Amelia’s Magazine | Ones To Watch: Jonquil


Amelia’s Magazine likes folk music, visit this site drugs and Jonquil are deliciously, timeless folk music. Yet they are also indescribable and I like not to be able to pin point a band’s genre. It could be said, they are folk music because of the tradition of group harmonies, the rich depth of sound created through the carefully crafted relationship between instrument and voice. Furthermore, the entire band appears to be multi-instrumental

This autumn witnesses Oxford-based, Jonquil begin another of their massive European tours of whimsical venues beginning last night in the Macbeth pub, London. They return to Camden’s Proud Gallery on October 24th, miss your second chance to see this band at your peril because as any supporter will tell you there is nothing more enjoyable, inclusive or liable to start a smile on your face than a Jonquil performance.


Jonquil are six; Kit Monteith plays the drums providing the ever-rhythmic backbone to their songs, Jody Prewitt is on guitar, Hugo Manuel provides the voice for the majority of the songs with the rest of the band contributing to choruses and introductions, Ben Rimmer, Robin McDiarmid, Sam Scott and Hugo Manuel juggle instruments throughout the gig. Swapping from guitar to keyboard to double bass to flute and the accordion with only the occasional hiccup, which by the time this usually happens, the crowd are so enamored with the music that a misplaced flute is the least of anyone troubles.


This autumn sees the showcase of new songs composed for the eagerly awaited second album (Lions was released in 2007 and Whistle Low an EP in 2006). The new songs see an increased presence of the entire band’s individual voices, whilst Hugo’s remain centre stage. The added depth of sound provided by the variety of voice increases its instrumental presence rather than functioning as ornamentation. The voices of Jonquil complete their harmonious sound, it is this attribute which makes a Jonquil gig so special, as a viewer you feel enveloped in their creativity and part of their imaginary world conjured by the lyrics of each song.


Moreover, rather fantastically Jonquil started a blog where you can find Kit musing on their recording and practice sessions as well as the lead up to their current tour. It is refreshing to be let into the everyday life of a band and how they essentially function in order to produce songs. The blog is really lovely to read and I look forward to it being updated throughout their up and coming tour.

You can find Jonquil on their myspace, which they have recently updated with new songs whilst retaining a known crowd favourite: Lions.

Categories ,folk, ,johnny flynn, ,jonquil, ,mumford and sons, ,noah and the whale

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Amelia’s Magazine | Album Review – Chad Valley: Equatorial Ultravox

chad_valley_Equatorial Ultravox

From the teasing synths of opener Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel?) to the closing wails of Shapeless it is clear that this new super long length EP from Chad Valley is steeped in a deep love for the period when I came of age, check the late 80s and early 90s. His beauteous take on the Chillwave phenomenon pays more than adequate homage to the blissed out Cafe Del Mar style Balearic Beats that I listened to during so many beachtastic student nights on the South Coast. To be clear, order this is no bad thing. Oh the joys of studying in Brighton…

Chad Valley by Lea Rimoux
Chad Valley by Lea Rimoux.

It’s curious, then, to learn from our previous interview with Hugo Manuel that Chad Valley is also inspired by the early 1970s, references which are far less obvious (read: I can’t hear them at all, maybe they’ll surface in future work?)

YouTube Preview ImageNow That I’m Real (How Does It Feel?)

Rose Dagul of Rhosyn provides harmonies on the first track, but from then on in we’re pretty much with Hugo alone – reverb, vocoder and lush atmospherics surrounding his voice with an ethereal ambience as the drumbeats drive us forward. Occasionally the tempo picks up or drops pace but essentially this is an EP best listened to as a whole. Drift away though the beautiful Equatorial Ultravox musical landscape with Chad Valley. It could just be the soundtrack to your summer.

Chad Valley by Amy Brazier
Chad Valley by Amy Brazier.

YouTube Preview ImageAcker Bilk

It seems astonishing that he was only a few songs into the EP when we last spoke with Hugo Manuel back in February. But it’s true, Equatorial Ultravox is out now on Loose Lips in the UK and on Cascine in the US. You can catch Chad Valley live at the awesome Truck Festival – I know I’m looking forward to it. Watch a beautiful remix video of Now That I’m Real from Newdust here.

Categories ,80s, ,90s, ,Acker Bilk, ,Amy Brazier, ,Balearic Beats, ,Blissed Out, ,brighton, ,Cafe Del Mar, ,Cascine, ,Chad Valley, ,Chillwave, ,ep, ,Equatorial Ultravox, ,Hugo Manuel, ,jonquil, ,Lea Rimoux, ,Loose Lips, ,Newdust, ,Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel?), ,Oxford, ,Remix, ,reverb, ,review, ,Rhosyn, ,Rose Dagul, ,Shapeless, ,Truck Festival, ,vocoder

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Amelia’s Magazine | Interview: Chad Valley

Illustration by Aysim Genc

Did you know that we’re all buying a third more clothing than we did a decade ago? Yep, find you read that right. A third more in only 10 years. And are you also aware that today’s average household contributes 26 items of wearable clothing to landfill every year? Tallied up, that’s well over 600,000 garments in the UK alone. Can you visualise that waste? It’s A LOT.

The appropriately-named ‘Trash Fashion’ exhibition is a relatively small presentation with a big message. Be honest, you can’t remember the last time that ‘textiles’ sprang to mind when thinking of world waste and pollution. Something along the lines of ‘oil’ or ‘water’ or ‘plastic bottles’ would be up there; never the words ‘clothes’, ‘dyes’, ‘fabric’. And yet, it’s a big deal. For example, a huge 17-20% of worldwide industrial water pollution is down to textile dye. The truth is that the concept of waste produced by the textiles industry is dangerously underestimated. Fact.

Illustration by Ankolie

Okay, so I didn’t predict a fashion-related exhibition at the Science Museum either. And, in its allotted space, Trash Fashion did rather stick out like a sore-thumb. One also is required to walk through the entire ground floor to actually reach the exhibition, which features steam trains, outer-space and other extravaganzas along with a large population of noisy children. As it was a Saturday, immersed in engines and spaceships, I’m guessing either über-nerdy kids or über-nerdy parents. However, I just used the word ‘über’ twice in one sentence so I’m clearly the nerd here.

Moving on, I learnt shed loads about ‘designing out waste’ in the fashion industry by wandering through. For one, I learnt that an initiative, led by Central Saint Martins, is being developed. An idea that started with a small mat of cellulose being immersed in green tea in order for it to grow into usable fabric. Fabric that is literally living and breathing. It turns out rather like leather and, having a feel of the fabric myself, couldn’t believe that it came from some bacteria bathed in green tea. Weird. Anyway, it turns out that, at this early stage, the so-called ‘Bio Couture’ is way too heavy and gooey to wear and would practically disintegrate in the rain. Nevertheless, it’s a damn-good start – the product is natural, non-toxic and compostable and scientists are working on developing the idea further all the time.

Another part of the exhibition that I found enthralling was a project hosted by the London College of Fashion called ‘Knit to Fit’. It puts forward the concept of ‘Mass Customisation’, something that I could definitely see materialising in the near future. It starts with an individual having a 3D Body Scan done by a special computer that reads all, and even the very intricate, measurements of the body. This information, along with personalised details such as colour and pattern, is then transmitted to a fairly new machine in the textiles world that, before one’s very eyes, produces an entirely seamless 3D garment. No off-cuts. No waste. Considering that fashion designers are known to leave a whole 15% of the fabric they work with on the cutting-room floor, these are absolutely imperative pieces of technology in the movement towards sustainable and efficient textiles of the future. The idea is that, in the not-too-distant future, the average shopper will be able to stroll into a clothing store and have a custom-made garment made there and then that is unique to us and, most importantly, will leave absolutely no waste.

Illustration by Caroline Coates

Without a doubt, the most immediately imposing feature of the exhibition was a large, flamboyant dress, made out of 1000 pieces of folded scraps of the London Metro newspaper. It stood tall at the entrance and its grandeur seduced a small crowd to gather around and take photographs.
In my opinion, however, it just isn’t enough to rip up a few copies of the London Metro, origami fold them into numerous pieces and make a dress – not to wear, but to make a statement. Not to dismiss the skill that goes into constructing such a fiddly garment, or the fact that it DOES make a pretty huge statement. It relates waste and fashion to one another, which is crucial, through something impressive and, ironically, quite beautiful. But it’s been done. I’ve seen countless garments like these, designed for that shock-factor yet completely un-wearable. It’s time to stop representing the problem and to instead turn to the solution – to science. And this, bar the newspaper dress, is where ‘Trash Fashion’ came up trumps.

So, despite being a little late-in-the-day with this one, might not be worth trekking all the way to South Kensington to see this exhibition alone. If you do, time it in with a trip to the National History or the V&A, both right next door. After all, it’s free entry. You’ll just have to hurdle past the children screaming at steam engines and Apollo 10 and I honestly don’t think you’ll regret it.

Trash Fashion: designing out waste is supported by SITA Trust as part of the No More Waste project and is free to visit at the Science Museum in London.

As part of the exhibition, there is an interactive competition whereby members of the public can submit photos of their ‘refashioned’ old garments, before and after, and could land their new design a spot in the exhibition. To upload pictures of your customised clothes go to

Illustration by Mina Bach

Chad Valley is Hugo Manuel. Oxford born and bred, tadalafil this musician and producer is a member of the recently established Blessing Force Collective and the frontman of alt-folk band Jonquil. As the cold light of the new year dissolved in February, stomach Hugo Manuel finished a tour with Brooklyn’s acclaimed Twin Shadow and participated in Blessing Force’s recent Warehouse Party at The Old Bookbinders in Oxford. In the days inbetween, Manuel chatted to Amelia’s Magazine about his latest solo venture and what would happen if he ever went for tea with Neil Young…

First things first, how are you finding 2011 so far?

2011 has so far been a blur and feels like its about 10 days old. Its still fresh, and there are lots of plans being hatched.

What’s the story behind the name Chad Valley? I see in previous interviews you’ve mentioned that it’s the name of a toy company begun in the Victorian era?

Chad Valley is actually a place near Birmingham where the toy company was based and it just a wonderful sounding pairing of words. I have no connection with the toy company and when I first knew of the word it wasn’t anything to do with toys. In fact, a friend of mine used it as his stage name when he was in a punk band. Its a kind of generational thing though, because people of my age don’t tend to know about the toy company whereas older generations are like ‘why did you name yourself after Chad Valley!?’ I guess it is a bit like calling myself Argos.

Video for Chad Valley’s Up and Down by Katie Harrison

Which era or decade would you say has inspired your music the most?

For Chad Valley specifically I would have to say the late 80s to very early 90s. Its a kind of end of the decade thing where there is change and new things coming in, a rebellion against what has come before. I think the production values of electronic music had, by then, reached something of a pinnacle and things had got so slick that its almost sickly, but quite amazing at the same time. Outside that though, I think the period of 1969 to 1974 is probably the time I would most love to be making music. The records that came out of that era by Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Browne are all some of my favourites of all time.

What’s the musical inspiration behind Chad Valley? Are you still listening to Studio and The Tough Alliance or have you moved on to pastures new?

I still have so much love for those bands, absolutely. And Ceo, which is one of the guys from TA’s new project, is also great. That was definitely the jumping off point for Chad Valley, but things are moving on, for sure. I’m listening to a lot more R&B at the moment, and that is having a big impact on the stuff I’m making right now. I’m delving deep into R Kelly’s back catalogue for inspiration.

Illustration by Maria del Carmen Smith

If Chad Valley were a geographical landscape, what or where would it be? How would you map Jonquil?

It would be New York in the early 70s, just like in Taxi Driver. Jonquil would be LA, in the early 90s. Like in the Ice Cube videos.

What are your thoughts on Up and Down being described in the Guardian as “a slinky Hot Chip on downers, a disco-infused summer “joint” featuring some shimmering synths, padded drum beats and Manuel’s impressive croon”?

That was nice to hear. I like Hot Chip a lot, I think they’ve done pretty amazing things considering how weird a band they are. Also, it’s nice to get press in places like the Guardian because you can show your parents, and they can be very impressed.

Video for Chad Valley’s Portuguese Solid Summer by Katie Harrison

Who is the most inspirational person you have come across? What would a meeting between the two of you be like?

Neil Young, without a shadow of a doubt. I would love to have a cup of tea with him and just talk about writing music. I’m sure I would be 100% intimidated and just drool or something weird like that.

What is the most exciting or scary thing that 2011 will throw at you?

At the moment I’m fairly petrified about writing and producing an album. Because it’s just me and I don’t have other people to bounce ideas off, it can be very quite scary making the big decisions about lyrics, or song titles, artwork… those kind of things. But I’m getting way ahead of myself… I have about 2 and a half tunes for the album I guess.

I really like the ambient atmosphere of the video for Up and Down – how did the idea behind the video develop? How did you come across the footage?

It was actually made by my girlfriend when she had the summer off, and a lot of free time on her hands. It’s all stuff from across the internet, so it’s a pretty amazing patchwork of different people’s home videos, pretty much. I like that idea a lot, and its fairly mind-boggling, the fact that that is at all possible!

Illustration by Alia Gargum

What’s been your favourite gig to play at so far?

There are two that I’ll mention, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum for live shows. One was at a launderette in Hackney. A working laundrette that had been closed for the night and fixed up with a PA and some projectors. They place was heaving, in the best possible way, and everyone danced. Everyone. So at the other end is the show I did with Foals on New Years Eve at the Kentish Town Forum. I was on first, but being NYE there was excitement in the room, and the vibes were excellent.

What impact does being based in Oxford have on your sound?

The scene we have here… the whole Blessing Force thing, is so supportive and encouraging that I think being from Oxford has had a huge affect on the way I make music, and just simply the fact that I do make music. Being surrounded by other musicians all doing similar bedroom-recorded stuff gives you a huge amount of drive to make shit happen. But the things that make Oxford great are also the things that make Oxford not so great. People are always coming and going from Oxford… its in a constant state of flux and this give it an uneasy feeling sometimes. Like, if you stay here for a long time there must be something wrong with you. I can see myself leaving Oxford in the future for sure, but right now it offers so much to me, that I couldn’t keep away.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Blessing Force, ,Chad Valley, ,Hugo Manuel, ,jonquil, ,Katie Harrison, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,Mina Bach., ,Neil Young, ,new york, ,Taxi Driver, ,The Old Bookbinders

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Haiku Salut and review of debut album Tricolore

Haiku Salut by Christine Charnock.

They may have an exotic band name, but Haiku Salut are in fact a multi-instrumentalist trio of girls based in the Derbyshire Dales. Gemma, Louise and Sophie met at university in the mid noughties, but only started creating music in their current form during 2010: a first show was infamously booked before they’d written a tune, and an intense period followed during which they wrote the songs which appear on their debut EP. Haiku Salut combine influences from a bewildering variety of sources on their inventive new album Tricolore which features electronic bleeps and squelches galore with melodies played out on accordion, synth or guitar. It’s a sound that follows in the footsteps of mournful modern folk such as Beirut and the jaunty Folktronica of Tunng. A quirkily beautiful video accompanies single Los Elefantes, filmed in forest and city and featuring a forlorn male character, confused and befuddled by the females who outfox him at every turn.

Haiku Salut Press Shot
Firstly, what’s the idea behind your name? I had imagined you were far more exotic than you actually are (no offence) when I first heard it! (as in maybe Icelandic or Japanese)
We actually had the name before any of the songs! As a band we write many lists, we spend more time writing lists than we do writing songs and that’s how it started at the beginning. Firstly there was a list (a spider diagram to be exact) of what we wanted to sound like. A lot of the influences were from French and Japanese cinema and it soon became apparent that whatever we were going to create it was going to be outlandish, niche and definitely something our parents wouldn’t understand. We wanted a name that suggested these things so we went on to write a list of many words. Words we liked the sound of and words that reflected what we thought we were going to sound like in our heads. There were many contenders but Haiku Salut seemed to encompass it all. Annual Snaffle Tank, however, did not.

Haiku Salut by Katrine Brosnan
Haiku Salut by Katrine Brosnan.

You describe yourselves as “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” which is pretty amazing.
What are your influences, and do you all have quite different tastes?

That’s a difficult question really, at first we had a lot of influences which helped us find a direction but more recently when we’re writing, one of us will play something and the question is “does that sound like Haiku to you?” rather than “I’d like this one to sound like so and so”.
Haiku Salut press shot
At the very beginning the reason we started Haiku Salut was because Louise got an accordion for Christmas and at that time she had been listening to a lot of stuff like Beirut and Jonquil and so it seemed natural that the music would have a folk element to it. Gemma has played classical guitar since she was little and she leaves many homages to classical pieces in our songs and Sophie being an avid listener of glitch mainly (but not always) tends to add the electronic stuff. So we threw that all together to see what would happen. Our music tastes are constantly shifting and are all so varied but there are some areas of crossover, the Spice Girls being a prime example.
Haiku Salut by Shy Illustrations.

Where did you all learn to play so many instruments and genres?
We all play piano on varying levels and the skills from that are all transferable to the melody horn, glockenspiel and accordion. We all play a bit of guitar and if you can play guitar you can play ukulele! We seem to have learnt the instruments as we go along, some songs just seem to need a certain sound so we learnt it and did it. One song needed trumpet so Gemma learnt that particular melody on the trumpet. We wanted some beats so I learnt how to make some beats. The drawback to this being the only things that we can play on these instruments are our own songs, no adlibbing!

Haiku Salut Live
How do you write songs together?
Generally one of us will bring an idea acoustically, often a phrase on the guitar or a ukulele loop and we’ll go from there. We very rarely write a song in one sitting. It took us months deliberating over “Sound’s Like There’s a Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart”. Some people have said that our songs are unpredictable and that’s probably why! We’ve all got different ideas of what music we wanted to make at the end of the song to when we started it. Sometimes we’ll have a part that we can’t shoehorn into the song no matter how hard we try and these parts can be ignored for what seems like forever until we begin writing something else and suddenly that other bit drops in perfectly. The beats and electronics come after. 

haiku salut samantha eynon
Haiku Salut by Samantha Eynon.

Why have you decide to remain mute when you are performing?
It was never really a conscious decision, none of the songs have vocal parts and it just seemed weird to be saying anything at all between songs. We don’t have anything of interest to say that will enhance the set so we don’t say anything at all. We swap instruments a lot on stage and at the beginning the silences made us feel awkward so we introduced the glitchy interludes to ensure we didn’t feel under pressure to babble a load of utter rubbish at people. It works!
Haiku Salut Live
Apparently a defining image of Haiku Salut live involves the three of you playing with six hands at a grand piano, how does that work in practice? (any violent clashes?)
We have a song called “Watanabe” where all three of us play the piano (not often a grand one though unfortunately!). We all have a range of notes and generally keep off each others turf, no altercations yet! But if ANYONE steps on my f# by Jove will they know about it. Actually, we have a T-shirt design with an illustration of six hands on a piano. It was done by Katrine Brosnan who did all the artwork for our album. She’s an incredibly talented artist and she really brought the whole thing together. Check her out if you’re that way inclined. 

Haiku Salut Press Shot 2013
You met quite awhile ago at university – what were the ties that bound you together then and kept you together until you decided to create Haiku Salut?
Amongst others we lived together for a couple of years in Derby, which was quite a beautiful and turbulent time. At that point we played in a different band that chronicled all this stuff and was very, very different to what we’re doing now. Also Louise and I DJed together weekly in Derby. The band came to a natural conclusion when Gemma and I went travelling for a few months but when we came back I returned to DJ with Louise and Haiku came along shortly after.

Haiku Salut Tricolore by Katrine Brosnan
Haiku Salut Tricolore by Katrine Brosnan.

What is it like being on tour with Haiku Salut?
We tend to talk utter, utter nonsense. But I suppose that’s a by-product of spending long periods of time with each other. Our last tour included me entering a hotel in a suitcase. Twice. With that act of debauchery behind us there was the minor issue of the nervous breakdown in the service station over the lack of bananas and the misdemeanour of accidentally driving the wrong way down a slip road. 

Your current free download is called Los Elefantes – why, and what’s the story behind the video?
It was a name we had in mind for ages. Other songs were written and Louise would be like “No. This is not Los Elefantes”. The name originally came about when Louise was au pairing in Spain and one the little boys was shouting “LOS ELEFANTES! LOS ELEFANTES!”. Profound, I think you’ll agree! With regards to the video we gave the guys at Albion Sky productions our thoughts on how we wanted the video to feel and let them run with it creatively. We told them we wanted something a bit creepy and inconclusive and they wrote a storyboard, found the locations and ultimately made something absolutely stunning. They’re very talented people.

What next for Haiku Salut?
We’ve got our first album Tricolore coming out on CD and 12” vinyl on March 25th on How Does It Feel To Be Loved? which is available for preorder now here. We’ve also got our album launch parties, one in London on March 28th and the other in Derby on April 13th, where we’ll be unveiling our mega lightshow!

Categories ,Albion Sky, ,Annual Snaffle Tank, ,beirut, ,Christine Charnock, ,Derby, ,Derbyshire Dales, ,Folktronica, ,Haiku Salut, ,How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, ,interview, ,jonquil, ,Katrine Brosnan, ,Los Elefantes, ,review, ,Samantha Eynon, ,Shy Illustrations, ,Spice Girls, ,Tricolore, ,tunng

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