Thursday 28 October 2010

Q & A with Orpheus Knoxx

(Above Erica from Orpheus Knoxx)

The Rebel: What is the story behind ORPHEUS KNOXX? Where did they name came from and who is in the band? 
Erica Macarthur: "Orpheus in greek mythology could charm people into doing pretty much anything with his voice, so I thought it was pretentious and ambitious to take his name. Knox is an American name I’ve always liked, so we might think of Orpheus Knoxx as a sort of contemporary cousin of the greek version. My bandmates are Grant Purser, who besides from being a way excellent drummer is also the gatesman for several safe houses in London for people with mental health problems. My guitarist, Nicholas Horne, has been bewitched by some beautiful American woman so is leaving us soon. It’s a sad eye I cast over his damp umbrella when I realize we’ll no longer career around London together like a pair of drunk flappers. I’m looking for a replacement, call me if you’re interested, I’m not in the book."

 2) You used to be in white rose movement - what were the highlights of your time with them?
 "Playing big shows like Coachella in the UHB’s desert playground, Munich Olympic stadium with Placebo, we’d nearly sold out the bowery ballroom in NY before I'd ever been to the US, and everything broke on a big stage at Benicassim but everyone was going really wild. I'm really proud of being in the video Rojo made for the song Alsatian. Being photographed by Mike Figgis and Mick Rock also stands out….it’s hard to quantify, to be honest it was 30% the most amazing time I’ve had in my life and 70% hangovers in airports." 

3) On your myspace page you describe your sound as being like a "slightly sad woman in a shed with a cold" and that you're influenced by hamburgers. Can you tell us more about hamburgers and your shed? 
"There’s a certain kind of American dream of the 1960s and 70s that I’m quite obsessed with, that in itself is still cast in the glow of a sunbeam of the 1950s. That’s why I think of Hamburgers, this perfect little thing, replicated endlessly. That all started with Andy Warhol when I was very young and never stopped. It's become more difficult since I got into Baudrillard's theory of Simulacrum and his writings on Disneyland, but a lot of that kind of pop imagery still makes my heart sing. My shed is at the end of my garden, it’s pretty neat. It’s got a radiator and synths and guitars and amps in it, and a picture of the Eiffel tower and an old ship." 

 4) Can you name 5 great new bands that deserve to be rich and famous?
 "Birds of paradise, Kasms, Perfume Genius, Breton, A Human"

 5) Kurt Cobain and Peter Cook died around the same time. David Bowie said he was far more affected by Cook's death. Which death was the biggest blow for you at the time?
 "I didn’t care about either at the time because I was 11, but I like the idea of Peter Cook more now than Nivarna’s music. I loved Bedazzled, especially the fact that Dudley Moore’s suicidal character worked in a Wimpys resturant. Kurt on the other hand really committed suicide, which is a pretty wimpy and stupid thing to do."

 6) How do you like to relax?
 "By learning French, and learning how to drive. Ideally I’ll eventually practice both speaking french and driving in my pyjamas."

 7) Is the only time we get to see the real you when you're singing on stage?
 "No, so far I’ve been generally terrified onstage with Orpheus Knoxx. Sometimes one of my legs shakes uncontrollably and my neck goes red. If that's the real me I'm screwed."

 8) Which of your songs are you most pleased with?
 "I think the song Ice Cream, which is almost a nursery rhyme, but was vaguely inspired by a passage in WG Sebald’s Austerlitz. It’s about a boy stuck in a drowned village who was left behind by an evil man. He was meant to wait for me by a tree, but the man took him, and now I can only hope that he dreams of ice cream and horses in his watery prison." 

9) Which words or phrases do you use most often?
 "I love you. Do you have decaf?"

 10) Who would you rather have as your dad out of Midge Ure or Bob Geldof?
 "I think I’d rather not have a Dad under those circumstances."

 11) Who would you rather have as your mum out of Annie Lennox or Mo Tucker?
 "Mo Tucker. Although Lennox’s powerhouse beauty in eurhymics early videos did do something for me."

 12) Why do singers sing?
 "Because they want to be let out of their cage"

 13) Do you see your audience as being your parents?
 "No, I have no need to replace my original parents. Original and best."

 14) When was Paul Weller at his best (or is it yet to happen)?
 "I’m not sure, he seems too controlled to spin out in this last half of his life and do something I’d really like. I think Wild Wood was probably the only time in my youth I worshipped him to some extent."

 15) Which of the 7 deadly sins are you most guilty of?
 "Vanity and lust really get in my way sometimes."

