
BH: Last year I visited my home town, my family – you have to spend some time with your family as well – and she has calculated that last year I spent 52 days at home, or in Sweden in general. The stuff I do at home; I just eat pan pizza and play computer games, when I’m not in the studio producing. Basically eating pan pizza and playing computer games I can do wherever, so long as I have a decent connection.
DD: Are you planning on a family, do you have a girlfriend?
BH: I had a girlfriend before, for 5 years, and it went straight to hell when my career started, don’t even ask why.
DD: You were on the road, never home.
BH: Yeah, and she freaked out. I’ve tried to establish a decent relationship for the last three years on tour, sometimes when you really meat someone special, but it’s not going to work.
DD: I imagine it’s hard on tour. Do you plan on settling down at any point?
BH: Oh yeah, I want to be a father before I’m 30. I’m 25 this year so I have at least 5 years. I’m always wearing my scuba gear, so I’m not going to have any mistakes. I picture myself in maybe ten years time with a son or daughter.
DD: The best of luck.
BH: The thing is, and I don’t want to sound like a complete idiot, but if I wanted to find a girlfriend it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s just that you have to find the right one. Before this whole thing started it was quite easy to find the right one, because people didn’t know [me] and only the people that though there was something special about me wanted to… you know what I mean. But today when you mean someone you never know why interested, if she’s interested in Basshunter, my success or me as a person.
DD: It’s hard to find someone who’s interested in you.
BH: Yeah, most of the time it’s quite easy to tell, but I think I’ll get there.
DD: Good luck, Good luck. OK, very good chatting to you, we’ll all be looking forward to your new album.
BH: Is this a newspaper for the whole campus?
DD: Yeah, the whole campus.
BH: We have a couple of Universities in Sweden as well, I’ve been on a few, especially at parties and stuff. I must say, this is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I could defiantly think of going to school here, I mean I’m not going to open another book again, but maybe, who knows…
DD: It’s a nice place.
BH: My mom, she’s the principal of a college in Sweden, and I went to that college. I didn’t do so well in the Math and the History, I didn’t study. I could never get away with it. I have pictures of my mom, speaking with all the teachers in school when they are having lunch and she’s ask Mr. Mahr, the Math teacher, “Hi there, I’m just curious, how is Jonas doing in your class?”, “Well, I haven’t seen him in three weeks”. Busted man! So maybe I’ll just go back to school some day and fix my minus.
DD: Cool, well, thank you very much, we’ll see you again.
BH: No, thank you, my pleasure.

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Dennis Horstmann (Special D.) Interview

by David Dolphin on May.03, 2009, under Concerts, Interviews, Media, Music

The following interview with Dennis Horstmann (Special D.) was taken on Friday May 1st 2009 for An Focal, the ULSU paper. Audio of the interview is available in MP3, OGG and FLAC formats.

