Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Interview: Bitch Falcon

Bitch Falcon Interview Remy

Bitch Falcon - Clutch

Info: Currently in the middle of an Irish tour to promote the release of their latest bone-crunching single, 'Clutch', Dublin rock band Bitch Falcon kindly took the time out to chat to Remy about the single and accompanying video, where they see Bitch Falcon residing in the wider Irish music scene, and more.

You’re currently on a mini-Irish tour to promote new single 'Clutch', and covering a lot of ground with dates already played in Waterford, Portlaoise, Galway and Limerick, and a show in your home city in The Workman’s Club coming up on the 24th of February, how’s it going so far?

Nigel: Great! Couldn’t have asked for anything better really. Big turnouts, a lot of first time visits and met some lovely people along the way. A nice little cherry on top so far was getting to play with The Redneck Manifesto last night on the last gig of their tour. Pure gents!

Naomi: It’s going good! It’s been great to play in Waterford and Portlaoise in particular as both are places we hadn’t played before, and we succeeded in having the craic with lovely audiences each night, so that was a high in itself. Galway was brilliant as always and Limerick with the Rednecks was a special one, for sure. We’re gearing up for our Dublin gig now, pretty excited for it!

In the director’s notes for the video for 'Clutch’, Allyn Quigley mentions discussing the 90’s videos that left impressions on each of you during the planning stages, which ones in particular stood out when you sat down to think about them?

Naomi: We made strong reference to lo-fi / shoegaze styles from the outset when we were planning the video, in terms of visual content, colouring and overall style, which I think cemented itself as something of a basis around which the more performance-based 90s style was then shaped. For me, My Bloody Valentine sprung to mind instantly when the conversation began, in terms of their colour-saturated, overlaid, surreal style that always blended so well with their music. 

Staying on that topic, our earliest love of music is generally informed by what is current at the time, and / or what our peers are listening to. Did you find as you grew older that you started to delve into music from previous era’s such as the 60’s-80’s, and did that in turn influence the style of music Bitch Falcon play today?

Nigel: It was the other way around for me. I was obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles when I was in my teens and as I got older, I got more into current stuff through shows like No Disco. 

Naomi: I sort of went from one extreme to the other - my teen years were filled with the likes of Metallica and Nine Inch Nails, followed by a slightly more sophisticated Baroque-era classical guitar obsession, haha! The heavier end of my musical upbringing has no doubt shaped whatever it is I bring to the band stylistically, anyway. I’m always after chuggy, downtuned, heavy vibes!  

Lizzie: I was obsessed with David Bowie for a few years during my teens, which led me onto many other greats of that time, Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground and such like. And I think our earliest love of music is formed by what is in your environment, what your parents are listening to, before listening to what's current.

Bitch Falcon Remy Connolly
Photo: Remy Connolly

Without massaging your egos too much, as a band you are pretty much unanimously admired by the online and print music press in Ireland, both as recorded and live artists, have you found, as many acts do, it difficult to translate that acclaim into an even wider popularity?

Nigel: That’s a very nice sentiment, we certainly do get an awful lot of support from the press which is unexpected and very helpful when trying to get the songs out there. If I’m honest, unless tastes change dramatically and we go back to the wonderful era when Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana were considered popular music, I don’t think we’ll have massive mainstream appeal. There are people out there that will like what we do and others who won’t understand it at all, and I’m totally fine with that.

Naomi: I think having an evolving sound is of huge importance to us, and if in future our music lands us in a position where the audiences expand beyond our wildest dreams, then, well and good - but it wouldn’t make sense for us playing the music that we play to be gunning for that. We’re going to keep doing our thing, making music to the best of the band’s ability and embrace our audience all along the way.

Lizzie: I think it's best not to think about it like that. We write music for us, it's just a great coincidence people like it.

'Clutch' certainly reflects the aforementioned live presence very neatly and is a great indicator as to what someone who hasn’t seen you on stage could expect, are you happy with how the end product of the video reflected your hopes from the outset?

Lizzie: Yeah I think it was a great outcome. I had lots of fun running around screaming into a camera. 

Naomi: I think it’s damn near impossible for any creative project to turn out 100% as you envisioned it! That said, we’re certainly happy with how it turned out and in turn, how it has been received. We were a bit self-conscious initially about the performance aspect of the video as we wanted it to be artistic as opposed to egotistical, but the finished result has solidified what we had an mind. That said, I think as you mention yourself, it gives new listeners a more defined story in terms of how we perform and what we’re about, as a band. 

Whilst you evidently have a lot of written material, your releases have been rare but wonderful, do Bitch Falcon plan on increasing the regularity of releases in 2017? 

Nigel: There has been some material recorded, mixed and mastered so it is very likely you will hear some or all of that this year.

Lizzie: You can expect some releases and new tunes.

Bitch Falcon Remy Connolly
Photo: Remy Connolly

Finally, do you find that with the sheer volume of quality acts in Ireland at the moment across a wide variety of genres, that there is still a paucity of bone fide hard rock bands like yourselves? And if so, why do you think that is?

Nigel: I think there’s a scarcity of bands in general and it’s easy to be surprised by that statement if you live in Dublin but there are scenes not as productive as they once were in other cities around the country and i’m not quite sure why that is. 

