Indieterria meets nth cave

Hello  Dear Readers,

nth cave logo

For June edition of Indieterria we have prepared an interview with another incredible artist from local scene in Worcestershire.  And nothing makes us more happier than to bring good indie music to your attention. But there`s a first to this month`s column. nth cave must be the youngest band we have ever sat down with. It`s both awesome and intimidating experience to witness such young artists with such huge potential. You see them play live a sold out house and you can only imagine how they will develop as musicians and artists. We hope you will enjoy the interview and when we are all old and grey, we can tell our grand children: “we were there, we seen them at the very beginning of their careers”.  And that will not be a lame claim to fame!

Talent to the nth degree

nth cave posing before their BBC Introducing session Photo by Andy O`Hare https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

They are young, fearless and immensely talented. Appreciated by critics and audience alike, the quintet mysteriously named nth cave is taking the West Midlands music scene by storm.  They are yet to release their debut album and their members may not be old enough to enter the venues they play unaccompanied,  but their music and stage presence are drawing crowds that would make senior or well accomplished acts jealous. We sat down with brothers,  Hector and Fergus Brazier to learn more about the wunder kids of Worcestershire.

 nth cave is a very unusual name. Can you tell us where does it come from?

nth cave: The first period of nth caves existence we went pretty much unlabeled, because we weren’t really regularly gigging and we had no real original material to share with anyone. At this point, our high school music teacher would refer to us as “Danni and the Elements”, which we met with quite a large amount of disdain, but we had no real other ideas for band names so we kind of went with it for a bit. After a while we started doing a few gigs and had started to write some original song ideas. At this point we were desperate for any name other than “Danni and the Elements”. We started playing about with some ‘band name generators’ on the internet. After a few hundred attempts it churned out “nth cave” which we all agreed ‘isn’t really too terrible’. And I think that’s how we all feel now. It’s not too terrible but it really isn’t great. It just does its job as a band name. Our music really speaks for itself, I think, and the fact there’s no real “epic story” or anything behind our name represents our rejection of some of the more pretentious and faux-intellectual characteristics that a lot of other bands strive for.

You started out as a 4 piece but expanded by adding Lauren Mulhearn on bass. Your original bassist Alfie Newman moved then to second guitar. How did the line up change affected you musically? Is it easier or harder to play as a quintet?

nth cave:  nth cave was always intended really to be a quintet. We actually started out in high school as a five piece. However the second guitarist just had too many other commitments (jobs and family stuff etc…) and this, combined with a growing amount of musical difference, led to us and him growing apart. So we started gigging as a four piece, but with the majority of the songs and covers being designed for a band with duel guitars, there was a notable ’emptiness’ about our sound. This is when we started looking for a bassist, who appeared in the form of Lauren Mulhearn via Twitter DMs. After a couple of rehearsals she was up to speed with our whole set and we started gigging as a five. This was met immediately with positive responses. With the second guitar adding stability to the foundation of the songs this consequently allows for notably more freedom and expression in both the lead guitar and vocals

nth cave performing at Marrs Bar photo by Duncan Graves https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Homecoming gig at Marrs Bar – photo by Lissy Witch https://www.facebook.com/LissywitchPhoto/

Your guitar player Fergus and drummer Hector are brothers. Yay or nay for having your sibling in a band? Is any sibling rivalry involved in the music making process?

Fergus: Nah there’s no rivalry, as long as we’ve both played instruments we’ve jammed together so we’re normally pretty aware of each other’s styles and mannerisms in music.

Hector: There’s no problem with siblings bring in bands together, I doubt that anyone can’t think of a band with brothers or sisters. Oasis, Peace, Cage the Elephant, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and that’s only a few. Oasis may not have ended that well but their initial success or any bands success isn’t hindered by having siblings together in the band.

 You recorded your BBC Introducing session at the Phoenix Theatre in Ross on Wye in April 2016. How do you remember this experience?

 nth cave:  nth cave’s BBC Introducing session was a brilliant opportunity for us, as a band. However I would say that it came about at the wrong time for us. At the time of the session we were still playing as our original lineup and consequently we were musically driven in a fairly different direction to the one which are now. As well as this we still had little to no popularity at all and we had yet to even make a dent in Worcester’s local music scene. This meant that our session (unsurprisingly), as generous as it was from BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester, went pretty much ignored. Since then we’ve really grown as a band and developed a lot more of a style. Despite this, the most recent music that we’ve sent to BBC Introducing was acknowledged but not broadcast which is a shame because we all really appreciate the work that BBC Introducing do for unsigned artists, and we just wish we could ‘get in on that’.

Still as a quartet – nth cave before expanding photo by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/phojf

Sonically you place yourself between Wolf Alice and Nirvana. Who else would appear on your wall of fame?

Hector: Personally I see nth cave as the coming together of a wide array of genres and styles, with band members contributing to our songs based upon their own musical upbringing. With individual influences ranging from jazz to hip-hop to pop punk our music is filled with hyper-subtle references to some of this music. I would like to point out at this point that nth cave are most certainly not a “jazz, hip-hop, pop punk group”. That honestly sounds disgusting.  It is because of this fact, however, that sometimes it can be quite hard to place our “middle ground” musically. Artists such as Wolf Alice and Nirvana are fairly influential to the majority of the band and its because of this that we place ourselves (somewhere) within the “alternative/indie” genre.

Fergus: nth cave’s “Wall of Fame” really does have to include some of the artists that we regularly cover like The Strokes, Pixies and The Wytches. I would say, it’s through covering artists like this that we have really started to improve our own, work taking influence from the upbeat guitar driven pop sound of The Strokes, the intense dynamics of Pixies, and even some of the sonic elements found within the heavy lo-fi surf rock of The Wytches.

While our singer’s voice has been regularly compared with artists such as Broadcast and Stereolab, her largest influence, vocally, comes from the work of Kasabian.

As well as these artists, bands such as Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Pond and The Velvet Underground, I fact the bands writing style is particularly influenced by the likes of The Velvet Underground and that whole alternative New York scene, as far as I’m concerned Lou Reed, as well as being the ‘god father of punk’ is the father of all worthwhile western music. These artist would all feature nth cave’s ‘Wall of Fame’.

nth cave is making a name for itself on national independent scene in record time. You started in late 2013, two years later you were featured on Andrew Marston BBC show. This year you played all important venues between Bristol and Birmingham. You leave your competition far behind.

Homecoming gig at Marrs Bar – photo by Lissy Witch https://www.facebook.com/LissywitchPhoto/

nth cave playing live at Marrs Bar – photo by Lissy Witch https://www.facebook.com/LissywitchPhoto/

 nth cave: We’re pretty happy with what we’ve achieved over the past year gigging, mainly in Worcester and Birmingham. We’re set to play in Hereford next month but are yet to play in Bristol. The music scene right now is great down there so hopefully we’ll make it. It’s a dream of ours to be able to play in every city in the UK so we have a long way to go yet.

Our favourite track is entitled “Bass”. You even shot a popular video at the Birmingham City University. Can you tell us something about the song? Working with film students must have been a fascinating experience.

 nth cave: So the student who was our main contact for it was Petko Stankov who was a technician at an acoustic gig we played. He decided that we were the kind of band he wanted for his music video module so he chose one of our songs and we got an audio recording session and a video recording session at BCU. We’ve had loads of good feedback from it and we were really impressed by how professional it looks so thank you to Petko and his team for making it and thank you to everyone who watched and shared it. We heard from someone recently that part of the most recent Star Wars film was filmed in the same studio as our video which is insanely cool if it’s true. One shame about the video is we didn’t have Lauren in the band when we were working on it; it would have been great.

After a string of successful singles, it is time for a full release. Can you tell us more about your first album?

nth cave:  Well we’re still deciding what would best for us, to release an EP or a full album. Either way we want to go to the studio soon but there aren’t any actual album plans yet, but we do have lots of ideas for its artistic structure and a lot of album name suggestions. For now though we’re happy with working on our material and gigging. We really, really hope there will be an album eventually though.

nth cave demo that is currently in our music archives

SLAP:  Your future is already looking bright but things will only get better. What can we expert from you guys in the next months to come?

 nth cave:  To be honest we’ve got no set big plans other than the occasional gig. We are however hoping to hear back from a couple of festivals that we’ve applied to play at. As far as our own material goes, it’s just a case of getting some recording sessions done. We certainly have enough original work to put together an album, it just all depends on what opportunities arise for us. We’re hoping to work more with Boneyard Sessions to increase exposure for some of the more talented (yet under-appreciated) bands in the Worcester music scene. So overall we want to get our original material together and get ourselves out there as much as we can, and hey, if someone wants to offer us a sweet record deal? We’d consider it. Hopefully this’ll be the busiest and most progressive year for nth cave and we’ll just keep up what we’re doing and see where it takes us.

