Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Not Squares email interview:

Having said yourselves that you draw influence from the likes of Soulwax, LCD & Crystal Castles and with such a fast paced, dance heavy debut in ‘Yeah OK’, who/ what was it that inspired you to write music like this in the first place?
We wanted to make upbeat music that continues to move in directions. For example, recently we have felt compelled to explore the world of disco (and Arthur Russell). 

How does the writing process work? Does it come from jamming as a band or do you bring in ideas individually and work on them etc?
We jam as a band and quite often leave a voice recorder on, then maybe end up jamming on a certain part and start the process again, we each bring ideas to the mix at that point and work it out from there. We often play new songs live before they’re finished just to see if the live setting can mould them somehow more organically with the atmosphere of an audience. 

Looking at your tour schedule for December alone it looks like things are pretty hectic for you guys. Do you get tired of playing the same songs every night, or do the crowds keep everything fresh for you?
The gigs are always different, for example we’re going from Two Door Cinema Club shows where the venues are huge and we’re playing huge sound-systems to small inimate club venues and hopefully the odd house-party (basement show in Leeds next week Rich?!) 

What could someone expect from a Not Squares live show?
Wide-eyed dance riots, catchy bass riffs, and screaming grown men. 

What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Probably our album launch at the end of November, we were surrounded by friends who enjoy going nuts with our music and dancing their asses off. 

You’ve been extremely well received from the media so far in your career, is that in the back of your mind when you’re working on new ideas?
We don’t really think about media as its hard to predict, but feedback is always welcome. I guess we probably think more of what friends, bands or musicians would think rather than critics. 

What can we expect from Not Squares in 2011?
New material, remixes, a second album hopefully, we’ve already got a few new songs on the stove and we’re currently testing a couple out live. We’d like to take a couple of months in February and March to focus on writing and recording new stuff. A mega European and Japanese tour would be nice too. 

What is on your CD player right now? Or if you don’t have a CD player (I can’t quite believe I’m saying that) what was the last song played on your generic MP3 player?
On the way to Galway today we listened to Selda Bagcan and Ratatat. 

Where can you see yourselves as a band in ten years time?
Ten Years is too far away to think about seeing anything – a greek architect Christos Papoulias once told me nobody should plan anything more than 6 months in advance and I believed him. 

Finally, if you could open for any band past or present then who would it be and why?
Fleetwood Mac cos its Fleetwood Mac!

Monday, 13 December 2010

2000 Fast Women – Letters From Vienna (Ashley Beedle Remix) [Single] (Wrapt Up)

2010 has without a doubt been the year of dubstep; I would predict that the vast majority of new acts, new releases and high charting singles have fallen into this genre over the last year. Its dirty dance sound reminiscent of drum and bass, dub, garage and grime is very heavy and infectious, add to that (usually) some sweet vocal melodies over the top and you all of a sudden have something completely unobtrusive and very catchy. So when I heard that Max Taylor (bassist for Roots Manuva/ Groove Armada/ Clor) and drummer John Maiden (Tricky) were starting a new project I have to admit I was expecting them to be doing something from this growingly popular genre. How wrong I was; in fact the original version of ‘Letters From Vienna’ is nothing short of a pop rock song. However there are a couple of remixes that are picking up a lot of attention, including this Ashley Beedle mix. 

From the start of the track there is a bongo line that sounds like it was stolen directly from Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s version of ‘Apache’, but it only takes forty seconds to change into something much darker. In come the bass lines so familiar with dubstep now, heavy on the reverb and very distorted. It could be mistaken for some kind of 90’s speed garage track if it weren’t for the vocals holding it together and giving it a more modern feel. The general idea of the original song is there, the offbeat guitars and the eerie synths are all included here but the overall sound is much more accomplished. It sounds like a finished article rather than the original track that only sounds like the beginnings of something that could be much better. It shows off Ashley Beedle as a great remix artist and someone who can take something quite plain and bring it to life. Don’t get me wrong the original song is alright (it’s got to be near impossible to make a good remix of a terrible track) but I think that this mix of ‘Letters From Vienna’ has much more substance behind it and a much more mainstream feel… for now at least. 7/10 


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Butterfly Fan The Inferno – Brassneck [Single] (Self Release)

Jam bands were one of the best things to come out of the 90’s for me: A group of talented musicians get together, have a jam and make some crazy-ass music. What amounts from this situation is usually veering towards the funk rock style; lazy, dirty, psychedelic and heavy on the solos. Butterfly Fan The Inferno’s latest single ‘Brassneck’ is exactly that: Starting with a laid back groove between the bass and drums that is layered with vocals and an almost constant guitar solo that fills out any of the gaps left in the audio spectrum, it immediately reminds me of US jam bands such as Umphrey’s McGee and String Cheese Incident. With a sound like that I wasn’t surprised to see that this Birmingham based quartet actually started up across the pond.

Their sound is big and boisterous with a ska twang in there for good measure, but I can’t help but think that the song lacks a little depth. It feels like it wants to move away from the initial riff at some point, taking the track somewhere unexpected instead of sticking to the comfort of a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure. There isn’t a strong enough hook for this song to warrant staying safe and a little bit of thinking out of the box wouldn’t go amiss. Because of this it ends up sounding like a jam band attempting a pop song, which just isn’t quite right in my opinion. That doesn’t mean to say that what they have created in ‘Brassneck’ isn’t good, I just think that with a little bit more thought it could turn into something quite amazing. 6/10