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Interview with Samantha Sweeting

(Above: His Fleece Was As White As Snow. For more info:

1) Do you find it hard to put a price on your work? How do you decide on how much to charge for a piece of your work?
Pricing is variable depending on what it is, cost of production, edition size, the importance of the item in relation to the rest of my work, and so on. I don’t actually have many pieces that I am willing to part with at the moment. The objects I make tend to be very personal and irreplaceable, bound with emotional attachments. I’ve been concentrating more on screening and exhibiting than selling, though I am tentatively trying to change that.

2) Are you happy in London, which places do you miss and where would you like to visit?
I only just moved back to London last year. I escaped once already, to rural England and then an isolated farmhouse in a forest in the French Pyrennes. It was a wild and beautiful place and part of my heart remains there. But I am happy to be back amongst the particular chaos that London offers. I miss the tastes and smells I had growing up in the tropics. I would like to re-visit New York.

3) Did you enjoy art college, was it worth the money it cost?
I was more productive than I have ever been on my art foundation at Camberwell, which I loved. I developed my installation work at LCC and am still returning to themes I began working with back then. I also met some lovely and talented people who I remain in contact with. Moving to Devon for my MA brought about a distinctive break in the direction of my work, which was my intention. I was very lucky to be awarded AHRC funding to cover my tuition fees and living costs.  

4) Are you at your happiest when you're making work or do you find that you give in to morbid introspection if you're left alone too long?
I don’t look to my work for happiness. It’s more about compulsion and partly a way of processing morbid thoughts. There are highs and lows.

5) Can you name 5 good performance artists alive today?
I’m restricting this list to people that I’ve actually seen perform.
La Ribot – funny, visual, domestic, articulate. The first performance art I ever saw was by her, at the South London Gallery when I was 18. 
Ron Athey – intensely challenging and moving work. He is someone whose performances must be seen live.
Joan Jonas – She creates wonderful juxtapositions of animals, objects, actions, body and video.
Lisa Newman and Llewyn Máirie from Gyrl Grip – They make highly personal work around gender, intimacy and love. They are not afraid of romance.
Deniz Unal – A close friend and talented artist. Her work has an off-centre approach toward sexuality and autobiography, kind of pathetic and erotic at the same time. I adore her.

6) Do your family rate what you do?
Yes, they’re all very supportive. My parents brought me up to follow my heart, which I imagine must be difficult for them at times considering the nature of my work.

7) Adam Ant once observed, "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of" Are you quite thick skinned? Would you be devastated to overhear two people sneering at your work?
At The Future Can Wait, I overheard some people watching my video, His Fleece Was White As Snow, saying “Eugh. That’s not art, that’s animal abuse. Gross.” I found that funny. It’s such a ridiculous statement. An animal following his instincts of his own accord is hardly abuse. I think a lot of my work sits on the borders of acceptability, so I expect opinions to be mixed. 

8) Which do you prefer Motown music from the 60s (e.g. Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes) or, New York post punk bands like Blondie, Television, Talking Heads, The Ramones, Richard Hell etc?
How can you choose between Marvin Gaye and Debbie Harry? I like mixing it all up.

9) What do you think about The Future Can Wait show? Were you happy to be asked and happy with how it went? Which artists in that show do you like the most?
It’s an interesting project and the Shoreditch Town Hall is a great venue. Always happy to be asked. Apart from the video, I made a performance installation piece, though I’m still processing my feelings about that one. Hectic openings are a difficult context for showing intimate work.
Tessa Farmer is really good, I’ve seen her work in a couple other shows and always enjoy it.

10) Do you believe in God and life after death?
That would be nice. Most of my work is about fear of death.

11) Do you see a link between being an artist and being a priest or being a Stand Up comedian? Is art ultimately about communication?
I don’t relate to either of those with my practice. Though I’d say that Lenny Bruce was an artist. His stand up was dark, intelligent, provocative and daring – qualities that most artists would want their work to aspire to. Art is definitely about communication.

12) Your film in The Future Can Wait features a lamb called Oscar. What's happened to Oscar since? Are you still in touch?
I made that video a couple of years ago when Oscar was a week old. He’d been rejected by his mother, so my boyfriend and I adopted him, bringing him up with a bottle. They both still live in the Pyrenees and I went to visit a couple months ago. Oscar’s an enormous ram now – or sheep technically speaking as he’s castrated. We all went for a walk together in the forest.

13) How did you come across Pablo Neruda and what do you like about his poems?
I was browsing the poetry section in a train station bookshop and found Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. I like the combination of passion and sorrow in his poetry.