Screenshot from Slap Magazine

 You can follow nth cave online at:

https://www.facebook.com/nthcave
https://soundcloud.com/nthcave
https://twitter.com/nthcave
www.instagram.com/nthcave

You can also read this interview online as a part of SLAP Magazine

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/issue-70/june-2017/

Or download this file from here:

issue-70-june-2017

nth cave has been announced as one of the first bands to play this year`s Worcester Music Festival. And we cannot be more excited.

http://www.worcestermusicfestival.co.uk/bands/nth-cave/

Come back again, next edition of Indieterria will be slightly different. For the first time, we will have a solo artist in the hot seat!

xxxooo

Rita +Mal

Indieterria meets Michael Knowles

We go political!

Michael Knowles blows a kiss towards audience at Drum and Pig pub/music venue on its final night before a temporary closure and management takeover. Worcester, February 25, 2017

Everything`s political as Skunk Anansie song goes. And May issue of Indieterria will be all that and even a bit philosophical.

We are steering back our ship to Worcester shores to introduce you to Michael Knowles – leader of The STDs and one of the most controversial figures in the Midlands. How politically incorrect is Mr Knowles? His new single is called “Theresa May is a cunt” and contains language so strong you may want to dig out your “Cop Killers” and “Straight Outta Comptons” out of the basement instead. We can see you rolling your eyes and ears dear readers. So we will ante up and tell you that besides being potty-mouthed, Michel Knowles has a voice of 4,5 octaves, a pitch perfect hearing and is a trained in music production.

Aha, controversial yet talented – now that is a hard mixture to swallow for some. It is much easier to dismiss musicians and artists as immature and looking for attention when  they are painted as  common nobodies. Much harder to do so when artists are seen as complex humans who have their strengths and exercise the right to freedom of speech.

The current world of pop music has been derived of controversial and outspoken characters to the point that you cant even hear songs on the radio that were in heavy rotation 20 years ago in the middle of the day. Try requesting Nine Inch Nails` Closer nowadays on the radio and see what they will play you.

Indie scene had always a place for counter culture and the obscene and we are happy to report that independent and unsigned artists are stepping in to fill the hole. Shame have fantastic “VISA Vulture” with its libelous video to match, The Blinders paint messages on their guitars and Michael Knowles and The STDs hammer the message nicely from our town.   You may see it as unnecessary and infantile – but we see it a form of balance. Music is broad enough to incorporate Little Mix and The STDs in all their respective popness and cockiness.

Fear not. The interview below is all nice and dandy and you may find out that controversial  figures can have a lot of cleaver things to say. We loved the passion Michael has for his musical heroes. So sit back and read on:

Michael Knowles performing live at Drum and Pig pub/music venue on its final night before a temporary closure and management takeover. Worcester, February 25, 2017

 

Michael Knowles – a stream of consciousness

Technology is a wonderful thing. For example, it allows you to interview artists even late at night from the comfort of your own office. You type the questions into instant messenger and wait for the answers to arrive. Piece of cake. On the downside, technology can`t replicate that old fashioned feeling of excitement that every music journalist feels when meeting a new and promising act in person. And you need to know Michael Knowles surely earned himself a name to be regarded as exciting and controversial in equal measures. He fronts a band called The STD`s, dresses like it`s 1980s and is known for performances that are politically incorrect yet hilariously funny. No journalist would pass  the opportunity to see what makes Michael tick and we are no exception.

This is what we have found out:

Tell us about the band. How many of you and how did you start?

There were only three of us to start with: Steve Church, Dean Thomas Carter and myself. Steve and I had worked together in the past on an album I never released. Dean and I had played together in the house band of The Flag in Worcester (back then known as The Tap). One day we went to this kid`s backyard studio and we all fit really well so we started looking for a bassist as at the start Steve was on guitar.  Over time we’ve had some great musicians join us on – George, James or Tadd. They have come and gone to find new projects. Right now the line up is Steve on bass, The Jack (Tad Jones) on guitar, Dean on drums and myself on vocals. Plus I play guitar too.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

So four guys in a rock and roll band that is nothing like Worcestershire ever seen.

This is true.

You have a very distinct image – very 80s classic rock. On purpose or is it just how you guys roll?

To be honest,  we’ve only really dressed up for gigs a few times but now I mean we don’t really want to have to look through stuff to wear!

So there`s image change on the cards? You know you have already made yourself a name of new Steel Panther in town!

It depends where we shop next (laughs) and really I thought we had the reputation of a noisy bunch.

Noisy yes. But people rather see you as classic rock revival. Quite an interesting twist on David Lee Roth and Poison.

Well, that wasn’t our intention.

What was your intention then?

Just to be noisy and chaotic.

We could add early Alice In Chains to the influences you represent.

There was never really a plan. Still isn’t.

You still evolving sonically?

We’ve got a lot of new stuff in the pipeline. We always do.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

If you were to describe new songs- what would you say? Shall we buy earplugs in advance?

Possibly. There’s  material about some dark times and then whatever we write in the meantime. Plus a concept album.

So no more comic rock and songs about female attributes?

Probably not. But who knows? Let’s face it there’s no plan.

You said that world doesn’t need love songs anymore. That world needs anger.

This is true. I think a lot of anything I’ve written that could be considered “love songs” are usually bitter sweet. With a hint of sarcasm and a lot of anger.

Well, Ledbury Song is very angry but at the same time hilariously funny. You have audience roaring with laughter.

It is less of a song, more of a rant really.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

We don’t know if you agree- but we see your lyrics as a mix of Tenacious D with Morrissey-esque cynical humour and playing with words.

I doubt I could ever be compared to Morrissey. I’m never that poetic (laughs)

The Ledbury Song has the same motif as Everyday Is Like A Sunday:  dislike for a small town that is becoming like a prison for a young person. Moz also wants to bomb the town and he is not poetic about it.

I haven’t heard it but I agree with him.

You come from a small place?

A small town. Small in size and small minded. Hard to be anyone there.

Do you think you would be different if you were born in London?

I’ve been to London and I hate that place. Too big and far too busy. Everyone in a hurry to go nowhere.

So perhaps there`s a positive side of being born in a small town?

I think the point is everyone hates where they are from eventually but it’s always where you call home.

Who would you put in your top 5 artists?

I’d say Tool, Amen, early Slipknot and honestly Trent Reznor and Bill Hicks.

Michael Knowles & The STDs performing live on 14th January 2017 at Marrs Bar
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

Very broad influences.

I just love their attitudes and way of creating. I love how Bill Hicks was born in the religious South yet could deconstruct the archaic institutions that he was thrust into. I love how angry Slipknot were and to a 13 year old outcast they represented hope that you might be a freak but there was a place in this world for you. Amen taught me that record companies are just stupid. Tool taught me the beauty of feedback and how atmosphere can really make the hairs on your neck stand up. And Trent is just the god of chaos in noise.

You talk so poetically about music. You will put Moz out of business one day.

It’s all I have really. My whole life has been music and everything else has come and gone but there was always solace in music.

You sing, write, compose, play instruments – that’s lot of talents.

I see it as separate parts of one whole encompassing thing that is just me.

Where do you think the music will take you or the band?

It’s less about what music can do and more about how far we take it. We’re not looking to be billionaire rock stars with handlers. Our goals are to play every show and know at least half the audience.

And will that be enough?

It was always enough to have fans to grow with than trying to appease the masses.

You can follow Michael Knowles online at:

https://www.facebook.com/MKandSTDs
https://www.instagram.com/michael_knowles21
https://soundcloud.com/michael-knowles-music
https://soundcloud.com/michael-knowles-music/michael-knowles-the-stds

https://www.facebook.com/michael.knowles.5832343

At the beginning of April 2017, Michael Knowles and The STDs began recording of their new material using premises at Marrs Bar in Worcester as a studio. The result is album (that still needs to receive a release date) and a single “Theresa May is a cunt”. You can listen it here:

https://michaelknowlesthestds.bandcamp.com/track/theresa-mays-a-cunt

As we said – you may not agree with the bands sentiments but taking into consideration news item such as: HERE  or HERE, it makes us wonder if the song should not be at least six minutes longer. To act as a vent for the anger and frustration, if not anything else.

