A happy return to the ‘real’ world

My return from an incredible and at times surreal month in Cape Town has been met with its fair share of problems in my personal life but there’s plenty of great stuff going on in my professional-ish life.

I say professional-ish because as much as I would like journalism to be my profession it’s not exactly paying the bills at the moment. But as young man, still in education, I am willing to accept my lot and get on with it.

I take every opportunity thrown my way, knowing the experience is what’s important. However mundane the story or however little I know about the person I am interviewing I will, under no circumstances, turn it down. That’s the mantra and so far it’s working.

I am now regularly contributing to Click Liverpool after the success of my South African blog (I’m heralding it as one even if they’re not!) and I am also working with a new website, Purple Revolver as it attempts to establish itself as one stop shop for all your movie and music news needs.

Central to this effort will be our coverage of the Creamfields festival next weekend from which we will hopefully be reporting live throughout Saturday and Sunday with interviews, reviews and gossip.

I’m hoping my experience working at Liverpool Sound City earlier in the year will be helpful. Although something tells me that there is a big difference between hundreds of gigs held in 30 venues across one city and a big piss up in a field in the middle of nowhere.

And finally, going into my last  year at LJMU I’m hoping to play my part in making LJMU Journalism the biggest, baddest, and best student journalism website you have ever seen or something along those lines.

And along the way hopefully I won’t neglect my blogging duties and get back to writing less about me and more about this odd world we live in.

The Zutons bring LSC to a close

A fantastic four days of music came to a close on Saturday night with one of the biggest bands to come out of the city The Zutons playing St George’s Hall in a homecoming gig that was a fitting end to another successful Liverpool Sound City festival.

The city had a real buzz about it over the course of the four days last week and I got a chance to see some great bands as well as interview one or two of them as well.

On Friday I got a chance to speak to the fantastic White Lies who are getting bigger and bigger and the highly interesting and amusing Wave Machines, an up and coming local band who have already garnered international attention.

Both interviews are now up on Jade Wright’s Liverpool Echo music blog as well as some other reviews and interviews I did.

I’ll hopefully be able to post some audio clips from both interviews later in the week.

Sound City gets underway

Liverpool Sound City is underway! Last night I went to see The Rascals at the Liverpool Guild of Students. They were ably supported by Sound of Guns, Go Faster and Bicycle Thieves who I managed to grab a word with afterwards. They’re good guys who will hopefully get a break out of their first festival appearance.

My review is now online at Jade Wright’s music blog on the Liverpool Echo website.

Liverpool gets set for Sound City

With some 400 bands and artists performing across 30 different venues and some 25,000 people expected to attend it’s fair to say that Liverpool city centre will be a hive of music activity over the next four days.

Kicking off tomorrow night, Liverpool Sound City has the biggest bands and the smallest ones too who will all be showcasing their talents in venues as small as Mello Mello on Slater Street to the O2 Academy (formerly the Carling Academy) on Hotham Street (off London Road). Some ticket only gigs have sold out but there’s plenty of pay on the door acts and there are some festival passes still available.

There’s plenty of other proceedings going on connected to the festival including a unique event called The Trial where the music industry is literally put on trial at the old courthouse in St George’s Hall.

There’s also the long anticipated premiere of the film Awaydays, set in Liverpool and based on the highly acclaimed novel by Kevin Sampson. See the trailer below.

The O2 plays host to two of the biggest acts on the festival’s bill, indie chart toppers White Lies and the wonderful electronica princess Little Boots both of whom I interviewed a few weeks ago ahead of the festival. Click here and here to read what they had to say.

I’m hoping to interview a few more acts and take in some of the fantastic music available over the next four days so keep checking the blog. And I’d urge you all to get out and about and enjoy the live music that’s available across the city.

For more info visit the official Sound City website, the MySpace, or follow Sound City on Twitter.

The truth about the Lies

Off the back of their number one debut album White Lies are slowly adjusting to the hype and attention that currently surrounds them.

Playing with the big boys on the big stage takes some getting used to as drummer Jack Brown explains: “We did the O2 (in London) the other week with The Cure. That was a bit overwhelming. You can’t just walk out on stage and play a show there, it takes years of practice to get to that level. So it’s kind of strange but we’re getting used to it now and starting to enjoy it a bit more.”

The trio’s post-punk indie rock sound is encapsulated on their debut album To Lose My Life… which went straight to number one at the beginning of the year, “amazing” but not the best bit says Brown: “I think the main pay off from it comes from when we do our headline shows.

“You have all these people who’ve bought the album, know all the words and that’s when it just feels important so it’s not really about the chart listing of number one.”

The development of the songs followed a very set formula. Bassist Charles Cave would come up with the lyrics, work with lead vocalist and guitarist Harry McVeigh, whose voice is eerily similar to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, on the melody and then into the recording studio.

“We’ve never played a song live which we haven’t recorded first because for us that’s the way we finish songs, in the recording studio,” reveals Brown. “We would never want to play a song which is half complete, live. We’ll go and play it when we feel it’s perfect.”

The successful album, the sell out shows, it’s all happening. Next they tackle America where the album is just coming out. The road to success stateside is a “slow burner” but they’re confident of making an impact knowing much will hinge on their live shows.

No thoughts on a new album yet says Brown, just the here and now: “We feel we need to really work this album as hard as we can for as long we feel comfortable.

“A second album is something that we’re all excited about. I know we have ideas for it already and we’re starting to come up with plans but it’s a long way off.”

Farewell to the Fairground

Little Boots’ Big Year!

Asked about the events of past year Victoria Hesketh aka Little Boots is almost lost for words: “I don’t think there’s anyway you can possibly sum up the last year of my life in a sentence. It’s just been insane!”

The winner of BBC 6’s Sound of 2009 award has been busy in recent weeks. Along with her live shows she’s been attending the various awards ceremonies. She enjoyed the NMEs: “but I just got far too drink!” and was unlucky to miss out on the Critic’s Choice award to the wonderful Florence and the Machine at the BRITS: “It’s a lot more suits and handshakes there,” she comments.

An insane year indeed. Not so long ago Hesketh was posting her recordings on YouTube. Now her synth laden, electronica sound (think Human League and New Young Pony Club) is everywhere. Ever since the release of her biggest hit Stuck on Repeat fans have been awaiting an album.

Little Boots sings an acoustic version of Stuck on Repeat

“It’s pretty much finished,” Hesketh reveals of her debut LP, due in early June, name still a closely guarded secret. “I’m just trying to work out which songs to put on and track listings. Lots of tough decisions.”

One track that will definitely be there is a duet recorded with Phil Oakey from Human League, “a dream come true,” says Hesketh. “It’s a track I wrote a while ago and I always felt it needed a duet so I was going to get some male harmonies in there. One thing led to another and we managed to get Phil to do it.”

Hesketh’s sound is universal so her relative success in the US should come as no surprise where she has the endorsement of Hollywood’s king of the celebrity blogging Perez Hilton, “a total sweetheart.”

A busy summer will include an appearance at Glastonbury. The insanity goes on and as she sits on a bus for the next nine hours travelling from Glasgow to London, Little Boots sums it up pretty well: “It’s a weird thing because I love it so much but it’s a 24 hour job, sometimes it drives me insane. It’s such a weird rollercoaster of emotions.”