Search This Blog

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Senior Service - King Cobra released on Damaged Goods Records

A couple of weeks ago, the ever so brilliant DAMAGED GOODS RECORDS label released the sophomore album of SENIOR SERVICE. 

So it was time for this blog to have a very interesting and enlightening conversation with Graham DAY who tells us everything we always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

1) Graham you and you partners in SENIOR SERVICE are veterans of the Medway scene. Nevertheless, for the viewers of this blog who might not know you, What would you tell about SENIOR SERVICE  to introduce yourselves? How did you decided to start this particular band together? Who is playing what instrument in the band? 

Jon Barker plays Hammond organ in the band. He’s a bass player really, having been in the Daggermen and Buff Medways. He decided he wanted to learn the organ and asked us if we wanted to muck about playing a few Booker T covers for a laugh. I’ve always loved instrumentals so agreed to do it with Wolf Howard on drums (from the Daggermen, Solarflares and all Billy Childish’s bands since the Headcoats) and Darryl Hartley on bass. We soon realised that playing covers was boring and me, Jon and Darryl are all pretty decent songwriters, so we quickly came up with our own songs and the proper band was born. 

I’ve played in many bands over the years where I’ve been the singer and front man. Sometimes I get tired of doing that, and I’ve always wanted to be in the anonymous instrumental band that you see playing in the background of a cool 60s film. I don’t think there’s much call for that in real life but it would be fun.

2) About the sophomore full length record, "King Cobra" released days ago on Damaged Goods, what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

We normally record the backing track live in Jon’s little studio in his basement, and then put any overdubs on afterwards. So essentially you have live drums, bass and guitar, and sometimes the organ. It’s important to us that we have a good live and energetic feel to the backing track, especially when we put quite a lot of other instruments and percussion on afterwards as that always mellows out the sound. 

3) When I listen to your 2 full length records, I have the feeling that the first one (the 2016's The Girl In The Glass Case) could be qualified as being the "groovy record" and this new one is more the "cinematographic record", every track could easily be a movie theme. Do you agree with this feeling or do you consider there is way more than that.

I would agree with that to some extent. I think with all first albums they’re about finding yourselves and what sounds good, and what comes out is very raw and natural. With the second record we could learn from the first one and develop the songs better. We spent a lot more time on the second album, trying to get the sounds better, adding more instruments and trying to create a more cinematic feel. In a nutshell I would say the first album tracks are like tv themes and the second album tracks are more like film themes.

4) Do you believe it is easier to write a tune with lyrics or to compose an instrumental track?  

I’ve always hated writing lyrics, what the hell do you write about, especially when you get older?? but it’s easier to write a song with vocals carrying the tune. In order to write a good instrumental you need more than just a tune and a backing track. It needs to have highs and lows, space and texture. However an instrumental can be limitless; you’re not tied down to a range of notes that someone can sing, it can go anywhere, with any sound you want to add. It’s been great fun using a sitar, brass, baritone guitar and different percussion.
5) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

Me Jon and Darryl write the songs. We usually write them separately, make a demo then send them to the others before we record properly, but we never rehearse the songs. We like them to have a raw edge to them where we are just beginning to understand them so it’s not too polished. Jon and Darryl have co written a couple of tracks together, but I’ve never really been able to do that. A tune always comes to me when I’m trying to sleep or out walking the dog, and I normally write the whole thing in a few minutes or just forget about it.
6) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

My musical tastes have never really changed since I was a teenager. I grew up on the tail end of punk, and then discovered the Pretty Things, Kinks and then Jimi Hendrix. Then later on I discovered 60s garage. But all the way through I’ve been a massive fan of Barry Gray who wrote all the Gerry Anderson puppet tunes like Captain Scarlett, Joe 90 and Thunderbirds, and the majestic film scores by John Barry and Ennio Morricone. I guess the Senior Service are heavily influenced by these composers. 

 7) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release? 

8 What can concert goers expect at a gig of SENIOR SERVICE ? Are you playing any famous cover songs?

As with any band I’ve been in you will get energy, fun and a few wrong notes…. We mainly play our own songs but sometimes throw in a few Prisoners instrumentals.
9) What are the plan for 2018 as far as the SENIOR SERVICE are concerned? Are you gonna hit the road to promote this new full length?

Sadly there’s not much interest in an instrumental band to play live. There are a few surf bands playing at 60s festivals but we’re not a surf band and don’t really fit into any scene or genre. The gigs we have played have been great, but I think some promoters think it’s too much of a risk and we are not well known. We want to play more gigs, and are considering doing some songs with vocals to break it up a bit and make it more appealing for promoters to take a punt on, but to be honest we’d rather stick to our principles and just be ourselves. 

10) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?