 

Our interview with Michael Knowles has been kindly reprinted in Slap Magazine and you can see your copy at the link below:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-69-may-2017.pdf

Or download copy  here:

issue-69-may-2017

Some images for our records if anything else fails:

Slap Magazine feature – May 2017 edition

Photo of the article

Kudos to Andy O`Hare from BBC Hereford & Worcester for allowing us some of his photos.

And if you found this edition of Indieterria too much, bear with us. Next time we are going to the church!

Malicia

**** Update 02/06/2017****

We have awesome news to report. This summer, UK will see a gigantic series of gigs and concerts under banner of “Musicians Against Homelessness”. This initiative was started in 2016 by legendary A&R and founder of Creation Records – Alan McGee. Its aim is simple – to gather funds for Crisis, charity that helps fight homelessness.

Literary everyone involved in the initiative works/plays for free (that includes us as well)  and every penny raised is passed to Crisis. One of MAH events will take part in Hereford at the legendary Booth Hall (Never been? You have only yourself to blame) on July 8th as part of Hereford Punk Festival. If you are in the area, please come down and have fun because Rich Lovell and Minky Cuadra of Underground Revolution did pure magic and got together two sets of pure punk, rock and poetry madness.

Hereford Punk Festival – line up in aid of Crisis

Hereford Punk Festival – MAH event just looks incredible

Michael Knowles is obviously on the bill and that will be just a fantastic opportunity to listen to his new material tested on the stage. He will not play lullabies, we warn you.

If you want  to learn more, here are some links worth checking:

Musicians Against Homelessness
https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

The Booth Hall
https://www.facebook.com/TheBoothHallHereford

Rich Lovell
https://www.facebook.com/rich.lovell.37

Minky Cuadra
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010293331172

Underground Revolution
https://www.facebook.com/groups/undergroundrevolution/

Crisis
https://www.crisis.org.uk/

 

Oh and STD`s album launch happens one month before  the gig in Hereford on June  9th at Marrs Bars in Worcester. So get your copy and you will be set up for sing a-long. It will be also one day after the snap elections, so you know 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/events/1786676631644926/

Humor is the devil`s friend – album cover

The STDs in all their glory

 

Xxxooo
Rita+Mal

Indieterria meets Jodie Hughes

Indieterria meets Jodie Hughes

Transmission.
Photo by Dominika Marchewka
https://www.facebook.com/a7xf0rlife

Another month, another  edition of Indieterria and we just discovered a real gem worth telling you about. So far we concentrated on bands, but this time around we will profile a solo artist (even if she is part of a band as well).  After all – variety is the spice of life.

We are beyond excited to bring you this interview . Jodie Hughes is unique: hip and mysterious, outgoing, intellectual, artistic and she`s also a polymath (person who is knowledgeable in various disciplines).  She may be very young but, as you will soon discover, she had done in her time more than a lot of us. And she is just getting started.

Jodie Hughes – In a league of her own.

In the world where artists document their entire lives on social media, Jodie Hughes goes against the current. Her online presence is minimal, she scrupulously avoids the spotlight, values education more than fame and releases her music exclusively in form of home-made demos. In the same time, she is a multi-instrumentalist (playing piano, keyboards, synths, bass, ukulele and guitar), avid busker, alumni of Worcester School of Rock, one of the youngest participants of Worcester Music Festival (she was  fifteen when she performed in 2015 to a full house) and  recently she supported  the hottest acts on indie scene – Anteros and The Assist.

We just knew that we had to interview Jodie . Not every day you meet such a diverse, young artist.

Jodie on stage
Photo by Rebecca Warr
https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.warr.7

As a singer and songwriter, your presence on local scene is strong, yet you remain mysterious and elusive. I know you fiercely guard your privacy and allow little information to appear online. By your own words, what  should be known about Jodie Huges as an artist and musician?

I have a very wide variety of influences and I like a little mystery! I’m very fussy about my original songs, they have to be perfect for me to share them.

You recently opened Independent Music Week event in Worcester by supporting such accomplished acts as The Assist and Anteros. What is your reflection of the night?

I really enjoyed it!! It was a fantastic opportunity and Independent  Music Week is brilliant for reminding people of some of the great venues that are out there. I’m very honoured to have been a part of it!

Slap Magazine described you previously as possessing “beautifully melodic vocals”, others drew comparisons to Amy McDonald, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star and Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine. Do you regard such praises as a compliment or unnecessary pressure?

I like hearing other people’s opinions of my music, I like learning different people’s interpretations!  I definitely see it as a compliment to be compared to such successful artists and it sometimes introduces me to new artists too!

You are being likened to Hope Sandoval also because of your unusual artistic strategy: occasional gigs instead of regular performances, busking around with no prior announcements, no demos or EPs being released. Are you waging this musical guerrilla to keep audience on their toes? 

Mostly it’s due to time constraints, it’s often difficult to balance time spent on music with college work, especially at this time of year! I definitely try to keep my music going in some form, be it writing or busking, alongside working – it’s healthy to have something separate to focus on as a break from college work.  I’m hoping to work more intensely on writing and hopefully more gigs over the summer after exams though! Plus it’s always fun to keep people guessing!!!

Jodie performing during Worcester Music Festival 2016
Photo by Rebecca Warr
https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.warr.7

Your SoundClound account is filled by original compositions and covers of eclectic artists like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Neighbourhood. You seem to enjoy confusing anyone who tries to squeeze you into a box.

I’ve always had a wide range of music tastes – I don’t think I could put myself into any box really! I’ve had phases where I’ve taken a particular type of music, like pop punk or indie, and tried to solely fit myself into that one genre, but there’s just so much out there it’s good to discover what else there is! My band do sometimes covers of many different artists – Fleetwood Mac, REM, Erasure and Beyonce to name a few.  Over the years I’ve discovered so many great artists from so many genres, I encourage everyone else to do the same.

We are intrigued by one of your original pieces  – “Don’t talk to me about death”. There is a line in the middle that goes “keep pretending that you`ll be my Kurt Cobain”. You sound almost furious in that track. Is it based on personal experience?

The song is based on a particular person – or I suppose a particular type of person – who tried to create a persona based on self-pity and trying to appear deep and meaningful through cynicism.  The Kurt Cobain reference was in relation to this idea of appearing a certain way and glorifying and romanticizing mental illness, which is often done by the media regarding celebrities such as Kurt Cobain. The idea of trying to be negative just to appear a certain way, and almost making a mockery out of mental illness by using it as an accessory, seemed so ridiculous to me, it felt necessary to voice my feelings on it somehow.

Jodie performing with her signature guitar.
Photo by Lissywitch
https://www.facebook.com/LissywitchPhoto/

Another track worth mentioning is “Mixtapes And Metaphors” – a love song with incredibly clever lyrics. As a song writer what is more important to you – composing of music or having a story to tell?

I think it’s a bit of both – they can work quite well together actually. I like intricacy, it’s something I’ve been trying to work on more by remodelling some of my old songs and adding more subtle details.  I personally find writing lyrics very difficult, so I think I generally prefer the composing and storytelling through the other parts of the song. I am hoping to improve my lyric-writing though! I find some songs with such detail and little lyrics sometimes work better (like The 1975’s song “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”).

Besides being a musician, you are also a skilled painter. You design all covers to your demos. Can we expect any exhibitions from you in the future?

That’d definitely be something I’d like to do one day! I’ve been experimenting with what subject matter I like to work with recently – animals and flowers have been fun to study.  Similarly to my music, it’s nice to have something to do as a break from work, and having stopped studying art at college I’ve been able to experiment more at my own pace and in my own style.

You are currently working towards a degree in law and philosophy. Do you think it is obligatory for musicians these days to have a proper education alongside their artistic endeavors?

It’s a matter of choice really.  I know some great musicians who are going to do degrees in music tech, which is a really good option for them.  I personally chose to go down a path not related to music so that I can enjoy lots of different things – Law is a subject that I really enjoy studying, whereas things like music and art I prefer to have more freedom over, and the option to pick it up as and when I have the inspiration.  I’ve personally found it harder to work creatively under time constraints. However if that works for other musicians that’s great for them!  I think everyone should consider what would be best for them in the long run, but that may be a music-based career/education for some people.

We know you prefer to take your audience by surprise. But what should we expect from Jodie Hughes in the months or years to come?

I’m hoping to go a bit more electronic maybe.  I’ve been looking into getting hold of an Akai Miniak – my dad has two he uses for gigs  and there’s so much you can do with them.  That’s definitely something I’m interested in.  Again, I’m hoping to have more time to write and record more after exams, perhaps re-recording some of my old songs and updating them a bit.  Who knows, I may even start new projects while I’m at university!

