Amelia’s Magazine | Sound It Out: an interview with Jeanie Finlay

sounditout by Sarah Jayne
Illustration by Sarah-Jayne Brain

Record shops have always been a particular haunt of mine – from my (short-lived) days as a superstar student DJ when I’d go on the hunt for Friday night floor fillers for the student union, to my weekly shopping expeditions to the much missed Selectadisc in Nottingham to boost my Bowie collection, right up to the present – rummaging through the record racks in such establishments as Rough Trade and Sister Ray.

Being a record geek, I naturally had to check out a new documentary which I’d heard had been made about a small independent record shop in the North East (at a time when such shops are disappearing at an alarming rate), especially when it was then premiered at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas, and subsequently became the official film for Record Store Day 2011, picking up plaudits along the way! That film is Sound It Out, by Jeanie Finlay, and it follows the trials and tribulations of running Sound It Out Records, an independent record shop (the last one, in fact) in Stockton-on-Tees.

Sound It Out by Jeanie Finlay
All photography courtesy of Jeanie Finlay.

I caught a screening of the film at Rough Trade East a while ago, which was followed by a Q&A with Jeanie Finlay and a typically robust performance by Stockton’s Chapman Family (who also contributed to the soundtrack). It’s a funny, touching piece, and it’s more than a just film about a record shop, it’s also about a love of music, and what it means to the community that gathers around the shop, and about the larger community, in Stockton, as well.

YouTube Preview Image

Amelia’s Magazine posed a few questions to Jeanie Finlay about the documentary.

What inspired you to make the documentary? Is the finished film how you imagined it when you first started, or has it taken on a life of its own?
Sound It Out is a documentary portrait about the very last record shop in Teesside, Sound It Out Records, Stockton-on-Tees. It’s a film about music and passion and collecting, all encased in a tiny shop on a small street in the place where I grew up. I went to school with Tom (the shop owner) and although Sound It Out isn’t a shop from my formative years (Alan Fearnley’s RIP) it was clear how much the shop meant to people when I’d go in to visit. It seemed like the perfect place to make a film about what music means to people and about the North East, about my home. Over the last five years a record shop has closed in the UK every three days so it seemed important to document Sound It Out in all its glory. It’s the first film I’ve made on my own – I usually work with a crew. For Sound It Out I wanted to just start shooting, just me and the camera and see what happened. I sensed there was a film to be made in the story of the shop but I really wasn’t sure until long into the shoot. I needed to find out by just doing it. All the way through, from the filming, edit, design and distribution I’ve just tried to follow my gut instinct and go with it.

Sound it Out by Jeanie Finlay girl

Was it easy to persuade Tom to let you film in the shop? It must have been a bit of an unexpected request!
He was totally open and gave me complete access to the shop. The filming was a bit of a novelty at first and then I think it just became normal. When I’m filming things get good when it just feels boring – everyone has got so used to me filming that it’s not anything out of the ordinary. I’m just that girl in the corner with the camera. Tom was the only person I knew before I started and it was really interesting getting to know the regulars and deciding who the film would focus on. I was totally drawn to the shyer people who came in.

You get a few candid interviews with a lot of the regulars in the shop. Was that intended, to capture the ‘person behind the record buyer’, or was it something that just happened naturally?
I’m always interested in getting to know people ‘on camera’. The people I met were very candid and generous with what they shared. My films are always pretty personal and aim to find a glimmer of the person inside. I hope that people come away from the film feeling like they’ve got to know the people they’ve met on screen, for a moment. I’m not just interested in music – I’m interested in what it means to people and how it moves them. For me – music is powerful because other people’s lyrics and sounds can tell the story of our lives in a way that could be hard to articulate with words alone.

Sound it Out by Jeanie Finlay

Were you surprised by the critical reception Sound It Out received? And what did Tom and the customers think when they first saw it?
I was really nervous to show the film to Tom and the customers but they all seem to have taken the film to their hearts. Tom had been at a rough cut viewing but the first time he saw the finished film was the world premiere at SXSW, Austin. I was so overwhelmed after I did my introduction I burst into tears. I then just sat back in my seat and watched the audience. They were incredibly warm and Tom ended up on stage giving out advice on the best way to clean records. It was an amazing day. Since then the critical reaction has been kind of crazy. I originally imagined that I would do a small DVD run of the film and sell it in Tom’s shop. The film’s played at festivals all over the world. We’re now looking at a UK theatrical release and putting out a soundtrack EP on vinyl. We did a weeks run in NYC last week and got reviewed in the New York Times. I could not have predicted any of this:

Ms. Finlay’s smartly assembled film is an affectionate portrait of a shrinking group of record collectors under technological siege… Like a mint pressing in a bargain bin SOUND IT OUT is a rare find. Sweet.‘ (Daniel M. Gold, THE NEW YORK TIMES)

I don’t think it’s a film for everyone but the people that do like it seem to really like it.

Sound it Out by Jeanie Finlay man

Teesside has got a pretty vibrant music scene, and you include tracks by a few local artists (such as the Chapman Family, Das Wanderlust and Soviet Disco) in the film. Do you think that the area’s environment has helped create a distinct Teesside sound?
Totally… absolutely. Das Wanderlust makes me think of the strange landscapes of my youth and I love the moody, brooding sounds of the Chapman Family. Teesside runs through their music like words through Brighton Rock.

You’re currently trying to raise funds to get Sound It Out a full UK cinema release. With record shops still in a perilous position, are you hoping to inspire more people to support their local stores?
My film has been made with blood, sweat, tears and the support of (so far) 329 backers on crowd-funding website Indiegogo.com. It’s a micro budget film and we crowd-funded the shoot, the post production and when we got into SXSW we raised enough to get there for the premiere. It’s been like running a sponsored swim with a film as the goal and backers picking perks in exchange for their support. We’re now trying to finish our DIY story by raising enough to take the film to 30 cinemas across the UK. If we reach our goal of $10,000 we will unlock BFI P&A funding which will make it happen. Supporters can choose a limited edition 7” gatefold DVD with a baby blue vinyl soundtrack EP, a tour of the shop, a portable record player or bring the film to their own home. We still have a way to go but I’m hopeful. Each $ pledged gets us that little bit nearer – it’s the power of the crowd! I really do hope that people make the most of their local record shops. One of the pleasures of working on this film has been visiting some amazing shops. If you don’t use it – it will go, forever! We’re planning to hook up with local record shops when we take the film to cinemas. Get people in there buying something surprising.

After all the promotional work for Sound It Out, do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
Yes! Two new films, both feature documentaries – The Great Hip Hop Hoax (for BBC Scotland and Storyville), a film about LA hip hop act Silibil n’ Brains. No one knew they were Scottish, with fake American accents and made-up identities and ORION: The man who would be King, the rise and fall of a masked singer on Sun Records that tens of thousands believed was Elvis back from the grave.