Hopefully we’ll see you at a gig later in the year. Come have a dance, make up your own lyrics and sing along!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

SUBSONICS - "Flesh Colored Paint" LP

Days ago, Slovenly Recordings from Reno, Nevada released The SUBSONICS' highly recommandable new full length “Flesh Colored Paint”.

Atlanta’s SUBSONICS are a gutter-glam, minimal rock’n’roll trio featuring Rockin' Clay Reed on guitar and vocals, Buffi Aguero on drums and Rob Del Bueno on bass.

If you dig The Velvet Underground, The Black Lips or Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, to name a few, this is gonna be right up your alley.

Flesh Colored Paint” is already their 8th album and most probably their best so far. 

Like all their previous works, this is a distilled hodgepodge of decades of popular culture and classic literature culminating in a collection of short and groovy shambolar: Lou Reed, Chuck Berry, Albert Camus, AM radio rock jocks, Bo Diddley, Golden Age TV, surrealism, Mad Magazine, kung-fu flicks, Herman Melville, Little Richard, self-negating philosophy, David Johansen, The Bible,  Lee Van Cleef, Cornell Woolrich, advertising jingles, Dada, Carole King and Bugs Bunny.

Pesonally, this is my favorite release on SLOVENLY since a very long time. In fact, since "Full Tramp" by the Dirty Fences. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Dustburds - summer pleasures

As the band is stating it on his bandcamp page, The Dustburds explore the dusty attic of soul music, incorporating lounge, garage, psychedelic and cinematic influences from the late 60's and 70's.

The main ingredient of this groovy potion being the drum backbeat , it was time for this blog to have a very interesting and lengthy chat with  MAX MAIRE, drummer extraordinaire and brain behind the DUSTBURDS.

1) Max, for the viewers of this blog who don't know you, What would you tell about The Dustburds  to introduce yourselves? How did you meet and decided to start a band together? Who is playing what instrument in the band? About the band's name is this a nod to Johnny Hallyday's backing band in the 60's, the Blackburds?

The Dustburds is a kind of “retroshake” group, gathering a multiplicity of influences paying tribute to 60’s pop, lounge, soul, rhythm and blues but also garage, psychedelic, cinematographic, international scene and euro library 70. The group was born under my initiative (Max/drummer) but the story is a bit special because creating a band playing live was not my prime intention with The Dustburds.  In 2014 just after moving near Geneva I started to compose. At first I moved to this region with my girlfriend at the time to start a new job. But it appears that I was bored to death at work and my ex and I were constantly arguing. So every evening I was sitting in front of my computer, with my Midi keyboard piano composing music to clear my mind.  In this new life I had the feeling I was a bird fallen from the nest. But in parallel of the exhausting side of this new environment, I had the chance to meet new people, make new friends. I was going out more, seeing more concerts, buying more records, and increasing my musical knowledge. All the ingredients were here to turn my energy into something new and meaningful, without knowing that it would give birth to The Dustburds!  It has been long, and sometimes painful, but all this time was necessary: it enabled to found the band which is composed today of five musicians:

Johanna Serville - Vocals, Guitars - (Jesus Is My Girlfriend, Le Bruit )
Ritchie Buzz - Guitars - ( The Last Brigade, les sheriff, Les Milliardaires )
Julien « Purple » Leroy -  Hammond , Farfisa ( 65 mines street, ex two tone club )
Benjamin Cahen - Bass -
And me, Max Maire - Drums -  ( Demon Vendetta, Mighty Bombs, The Last Brigade )

Regarding the name of the band, you got that right! Absolutely! It is a big reference to Johnny Hallyday backing band during his « Noir c’est noir » period! Actually I discover it , thanks to the song “Absolument Hyde Park” from Mickey and Tommy ,that just blew me away!

2) About the recently released debut full length record, what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

 It’s a mix of two methods and I think that this is what gives the record its interesting colour. I first recorded my drum bits at a friend’ studio near the Luxembourg border.  For me it was important to have a strong drums part, which would bring some concrete substance to my fellow musicians. Once the drum kit has been recorded, I sent it to Benjamin (bass). He immediately liked it and he recorded his parts live.  The voices, horn section, percussions, samples were added after in overdubs. Benjamin and myself initially made the mixing, and then we gave it to Vincent Hänggi in Geneva. Finally, Christian Hierro mastered it in Lyon (Back to mono records)

3) What are your favorite topics to write about or the topics that come easily when you write a
new song?

Oh there are so many! The Dustburbs is double-sided: vocal pieces and instrumental pieces.I listen to a lot of music from rock, funk, and acid jazz to old-school rap music. I learned how to refine my inspirations and to conduct my compositions, while imagining each time an environment that could illustrate the scene of a film. I like the sound, the atmospheres, and the groove of the pop songs of Ennio Morricone but also the orchestrations of Michel Legrand, the arrangements of Paul Piot with his full orchestra or the sound madness of Peter Thomas Orchestra… As the average French guy, I am also a huge fan of Louis of Funès. The music of Michel Magne in Fantomas or of Raymond Lefèvre in ’Les gendarmes’ had an enormous influence on me. I like the music that makes me laugh and dance.