Focused, fiercely independent and always looking for new artistic endeavours, Jodie Hughes has no match on local music scene. She has created a whole league of her own.

****

Jodie Hughes – Mixtapes and Metaphors (EP review)

Mixtapes and Metaphors
EP cover

“Mixtapes and Metaphors” is a digital EP or a collection of home recordings that Jodie released between 2015 and 2017. It contains the following original compositions: Angel Statue, Crazy Scientist, Don’t Talk To Me About Death, Small Talks, unfinished version of New Years and the title track Mixtapes and Metaphors.  Each song is accompanied by a mysterious drawing, often a study of animals, human faces or natura morta.  Most tracks can be qualified into singer/songwriter category bringing comparisons with Amy McDonald or Courtney Barnett.  Don’t Talk to Me about Death stands out thanks to very personal lyrics and angry vocals, while Angel Statue incorporates keyboards, samples and has a vivid shoegaze feel to it, including distorted vocals that make Jodie Hughes sound eerily like Belinda Butcher. Somebody please call Creation Records!

On April 14th, Jodie released a new demo – Lake Water (Blue) – this time playing with synthesizers and electronica.

We thought you would like to see the covers of Jodie`s demos. They are spectacular.

Don`t talk to me about death cover

Crazy Scientist cover

Lake Water (Blue) cover

Angel Statue cover.
(word of advice -Don`t blink!)

You can read this interview (in a shorter form) in the April 2017 issue of Slap Magazine:

Interview with Jodie in April edition of Slap Mag

Page 2 of the interview printed in Slap Mag (April 2017)

Online version of the magazine can be found here:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-68-april-2017.pdf

or you can download the file directly from here:

issue-68-april-2017

You can follow Jodie Hughes using the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/jodiehughesmusic
http://www.worcestermusicfestival.co.uk/bands/Jodie-Hughes/
https://soundcloud.com/jodiehughesmusicandstuff
https://twitter.com/JodieHMusic

****

Independent Venue Week 2017 

Ad for UNCOVER – club night organized every month in Worcester at the Marrs Bar. This was launching night on 26.01.2017 to celebrate Independent Venue Week

Last week of January is usually dedicated to independent music venues across the country.  Worcester is a home to Marrs Bar, which is both proudly independent and ran with the local music scene in mind. On 26th January 2017, Marrs Bar hosted an opening night of UNCOVER – a local club night, while simultaneously taking part in Independent Venue Week.

UNCOVER invited some esteemed guests to play in Worcester: Anteros and Rhythm Method (London) and  The Assist (Birmingham). Jodie has been invited to represent home town scene and opened the night with a semi acoustic set.

Flyer advertising club night UNCOVER with Jodie on the bill.

It is always fun to see the jaws drop when Jodie enters the stage and beings to sing. If the audience expects a clone of Taylor Swift or Duffy belting out covers, then they are in for big disappointment.  Jodie presented a set consisting of her own tunes with occasional rendition of a song by The Neighbourhood. And she sang in such a passion and verve  like she headlined John Peel Stage at Glasto.  The audience had goose bumps and once again comparisons to Bilinda Butcher were uttered in whispers. And we won`t be lying to tell you that we have seen people leave the venue after seeing Jodie and The Assist. They did not even wait for the main act!

Jodie Hughes on stage at Marrs Bar opening for The Assist and Anteros.

Jodie opening Independent Venue Week with her performance at the Marrs Bar on 26.01.2017

After her mesmerizing set, Jodie was compared to both Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and Bilinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)

We at Vanadian Avenue thought that such a successful debut called for a celebration. Or at least a present. Few days before the gig, we framed the poster and  handed it to Jodie once she came off stage. Here she is holding the poster with her name on it. A small memento of her big night.

Jodie posing with poster with her name on it. Framed poster was presented to her as memento.

You can see the review of the gig at Slap magazine:

Review of UNCOVER in Slap Magazine

 

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-66-february-2017.pdf

Or you can download the file here:

issue-66-february-2017

We hope that you have enjoyed this issue of Indieterria and we will surely come back to update you on Jodie`s future plans and gigs.

Ta,

Malicia/Rita

 ****Update 30/06/2017****

Tickets for Battle of The Bands at the Worcester Rugby Club, 23rd June 2017

Flyer for the event

All you good, good people – listen to us. Time has come to introduce you to The Lightweights, a project where Jodi Hughes plays guitar and shares vocal duties. We have mentioned the band before, but in our interview we wanted to focus on Jodie alone.

Now, that we have seen The Lightweights live, we can put our stamp of approval  on them and encourage you to catch them on stage if you have a chance.

The Lightweights are a quartet consisting of Alex Russell (drums), Fiona Berry (rhythm guitar), Jodie Hughes (vox, lead guitar) and Euan Richardson (vox, bass).

The Lightweights on stage

Jodie Huges and Euan Richardson – opposites attract

We had a real pleasure to see Lightweights during The Battle of The Bands at the Worcester Rugby Club on 23rd July 2017 and they made an impact all right. Performing as a trio (Fiona Berry is on sabbatical), the band  is a very contemporary twist on American college rock, combining energy of Hole with harmonies and dynamics of Veruca Salt as Jodie and Euan take turns at the microphone. The youngest of the lot Alex (he is just 14) kept the perfect rhythm and it seemed so effortless for him. It is hard not to compare Euan to legendary bass woman Kristen Pfaff – with her dark flowing hair and elaborate stage outfit.  She and Jodie contrast and yet complete each other. Lack of second guitarist was felt, but it did not slow the band at all. We can only hope Fiona will return shortly so we can enjoy The Lightweights in their full line up.

Euan Richardson of The Lightweights

Jodie Hughes of The Lightweights

He bangs the drum – Alex Russell of The Lightweights

We grabbed some merch (pins and mirrors) from the band and count the night to be a perfect one.

Pin and mirror

Merch (front)

You can follow The Lightweights are the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/TheLightweightsBand/
https://www.instagram.com/thelightweightsband/

M/R

 ****Update 03/07/2017****

Worcester Carnival Flyer

We will return to The Lightweights for a moment as we managed to catch them live on July 1st 2017 as part of the Worcester Carnival and as usual they were stunning.  Jodie, Alex and Euan opened the stage dedicated to Worcester School of Rock and delivered 45 minutes show  despite scorching heat. Those kids may be young, but they are professional to the core. Rain, shine, 37 degrees in the shade – doesn’t matter. The band will play and the crowd will have a lot of fun.

The Lightweights at Worcester Carnival

If you haven’t heard of Worcester School of Rock and Performance before, then listen carefully – because this organisation has been operating in town for twenty years. They hold music courses for anyone between eight and eighteen and coach young musicians to be able to perform on stage as part of a – yes, you guessed it – rock band. Young artists not only learn their craft, but also polish their stage presence and get to know how to co-operate in a group. You don’t have to end up being new Rolling Stones but the skills acquired at the school will be useful thought your adult life. Nothing beats creativity and willingness to work with others.

Worcester Carnival performance by The Lightweights

The school  has regular shows at Marrs Bar (our prime venue in town), Mapp Fest and several other music events though out the year. If you feel like joining – please use the links below.  And the coolest news of the day is that on July 14th – WSRP will hold a gig at Marrs Bar and guess who is on the bill.

The Lightweights performing for Worcester Carnival on July 1st 2017

Yep The Lightweights will be rocking out and we have cameras at the ready. So expect another update to this blog. We can`t get enough of Jodie, Alex and Euan. To see them live, pleasure and privilege is ours.

Twenty years of Worcester School of Rock!

https://www.facebook.com/W.S.R.P.worcester
http://www.wsrp.co.uk/

M/R

Indieterria meets The Fidgets

Hello Dear Music Explorers,

The Fidgets are not worse than Lisa Loeb. They have some fashionable glasses as seen in the band`s logo

Indieterria has retreated to more familiar waters . Once a month we will be giving exposure to a local artist from music scene in Worcester- acts that we believe have original sound, work hard and bring something new to the sonic table. First on our list are The Fidgets – jangle pop duo that may put our city on a musical map quicker than you are able to say Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Mixing influences ranging from The Beatles, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones to The Kinks and The Byrds, The Fidgets begin where Cast and The LA`s have left in the 90s. That makes them unique on the whole indie scene at the moment.  The newest act with similar sound are The No-Ones (project that  includes Peter Buck of REM), so you can see how high is the bar for Max and Ryan.

Not only we sat with The Fidgets for an interview, but also got to hear their new single.  We tell you – this town has some amazing scene and we are here to chronicle it!

Move along people – much to see below!