Categories ,Alan Fearnley, ,austin, ,BBC, ,BFI, ,Bowie, ,brighton, ,Chapman Family, ,Das Wanderlust, ,Elvis, ,High Fidelity, ,indiegogo.com, ,Jeanie Finlay, ,New York Times, ,nottingham, ,Record Store Day, ,Record Store Day 2011, ,Rough Trade, ,Selectadisc, ,Silibil n’ Brains, ,Sister Ray, ,Sound It Out, ,Sound It Out Records, ,Soviet Disco, ,Stockton, ,Sun Records, ,sxsw, ,Teesside, ,texas, ,The Great Hip Hop Hoax

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Amelia’s Magazine | Everything Everything – ICA, London Live Review

everything everything

An inconsequential thing that draws me to the band, cialis 40mg Everything Everything, treatment is how any reference to their name gets misconstrued as a sarcastic quip, repeated. When asked, “what band did you see last night?” You answer “Everything Everything.” The listener hears, in your best David Mitchell tone, “oh all the bands”, twice. However much you may think I’m mocking you, last night, I really did see Everything Everything. An invented method that ensures clarification in this reoccurring and embarrassing situation is so simple yet so affective. When asked, “what band did you see last night?” I answer, “Everything Everything, the band.”

I had high hopes for “the band” after having their catchy single, Photoshop Handsome, shoved into my ear holes with quite positive results. It’s a superbly crafted track swarming with tasty pop idiosyncrasies. The falsetto vocals, retro harmonies, warring time signatures, and perversely pleasing discords. This is the pedestal where I had their take on when The Futureheads met They Might Be Giants placed and I really was hoping the rest of their repertoire measured up against the pomp that is Photoshop Handsome.

everything everything2

The four strapping lads from up north, open their set at the ICA in all their harmonic splendour with slow number, Tin (the manhole). We are a mile away from Handsome already, but in the up lighting, these dapper gents are already a hit. It seems their extended body of work retains the aforementioned exquisite elements, but in addition to this they also have a boy band approach to making albums, where slow jams nestle in between floor stompers. With the approach of another ballad, NASA Is On Your Side, I suddenly am reminded of the ’95 Take That Wembley Arena concert that only my ten-year old imagination took me to. In other words, I’m in a good place.

The lead singer possesses an adept vocal quality that allows him to race through syllables at an inhumanly rate and reach high notes that lesser men would not attempt, through fear of emasculation. For me, the charm of this band lies majorly in their vocal efforts. The melody itself serves as a carrot dangling over your urge to sing along. You bloody want to because it is so darn catchy, but here is where they have tricked you, into thinking it follows a conventional melodic pattern. Try and sing along and you will wail. Cue mass wailing when the band fire out their text speak titled MY KZ UR BF, officially the second best track just closely behind Handsome.

everything everything3

With all, bar one, tracks from their myspace covered, it’s time for the band to exit stage left and re-enter without even a split second for the audience to start the mating call for their return. We won’t hold that adherence to convention against them though as the one song they haven’t given us yet is sincerely one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. If you haven’t been paying attention, that’s Photoshop Handsome. With a few more belters like that, in no time at all, when asked what band you saw last night, your answer will provide no confusion. You will say “Everything Everything.” And they will completely understand.

Categories ,everything everything, ,field music, ,gig, ,ica, ,review, ,the futureheads, ,they might be giants

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Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Nicholas Stevenson: the friendly songwriter and illustrator from the North Pole…

Gemma Milly_Nicholas Stevenson
Gemma Milly_Nicholas Stevenson
Illustration by Gemma Milly

Nicholas sent me his CD and tape, troche accompanied by a lovely letter about living and musing about in Bristol. One of my favourite pastimes – we may have been staring into the same middle distance…! Like a quill pen into my heart, stuff I am a sucker for a personal letter. Especially on such nice paper. After reading his scribe, treatment I listened to Nicholas’s album: Phantom Sweetheart, available now on Hilldrop Records.

phantom sweetheart cover by nicholas stevenson
Album Cover, Phantom Sweetheart, Illustration by Nicholas Stevenson

It’s a splendid listen. Thoughtful and wistful. It’s like a less brash Spectrals. It has a Californian, surf sound, mixed with a smattering of New York – and the mighty UK. This mixture of locations is perhaps a reflection of Nicholas’s various home locations from birth. Since my initial listen, I now enjoy playing the album when I’m in my own little zone, cleaning. Because you could be anywhere. And if you don’t overly want to be where you are right now, there’s your ride. This interesting, sentimental man will take you away. Or indeed in my present case, scrub that flat ‘til in shines like the summer sun reflecting in my – prematurely purchased, cat eyed – sunnies. I miss you sun. I’d like to meet him to discuss travel, home, love and art. Oh yes, he’s an illustrator too. As Nicholas was so eloquent in his letter, I thought an interview would be perfect. So here it follows:

Nicholas Stevenson with phantom

Could you introduce yourself for us Nicholas…?
Hi there, my name is Nicholas Stevenson and I’m a songwriter and illustrator.

Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?
I currently reside in Cambridgeshire, but I was born in Scotland, lived on an island in the Seychelles for a while, and then moved back to England. I’m also half American so I sometimes have a confusing accent; it’s all a bit confusing actually. I usually give people fake biographies about growing up in the North Pole or being found in the wilderness to avoid explaining the complicated truth…

The Aeroplane Darling cover by Nicholas Stevenson
EP Cover, The Aeroplane Darling, Illustration by Nicholas Stevenson

How long have you been playing music? Could you describe it?
It would be hard to say when I started making music, but I found a tape of myself shouting a song I made about giraffes aged four the other day. The music in the shape it is now probably started about three years ago when I moved away to go to Art College. I had a band in high school that made fuzzy alt rock like the Smashing Pumpkins, but when we went our separate ways I started recording songs on my own in my room. It’s a sort of alt folk sound, with lots of layers, and a big emphasis on melodies.

How long have you been illustrating? Could you describe your style?
I’ve been drawing a lot longer than I’ve been making music, but I don’t think I could ever have considered myself an illustrator up until the last couple of years. I try to make work that’s fun, mysterious and occasionally a bit unsettling where possible.

chase in a sketchbook by Nicholas Stevenson
Chase In A Sketchbook, Illustration by Nicholas Stevenson

Do you use your illustration and music to compliment/influence each other?
Most definitely. I think both of these activities really boil down to an urge for me to be story telling. Both my music and illustration usually revolves around some sort of implied narrative and it’s pretty common for a drawing to influence a lyric or vice versa.

What inspires your creativity, both re: music and illustration?
Cosmography, polar exploration, time travel, childhood, memory, feral children, miniature painting, amateurs and outsiders; a lot of things that I read about or places I visit. I try not to rule anything out as potential fodder for making stories and art about.

bayonets album sleeve
Bayonets Album Sleeve, Illustration by Nicholas Stevenson

Have you ever had a ‘phantom’ sweetheart?
Well not a sweetheart per-se, but in the Seychelles I had two childhood ghost friends called Coco and Silent. Coco lived in a palm tree, and Silent lived on an abandoned ship. They were both only a foot tall, and wore white sheets with eyeholes, although I think Silent wore a baseball cap. The name ‘Phantom Sweetheart’ came about partly because all of my records have had terms of endearment in the name (Dearest Monstrous, The Aeroplane Darling) and I wanted this album to be really ghostly and spectral. Phantom Sweetheart just seemed to be the perfect title.

