Musical Rooms

September 23, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 41: Lovvers

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 10:56 am
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lovvers

“Our favourite space to create music in is ‘Baselab’, located in the basement of an architecture firm in Nottingham city centre, run by local legend Simon Ashdown. Baselab is a one off… a practice room where you can take your time, and feel comfortable. Behind the drum kit are shiny silver reflective strips and the uneven roof has plastic ‘70s oversized round lights. There’s also a huge broken old Mitsubishi television, some busted up keyboards, two-string guitars and two foot drummer’s ashtrays.

Simon uses vintage Watkins tape echo and spring reverb for vocals and a Fender Bassman head for guitar or bass (as used by Pavement and most other notable bands). There’s also a one inch eight-rack tape machine and some old mics for live recordings. It’s very important for us to have a lot of room to move around and no time limit on a session. In Baselab, we like to have some odd yet familiar items around us to look to for inspiration.

We book this place out but once we’re down there, there is no limit – it’s an ‘evenings and weekends’ space. We don’t like to practice when there are other groups in the other rooms mucking up Zeppelin solos, this is a place to create music with other people.

We get started when somebody writes part of a song and we play it together until another one of us comes up with some more ideas. Equipment-wise we use a Fender Jagmaster, Moog Moogerfooger ring modulator, electro-Harmonix graphic fuzz, Akai headrush, Selmer treble ‘n’ bass guitar head, Musicman Stingray bass, Proco Rat distortion, TC electronics vintage distortion, Ampeg svt 6×10 bass stack and Watkins tape echo.

What we love about our space is that you feel like you’ve stepped into a secret place and you know you’re in the best room in town.”

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Based nowhere and residing pretty much everywhere, Lovvers is compromised of four ambitious nobodies. They are a strange mix of music’s forgotten blank generation, re-calling the spirit of Darby Crash’s Germs, the weirdness of Flipper, Wipers-style pop and the careless attitude of The Replacements. After the release of four noisy 7″s, the band have now found a home at Wichita recordings. They have played nearly 200 shows up and down the UK, sharing bills with the likes of Butthole Surfers, No Age, Times New Viking, Jay Reatard, Awesome Color, Mika Miko, Fucked Up and Black Lips. Their new ep ‘Think’ is released on October 10th. Lovvers play the Boom Boom Room on 34 O’ Connell St, Dublin on Friday October 3rd and Lavery’s Bunker in Belfast on Saturday October 4th. Doors for the Dublin show are 8.30pm, admission is €10 and support is from Bats and Weil Rats. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/letscommunicate or www.skinnywolves.com/lovvers.htm.

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September 10, 2008

Competition: Win tickets to see Immanu El in Whelan’s

Filed under: competitions,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 7:58 am
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Swedish instrumental rock band Immanu El have been compared to Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky and play several Irish dates over the coming days. Musical Rooms has two double passes to give away to their Whelan’s gig this Saturday September 13th. To be in with a chance to win one, just answer the following question:

Which Swedish city are the band based in? Hint here:

It’s handier if you leave your answer in the comments, but you can email it to musicalroomsATgmailDOTcom. Winners will be chosen by lunchtime on Friday September 12th.

Links: Musical Rooms Part 40: Immanu El

Musical Rooms Part 40: Immanu El

Filed under: Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 7:50 am
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immanu

“My favourite space to create music in must be the livingroom in the old 19th century family house in Ebbarp, out in the countryside of southern Sweden where I grew up. The room is very light with windows facing the south and west which bring the perfect view of the fantastic fruit garden outside. Lots of furniture is covered with blankets and pillows; carpets and paintings on the wall create a very nice atmosphere as well as great acoustic. The old wooden floor and the big wall of books bring the feeling of a storytelling and thoughts of distant generations.

In the room, there is just this fantastic Schimmel Piano from 1952, with the most fantastic sustain and tone I’ve ever played. I used to have an amp and my pedalboard next to the piano as well, but nowadays I mostly use a simple acoustic western guitar…

I have to have peace and quiet here – and not forgetting the silent company of the Icelandic sheepdog “Keli”. As soon as I go home from Gothenburg where the band is, I can’t help spending about an hour a day there. It’s never scheduled – just when inspiration hits. I mostly work alone in isolation but as soon as you get closer to finishing a song then you may need the help of another person to help you out with new ideas and arrangements. Although I enjoy making the foundations of the work alone.

