The Wit and Wisdom of George Swan

This post was originally featured on Roughly Recommended blog.

We’re not sure what’s more intriguing about George Swan: that his press release tells us he was ‘born in an unspecified swamp and raised by alligators’ or that his musical pseudonym is Big Dik Blak. Either way, we figured his lyrics might offer a hot take or two on those big life-shaped obstacles we’ve all encountered at some point or another. Without further ado, here’s an introduction to George Swan via some questionably advice.

George Swan – Claudette

He started out wanting to rule the world
He found out it was a little too large
So he thought, let’s just rule a really small part of it
Maybe start with this garage

What we learned: Donald Trump should’ve just pottered around in his garage.

George Swan – Connector’s In Your Mind

She’s a highway girl 
She’s a highway muffin inside

What we learned: You really don’t know what’s going on inside a woman.

George Swan – Danger Zone

I got the blues so bad
My baby gone and left me for good
She took all of my money
Just like I knew she would

What we learned: Trust your instincts- women can be golddiggers.

George Swan – I’ve Got A Boyfriend

I’m Bruce’s wife she said to me
Nice to meet you
As she walked past it occurred to me
I don’t know any Bruces!

What we learned: Don’t believe everything they tell you. No-one is called Bruce anymore.

George Swan – Jellyfish

You said you got stung by one once before
The first time you saw one by the shore
The burn was so bad it made you cry
The vinegar helped, it made you smell like a cute little French Fry

What we learned: vinegar is an antidote for jellyfish stings and also a pheromone to some men (esp. George Swan).

George Swan – Morgue in E Minor

And as I stand there laughing molars falling from my mouth
They somehow sense my displeasure

What we learned: Dentists won’t be sympathetic if you haven’t looked after those pearly whites.

George Swan – No Past

Walk softly to the car
Pull it out of gear
It rolls slowly down the hill 
I start it 200 yards away

What we learned: It’s important to put the handbrake on when you hill park.

George Swan – Sunset on Double Time

Where the river meets the ocean,
Where the ocean meets the sky
Where the fish journey ten thousand miles,
Then return to die, then return to die

What we learned: behind every Instagrammed sunset, there’s a lethal fish pilgrimage.

George Swan – Butterfly

I’m very tired, kinda sleepy
Oh yeah, you know what I’m talkin about
I need to drink about 10 cups of coffee just to wake up
So I can get back to you girl
So we making love all night long

What we learned: 10 cups of coffee is the optimum amount for love making.

Follow George Swan:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-571409490

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7brDLTnkrW9zCLZhVOQ9Je

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTA5ewTTm_tCTLfTjBzFHDw

Bandcamp: https://bigdikblak.bandcamp.com/music

Website: www.bigdikblak.com             

In conversation with: Temper Cartel

We’ve been having a chat with with the boys from indie-rock four-piece Temper Cartel, who are looking to make a name for themselves with their new single ‘Babysitter’, for which the video is out 9th August! Check it out here:

 

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Josh Alden – ” I think that I got into music through film, probably. I was obsessed with the TV from a very, very young age. My mum and dad were both working so I would get dropped off at my Grandparents (on my mum’s side) and we would watch old westerns and lots of 50’s and 60’s films etc. The music is just great in those films, and a lot of them just turn into musicals half way through or stick a song in! I think that was probably the first introduction to the power of music whether I knew it or not.”

Sam Alden – “Our Grandad was a drummer in a couple of different jazz bands, he sung too. We used to go and watch him play a lot and it influenced Josh to pick up the sticks and start playing drums but later he switched to guitar. Josh is older than me so by the time I was his age I had got into drums because of our granddad too. But I stuck with it, so now I play drums in the band.”