Max and Ryan photographed by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

From buskers to cathedral town heroes

These days, it is hard to imagine the High Street in Worcester without two distinctive figures busking around. With their signature glasses on,  guitars in hands and voices in perfect unison – The Fidgets have become an important feature in Worcester.  A ray of hope to put the town back on a music map. With a vision and passion, The Fidgets cultivate pop melodies and vocal harmonies placing themselves in a league on their own on an indie scene saturated with noise and postpunk rebellion. We`ve met the band to see what they have got in store for 2017.

You are one of the most prolific bands in West Midlands at the moment. But for those who may not be familiar with your history, please introduce yourselves.

Hi! We’re The Fidgets!! The two of us – that would be Ryan Skidmore and Max Stockin – met in 2012 when Max answered an ad placed by Ryan on http://www.joinmyband.com for musicians inspired by ‘60s pop music, and especially The Beatles. We played live for the first time in March 2013 (coming up for four years!) and we’ve played God knows how many times since then – the 500th gig was early last year.

Your music is a mix of classic rock, blues, northern soul and mod revival. Quite unusual for today`s pop music climate. Who are your sonic heroes?

The Beatles, of course! Everything comes back to them, it’s been nothing short of an obsession for years! Around that, our influences are really varied, we both love ‘50s and ‘60s pop in general and the two of us each have our own little avenues. Max is very into Blues and Country music, he’s a big fan of Teddy Thompson, and he’s a huge fan of Chuck Berry. Ryan is a very big fan of modern pop and is currently very much into The 1975 and Ed Sheeran. We both love loads of stuff, but the bulk of our influence definitely comes from the ‘60s.

Looking into the future.
photography by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

The band seems to be moving on up at incredible speed. Your first EP (“I`m Alright”) came out in 2015 to local acclaim and well attended gigs . You followed last year with another EP “Its Only You” and immediately were invited to do BBC Introducing session. It must have been a quite an experience.

I suppose things are moving a bit fast! It never looks that way from the inside, you don’t have time to think about it, everything just goes by in a bit of a blur, it’s only when you look back that you realize what you’ve done. 2016 was big for us! We did a handful of things for the BBC which was exciting! Of course, The Introducing session was fantastic, and the crowd at the Christmas Lights Switch-On was amazing.

BBC Hereford & Worcester placed you at no 7 of the best bands for 2017. Slap Magazine previously described your music as “brilliant”. With such a strong support from local audience and the press, The Fidgets truly are on a brink of better things to come. Does the band feel it too?

Honestly we don’t know what’s going to happen! It definitely feels like things are getting bigger now, but we’ve been in the game a lot longer than anyone remember us for! We’re very excited for the future, but we try not to get cocky!

Recently Worcester News ran a controversial article about new busking scheme to be introduced in town, placing you on the front cover of the paper. Are you getting used to attention?

Definitely, yeah. We’ve been well known around Worcester since the tail end of 2015 and it’s rare for us to go out without being recognized now. It has really picked up recently though! Around Christmas time we were chased through Crowngate Shopping Center by a teenager and her mum for a signed CD and a hug! That kind of thing is getting quite common. It’s brilliant, but it hasn’t stopped being strange!

Worcester News with The Fidgets on the cover,
Every publicity is good publicity

Sometimes you expand for your performances. Would you tell us about the musicians you work with?

We’ve put together a backing band! Dave Whittaker, our bassist, was a friend socially first, we saw each other a lot at the Marr’s Bar on Wednesday open mic nights and he’s a great player. He was the natural choice. Our drummer Jack Bowles went to Sixth Form with Ryan in Bromsgrove, and Ryan had his eye on him from a band even before he was in one. He’s amazing.

Gracing the covers. The Fidgets in Slap Magazine
Cover photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Your new single “Everywhere I Go” comes out in March. It will be accompanied by a video. Can you tell us more about it?

We’ve had to put off the release of the single until later in the month unfortunately (technical difficulties!) We shot the video around the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, and we’ve just had a first full draft come through as we speak. We’re very proud of it, it’s a big step up from what we’ve done before and it’s the first of our videos to feature anyone other than ourselves.

The band has been teasing big things to come in 2017. What should we expect? New material? Festival appearances?

Well, we can’t give away too much I’m afraid! But 2017 is already looking like a big one. Yes there will definitely be new material with an EP being released in May and yes we are already booked in for festivals in the summer at Mello Festival and Severn Sounds Festival on the main stage and there’s guaranteed to be more confirmed soon. Watch this space!

Slap Magazine cover
Photo by Josh Foster
Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You have also been involved in collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company. Can you disclose any details about this project?

Ah we’re very happy to be a part of it! I’d love to tell you what it is but I don’t have a copy of our contract handy and it’s possible we’ve been sworn to secrecy! Besides, we don’t like to spoil our surprises. When there’s something to know, you’ll know!

The Fidgets went from busking to heroes of a cathedral city. Where do you see yourself in the years to come?

Heroes is a bit strong, but thank you very much! We’re very proud of where we’ve got to already and things can only get better in the future! We’ve got all sorts of big ambitions but everyone knows if you tell wishes they don’t come true!! Just keep an eye on the charts and we’ll see what happens shall we? We like big dreams. Unrealistic is our thing!

Eager to prove themselves but playing cards to their chest – The Fidgets are on their way into promising future. With a new release, a single, home coming gigs and an upcoming festival season – they cannot fail. Here`s to the boys that sing.

***

The Fidgets  – “Everywhere I Go” (single review)

The cover for Everywhere I go single, photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Worcestershire based duo, The Fidgets are releasing their new single “Everywhere I Go” this month. SLAP magazine was lucky to hear it first and we can report that this melodious, 60’s inspired love song is going to be a new fan favorite.

“Everywhere I go” opens up a new chapter in the bands history, proving that The Fidgets have evolved and matured considerably since their last release “It’s only you” in 2016 and became a truly unique, pure-blooded rock and roll act deserving their place on the BBC Hereford and Worcestershire list of bands to look out for this year.

The mid tempo, Beatlesque three minute single is filled with perfect harmonies, catchy riffs and will undoubtedly have the crowds swinging and singing along. It also has a distinctive Northern vibe to it, with Max Stockin sounding eerily similar to  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Fans of classic rock, The LA’s and The Cast will have a chance to catch The Fidget rocking the Marrs Bar on March 17th.

Banner for the single release on Spotify

The single is accompanied by obligatory music video:

If you are on Spotify, listen here:

 

***

 

The Fidgets in full line up with Jack Bowles and Young-Dave Whittaker recording a session for BBC Introducing 18.09.2016

If you wan to follow The Fidgets – please use these links:

http://www.thefidgets.com/
https://soundcloud.com/the-fidgets
https://www.facebook.com/thefidgetsband
https://twitter.com/TheFidgets
https://www.instagram.com/the_fidgets/

Part of the band`s charm are the session musicians that support Max and Ryan on stage: drummer Jack Bowler (EMPYRE/Willow Robinson) and  Young-Dave Whittaker. This rhythm section is so powerful, they are locally nicknamed as Worcester`s own  Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce.  Kid you not.  Many a band lined up to work with Dave and Jack but to no avail. Max and Ryan know that you should never change a winning team.

You can follow Young-Dave and  Jack below:

https://www.facebook.com/jack.bowles.520
https://www.facebook.com/youngdave.whittaker

 

Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

 

Slap Magazine interview (page two)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You can  see this interview in Slap Magazine for March 2017

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-67-march-2017.pdf

or you can download the copy here:

issue-67-march-2017

That`s all from us for now. We hope you had fun reading.

Mal/Rita

****Update 18.03.2017****

It`s their party and they can rock if they want to!

We have written on our blog before that The Fidgets were to headline a home coming gig on March 17th at Marrs Bar in Worcester. What we have not mentioned to the band is that we planned to treat them to an unexpected cake-and-candles party. See, both Ryan and Max celebrate their bday within one week from each other and it was just too good not to use this opportunity.  So Vanadian Avenue ventured to the gig armed with two huge chocolate torts, candles, napkins, lighters, paper trays and a spatula.

The Fidgets took their headlining duties very seriously and  delivered 1,5 h set filled with their original material and covers. Guests came on stage to join the band for certain performances and the entire audience had a wonderful time, one by one slipping into the darkest corner of the venue to sign cards for the birthday boys.

When the last song came to an end  cakes were brought on to the stage and signed cards were handed. Max and Ryan had each a chance to blow the candles and make a wish.  Each member of the public was given a piece of the chocolate tort (you should always bring a spatula to the party) and the audience roared an out of tune birthday song.  Top night. Some pictures for you to enjoy below:

The Fidgets perform at Marrs Bar on March 17th 2017

Performance ends with a bow

Cakes!

