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Posts Tagged ‘koko

Patrick Wolf @ Club NME, Koko

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Photo Credit: adelaide_v Blog

The inside of Koko on Club NME night resembles a Bacchanalian soiree in full effect, bodies sway and writhe, mass cheers going up as their favourite tunes get dropped by the DJs hidden behind a giant screen. The city is burning, these are the last days of the decadence and the assembled have no interested in quelling the flames…they are here to burn, burn, burn.
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Written by Jonathan

March 17, 2009 at 12:14 am

Hercules And Love Affair – Andy Butler Interview (Full Version)

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A version of this interview appears in Who’s Jack?

Deep in the bowels of London’s notorious Koko Hercules And Love Affair ringmaster  and New York DJ Andy Butler is riffing on the bands ethos and the success of their eponymous debut album which features divine vocal contributions from Antony Hegarty.. 2008 has been a year spent filling dance floors across the world, watching the number of bodies flailing and gyrating to the electro pulse aural sexscapades of tracks such as ‘Blind’ and ‘You Belong’ grow with each passing show.  Hercules & Love Affair have already rocked the capital with a set at the Wireless Festival and will be returning to play the O2 Arena in November as they bid to keep the party rolling all year.

The last time you were here was Wireless, how was that for you and what have you been up to in the meantime?

Wireless was actually a really fun festival for us. I mean the numbers were a little small at first and we felt “Where is everybody?” But we put on a really good show I think and it was really well run. It was one of the more pleasant UK festival experiences we’ve had.

You’re finishing off with Bestival. As far as shows go do you enjoy the festival scene or do you prefer club shows?

Well you know I love the vibe of a club show. It’s nice to roll into town and know that tonight we’re the only band on stage and we can have a long soundtrack and can really make it our night. But festivals have really grown on me and I actually really enjoy some of the afternoon casual sort of festivals. Like we did a new one called the Beachdown Festival in Brighton this year and we played at like 4 in the afternoon and we put on a really good show and there were loads of kids there. Also we recently did one in Ireland and that was loads of people in the afternoon again, like 5 in the afternoon and  there’s just something really nice about playing early in the day, so you still have your evening and  you have the casual vibe which is fun. So we’ve just been doing tons and tons of festivals and tons and tons of club dates.

Yeah because the first tour was in March wasn’t it so you’ve pretty much been constant since then?

Yeah, I mean we’ve had a week here or a week there but it’s pretty much been constant.

So when you play festivals obviously you will have people there who haven’t heard Hercules… at all, so what do you hope a Hercules virgin would take away from your show?

I hope that they take away… well you know I don’t want them to be totally stuck in the spectacle of it all. I quite like the idea that they could be able to retreat into themselves and really enjoy the music. But I think that’s something that a fan would be more likely to do. In general for a new person who has never heard or seen us I hope that they are able to see that there is a pretty special thing happening on stage with 8 different people, like a magical kind of thing, you know, like a synergy. And I hope that that energy that we create amongst ourselves on stage really resonates with the viewer or whoever. I hope they walk away thinking, “wow 8 people were playing dance music on stage just now!…and it was like a machine and it was really tight and they knew what they were doing, it kind of felt like a journey,” or something, I think that’s really the goal. So it feels kind of like a journey for people.

Cool, so obviously you are now a large group with the live band that you have and I read a quote that said you were, “representing the bohemian New York that we all dream about.” So I was going to ask you what the actual reality of being from New York at the moment? What’s it like to be a band or an artist there, because it was portrayed that you represented kind of a Warholian utopia, is that a reality?

Well you know we as a group, all 8 of us, are very serious about what we do, you know. We’re 8 passionate people who are playing music together and whether or not there’s this scene, I mean there’s not this one nightclub that we are all going to where we all cross paths, this is not the case, there’s no scene like this in New York, I mean there’s no bohemia. There is no bohemia in New York, it’s true you know it’s just romantic and it’s nice that we represent that but the truth is that we’re all just people who have a really intense and sincere relationship to music and coming together to collaborate on this project, I’m sorry it doesn’t sound more romantic.

That’s not a problem.

Well no, but I mean in general I’m saying to people who really perceive us that way we’re people who came together because we really like music more than anything,

Cool, because I was wondering if more than you coming together because there was a huge scene or community it was more a case of you being drawn together as a reaction against the fact that there wasn’t when you were getting together?