Naomi: With the best of respect, I wouldn’t personally slot us into “hard rock”, but then again, I don’t know where exactly I would place our music. Ha! If anything I think there is more genre crossover than ever within the Irish music scene right now, it used to be that you’d turn up to a DIY gig and there’d be the wonderful diversity of a math-rock band, a stoner band, an experimental band all in the one lineup, whereas now a gig could consist of three bands but span across eight genres. So in answer to your question regarding hard rock, perhaps there is a paucity - the metal scene seems to be stronger than ever, groove music is enjoying a well-deserved time in the spotlight and Irish hip-hop seems to be growing in numbers by the day. There is no shortage of amazing music at the minute and if that means a brief reprieve from the familiar ubiquity of hard rock, I’m sure it will indeed be a brief one.

Lizzie: I think people are looking to do something different with the rock genre, which is needed.

Bitch Falcon play the Dublin leg of their current tour this Saturday night, 24th of February in The Workman's Club, tickets are available here via Ticketmaster.

Additional Tour Dates:

10th March - Connolly's - Leap, Cork
11th March - Cyprus Avenue - Cork
7th April - Garbo's (with Girl Band) - Castlebar, Mayo

Monday, 20 February 2017

Single: Louise Lemón - Egyptian Darkness

Louise Lemón - Egyptian Darkness

Info: 'Egyptian Darkness' is the new single from the Scandi female artist with vision called Louise Lemón. Although the music itself doesn’t resemble anything Egyptian at all, there is an message to the name. It does however sound dark, mysterious and mystical.

In the style of Lana Del Rey, The Kills and PJ Harvey’s open and airy noir- sound, the production takes the listener on a psychedelic journey throughout. The drumbeat is slow yet assertive, the scuzzy guitars remain ethereal yet powerful, and Louise’s vocals slide across the song with a presence which simply cannot be ignored.

Darkness is undoubtedly the operative word here, on her new single, Louise Lemón invokes a spiritual wasteland permanently shrouded by the night, and inhabited by a lost ancient tribe. Inspired by the dual themes of liberation and the biblical story of the Exodus where Egypt was enveloped by three days of darkness, Lemón's vocals, the methodical percussion and sweeping orchestral moments capture this scene perfectly. 'Egyptian Darkness' is cinematic in its reach, and has a restrained dramatic quality which sees it avoid going over the top. 

The second track, 'Shipwreck', is equally impressive, and shows another side of Lemón's musical persona and sound. It's a moody and subtly atmospheric number, her vocal rich and alluring and also displaying a powerful classic rock range with aplomb. Both tracks should be more than enough to push the artist onwards to a space which can be enjoyed by music fans of very varied dispositions. 

Look / Like & Listen:




Album: B. Splash - One Nation to Never Divide Between Us

B. Splash - One Nation to Never Divide Between Us Brock Splawski

Info: From Saint Paul, Minnesota, Brock Splawski, formerly known as Midwestern Bass Machine (who we adored here), has hit the reset button and embarked on a new solo project under the moniker of B. Splash. Whilst the reset button has been pressed, not all of his sound has been discarded by any means. Splawski has consistently been the most impressive international DIY artist I've come across over the past 3 years, and One Nation to Never Divide Between Us confirms what didn't need to be confirmed already.

Beginning with a reverb-soaked soundwave and a sampled monologue on the inexplicable love affair our species has with destruction, One Nation makes an early impact with 'Entrances'. B. Splash then engages in creating the type of atmosphere he is so adept at, ethereal and spacial, a Kubrickian suspension in space looking down on Earth with 'Figurine'. As the title suggests, the keys twinkle like a Victorian ballerina box, and everything is in the most beautiful slow motion. 

Suitably settled in at this point, something quite amazing happens on third track 'Encounters', Splawski is an expert at taking moods from the past and making them incredibly visual, on this track it's a 1940's dancehall band and backing singers, the accompaniment of acoustic guitar and electronic sound make it all the more surreal. On 'What Are You Going to Do, Die? Yes' and ' A Strange and Depraved Night at the 10th Floor Pool' classic black and white American cinema and television are sampled, and then on the latter we are brought into a funky rn'b medley that is both chaotic and majestic in equal measure, we're in Mount Kimbie territory now.

'Rachel Like The Band' and 'Exits' both begin with disorientating distortion, before beautifully making way for some very soothing instrumental compositions, all to the backdrop of a lapping static that sounds like rain on a window. The album's title-track sees B. Splash in full abandon mode, it's a wild psychedelic cartoonish bossa nova explosion of colour and sound, almost a million miles away from the start of the recording but an absolutely logical destination. We finish with 'Melted Snow', his urge to indulge in echoed and distant piano movements making a brief and joyous appearance, I could listen to this on loop for a lot longer and still not be satisfied. 

Whilst still notably different to his releases as Midwestern Bass Machine (do yourself a huge favour and check out Don't Want To Live Here from 2015) One Nation to Never Divide Between Us is a celebration of sheer abandon and a determination to make great music, absolutely unhindered by the thoughts and perceptions of others, an album made for music and not people.