BasshunterDD: I’m here with Special D, who just played in the University of Limerick, how did it go?
SD: Great man, I really enjoyed it, it was good fun because the crowd were really easy. I just played some records, hands go up and everything was fine, so, allot of fun for me.
DD: Do you’ve any new records coming out?
SD: I’m working at the moment on some stuff, but for the last few years it’s been a bit quiet around me, because I did so many other things.
DD: Can you tell us about any of this stuff you were doing?
SD: I did allot of pop music.
DD: As a producer?
SD: Yeah, I’m a producer, I produce my own stuff. I started really early, then I did some work, music for commercials. My music is in the new Crank: High Voltage movie, you’ll see my name fifteen minutes into the credits.
DD: As a DJ, what do you use to DJ? What software and what kit do you use?
SD: I started, like every DJ with vinyl’s No, first I started with CDs because I didn’t have the money for turn-tables. When I reached a professional level I earned money, I bought turn-tables, and I started to play with vinyl, that was 14-16 years ago. I’ve played vinyl’s since ‘95. Three or four years ago CD’s became bigger again because DJ’s were sending MP3’s to each other with new tracks, and that’s the reason everybody starts using CD’s. Then you have the MP3 market becoming bigger and bigger, you get the tracks earlier and earlier, and every DJ wants to play the hottest stuff. One and a half years ago I bought new Pioneer CD players with USB sticks, 8Gb can play for 10 hours, that was really easy. I’ve been DJing for a long time, and I feel I need to change something. Two months ago I started to play with a laptop, using Ableton. It’s isn’t only a DJ set any more, it’s a bit more like a live set, I can remix and everything. I think it’s a new generation, one can be different to other DJ’s. I’m one of the first guys in this scene doing this. There are allot of guys in the minimal and electro scenes playing live sets, but in my scene it’s not so big. So I think I’m one of the first guys, and I think that’s good.
DD: So, have you been having fun with Ableton?
SD: Definitely. I think sometimes other DJ’s think it looks like a computer game, it seems like it’s not real DJing. But belie me, when you have Ableton, there is so much functionality, it is so much more than only two CD players. In the first sets I did with Ableton I was so confused. It’s not only two tracks, now you play maybe eight tracks at a time, don’t forget the filter here, don’t forget the loop there, so there really is allot of stuff you have to look for. But for the last two months I’ve been getting more into it, the set you heard today, it was OK?
DD: Yeah, the was some original stuff, it wasn’t just all off CD’s. You mixed some stuff live.
SD: Yeah, I just put some a capella’s or only melody parts from some songs, then put another kick on it. That makes DJing more interesting to me now, because there is something new.
DD: Do you have any collaborations coming up with other DJ’s or artists?
SD: First I have to get my own stuff out, because it’s been a long time since I released some Special D stuff. I’ve tried to do some new stuff, but it didn’t work, I was in my studio and I wasn’t happy with the stuff I did. I only want to release records when I think they are really good. I don’t want to release 80% or 90% work, I only want to release 100% work, and that’s not easy. Because there are so many talented guys out there it’s really hard to make good stuff. The level of production is getting higher and higher.
DD: What advice would you give to DJ’s who are starting out?
SD: DJing or producing?
DD: DJing first.
SD: As a DJ, you definitely have to do something really exciting, crazy stuff, otherwise you don’t have a chance to become big. There are so many people DJing, and it’s so easy today with Ableton or Traktor. I came from the old-skool, I learnt how to play with vinyl’s for years, and now I know how to play with Ableton, because I know that if Ableton won’t work I can go back to vinyl’s But everybody can DJ now.
DD: Are you talking about someone like Mark Ronson where you’d mix different genres, you’re doing something really fresh?
SD: Yeah. I know some DJs out there that play hardstyle and dance, they came from hip-hop so they’re really good at scratching. That’s something really cool, but nobody from the techno scene normally can. It’s not easy, when you want to become a big DJ really fast, really urgent, you have to do your own productions, successful productions.
DD: What’s important in being a producer?
SD: The same, be fresh, don’t copy the old stuff. If you are in my scene, you notice that every song sounds really similar, so it’s really boring. If all the stuff is so similar, then it shouldn’t be so complicated to do something different, but you have to have the balls for it. That’s what I’m looking for, that’s the reason I haven’t come out with new stuff, I defiantly want do do something fresh. That’s not easy, hopefully I will release something this year but I can’t promise.
DD: You’re too much of a perfectionist?
SD: Yeah, that’s bad, that’s really bad. Otherwise I would have released maybe 12 albums in the last three years, but my mind kills me. I’m working in my studio, and I think “That’s not good enough”, “I don’t like that, I don’t like the kick, I don’t like the bass, I don’t like the melody”. I’m working hard on it, I do my best. Every time I see crowds like this, and parties like this my heart is pumping, I really feel it’s my profession, what I have to do.
DD: You’re quite big in the Netherlands. How is your Jumpstyle?
SD: Can I dance? No man. I play football and go to the gym, but I don’t dance jumpstyle, I never learnt it. It’s also big over here, with Scooter?
DD: It’s coming up.
SD: It’s coming up, I thought it was big? I’ve already stopped playing jumpstyle, but it’s coming up here? Huh, for my set tomorrow I have to put some more of the Jumpstyle in.
DD: Thanks very much. Have you any closing words?
SD: Yeah, let me say that you have a really nice University. I was in a University in Hamburg too, and it looked like shit, but this, it looks like… I don’t know. We came in a car, and it’s so big, everything is so clean, nice and big. It’s a really nice school man. You can be happy to be a student here.
DD: It’s a very good University, yeah.
SD: Maybe if it takes me some time to release a new record maybe I will come to study here, for some years.
DD: Best of luck, hopefully we’ll see you back here soon.
SD: Yeah, thanks man, hopefully.

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“New York: the only city where people make radio requests like “This is for Tina – I’m sorry I stabbed you”. “

by David Dolphin on Sep.06, 2008, under Abroad, America, Concerts, Cons, Flying, Happy Viper, Media, Music, New York, Skynet, Work

Looking back, nothing remarkable happened on the Week of the 21st. I worked a lot. That’s about it. I settled into a groove. Got frustrated with a tourist (he was taking way too long to order… over 20 seconds *grin*) and gave some more directions.