That is exactly what it was, and I think that is a good way of putting it. You know, because I’ve been in New York for years and there wasn’t a place to go dance and what did I end up doing? I ended up making there be a place, or creating a place. You know the nightclub situation was really rotten at one point and we just threw our hands in the air and it was like “well I guess we have to throw a party! I guess we have to do this because it’s just not happening.” So I think this is something similar that happened with Hercules & Love Affair, there was sort  of a vacancy or something missing or something not happening you know and it’s a case of us just trying to create something for us, and then people come into it.

Because there’s two perceptions of it at the moment, there is kind of that romantic notion that it’s this artists paradise and it’s like Berlin and there are so many creative people there and so much happening all at once, but then there’s also that , admittedly cliched, perception of the post 9/11 kind of clean up New York crack down , the “we don’t want it to be a party town” kind of vibe.

No, it’s not, it’s not a party town . I always say it’s an island of commerce and it feels much more like…in some ways I feel like New York is more suburban than Cincinnati, Ohio. So I feel that way sometimes and I think maybe there’s something interesting and edgy happening in a small town in America, because in New York it really feels just like shoppers and bankers and doctors and that’s cool, but it’s not a terribly hospitable place to artists anymore, I mean it’s a very expensive place.

Ok, so leaving New York. With the album and the singles, like ‘Blind’ you’ve got quite a lot of critical acclaim, especially in the UK, how do you deal with that, how aware are you even of it and how do you process that? Because for some bands it’s almost a poison chalice to get that kind of reaction. The obvious example right now being Black Kids who must have recorded the best demo in history to produce the hysteria they did and then people have seen them live with unattainable expectations and there’s already a huge backlash in the media. So how do you deal with expectation and pressure?

(Sighs) You know I am aware or it, totally, I’m not going to lie, and partly I am aware of it because, really because I want to be to a degree, but then also because I have people sending me along clips and clips and clips. But in terms of pressure and expectations its more like, well going on the road with this live act, a new band that had never played any live shows and playing in front of thousands of people there was all of this hype and there were these reviews, and there was also all of this expectations because of the question of Antony (Hegarty – Antony and The Johnsons front man) participating but it got the point where we had all this pressure but we had to just go and do something. But to a point I dismiss journalism, because initially you know I didn’t write the record for a journalist .

Did you always view Hercules & Love Affair as a live concern?

I never viewed Hercules as a live band, it was just another way for me to record music and release music and then it became less simple and records got involved and all of this crap happened and then there was touring and everything you know. But if I trace it all back and say ok so where did it all start it was never written for, the music was never written just so someone would have something else to write about in a magazine.

So what’s the next step for Hercules?

Well we have an American tour coming up in October, and I’m just doing production stuff.

Ok, so in terms of new music is that something that’s underway or that you’ll think about next year?

Well I’ve actually already got new material and we’re playing it in our live show, and I’ve been asked to do a couple of really special things, like right now I’m in the process of writing music for Chanel for this big event that they are having. So, yeah the creative juices have definitely been flowing.

…and in terms of new music are you envisaging working with Antony again, or was that purely a first album thing and are there any other artists who you might like to work with in a similar role in the future?

Yeah, I mean Antony was extremely generous and just around a lot, but he has an EP coming out in October and then an album in January. So, I mean, I went into this knowing that it was going to turn into like a Massive Attack thing where we could invite singers in and be a constantly changing face, where the look and the voices are constantly changing. So yeah I am interested in exploring a couple of things, and interested in exploring more different emotional places that I don’t feel I tapped into at all on the first record, because I was in a very different headspace, and using different voices male and female to do that. I don’t really have any names in mind, I mean there are still people I dream of working with….. There are some things in the ether. (Smiles)

Ok so just to finish off then. As such a new live band and you’re just exploring playing together how have the songs changed over the course of the tour?

Yea, they have definitely changed, I mean because certain instrumentation we just don’t have so some of the string parts are played as horn parts and some of the string parts are played as key parts so definitely the arrangements have changed and people have been swapping instruments to fit the new arrangements. But the other thing is also that the tempo of the whole thing has been totally picked up. The record is pretty easy to listen to in the car or at home and it’s all like between 105 and 95bpm so we round it all up to about 120bpm and it’s just a bigger dance party.

So looking at your influences you cite the muppets…favourite?

Oh Miss Piggy, that will never change. She’s my favourite.

Did you see Avenue Q?

Yea, you know it hurt my feelings. I thought it was funny but it hurt my feelings. It was a little sacrilegious to me. (Flashes faux outrage) I was a little bit offended by it…

…you’re laughing as you say that…

Ha, I am. Like I totally enjoyed it but afterwards I was like, you know what, you don’t even go for the muppets. Just don’t go for the muppets!

