Amelia’s Magazine | Simeon Farrar, The Great British Summertime: New S/S 2012 Season Preview Interview

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Madi Illustrates
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Madi Illustrates

What began as an ‘art experiment’ by London-based Simeon Farrar has now turned into a successful fashion label; winning not only international acclaim but also the prestigious NEWGEN award three times along the way. Despite being crowned a fashion buyer favourite with stockists such as Liberty in the UK and many more in Paris, Tokyo, and Sydney (to name a few), Simeon hasn’t lost sight of his Fine Art training gained at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Every collection begins with a philosophical root from which the designs and drawings develop and each one-off piece is then created with Simeon’s trademark dash of humour delivered through experiments with colour and print, done by hand in his Shoreditch studio.

Simeon Farrar
Simeon Farrar, all photographs courtesy of Iroquois PR

As someone who trained as a fine artist, what was it that made you want to turn your hand from canvas and paper to fabric?
I’ve always been into printmaking and I used to use a lot of screen-printing in my paintings. I would load them up with all sorts of images and paint over them to form multiple layers. I started putting some of these images on to t-shirts purely as another surface rather than as fashion. The first t-shirts were so loaded with paint like the canvases that they could never be worn. I got so into this that it soon evolved into fashion.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by JL Illustration
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Jason Lear

As a ‘non-fashion’ person, did you expect to make such a big impression when you first exhibited at London Fashion Week?
Absolutely not. I had no idea what people would think of me. I didn’t even have an order book so I guess I didn’t expect to write any orders. Suddenly I had all these people wanting to order this junk I’d made which I found all a bit weird. It was still an art experiment at that point.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Abi Hall
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Abi Hall

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about being a designer and the way the world of Fashion works?
As an artist you develop a certain degree of snobbery towards anything that isn’t ‘Art’. I can safely say that I have been cleansed of that snobbery after being welcomed so openly into the fashion world. I’ve learned that it’s all a load of rubbish and an artist just does what ever he/she feels is the most honest path for their creativity and it doesn’t need a label to make it valid.

Neon Butterfly Chiffon Maxi
Butterfly Chiffon Maxi

Your ‘Kate Mouse‘ illustration has become a widely recognised and coveted t-shirt graphic. Why do you think it’s had so much success?
For me it was one of those magical moments when an image just works perfectly. I’d drawn the image for a nursery rhyme collection we were doing at the time and I wanted to do Three Blind Mice. So, to name the file on Photoshop I used ‘Kate Mouse’ so I would recognise it. Then it just clicked, like a light bulb coming on above my head. I think it’s been a success for the same reason. It’s not forced or contrived, just simple and genius. There’s been such a demand ever since her birth that she’s featured in every collection since, with various additions. She gets pimped up every season. Except this forthcoming A/W 2012.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Alia Gargum
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum

What personally inspired you to create a ‘Kate Mouse’ t-shirt with Net-A-Porter especially for the Japan Earthquake relief appeal?
Two of my staff are Japanese and they have been with me for years so due to that I feel a certain closeness with Japan. We sell a lot in Japan, and since I began the label the Japanese have been so supportive and loyal to my brand that when the earthquake hit it felt like an opportunity to repay some of that. The Kate Mouse print was our obvious big hitter, so I thought it would make the most money if we offered it for the appeal. We did it by ourselves at first, offering a free t-shirt with every donation to Save The Children. That went very well but as we were paying postage we had to limit it to the UK only. My PR company Iroquois and I approached Net-A-Porter so we could take it further. They were amazing with how they took it up and offered so much percentage of the profit to the appeal. I was very impressed with their instant generosity.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Dana Bocai
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Dana Bocai

Your current S/S 2012 collection not only has your own charming take on the uniquely temperamental British summer through neon colours, raindrop prints and a nod to the new Royalty, but a uniquely feel-good quote that runs throughout. How did the slogan ‘You Are My Silver Lining’ form in your head?
There is always a sense of romance in my collections, and no matter what the theme I always like to bring that in. I like the idea of someone being your Silver Lining. No matter what happens in life there is someone who’s very presence brings with it a sense of hope or a way out of darkness.

Slogan Print Tote with Leather Handles
Slogan Print Tote with Leather Handles

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Alejandra Espino
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Alejandra Espino

What are your favourite colours to print in (at the moment) and why?
I loved using the neon colours in the S/S 2012 collection. I like printing images in neon then overlaying that with a black print and washing it all out so the greys defuse the neon a bit.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Mitika Chohan
Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Mitika Chohan
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Mitika Chohan

What can we expect for A/W 2012 from Simeon Farrar?
For S/S 2012 we had a ghost print that did very well, so I’ve built the next collection round that. So I guess it’s a Haunted House collection. We’ve got lots of ghost drawings, howling wolves, that kind of thing. But, there’s also a romantic side to it. I’ve always been interested in the tragic side of vampires and the sense of undying love that runs through it. So I’ve brought a lot of that in to the collection. And for the first time, NO KATE MOUSE. I didn’t want to cheapen her and put some fangs on her or something. Kate Mouse is dead, you heard it here first.

Cloud Print Tote Bag
Cloud Print Tote Bag

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins

Simeon Farrar’s current S/S 2012 collection is available to buy in store and online at a variety of stockists, and his forthcoming A/W 2012 collection will be exhibited at Tranoi this March.

Categories ,Abi Hall, ,Alejandra Espino, ,Alia Gargum, ,Autumn/Winter 2012-13, ,british summer, ,canvas, ,Creativity, ,Dana Bocai, ,drawing, ,Fine Art, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Haunted House, ,illustration, ,Iroquois, ,Jason Lear, ,Kate Mouse, ,liberty, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Madi Illustrates, ,Mitika Chohan, ,Neon, ,Net-A-Porter, ,Newgen, ,painting, ,paris, ,Romance, ,royalty, ,Save The Children, ,screen-printing, ,shoreditch, ,Simeon Farrar, ,Spring/Summer 2012, ,sydney, ,T-shirts, ,tokyo, ,Tranoi, ,University of Creative Arts Farnham, ,Vampires, ,You Are My Silver Lining

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Amelia’s Magazine | Nova Chiu: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Ones to Watch Preview

Nova Chiu S/S 2012 by Dana Bocai

Nova Chiu S/S 2012 by Dana Bocai

Nova Chiu’s creations look like they’ve leapt straight off the pages of ancient fairytales. Strong, architecturally inspired silhouettes burst with colour, texture, beads and print. Her LCF graduate collection was a case of Art reflecting reality, as Nova drew inspiration from her birthplace, the Yunnan province of China, also known as the ‘mystical, earthly paradise’ that is Shangri-La. The aptly named Shangri-Ladida collection mixed traditional Chinese and contemporary dressmaking methods, winning the prestigious Collection of The Year award and creating a buzz of interest around what the designer will do next.

Nova Chiu by Cassandra Mayers

All photography courtesy of Nova Chiu

Chiu will be starting as a brand-new designer this London Fashion Week, but that doesn’t mean she’s new to fashion. Nova has worked for big-name designers such as Anna Sui, Richard Nicoll, and Matthew Williamson, who are all known for their use of colour, texture and shape.

Nova Chiu by Abi Hall

Nova Chiu by Abi Hall

For her graduate collection, Nova Chui drew inspiration from China for more reasons than it being her birthplace. Feeling that although China produces most of the clothes sold around the world, not much is known about traditional and contemporary Chinese fashion. Nova decided she wanted to unveil unknown Chinese culture through her work, mixing traditional and contemporary techniques together in a collection fit for a modern-day princess.

Nova Chiu by Dark Lens

Nova Chiu by Dark Lens

Nova’s background in Surface Textiles is evident in her choice of modern and traditional prints, embellishments, and fabrics. I love her use of different textiles and creativity with red and yellow faux fur, which she embroidered into or pressed prints onto. Not many people could whip up a traditional Chinese ‘ink and wash’ painting method and place it on cotton and nylon to such a fresh effect. Jade and wooden beads poke through faux fur and run along edges as decoration. Sequins and different types of bells were also embedded in the fabric, meaning a girl wearing Nova Chiu will most definitely be seen and heard.

Nova Chiu by Dana Bocai

Nova Chiu by Dana Bocai

The beauty of a graduate collection, and Nova’s in particular, is that burst of energy from the pages of a student sketchbook into a catwalk collection. With her sketchbook lovingly displayed on her website, visitors get a sneak peak at the work that went into her attention-grabbing graduate collection. The illustrator in me loves the detailed, feminine and surreal drawings Nova creates. This designer spends a lot of time illustrating.

Nova Chiu by Jo Ley

Nova Chiu by Jo Ley

Nova Chiu by Cassandra Mayers

This London Fashion Week, I truly cannot wait to see what Nova has in store. Will it be a development of the graduate collection or a complete change? I think we can predict more fascinating displays of her expertise and playfulness with surface textiles. I know I want to see more of her beaded and embellished faux fur; seeing shimmering stones poking out from candy-coloured fur reminds me of some type of fairytale animal. Whatever colour, inspiration, shape or customer she chooses to create for, I’m sure this London Fashion Week will be heaven on earth for Nova Chiu.

Nova Chiu by Jo Ley

Nova Chiu by Jo Ley

Nova Chiu will be debuting her A/W 2012 collection this London Fashion Week on Friday the 17th of February at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Ones to Watch show

Categories ,A/W 2010, ,Abi Hall, ,Alia Gargum, ,Anna Sui, ,China, ,colour, ,Dana Bocai, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Faux Fur, ,Jo Ley, ,london, ,London College of Fashion, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matthew Williamson, ,Nova Chiu, ,Ones To Watch, ,Richard Nicholl, ,Shangri-Ladida, ,surface design, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Leutton Postle: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Leutton Postle A/W 2012 by Vicky Ink, aka Vicky Fallon
Leutton Postle A/W 2012 by Vicky Ink, aka Vicky Fallon.

Leutton Postle were one of the most exciting new designers that I encountered last season and so it was with anticipation that I attended their latest showing, soundtracked by the perfect mash up of squally post 80s beats.

Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle A/W 2012 by Kristina Grundberg
Leutton Postle A/W 2012 by Kristina Grundberg.

Models with coloured brows or mesh facemasks wore a plethora of long knitted garments in a more sombre colour palette than was used for S/S 2012. Burnt oranges, copper, royal blue, mint green, yellow, burgundy – these were colours that on paper shouldn’t go together but worked brilliantly in this zany collection. Viewing these garments up close is always a treat as there is so much detail going on – geometric shapes in bobble knits were worn with tribal face patterned pencil skirt and jacket combos, created through a combination of jacquard knit and metallic applique. I can only begin to imagine the huge amount of work that must go into creating such a collection.

Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle A/W 2012 by Abi Hall
Leutton Postle A/W 2012 by Abi Hall.

Matching metallic applique belt bags cinched the waists of baggy knee length tops, oversized eyeballs or giant doll-like faces with great sprouting masses of woolly hair emblazened across the whole front or back. Drawstring clutch bags hinted at a possible move in the direction of accessories, which I am sure would be much appreciated by fans. Nothing was left unembellished in this collection – from leggings to tasselled shoes, all felt the Leutton Postle effect. I love that knitwear is experiencing such a whole hearted renaissance… long may it last.

Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
Leutton Postle AW 2012 - photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,A/W 2012, ,Abi Hall, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,knitwear, ,Kristina Grundberg, ,Leutton Postle, ,lfw, ,Vicky Fallon, ,Vicky Ink

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dear Fashion Diary: an interview with Emmi Ojala

Dear Fashion Diary

How did you first come across the idea of the Free Fashion Challenge, and why did you decide to take part? 

The Free Fashion Challenge was an initiative of Laura de Jong, who studied in the same fashion school (Amsterdam Fashion Institute) with me. She started the project to challenge fashionistas to rethink fashion and personal style outside the cycle of consumption. A teacher of mine introduced me to the project, asking if I would be interested in participating in the challenge. First it felt like a big commitment to sign up for not shopping for a year, but it was such an intriguing challenge that I ended up saying yes. I was curious to see how well I would cope, and so many people around me were shocked by the mere idea that it made me want to prove that spending 365 days without shopping would be doable.

Dear Fashion Journal

What was the biggest challenge when you stopped shopping for a whole year?
The biggest challenge was trying not to get bored with my clothes and find ways to cope when my clothes started to wear out. By the end of the year, I didn’t have one single pair of stockings without holes, so I always wore two on top of each other to cover the rips. I also started spending more time restyling my old clothes in attempts of staying excited about my outfits. It gave me the same happy feeling you get when you wear something new for the first time.

Dear Fashion Journal

And what was the most surprising thing that you learnt after a year without spending on clothes?
Most surprising thing I learned was that not shopping wasn’t actually that difficult. The only thing that I really missed was treasure hunting in second hand shops, but other than that I hardly had any temptations to spend on clothes.

Dear Fashion Journal

How did you learn to make your clothes fit seasonal trends, without buying new stuff?

My closet stayed pretty up-to-date thanks to swapping with friends and visiting my mom’s closet in search for old items. I was so happy that she had kept some of her golden oldies, because trends go around, come around, and suddenly old items begin to look contemporary again. Also DIY helps a lot if one wants to be trendy without spending; you can dye your clothes, cut them up and sew them back together into something fresh. The cyberspace is full of great DIY tutorials, so you can always find ways to customize your clothes even if you weren’t an expert on sewing.

Dear Fashion Journal

What was the process behind the creation of Dear Fashion Journal? What were you trying to achieve?

During the Free Fashion Challenge, all us participants wrote about our experiences on a blog. There were quite some thought evoking aha-moments documented there, so after the challenge was over, I wanted to dig a bit deeper and collect stories inspired by those experiences into a printed publication. My goal was to arouse thoughts on our attitudes towards fashion and ever-changing trends, and do so without nagging about green this and eco that. I wanted to tell personal stories that would inspire people to be creative with fashion and think about their clothes as something valuable rather than throwaway pieces. 

Dear Fashion Diary

How did you set about collecting all your data, and finding illustrators to work with you on the journal? 

The entire magazine is based on the experiences of 30 people, who took part in the year of not shopping. I interviewed many of them to find out what they had learned, what had been their most striking experiences and if their thoughts on fashion and style had changed. All the articles in the magazine are inspired by those discussions and by the blog that we wrote during the challenge.

I have always loved richly illustrated books and magazines, so I knew from the beginning that Dear Fashion Journal would have to be like that, too. I had a wish-list of illustrators I wanted to work with, and was over the moon to get to feature illustrations from Daria Hlazatova and Krister Selin, both of whom I knew from Amelia’s Magazine. I also found some great artists via friends, blogs and portfolio sites like Behance. Next to that, me and my best friend Sarah Meers also spent a few long weekends illustrating some of the articles for the journal ourselves.

Dear Fashion Diary

You have since created a book called Dear Fashion Diary, which is a place where people can record their relationship with clothes – how did this come about?
Before I decided to self-publish Dear Fashion Journal, I got in touch with BIS Publishers and introduced the concept to them. The journal gave them an idea about a kind of a fashion diary, and they asked if I would be interested in working on something like that. Coincidentally, me and Laura de Jong (the founder of Free Fashion Challenge) had already earlier been brainstorming about making a notebook full of fashion assignments, so we took on the project together and so Dear Fashion Diary was born.

Where can people in the UK find a copy of Dear Fashion Diary?

You can find the Diary at Tate Modern, Podshop, Blackwells, Rizzoli Bookshop, Waterstones as well as order it through Amazon.

The journal can be ordered online here.

What next? Any other projects in the pipeline?

For now, I’m happily busy illustrating a children’s book and freelancing for a few other clients, whilst waiting for my brain to blurt out the next great idea for a project of my own!

Emmi Ojala is featured in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration. You can follow her travels in illustration, fashion and sustainability on twitter here.

Categories ,Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration, ,Amsterdam Fashion Institute, ,BIS Publishers, ,Blackwells, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Dear Fashion Diary, ,Dear Fashion Journal, ,Emmi Ojala, ,ethical, ,fashion, ,Free Fashion Challenge, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Krister Selin, ,Laura de Jong, ,Podshop, ,Rizzoli Bookshop, ,Sarah Meers, ,sustainable, ,Tate Modern, ,Waterstones

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album review: Lymes – Goodbye Bangkok, and interview with Richard Gilbert

Voodoo Doll - Lymes by Janneke de Jong
Lymes – Voodoo Doll by Janneke de Jong.

Goodbye Bangkok was one of those wonderful surprises that landed in my musical inbox late last year. From first single Train to Penang – a mournful tune backed by a full orchestra – to the twinkling horns and swooping cellos of Welcome, the album is an elegiac treasure chest of unusual tunes inspired by Richard Gilbert‘s occasionally difficult time in Thailand. Despite harrowing subject matter there is real beauty in this collection; highlights include the duelling banjos that introduce love song The Fool, and a husky male voice submerged by honeyed female vocals in Voodoo Doll. Every song is an unexpected delight. A real find of 2011.

Lymes single cover
Your debut album came out last September, what has been the reaction? Any pleasant or unusual surprises?
Well, it has all been pleasant really in that it reached a couple of places I never expected it would – BBC 6 Music has played tracks off it a few times and Clint Boon of XFM made it his featured album of the day, which was very nice, as is he. It was a pleasure to simply be in touch with a pop star that features in my own record collection! I originally intended to record this album with my musical ‘other half’, Simon Andrew, and not promote it at all. It was just for our own enjoyment. It was intended to be a download only release with no marketing at all. We were artists in the purest sense! No bullshit, just the music. I still don’t feel comfortable pairing the 2 activities together. So it was my intention to leave it sitting there in cyberspace, ready for any random passersby to enjoy or not enjoy. Anyway, in the 11th hour, my arm was twisted, partly by me, into doing more of the promo work. And I started to enjoy it because it gave birth to Mollusc Records that I set up with a few mates and off we went. There is more to nurture now than just Lymes. The most pleasing thing for me is that, for those that have bought / received a copy of the album, they talk about the lyrics first of all. I was very anxious about the lyrics. They needed to be interesting and not vague because I knew I wanted to explore songs with upfront vocals and in a talking style.

Lymes - The Fool by Abi Hall
Lymes – The Fool by Abi Hall.

What was the name of the band that you were in during the 90s? And why did you decide to go it alone for awhile?
I was in a noisy band called The Mandelbrot Set. Loads of wah wah and distortion. I packed it in because we had not written any good songs for a few months. I was too impatient. And when I left the band, I realised I had a huge void in my life. I had no job, no degree. So off I went to get the quickest degree I could and then to Thailand, which certainly filled my life with colour.

Be My Dead Wife

The subject matter was inspired by your personal encounters whilst living in Thailand…. how did these find their way into a musical format?
This was a key concern for me. The music was writing itself nicely, with my multi-instrumentalist partner Simon and me with the recording gear. The songs were stockpiling with mumbled vocal takes and no finished lyrics. I needed a theme for inspiration and when I wrote one set of lyrics about Thailand, Be My Dead Wife, I was really happy with them. And I was able to write a set of lyrics very quickly. Often in one sitting. I was also very keen on storytelling in music as opposed to nebulous lyrical imagery, where the singer is another instrument…..I spent a lot of time listening to Johnny Cash whilst out there. This probably opened my mind to storytelling.

Lymes Goodbye Bangkok cover
What prompted the move to Thailand in the first place? You were there for 6 years which is a long time… can you tell us about some of your more interesting experiences? How did you stay alive, ie what was your work during that time?
As I said above, the big void left by not being in a band led me out of the country. It was supposed to be Argentina but I followed a mate to Bangkok after we did a TEFL course. I started off teaching English but quickly moved into market research in the grocery industry. Zzzzz. Some stories are in the album and the lyrics are all printed in the cover sheet. And there is no flowery stuff going on. Very direct I think. In addition to these? I have written a few things down here and deleted them. Sorry! It’s the usual stuff you would expect to see in Thailand; drugs, corruption, passport dealing, working without work permits, vehicle smuggling and ringing, prostitution, tourists and fresh expats getting duped, loutish behaviour, boiler rooms, grotesque sex shows (anybody care to see a go-go dancer shaking a coke bottle, sticking it up her bum, bending over and spraying the audience? No, thought not.), endless road traffic accidents and most sadly, child trading /smuggling. This is something that I could not put on the album. Although the lyrics are observational. the delivery and music add the appropriate vibe. I doubt I’d ever finish it if that were the story. To summarise, a sleezy English chap ran an English Language school but was also allegedly buying children from Orphanages on spec and selling them to Chinese people that were not able to have their own children. At least that is what I was told by others that knew him better than I. To just know the face and name of someone that might get involved in that troubles me. Writing songs about how great the food is and how lovely the people are doesn’t seem to work as well lyrically. But the food is amazing and the people are lovely!

Lymes by Rosemary Cunningham
Lymes by Rosemary Cunningham.

You have said that songs start life in your phone voicemail at about 6am in the morning. Is that because you phone yourself in a half asleep slumber? Has this occurred under any strange circumstances, or in a strange place?
Kind of! I often wake up with song parts going through my head. I am usually convinced they are someone else’s. I sing them into my own voicemail before I forget them, so yes I am barely awake when it happens and then I ask everyone later if they recognise it…… the cellos on Welcome, for example, came about in this way, as did the violins on Voodoo Doll.


Voodoo Doll

Lymes_WindChimes By Jardley Jean-Louis
Lymes – Wind Chimes by Jardley Jean-Louis.

Your first live performance was with the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra in October, which is quite a major deal! How did that come about? Any special things you had to adapt when performing with such a large amount of musicians?
That was the hardest gig I ever did. First gig with Lymes and my first gig since the 90s. I wanted to do something special, not just play the local clubs. And several Lymes songs had orchestral parts in them that would have left the song bare without orchestral instruments. We started planning this show 3 years ago. It is really tough getting people to come together for your music when you have hardly any money. But the Hull Phil were really nice people to work with and it certainly opened everyone’s eyes seeing the 2 genres coming together when no one had done anything like it before. We ended up with a chamber orchestra of around 22 players. It was a great success in the end. Amazing really, because we had to manage the show ourselves and many things were going wrong, increasingly so on gig day….. and we were trying to focus on the music.

Lymes by Geiko Louve.

Who else is Lymes?
Ah. I’m glad you asked about that. Simon is the other one and the musical backbone to this album. He has a lever arch file with hundreds of songs in it and we still have not gone through them all to see which ones need to be worked on. The 2 best songs on the album are The Fool and Train To Penang. He wrote the music for both of them. He is a very good drummer, a good keyboard player and a competent guitarist. There is also musical pedigree in his family. His brother is perhaps my favourite drummer of all time and had some success with Kingmaker in the early 90s.

The Fool

Train To Penang

My favourite story about Simon is that, while watching his brother having a really good time in Kingmaker, opportunity knocked on his door in the shape of an invitation to a drumming audition for a World Party tour in America. And he turned it down because he thought their music was boring!

When can people next see you live, and are you doing any festivals next summer?
We are planning another big show, this time with a gospel choir. We just need to find one that will not be too concerned about the lyrical content and lack of Jesus worship in our songs. We are also waiting to hear if we are on the bill for the Great Escape festival in Brighton in May. Fingers crossed on that one.

Goodbye Bangkok is out now on Mollusc Records.

Goodbye Bangkok

Categories ,Abi Hall, ,Clint Boon, ,English Language, ,Geiko Louve, ,Goodbye Bangkok, ,gospel, ,Great Escape, ,Hull Philharmonic Orchestra, ,interview, ,Janneke de Jong, ,Jardley Jean-Louis, ,Johnny Cash, ,Kingmaker, ,Lymes, ,Mollusc Records, ,review, ,Richard Gilbert, ,Rosemary Cunningham, ,Simon Andrew, ,Thailand, ,Thailand Be My Dead Wife, ,The Fool, ,The Mandelbrot Set, ,Train To Penang, ,Voodoo Doll, ,Wind Chimes, ,World Party, ,XFM

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Amelia’s Magazine | Favourite Christmas Indie Tunes for 2011

Ukulele Christmas Carol by Abi Hall
Ukulele Christmas Carol by Abi Hall.

Christmas tunes from respectable bands have never been more popular – both original compositions and covers of old favourites – here’s my round up of the best.

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Piney Gir has put together this absolutely adorable lo-fi animated video for her festive ditty Christmas Time – just a few paper dolls with joints and a tacky set. And it works brilliantly! Best of all there is a free download of the tune.

Christmas, Single - Viv Albertine by Sam Parr
Christmas, Single – Viv Albertine by Sam Parr.

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One of the original purveyors of girl power – Viv Albertine of The Slits – has put together a typically alternative single, radically titled It’s A Christmas, Single. I love the lyrics, which include gems such as ‘I like being single, cos I get stuff done.’ Speaking as one who has spent many a Christmas in the single state I can testify to this truth. It’s another free download so get stuck in.

On a slightly different tangent make sure you check out Darren Hayman‘s Christmas Advent Project. Together with Fika Recordings he has been releasing a split single every day of December. In the spirit of Christmas all the tunes will be distributed for free at the end. Watch accompanying videos for the project above.

Christmas Illustration by Camille Block
Christmas Illustration by Camille Block.

My Tiger, My Timing take on the commercialism of Christmas in 2011 for the cute sleigh bell driven ditty See You On New Year’s Day.

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From Manchester Flow Machines bring us their remake of the Saint Etienne and Tim Burgess classic I Was Born On Christmas Day. In exchange for a download they are encouraging fans to make a donation to Barnardos – a very nice touch. The single also has a fab retro inspired video.

I reviewed the debut album from Fairewell recently, and singer Johnny is hot on the case with a festive offering – he lends his inimitable woozy filmic sound effects to a new no-sing version of In The Bleak Midwinter, accompanied by a sad little film.

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Dog is Dead present Christmas Wrapping, a song by seminal 80s band The Waitresses that most will recognise – only this time harmonised by men in fairisle jumpers. Nice. And free to download too.

Honour Before Glory
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On the cover tangent how about Honour Before Glory‘s cover version of Chris de Burgh‘s festive classic A Spaceman Came Travelling. It’s a real oddity – a spaced out laid back version of the original.

Reindeer music by gaarte
Reindeer music by Gaarte.

Yet another free track: A Wombling Merry Christmas by The Very Most gets the lilting folk treatment that transforms it into a song that can be enjoyed by adults as much as kiddies. Indiecator have released a whole EP for Christmas.

Summer Camp

Summer Camp cover a famous tune with their oddly titled All I Wonderful Christmas Is You.

Finally not forgetting the latest single to be taken from A Very She & Him Christmas, also reviewed on these pages: Christmas Day can be heard here.

Next up: my review of whole Christmas albums. Yup, some bands have really taken the festive theme to new limits.

Categories ,A Spaceman Came Travelling, ,A Very She & Him Christmas, ,A Wombling Merry Christmas, ,Abi Hall, ,All I Wonderful Christmas Is You, ,Barnardos, ,Camille Block, ,Chris de Burgh, ,Christmas, ,Christmas Advent Project, ,Christmas in Haworth, ,Christmas Time, ,Christmas Wrapping, ,Darren Hayman, ,Dog is Dead, ,Fairewell, ,Fika Recordings, ,Flow Machines, ,Gaarte, ,Honour Before Glory, ,I Was Born On Christmas Day, ,In The Bleak Midwinter, ,Indiecator, ,It’s A Christmas Single, ,Laura Millward, ,Moshi Moshi, ,My Tiger, ,My Timing, ,Piney Gir, ,Saint Etienne, ,Sam Parr, ,singles, ,summer camp, ,the slits, ,The Very Most, ,The Waitresses, ,Tim Burgess, ,viv albertine

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