Amelia’s Magazine | Berlin musician Miss Kenichi introduces her haunting third album The Trail

Berlin based musician and artist Katrin Hahner is Miss Kenichi. Her third album The Trail was released on Sinnbus late last year and is a personal journey into a quiet, magical place where memories and experiences echo hauntingly through each song. I asked Katrin to explain bit more about her inspiration and process.

A trail is described as ‘a series of signs or objects left behind by the passage of someone or something‘, ‘a track used in following someone‘ or ‘a beaten path through rough country‘. As an artist as well as a human being I am trying to find my way through the thicket of life, beating down my own path, but at the same time I am walking an ancient line, following a trail that is already laid out for me.

What is said is as important as what is not said. The pause, the blank spots, they are just as valuable. Once you know what needs to be said you don´t have to say much more. It translates. You have to be quiet to listen. It´s like standing still in the forest and letting the animals come out into the opening one by one.

When writing songs I see a movie scene, a landscape, a story unfolding in my mind and I illustrate the scenery with the music. I switch between the characters of the scene, taking on different views. Sometimes I am the observer, sometimes I am part of the story.

I am inspired by all kinds of things: stories, books, films, landscapes, nature, people. It’s all out there. Nature is so merciless and rough and so endlessly beautiful and perfect at the same time. At the time I wrote the song Bobby Bacala I was reading the stories of Flannery O´Connor and simultaneously watching The Sopranos. O´Connor’s stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque, almost always dealing with matters of violence, pain, faith, grace and salvation. Both formats deal with the same questions of morals, fate and violence and Bobby Baccalieri with his childlike innocence, who could very well be one of O´Connor’s characters is born on the wrong track and loses his life on it.

The album is co-produced by Earl Harvin, a unique and very inspiring musician, who worked with many a great name and who is currently the drummer of the British band Tindersticks. When we started to work together, I instantly knew that this was something very special, intuitive and rare. We recorded the album mostly at Chez Cherie Studios in Berlin, a big recording room with no booth, so everybody who is in the room has to remain silent during the recording. It is as if you record the awe and the held breath of the people in the room as well.

We played most instruments ourselves: guitars, drums, organs, vibes, harmonium, bass, percussions. If a song asked for an instrument none of us could play, we would ask friends to come in and record with us. So Satch Hoyt played an incredible flute solo on the song The Night. This solo is like a flock of birds winding up onto the skies. Terry Edwards graced us with a beautiful horn arrangement on Dream and Chris Bruce´s guitar pickings on this song wove it all together. The song is called Dream because Earl saw me play the song in his dream on a little paper accordion in a certain club in Los Angeles. He got out of bed and recorded the pieces that he could remember and I built the rest of the song around that. A person is witnessing her own funeral in a dream and gets the chance to turn her life around into what it was actually meant to be. The magical thing about this is that I played in this very club a couple of months later, but we didn’t know that at the time of the dream.

I wanted an album that is dark and full of shadows and gloom, yet filled with light and beauty at the same time, because that´s how I perceive life. So fragile and fleeting and also incredibly powerful, full of magic and wonders.

Just wrap yourself in light and don´t you frown…” (The Trail)

Categories ,berlin, ,Chez Cherie Studios, ,Chris Bruce, ,Earl Harvin, ,Flannery O´Connor, ,Katrin Hahner, ,Miss Kenichi, ,Satch Hoyt, ,Sinnbus, ,Terry Edwards, ,The Trail, ,Tindersticks

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Amelia’s Magazine | Clogs – The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton – Album Review

Perhaps the most apt album title of the year so far, sickness The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton is the fifth album from the classically-bent folk group known as Clogs. Theirs is a music grounded in an intellectual appreciation of musical form and theory, here but when they come to actually write their songs they sit around and jam like any other rock group. It gives their songs a fluidity and spontaneity that belies that this is, side effects at heart, a group of chin-stroking music theorists – those members being Padma Newsome (Australian multi-instrumentalist), Bryce Dessner (most famous for being guitarist for The National), Rachael Elliott, and Thomas Kozumplik.