14) Who do you hold in higher regard - Yoko Ono or Sarah Lucas? Are either of them a better artist than you?
That’s a strange choice. I would have to say Yoko Ono. Her works have been incredibly influential. Cut Piece is still such a strong and relevant work, 45 years on.
Of course she’s a better artist than me.

15) What are your ambitions?
To make art and feel love. And vice versa.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Q & A with Will Sergeant

(Photo above by Alex Hurst). For more info:

Will Sergeant of The Bunnymen answers 10 questions for The Rebel Magazine:
1) I understand you were involved in a collaborative project at Tate Liverpool that was responding to murals by Mark Rothko. Can you tell me how that went and if you've always been a Rothko fan?
“I was invited to participate by my friend and sound art collaborator Prof Colin fallows. I was of course honoured to be involved. We recorded six drones using an ebo on six different guitars and mixed the resulting tone into an intense impenetrable wall, to reflect the dense walls that Rothko created. I was aware of Rothko's work the sheer size and depth of the works engulf you, they swallow you up and I am a fan, I am a fan of a lot off artists  I like all the obvious artists Warhol, Jasper Johns. Rauschenberg, Joseph Albers, Kazimir Malevich I particularly like the Dada movement and am working on a mixed media homage to Dada at the moment.”

2) Were you happy when Liverpool was made City of Culture in 2008? Was it a success?
“By nature I am very cynical. At the beginning of the Capital of Culture year I thought it was going to be rubbish, but by the end I was sad to see it go, It has left Liverpool a totally different place. Liverpool was a forgotten town. Wrongly seen as a den of thieves by much of the rest of the country, take the Beatles away and there was very little to celebrate. We now have a truly modern European city.” 

3) John Baldessari said he never kept his art works as he was only really making it as a form of investigation - he just wanted to see what was going on in his mind. Do you relate to that at all?
“I approach  painting in much the same way as I approach making music. I have a spark of an idea that becomes expanded and takes on a life of it's own. the hardest thing to do is stop and say that’s it. I often come very close to what I was trying to achieve and then ruin it by going too far.
I see all my work as experiments some with sound some with paints, you could call this investigation if you like. Not all are successful, the successful ones live and the unsuccessful ones die.  I put them on the wall and live with them for a while. It generally takes about 2 weeks after completion for me to decide the fate of the work.”

4) Do you find it hard to part with your paintings and do you worry they are being looked after?
“So far the paintings I have parted with have all gone to people that I know, except for 'Book of Pleasures 2' this was a commission from someone that wanted the first 'Book of Pleasures' as it had become my favourite painting I kept it, so maybe you are right, It is going to be hard. I haven't had to deal with this yet, I know I can retrieve them from the people that I know at any time for the exhibition I am working towards. After the exhibition it may be easy I will want to get on to the next set of work. In the early days of the Bunnymen it did worry me who was buying our first single, I wanted to vet them all. I'm over that now. I hope I can let them go to strangers when the time comes.”

5) Are you interested in meeting or knowing who buys your paintings or prints?
“I know a few of the people who have bought the prints. I don't see any harm in meeting people that appreciate what you create I meet new Bunnymen fans every week, why not art fans.” 

6) How good are Echo & The Bunnymen now? Do you feel the band still has a few classic albums left in them?
“The Bunnymen live are a force to behold. I'm not saying they are as good or worse than the original line up just different. If the original line up were still together they would also be different to the early days, this is inevitable as you grow up you change you become more confident. and I'm afraid more skilled even if  you want to retain the rough edge that once ran though you, it's hard. This is why I never practice my guitar every time I come to it it's almost like the I have to learn it all over again.” 

7) Ian McCulloch was some times called  "Mac the Mouth" in the music press and is known for his sharp wit. Has he been supportive of your art or is it not really his thing?
“I don't know.”

8) How ambitious are you? What drives you? What do you want?
“I am a doer I am always up to something creative I don't think this is ambition just a need to create  I couldn't  stop even if I tried. 
I want to get on with my work and be good at it.”

9) What is a typical day for you right now  how much is spent doing music?
“At the moment I have so many projects on the go some are musical and some are not. it's hard to pin down to a typical day. I also have teenage daughters so most days I am a taxi.”

10) What are the best days of the week and the best time of day to paint? 
“Any day of the week is fine I like to start early and I like it to be sunny but this is England we are talking about so most days are dull.  I often paint outdoors for the light. but I have done quite a lot inside with electric light, in my small studio but it's nice to take them into the sun and see what’s really happening.”