On the Weekend of the 25th artemis’ brother came down to NY again. On the Friday night we hit the Mars Bar (which ended with me sleeping on the couch again) and on Saturday we went to a very expensive nightclub, Marquee. It was the first time I’ve seen a $9,000 bottle of champagne on sale.

Was also at Ignite NYC on the 29th where I met up with Gus again. Unfortunately it was held in a club and so artemis was turned away for not having ID. The worthwhile talks were:

  • Jessica Bruder (author, journalist-at-large) – How to be an Undercover Hooker (reprising her talk on taking an NYPD course)
  • Rose White (Yarnivore) – Weird and wonderful knitting — graffiti and science and art combined!
  • Audacia Ray (Village Voice’s Naked City) – Porn as a front runner in technology innovations
  • Natalie Jeremijenko (NYU XDesign) – A bomb shelter for the climate crisis
  • Dustyn Roberts (NYU’s ITP, Honeybee Robotics) – Flying High with Engineers Without Borders (on building a Kite Aerial Photography rig for mapping in Kenya)
  • Limor Fried (ladyada) & Phillip Torrone (Make & Citizen Engineer) – Open source hardware, hacking SIM cards, modding a payphone for fun and for profit.
  • Nick Bilton (NY Times, NYC Resistor) – The Future of News

I took a trip up to Toronto to visit sith on the 1st of August. I went up the CN tower with its scary glass floor, explored the brewery region, had two very nice meals and saw the Farmers Market. I also had lunch a few weeks later with sith in the Wild Onion on his trip around Ireland.

The following week I prepared myself for a trip to Las Vegas for DEFCON 16. I had an awesome time at DEFCON, met loads of interesting people and had a great time. If I had to choose between DEFCON and H.O.P.E. I’d pick DEFCON. While H.O.P.E. may have had better talks/speakers, DEFCON was amazing socially. The parties were awesome and the after parties back in hotel rooms were full of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in years. I also went to see Penn&Teller and The Blue Man Group.

Billy arrived in NY the week after DEFCON. The same week my family had their passports stolen in Spain, within hours of landing in the country. They were in my Dads Laptop bag, his laptop, my sisters phone and camera and all the families passports were stolen from the rental car at a motorway service station while they were inside getting something to eat. They eventually got temporary single use passports from a consulate and were able to get home.

I went to see Regina Spektor in McCarren Pool, supported by Albert Hammond Junior. There are several videos of the Gig up on Youtube. I heard a bunch of new songs and songs I hadn’t heard before. The highlight for me were Poor Little Rich Boy, Ghost of Corporate Future and a beatbox version of Hotel Song.

I came back to Limerick the following week. Overall I feel that my time in New York was very worthwhile. With 24hour public transport and food available almost as regularly the city feels like an extension of a college campus. As a knock on effect it is possible that offices don’t have closing times, and so often all-nighters were pulled as deadlines approached. People in New York live so they can work, not work so they can live.

I helped polarice pack Skynet flyers into Orientation packs. I showed three groups around the college durring Orientation week, Woodwork, Law & Accounting and Ethnochoreology students. All groups were great and I wish them the best of luck in UL.

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Week 4 & 5: “A person who speaks good English in New York sounds like a foreigner.”

by David Dolphin on Jul.11, 2008, under Abroad, America, Concerts, Happy Viper, Media, Movies, Music, New York, Phone, Work

Work has been hectic the last two weeks, I’ve been working 12+ hour days to get a CMS finished for a client, but thankfully it’s all done and finished now (let’s just hope there are no fatal bugs, like uploading a GIF will DROP a table or something else weird).

Agnès arrived in NY on Tuesday. Herself and artemis dropped up to the office and we sat around chatting for a few hours. I also met up with Agnès on Saturday afternoon for Lunch.

I’ve noticed a bizzarity in social event attendance etiquette. I’m not sure if it’s a New York thing or an American thing (I’m told it’s a New York thing) but saying you’ll attend x social event and actually attending it mean two completely different things.

On each of social outings I’ve had with American folk only 0-25% of them have shown up. Even for a co-workers birthday (which was joined with a going away party, as we weren’t going to she her for a few months) only about a quarter of the people who said they’d show up actually came. I suppose it’s something I’m just not used to, if you say you’ll be somewhere, you’d better have a good reason for not showing. Sure, you may be late, that’s almost expected, but to not show up, with no excuse? To not even call or text to say that you cant make it after you’ve made a commitment seems very aloof.

Also, there is a certain amount of suspicion and second guessing of ones motives in social encounters. A lady in a Subway station a few weeks back asked if a certain line stopped at a particular station. I told her that I didn’t know. I then tried to make small talk by saying that I’d just arrived, that the city was new to me and the I had only really taken one of the lines. I was glared at, as it to say “I only asked you for directions, nothing more. How dare you try and talk to me”.