The title is apt, dear readers, once you realise what, exactly, the Garden of Lady Walton is. The Argentinian Lady Susana Walton lived with her husband, the British composer William Walton, on the island of Ischia in Italy. Upon arriving at their new home in the year after the end of the Second World War they decided to call in the famous landscape gardener Russell Page, who decided upon a mix of indigenous Mediterranean plants and imported tropical, exotic varieties. Almost two decades ago the garden was opened to the public – the William Walton Foundation runs a museum dedicated to the composer, and puts on a series of classical concerts every year in the garden’s Greek Theater. It’s a highly-respected piece of horticulture, and very neatly acts as a metaphor for Clogs’ project – artists and musicians from around the world perform under the boughs of trees from every corner of the globe, an eclectic and vivid mixture that works far better than the sum of the parts. The creatures in the garden are the friends and influences that have helped them make this record, which by contrast to earlier Clogs output it more varied, more filled with wanderlust.

‘Cocodrillo’, then, opens with an a capella chorus of chirps and mumbles while the chant, “these are the creatures in Lady Walton’s garden,” is sang in rounds, exactly in keeping with the tangled foliage on the album’s cover – maybe a little bit too close to ‘concept album’ territory for some, but charming nonetheless.  There’s an operatic element to The Creatures… thanks to the vocal contributions of Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond – whereas previous Clogs albums have remained mostly instrumental in nature, her singing occupies pride of place on over half of the tracks here. It’s a voice that I could imagine would grate terribly with some but endear itself to others, a sweet and swooping voice that suits the more delicate classical compositions – something like ‘The Owl of Love’ is almost medieval – but which is thankfully not deployed over everything.

Newsome writes most of the lyrics, and sings on ‘Red Seas’; there’s also an appearance from Matt Berninger of The National, whose guest slot on vocals for ‘Last Song’ is a definite highlight. His voice, that level baritone, sticks out amongst the dramatic ups and downs of Newsome’s singing. Sufjan Stevens also guests, but his appearance is limited to the instrumental – no doubt to the disappointment of his fans, who were probably hoping for more than plucking a few banjo strings. Still, it’s a worthwhile contribution, as closing track ‘We Were Here’ is elegiac and rousing.

Every song sounds like a Clogs composition, but each one has its own little quirks and traits to make it seem more unique – there’s the concerto of ‘Raise the Flag’, the post-rock tinkle of ‘I Used to Do’. Trying to pull out which influences come from where feels like trying to weed a particularly stony patch of ground – beneath every root there’s another, then another, and another.

It’s hard to find fault with this record on the level of individual songs – it’s certainly Clogs’ strongest work, but its only weakness appears to be its strength – its delicateness. As with much music rooted in the mind rather than the soul there is little dynamic to grab the casual listener. I adore it – I adore the sensation of wandering through a mass of roots and branches, finding spaces of clarity and beauty on the Italian coast, as that’s what it cannot help but sound like. Perhaps Walton himself would approve, though I’m certain his wife would have.

Categories ,Bryce Dessler, ,classical, ,Clogs, ,folk, ,ian steadman, ,Matt Berninger, ,My Brightest Diamond, ,Padme Newsome, ,Shara Worden, ,Sufjan Stevens, ,The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, ,The National

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Amelia’s Magazine | Slo Light: an interview with Neil Davidge

Neil Davidge by Gemma Cotterell

Neil Davidge by Gemma Cotterell.

Bristol based producer Neil Davidge has worked with the likes of Sandie Shaw, Cate Le Bon, Karima Francis and many others to produce a stunning debut album. Slo Light came out last month and builds upon an action packed career, which includes highlights such as co-writer and producer for Massive Attack, score composer of Halo 4 and collaborations with David Bowie, Snoop Dog, Damon Albarn, Primal Scream and Mos Def. The album is deeply-schooled in Bristol beats, electronica, soundtracks, orchestral music and more, creating a fantasy world in which tension, darkness and beauty find the perfect equilibrium. I asked Neil about the creation of Slo Light...

Neil Davidge portrait

How did you pull together such an amazing roster of artists to work with?
It took a fair amount of patience and belligerence. I didn’t want to accept anyone with a good voice who could spell their name correctly. The list of potential collaborators grew over the course of the last 10 years, some I’d met whilst working with Massive (Attack) and some I bumped into in train stations. On each occasion meeting the people I’d eventually ask to sing I felt a connection that went beyond a purely musical appreciation and gravitated towards those I could talk about life and love and who I felt were tapped into something beautiful other than music.