And what do you think about love and ‘being in love’ ? 
I think it’s a really nice special thing, I’m probably a bit of a softy and a romantic. It might seem like I’ve written a few songs from an anti-love position, but as Harvey Danger once said: “Happiness writes white”.

Have you been in love?
Oh yes mam.

hilldrop business card blank small
Hilldrop Business Cards, Illustration by Nicholas Stevenson

Who else is in your band?
Dan Lewis plays the drums, Tom Harrington plays the bass guitar and glockenspiel whilst Oliver Wilde plays lead guitar.

When/how did you get together?
I met Dan and Tom in Hereford where I was studying at Art College. My manager Joe introduced us and we started arranging my songs and got performing almost straight away as a three piece. Oliver joined the band just last autumn. He not only signed me to his label Hilldrop Records, but he also produced and recorded the album with me in his house in Bristol. We worked really closely together on Phantom Sweetheart and Oliver had a big impact on the way those songs turned out. Of course by the end he knew how to play them all back to front and it seemed like a no-brainer that he should come out on tour with us.

And who is your record label, and how did you get signed?
Hilldrop Records are my label. I think they requested I send them some of my demos in the mail over a year ago. They liked what they heard and I played some gigs for them and we hit it off pretty fast, I started making posters for their shows too. We were all coming from a similar direction and they were interested in promoting art and building it in to the performances. We’d got to know each other reasonably well by the time we decided to sign a contract and make the album.

hilldrop cult 1300_1300
Illustration by Nicholas Stevenson

What was it like going on tour? Did you get inspired?
It was a blast, definitely not glamorous, but great fun. Our car broke down on the way to a sold out show in Bakewell and we had to jettison half the gear and get a taxi. We arrived just in the nick of time with no drums or drummer, and played entirely unplugged to a wonderfully attentive packed room. We spent the night in a big old house; there were teddy bears in the beds. Bakewell is such an old fashioned and charming town (home to the bakewell tart) everyone was so kind and interesting there, it sort of inspired us to play more small places on tour. It doesn’t seem fair that the big cities get all the tour dates, where people can sometimes be so jaded towards the barrage of live music anyway.

Nick25

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully doing the same things I’m doing now, but more masterfully. I’m fully aware I have a long way to go and lots of room to grow before I’m satisfied… I just hope I’m fortunate enough to find time for it all.

What about now, what is coming up for you?
At the moment I’m working on a sort of audio zine project called ‘Dead Arm’. It’s going to be a series of cassette tapes, each with a different set of new songs and sounds. Its quite fun telling myself to sit down and make a continuous twenty-minute tape, rather than getting too hung up on individual songs; it makes me less precious and hopefully more inventive. I’m quite excited to see where it goes… 
You can buy Phantom Sweetheart, on Hilldrop Records, here.

Categories ,adventure, ,Anti-Love, ,Art College, ,Bakewell, ,Bakewell Tart, ,Bayonets, ,bristol, ,california, ,Cambridgeshire, ,city, ,Cosmology, ,Dan Lewis, ,Gemma Milly, ,Ghost, ,guitars, ,Harvey Danger, ,Helen Martin, ,Hereford, ,High School, ,Hilldrop Records, ,illustration, ,implied narrative, ,Love, ,miniature painting, ,new york, ,Nicholas Stevenson, ,Phantom Sweetheart, ,Romantic, ,scotland, ,Seychelles, ,singer, ,songwriter, ,Spectrals, ,story, ,surf, ,Tom Harrington

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music: Big Deal, New Single Release

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Lia Ices by Avril KELLY
Illustration by Avril Kelly

If I lived alone in a dark stone castle, buy information pills I would make it a priority to listen to Lia Ices. Her notes would float around the turrets and echo through the gaps in the brickwork. You would be able to hear her singing, bringing ‘him’ closer from the meadows and the seas. The strings gently touching the heart, and increasing the speed of the hoofs galloping at an increasingly quickening pace. So beautifully feverish is this music.

As it is, I live in a basement flat in Bristol. Although I did work in a Tudor castle whilst at university and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stand at the top, look to sea, hair flaying behind me, and feel a certain magic. I’m sure I looked ridiculous/a mess, but there is an at oneness that comes with looking out to the infinity of the sea from up high, it’s filled with an ambition and truth. Also a stark contrast to the steps and blades of tall grass (weeds), I look at from my desk. I’m not implying you need to own a grand sort of graded building to listen to Lia Ices, but her voice is so much more than something to whack on the karaoke on a saturday night, or for a little house shindig. I often get accused of putting on depressing music when people come round to the basement flat, but alas, they are mistaken! But so too am I. This music is not depressing, it is special, not for groups to revel in, red wine tipping on my (cream) carpets. Oh no, this is for wafting.

Lia ices2 by Avril Kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

The light notes mix with the heavy use of strings to delicious effect. Classically trained, a graduate of New York’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ices uses her voice together with the instruments with utter ease. A combination of Tori Amos, Enya, Regina Spektor and Sia. The instruments, her voice inclusive, flit between jumpy, feisty to explosions of streaming notes. She has elements of Joni Mitchell to her, filled to the brim with emotion and captivating. New Myth has an almost military sound to it, with trumpets blowing. Ice Wine stops and starts with strings, before unleashing with a ratter of a drum. She has one duet, Daphne, with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whom I could not think of a better artist for her to be paired with. Their voices together are intensely hypnotic.

The whole album sounds as if it was born in an enchanted forest. A place removed from the evils of the world. The sacred place, where the queen fairy lives in fantasy books. With 70s hinting, billowing sleeves, Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac, joined, it’s an album of true quality. Lia Ices album, Grown Unknown, is out now on Jagjauwar.


Lia Ices by Avril KELLY
Illustration by Avril Kelly

If I lived alone in a dark stone castle, page I would make it a priority to listen to Lia Ices. Her notes would float around the turrets and echo through the gaps in the brickwork. You would be able to hear her singing, tadalafil bringing ‘him’ closer from the meadows and the seas. The strings gently touching the heart, more about and increasing the speed of the hoofs galloping at an increasingly quickening pace. So beautifully feverish is this music.