Anyway, I went to see Infected Mushroom on Saturday in Webster Hall. It’s a really cool venue. There was Rap/Hip-Hop playing in the basement, trance/house on the ground floor, the band were playing on the Ballroom (which has a balcony for VIPs) and there was some Minimal Techno in an Upstairs room. There was also an EBM DJ playing before and after Infected Mushroom in the Ballroom. Infected Mushroom are a band who I’ve been into for about a year and I’m quite glad I saw them, considering I missed a free Coldplay gig and a Freezepop concert. I hope to get a few more gig’s in before I head home; I have my eye on Regina Skeptor, Bloc Party and Foo Fighters.

On Monday I wandered over to artemis’ to watch Dexter. I’ve also been watch a bit of Curb your Enthusiasm with my flatmates, Greg and Nanda. Both shows are pretty good and this has been the first time I’ve seen either.

I got a new phone on Saturday, a Nokia N70 (Music Edition). It’s a small step up from the 6680, but it’s got a better camera, more RAM and an Active Standby screen (which Vodafone decided the 6680 didn’t need, so they stripped it out). All my apps from the 6680 also just worked straight away when I pop’d my old card into the new phone, which was really handy. I also picked up a BL-6C (at last) and a Bluetooth Keyboard. Here’s a great list of S60 handsets (maintained by Steve Litchfield) which I’ve used for reference since I’ve owned an N-Gage.

I went to my first Movie Premier/screener on Wednesday. Some of the nice people in Media at Large gave us tickets. It’s called The Rocker and is basically a story about Pete Best. In a hilarious coincidence it actually contains Pete Best, playing a cameo role. There was one line I found amusing where a bland hippstr type is referred to as “[...] like Abercrombie are making people”.

I’ve just watched Once twice, the second time with the commentary. It’s been the first time in years that I’ve liked a film enough to watch it a second time, with the commentary. It’s a film everyone should watch.

I saw one more cockroach in the basement. I don’t consider two in a month to be an infestation but apparently the germphobic upstairs thinks otherwise and has asked the landlord to get the building fumigated. Germphobia is another big thing I’ve noticed over here, but I’ll leave my comments on that till another day.

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by David Dolphin on Jul.13, 2007, under Abroad, Concerts, Media, Music

I wasn’t around for Oxegen this year so I went to Rock Werchter in Belgium instead.

I have to say, it was true to its name and rocked! The following is a little table of the Pros and Cons of Oxegen and Rock Werchter. Keep in mind, what I think were Pros other may see as Cons and vice versa.

Event Pros Cons Other
Rock Werchter '07 Quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, shorter ques (toilets, food, drink), better pit design, cheaper Two wristbands to be collected from two different places can cause confusion Timetable is more spread out
Oxegen '05 & '06 No need to fly to another country. More likely to meet people you know Not feeling safe (Riots, burning tents), more expensive Timetable is more condensed

A quick breakdown of the bands I saw, how well I knew them and how much they rocked.

Band Know Rock Comment
Beastie Boys 3 8 I could only stay for 5 or so songs due to arriving late and needing to go and see Muse. I was very far back and didn't know any of the stuff they played but was still impressed
Bjork 1 1 Very weird but had a great stage setup
Muse 8 10 Amazing performance, highlight of the festival
Kaiser Cheifs 6 7 Seen them before, preformed better this time around
Bloc Party 10 9 Fantastic act. Could have had better visuals
Razorlight 4 8 Solid act
Snow Patrol 9 9 Very moving performance
The Killers 6 6 I didn't have much hope for them and knew none of the stuff from their new album. I suspect they weren't actually playing
Keane 3 8 Great crowd interaction, knew hardly nay of their songs but wouldn't mind getting to know them better and seeing them again
The Chemical Brothers 8 8 Probably the biggest and best club I've ever been to
Mastodon 0 3 I'd never heard of them, they were a pretty basic metal act
The Kooks 3 5 Nothing Spectacular
Interpol 8 8 Another great act, I'd heard they were poor live but I liked them allot
Incubus 4 8 Another great Act that I'd like to see again
Metallica 6 9 Absolutely superb. Visuals weren't as good as Keane or Muse but the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics more than made up for it
Faithless 5 8 Only stayed for a few songs but I got to shake Maxi Jazz's hand. Nice to see them at least once

Overall I think it was a quality gig and would very seriously consider coming back next year, even though I’ll have to fly over.