Gallant Foxes feat. Cate Le Bon.

What were your ambitions when you set out to make this album?
For it to be honest and unguarded. I don’t find it easy to be authentic in my daily life, much of the time I find myself being polite and accepting stuff I really should take issue with. The studio is the one place where I feel brave enough and selfish enough to stand my ground and expect better of the world and myself. I also wanted to make it quickly (comparatively, the last album I made took 7 years).

Neil Davidge by Simon McLaren

Neil Davidge by Simon McLaren.

Can you describe the Bristol music scene in 2014, who do you hang out with and where would we find you making music and finding inspiration?
I hang out with Drew with who I made the album and works with me on most of my projects, and Tom, our wipper-snapper programmer… 7 days a week, sometimes 17+ hours a day in the studio. It’s a rare occurence for me to stray further than the 4 walls of our converted loft apartment studio or my house on the edge of the city. I’d love to tell you about the current Bristol music scene but I’d bet you good money that you know more about it than me.

Who were your biggest influences in your formative years on the music scene?
I’d have to go further back than when I first started making music, back to childhood, hearing Bowie, Debussy, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, that stuff gave me a measure for what’s worthy I still use today. When I began playing my tastes shifted slightly, listening to bands like The Pop Group, Gang Of Four and A Certain Ratio, but I’m influenced by pretty much everything I hear, including sounds that are not traditionally considered ‘music’, in some way or other and always have been.

Sleepwalking feat. EMI Green.

What is the secret to good production (any tips)?
Wow, If I knew the answer to that one… Working really fucking hard, staying open minded and listening to my gut is how I do it. I’m envious of those who seem to have it sussed but I’m sure that’s me being hard on myself. When it comes down to it I’d guess no-one achieves and sustains a successful and creatively exciting career without a lot of effort and many sleepless nights.

What underground artists do you recommend for us to look out for in the coming years?
I don’t know how ‘underground’ they are. I’m currently listening to Benoit Pioulard, Low Roar (who sang on ‘Home From Home’ on my album), Stars Of The Lid and Emptyset (from Bristol).


Slo Light by Neil Davidge is out now on 7Hz Recordings.

Categories ,7Hz Recordings, ,A Certain Ratio, ,Beatles, ,Benoit Pioulard, ,Bowie, ,bristol, ,Cate Le Bon, ,damon albarn, ,David Bowie, ,Debussy, ,EMI Green, ,Emptyset, ,gang of four, ,Gemma Cotterell, ,Halo 4, ,Karima Francis, ,Low Roar, ,Marvin Gaye, ,Massive Attack, ,Mos Def, ,Neil Davidge, ,Primal Scream, ,Sandie Shaw, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Slo Light, ,Snoop Dog, ,Stars Of The Lid, ,The Pop Group

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Amelia’s Magazine | Two Gallants @ Koko

It’s the end of the show already and the stage is dripping in red light. From where I’m standing, the perspiration in the room looks like blood. Two Gallants have just been on for over an hour, so the perspiration on the walls feels like blood too.

They have wrecked this place. Their blues, rock, folk, punk, loud, quiet, angry, sad mayhem has blown the place to smithereens. Adam Stephens‘ voice is cracked, rasped and broken. His heart is heavy, his songs are long, his words are laced with the worn down dejection of a hard life. The mouth organ can barely hold up for the rust and rot.

Tyson Vogel bashes his drums like he’s making up for a past deed. He has no crash cymbal, just high hat and ride. He provides the drama, the beard, and the mystery. There’s just the two of them. Named after a James Joyce short story, as you know, they are literate. They tell tales: “I shot my wife today/Hid her body in the ‘frisco bay”. That’s a tough gig. They repent: “If you got a throat/I got a knife”.

But they’re not depressing. They’re painting a picture, writing a novel, making you think. Amidst the almost White Stripe-y rock-outs and the down beat Americana they’re doing rustic graffiti on the side of an old wooden cabin. They’re drinking whisky and opening their heart to a best friend because things haven’t worked out how they planned and they don’t know what to do about it. And they do it every single song.

Long Summer Day is as controversial and opinion-splitting as ever, the Gallants belting out Moses Platt’s lyrics as if they were their own: “And the summer day make a white man lazy/He sits on his porch killing time/But the summer day make a nigger feel crazy/Might make me do something out of line.” It raises an eyebrow, provokes, and stretches boundaries. But as reckless and offensive as some might see it, that, compadres, is what it’s all about.