As it is, I live in a basement flat in Bristol. Although I did work in a Tudor castle whilst at university and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stand at the top, look to sea, hair flaying behind me, and feel a certain magic. I’m sure I looked ridiculous/a mess, but there is an at oneness that comes with looking out to the infinity of the sea from up high, it’s filled with an ambition and truth. Also a stark contrast to the steps and blades of tall grass (weeds), I look at from my desk. I’m not implying you need to own a grand sort of graded building to listen to Lia Ices, but her voice is so much more than something to whack on the karaoke on a saturday night, or for a little house shindig. I often get accused of putting on depressing music when people come round to the basement flat, but alas, they are mistaken! But so too am I. This music is not depressing, it is special, not for groups to revel in, red wine tipping on my (cream) carpets. Oh no, this is for wafting.

Lia ices2 by Avril Kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

The light notes mix with the heavy use of strings to delicious effect. Classically trained, a graduate of New York’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ices uses her voice together with the instruments with utter ease. A combination of Tori Amos, Enya, Regina Spektor and Sia. The instruments, her voice inclusive, flit between jumpy, feisty to explosions of streaming notes. She has elements of Joni Mitchell to her, filled to the brim with emotion and captivating. New Myth has an almost military sound to it, with trumpets blowing. Ice Wine stops and starts with strings, before unleashing with a ratter of a drum. She has one duet, Daphne, with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whom I could not think of a better artist for her to be paired with. Their voices together are intensely hypnotic.

The whole album sounds as if it was born in an enchanted forest. A place removed from the evils of the world. The sacred place, where the queen fairy lives in fantasy books. With 70s hinting, billowing sleeves, Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac, joined, it’s an album of true quality. Lia Ices album, Grown Unknown, is out now on Jagjauwar.


Lia Ices by Avril KELLY
Illustration by Avril Kelly

If I lived alone in a dark stone castle, shop I would make it a priority to listen to Lia Ices. Her notes would float around the turrets and echo through the gaps in the brickwork. You would be able to hear her singing, page bringing ‘him’ closer from the meadows and the seas. The strings gently touching the heart, and increasing the speed of the hoofs galloping at an increasingly quickening pace. So beautifully feverish is this music.

As it is, I live in a basement flat in Bristol. Although I did work in a Tudor castle whilst at university and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stand at the top, look to sea, hair flaying behind me, and feel a certain magic. I’m sure I looked ridiculous/a mess, but there is an at oneness that comes with looking out to the infinity of the sea from up high, it’s filled with an ambition and truth. Also a stark contrast to the steps and blades of tall grass (weeds), I look at from my desk. I’m not implying you need to own a grand sort of graded building to listen to Lia Ices, but her voice is so much more than something to whack on the karaoke on a saturday night, or for a little house shindig. I often get accused of putting on depressing music when people come round to the basement flat, but alas, they are mistaken! But so too am I. This music is not depressing, it is special, not for groups to revel in, red wine tipping on my (cream) carpets. Oh no, this is for wafting.

Lia ices2 by Avril Kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

The light notes mix with the heavy use of strings to delicious effect. Classically trained, a graduate of New York’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ices uses her voice together with the instruments with utter ease. A combination of Tori Amos, Enya, Regina Spektor and Sia. The instruments, her voice inclusive, flit between jumpy, feisty to explosions of streaming notes. She has elements of Joni Mitchell to her, filled to the brim with emotion and captivating. New Myth has an almost military sound to it, with trumpets blowing. Ice Wine stops and starts with strings, before unleashing with a ratter of a drum. She has one duet, Daphne, with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whom I could not think of a better artist for her to be paired with. Their voices together are intensely hypnotic.

The whole album sounds as if it was born in an enchanted forest. A location removed from the evils of the world. The sacred place, where the queen fairy lives in fantasy books. With 70s hinting, billowing sleeves, Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac, joined, it’s an album of true quality. Lia Ices album, Grown Unknown, is out now on Jagjauwar.


Big Deal_JonBaker_03smAM
Photo by Jon Baker

They met when he was hired by her mother to teach her to play the guitar. They, about it as in Big Deal: Alice Costelloe and kc Underwood, site a boy and a girl, a blonde and a brunette. They sound like Best Coast, Tennis and Cults wrapped up and swirled up in a hot tub, with the sun shining, bunnies and frogs hopping around the edges. Electric guitar dominates, but doesn’t overpower the combined voices of our protagonists. It’s almost as if the guitar is having a ball, dancing around without them, and they’re looking at it from the skies, singing our story. As Moshi Moshi say: ‘aching harmony’. Costelloe’s voice is nonchalant and sweet, 60s with modern gusto and pout. His is gentle and supportive, a deep backbone, crucial and pleasant. They are steamy, hot and full of either middle distance moodiness or penetrating eye contact into your confused youthful self. I’m thinking they will be perfect for a summer of love and all the elation and despairs it brings. Looking out of the window and simultaneously wishing to take back the last thing and for the next thing to happen. The embracing of the heat’s blurring of judgement, highly ambitious ideas, the sun setting on drama. You can almost feel it in the air can’t you? Brewing.

BIG DEAL

Big Deal‘s single; Talk, is out today on Moshi Moshi records. They have recently signed to Mute Records. Their tour dates can be found here.

Categories ,Alice Costelloe, ,Best Coast, ,Big Deal, ,Cults, ,East London, ,guitar, ,Helen Martin, ,Jon Baker, ,kc Underwood, ,Moshi Moshi Records, ,Mute Records, ,pop, ,Talk, ,Tennis

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Amelia’s Magazine | Mark Olson: Good-bye Lizelle UK Tour Interview

MARK-OLSON-ALBUM-COVER-480
Mark Olson played with the seminal folk-rock/Americana bands The Jayhawks and Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers, before becoming an acclaimed solo artist, earning acclaim for his sun drenched melodies, and many appearances on Later… with Jools Holland. Following the 2014 release of his acclaimed Good-bye Lizelle album, Olson is currently on tour throughout the UK throughout April 2015, so we caught up with him to find out more about life on the road with collaborator (and now wife) Ingunn Ringvold.

mark-and-Ingunn
How does it feel to be known as a founding father of modern Americana?
My Father Knows Foes‘ is a traditional song that I used to do. It’s a remarkable song because it is exactly the way my father acted when he picked out a singleminded friend of mine who happened to be the best boxer and wrestler in my grade school. I remember it being exactly this time of year and on Friday evenings he cleared out the kitchen table and we would wrestle and box with winter gloves on. Winter gloves hurt more than boxing gloves! My father would referee and he was fair and in fact made sure that I was always at a slight disadvantage because of my home kitchen advantage. This went on and on and eventually I wrote songs about him because it is a memory I wanted to figure out. l like a painting that is all disjointed and tilted. He died too early and I put the exact circumstances into the Jayhawk song ‘Ann Jane‘ about me cooking for my sisters and ‘See Him On The Street‘ is also this lyrical question. I put my family in all the songs I wrote.

Mark-Olson 4
Was Ingunn Ringvold collaborator or partner first?
We were going out from the first hour we met and then we started to practice music together later that week. We have a lot of things in common and our backgrounds are very similar even though we are from two different nations. We enjoy many of the same activities and goals in life.