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Josh Alden – “If I’m honest… Chas n’ Dave, Michael Jackson and Roy Orbison! Haha my grandparents used to take me to Somerset a lot, on the drive I would sit in the back and sing along to Roy Orbison. They just had a tape player in the car and we used to take a pile with us, I was always asking my grandma to change it to the next song, so she was taking tapes out and putting new ones in for the whole journey! It would go from Roy Orbison ‘working for the man’ to Chas n’ Dave ‘London Girls’ then finish on Michael Jackson  ‘Man in the mirror’ then I’d ask for Roy Orbison again. I think everything you’ve seen and heard has to play a part in how you write songs but I couldn’t pin point what music and when has made me write how I write or what I write.

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

Danny Fisher – “I think all of us have been playing instruments since we were kids, I started at 6.”

Josh Alden – ” I started writing songs in the styles of people I liked around 12 years old. So I would listen to the pattern of a Nirvana song and then try and write my own. That’s how I started writing. Then you realise that you can’t write them as well as those people so you move on to another style and learn that. Gradually you mature and grow as a songwriter and before you know it you’ve studied lots of styles and in the process, found your own.”

 

How often do you play live?

Sam Alden – “we started out playing every week to get the experience. Now we play once every 2 or 3 weeks. We’ve been enjoying gigs in London, Oxford and Brighton. We want to venture out and go up North but for now this is where we are building a fan base. Our next gig is in London at –

 

What has been your favourite moment in music?

Everton Barbato – I think for all of us our highlights have been recording with Mark Gardener, finishing the album and supporting The Strypes. They’re nice guys, great musicians and really good at what they do.”

 

Where is the best place to find you online?

Danny Fisher – ” it depends on what you prefer to use I guess, you can catch us on Instagram (@tempercartel) which we use for more silly stuff, messing around in rehearsal etc.”

Sam Alden – “Or Twitter (@tempercartel) for links to articles or radio shows we’ve been on. But if you want a bit of everything including gig info, vids and pics, then Facebook @Tempercartel or our website www.tempercartel.com will have everything you need.”

Josh Alden – “We will be posting links to our new video Babysitter on Wednesday 9th August across all of these platforms!”

 

 

Get to Know: Voldo Blanka

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Electro-pop connoisseur and craftsman Voldo Blanka kindly had a little chat with us to tell us where his unique brand of music comes from. You can listen to ‘Go Your Way’ here:

 

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I’ve been playing music since diapers, and playing in bands since I had terribly filthy long dyed black hair in jr. high, but it wasn’t till later I knew this would be what I was going to do with my life.

I went to coachella alone in 2007. First time I’d ever been to a festival like that. Rage Against the Machine reunited and I really dug into electronic music. From that day I knew there was ONLY one thing I’d do with my life. And that is to make records and play live.

I had a few projects on the go but the one that broke was my last band Head of the Herd. We were the first band in our country to have a #1 song without a label and that taught me everything I know – making the music YOU want to make, and standing by that.

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I grew up in a house with a lot of jazz, classical and rock n roll. And while the latter took over my life, you can’t discount how everything you hear creeps into your own creations.

So I’ve been making rock n roll since I was a boy and film scores for the past few years. The combination of those two makes up Voldo Blanka and the record ‘nuns enjoy a madman.’

 

How often do you play live?

I’m keeping off the road for the moment. Few videos and films being worked on. But when I hit the road, it’ll get announced on the Voldo Blanka Facebook page.

 

What has been your favourite moment in music?

There’s no feeling on earth like when people sing along to your songs live. It’s surprising, beautiful, uplifting, and terrifying every time. Fuck, I just love it.

 

Where is the best place to find you online?

Go to www.voldoblanka.com and sign up for the email list but Facebook and Instagram are where most of the updates come from.

Soundcloud: https://tinyurl.com/yczk5ewq

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/voldoblanka/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voldoblanka/?hl=en

Thanks for having me out. Now play that record as loud as you can!

