Archive for the Interviews Category

Mouse Trumpet – the biggest band you’ve never heard

Posted in Interviews, Music, New Stuff on January 19, 2012 by Johnnie

Even in the age of endless “internet phenomenons”, Mouse Trumpet might just be the strangest band in the world. Well, today, at least. With an aversion to having their songs heard, their faces photographed or their members even named, it’s hard to work out how they intend to achieve their stated aim of being “the biggest underground band ever”. Not that asking them yields any solid answers either.

They are, as far as I can tell, a trio from Scotland, whose music sits somewhere between Section 25 and Chic – or at least, that’s the legend. They described their own music as “Experimental Rhythm Swamp-Twee” but have no music available to listen to anywhere.  It’s difficult, if not impossible, to prove or verify anything.

Their method of ‘promotion’ thus far has been like a game of word-of-mouth pass-the-parcel. Continue reading

Making Radio Waves

Posted in Film, Interviews on April 26, 2009 by Johnnie

Interview with Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy, Sunday Business Post, 19th April 2009

If there’s one line of dialogue that defines the message of The Boat That Rocked, Richard Curtis’s new film about pirate radio on the waves, it comes from the disc-jockey character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman:

‘‘These are the best days of our lives.” Writer and director Curtis may have made his name with hit romantic comedies Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill, but for his latest film he has turned to the subject he describes as his ‘‘first love” – pop music.

‘‘I wanted people to stop for a second and think how gorgeous it is to have music to provide soundtracks to times of your life,” Curtis says, relaxing into an armchair in his Dublin hotel suite.

‘‘I can tie down the years of my life [to music] – the Dylan years, the Cohen years, the Joni Mitchell years, the David Bowie years, the Madness years. Pop music has never let me go.”

Curtis and The Boat that Rocked star Bill Nighy have come to Dublin as part of a busy media tour to publicise the film, which travels back through time to 1967 and an era when more than half of Britain would tune in to pirate radio stations – some of which were based on boats – to listen to tunes which the BBC considered too subversive to play.

As many as 25 million daily listeners – including a youthful Curtis – were influenced by those DJs. ‘‘Pirate radio was like a sweet shop,” Curtis says. ‘‘You’d switch it on and hear songs you’d never heard before. It was very exciting.

‘‘Think what it would it be like if there were only two films showing in every cinema across the country, and then you heard that somewhere else there were 50 more films you could watch – that’s what it was like discovering pirate radio.” Continue reading

Planet Of The Apes

Posted in Interviews, Music on September 26, 2008 by Johnnie

flapesZoranOrlicToday sees the Irish release of Fight Like Apes‘ debut album, Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion. For me, and not to over-state the case, this release is a major milestone in Irish music history.  For the current pop generation, FLApes represent something that is truly theirs; in sound, image and deed, this band have brought something to the table that is so wildly different in nature to our usual exports of singer-songwriters, slickly-veneered, derivative indie-pop or stadium-chasing anthemic rock, that it should be hugged long and hard by their legion of fans and those hacks who, like myself, trawl around venue after venue in the constant and ongoing search for something with a creative energy and spark.  I’ve loved them since the first time I saw them and have been lucky enough to chat to them, personally and professionally, on several occasions.  I’m reproducing my first little interview with them here, which took place a year ago in the cosy surroundings of the Library Bar at the Central Hotel in Dublin, just before the release of their second EP, David Carradine Is A Bounty Hunter Whose Robotic Arm Hates Your Crotch.  I also make no apologies for reproducing Zoran Orlic‘s brilliant photograph of the band, taken in Austin, Texas during this year’s South By South West festival – not just because it’s excellent, but because (take my word for it) it’s me who’s holding the bike steady behind MayKay. Continue reading