Mark-and-Ingunn
Where did you first meet and how do you work together?
We met in Bergen, Norway. I work at lyrics a very long time and bring in lots of ideas with a basic groove and melody and overall layout. Then we will both take turns at the piano trying in front of each other to improve components of the song. Ingunn will bring a musical part and I will add lyrics and vocal melody. Also she will add top harmony and likewise I will add low harmony. To me what I describe above is basic songwriting. There are other ways too – for instance sometimes we sing chants together in the car! This is really a good time and mostly we do this going up roads in mountains for some reason it lends itself to that sort of chanting.

Mark-Olson
Who else did you collaborate with for this album?
Neal Casal ( guitar ) and Danny Frankel ( percussion, drums ) brought their knowledge and great musicianship to the album.

Mark-Olson
Who is Lizelle?
Ingunn and I were married in South Africa. I have some good friends there that helped with our stay and inspired the Long Distance Runner song. They would have us over for their yard cricket games which was new to both of us and we have spent about 5 months there between 2 trips. Lizelle is a South African name and I made short fictional story about a woman who writes dark and mystic books.

Mark-Olson
What inspired the lyrical content of the new album?
Family musings and philosophies, desert djembe circles, ideas about hope and laughter, not wanting to be around people that continually lie to our faces. I think these are universal themes and inspirations


Where can we catch you during the rest of April?
You can catch us on the 24th April at Dundee Beat Generator and on the 26th April at Aberdeen Almost Blue @ Blue Lamp. See more live sessions below:

Cherry Thieves:

Blue (Jayhawks cover)

Long Distance Runner:

Categories ,Good-bye Lizelle, ,Ingunn Ringvold, ,interview, ,Later… with Jools Holland, ,Mark Olson, ,Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers, ,The Jayhawks

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music: An Interview with Nancy Elizabeth


Rachel Freire S/S 2011, website like this illustrated by Krister Selin

‘I’m terrible at interviews’ I announce shortly after arriving at Rachel Freire‘s East London studio. A bit of a melodramatic introduction, stomach maybe; but as I now sit staring at my notes which resemble the scribbles of a toddler I now know why I said it.

My trouble is that I just like to listen to people. I get lost in conversation and forget to write anything down. I refuse to record interviews because I hate the sound of my own voice and I find it a bit of a distraction, cialis 40mg so my erratic notes are all I have to record our meeting. Sometimes, if I meet up with somebody and they don’t say much, I can manage it; when I meet people like Rachel Freire – gorgeous, mesmerising, opinionated, articulate – I’m left with nothing.


Illustration by Abby Wright

Rachel is based at the Dace Road studios, home also to the likes of Christopher Raeburn (featured in ACOFI) and Rui Leonardes. Ex-tennants include Mark Fast and Mary Kantrantzou who’ve now moved to Shacklewell Studios, aka hipster central, but despite her successes, Rachel’s staying put. I meet her on a grey Saturday afternoon, she’s been up for most of the night, but you wouldn’t notice despite her protests.

”Whoever says January is a dead month is LYING!’ Rachel exclaims as she makes the tea. I do find that I get on better with people who drink lots of tea. I just don’t trust people who don’t like it. I know, as she gives them a stir, that we’re going to get along. We sit at a big oak desk in the centre of the studio, Rachel lights a cigarette and we begin our conversation. I ask Rachel how it’s going, and she seems pretty positive. She has an army of interns and creates ‘a sense of family’ in her studio, which is adorned with all sorts of interesting antiquities like skulls and baseball paraphernalia. A sign above the door, Rachel’s mantra, reads ‘IF IN DOUBT, SPRAYPAINT IT GOLD,’ a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Naomi Law

Rachel brands herself as a ‘costumier’ who happened to fall into fashion, which explains her unique and innovative approach to dressing. ‘I’ll never lose track of my costumier routes,’ she tells me, ‘I’m pretty anti-fashion. It dictates what we wear and how we feel, and I’ve never subscribed to that.’ Her models ‘need to have an arse’ and she’s conscious of the responsibility a fashion designer must adopt, whether that be ethical or environmental. ‘I am the cheapest person!’ Rachel admits, ‘but I will never shop in Primark. I look at the clothes and think ‘somebody suffered for this’. I want customers to hold things knowing somebody’s crafted it – that something is special.’


S/S 2011, illustrated by Gemma Milly

Rachel won’t compromise. She’s staying true to herself and won’t put her name on anything that she hasn’t rigourously vetted and knows exactly where everything has come from. Rachel is as much an ethical designer as any of the Estethica designers – if not more so. She values the work of other people and believes that you ‘have to be ethical in so many different ways’. How you treat your interns, where you source your fabrics, how you communicate with suppliers – all these things, Rachel believes, are necessary for good business, not just opting for ethical fabrics.

Rachel’s previous collections provide sculptural, architectural pieces with innovative techniques (read all about her glow-in-the-dark S/S 2011 collection here) and it seems A/W 2011 will be even more exciting. As we chat about the boy Rachel’s texting and get mixed up with whose tea is whose (easy mistake – Rachel’s recently got a new mug but the Queen of Fucking Everything option she’s given me still has sentimental value) we’re surrounded by leather nipples. REAL nipples. Rachel and her team of merry men (and women) have been hard at work in the previous weeks to marry them together to make roses. They’re absolutely beautiful to touch and look at but there’s something rather unsettling about them. ‘That’s my aesthetic!’ Rachel declares.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Joana Faria

Rachel’s also working with Ecco, who are developing processes for leather manufacturing for couture houses. Rachel has devoted a lot of her time visiting the Netherlands tannery working alongside them in their quest to transform how we produce and approach leather goods. ‘I’m obsessed with materials!’ Rachel tells me. ‘It’s much nicer to make a jacket out of something that you’ve had an input in from the start.’ She shows me a new process she’s working on (damned if I can remember the name) which gives leather an ethereal ripple-like pattern that looks as if it’s been photoshopped. I’m speechless, and we both sit caressing it for a while until I can think of something to say.


S/S 2011, illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

So what’s up next for Rachel? Well, A/W 2011 looks set to be her bravest collection yet, and I had a sneak peek at some of the fabrics, textures, techniques and cuts she’s working on. On a grander scale, she ‘loves to teach’ and wants to establish a system where the efforts of designers to instil good practises and skills into their army of interns is recognised. She describes mainstay teaching as ‘box ticking’ and, as someone whose never done what she was told to do, feels there’s more to give in a studio-based environment than anything in the classroom. I hear ya, love.

Rachel’s excited about the future. She plans to dazzle once a year at the A/W 2011 shows while maintaining commissions with an ever-expanding roster of clients and other projects during the rest of the year. She also wants to live on a boat and explore costume design in cinema. She references Jean Paul Gaultier‘s work on flicks like The Fifth Element and is excited by the prospect of applying her unique aesthetic to film. It all comes down to financing. ‘Money dictates and creates a standard,’ Rachel tells me. ‘The system to support new designers is very small, but I won’t compromise my values. I’m here to stay.’

I should bloody hope so.