4) Some people might compare you to the Frank Popp Ensemble and his famous hit "Hip Teens (don't wear blue jeans)", same groove, same 60's sound and visuals. Do you agree with that comparison or do you consider there is way more than that.

Well, obviously Frank Popp Ensemble is very cool, this is an interesting comparisons, I actually have some of their albums. For instance I like very much their piece « Touch and Go » but I wouldn’t say that they are a major influence to me.There is an electro touch in their production that is something I don’t feel very close to.

5) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

I remain the main composer and also the producer but of course each member of the group brings his own ideas. I would like to say that Benjamin has a special place in the band because he is the person who gave me the necessary trust to create this album. We also complete each other very well regarding the way we work and the fact that he is a multi-instrument musician has made things a lot easier! I am a drummer so when I speak about music I do it as a drummer does it, and I play the piano as a drummer. Benjamin has been able to understand my language and to push things to the next level. But I think I have a good ear and a few ideas, that ‘s already quite an achievement!

6) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

I have always been listening to a lot of music and I am part of these people who always need to come back to the soundtracks that impressed them during their teenage years. But if I had to mention one artist who stood out during my childhood, it would be Nino Ferrer: ‘Mon copain Bismark », « le Roi d’Angleterre » or « je vends des robes », « oh  eh  hein bon » are songs I still enjoy listening to.
And of course Ennio Morricone; my parents had a lot of old records of this great man like « once upon a time in the west” and ”The good, the bad and the ugly ” and ” the mission”. The album jackets fascinated me. And in the middle of all this I listened to a lot of rock fusion music:  urban dance squad (Persona Non Grata) ,  Beastie Boys ( Paul’s boutique) The James Taylor quartet had also an important part of my small teenager bedroom (In the Hand of the Inevitable fascinated me , I just love the sound of this record )

7) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release? 

8 What can concert goers expect at a gig of The Dustburds ? Are you playing any famous cover songs?

It is colourful! In terms of sound of course but also regarding the visual support , very close to the artwork cover (made by yeaaah! Studio, Paris)  First I like the idea of using vocal samples that I take from movies or vintage series. The idea is to use them to bring the public into our own atmosphere. Then our set varies a lot; we switch from instrumental pieces to vocal pieces.  We obviously play most of the song of our album but we also play other pieces such as a cover of Springsteen’s « Fire », taken from Robert Gordon and Link Wray. We also play a few cover songs like « hey Sah lo Ney » from Mickey lee Lane or Ennio Morricone’s « the alibi ».  If you had one thing to remember about us : We want to make people dance until they collapse of joy !

9) What are the plans for 2018 as far as the The Dustburds are concerned? Are you gonna hit
the road to promote this debut full length?

There are quite a lot of things to set up within the band by the end of this year. Individually we are all very busy; as far as I'm concerned, I play in  three other bands ( Demon Vendetta, The Last Brigade and Mighty Bombs)  and  geographically we are very spread therefore this project needs a lot of organisations.  However we never miss a chance to hit the road and promote our music to anyone interested in. This summer we will be playing in festivals like Festilac in Estavayer Le Lac (Switzerland) on 14th July and also at the Transes Cevenoles at Sumenes in the south of France on 22nd July ( Gard). We are currently organising a French tour, which is planned for September, I am also working on new songs and instrumental tracks for our next studio session with the band, and we are finalising our new video clip.

10) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?

First thank you for reading this interview to the end!  If you are interested by the Dustburbs or want to know more about us please click the links below:

last but not least , big thanks to the labels that released our vinyl debut full length
It’s a great pleasure to collaborate with them
That’s for sure, for me,  Without labels and friends:  no album!

Please take a look at:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

10 YEARS of this BLOG

Today is a VERY special day, not only because it's the birthday of yours truly but also because we celebrate 10 YEARS of this BLOG.

10 years is like a life time in blog land so it is time to move on and make some radical changes: from now on I will concentrate only on special features and interviews.

Therefore the post here under will be the very last DOWNLOAD post ever.

I seize the opportunity to thank all the people who contributed to this blog over the years: JPaul, of course, but also Limburg, Joey R.A. Mone, Patrick (aka musicyoucan), Leo and all the others I might forget right now. 

The BellRays - Punk Funk Rock Soul Vol.2
In WAV - Scans are included

Bad Reaction
I Can’t Hide
Man Enough
Brand New Day
Junior High
Never Let A Woman
Every Chance I Get
Love and Hard Times