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Amelia’s Magazine | X-Lion Tamer – An Interview – Now Tames Good Pop Music

patchworkthreed- zanditon

The dawning of October saw the fashion world descend on Paris to experience what is arguably the most highly anticipated of fashion weeks.

With highly influential and renowned designers: Lanvin, about it dosage Givenchy, this and Chanel showcasing their collections for SS10, you would be forgiven for thinking that Paris was only about the ubiquitous fashion houses. Whilst the presence of big name designers and celebrities alike was a mathematical certainty, thankfully there was one big ethical reason to keep an eye on Paris.

Zanditon- springsummer10preview

For the sixth successive year The Ethical Fashion Show teamed up with Institut Français de la Mode to present a four-day trade fair exclusively devoted to the cause of ethical fashion. Held in the famed Tapis Rouge (Red Carpet; A Parisian department store dating back to 1784).

The event showcased the cream of ethical fashion on the catwalk whilst looking to raise awareness on sustainable fashion through lectures, workshops and networking events geared towards professionals, students and members of the public.


Supported by the French government, and brands as varied as La Redoute and LVMH, the event oversaw the important Ethical Fashion Show award ceremony. Deserving winners for 2009 were Le Racines Du Ciel and Deux Filles En Fil. Closing with a special auction of designs by Satya Joti, the Ethical Fashion Show raised €2,670 towards helping to build a health centre in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, India.

Among the 100 strong designers there was the great discovery of Brit, Ada Zanditon, who founded her self titled label last year, and showcased at the 2008 Ethical Fashion Show. Winning an award for the creativity of her debut collection. Greatly inspired by modern architecture and art, Zanditon’s SS10 range is titled ‘The Colony’.

Zanditon- 2

A smart and sexy collection, ‘The Colony’ combines heavily structured pieces such as the conical patchwork dress, with super feminine silhouettes such as the pillar-box red cut out asymmetric mini dress. Zanditon’s aptitude for sharp tailoring is visible in the navy blue jumpsuit. With her unique ability to balance proportions, Zanditon’s designs are beautifully crafted, modern and chic making her a key eco designer to watch.

Zanditon- 3

Moreover, for those who like their ready-to-wear fashion on the quirkier side Dutch label Studio Jux specialise in affordable fashion which is fun, playful and most importantly sustainable.

StudioJux- 1

Designed for both men and women by Saskia Boekraad and Jitske Lundgren; Studio Jux aim to create fresh, comfortable garments that feature a signature twist, created by playing with the shapes and constraints of modern fashion.

StudioJux- 2

A quirk that sets Studio Jux apart is the accompaniment of each garment with a numbered label corresponding to the specific tailor behind the construction of the item. The tailor can then be identified through their website. An act displaying the brand’s commitment to their Nepalese tailors who are paid by the hour as opposed to per garment. Studio Jux are deeply committed to the environment by only using eco fabrics that are certified by an International Standard. All product packaging is environmentally friendly and they pay airlines a premium on the transport of their goods. This premium is used by the airlines to plant trees on Studio Jux’s behalf, to help offset their CO2 emissions.

StudioJux- 3

Their SS10 collection,‘Fresh Green Shoots’ features a wide variety of natural fabrics from certified organic cotton, bamboo, hemp to linen. Comprising of chic separates for men and women, each garment is simple in its design, with subtle details such as screen prints, ruching and draping helping to give the garments personality. As a 100% fair-trade non-profit company, Studio Jux is one label that is selflessly fighting the ethical fashion cause that will go from strength to strength. ? ?

A personal favourite was OBA , the edgy French jewellery and accessories design team founded by Ana Paula Freitas. Inspired by the creativity and originality of Brazilian heritage and culture, Freitas’ team comprises of several Brazilian artisan associations such as Cia de Lacra, who work together to use production methods which promote a socially responsible attitude to fashion and the environment, whilst generating social benefits and integration in rural areas where traditional craft workers are prone to exploitation.