All photography by Matt Bramford
AmeliasMagazine_LFW_Ada-Zanditon_ArtistAndrea
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret the same image.

Ada looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, view rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, approved having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show, instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big a budget a brand has,” she explains. “For instance Lagerfield puts on amazing shows… but the cost to produce his concepts is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience given the cost restraints she has.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person.” This time Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

Ada-Zanditon-AW11-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes. With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market [of one].” As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.”

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

All of the silk prints in the new collection were done locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change at all and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupitor that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.
AmeliasMagazine_LFW_Ada-Zanditon_ArtistAndrea
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret the same image.

Ada Zanditon looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, cialis 40mg rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, price having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show; instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big your budget is, sick ” she explains. “Lagerfield puts on amazing shows but the cost of production is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience on a tight budget.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person.” This time Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

Ada-Zanditon-AW11-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes. With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market [of one].” As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.”

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

All of the silk prints in the new collection were done locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change at all and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupitor that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.
AmeliasMagazine_LFW_Ada-Zanditon_ArtistAndrea
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret the same image.

Ada Zanditon looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, more about rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, health having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show; instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big your budget is,” she explains. “Lagerfield puts on amazing shows but the cost of production is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience on a tight budget.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person,” she says. Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

Ada-Zanditon-AW11-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes.

With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished,” she says. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market of one.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.”

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon in her studio by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

There are only a few print designs in the new collection, which were printed locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change on a regular basis and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupiter that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.
AmeliasMagazine_LFW_Ada-Zanditon_ArtistAndrea
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret one piece from the new collection… so read on to see what they did!

Ada Zanditon looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, salve rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, shop having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show; instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big your budget is, information pills ” she explains. “Lagerfield puts on amazing shows but the cost of production is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience on a tight budget.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person,” she says. Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

Ada-Zanditon-AW11-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes.

With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished,” she says. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market of one.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.”

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon in her studio by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

There are only a few print designs in the new collection, which were printed locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change on a regular basis and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupiter that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.
AmeliasMagazine_LFW_Ada-Zanditon_ArtistAndrea
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 sneak preview by Andrea Peterson. I asked a variety of illustrators to interpret one piece from the new collection… so read on to see what they did!

Ada Zanditon looks somewhat confused as I pile into her live/workspace at the same time as the morning influx of interns – maybe I’m a new, case rather overgrown one? She is still in her pyjamas, order having recently emerged from the space beneath a cutting table that currently serves as her bed.

This season Ada will not be putting on a catwalk show; instead she will show a film presentation alongside the collection on mannequins. “What you can do on a catwalk is dictated by how big your budget is, unhealthy ” she explains. “Lagerfield puts on amazing shows but the cost of production is huge. One reason why everyone loved McQueen was because he put on an event; a moment that could be referenced from then on.” Ada feels that a film or presentation can offer a much more immersive experience on a tight budget.

Ada Zanditon LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 LFW Preview by Danielle Shepherd.

Last season’s show at Victoria House was intended to be interactive, with people circulating around the models. In fact it became more like a salon show as soon as the pesky photographers formed a bank across the room that guests were afraid to cross. “But the fact that it wasn’t a normal catwalk set was exciting – now it’s time to go to the next stage.” This season movement will be shown on a screen and the audience will be able to feel the details up close without fear of interaction with any live humans. “I’ve learnt that people won’t walk up to a model when they are in full hair and make up because it is too daunting.”

The night before our interview Ada was filming the A/W 2011 presentation at Netil House just off Broadway Market. On the wall above the table where the interns are busy cutting out invitations there is a model – I correctly deduce that Georgiana from Bulgaria is in fact the star of her new film. “It’s much better to fit a narrative around one person,” she says. Ada was able to exactly fit the garments to Georgiana, chosen because of an active interest in her concept and aesthetic. “She also has ability to act and move elegantly and gracefully. I feel she embodies the aspirations of my customers.”

Ada-Zanditon-AW11-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Ada’s great grandparents were from Ukraine and Lithuania, but her mother was born and grew up in America, with the result that Ada has dual nationality and got to spend holidays in fashionable Martha’s Vineyard, where her parents bought a house before it became popular. “Of course now it’s full of rich yuppies… which in a way is good because they look after the beautiful landscape.” Ada herself was born in Crouch End in north London before the family moved south of the river. Secondary school was by all accounts not a fun experience – even though she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 5 her school pushed her in an academic direction that she felt uneasy with. As a result she didn’t do art A-level but instead took photography GCSE and attended life drawing classes.

With the encouragement of an art teacher who spotted her potential she went to Morley College to produce a self generated portfolio which she took to her Art Foundation interview at Kingston University. She was promptly offered an unconditional offer. “They were so warm and impressed that I cried in the interview – I was just so happy that someone finally understood my work.” Afterwards she did a degree at London College of Fashion and then embarked an internship with McQueen where she learnt “a hell of a lot”. She was there for a total of four seasons, working almost all of the time. “It’s a tough industry – you can work 9-5 and achieve something mediocre or you can put 100% in and achieve something beautiful.”

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews
Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Dee Andrews.

The new A/W 2011 collection is called The Cryoflux, embodying in its name frozen landscapes and the idea of change. It was inspired by the polar regions, mainly Antarctica, but also the climatic changes experienced by people living in the Arctic. Ada became fascinated by the ice cores that are pulled up to show our climate history in intimate detail, and extremophiles, mostly microscopic organisms which exist in extreme conditions such as the polar regions. “But I didn’t want to be too literal in my translation – after all we’re experiencing extreme conditions both politically and economically as well.”

For further inspiration she looked at the doomed Robert Scott expedition of the early 1900s, for which the explorers were clothed in heritage clothing from great British brands like Mulberry. “I combined the romantic world of beautiful tailoring with an icy modern aesthetic. For instance I looked at broken ice floes in a constant state of flux.”

Ada Zanditon
Ada Zanditon in her studio in Whitechapel.

I wonder if Ada will model a bit of clothing from the collection so that I can get it illustrated but she baulks at the suggestion because she doesn’t design for herself. “I’m quite scruffy… but my designs always come out elegant and polished,” she says. “I want to create wearable stuff for my customer and not myself because I am quite a specific market of one.” Her collections are instead inspired by an interest in architectural design and illustration. As part of the designing process she loves meeting and learning more about her customers although she’s eager to assure me she’s not a slave to them, and concepts will always be important. She likens it to the work of Monet. “He doesn’t look like a waterlily. And lots of male designers don’t wear the frocks that they design.”

Ada Zanditon by Donya Todd
Ada Zanditon in her studio by Donya Todd, who chose to put her in one of her S/S 2011 designs anyway.

The collection features lots of British wool but the silk is not organic because it is much harder to source than good quality organic fair-trade cotton. “Most silk is Chinese even though it often claims to be Indian. I’ve looked into using Peace Silk [which doesn’t kill the silk worms in the process of manufacture] but the trouble is that you only get a smooth continuous unbroken fibre if the worm is killed. My customers want quality and I don’t want to compromise that.” At present Ada feels it is more important to focus on the bigger picture when it comes to sustainability.