Iglu & Hartly

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This article originally appeared on Gigwise.

“The energy was a little down on that show actually. We’re used to having it a little more rowdy but we love playing every show and by the end they were getting it a lot further back than just the kids up the front.”  It’s a few days after Iglu & Hartly played London’s Koko venue in support of Hercules & Love Affair and Sam Martin is looking back on a show that saw the band go from maybe 2 rows of enthused support to getting uproarious applause when they left the stage a few short songs later. Iglu & Hartly’s rise has been just as frantic going from one independently released single, some radio airplay and a host of SXSW blog bothering performances to a UK top 20 hit, a major label album, ’& Then Boom’, and followed by a relentless touring schedule, in the space of one year.

“We moved from Boulder Colorado to LA and just started trying to make music but it’s a really funny scene in LA, you have to pay to play so it really makes you have to work even harder at getting people to your shows and making sure they go off,” states Martin when considering the band rites of passage on the LA club circuit. Having met at the University of Colorado in Boulder city the nucleus of the band, Jarvis Anderson, Simon Katz and Martin, made the decision to pack up their lives and make the jump to LA in order to take the next step to world domination. Once there they were joined by drummer Luis Rosiles who flew in from co-front man Anderson’s home tow of Chicago. The band adopted that old standard of band elopement…moving into a band house. Rounding out the quintet is bassist Michael Bucher, “Yea, Michael is awesome. He was actually playing for another band when we first saw him and as soon as we did we just knew that this was a guy we wanted to play with,” states Martin. It was a wise decision as throughout the Koko set Michael power walks, stomps and gurns like the bastard son of a Jagger, Angus Young and Justin Mendal Johnson tryst, all the while knocking out bassline after bassline that locks in with Rosiles to provide the pumping foundation that really carries the whirlwind pandemonium ignited out front by the twin rap attack. It’s a part of the show that’s an invigorating surprise. On record Iglu & Hartly trade in saccharine electro pop with a candy apple rap attack that steals into your cortex and finds you humming the morishthancrack hooks to “In This City” or “Jump Out Of Your Car” in your sleep for weeks to come, but they employ a definite scoop eq mix, there seems to be a hole between the drums and the key/vox/guitar shenanigans. On stage that gap is crammed like Chris Moyles in drainpipe jeans, it’s a whole new level to a band who quite clearly have the songs on record. Combined with the multi harmony vocals and pure kinetic energy generated they manage to do something a lot of bands are currently failing to do, deliver live on the promise of their record.

This live prowess is the result of more than 200 shows clocked up around the LA area that the band used to hone their chops before taking their raison d’etre to the masses, which given the aspiration and stadium nods of their debut album ‘& Then Boom’ is exactly where they need to be to thrive. “We like to get everyone involved”, says Martin of their live shows, “we’ve played warehouses, house parties, clubs. It’s all about working as hard as you can to make sure everyone has a great time y’know.” They certainly achieve that with the relentless positivity and energy that pervades the record. Current single “In This City”, a love note to the bands adopted home in the tradition of the Chili Peppers ‘Under The Bridge’, details the bands determination to stick around and see this through with the infectious mantra, “And I found that round here, that I won’t disappear and I’ve got nothing to fear , in this city”. It’s a universal anthem for those who across the globe who have moved to the big city in search of whatever their personal dream maybe. It’s this kind of universal experience that is resonating with fans so quickly and sending the band into the stratosphere. One thing that Iglu & Hartly manage to avoid is the LA albatross of style over substance, a quick glance behind the electro pulses and slick production you get to a band who are not only charting their progress with seducing the girls of the city of angels and latterly the world, but who are clearly absorbing the world around them and want to get to the heart of the matter.  “I wanna turn us all around now, take a step down, how can we all get along, when we’re so violent and young?” They ask on their independently released debut single ‘Violent and Young’. “We just write from personal experience and we’ll put something together based on something we can all relate to”, notes Martin. It’s just another shade to a band who look set to set the entire world alight over the next year.

Since creating initial waves across LA and latterly SXSW the band have signed to Mercury Records and are currently straddling the world, or “Zipcording” the skies as they allude to on ‘Violent & Young’. They will be back in the UK this winter and they promise to deliver an experience that brings enough California sunshine to keep this city warm through to January. “We want to take it to another level energy wise. I can’t wait. Everything right now is an adventure.”

Written by Jonathan

October 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm