Amelia’s Magazine | Amelia’s Magazine arrives in Tokyo!


As I packed for my first ever Glastonbury, sildenafil information pills I thought PRACTICAL and WARM. My long time friend and side kick had relayed stories of the year before being a torrent of mud and rain. What dedication. She and 136, buy 999 others had traipsed through thigh high mud for 5 days all in the name of music.

So when I asked the veteran Glastonbury go-er what on earth should I pack? she could not stress enough how many thermals, fleecies, and things that can be destroyed, I should take. And don’t forget your wellies! Having just moved here from NZ and lacking all the essentials, I was pointed in the direction of the camping store and left to my own devices! I hit Katmandu for a completely uncool but practical fleece jumper and Primark to stock up on tights and cheapie things that can be thrashed – after all, you don’t go to Glastonbury to hide from the elements.

As I arrived and joined the queue for international ticket pick up I was instantly struck by gumboot envy! An array of colors and patterns strutted past and I rarely saw the same pair twice. Fortunately my own pair was black and decorated with cute pink flowers and pink soles so they made the cut.

Check mine out on the right

We arrived 2 days early purely to get the best campsite in all of fair Glastonbury, and after setting up tent we ventured down to explore and make the most of the sunshine – after all it wasn’t going to last, right?! The market stalls were already bustling, and the scene was a feast for the eyes! Girls in vintage dresses, colored tights, floral patterns -everything high street and everything fashion was on display.

Thursday evening bought the rain and Friday saw drizzle turning the once dust bowl farm into a thick mud that threatened to steal your boots with each step. But this did not hinder efforts from the crowd to look every bit like the glossy photos we see each year of celebrities looking effortlessly cool.


The boldest looks seemed to appear directly from the onsite costume stalls in Shangri la. Super heroes, brides, cows, video game characters and even a banana competed on the muddy catwalk.

Of course when it comes down to it, after a couple of pear ciders you’re so excited to be jumping and shaking in front of your favorite band, you forget about your own mish mash of uncoordinated practical warm things and have just want to have a damn good time!

Me attempting the effortlessly cool look


Today we received great news that the issues we sent to Tokyo record shop Escalator Records three months ago have finally arrived. Why it took so long we have no idea, dosage perhaps the Royal Mail staff had a good read of them before they even got on the plane.

Escalator Records is a label based record store that was opened in 2002 in Harajuku Tokyo, and has stocked the most wonderful and limited records ever since. The store is very well respected and even has some famous fans. Haruka from the store told us, “Daft Punk, the people at Ed Banger, Modular People, Annie and CSS all give big love to the store”.

They also run an internet radio show, through which they aim to spread the word about as yet unknown Japanese bands.

Haruka was nice enough to send us some photos to prove their arrival, as we had previously believed they had been lost forever.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Brian Wilson Performs That Old Lucky Sun (A Narrative)

Word about town was that Peter Pilotto was going to be an interesting one.

Turns out that everyone had heard the same thing; as a sizeable group of showgoers were ushered through various vast white rooms and corridors filled with clothing and blown up photographs, price buy information pills the entrance to the show room emerged from a bounty of colourful fabrics and mannequins. The remaining throng of show-goers picking their way through the labyrinth of racks only to be told at the door that the room was at capacity and to watch it from the ‘big screen’, help which turned out was a rather hazy projection onto a white wall, to be observed on a balcony from a height.

Never fear, despite the rather feeble view of the show from a projector, the quality of the design did not disappoint. An amalgamation of a number of influences were apparent; the collection being a futuristic take on decidedly tribal and almost Edwardian sensibilities, with vague Mary Poppins-esque references in the shape of jackets nipped in at the waist with deep scoop collars and Dick Van Dyke style flat holiday straw boaters thrown into the mix. Unexpected elements were juxtaposed; A-line silhouettes with cinched waists as well as pleating for small volume in a subtler version of the bubble skirt. Bodices were manipulated into rosette-like features. Add to that the neo-tribal, yet weirdly industrial prints in dove greys, browns and creams and you get Peter Pilotto’s Spring/Summer 2008. Splashes of orange highlighted the sophisticated and subdued palette.

A highly unified collection, strong and urbane. I just wish that I had seen the clothes in the flesh and not projected onto a wall – if I’d wanted to do that, I would have just tuned into Fashion TV.

“There he goes!” says guitarist Jeffrey Foskett as Brian Wilson pads offstage like an acid scarred Yogi bear. “65 years old and he’s still got it!” After years of false starts, sickness the music performed that Sunday evening was a testament to the creative re-birth of one of this century’s finest composers. The man who single-fucking-handedly invented a state of mind had come home – his spiritual home – and shown just how transcendental and awe inspiring his talent still is.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Kept Impulses at the Barbican featuring Nancy Elizabeth, Hauschka and James Blackshaw

nancy elizabeth - abi daker
Nancy Elizabeth by Abigail Daker.

I made a decision to attend Kept Impulses at the Barbican at the last minute only because I wanted to support Fran – erstwhile violinist in my ceilidh band Green Kite Midnight – backing the extremely talented 12 string guitarist James Blackshaw, physician stuff who we covered here last year. But I knew we were in for a treat as soon as I spotted Nancy Elizabeth in the line up for this collaborative show, here directed by David Coulter.

Nancy Elizabeth featured in issue 09 of Amelia’s Magazine and she also made a tune to go on the accompanying usb, but I met her long before that at the Thermal Festival in 2007. Feel free to read all about my exploits at this boutique festival oop north, curated by Sam Genders, formerly of Tuung and my report of Nancy’s gig at 93 Feet East that same year. I am happy to report that her down to earth manner and strong Mancunian accent remain absolutely intact, despite her now rarefied setting.

Abi Daker - Nancy Elizabeth James Blackshaw
James Blackshaw and Nancy Elizabeth play together.

She glided across the stage in a flouncy tiered frock. “You stood on ma lead!” she remonstrated James, as he took centre stage between Nancy and the German avante guard pianist Hauschka, “I thought I’d better wear the poshest dress I own since I’m in the poshest concert hall. I was a bit freaked out about playing here; I think we all feel the same.” Apparently they’d been up rehearsing for 3 days. No pressure then.

The first part of the performance was devoted to rearranged collaborative versions of original compositions, with the backing musicians swirling in and out of focus behind the thin gauze curtain according to the lighting effects and their importance. These included the harpist Julia Thornton stage left, and Thomas Bloch on a glass harmonica and cristal baschet on the far side, so I was unable to see what fun he was up to.

Nancy’s voice, without wanting to sound like a huge perv, wavers between the sweetest maple syrup and heaviest treacle. She is at ease with the piano, guitar, harp, or… plastic chair. “I asked them to find me one I could hit and I swear they spent an hour looking for the right one. I wasn’t expecting it to be this manky though.” Her sparse compositions worked well swollen with extra instruments.

Nancy Elizabeth - Abi Daker
Nancy Elizabeth by Abigail Daker.

I’ve been to see Fran play with James Blackshaw before so I know that he is brilliant at complex cyclical picking that builds up into a glorious wall of sound, beloved of guitar aficionados aplenty. The real revelation of the evening was Hauschka, who I have not heard of before. His speciality is what’s known as ‘prepared piano’ whereby he drops bits of junk into the innards of the instrument to create interesting noise effects. Sounds diabolical, makes amazing noises. Picking each bit of debris out one by one, he then dumped a bag of ping pong balls inside so that they could bounce up and down with the music.

Abi Daker - Hauschka
In my eagerness to catch Hauschka in action for this illustration by Abigail Daker, I received a severe remonstration from one of the stewards. Worth it though, don’t you agree?

After the break Nancy reappeared in a change of outfit, this time a striped gold and black number with a wide angular bottom, “I thought I’d have a costume change to show James up. I did offer him the dress first though.” Each of the musicians had a chance to showcase their solo work in the second half, complete with a much enlarged backing orchestra, including Fran, her little white stockings aglow in the centre of the stage. The finale was a joint composition created a few weeks ago and given the name 1000 Angels thanks to the appearance of huge numbers of Hells Angels near their Hackney recording studio. “I don’t know where it was,” said Nancy, “somewhere down south.” Only a true Northerner would say that. It’s east love, east.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,barbican, ,David Coulter, ,Green Kite Midnight, ,Harp, ,Hauschka, ,Hells Angels, ,james blackshaw, ,Julia Thornton, ,Kept Impulses, ,nancy elizabeth, ,piano, ,Sam Genders, ,Thermal Festival, ,Thomas Bloch, ,tuung

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Depreciation Guild: The Old Blue Last: A Live Review


Side-projects by band members can be hit and miss affairs- it’s either a radical departure from the “day job” or sounds so similar that you end up thinking, viagra nurse “why did they bother?” Brooklyn trio the Depreciation Guild (who feature two members of indie-pop darlings the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart) luckily veer more towards the former.
Playing a string of UK dates before joining you-know-who on tour, ailment the Depreciation Guild fetched up at the Old Blue Last in front of an audience equally as curious to check them out.


Despite having already released one album in the US, 2007’s In Her Gentle Jaws, and with single Dream About Me out at the moment, I think they were still a largely unknown quantity amongst the Shoreditch cognoscenti.
Kurt Feldman had swapped the drum-kit of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart for lead vocal and guitar duties, and was joined by fellow POBPAH wanderer Christoph Hochheim on guitar, with Anton Hochheim on drums. Backed by a lightshow not normally found in East London boozers, the Depreciation Guild treated us to a set of classic shoegaze. Whilst the influence of My Bloody Valentine is never far from the surface of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s sound, here the spectre of Kevin Shields looms large. From the overdriven guitars to Feldman’s indistinct vocal delivery (which, ironically, is spookily similar to POBPAH compadre Kip Berman’s) it could almost be 1991 again, save for some bonkers 8-bit electro backing which sounds suspiciously like a Nintendo Gameboy.


Some of the poppier sensibilities of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart do occasionally creep in, with songs like Butterfly Kisses sounding not unlike Feldman’s “other” band. There was an emergency guitar change before an ear-searing finale, after which Kurt Feldman had to go and man the merchandise table. He’s certainly not afraid of multi-tasking!
I think the Depreciation Guild certainly made an impression tonight amongst those (like me) who weren’t quite sure what to expect. Musically, their heavier sound is not a million miles away from that of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and it’ll be interesting to see how they go down with the latter’s fans when they share stages (as well as drummer and guitarist) in the next month or so.

Categories ,live, ,london, ,music, ,My Bloody Valentine, ,review, ,The Depreciation Guild, ,The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

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Amelia’s Magazine | Review: Truck Festival 2011

Truck Monster Illustration by Barb Royal

Dancing like a loon to jungle music at 3am. Sitting next to a cornfield in the evening sunshine with a succulent burger in one hand and a cider in the other. No, for sale wait, getting some love from the Truck Monster…. no; feeling the love as the most perfect album in the entire history of recorded music was recreated live on stage…. I’m trying to sift through my favourite moments at Truck festival 2011, and I could sit here ad infinitum without coming any closer.

The weekend of July 22-24th is one of Summer’s prime time slots in the festival calender – if this was the telly, it would be the 7.30pm Eastenders or Corrie dilemma, so Truck has always run the risk of being overlooked by the bigger beasts of the festival scene, yet it has diligently carved itself a niche amongst good people who love great music. If I were to try to give Truck a unique selling point, I would say that it’s like attending the worlds hippest village fete (but with no pretentious ‘tude). Example? Next to the stage that Transgressive, Heavenly Records and Bella Union were curating the line-up, the local Rotary Club were serving up cups of tea and scones. At this rate, I wouldn’t have been surprised had I been served tea by a ray-bans wearing vicar.

This year, I brought a good friend who had previously only been to one festival (Glasto), so I was excited to see what she made of something a lot more intimate. Joining us for an all-too brief time was Amelia and her lovely boyfriend Tim, who I last saw at Wood Festival. Sharing the same ethos as Wood (which isn’t hard; they are run by the same family), Truck is a resolutely inclusive, family-friendly festival. Babies and tiny tots are held in high regard here, and are given plenty of fun activities and places to play, which must be a godsend for parents.

Illustration by Benbo

Amelia captures her crew in the early evening sunshine.

Photographs by Amelia Gregory

I noticed that Truck had expanded a fair bit, there were additions of a theatre space, a comedy and cabaret tent, (which I regretfully say that I didn’t give enough attention to – next year I promise!), as well as Wood Field, which was a little slice of Wood festival, curated by the Oxford Folk Festival and providing lots of environmentally friendly activities and workshops (and music of course)

Most of my time was spent by the Clash Stage. This was the place where Transgressive, Heavenly and Bella Union took turns in curating the days set list. I considered myself in safe hands with these three labels; the triumvirate of the independent music scene. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the people behind this. Not least because they nail it again and again and again. Transgressive had kicked proceedings off on Friday with acts like Gaggle, Peggy Sue, Johnny Flynn and Graham Coxon. Gaggle are a force to be reckoned with; I first saw the 20+ piece all-female performance art choir about a year ago at The Lexington and was completely transfixed. They exemplify everything great about being a woman; strong, loud, dynamic and passionate (with killer headgear), I found this photograph of Gaggle posing in the field above Truck to give you a sense of their presence.

photo by Andrew Kendall

Saturday was Heavenly Records turn to take care of us. When I was first really getting into proper music – after my Five Star faze – Heavenly were one of the first cases where I was intrigued by the label as much as the artists. Right from the get go, Heavenly had its finger on the pulse of the dreamy halcyon days of early 90′s indie-pop, underground and all matter of slightly letfield music. And they provided one of the biggest and unexpected highlights for me on Saturday night – Edwyn Collins. First of all, I had no idea how many songs of his I knew without actually realising who had sung them; of course his biggest hit was “A Girl Like You“, and his days with Orange Juice produced the glorious “Rip It Up And Start Again“, but apparently I’ve been singing along to many more of his hits over the last few years. Live, his set was faultless; it was energetic and fun and the audience were loving every minute. It was about halfway in that I suddenly remembered reading that Edwyn had suffered two strokes a few years ago and could not marry up the idea of suffering something so debilitating with the man on stage who was giving us such a wonderful show. After the weekend I learnt that after a stroke, a persons ability to sing can sometimes remain unabated. I left the set in absolute awe of this mans ability and talent.

photo by Andrew Kendall

Tearing ourself away from the Clash Stage for a hot second, we headed over to the Main Stage to catch Gruff Rhys who delivered a brilliant performance. I had never managed to see the Super Furry Animals live, so I was really happy to watch Gruff entertain us. Sensations in the Dark is one of those perfect songs where every second packs a punch – and it’s great to dance to. (Which we did of course).

Gruff Rhys Illustration by Barb Royal

Late Saturday night and the bars kicked into full swing, such as Kidstock (pictured above), home to several sambuca shots which fortified Anshu and myself for our next pit-stop – the Boxford dance tent. My lovely and kind friend Toby Kidd was DJing old skool jungle in a two hour set that led me to discovering that I can actually dance to jungle. (I’m well aware that photos exist that will disprove this belief, I’m just not going to show them to you).

Photo by Ian Taylor
Sunday was a blazing hot day and I spent the first part of the early afternoon watching bands from a horizontal position, whilst letting the good people at the Rotary Club feed me a late breakfast. (Not literally at the same time, that would be too sybaritic – even for me). Bella Union’s set was possibly my favourite over all, I loved Cashier No.9, who opened proceedings and have been playing a lot on 6Music recently. I hadn’t heard of Lantern’s On The Lake, but I really enjoyed their set – it was a mix of loud, jangly guitar and etherial shoe-gaze. In fact Lanterns took shoe-gaze to its most literal level – I didn’t get to see the lead singers eyes – she and her guitar were pointed resolutely at the floor, lost in the wall of sound that she was creating.

Alessi’s Ark is a favourite of Amelia’s Magazine and its contributors so I was eager to see her set as well. She has a sweet delicate sound that reminds me a little of Liz Fraser from Cocteau Twins, which is ironic seeing that the guitarists in the band founded Bella Union, the label that Alessi is signed to.

Alessi’s Ark Illustration by Barb Royal

While my friend went to chill out in the afternoon sunshine with a reflexology session, I made my way over to the Wood stage, where Rachael Dadd was performing songs from her new album Bite The Mountain. I’m feeling like a little bit of a Rachael groupie of late, having gone to both nights of her album launches, as well as watching the beautiful evening that she helped put on a few months ago to raise money for the Japanese tsunami appeal. So although I know most of her songs off by heart now, they still feel fresh with every listen.

Rachael Dadd Illustration by Tom Watson

The most epic part of the weekend took place on Sunday night. Over at the Main Stage, The Dreaming Spires were holding court. The band consists of Robin and Joe Bennett, the brothers behind Truck. Knowing these guys, I knew what they had up their sleeve after their blinding set, which made me very excited. So at 11pm, everyone rushed back to the Clash Tent, where alongside The Magic Numbers, Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou, and Sarah Cracknell of St Etienne, the band performed the entire album of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. From start to finish, every second was magical. The audience sang along for most of the songs, or danced furiously. Watching the album being performed live, it made me realise how sonically perfect Rumours is; the composition of each song is faultless. The songs were sometimes sung en masse, or the various bands would take it in turn to sing. Of course, it wouldn’t be Truck if the Truck Monster didn’t come on stage and dance behind the band, which added a suitably surreal touch to proceedings. It was one of those moments that can never be captured again, and I’m so glad that I got to experience such musical craftsmanship.
All of a sudden, the festival was over for me, as I had to rush home. My spies tell me that me that those who stayed danced late into the night (or early into the morning), drawing to a close a beloved festival that gets everything right.

Photograph by Ian Taylor

Some girls get all the luck. Photograph by Carolina Faruolo

Categories ,Alessi’s Ark, ,Bella Union, ,Cashier No.9, ,Clash, ,Cocteau Twins, ,Edwyn Collins, ,festivals, ,fleetwood mac, ,gaggle, ,Graham Coxon, ,Gruff Rhys, ,Heavenly Recordings, ,Johnny Flynn, ,Lanterns On The Lake, ,live, ,Orange Juice, ,Oxford, ,Oxford Folk Festival, ,Peggy Sue, ,Rachael Dadd, ,Rumours, ,Sarah Cracknell, ,St. Etienne, ,summer, ,Super Furry Animals, ,The Dreaming Spires, ,The Magic Numbers, ,Transgressive Records, ,Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou, ,Truck Festival, ,Truck Monster, ,Wood Festival

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with indie band Delays

Most bands have a limited shelf life, especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to The Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to defy the odds. They have gone from strength to strength, following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth record, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous brightly coloured abstract painting – I join spiritual frontman Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowly (R) before they take to the stage at their sold out London gig, to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to your new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has evolved over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.

Categories ,Delays, ,Doritos, ,glastonbury, ,Graham Sutton, ,Greg Gilbert, ,Kat Phan, ,Keith Richards, ,Long Time Coming, ,Manic Street Preachers, ,Manifest, ,Mexico City, ,New Forest, ,prince, ,Rowly, ,scandinavia, ,Scott Walker, ,southampton, ,The Guardian, ,The Rolling Stones, ,The Stone Roses, ,Vienna, ,Water Rats

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Amelia’s Magazine | Disturbing Wildlife: An interview with Invisible Familiars

Invisible Familiars is the creation of the talented multi instrumentalist Jared Samuel. His debut LP Disturbing Wildlife, which he penned on a houseboat named Gypsy docked in Jamaica Bay, was released on Other Music Recording Co. this January and does a fine job of making life feel much better. Whilst his captivating lyrics promise you that it’ll all be ok, Invisible Familiars converse with your inner secret self and stroke your soul in the most reassuring of fashions. Speaking of his work in such a graceful and modest fashion you can’t help but be somewhat endeared. I’m not sure he fully appreciates his own brilliance yet. Perhaps that’s part of the charm.

Tell us about your band name. How did it come about?
I took the name from a passage in a Joseph Campbell book that’d been recommended as a sort of beginner’s skeleton key to start making better sense of the world around me. I was puzzled by it, almost to the point of social paralysis. Invisible Familiars are unseen beings or forces of confirmation that are felt. Not made of felt, like a muppet, but like muppets (esp. the benevolent ones in the film Labyrinth), they are there when you seem to need them most and come along to help encourage you in your path. So many wonderful friends came and played on the record and there were a lot of mysterious circumstances that lined up in our favour. Nothing as obvious as a spirit animal materializing and remaining in the room… Although our assistant engineer, Normyn, is the most dashing dame dachshund ever to man a Manley mic preamp.

Invisible Familiars jared samuel
Where does your inspiration come from lyrically?
Sometimes from things overheard. I’ll use bits of dirty truth from other people’s conversations and use that to get me rolling. I’m certainly not the first to do that. Sometimes it’ll be a matter of at first singing phonetically so as not to interfere with the melody and then just repeat it enough times so that more recognizable words start to form. On our next single ‘Act One’ the seasons just kind of tumbled out of my mouth right along with the chorus melody. That sort of dictated the shape of the rest of the song and I got my own meaning of it after it was all done. My real secret is that 90% of my lyrics are stolen from Jimmy Buffet songs, played backwards. Again, we’re talking phonetics. (Laughs.)

Invisible Familiars jaren samuel heart
The artwork on your debut album is incredible. Who’s responsible for that?
Thank you! A startlingly talented young man named David Barth did all of the illustration. All of the hand-written print work, including the liner notes and titling, is by a young man that is a bit older but still startlingly talented, named Alex Holden.

Invisible Familiars, Shaking Through.

What’s your favourite thing about being a working musician in New York?
The sense of community. A feeling of unity within the struggle… Maybe I shouldn’t use that word. There are real struggles going on in the world for basic human rights. I just mean that I know a lot of people that I try to look out for and vice verca. The cost of living here makes it seem seriously cut throat. I remain grateful for all the people New York also somehow beckoned here because I’ve experienced more joy making music with them than doing nearly anything else I could ever imagine.

Invisible Familiars live
Who/what inspired you to want to make music?
I think that it was just a natural attraction and has been a need for as long as I can remember. I always knew I was going to play music. It certainly wasn’t a sound business decision! I took piano lessons for a little while from age 6 because I was forced to, where I pretended to read music that I was actually playing back by ear. I abandoned actual instruction for a while until I found more personal mentorships in my teens and beyond. As far as who, it was everyone I ever listened to. Even the horrible shit- what pop radio would force on us in supermarkets and movie theatres, TV theme songs, commercial jingles. I think on some level we either seek to emulate it or to embody its antithesis. Either way it’s all an influence. Oh, and the birds and stuff. Yeah, nature.

Invisible Familiars portrait
What’s your take on the music industry as it is?
Don’t get me into trouble now. I have a favorite William Blake quote that goes “When nations grow old the arts grow cold and commerce settles on every tree“. A friend and mentor of mine, Paul Dooley, used that line in a gorgeous tune. He’s a musical wellspring who writes about 200 songs a year. None of them are boring and at least half of them are brilliant. But, you know, he paints houses for a living… I feel like these days my main concern is the struggle against streaming music sites and their inability to offer transparency and fair payment for artists. I don’t know quite how deep the water will get but I’ve got a snorkel around here somewhere.

Invisible Familiars live 2
You’re stuck on a desert island. You’re allowed to take one album. What would it be?
I don’t think I would want one because then it would become “thee album”. I’d have to become very precious about it like “Oh no! This is my only album and what happens if it gets exposed to too much heat or salt air or a sea lion comes along and licks it?” I’d like to trade in my record option for copious coconuts, please.

‘Disturbing Wildlife’ by Invisible Familiars is out now! Catch them live in New York this month: March 12, BSP Lounge, Kingston & March 26, Rough Trade, Brooklyn.

If you’re anything like me you’ve likely spent far more and gotten far less in return. Go get it kids.

Categories ,Alex Holden, ,brooklyn, ,David Barth, ,interview, ,Invisible Familiars, ,Jared Samuel, ,Other Music Recording Co, ,Paul Dooley

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