Track Of The Day: Noga Erez & ECHO – ‘Chin Chin’

A dizzy, laid-back take on the links between sex and money; Noga Erez’s latest collaboration ‘Chin Chin’ brims with off-kilter beats and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Joined by Israeli MC and producer ECHO – known for her Hebrew language MCing on debut album Achat which put women at the centre of the Israeli hip hop scene for the first time – Erez combines intimidatingly cool vocals with her trademark defiant flair on this new release.

‘Chin Chin’ playfully takes the controversial topics of sex and money and casually dismantles them over the course of two minutes. The collaboration came about whilst ECHO and Erez were working together in the studio with Erez’s partner and co-producer, Ori Rousso. The pair decided to pick apart some important subjects, and ‘Chin Chin’ was the result of their meddling.

Erez has been impressing us with her collaborations over the last 6 months – including her orchestral album RADAR Reworked with Israel’s Camareta Orchestra – and we’re excited to see what this unpredictable artist does next. Watch the video for ‘Chin Chin’ below and follow Noga Erez on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: ZAMILSKA

Dense, rhythmic, hypnotic beats and a fascination with levitation permeate the tracks on Polish producer ZAMILSKA‘s latest album, UNCOVERED, which is set for physical release on 19th July. Her jagged soundscapes combine techno textures and intriguing vocal samples to reflect “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. With her enviable ability to create beats that ricochet around our skulls, we wanted to know more about ZAMILSKA. We caught up with the Producer to talk about the inspiration behind her new record, her upcoming live shows in London (The Shacklewell Arms on 2nd August & Visions Festival on 3rd August), and to find out the details of her previous collaboration with Gazelle Twin

How did you first get in to creating electronic music?
I didn’t choose this profession, it chose me. I cannot see myself doing anything else. I’ll skip the “I have always known I will deal with music” story. It’s all true but a bit of a cliche. I always wanted to be a Rockstar, play bass or drums, throw them into the audience and break them on stage. At fifteen I got my first computer. After stumbling upon Bjork’s Post album, I knew I would be making electronic music and somehow mixing in my inspirations for rock’n’roll and world music. It took many years of hard work to get here, there were moments when I didn’t have much to eat. But I am here, talking to you. Hard work pays off, and if you think something is impossible in life – maybe you just do not want it.

What’s the industrial/electronic music scene like in Poland where you’re from? Are there gig nights or venues who champion the genre?
Perhaps it will sound surprising, but I really do not part take in the “scene”. When I am home I like to stay in, enjoy the quiet. That, of course, doesn’t mean that I stay oblivious to what is happening musically in Poland. I love Resina, with all my heart – cellist, who is extremally talented. Also, I am a big fan of artists such as: Syny, Coals, and Księżyc. The Polish music scene is getting better. We just need to stop looking and trying to follow the West, create our own sound.

Your latest album UNCOVERED is about the concept of levitation. Talk us through this theme, it’s quite a unique concept.
The concept of levitation came up during the album cover design. It was as if a remaining piece of the puzzle fell in place and the entire story came together as whole. It’s about something malevolent that you want to leave your body, come out of you so you can start with a clean slate. Exorcisms, voodoo – all that is on the album. UNCOVERED is a story about cleansing, dropping weight off your shoulders. A fall with an attempt to rise. Ultimately, you do not know if the person is falling or rising.

Do you have a favourite track on the album? If so, why?
That’s a great question. I have never thought about it. When I was making the album, I had a different favorite track every day. The ending of ‘Done’ would almost make me cry. Perhaps ‘Hollow’. I’ve heard someone on the radio saying that it’s the biggest pop banger I have ever created. I like the entire album, it is a story that only makes sense as a whole. And you need to know that it is odd for me to like something in its entirety.

You’re coming over to the UK in August to play a headline show at The Shacklewell Arms. What Are your anticipations for this gig?
I am really excited to come back to London. Playing live shows is so rewarding after all the time spent in the studio. Finally, being able to perform in front of live audience. I try not to anticipate; each show is different. You can play in a large venue and something does not feel right and you can play the show of your life in front of a thirty people audience. People are most important. I really like London as a city, I’ve spent some time there. I hope people show up and enjoy the show.

You’re also going to be playing a set at Visions festival. How are you feeling about that? Any artists you’re aiming to catch on the day?
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see anyone on the day of my show. But if you can you should see Shygirl. It is a very special show. I saw her in Poland, she is a very cheeky girl on stage.