The creative process can vary depending on how inspired I’m feeling. Sometimes you have a melody in your head, sometimes you find something while improvising. In both ways I always end up composing the structure of a whole song before I bring another band member to hear it. Mostly I finish the simple foundation and the chords, and sort out the arrangement in a more improvised experiment together with one or two of the guys. We bring it to the rehearsal room where everyone puts their effort to arrange and we re-arrange the song until it’s more or less finished.

When song-writing, I mostly use a simple acoustic piano or guitar; then we add the full gear in the rehearsal room. On the way there we might have tried some ideas out with MIDI software, just to see how things could sound without gathering the whole band.

What I like most about this space is the absolute feeling of being in your home on earth.”

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Swedish instrumental rock band Immanu El make moving, multi-dynamic music that can swell into big emotional sound-bursts or quiver with bristling calm melodies. Their 2007 debut album They’ll Come, They Come brought them underground acclaim, inspiring many to tip Immanu El to follow in the foot-steps of Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky. Immanu El play Laverys Bunker in Belfast tonight, the Roisin Dubh, Galway on Thursday September 11th, Cyprus Avenue, Cork on Friday September 12th and Whelan’s, Dublin on Saturday September 13th. Tickets available from City Discs, WAV, Tickets.ie, Road, Ticketmaster For more information, visit www.myspace.com/immanuelband.

Competion – Win tickets to see Immanu El
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September 5, 2008

Competition: Win tickets to see Ponytail in Whelan’s

Filed under: competitions,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 2:22 pm
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Hotly tipped Baltimore band Ponytail play Whelan’s next Wednesday, September 10th and I have two double passes for the gig to give away. To be in with a chance to win one, just answer the following question:

Which much raved-about TV show starring Dominic West is set in Ponytail’s hometown of Baltimore?

Leave your answer in the comments (or by email to musicalroomsATgmailDOTcom) and winners will be chosen by 5pm next Tuesday, September 9th.

Links: Musical Rooms Part 39: Ponytail

Update: Congrats to Tenacious Timothy and Darren aka I Love Hoovering. Enjoy the gig – drop back here and let me know what you thought of them.

Musical Rooms Part 39: Ponytail

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 2:14 pm
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“We have a very small room on the first floor of Dustin’s house where we practice and write. It doesn’t really have any windows, so it’s very intimate and has a couple of old lamps in there. It’s never been cleaned and the walls and floors are covered in things we’ve collected over the years: our posters, notes to us from bands, stickers holding up drawings, old drum heads, a tiny American flag and foam that has been tacked up.  We have some extra gear here that we play around with, but we usually set up facing each other in four corners.  It’s a very good space to get immersed in writing, but it gets very hot.

In the room we have Jeremy’s drums, which are a collage of different makes and models, including a Roto tom and two cowbells. He also has a sampler that’s run into a 2 X 10” Jazz Chorus. That amp is stacked on a homemade bass amp/cabinet that Molly sings out of at practice. On the other wall are our two guitar amps. We also have our guitars, pedals, a drum machine (which we don’t really use), a mixer or two lying around, lots of cables, boxes, adapters, two small extra amps, Dustin’s girlfriend’s violin, two old unused keyboards, bells and some small hand drums from India and Morocco. It’s sort of overflowing.

We typically have a schedule, and we always practice before shows or tours which involves us spending two or three hours in here at a time.  We’ll take breaks and sit on the sidewalk outside and get some fresh air. Isolation is important for us – we like to have the door closed until we think a song is totally ready. Then we introduce it into our set.

The creative process can start in many different ways.  Sometimes it starts as a verbal idea, but typically it begins with a melody or beat that sounds appealing and we’ll all build on that in a way that we feel excites and challenges us personally. Once we have many different parts, we begin to piece them together. For us, there is no other space like this one in the world.”

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Ponytail are a four-piece multi-style Baltimore rock act that have drawn comparisons to Deerhoof and Ecstatic Sunshine. They released their first slab of infectious sugar-fueled two-guitar trad punk (Kamehameha on Creative Capitalism) in January of 2007. Winning critical praise for their hyper noisy live show that evokes elements of heavy-duty riffage, yells, growls, art rock, surf rock, ska, and Indian war chants, the outfit of youngsters appeared at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, TX, in the early part of 2008. Their second album, Ice Cream Spiritual, was released in Ireland last month on We Are Free Records. For more information visit www.myspace.com/jreamteam.


Ponytail play Whelan’s, on Wednesday September 10th. Tickets €14 from WAV, Road, City Discs, Tickets.ie. Support from Gentle Friendly (London), R.S.A.G (Kilkenny), and The Vinny Club (Dublin)
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