Q & A with Seb Patane

Seb Patane is represented by
Below: 'Self Portrait as Found Peacock', 2010
courtesy the artist and China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles.
1) What are you working on at the moment and how's it going?
My upcoming show at China Art Objects Galleries in Los Angeles which opens in January. Going alright, I think. They've just moved into a new big space and I won't get a chance to see it before I go to install and that makes me a bit nervous cos I always try to make work to suit the space is gonna be shown in, but it'll be ok I think, I've seen lots of pictures.
2) What was the last art show you saw that excited and inspired you?
“Zola Jesus live at Southstreet Seaport, New York, July 2010.”
3) What is your favourite item of clothing?
uh? ok well, I guess my trustworthy leather jacket. Somehwre in my subconscious I think I still see myself  as being a member of bands like Suicide or DAF or The Velvet Underground and now that I'm getting older, the leather jacket is almost the last signifier left of that grand delusion.
4) Which part of London makes you the most happy?
Anywhere by the Thames. For example the mime artists around Southbank rarely fail to cheer me up. Most of my friends hate them though. I have very cynical friends.
5) Tell us about your collaborations with Giancarlo Trimarchi.
It's kind of perfect, but tricky at the same time. He understands me completely, sometimes when we're working we don't even have to talk, I think we're developing some sort of telepathy. He's incredible with computer music and sound production, but is always traveling around Italy so it's hard to catch him. From time to time he comes to London and stays for a week with me to work on some tracks, but the process is so condensed and intense that by the end of it we just feel like killing each other.
6) Who is the best artist Maureen Paley represents (please give reasons)
“That's cheeky, I can't possibly answer that! Well I have a few favorites for different reasons. I'm happy she's recently taken on Stephen Prina. I think he's very interesting, and has a beautiful voice.”
7) What brings out the Italian in you?
“Pizza. For sure, I can't help that, it's in my DNA. Big cliche' I know, bring it on. But I'm not a fussy eater at all, in fact I can't stand food snobbery; I'd eat anything. For example although I love good coffee I also drink soluble ones, I haven't got a problem with that.
8) Do you agree with Abba that "the history book on the shelf is always repeating itself?"
Who's Abba?
9) Are there certain times of day that you tend to do your best work?
“I guess during the day, on those rare occasions when it's bright and sunny. I need daylight otherwise I can't really see what I'm doing. I haven't managed to artificially replicate  the light of a nice sunny day in my studio, but then again if I would I'd probably win a prize or something.”
10) Are you scared the government will slash art funding?
Well, it will. I can't anticipate what the effects will be yet but I wouldn't say I'm 'scared', no. We'll all come up with ways of coping, I'm sure, I mean we'll have to get on with it. But I did sign the anti-cuts petition, a gesture dictated by guilt I think, somehow.
11) What's the best thing someone has said about your work?
Someone once wrote my installations were 'horribly creepy', which are so not, but it really amused me for the day. Someone else also said they saw me as some sort of occult alchemic sorcerer or something like that, that was also fun.
12) What are your ambitions?
To own the two friendliest cats in the world and to become a brilliant rollerskater. My cynical friends think rollerskating is lame so I'm always on my own. I'm starting to think I don't like my friends very much.
13) If Seb Patane was a flovour of ice cream what would he taste like?
Bay leaves and crushed chilli with a hint of citronella.
14) Can you swim and do you like being in the water?
“Of course I can swim man, and I love being in water, although I hate water up my nose so my swimming technique can be a bit dorky. I love swimming pools. Ah yes! sorry, another ambition of mine, to have my own swimming pool, with adjustable water temperature and a retractable roof. Sadly, it'll never happen.”
15) Yeats once observed, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity." Do you go along with this belief / which group do you fall into?
“I prefer Einsturzende Neubauten's quote, 'Confusion is sexy'.”

Friday 22 October 2010

Q & A with Paul Heaton

Paul Heaton is supporting Madness at
Earls Court
on 17th December. His new album ACID COUNTRY is available from iTunes for more info:

The sleeves of early singles by The Housemartins were designed by David Storey & John "Teflon" Sims who'd previously done all the classic 2-Tone stuff. Did you choose them or was it the record companies idea and do you have a favourite record sleeve from those days?
Andy Macdonald Head of Go! Discs had worked at Stiff and 2-Tone during that period and brought those ideas with him. Probably Flag Day because the bloke on the cover, who was from a Travellers family in hull, tried suing us. We just gave him a load of money.”
 Is Flag Day back in your set for this tour? I was quite moved when I saw a You Tube clip of you doing it. How does it feel when you sing that song now?
“Not at the moment. It feels bitterly ironic but not as much as say 'Get up off our knees' would.”
Around the time the Housemartins split, George Harrison had a hit with, When We Was Fab. One of you quipped to the NME that they'd one day release a track called When We Was Quite Good. Could you imagine collaborating with the other 3 on new material or writing about your time with them, are they still on your Christmas card list?
“I don't go back to ex girlfriends but I still have all their mobiles for text sex!”
If Mrs Thatcher was given a state funeral would it be justifiable to have a free concert that celebrated the fact she was dead? Costello, Morrissey and Wylie all wrote songs that wished her dead - would you consider taking part in an event that allowed people to express how they felt about her and her beliefs? Will you be glad when she is dead?
“It’s just pathetic nostalgia. I believe in over throwing [by ballot or bullet or riot] the current government. I can't speak for Wylie but I believe both Costello and Morrissey have moved abroad and left these shores for better tax privileges. This leaves them with no right of protest.”
The Beautiful South had many big hits but I felt some of your singles deserved to do a lot better than they did. Were you ever shocked that say, I'll Sail This Ship Alone only got to number 31 even though you performed it on Wogan and the singles either side of it were bigger hits?
“It was never a shock but I think in general you'll find the songs with just my voice on didn't do as well.”
Do you personally own any work by the Scottish painter Peter Howson? How did you come to have him on the cover of the Quench album and did you like his paintings of Madonna and/or The Queen?
“Don't own the works of any painters. Sean our bassist was in charge of all sleeve artwork. His experience with Mr Howson's people was described as similar to working with the mafia. Petty, pathetic and money grabbing to say the least.”
When you tour with Madness will you be playing jollier knees-up numbers? Are you worried that half way through a moving ballad someone will shout out "Baggy Trousers!" or do you think Madness fans will tend to be Paul Heaton fans too?
“I don't really have those songs in my set anymore. I just intend to show them what I do now.”
There's a new band in town called The South featuring Dave Hemingway. Are you happy about this state of affairs?
“Take away my songs and my name and you're left with an empty husk.  I think the 'featuring Dave Hemingway' says it all don't you?”
If you were to do a duet with Sting what song do you think you'd pick?
“I think you know that wouldn't happen but say I took a U-turn, I think 'I Just Called To Say I Love You' would suit.”
To what extent are you a bad man?
“I'm not.”
What is your idea of beauty in nature?
“Climbing the Snake Pass to Sheffield and 'going home' to where I once lived as a child from where I live now as an adult.”
Can you explain the difference between envy and jealousy (using examples from your own life)?
“I suffer from neither”
What are your favourite jazz singers or musicians?
“I like a lot of Jazz singers and players. It depends what you call jazz really. Chet Baker and Oscar Brown Jnr for cool. Jimmy Rushing and Louis Prima for passion. Lambert, Hendricks and Ross for technique. Instrument wise - Drummer - Shelley Manne, Bassist - Eldee Young, Guitarist -Charlie Christian, Clarinet -Gene Sedric, Trombonist JJ Johnson,  saxophonist -Ben Webster and trumpet - Clark Terry.”
Of all the concerts you've done over the last year which has been the most enjoyable so far?
Belfast - Auntie Annie's.”
Do you believe that about 9 times out of 10, "To know all is to forgive all"?
“I wouldn't put a figure on it.” 

Thursday 21 October 2010

Interview with Imani Hekima

1) John Lennon said "Genius = pain" Was he just being silly or do you buy the idea that all great music is somehow connected to suffering?

He had a good point; I’d say it was 50% true.  Lots of great music has emerged from people dealing with life challenges and struggles.  If things are TOO easy, you don’t strive as hard and it reflects in your music.  Genius also comes out of the joy of life too, not only tragedy and oppression, so we have to be careful with equating genius with suffering.  We don’t want to give tyrants and dictatorships any more ‘excuses.   

2) As a child were you seen as or described as being the musician of the family and was it always said that music was going to be your thing?

I wasn’t.  I have two older brothers, Roger and Stu, and they both got musical instruments before me; we were all equally driven by music.  I’d say that I knew when I was 15 years old that I wanted to do music seriously.

3) Do you feel you own a song if you've downloaded it or do you prefer to have a physical thing like a CD or record?

I definitely prefer to have a physical copy, even though I’ve released my first single ‘Shame’ as a download.  Many people are now quite comfortable with downloading music.

4) If you died tomorrow and went to heaven. If St Peter asked you if you'd spent your time on earth wisely, which track would you play him? And what would you want to be judged on?

I’d play him Gangsters by The Specials.  The song and the band changed my life.  I’d want to be judged on if I was true to myself or if I conformed to other people (who weren’t being true to themselves!)