Make a wish

Till the next time kids. We are off to find some alka seltzer.

Mal/Rita

The Reading Hour – 12 (un)easy questions for Primadonna Angela

Selamat datang!

Welcome back to The Reading Hour! Sorry guys for not posting anything new in this column for so long, but we were quite busy with other stuff, mostly traveling to fascinating places and attending various events. Today, we have  something truly sensational for you, and we really mean it.  As far as we are concerned, nobody has ever done this thing before us and we are absolutely proud of ourselves!

Firstly, if you have missed previous editions of The Reading Hour, please use the links below to read interviews with superb authors like Nathan P Butler – Star Wars Community guru, and Jana Oliver – one of the most successful authors of YA fiction out there!

Interview with Nathan P Butler:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-nathan-p-butler/

Interview with Jana Oliver:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-jana-oliver/

Today’s issue of The Reading Hour is a very special one. By the popular demand, we have decided to report on Helen Stringer again. Helen has been featured on our blog twice already and it seems our readers just cannot get enough! Lots of things have changed since we last spoken to the lovely British author –  Helen’s independently published book “Paradigm” has been given a Silver Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award in Teen: Fiction (13–18 Years) category (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/ibpa-announces-benjamin-franklin-independent-book-awards/), she is working on several new projects including an online series named The Gloaming and third book in the beloved Spellbinder series.

Talking about Belladonna Johnson, she is now a global citizen! She has left her native England and went on to become a true sensation in France, Germany, Italy and now in Indonesia! Yes, you have heard it correctly – “The Last Ghost” is now known as “Sang Pengikat Mantra (Spellbinder)”.  How fantastic is that!

Please read the previous articles about Helen:

Interview with Helen Stringer:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-reading-hour-helen-stringer/

A Day with Helen Stringer:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/a-day-with-helen-stringer/

Thanks to the kindness of  Indonesian publisher of the book, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, we have sat down with the esteemed translator, editor and popular writer in her own right, Primadonna Angela to have a little chat. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to her – she is witty, funny and fascinating, all at once. Talking to Donna (as she prefers to be called) opened our eyes to the thriving Indonesian book market. Millions of books sold, thousands of dedicated fans, countless online book clubs and  social media groups dedicated to the newly punished titles. Indonesia has many talented writers, yet only handful of books are being released in the western world. Let’s hope that Helen will lead the revolution! And we cannot wait for Primadonna’s books being translated into English. Common British publishers, that’s the perfect opportunity for you. Remember, the bloggers are always right – we can find true gems long before you can 🙂

Primadonna Angela  - official portrait

Primadonna Angela – official portrait

Official bio:

Call her Donna or Angela, she might respond with a smile. This Indonesian writer divides her time juggling to make ends meet, writing, balancing her attention between her partner (Isman H. Suryaman) and children, managing the household, and of course, occasionally sipping earl grey tea to keep her sane. She has written twenty books so far, popular fiction, in Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU). Her newest book, How to be a Writer, was published in March 2012. Her passion for new experiences propels her to seek new chances to meet more people. Enthused for fresh inspirations, she longs to join multicultural events, collecting data and broadening her horizon.  She claims to be unique, independent and strong. She dreams and imagines a lot. “But what is love, and what is life, if you do not let yourself live?”

Please enjoy the first ever English language interview conducted with this immensely talented writer! Primadonna is not only an author of excellent books for young adults and female readers, she has also translated numerous foreign books into Indonesian including Laini Taylor’s best selling series “Dari Asap dan Tulang” (“Daughter of Smoke & Bone” #1), “Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, “Pesta Prom dari Neraka” (“Prom Nights from Hell”) by Stephanie Meyer and many many others.

————————————————————

The Reading Hour – 12 (un)easy questions for Primadonna Angela 

Primadonna Angela

Primadonna Angela

Vanadian Avenue: Who is Primadonna Angela? Please introduce yourself to Vanadian Avenue readers.

Primadonna Angela: Hello. I am a full time mom and freelance writer/translator/editor from Indonesia. In my spare time (when I have any!) I like cooking, doing crafts, and traveling.

Vanadian Avenue: Tell us how did you become involved in translating Helen Stringer’s popular young adult novel?

Primadonna Angela: An editor in Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU) asked me whether I was interested in editing (the first four-five chapters) and translating the rest of this book. She was teasing me, I think. She knew I’d be interested. I love the cover and the premise. I agreed right away.

Vanadian Avenue: “Sang Pengikat Mantra (Spellbinder)” has been released by Gramedia Pustaka Utama and we need to admit that it looks simply beautiful. How long have you been working with them?

 

Helen Stringer's book was released in April 2014 in Indonesia! The full title is "Spellbinder Sang Pengikat Mantra"                                                                    You can purchase Indonesian version here: http://www.gramediaonline.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=876554 English version is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Spellbinder-Helen-Stringer/dp/B008D6Y450/

Helen Stringer’s book was released in April 2014 in Indonesia! The full title is “Spellbinder Sang Pengikat Mantra”
You can purchase Indonesian version here:
http://www.gramediaonline.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=876554
English version is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/Spellbinder-Helen-Stringer/dp/B008D6Y450/

Primadonna Angela: I’ve been working with GPU since 2005, when I published my first book. In 2007, I began translating and editing for them.

Vanadian Avenue: You have not only translated “Spellbinder” from English into Indonesian but also served as the book’s editor. Was it hard to translate a British book so it could be understood by Indonesian readers? Was there any particular part of the book that gave you a lot of trouble?

Primadonna Angela: I think the book was easy and fun enough to translate. I had some difficulties in translating Sibyl’s prophecy, because it should be poetic and yet include clues for Belladonna’s quest.

Vanadian Avenue:  Translators sometimes take liberty when approaching a book. This happens often to fantasy literature. French version of Harry Potter moved entire action to France. Some international translations of The Hobbit implied that Middle-earth was located in Ireland. Spellbinder takes place in the United Kingdom. Did you keep the original location or names? Wasn’t it tempting to give Belladonna an Indonesian passport and spice the story a bit with some local flavour?

Primadonna Angela: Definitely not. Indonesia and UK are very different. The location is still in UK, with original names. If Belladonna was Indonesian, the storyline would be changed dramatically. An Indonesian girl would behave and think differently.

Vanadian Avenue: The world of Bella is full of mystical creatures, magic spells and artifacts with strange names (like a sword called Rod of Gram). Some things will be lost in translation, especially when the public may not be familiar with British culture or folk tales. How did you solve this ultimate dilemma?

"Kotak Mimpi" released on 29th July 2013.  Meet Larissa Isabella, a singer/song writer extraordinaire.  Left at the altar years ago by her former fiance, Patrick, Larissa concentrated on her career with music producer Arya. But when Patrick  asks Larissa to write him a song for his new love, Noreen,  Larissa is dragged into the past she thought she left behind. And who is responsible for publishing online compromising pictures of her? Pictures she  doesn't recognize and  with a man she doesn't remember!  You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kotak-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/9792297774

“Kotak Mimpi” released on 29th July 2013. Meet Larissa Isabella, a singer/song writer extraordinaire. Left at the altar years ago by her former fiance Patrick, Larissa concentrated on her career with music producer Arya. But when Patrick asks Larissa to write him a song for his new love Noreen, Larissa is dragged into the past she thought she left behind. And who is responsible for publishing online compromising pictures of her? Pictures she doesn’t recognize and with a man she doesn’t even remember! You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kotak-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/9792297774

Primadonna Angela: I just translated it as is. I hope Indonesian readers, upon reading about Rod of Gram and other things, would be intrigued enough to at least Google some information about British culture and folk tales.

Vanadian Avenue:  Every reader (and every translator!) has a favourite character. Whose team are you on: Belladonna’s, Steve’s or maybe Doctor Ashe’s?

Primadonna Angela: Actually, I am Team Elsie. She might seem annoying and too perky, but I find her refreshing. You can say that perhaps I see a part of myself in her.

Vanadian Avenue: “Spellbinder” is the first book in Belladonna Johnson Adventure series. The second book is entitled “Midnight Gate” and Helen Stringer just recently started writing a third one. If the Indonesian edition proves to be successful, are you willing to translate others installments as well?

Primadonna Angela: Yes, of course. It would be fun to immerse myself in Belladonna’s universe again and again.

Vanadian Avenue: You are a popular writer yourself! Your official Good Reads profile mentions that you have published many young adult and girls novels to critical acclaim. Are your books available in English?