You host your own radio show on Polish national digital radio. Talk us through what kind of music you play, and how you came to work in radio.
I was invited as a guest on one of the radio shows, we were talking about music, and I kind of took over as a host. Radio execs liked my voice and offered me my own show. However, I just resigned from hosting. I wanted to focus on my own work, with UNCOVERED coming out I didn’t want compromise the quality of the radio show. Becoming a radio host was my childhood dream, but it was getting harder to focus on my projects and sift through fifty albums weekly, in order to choose music for radio. And since I presented music from undefined electronics, from distant corners of the World, novelties and sounds of the 50’s, I couldn’t compromise, after two years, I had to resign. I’d like to return to Polish Radio, if they want me back, as soon as I settle all my present affairs.

You remixed Gazelle Twin’s track ‘Belly of the Beast’ which was featured in the ABC series How To Get Away With Murder. Talk me through the creative process for that – how did you make your mark on her already very unique sounding track? (we’re big fans so please give loads of detail)
You want the details? So you need the entire story. In 2014 my debut album Untune placed twelfth on The Quietus’ list of albums of the year. Gazelle Twin topped the chart with Unflesh. I’d never heard of her, but the title and cover got me curious. A woman charting that high – I thought that she must be wonderful, you know “girl power” – had to be noted. I instantly fell in love. I thought she was genius. Soon after a Glasgow promoter invited both of us to play and The Quietus got involved in promotion of the show – serendipity. I would finally be able to see how she really looked under the pantyhose mask. It turned out we shared a dressing room.

I was extremely nervous to meet her in person. To the point that my manager had to just usher me into the room. Elizabeth tuned out to be a wonderful woman. I admire her in every inch. She mentioned that she was releasing Unflesh remixed and offered cooperation. I asked if it would be ok if I remixed ‘Belly of the Beast’ and so it began. I never anticipated such good response to this track. In my opinion the original is brilliant, so it was very difficult to change anything. I decided not to add but rather strip it down. Kind of echoed the sound. Instead of reverb – just a hint of dirt and bass. Only a little, not to mess with the genius.

Nine Inch Nails also recommended one of your tracks on their official Spotify playlist. How did you feel about that?
NIN are the music of my youth. I admired them during every stage of their career. They were the best example of an innovative band. A combination of heavy sound with electronic, dirty hits. It is kind of as if Jesus came down from heaven. Only you never believed in God. I didn’t want this to get into my head. I suppressed it, didn’t want this to mess with my head and make me think that’s me done. You know, the idea that Nine Inch Nails know you exist!

Finally, If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Distracted and inspired by everything…

Huge thanks to ZAMILSKA for answering our questions!

Order your copy of Zamilska’s album UNCOVERED here.

ZAMILSKA UK Tour Dates 2019
02/08/19 – The Shacklewell Arms, London
03/08/19 – Visions Festival, London

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Five Favourites: Sui Zhen

Set to release her upcoming third album in September, Melbourne artist Sui Zhen has recently captivated our ears with latest single ‘Perfect Place’. Inspired by how we exist in the digital age, the track flows with glitchy, playful beats and twinkling, ‘80s-inspired hooks alongside Zhen’s quirky, honey-sweet vocals. An instantly infectious slice of sparkling alt-pop.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a new band/artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Sui to talk about her ‘Five Favourites’ – five albums or tracks that have influenced her songwriting techniques, or simply take her back to a specific feeling or time. Read about her choices here…

Strawberry Switchblade – Strawberry Switchblade 
This album has been a staple in my record bag since it was gifted to me by a friend in Koenji, Tokyo. I love how the songs are naive and saccharine but sad and melancholic underneath, expressed in a synth-pop style with layered reverberant vocals reminiscent of an upbeat Cocteau Twins. My favourite is the banality captured in ‘Who Knows What Love Is’ – it’s totally nostalgic for a crush that once was. It reminds me of the first time I smelt the pages of Dolly Mag, peeling back the ‘Sealed Section’ section. I enjoy the instrumental arrangements and danceable aspect of this kind of pop music and love to mix this in a set to get people feeling warm and fuzzy.

The Eurythmics – ‘Love Is A Stranger’
It’s really difficult to choose songs by Annie Lennox – my Mum loved her music, so her solo albums Diva and Medusa hold a very special place in my heart, but for me it would have started with The Eurythmics – ‘Love Is A Stranger’. I don’t know how many times I have listened to this song, particularly the part “And it wrenches you up and you’re left like a zombie!” when her voice is wild and so expressive, but the beat remains hard, driving yet restrained. The hooks feel so natural – it’s the kind of songwriting I aspire to make someday. I also love how the track just fades out. Like, seeya my job here is done.

Antena – Camino Del Sol
I think the first moment I properly was able to hear how I could complement my songwriting style with drum machine beats came with listening to Antena over and over. Prior to that I experimented with electronic production based on the music I enjoyed hearing at clubs, but couldn’t work out the best approach when I would go to work on something. An audience member told me to check Isabelle Antena’s music because they thought it would be a good reference point, but I couldn’t easily find it at the time (mid-2000s). It wasn’t until I started record shopping in Japan that I was able to connect more with the ‘neo-folk’ synth-pop of Antena and other artists like Anna Domino and Scribble. The bossa nova style guitar over a thumping kick is something I have carried into my productions thanks to this band.

