Music City!

November 5, 2013

Something is seriously remiss. It’s 4am and I’m trembling like the ‘scraggy wee shits’ in Seamus Heaney’s The Early Purges before Dan Taggart pitched them into a bucket. It could be the cold, the coffee or the time that has me this way, but I’m leaning towards fury, the music from a wedding in my supposed 4 star hotel keeping me conscious as the clock ticked down to my early rise. Instead of counting sheep, I’m pumping rounds of imaginary bullets into the DJ as Gangham Style morphs into The Harlem Shake, The Girls of Belfast City stomp relentlessly into the Fields of Athenry, and as Single Ladies become Baby Boys -my temper and a Beyoncé mega mix reaching their crescendo, my alarm chimes in. It’s time to rise.

It’s the Summer Solstice and I’m in Derry to review Music City! a celebration of music that takes place from dawn on Friday till dawn on Saturday as part of the cities year-long role as the UK’s City of Culture.

But as I drive through the back roads of Inis Owen I’d be happy never to hear another note again. Ditching the car at the bottom of a hill we climb in darkness to Grianán of Aileach, a ring fort in County Donegal. It used to be the seat for the High King’s O’Neill from the 5th century. This morning it’s the launch site for the day’s festivities, the Inisowen Gospel Choir providing a Dawn Chorus.
Read the rest of this entry »

In the salient days of my youth when asked to chose between Blur and Oasis I always chose the path paved by Girl Power. I drew a line at donning the Union Jack and Buffalo Boots but I did own everything they ever recorded, travelled abroad to see them(twice) and in my mid twenties moved into a house for the sole purpose that Victoria Beckham exited it in the Stop video. So when it was announced that Judy Craymer, the producer of Mama Mia would be fashioning a musical out of their biggest hits with a book from Ab Fab’s Jennifer Saunders you can bet I was interested. After all, jukebox musicals can be a gas…if you check your cynicism and standards at the door.
Read the rest of this entry »

Nicky Siano Interview

March 24, 2010

Like Martin Luther (King Jnr, not the heretic) Nicky Siano had a dream. It didn’t involve a nation rising up and living out the true meaning of its creed(although he helped bring thousands of whites, blacks and Hispanics together on the New York City dance floor).His dream was a simpler one. He had a dream that  he was playing his records. Like he’d done every day of his life since his fifteenth birthday, he was playing his records and he could hear this sound effect playing during the mix. He’d never heard such an effect before. But he knew how to create it. The next morning, when he awoke, he ripped his home turntable out and took it down to his club, The Gallery, and started to mix with three turntables. The first person to do so he changed the face of dance music forever.

Read the rest of this entry »

Devon Sproule Interview

March 24, 2010

Arriving at the Hardcourt Hotel I find Devon Sproule in playful form. Having spent the past two years out on tour storing up the grass-is-always-greener memories of her Virginia home that fuel Don’t Hurry For Heaven, she’s a little wrecked thanks to the late night antics of Hardcourt Street’s permatanned revelers (Carlsberg may not commit mass murder but this would be a dam good place to start). The latest talent to emerge from Tin Angel Records roster of remarkable talent (Adrian Crowley, Polar Bear, Baby Dee), who have given Coventry their musical tropic, Don’t Hurry For Heaven is a mismash of traditional country, folk and blues with a little reggae added for seasoning. Produced by husband Paul Curreri and surrounded by British session musicians Devon Sproule opened up to me about musical matrimony, a lack of teenage angst and an early love for The Cranberries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mr Scruff

January 31, 2010

Anyone who’s sold their sole to the Dublin dancefloor knows this fair city of ours has acted as a dumping ground for half arsed sets on more than one occasion. With larger cities awaiting essential mixes the aim of the game is often to get in, get out and lash as little out as possible. So it’s nice to see an artist who actually pays a little attention to what an audience needs. “We’re talking about Friday and Saturday night,” Andy Carthy AKA Mr. Scruff tells me over the phone from his Manchurian abode. ” It’s about enjoyment. People have waited all week for a night out and you should take it seriously.” He tells me a little bit more about his approach…

Read the rest of this entry »

Daedalus Interview

January 31, 2010

Stefano Gabana (he of ‘Dolce &…’ fame) once said that style is all a game with new rules for every season. One person who refuses to play by these rules, stylistically or sonically is Alfred Weisberg-Roberts (or Alfred Darlington to call him by his self-anointed married name). He’s better known as Daedalus, the experimental music producer who has crossed more boundaries than kissing cousins, and whose 2007 single “Fair Weather Friends” has insidiously hi-jacked my brain and dragooned all other tracks from my lips. We met up with him in advance of his most recent Twistin of the Pepper to discuss dancing, dandies, and the wonder that is the monome.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chris Cunningham Interview

January 30, 2010

There are certain events boys my age will always remember, stepping-stones that paved the yellow brick road to manhood. You remember where you were when Ireland got knocked out of the World Cup in Italia 90 (the first time I saw a grown man, nay a group of grown men, cry). You remember where you were when your one Diana died (in bed and distressed at being woken up). And you remember where you were when you first saw the video for Come To Daddy, Chris Cunningham’s era-defining video for a, let’s be honest here, fairly bog standard dance track (at least by Richard D James’s standards).

Read the rest of this entry »

Placebo

January 30, 2010

All my Christmases came at once, and so very nearly did I, when confirmation of my interview with Placebo’s bass player Stefan Oldstal dropped into my work email. A fan of the group since their Nancy Boyed hey day, I had reached my journalistic Mecca and could hang up my poisoned pen knowing I had completed all that was required of me by the journalistic gods. Back in Dublin for their first studio gig since the start of the decade how have the intervening years been for the band who started it as critical whipping boys and ended it as commercial darlings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fusing a lifelong passion for classic myths and legends with a teenage taste for disco Andrew Butler created one of 2008’s finest acts in Hercules and Love Affair. A salacious mix of house, heart and hedonism they are less a “defined musical act” and more a “community spirit” with lots of voices coming together to make the magic happen. As the dust settles on their debut album and Butler himself hears the Liber Pater from dancing feet at Tripod this August, he joins Totally Dublin for a quick shooting of the shit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crazy P

January 30, 2010

If Niamh Farrell of Ham Sandwich fame thought she had it rough answering for her band’s nom de plume she should spare a thought for poor Danielle Moore who, ever since joining electronic disco act Crazy Penis in 2001, has had to ward off questions about a name she’s never even been comfortable with.

“I think when the lads first started off they werent out to shock. They were just out to produce and play music.” She tells me, taking a break out of her sunny bank holiday to plug the group’s gig at the Sugar Club this Saturday. “They were students, they didn’t expext it was going to last forever”.

But it’s lasted a lot longer than they thought, and, since the two Nottingham based DJ’s had to beef up the lineup to recreate their sound live, it was decided that their boyish alias had to go. Now going by Crazy P, the title track of their latest album Stop Space Deliver is available now.

Read the rest of this entry »