Primadonna Angela: Unfortunately, no. All of my stories are in Indonesian. However, I did put two or three English short stories in one of my short story collection.

"Pojok Lavender", published on April 22nd 2013.  Welcome to the Lavender Cafe! The best place in town for a hot chocolate, a slice of cake, new friendships, quarrels, heartbreak and romance.  Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon and Cherry - four young women, four stories, four lives entwined and one place, the Lavender Cafe.  Order your copy here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17623169-pojok-lavender

“Pojok Lavender”, published on April 22nd 2013. Welcome to the Lavender Cafe! The best place in town for a hot chocolate, a slice of cake, new friendships, quarrels, heartbreak and romance. Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon and Cherry – four young women, four stories, four lives entwined in a single place, the Lavender Cafe. Order your copy here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17623169-pojok-lavender

Vanadian Avenue: First love, compassion, fighting against the odds and finding one’s way in the world are recurring themes in your books. Where do you find inspiration for your novels?

Primadonna Angela: This might sound cliché, but it’s true. Inspirations might come from anything. And also from my own (and my friends’) personal struggles. Sometimes I had this dream and I wrote it down. Then once or twice I overheard a conversation that piqued my interest. Maybe I read a book or some news, and I thought, hey, what if… supposing this happened like that, what would happen? See, when you’re a writer, you develop this habit of filtering whatever you hear/taste/feel/see/smell into into ideas for your stories. I am lucky because I have a very trustworthy idea/writing buddy. His name is isman h. suryaman (he prefers his name to be written this way, like e.e. cummings) and he is my partner in life. He is also a writer and whenever we banter and exchange words, I am bound to get an inspiration or two. A bit about my reason to write. I was not a popular teenager. I considered myself a bit reclusive and melancholic. I had a difficult time growing up. I was different. When you are a teen, I guess you have this need to conform and be a part of the group. I never felt that I belonged anywhere. Books became my consolation. I read to escape, and to heal myself. I became a better person, more relaxed and fun, because of books. I believe in the cycle of life. I took, now is my turn to give. By writing for teenagers and young adults, I hope to humor and instill hope to them. This is just a phase, reach your dreams when you can, and believe me, things will be better if you strive for better future.

"Dunia Aradia", second edition. First Published in 2009 and published again on  May 26th 2014 by Grasindo. You can order copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Aradia-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/602251519X

“Dunia Aradia”, second edition. First Published in 2009 and re-published again on May 26th 2014 by Grasindo. You can order copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Aradia-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/602251519X

"Dunia Aradia" back cover. The title can be translated as  "Aradia's World".  This is a tale of a modern day witch who tries to maintain two separate lives: the one among humans where she works as a translator and the supernatural one as the Queen of the Witches. Soon she will have to make an ultimate sacrifice, but is she ready to do it?

“Dunia Aradia” back cover. The title can be translated as “Aradia’s World”. This is a tale of a modern day witch who tries to maintain two separate lives: the one among humans where she works as a translator and the supernatural one as the Queen of the Witches. Soon she will have to make an ultimate sacrifice, but is she ready to do it?

Vanadian Avenue: Indonesian book market seems to be huge. Internet groups dedicated to new releases have thousands of members yet only few Indonesian novels are available to Europeans readers. Can you name any authors that we should be on the look out for? What books in your opinions should be translated into English?

Primadonna Angela: I recommend reading books written by Ahmad Tohari. He writes about regular Indonesians and their dilemmas. His works are rich in local flavor. I believe Agustinus Wibowo’s books should be translated into English. He writes about his experiences abroad, in remote and difficult places like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. His books are about journey and self-discovery.

Vanadian Avenue: Any plans for the future? What are you working on now? Is there anything you’d like to tell your new European fans?

Primadonna Angela: My plan is to write more manuscripts! I have been planning to write books for children and perhaps a recipe book or two, but they are long-term projects. Right now, I am revising my newest manuscript (a fiction about friendship between an Indonesian and a Japanese), writing another book (marketed for adults), translating a book, editing a YA fantasy book, and reading proof for a YA fantasy book. I hope one day I’ll be able to write a book that European readers will enjoy!

Vanadian Avenue: Thank you very, very much for answering all those questions!

Primadonna Angela: Thank you as well 🙂

"QuertyPita" published in 2007, 2012 and recently on 15th of May 2014.  Two worlds collide: Querty is a world famous musician who wishes he was poor. Pita is a struggling young artist and she wishes to be rich. One fateful day to fall in love and a whole world of music and problems! Based on a real story (Donna's parents!)   Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Query-Pita-Indonesian-Primadonna-Angela/dp/979223392X

“QuertyPita” first published in 2007, 2012 and recently re-published on 15th of May 2014. Two worlds collide: Querty is a world famous musician who wishes he was poor. Pita is a struggling young artist and she wishes to be rich. One fateful day to fall in love and a whole world of music and problems! Based on a true story (Donna’s parents!) Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Query-Pita-Indonesian-Primadonna-Angela/dp/979223392X

 

Useful links:

Helen:

Official site: http://helenstringer.net/site.html
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/hcstringer
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoQSE7pU1jrLmn93L1L8Smg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hcstringer
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Stringer/e/B001JSFBY2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1463193.Helen_Stringer

Primadonna:

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/primadonnaangela
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/cinnamoncherry
Official Twitter fan-club (aka “Angeliers”): https://twitter.com/angeliers_id 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/621891.Primadonna_Angela
Wikipedia entry (in Indonesian): http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primadonna_Angela
Donna’s official blog (in English): http://vervain.blogspot.co.uk/
Primadonna on Amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Primadonna-Angela/e/B00J7TEK92

Writing is a family affair! Please also check out Donna’s partner, Isman H. Suryaman:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/600538.Isman_H__Suryaman
Official blog: http://the-fool-found-a.blogspot.co.uk/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/ismanhs

Gramedia Pustaka Utama (Publisher):

Official website: http://www.gramediapustakautama.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gramedia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GramediaPublisher
Spellbinder on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gramedia/status/454177723577942016

Rita and Mal would like to thank to Gramedia Pustaka Utama for their support and assistance.
We would also like to thank Helen Stringer for her continuous hard work, and of course the lovely Primadonna Angela, the main heroine of this article – without you nothing of this would be possible.

If you’d like to contact Helen of Primadonna, please send us an email  to rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and we will pass all questions, inquiries, fan-mail and everything else to both wonderful ladies.

Have a good weekend folks,

Selamat tinggal!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Interview Logs: Val.Ium of Pist.On

Hello everybody!

We had a few days off but now we are now back into action! As you can see, we are still going through our archive and we are finding a true treasures there. This is the oldest interviews we have ever conducted! In 2002, Rita and Mal have been contacted by one of the journalists from Polish Radio Programme 3 to create a fan led music website that was to be called “The Rock Service”. Unfortunately, the project never really took off and we were left with several interviews and lots of materials.  Please read our conversation with the to incredible bass player Val.Ium. Enjoy!!

Interview with Val.Ium (ex – Pist.On)

There are not many women in metal music. Val.Ium, a bass player for New York City based band Pist.On is a notable exception. Known for her incredible skills and stage performance, Val took the male dominated music world by storm. The following interview has been conducted in April 2003 for a “Rock Service”, a fan created music website in co-operation with Polish Radio Programme 3. Sadly, the project never took off,  but the interview has been placed on PistArmy website two years later. Now updated with new information, it proves that the legacy of the band still lives on!

Part I: Life before music

Vanadian Avenue: You are one of the world’s top female bass players. What made you to pick up the bass guitar for the first time?

Val Ium: Well, I had originally learned to play the piano as a child, but, when I got into my teens, I developed an attraction to the heavy thumping beats of the bass. Once I met Henry, he wanted to switch over to the guitar, as he was originally a bass player as well, so, I just practiced my ass off so I could keep up with him.

Vanadian Avenue: You were raised in a religious family. You even attended two Catholic schools for 12 years. Do you think your childhood had any impact on your adult life?

Val Ium: Look at what a freak I am. What do you think?! 🙂

Vanadian Avenue: I know that The Cars are one of your favourite bands. Can you name your past and current favourites?

Val Ium: I grew up when MTV had just begun, so I was exposed to everything from Devo to Judas Priest and I’m thankful for that! MTV today in theUS sucks! I hear very little new bands that I really get excited over; I get more excited listening to the old metal bands; Priest, AC/DC, White Zombie, Motorhead, etc.

Val interview page 1, all rights reserved

Part II: A life in Pist.On

Vanadian Avenue: Was Pist.On your first band?