CAN – ‘Future Days’
This is literally my go to take-off music. I listen to Can or Dunkelziffer when flying, there’s something about krautrock that settles me and helps me when drifting in and out of sleep. I find the stream of consciousness flow and spontaneity in the music so dreamlike and also very comforting, grounded in unfiltered expression. Emotion is throughout, but not the centrepiece, and I like that. There’s a free kind of optimism to this track too which makes it so listenable. 

Sugar Cubes – ‘Deus’
I absolutely slammed the Sugar Cubes in my teenage years. I had exhausted Bjork’s back catalogue from way too many listens and moved into her previous work and found I enjoyed it more on repeat listen. It had a bit more space, was a bit looser, less intensely emotional and uncomfortable. I love the pairing of male & female vocal in this track. I don’t listen to Bjork at all these days, even though at the time I thought there was no better artist. I remember trying to sing like her in the shower and Mum making fun of me for trying to do that iconic guttural thing. It was definitely around this time, aged fifteen, I subconsciously decided to pursue music.

Massive thanks to Sui for taking the time to discuss her choices. However, as she found it difficult to pick just five, we’ve also put together a little playlist of all the songs that she felt have impacted her work in some way – listen on Spotify now!

Losing, Linda, the upcoming album from Sui Zhen, is out 27th September via Cascine. Watch the video for latest single ‘Perfect Place’ below:

Photo Credit: Agnieszka Chabros

Track Of The Day: King Hannah – ‘Crème Brûlée’

Let’s get it out of the way – King Hannah‘s lead singer, Hannah Merrick, insists that this wonderful, mournful lilt is really, genuinely about the 1980s dessert fave. But, even if that’s true, there’s still a lot to read into ‘Crème Brûlée’: the dessert itself consists of a tough skin sitting on top of a softer side, not unlike the passionate longing of the song’s lyrics. Even how the thing is made: the burning of caramel laid in custard, not entirely dissimilar to the way Hannah’s vocals mix into the song’s thick layers of ethereal backing before a flambé of a guitar solo from guitarist Craig Whittle finishes off the song. 

It’s also entirely possible that the title and Hannah’s comments about it are merely deflection, a culinary tongue-in-cheek. That wouldn’t be too out of character for the band, whose approach to self-promotion could be described as somewhat reluctant, especially by today’s standards. And they’ve got form – in one interview, Merrick described the band’s mixture of sorrowful Americana (in the vein of Lera Lynn) as a fusion of “Flashdance and MC Hammer”. It all lends an aura of other-worldliness around a group who seem as tight, implacable and hypnotic on record as they do live.

With a moreish, deceptively simple, country-meets-indie flow set around Merrick’s deadpan Nico-style vocal delivery, ‘Crème Brûlée’ is an impressive choice for a debut release, particularly clocking in at a mammoth six and a half minutes – half of which is pure instrumentation. If you’ve seen the band live, you’ll probably be aware that, although this is a spectacular starter, it’s just a glimpse into what King Hannah can do. They’ve gone straight to dessert, so you’d better have left room for more.

 

‘Crème Brûlée’ is available to stream on Spotify now.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Get In Her Ears Live @ The Finsbury w/ Witching Waves, 12.07.19

Following a host of amazing bands playing for us lately, including CLT DRP, Crumbs, Mammoth Penguins, ARXX and Wolf Girl, we were back at The Finsbury on Friday with another dream of a line-up, for a jam-packed night of the best new music.

The immense, soaring power of Hubert’s Friend gets the night off to an energy-filled start. With frenzied riffs and the seething emotion of front woman Elly’s vocals, songs about everything from depression and false economies, to rabbits of doom, are blasted out with an impassioned force.

Next up, Finish (“not as in the country”, we’re reminded by the band) Flag charm us all with their dreamy lo-fi indie pop. Flowing with twinkling hooks and luscious harmonies, their angst-driven offerings – interspersed with welcome Love Island banter – cement them as new firm favourites.

I can’t help but fall a little bit in love with Milk Crimes‘ catchy scuzz. Propelled by driving beats and whirring jangly hooks, each offering is delivered with a sunny, uplifting energy, marking them out as definite ones to watch (and listen to, at every opportunity!).

Having been a fan for a couple of years now, it’s a real honour to have Witching Waves headline for us. Propelled by Emma’s frenetic racing beats, their energy-fuelled post-punk packs out the venue and lifts our spirits. With an infectious, visceral power, each offering showcases perfectly in-sync musical layers, as Estella’s driving bass and Mark’s metallic melodies accompany propulsive rhythms, and raw impassioned vocals.