In conversation with: Short Sharp Scratch

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This week, we’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with long time producer/songwriter, Jak Chantler, of Short Sharp Scratch who is currently releasing his latest soul-funk hybrid single ‘Shell Suit’. Here’s what he had to say:

 

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

My earliest musical memory is my mum making deliveries in her pickup truck for the family business, my sister and I strapped in together in the front seat (it was the 80s!), with Appetite for Destruction blaring out the truck stereo.  Mum always used to turn the volume down at the sweary bits!

When I was about 10 I rediscovered this record and it inspired me to start playing guitar.

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I was obsessed with rock growing up, back then you were not allowed to enjoy other stuff too as it was seen as soft, so for many years I also had a secret pop and disco flirtation.  Thank goodness when you reach the age where you can proudly enjoy all music! I’m not sure if it’s like that for rock kids today, I think people can listen to whatever they like peer pressure free!

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

I started out writing guitar parts for my old band Kingskin.  As we got busier with gigs our singer was less interested in writing lyrics so I started doing that just as it had to get done in order to finish anything.  Then at some point I discovered Prince and saw that he would write, play and record everything!  I’m not on that level as he is a God as far as I’m concerned, but it definitely helped me.

 

How often do you play live?

I am very busy live performer, it’s often private events.  However there are some live opportunities coming up, watch this space…

What has been your favourite moment in music?

My best experience has been either recording with Steve Albini in Chicago or recently I got to record my new single Shell Suit at Abbey Road

Where is the best place to find you online?

https://m.facebook.com/shortsharpscratchmusic/

‘Shell Suit’ is set for release 15th September.

Introducing: The Outside Illusion

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Unsigned Interviews got up close and personal with Brazilian guitar band, the Outside Illusion’s lead man, Denis Salgado. The band have recently released their new album Silent Communication which empowers the ethics of instrumental music. Check out what he had to say below:

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I first got into music when I was 11. I asked my father to teach me a song he was playing on his acoustic guitar (Day Tripper by The Beatles). I was so excited about learning the riff that I couldn’t  put down the guitar that day until I had learnt it and could play the whole thing – I didn´t even know how to hold a guitar pick. Next day, when I got back from school, I was completely in love with the possibility of becoming a real guitar player, so I spent the whole afternoon practicing that unique riff again. I think also there was a wish of  impressing my father. Anyway, after that, I’ve never stopped playing the guitar (now an electric one). I can say my father was my main inspiration at that moment.  

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

There are so many artists and bands. I used to listen to Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, a-ha, and Michael Jackson at the age of 4. It was around 1986/87 and again influenced by my father, who also introduced me to Queen, Elton John, George Michael, Tina Turner and Phil Collins. My favorite concert at the age of 5 was “The Prince’s Trust”, which I used to watch on a Laser Disc Player. But there´s one band who have impacted me in every way. From their music to the way of doing business: Iron Maiden. They are a kind of guide to me, since I was 11, 12 years old, until now. They have had and continue to have a great influence on the musician I am today. Some other metal bands have influenced me a lot, like Blind Guardian, Symphony X, Dream Theater (their first albums) and guitar players like Adrian Smith, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai… just to name a few. Apart from all these artists and bands, Electronic Music is a universe which also influences me a lot. I really like listening to DJ Marky, Zedd, Robin Schulz, Skrillex and some other talented guys.

How long have you been playing/writing?

I have been playing since I was 11. But the first song I wrote was when I was 20, more or less. 

How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I love being on stage. But at the moment I´m concentrating on recording the new promotional videos. I´m setting up new dates from October/November. Probably around 10 dates in different areas of my state, São Paulo.  I am ready to go anywhere in the globe and can´t wait to come back to the UK.  I was in the UK a year ago for a very special event, which resulted in me creating a very special 28 min documentary, available on Outside Illusion´s Youtube Channel.  

What has been your favourite moment in music?

My first international gig in Guernsey. June/2016. The very best and happiest moment in my career until this moment.