5) You've supported a few real musical legends like Lee Scratch Perry. Tell me some happy stories about meeting people/seeing them play live etc

As a member of Spectre (the first band I was in), in 1984 we supported Scratch at the Sheffield Leadmill.  He did a great show.  We saw him briefly afterwards and exchanged pleasantries, I don’t know if he’d heard our set.  My favourite memory is supporting Aswad in London in 1984. They had just released the brilliant ‘Live and Direct’ album and were on the cusp of mainstream success.  This is before they became more poppy.  No band before or since has ever played dub live as well as Aswad did; it was like hearing a Scientist remix but with live instruments.  We met them afterwards, they were really nice people.  Some of the band had heard our set.  We played the board tape of our set to them in the dressing room (cheeky chancers that we were) and I remember Brinsley singing along to something and Drummie being very impressed by our drummer!

6) What was the last contemporary band/singer you got excited about?
I’d have to say Amy Winehouse, more her re-emergence with Back to Black.  She nailed it with that album.  Gnarls Barkley have got something really unique going.  I heard The Good The Bad And The Queen’s album playing in a shop and bought it straight away.   I also like Hard Fi but don’t know what happened to them, thought they’d have a couple more albums out by now.

7) W.H Auden said a poem is never finished it just gets abandoned. Is this true with your music? Do you feel, "Well if I don't stop now it'll go on forever"?

I can relate to that in terms of the writing and recording.  When it comes to playing things live, there’s always the possibility of developing the ideas.

8) Who would you most like to hear do a cover of one of your songs?

I’ve always imagined Pauline Black singing one of my songs.  Others I could imagine singing my songs are India Arie, Luciano and Paul Weller.

9) Do you rate Hank Williams as a singer?
I’m not so familiar with his music though the little I’ve heard is good.  Strong melodies, he’s got his own distinctive sound and he wrote songs that connected with a lot of people.

10) What do you want to be doing 5 years from now?

In 5 years, I’ll still be striving to be a better musician.  I want to be playing for a bigger audience, doing more gigs and continuing to record and release songs.

(Find out more and listen to Imani's single by visiting here:

Sunday 17 October 2010

Andrew Moss of The Chancery interview

Have a listen to The Chancery:
Andy Moss was kind enough to answer 10 questions for us...

1) How have your musical tastes changed over the years? Do you still love any of the bands that you loved as a teenager?

"My tastes are much broader these days and I guess that comes from living in Berlin. It’s a good city for musical exchange. A lot of what I’m listening to at the moment I’ve picked up from going to the concert, without really knowing the record beforehand. I never really followed trends but I might check the label if they’ve put out something good.  I’ve always been drawn to singers and I still love the bands I loved as a teenager, though some of them I can’t listen to anymore. But there are those that I continually rediscover."

2) How highly do you rate yourself as a musician?

"I’m not technically good and I get bored playing one instrument. I’m good at knowing what to leave out."

3) What's the best song you've done so far and why is it your best?

"Estuary Road. I usually struggle with lyrics but this one seemed to write itself. It’s probably the most personal song I’ve written to date and it’s attributed to somebody very dear to me who passed away recently."

4) Whose opinions of your work do you take the most notice of?

"The neighbours’."

5) Is there a part of you that feels your life is getting better every day?

"Every second day."

6) Why is your band called The Chancery?

"Nobody seems to know what it means, and I like that. We were stuck for a name so we decided that it should be a word ending with’ry’. In government it refers to an office of court, or embassy, and that interested us in relation to music production. Plus, it includes the word ‘chance’."

7) Which producer would you most like to work with?

"Phil Spector."

8) Which band or singer would you most like to produce a record by?

"That’s a hard one...maybe Yoko Ono. But it would have to be a folk record."

9) Do you have much money?

"Too much."

10) Which countries have you travelled to and which brought you the most happiness?

"India, Morocco, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, the US. The most happiness? India, without a doubt. I went there earlier this year for the first time. Arriving there seemed as though I’d been living the last 10 years in black and white and then suddenly someone added colour. I think it’s the people that really make the place."