OBA- Cora bag

Dedicated to sourcing renewable materials OBA use old ancestral techniques juxtaposed with urban methods, combining recycling with organic materials and fibres from sustainable sources. Knitting and crochet are inherited techniques commonly used when making local handicrafts. OBA utilises these techniques by weaving ring pulls from aluminium cans creating a sleek, modern and versatile accessories collection which is 100% ethical.

OBA- Niede clutch bag

OBA’s work captures the contrasts and vibrancy of Brazil which is reflected through the vivid colour palette and the range of textures visible in each piece. Stand out accessories from the collection include the chunky ‘Kingston’ bracelets, the futuristic ‘Neide’ ring pull clutch and the ‘Cora’ ring pull shoulder bag.

OBA- kingston bracelets

Each of the designers exhibiting at the Ethical Fashion Show represent the versatility of eco fashion from across the globe, uniting to highlight the grave importance of the fashion industry’s treatment towards its craftsmen. By joining forces on the international stage the Ethical Fashion Show is proof that companies can be profitable without destroying ecosystems.

Whilst pioneering fair-trade and eco friendly techniques the main message emanating from the Tapis Rouge was an appeal to the fashion industry. An appeal to work with a stronger conscience to decrease the environmental impact of the textile industry. Whilst preserving local skills by ensuring the fair trade of goods for everyone, not just those fortunate enough to be living in the Western world.

For further information on the Ethical Fashion Show please visit:

x lion tamer 2

Under the name of X-Lion Tamer, sildenafil Edinburgh-based artist, illness Tony Taylor, more about likes to create 80s-tinged pop songs about romance, friendship and, eh, suicide. He once said his music sounds like, ‘the ending credits of low budget 80s teen movies – played on your mate’s Amiga’. A bit like a John Hughes film, if Erasure and Junior Boys had been asked to do the music. I met up with him in a Swedish bar to talk pop.

What type of music would you say you make?

I say it’s pop. Other people sometimes call it electro, or electro pop, or dance or synthpop, but I think it’s straight pop. I just happen to use electronic instruments when I play.

What do you think makes a good pop song?

There are two types really, aren’t there? There’s the love songs; the ones that say ‘I love you’, ‘I have loved you’, or ‘I want to love you’, then there’s the songs that want you to get down to, get funky. Something like ‘Holiday’ by Madonna – it’s exactly that. It’s a naked, fun time, party record. I try to make party records that have a sense of loss or emotion to them.

x lion tamer sneaky petes

Madonna is one of your favourite artists. Who else do you like?

Erasure, Yazoo, Cyndi Lauper – I like clean sounds, and I tend to like stuff with that 80s analogue synth vibe to it. I like to pick from lots of genres though. I’m just as happy to listen to old Belinda Carlisle as the new Fuck Buttons 7”. I take influences from all kinds of music – stuff you’d hear in clubs, soundtracks to 80s movies, Burt Bacharach… There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure; you either like something or you don’t.

What about your lyrics? Although you call them party records, ‘Neon Hearts’ is about feeling empty inside, ‘Life Support Machine’ is about suicide letters, and ‘I Said Stop’ is about a bad break-up.

I like the idea of making melodically driven pop music, that sounds quite melancholy, but is uplifting at the same time. Music can be immediate and catchy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have any depth. I like big hooks, and big melodies that will stick in your head, but I try to combine them with lyrics that aren’t throwaway. I love British music’s ability to do that. People like The Smiths, The Auteurs or Hefner, they all do stuff that sounds quite joyful on the surface, but underneath it’s quite heartfelt.

So do you think British pop and say, American pop, are very different?

A lot of British pop is very kitchen sink. It’s not necessarily positive, and it really focuses on the day to day stuff. It’s just some guy who’s sitting in his flat feeling miserable. The American stuff often feels more widescreen, it makes you think of rolling prairies and wide open spaces.

And you prefer the British approach?

Yeah, I like down to earth lyrics, but then giving them a bit of glamour with some electro and pop sounds. I also try to avoid earnestness. I hate that in music.

You seem to be building up a good following in Scotland now. You’ve come a long way from that gig you did last year in a pub where you spilled a pint over your laptop during your first song…

Yeah. That was embarrassing. [laughs] But actually it was probably the best thing I ever did. I ended up claiming a better laptop through my insurance. So, career wise it was pretty clever.

Neon Hearts is on sale at Rough Trade, Avalanche (Scotland), iTunes, eMusic through 17 Seconds Records.

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