An interview with Stubborn Heart
By Tim Marshall
London-based electronic duo Luca Santucci and Ben Fitzgerald formed officially as Stubborn Heart last year, but had been making music together for the last ten years. The band said that it all started to come together “when we came up with ‘Better Than This’ in 2010. We finally made something that we were proud of and that we could play to our friends without flinching.” Three years later, the track was released as the third single from their eponymous debut album. An eclectic mix of pulsating, heavy bass/break beat electro and northern soul, it was well-received by critics who identified dark themes such as urban isolation and unease. I asked the band whether they recognise this description of their music. “We certainly were living quite dystopian existences whilst making this album and that did seep into the music. There’s a coldness about the record that was probably a result of us both being cut off from normal day-to-day living. It’s not a lifestyle I would recommend. Although computers can often fool you into thinking that you’re not alone I wouldn’t like to marry one.”
By Woodrow Whyte
As I type, I’m currently experiencing something of a cognitive dissonance. My challenge is to find some of the best summer music festivals across Europe, yet sharp crystals of snow are cascading horizontally outside my window. It’s -2°C and I’m in my bed with a scarf and hat, doggedly waiting for winter to piss off. Is the festival season really only round the corner? It may seem but a distant dream, yet Glastonbury is only 100 days or so away. Oh how I long to be sat in the Stone Circle being sold NOS balloons by dodgy looking men in dinosaur costumes whilst being persuaded by a discerning Goddess of Avalon named Zen about the holistic curing properties of camel shit. *sigh*
An Interview with David Bronson
By Lisa Sa
New York singer-songwriter David Bronson released the first half of his two-part album series The Long Lost Story on January 7 titled The Story. Bronson has been writing, producing and recording for a number of years now, and so naturally the first question to ask was what inspires an artist with impressive writing talent such as his to keep on putting pen to paper despite the tight budget. “I would say that the writing, for me, is fully the inspiration for all the rest of it,” he tells me. “The writing is the heart of the entire thing for me. It’s the purest extension I know, other than relationships, of my humanity.”
An interview with Abi Wade
By Woodrow Whyte
Living in the countryside can do strange things to a person. It can often feel like living inside a bubble – a bubble so uncultured even Jim Davidson would feel out of touch. This can be problematic for an aspiring musician. An aspiring anything actually. “I lived in the outskirts of Cambridge in the countryside, which is about a half an hour drive to the nearest bus stop” says Abi Wade, giggling behind a cup of coffee. “It was in the middle of no where. But I suddenly arrived in Brighton and it was like boom and I had everything at my finger tips.”
I’ve always found the concept of romanticising or caring for a chain of high street shops absurd. To me, they are a faceless pickpocketing point for things we desire, and much more rarely, need. The (ongoing) national mourning for the collapse of Woolworths is possibly the most ridiculous example of them all. It seems like every day somebody with nothing better to say will still recount the time “I used to go with my Nan and buy the pick ‘n’ mix every Saturday”. Implying that if it wasn’t for Woolworths, childhood as we know it would have ceased to exist. Not that they would have gone to another shop and that would have been the end of it. Or that, in truth, it was just a really shit shop.
By Marco Canepari
In conjunction with her London gig, Fatoumata Diawara takes the place of conventional media and clarifies the alarming situation occurring in Mali
“We can’t live without music: music is our first religion!” She came back two days ago from her family’s village, in Mali, but Fatoumata Diawara seems to still be there, next to her parents, her people.
In a couple of hours she will perform at Village Underground, packed for the occasion: she’s one of the most sought-after gigs of the London Jazz Festival, sold out for several weeks. But she’s not smiling or as enthusiastic as usual.
An Interview with Seckou Keita
By Isabel Bedford
I meet Seckou Keita in a café in central London on a grey, soggy October afternoon, where he shares his thoughts on the role of the modern-day griot, insights into his unique musical style, and the wisdom behind his latest album, Miro. Seckou tells me; “you should not die with your knowledge”. Instead he believes you should share it during your lifetime and use it as a force for positive change. I feel privileged to spend a couple of hours in his warm and engaging company, learning from his deep musical knowledge and being inspired by his personal philosophy and worldview.
An interview with DJ Ollie Teeba of The Herbaliser
By Gary Lewis
I’m probably not going to win the lottery this week, but life throws little surprises at you now and again. Like the chance to interview Herbaliser — a production duo responsible for a slew of albums that are firmly rooted in the classic jazz/funk/soul/hip hop mould. With current single, ‘The Lost Boy’, pinging around my brain on repeat, it’s time to drop some questions and see what lands…
An interview with Josephine Oniyama
By Helena Cantone
Singer songwriter Josephine Oniyama has just released her debut album Portrait. Her music is an interesting mix of folk, soul, indie and pop.
I ask her to give Musika readers a bit of background to how she came to music and singing. “I started writing songs and playing guitar when I was around 12. I played guitar in after school groups and in a couple of garages and got a gig in Manchester when I was 15”. Josephine has since then worked with Jimmy Cliff, Paolo Nutini and, more recently, Michael Kiwanuka, to mention a few.
An interview with Vieux Farka Touré at Shambala Festival, 2012.
By Louise Ungless
Described as the ‘Hendrix of the Sahara’, Malian guitar virtuoso Vieux Farka Touré is carving a new path for Mali’s desert blues sound. Whilst remaining true to the roots of his father’s music, he uses elements of rock, Latin music and other African influences.
“I like to take traditional and modern music and mix them together” says Touré. “I’m not Hendrix or anybody” he says, “just Vieux Farka Touré”. I was keen to find out what the guitarist thought about this nick name. “This is what everyone says” he laughs, “this is what they call me, the Jimi Hendrix of the Sahara…I say OK, this is my new name again. Its not so bad”.