Friday 15 October 2010

Interview with Stephanie Moran (co founder of The Marmite Prize)

Stephanie Moran kindly agreed to answer 10 questions about The Marmite Prize...
How did the idea for the Marmite Prize come about and why did you want to do it?
Stephanie Moran: “The first Marmite Prize was itself the winner of a competition, run by Residence Gallery - after a year of running one-week exhibitions, there was an open submission for proposals for the last show, and Marmite was chosen. It was a very off-the-cuff idea to start with, then we just had two weeks to advertise for submissions and organise the show - but was so surprisingly successful we did it again. And again. 
Things I particularly like about it is getting to see what painters all over the country, as well as internationally, are making. And the opportunity to put together a big group show quite democratically, based just on looking at images and not from friends or cvs, without worrying about themes or making it all into one thing - it's just the work, a diversity of good painting.” 
This is the 3rd time the prize has come round. What have been the highlights of your event so far?
“Highlights - definitely when Oliver Kossack, who we dedicated the last prize to, heard about it and came over to present the prize, as well as making us some drawings for the cover of the catalogue. And this year, Bill Woodrow making and donating the Marmite Prize. Also, the artist-judges who have agreed to donate their time and support - Mark McGowan, Harry Pye, Dallas Seitz; Michelle Fletcher, Liz Neal, Millie Thompson; Marcus Harvey, Dan Hays, Mali Morris and Dai Roberts so far.
It is generosity like that which makes me see the good side of the art world - the bit which is about the art, which takes art seriously and cares about it.” 
Has it ever seemed more trouble than it's worth or have you ever felt you've bitten off more than you can chew?
“It is frequently challenging, but never more trouble than it's worth - no matter how much trouble it may be.” 
Do you enter prizes and competitions yourself? Have you ever won anything?
“Yes, I enter John Moores religiously and never get in. I enter other things when I like the look of them. The last thing I won was when I was about 7, it was a treasure hunt at a school fair.”
Have you ever doubted your judge's final decision and felt there were more deserving winners?
“The thing about art is that there is an enormous amount of subjectivity, and it is very hard to say one thing is better than another, which is why we leave the judging to others. And the judges have always done a fantastic job. 
I have always been ambivalent about the competition element. Just being a part of the selection committee is a huge responsibility, and extremely difficult.” 
Has anyone shed any tears over not winning the Marmite Prize?
“I very much hope not! Having seen the process, I never take rejection (from art prizes) personally any more. Certainly in the case of Marmite, it is a selection, like all art exhibitions - and not everyone can be in everything.” 
 What are your ambitions for the project? Is it something you'll do for the rest of your lives?
“Every time we do it, it gets better. We design it as our fantasy prize - we think, from our point of view as artists, what do we want from a prize? So this year we are collecting the work of all the UK-based shortlisted artists, and the show is touring across the country over six months. And the prize is a piece donated by Bill Woodrow! Next time we would like the exhibition to take place in Scotland and Wales as well as London. Or Berlin. 
Maybe we'll do it for the rest of our lives, certainly for a long time yet.”
What do you think of this year's turner prize nominees? Are any of them good enough to enter the Marmite Prize?
“They seem an odd collection of artists - perhaps inevitably disparate, but also of uneven quality. Dexter Dalwood wouldn't make my shortlist, Angela de la Cruz probably would. The others of course are not painters, however the Otolith Group seem interesting. 
I always think it's a shame that for such a short shortlist the exhibition cannot be any larger or more in-depth for the Turner Prize. I am not sure that it does enough, although it tries.” 
 What are you views on belt tightening and art council spending cuts? Do you think Anthony Gormless and Mark Wallinger deserve more money?
“I don't believe in cuts which unfairly punish the poor with the brunt of the burden for our nation's debts, while also creating further unemployment. I think people would rather pay more tax and keep their jobs than rely on benefits. In times like these, it seems that the rich should take their share of the burden, and - being in a better position to relieve the situation - shoulder the responsibility (perhaps in quite a Victorian way, the notion of duty to those less fortunate, and a moral and civic duty). 
I don't like the arts council spending cuts, and many artists are doubly affected by the recession - by being less able to sell work and having no funding for projects, and moreover being less able to survive in their usual way with free-lance and part-time jobs in the arts and culture industries, as these are cut. But when there are essential services being cut - affecting people's health for example, perhaps art may be a luxury? Bring back the philanthropists...”
 Are you an actual fan of Marmite? Do you have it on toast etc?
“The Marmite Prize is nothing to do with Marmite the food product - it is to do with the original meaning of the word, as an earthenware pot.”

Thursday 14 October 2010

Pete & The Pirates

Pete & The Pirates answer 12 questions for The Rebel Magazine:

1) Are there any current bands that you consider better than Pete & The Pirates?
Thomas Sanders: “I'm so out of touch, I have no idea. I haven't heard any though.”
David Thorpe: “Yes, I think it would be very strange if you actually thought you were the best band around.”
Jonny Sanders: “Yes probably, but I have yet to meet one.”
Pete Hefferan: “Uh, yeah obviously!”
Peter Cattermoul: “I can't think of one”.