Val Ium: It was my first serious band! I played in a few others that I consider “practice” now looking back.

Vanadian Avenue: Pist.On was described by many music journalists as a cross between Metallica and Paradise Lost. True or false?

Val Ium: I never even heard or heard of Paradise Lost until we signed with their manager. I think the Metallica thing was a result of Josh Silver making Henry sings like Hetfield on that first record. They were never considered an influence though!

Vanadian Avenue: You are good friends with Type O Negative. Your first record “Number One” was produced by Josh Silver You can be also heard singing on one of their records – “October Rust”. How do you recall working with them? Are you still in touch?

Val Ium: We don’t really keep in touch at all anymore. We’ve all basically gone our separate ways in life. I sang on “In Praise of Bacchus” because I was there during the recording and I worked cheap!

Vanadian Avenue: Does Peter Steele scare you?

Val Ium: I would think that  I scare Peter much more than he could ever scare me. I’m sure he’d agree.

Vanadian Avenue: Shortly after finishing your debut album guitarist Paul Poulos and drummer Danny Jam Kavadlo left the band. Later your second drummer – Jeff McManus was told he had only six months to live plus you had numerous other problems not easy to solve. Bad luck, curse or a fatal fate?

Val interview page 2, all rights reserved

Val Ium: All three!

Vanadian Avenue: Ok, what’s the story with dropping the dot in your name for Atlantic label in the US?

Val Ium: Atlantic Records refused to release anything that “referred to bodily fluids”. We were against it from the beginning but no one ever cares what the band thinks when that much money is the issue!

Vanadian Avenue: After releasing your second album $ell.Out your band went on hiatus. Henry have satisfied himself that Pist.On wasn’t active for almost year and a half. He said, “My current [back in 2001 – Rita] situation made me attempt to disappear from the human race for the past three months”. – Can you tell what happened?

Val Ium: Allegedly he went into a deep depression, but looking back I think he just needed a little attention and knowledge that some people still cared.

Vanadian  Avenue: In statement published in January 2001 on your official web site you wrote, “We realized that we are happier being miserable together than being miserable apart and beside that we all tried to join other bands. But nobody wanted us so we are all doomed to stay together forever.” But six months later you have announced your departure from the band. Why?

Val interview page 3, all rights reserved

Val Ium: Because I was tired of trying to hold things together. Looking back I realize that it was just a selfish effort I made to keep the band going when no one else really wanted to do the work anymore. It was probably a mistake, but, if it did nothing else, it made me realize that I definitely had had enough. I regret things turned out the way they did to this day, but, it was a question of whether or not I wanted to keep my sanity. I chose to keep my sanity.

Part III: Life after the band

Vanadian Avenue: Ex bands should be remembered fondly. What was the best thing that has happened to you while being in Pist.On?

Val Ium: Without a doubt the two things I am proud of; the friends that I made whom I still keep in touch with and the places I got to see and things I got to do that very few people are lucky enough to. Meeting some big rock stars wasn’t too bad either. 🙂

Vanadian Avenue: “Val will be missed as she was my friend and my business partner for many years, but the show must go on”. These are the words of Henry. Is there a band without Val.Ium?

Val Ium: That’s a question for Henry to answer!

Vanadian Avenue: In an interview for Delirium mag, you said, “I’m pure evil … don’t come near me.” Are you still that angry?

Val Ium: No, my anger ran out when I left PistOn I think. My bitterness remains, though.

Val interview page 4, all rights reserved

Vanadian Avenue: You used to write for British edition of “Metal Hammer”. Do you plan the return of “Vanity Case”?

Val Ium: I doubt “Metal Hammer” would care to hear from me at this point!

Vanadian Avenue: What are your plans for the near future?

Val Ium: I am going to school to get a degree in textile design. (In May 2012, Val graduated with MA degree in Social work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College – Rita)

Vanadian Avenue: Is there anything nice you would like to tell your hard core Polish fans? 🙂

Val Ium: Sure. I’d like to say that I appreciate every moment that I was fortunate enough to live my life as a musician. There is nothing like it in the world and I encourage anyone who wants to do it to work hard and not give up, as long as the fire burns within you. I also say thank you to YOU for even being interested in listening to me!

XXXOOOO Val

Interview and layout
by Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz
Pictures used with permission, all rights reserved

Important links:
https://www.facebook.com/valerie.kaye.33 – Val’s official Facebook page
https://www.instagram.com/dollyofthevals/ – Val on Instagram
https://www.facebook.com/PistArmy/ – fan page on Facebook
www.pistonline.com/pistarmy – a fan website dedicated to Pist.On
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pist.On – Wikipedia entry for the band

Thank you so much for reading!

The PDF version of this interview can be seen here:
https://cocamidemea.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/val_interview.pdf

The Issuu version can be found here:
http://issuu.com/vanadianavenue/docs/val_interview

First publication of this interview was posted on Pistarmy website several years ago and still can be seen there:
http://www.pistonline.com/articles/rita/

A screenshot showing the original interview at Pist.On official fan website

A screenshot showing the original interview at Pist.On official fan website

Screengrab to show our interview being featured on Pist.On official fan page

Screengrab to show our interview being featured on Pist.On official fan page

As with other interviews, please do not re-post them without our approval. It happened to us many times and we consider it stealing, even if you provide links! Please write for permission first. any questions? Rdabrowicz at yahoo dot com.

Muchos gracias,
XXXX Rita and Mal

****Update 19/05/2017****

Screenshot from the fundraiser for Val Kaye – the campaign raised most of its funds in 6 hours and is trending!

A lot of time has passed since we updated this particular entry but now we have a good reason.
Valerie Kaye – the fearless former bass-player of NYC heavy yet melodic outfit Pist.On needs our assistance and we are more than willing to step up to the task.

Known under her stage name Val Ium, Valerie recorded and toured with Type O Negative and Marilyn Manson among many other biggest acts of the 90s. Now Val pursues a new career in a new state. However due to unfortunate circumstances she lost a car that is vital in her current situation.

It will cost a bit to get the car back – so please help out. Any donation counts.

https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-val-get-her-car-back

As a thank you – here are some scans from our personal archives of metal madness featuring Val.Ium in all her glory:

Val.Ium on a feature in Metal Hammer UK, 1997

Val.Ium in Metal Hammer UK, 1997

Val.Ium featured in Metal Hammer UK, 1997

Val.Ium on a feature in Metal Hammer Poland, 1996

Love and kisses
Mal+Rita

 

****Update 20/05/2017****

Val reacting last night to the fundraiser. How awesome!

You people are incredible. No seriously, you are all rock stars in your own right. What happened last night is just awesome. In just one day the goal of the fundraiser was met and currently it stands at $3,130

That means Val may recover her car and pay all the necessary fees and charges. But let`s not call it a victory yet. We strongly appeal to anyone who wishes to still contribute – do it. Help Val to assure she can safely be back on her road to build a new successful career. It ain`t easy, and if you can offer a helping hand or few bucks or RTs, we all will be grateful.

https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-val-get-her-car-back

“We rise by lifting others”
-Robert Ingersoll

We promised ourselves that if the fundraiser reached $3000, we would post more images from our musical archives. So here they are:

Close up of Val from Pist.On debut album #1

Pist.On with Val on their debut album #1

Val and the boys on second album Sell Out

Val on the sleeve of Pist.On second album – Sell Out

Keep on rocking good, good people of the world
Mal+Rita

 

****Update 21/05/2017****

Tattude Lady website logo

The fundraiser is still going and we are now at £3275! So it is only fair to reach down to our archives again and share some more Val.Ium related goodies. Did you know that Val used to have her own official page called Tattude Lady? It is now offline but guess what – we have saved portions of it so you can get to see it.

Main page

More screens recovered from old website

Some good old sarcasm from Valerie – she is known for it.

Page debuted around 2000 – and it may look very simple by today`s standards.  However remember  that Valerie was one of the first in the business to actually have her official page. And she was to our knowledge the only bassist in metal community to maintain this side of business at that time.  It was through Tattude Lady that Val communicated her departure from Pist.On to her fans by publishing a special interview (another first in metal world!)  – you can read it below, and it makes a fantastic addiction to our own interview with Val.Ium. See, we do spoil you!

Interview p1

Interview p2

Interview p3

That was the beauty and tragedy of Pist.On – they were ahead of their time by at least a decade, both musically and business wise.

We kind of wish Tattude Lady was resurrected.  Perhaps one day it will.

All the tours that Val.Ium was on

Please continue to donate. We still have few things in the archives which we are willing to share.

https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-val-get-her-car-back

xxxooo`s
Mal+Rita