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by David Dolphin on Jul.28, 2006, under Concerts, Media, Meh, Movies, Music

I’ve got My Muse ticket (standing). Now I have to get to know more than 3 of their songs.
Can’t wait for V for Vendetta to come out on DVD. Hopefully the 2-Disc Special edition will have a Region 2 version too (Yes, I got this and this when they came out).
Myself and Megan have started watching all of Scrubs, so far we’re up to Series 1 Episode 13 (in 3 days) which makes us 11% through it.

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Oxegen Part I (Friday & Saturday)

by David Dolphin on Jul.10, 2006, under Concerts, Media, Music

Arrived up around 4 Friday evening, queued for around half an hour and set up Camp between A5 and A6. Knocked back a few cans and shots of Vodka, *shudder* , then went to see what the craic was in Campsite B.

Saw some randomer in the Campsite B stage then went off to watch some of The Two Towers on one of the big campsite Screens. Also took a look around the amusements.

Next morning woke and took a tour around the Arena while The Marshels were playing. Saw the Dance arena, the Green Room and the Ticket stage, and this was the only time was ever in the Dance Arena or the Green Room. Saw about five minuets of Breaks Co-op and saw The Weepies set up.

Then we headed for the Pit at the main stage.

Was about 20 rows back for Sandi Thom (quite Country, also had most of the crowd saying “Play that one song we know” and “Prawn Cracker!” between all of her songs).

Wormed our way up to about 10 rows back for Republic Of Loose (Saw them in UL at the Rag week). They played well, got a good cheer and all that.

Was close enough to the front for Damien Dempsey who I didn’t know at all. He seems to be a bit of a mix between the Wolfe Tones and Christy Moore. Again, crows seemed to like him.

Magic Numbers were up next and by this stage we were at the front row directly in front of the Lead singer. These guys were amazing, better live than on CD. They also played a few new tracks and thankfully they’ve kept their great style in these Tracks. They had a great jam at the end too which received much applause.

Next up were Hard-Fi, my least favorite band of the entire weekend. If these guys are playing again it will be a contributing factor to me not going again. They were arrogant, Clearly out of it on drugs, superior, giving their stage managers serious stick and just generally being prats. They’ve put the following statement on their site, cunningly only embedded in the Flash version so one cant directly link to it. Anyway, here it is:

Yesterday at the oxegen festival in Ireland, Hard-Fi and a massive line up of bands, struggled to keep afloat as the weather turned nasty! After being in Rome for a couple of days, we got so used to the sunshine, that none of us even thought to bring a jacket. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not scared of a bit of rain, but this was hard work. All of us had problems on stage, with the wind and rain making everything a battle. Apparantly electrical devices don’t like getting wet much. A member of the Strokes crew was sent to hospital after a lighting stack fell over on top of him. We had a nightmare at the start of our set when basically nothing worked!
We appreciate everyone baring with us while we got it all going. Even with the shit weather and problems, the irish were up for it, and sung all the way through our set. With more rain expected for T in the park today, let’s not let the weather get us down. Make some fucking noise!!!

Bull-Shit! They’re a pack of gutless ares-bandits who deserved the abuse! They were boo’d at the end of two songs by myself and those around me.

Right, rant over. Next were the Artic Monkies who were truly awesome. They palyed a great set and had us singing to the songs and listening reverently to the ones we didn’t know (only because they hadn’t been released yet). Plus kudos for the drinking of Bulmers onstage.

The Strokes Rocked. They had the best Lighting rig all weekend. They played really well and had loads of crowd interaction. Julian Casablancas came down to the crowd and leant over the railings like Chris Cornell Last year. Unfortunately last year Chris was about twenty people to my left but Julian lent in 4/5 times, once about two feet away from us. We got to “Stroke” his hair which was unreal. He also splashed around in the mud in front of us which I got pics of. I must develop them actually.

Next were The Who. It was great to see them but unfortunately I didn’t know very many of their songs, My Generation and Pinball Wizard were about it. I discovered later that the fan requesting Magic Bus (In the Manner of Homer Simpson) was in fact one of my Ex-Girlfriends current Boyfriends.

Had to move back for James Brown as after 8+ hours of standing and 6+ hours of getting squashed at the front we needed a rest. He was nuts. Way too much energy for a 73 year old who was up after midnight. It was the only act which had a cymbal solo. I was a completely different experience and again, although I didn’t know many of the songs I was glad I went.

I wanted to see Feeder but The Strokes were on at the same time and we had a great spot. Meg also wanted to see Jose Gonzalez and the Eels but due to clashes with better bands we had the same issue.

After a long day I went back to the tent and slept like a log.

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