2) Which of your features do you tend to get complimented about?
Thomas:My head.” 
David: “My big mouth and short temper.”
Pete: “Nice Glasses.”
Peter: “People say I look amazing, but not for any particular feature.”
Jonny: “Not my nose.” 

3) Which 5 words describe you best?
Thomas: “Independent, weak, funny, contradiction, boy.”
David: “Happy, Angry, Frustrating, Argumentative, Friendly.”
Pete: Disorganised, Brilliant (but) Erratic, Skinny, Genius.”
Peter: “Good, clever, talented, handsome, and cool.” 
Jonny: “My name is Jonathan Sanders.”

4) Do you tend to write more music when you’re happy or when you’re sad?
Thomas: “I haven't noticed a correlation. I normally have periods of about 2 weeks where all the songs come to me at once and it's very hard to get them all out. I'm going through one of these now.”
David: “Probably I write in equal amounts when I am happy or sad.”
Jonny: “Both, but when I'm sad the songs are better.”
Pete: “Happy.”
Peter: “I don't tend to have those emotions on their own.   If I'm writing something I like then it makes me happy but a good song always has a bit of heartache in it too.  It's happy and sad together.  I think it's a fine balance.” 

5) Are there any films you watch over and over again?
Peter: “Nope.”
Thomas: “Yes. I like Steve Martin.  I could never read a book twice though.” 
David: “Manhattan, The Birds, Die Hard 1 and 2.”
Pete: “Yes, Predator 2 Predator 1 Die Hard1-4 Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Indiana Jones 1-3, Just the obvious ones really.”
Jonny: “Perhaps Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I watched that a lot, but I've stopped now.”

6) How long do you go without alcohol?
Pete: “
Usually until about six thirty/seven pm.”
Thomas: “5 days – I try not to drink in the week, especially if I'm on my own which I usually am.”
David: “Right now, a matter of hours, but usually longer than that.”
Peter: “Hopefully a few days.”
Jonny: “Don't mind.”

7) What’s the best track you’ve recorded so far?
Pete: “It's called 'On Time' I dreamt it and jumped out of bed to record it. By the time I started recording it I'd forgotten how it went so I had to sort of fill in the gaps.”

8) Did your favourite bands make decent follow up albums or did you always prefer their debut?
Thomas: “Normally number 2.”
David: “I don't think any of my favourite bands' first records are my favourite. The good bands seem to get better.”
Pete: “Second albums are always judged because they are second albums, this I think is a natural disadvantage.”
Peter: “Yes always decent follow ups, it's not all about the debut.  And our second album is going to be better than our first too.
Jonny: “Oh yes, most of my favourite bands have made amazing follow up albums. But most stuff I like is from yesteryear. I think it's much more common these days for bands to flunk a second album.”

9) Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

Thomas: “In the countryside.” 
David: “New York.”
Peter: “Topanga.”
Pete: “In a really nice studio which we own, drinking tea or beer and recording a song which is really good.”
Jonny: “In my / our own studio making music and my second studio making a mess with ink and paper and paint. (this is all a dream right now).”

10) Do you prefer ska to reggae ?
Peter: “Yeah man.”
Jonny:Don't know the difference. Sorry.”
Pete: “No.”
David: “No, I suppose I prefer Reggae (in general).
Thomas: “No, reggae is better.” 

11) Is the Pope a force for good?
Jonny: “NO.”
Thomas: “No.”
Pete: “No.”
David: “No, I believe the Pope (and in particular the current Pope) is a dangerous force with some views which to me are unacceptable.”
Peter: “It's hard to imagine a world without religion, and that is what the Pope stands for first and foremost.  Every person can be a force for good or evil depending on what they believe to be good.  Am I a force for good?  If I follow what I believe to be good then yes.  Can I judge someone else's actions or beliefs and guess their motives?  I haven't read Richard Dawkin's books but I've heard he's starting a new really good religion!”

12) Who do you envy most?
Thomas: “People who can sleep.”
Peter: “Roger Federer.”
Jonny: “The other me that I don't let out.” 
David: “I can't think of anyone, maybe some successful football player?”
Pete: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”

-Serafina- 'Bloody Hell' Limited to 300 hand silk screened copies. 5
track CD & Download

-The European- In A Very Real Sense Now, 12" Vinyl/ Download/ Limited CDR
-Tap Tap ' On My Way' CD/Download
-My Sad Captains Debut Album 'Here and Elsewhere' CD& Digital