Amelia’s Magazine | Ahoy there Amelia’s Magazine! What’s your fave Christmas song?


Illustration by Lorraine Nam

Back with post two on Christmas music. I hope post one was enlightening. Now let’s see what the chaps at Amelia’s Magazine love to listen to at Christmas time. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE xx

2000 miles by Karina Yarv

Illustration by Karina Jarv

Karina Jarv – Illustrator
Of course there are always a lot of favourite Christmas songs… It’s Christmas, information pills there is a fantastic mood in the air and you want to listen to something very old and familiar to you. The same thing is with me. ONE of my favourites is ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby. But to be honest my current favourite is the ‘2000 miles’ cover by 6 Day Riot. Everything is so perfect there for me: magical voice, amazing sound… Yes, the original song is great, but this sounds a little bit more personal. When I hear this song I want to put the kettle on, take a warm bath and good book with me and wait for someone…very special…’to come back’ to me someday.

Amelia Xmas

Amelia Gregory

Amelia Gregory – Our Magazine Leader
Do they know it’s Christmas? from 1984 – because it reminds me of being young. I love that all the famous pop stars of the era are featured in it, but it was still so craply done – no stylists on hand in those days. Of course it was cheesy even then but I was given a 7″ for my birthday which I still treasure.

YouTube Preview Image

And as I discovered watching the Frisky and Mannish show at the Lyric Theatre, it encompasses all the essential elements of a Christmas tune – obvious references to Christmas, innuendo, pathos, political context, bells and a sing-a-long chorus. An absolute classic.


Faye West

Faye West – Illustrator
So hard to choose, but it will have to be Mariah Carey‘s All I Want for Christmas (is that what it’s called?!), reminds me of being 14, in New Look shopping for a Christmas Disco outfit in 1998, the year we did a dance to Spice Girls for the Christmas assembly. I chose a gold glittery vest top with a blue velvet mini skirt as had Geri Halliwell in mind. The song makes so many of us excited. And then the fun of dancing to it in summery June in ‘Boombox’ a few years ago!


Illustration by Lorraine Nam

Lorraine Nam – Illustrator
I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas is my favourite Christmas song. It’s funny and silly and it has a great background story to it. The little girl ends up actually getting a hippopotamus and donates it to the local zoo. 

Martin from Principal Colour Amelia’s Book Publisher
Amelia has been working with Principal Colour since 2004. They have a close relationship, enabling her to do lots of new, experimental things when printing covers – like the pearlescent cover in the latest book, Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration available now here. Martin says his fave Christmas song is: Without doubt it has to be “merry xmas everybody” by slade, when I was young it was what Christmas was about and then when a bit older in the pubs was the sing along of choice (and apparently I used to look a bit like Noddy Holder – don’t know if that’s a compliment or not to be honest).

Matt Bramford Christmas Grump

Matt Bramford

Matt BramfordAmelia’s Magazine Fashion Editor
Mine is Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry because it’s so silly and I get to do my infamous fawn dance.

slow club by karolina burdon

Illustration by Karolina Burdon


Hannah Bullivant

Hannah Bullivant – Writer Contributor – craft extraordinaire
Ok my favourite christmas song is It’s Christmas and You’re Boring Me by Slow Club, because its beautiful…even though i feel the opposite about my mister, I just love it.

Rob photo

Robert Harris

Robert Harris – Writer Contributor
I love Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon. It’s got a lovely lilting, folky melody – it’s actually based on an old folk standard called Stewball. It’s a protest song about the Vietnam War, which makes it 100 times more meaningful than anything by Slade, and it’s one of the few credible Christmas songs. Well, until Yoko Ono starts singing…


Illustration by Mina Bach

Mina Bach – Illustrator
The Elvis Christmas Album is an absolute MUST at Christmas for me!


Jessica Furseth

Jessica Furseth – Writer Contributor
My favourite Christmas song is probably ‘Silent night’. It reminds me of what Christmas was like when I was a kid, when it was sort of magic. Where I grew up there weren’t really any Christmas-themed pop songs, so I don’t really like those as they don’t hold any significance for me. So yes, I like the old-fashioned songs.

Wham illustration by Avril Kelly

Illustration by Avril Kelly

Avril Kelly – Illustrator
Wham! Last Christmas. It is the ultimate cheesefest of Christmas songs, I hear it every Christmas in the car on the way to visit family and friends. Everyone always sings along loudly and rather terribly, it has to be said. It’s fun and cheesy and just I love it.

Abby Wright

Abby Wright – Illustrator
Well this is a hard question, I love Christmas songs, especially those I can sing or dance to. In particular I love Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewie, Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon and Band Aid’s Do They Know it’s Christmas. My favourite ever though would have to be Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade. It makes me so happy, and it’s a song that i’m guaranteed to dance to and get a sore throat singing to! It’s fun, cheerful and just what Christmas should be. I hope one year soon we will have an actual Christmas song for Christmas number one again!

Jingle Bell Rock by Chloe Cook

Illustration by Chloe Cook

Chloe Cook – Illustrator
Jingle Bell Rock by Billy Idol. I’ve chosen this song because I absolutely L-O-V-E Billy Idol, and I also love Christmas, so it’s putting my two favourite things together. Also I just think that it’s quite a funny thing that such a massively known punk rocker has done a cutesy little Christmas song, and I think more people should listen to it!!

Daria Hlazatova – Illustrator
I know what you’ll say about my favourite Christmas song being “Jingle bells rock” by Bobby Helms – “cheeky!” Well, I first heard it as a child in “Home Alone: Lost in NYC” and loved it. Since then it became associated with this city until finally some years later I found myself in NYC at Christmas completely alone. I remember hearing this song when passing Macy’s and being hit by a wave of nostalgia. Cheeky dreams come true at Christmas, I thought! Hope your Christmas is a happy one!

Helen Martin

Me – Helen Matin

Helen Martin – Writer Contributor
Christmas TV by Slow Club is my favourite Christmas song. It makes me happy. Tender, honest, true and full of yearning. Gorgeous.

Categories ,6 Day Riot, ,Abby Wright, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Avril Kelly, ,band aid, ,Bobby Helms, ,books, ,Chloe Cook, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Editor, ,Elvis, ,fashion, ,Faye West, ,Frisky and Mannish show at the Lyric Theatre, ,George Michael, ,Geri Halliwell, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Helen Martin, ,Jessica Furseth, ,John Lennon, ,Jona Lewie, ,Karina Jarv, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Lorraine Nam, ,Macy’s, ,Mariah Carey, ,Matt Bramford, ,Mina Bach., ,New Look, ,new york, ,principal colour, ,publishing, ,Robert Harris, ,slade, ,Slow Club, ,Spice Girls, ,Wham!, ,Yoko Ono

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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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