There are only a few print designs in the new collection, which were printed locally in Bermondsey. “I feel that winter is usually more about sculptural details, so I tend to explore the cut. Print tends to be for S/S. But you can get sick of tailoring!” Ada can’t imagine living somewhere where the climate doesn’t change on a regular basis and she is looking forward to designing for the next S/S season: think big and loose, “like a million layers of air”.

Ada-Zanditon-S/S 2011 by-Maria-del-Carmen-Smith
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

This season Ada had her choice of slot at LFW, so naturally she chose to show on the first day. The main theme of her presentation remains firmly under wraps but expect a narrative inspired by the solar system and in particular by Europa, which is a moon of Jupiter that experiences particularly extreme conditions. “I like the outside perspective; seeing things from the viewpoint of the other. So I imagined a superwoman extremophile who evolved under the surface of Europa and goes on an exploration of Antarctica.” The film is directed by twins Andrew and William Ho, who had lots of passion and enthusiasm for her subject. “I love their elegant aesthetic.” As well as an “interesting” soundtrack guests can expect a surprise immediately as they enter the venue between 1-2pm on Friday 18th February. I can’t wait… and I shall report back on my findings.

Ada Zanditon features in my new book: Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Part two of this interview will go online tomorrow and digs deeper into Ada’s theories on sustainable practice.
rachel-destecroix-acofi-susie-bubble-portrait
Susie Bubble needs no introduction and I absolutely adore Rachel’s rendition of this infamous fashion blogger. She’s been a great supporter of Amelia’s Magazine so it was an honour to see her at the launch party. You can read her write up here. Thanks Susie!

Rachel de Ste. Croix has developed a unique style that suits both childrens’ book illustration and fashion illustration a treat. Working from life she sketches a likeness of her subject and then transfers into into her computer through a painstaking process involving a light box and lots of black felt markers. From there she messes around in photoshop to achieve a beautiful handmade look that in fact makes the most of digital special effects – something which I talked about when I mentioned her in my Digital Arts interview. Here’s her fabulous ACOFI launch party output:

rachel-desctecroix-acofi-neil-bennnett-digitalartsmag-portrait
I love the fact that Neil Bennett of Digital Arts donated his ACOFI tote bag to his daughter, page who has been using it to carry her school books, mind much to the envy of her classmates. Check her out in this twitpic: coolest kid in town!

rachel-destecroix-acofi-katie-wright-portrait
Katie Wright writes Style My Wardrobe and she managed to grab a little bit of my time to ask a few questions at the launch – you can read her great write up here.

rachel-destecroix-acofi-sarahBvernon-portrait
Sarah Vernon is best known as SBV of essbeevee, doctor a lovely fashion blog. Here’s her write up.

rachel-destecroix-acofi-tigzrice-portrait
Tigz Rice is actually a friend of Rachel’s – I’ve now had the pleasure of working with more than a couple University of Westminster graduates, who are all super talented. Can’t think why. Maybe it’s because one of my bestest mates the wonderful illustrator Simone Lia teaches there. Or else it’s something in the water.

rachel-destecroix-acofi-amelia-gregory-portrait
I cheekily asked Rachel to illustrate me. Well, she did such an amazing job with everyone else I really didn’t want to be left out. Here I am wearing my Joanna Cave earrings (new season darling) and Beautiful Soul cape-let made out of an upcycled kimono. You can buy similar Beautiful Soul pieces (they’re all different obviously) at the V&A shop.

MattBramford_ACOFI_Rachel de ste croix
Rachel hard at work drawing Susie behind a curtain of hair. Photography by Matt Bramford.

You can follow Rachel de Ste. Croix on twitter on @precious_little and don’t forget you can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration here, with a special 10% if you use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH up until the 28th February 2011. Here’s Rachel talking in detail about how she creates her illustrations on youtube.

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Lily Vanilli ACOFI launch cake by Abby Wright
Lily Vanilli ACOFI launch cake by Abby Wright. This must be the most lovingly photographed and illustrated cake ever!

Ah, cheapest Abby Wright. Where to begin? She has grabbed the proverbial illustration bull by the horns and run with it, big time. Never has someone still at university so inspired me. Some people just get it you know? And she’s one of them. If you’re reading this and you’re still at university wondering how you will ever get noticed, then read on and learn. I’m serious. This girl has got it going on.

Firstly – she’s all over twitter chatting to fellow illustrators up and down the country all the time, encouraging them and swapping advice. She’s so switched on she even instigated the Tea and Crayons illustration collective. Secondly – she just keeps on creating. Day after day she volunteers illustrations for Amelia’s Magazine. She’s not afraid of making mistakes in public, she puts it out there and learns, and it is a joy to watch her work developing all the time. Students all over should be inspired… just take a look at how many followers she has on twitter! Abby Wright is going places.

Which is why I asked her along to be at my ACOFI afternoon launch party. And here are the results of her doodlings:

Johann_Chan_Digital_Arts_abby_Wright
Johann Chan, art editor of Digital Arts – no doubt grinning ear to ear because he came down for the fabulous cakes (see above).

Adorngirl_Abby_Wright
Adorngirl, otherwise known as Ashanti Jason, who wrote this lovely blog about the event.

Emma_Davenport_Abby_Wright
Emma Davenport is an old friend of mine who. Inspired by a life long love of the charity shop – snap! – she has been researching the history of ethical dress and fashion at the RCA. She has a blog called Frock Conscious and you can read her party piece here.

ACOFI_launch Charles Ampadu_Abby_Wright
Charles Ampadu – fashion stylist and model scout.

Neil_Bennett_Digital_Arts_Abby_Wright
Neil Bennett – editor of Digital Arts. The one with the very cool daughter, yes, that’s him again!

Nikki_Nakki_Lou_Abby_Wright
Nikki Nakki Lousuper blogger from the Wirral.

Prince_Cassius_Abby_Wright
And finishing up with socialite Prince Cassius. Oh yes, he of the dapper clothing and super fro – a delight for both illustrators and photographers alike. What a gent.

Abby Wright takes tea. Photography by Liz Johnson-Artur
Abby Wright takes tea. Photography by Liz Johnson-Artur.

You can follow Abby Wright on twitter on @abbyillustrator and don’t forget you can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration here, with a special 10% if you use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH up until the 28th February 2011. Find out just how Abby gets ahead in illustration in my interview with her on youtube here.

YouTube Preview Image

Nancy Elizabeth falling Matilde Sazio
Illustration by Matilde Sazio

She sounds delicate, healing pretty and well.. wonderful. Floating folk, pharm her music is ethereal and yet very raw. We at Amelia’s have been fans of Nancy Elizabeth for yonks. See the review of her album, Wrought Iron, available on the Leaf Label, here. Then see live reviews, here and here from 2007. This is our first interview with her. She is simply charming as you can read. Enjoy.