Massive thanks to all four fantastic bands who played for us on Friday, making the night so special. We’re actually taken a break next month (who knew weddings took up lots of time?!), but will return to The Finsbury on 13th September when faves Chorusgirl will be headlining.

Words: Mari Lane / @marimindles
Photos: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

Five Favourites: Julia Church

Having recently graduated from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and even working on a one-to-one songwriting session with Sir Paul McCartney, South African artist Julia Church is both a talented songwriter and producer.

Crafting electronic production together with real instrumentation, she has now shared her brand new single ‘Tremble’. Manifesting the power of desire, it flows with the subtle power of Church’s emotion-strewn vocals as sweeping melodies and luscious musical layers build to an anthemic slice of sparkling pop with a euphoric, soulful groove. Of the track, Church explains:

It’s about the thrill and intrigue of a budding relationship, being in the moment and completely losing yourself with someone who makes you feel something totally new and exciting.”

 

To add more context to Julia’s work, we asked her to discuss her Five Favourite songs or albums, and how they’ve influenced her. Read all about her choices below:

Little Dragon – ‘Twice’
I think this song is so clever and haunting in the way that it never resolves. There is this palpable tension that builds throughout the song and never stabilises – and I love that. This song made me fall in love with the simple piano/vocal combination, and proves that great songs are often the ones that are the most simple. The lyrics are also bizarrely beautiful and it inspired a song I wrote called ‘Shiloh’, which will be out later this year. 

Bon Iver – ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’
This was the first bit of music that ever made me cry. I watched the video of Bon Iver performing it at the piano and was so taken aback by the way it made me feel. I heard it at a point of my life where I was feeling pretty vulnerable and, up until then, I had never heard something more relatable that just made me feel understood. The song was a classic long before Bon Iver covered it, but there was just something about Justin Vernon’s raw and powerful vocal on this that took me somewhere else and made me want to write songs forever.

James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical (album)
When I look through the discography of this album, I am instantly reminded of little moments in my life that are so intertwined with these songs. To me, this album represents my late teenage years and a strange but fundamental chapter of my life. Every song has such depth and purpose and ‘Cavalier’ and ‘Red Dust’ are probably two of the most nostalgic songs to me ever!

Leon Bridges – ‘Shy’
This song is so simple but genuinely one of the most addictive pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It’s so well written and to-the-point, plus Leon Bridge sings so damn beautifully and with such soul. He’s a big inspiration to me, especially when it comes to songwriting but this is hands-down my favourite song of his. It’s one that I will probably listen to for the rest of my life and never get tired of. Also the little guitar riff that repeats throughout is so tasteful and groovy.

Jamie Woon – ‘Sharpness’
I swear the first time I heard this I wanted to scream. I can whole-heartedly say that I have never found a groove to be more infectious than that of ‘Sharpness’. Jamie Woon and his band are all such phenomenal musicians and the arrangements of his songs are total genius, but this one is just next level in my opinion. This song has influenced my production and drum programming in particular, it makes me want to be a better producer and I truly admire artists who have that effect on me.

Big thanks to Julia Church for sharing her ‘Five Favourites’ with us. Her new single ‘Tremble’ is out now.

Get In Her Ears w/ ESYA (Ayse Hassan) 11.07.19

Kate & Mari were back in the studio this week with loads of new tunes from the likes of Grawl!x, Dude York, Life Is Better Blonde, ZAMILSKA, Grapefruit, Gauche & Planningtorock.

ESYA (Ayse Hassan of Savages, Kite Base, 180db) joined them for a chat about her recent EP Absurdity Of ATCG, and her upcoming gig supporting Bo Ningen at The Shacklewell Arms on 24th August.

Listen back here:

@KCBobCut
@marimindles
@getinherears

Tracklist
X Ray Spex – Oh Bondage, Up Yours!
Beckie Margaret – New York
NIMMO – The Power
Petite Meller – Aeroplane
Grawl!x – Epicene
Pongo – Quero Mais Anoraak
Deep Deep Water – Something In The Water
The Eyelids – Suffer
Duck – R*ck St*r
Grapefruit – Soak
Life Is Better Blonde – Winter (feat. Angus Dawson)
Dude York – Should’ve
Zamilska – Hollow
ESYA – Nothing
Giungla – Better Than Ever
Jenny Hval – Sabbath
Salad – Under The Wrapping Paper
Gauche – Flash
Smaller Hearts – Circuitry
Atelier Blue – Empty Lungs
Mauno – Take Care
Emma McGrath – Other Side
GEISTE – Ocean
HEALTH (feat. Soccer Mommy) – Mass Grave
Zola Jesus – Bound
Planningtorock – Beuhla Loves Dancing