You sound so relaxed when you play your music, it’s like having a massage listening to you! Are you a very relaxed person?
Erm, It’s hard to tell how relaxed you yourself are because you have nothing to measure it against. I’ve never been inside someone else’s mind to see how it is. Nevertheless, I do feel at home on stage even though I hate people staring at me. It’s a strange juxtaposition. I’m generally a relaxed person I suppose. I hate rushing and spend a lot of time day dreaming.

How did you get to where you are today?
I have a great mentor, Daisaku Ikeda, who has taught me never to give in to disbelief and doubt. I adore making music, so I do as much of it as possible.

nancy elizabeth by daria hlazatova
Illustration by Daria Hlazatova

Have you always been creative?
Yes, it’s quite tiring. I am always thinking of sounds and images and how to make new things. Having said that, I don’t know if I’m that creative. I do create a lot of stuff, but again, I’ve never been inside the mind of an accountant so I don’t know what that’d be like. I imagine everyone is creative, just in different ways. I can’t create a spreadsheet that will calculate the cost of cornflakes to save my life, because I don’t care. Some people do! I think creativity is the desire to do something and the necessary inspiration to do it, whatever it may be. Some people have that for cooking, some people have it for equations. I have it for music and words.

What musical instruments do you play and when did you start learning them?
I generally play anything that comes my way. I’ve got a piano and a guitar and a little harp and a few other stringed instruments, a celeste, synths, bells, drums. Loads of stuff. My house is a nightmare. Can’t move for instruments. They’re not designed to be economic with space. I started with the piano when I was ten but I hated having lessons so I rebelled and taught myself guitar. From then on I’ve collected various things and ended up falling back in love with the piano, but on my own terms, not the teacher’s terms.

Nancy Elizabeth by Jenny Lloyd
Illustration by Jenny Lloyd

Who inspires your music?
Everyone I meet. I particularly adore Aphex Twin and I’d love to be inside his mind for a moment. I also love poetry and dialects.

How do you use the countryside/city/people as tools to write your lyrics?
I don’t really think about that. I live in a city. I sometimes go for walks in the countryside. I’m always writing so it makes no difference where I am. I use my own feelings as inspiration and both people and places being out different feelings so I try and mix it up as much as possible. I’ll be out clubbing one week and staring at a mountain the next. I have loads of different kinds of friends and enemies. It’s all a rich tapestry to me.

Nancy Elizabeth
Illustration by Matilde Sazio

It’s so easy to become immersed in your music and drift off to a little world. Would you say your lyrics are your almost like your ‘own world’?
Yes. I find it really hard to deal with the reality of paying my rent and organizing paperwork. I’m 100% completely absorbed by my story of life and I live it like it’s a book unfolding. I sometimes want to shoot myself in the head and put a rest to it all but I don’t have a gun and anyway, even struggling to pay my rent is a story and a new chapter so I embrace it all. My songs are most definitely like chapters in a story. I don’t even care if no one cares. I am living out my life like a play and I love all the characters dearly. If I didn’t have many different kinds of sub plots and storylines going on then I wouldn’t be able to understand or relate to any one else’s story. It’s all interesting. I think I will write music until I die.

Does it ever make you feel vulnerable, articulating and exposing it?
Not really. In this modern age people seem to think you’ve got to put on some kind of show, especially in the arts. I am completely myself. I believe that my life is perfect as it is, with all it’s flaws and foibles. Surely I would not be happy if I felt I had to hide it? I think that sometimes people don’t like my level of honesty but I am happy this way so I will keep on writing music that is a representation of how I feel and if no one likes it I don’t worry. I don’t think that other people’s opinion’s has any bearing on how valuable what I do is. This is the only way to not end up making shit, lifeless music, or die of heartache in an industry and world where money and fame are the only accepted ways to measure success. It might sound arrogant, but it’s just self-belief, the two are not the same. I believe in myself completely, but I also have absolute belief in other people.

How do you escape it and free your mind?!
Day dreaming, dancing and the odd pint.

Is it hard to sit down and motivate yourself sometimes? How do you do it?
Yes I sometimes put off what needs to be done because it feels like the task it too big and everything is hard and scary. This never benefits me but I’ve learned not to give myself a hard time for it. I think motivation comes in direct proportion to how inspired I feel, and how inspired I feel comes in direct proportion to how much I’m striving to understand the purpose of my life. As I say, going out for a pint usually helps, as does eating curry and turning my music up loud and dancing around.

Where did you grow up, and where do you reside now?
I grew up in the wonderful town of Wigan and I now live in my beloved city of Manchester.

nancy

How important is ‘home’ to you? Do you get nostalgic?
I’ve wondered about this loads. I’m in love with the North of England. I really love other places too, but a few years ago I realized that I always measure everything against what I first knew… Wigan. I suppose the word “home” means, the place where you consider to be the centre of your world. Of course that can mean many different things. Geographically, at least, that will always be Lancashire for me. I always wear rose tinted spectacles when it comes to Lancashire. Red ones, of course.

How do you challenge yourself?
Ooo that’s a big question. I’d like to say I go for a jog at 6am everyday but that would be a giant lie. I try and read and see something good in people who I might dislike. If I just outright hate them then I’ll try and understand why and take a look at myself. I try and make my fingers play things they don’t want to on the piano, but only if it sounds good. Drumming is great for me because I usually can’t physically do what is in my mind, but after a good practice it all comes right. That is great.

What are you working on now?
MY THIRD ALBUM! God only knows when it shall be ready. I’m not rushing.

Thank you x

Nancy will be playing three more dates this month. See them here.

Categories ,album, ,Amelia, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Aphex Twin, ,bells, ,celeste, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,drums, ,folk, ,guitar, ,Helen Martin, ,interview, ,Jenny Lloyd, ,Leaf Label, ,manchester, ,Matilde Sazio, ,music, ,nancy elizabeth, ,piano, ,Reviews, ,synths, ,whimsical, ,Wigan

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Amelia’s Magazine | Heartbreak

heartbreak.jpg

Heartbreak without a doubt put on a show. Singer Sebastian Muravchix gyrates his hips, moon-slides (a hybrid of moon-walking and sliding, yes I did just make that up), points, postures and poses all over the stage. In fact it in some places in descends into something a bit like Dad dancing, but he most definitely pulls it off. He is a little reminiscent of Har Mar Superstar, but with less sleaze. In contrast Ali Renault demurely plays his keyboard at the back. With such an energetic performance by Muravchix the crowd responded in the only way possible; dancing!

Heartbreak play such a catchy blend of Italian disco, it is hardly surprising they get this response when performing. Previously I saw them at Stag and Dagger and that show was just as impressive. As live performances go, they are pretty much like Christmas, in all its (cheesy) glee. And finishing with ‘We’re Back’, the song everybody loves, the crowd understandable danced that little bit more extravagantly.

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