Where is the best place to find you online?

www.facebook.com/theoutsideillusion

www.youtube.com/theoutsideillusion

www.theoutsideillusion.com

Spotify / Deezer / Google Play: The Outside Illusion 

Instagram: denis_outside_illusion

 

Watch the video for ‘Silent Communciation’ here:

 

 

An interview with protest song writer Beldon Haigh

We managed to have a few words with modern day protest song writer, Beldon Haigh, whose latest track ‘Land of Hope’ addresses the current refugee crisis. Make sure to check out the new video below too!

 

Beldon, why write a song about refugees?

People seeking asylum, fleeing the dangers of war, having suffered the terrifying effects of war – deserve our support and compassion. I have been disturbed to see how refugees have been treated over the last 18 months. Their story is not told frequently enough with compassion, they are treated as political footballs and they have been ruthlessly misrepresented and exploited by right wing political groups in order to further an isolationist political agenda.  And sadly that strategy has been effective. The level of fake news about refugees is off the charts and as a society we don’t seem to be too concerned about that. What we are seeing today is a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions but the response of many is to frame these very desperate people as modern day pariahs and lepers.  It’s a total disgrace.  More artists need to sing about this kind of thing, it is far more important than for example, singing about getting wasted.

 

Why do you think bands and artists stay away from protest songs?

Within the main music industry, the act is often completely controlled by their label and management.  In practical terms that means they sing what they get told to sing or they are told what they can sing about.  Quite often they aren’t even allowed to write the songs or all of the songs themselves.  Also the system of talent scouting using A&R has been to a large extent replaced by song/popularity contests and public votes. So its not a commercial environment which is going to back anything that could be too controversial.  You can’t really blame the industry. Like any industry, they are in it to make money,  they are in it to get TV ratings,  they never claimed any social purpose or agenda.  Doing political or controversial things is polarising, it splits the audience, it prevents an artist from being a brand (like soap powder) that everyone can buy.   So automatically that means politics is a risk – and industry of any type hates risk. In my humble opinion the music industry tries to create the perception that it is cool and edgy and it enjoys risk. But selling songs using sex and swearing is actually commercially a very safe thing to do. They know what they will get a return on. They invest in stuff they know will sell and avoid the stuff that they think is risky. Its always been that way really. That’s why EMI sacked the sex pistols shortly after signing them. Too risky.   But what that means for the music consumer is that today there is in fact less choice because the more investment there is behind an act, the less likely they will do anything that is genuinely different, risky, controversial – there is a lot of control in place from label and management and the bigger they are, the more points of risk to consider.

 

Talk some more about Land of Hope – who are indiGO and what is their involvement.

I’ve known Ben and Holly at IndiGO for a few years now. They are truly inspirational and selfless people who are incredibly committed to indiGO’s mission and truly embody everything you’d love to believe the leaders of a charity embody. They are very hands on and involved in providing support to refugees in places like Lesbos and Thessaloniki.  They don’t just prove support and help, they have been appointed by Help Refugees (another amazing charity) to coordinate the work of aid agencies on the ground in Greece.  When I wrote and recorded the song I sent it to Ben and Holly and asked them if they’d be ok with indigo Volunteers being the beneficiary of the proceeds and they were very happy about that. indiGO has a really interesting approach because they don’t just raise funds and provide support, they also organise volunteering – so for people really interested in helping and can spare the time – IndiGO Volunteers is a great place to go.

 

What sort of reaction have you had to Land of Hope so far.

It’s early days but so far very very supportive. People like the song, they love the video, they get the message and they see it as important to keep this issue front of mind. Of course there are detractors too, those who like to believe the fake news, but that’s life. One day soon hopefully there will be a realisation that we are all in this together.

 

What is next for Beldon Haigh

Something very different is coming in eight weeks…please watch this space. In the meantime please enjoy Land of Hope, buy the single, share the song and video, like our Facebook page and connect on Twitter!

Links:

https://twitter.com/beldonhaigh

https://www.facebook.com/Beldon-Haigh-Freedom-An-Anti-Trump-Protest-Song-1270990246327550/?fref=ts

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freedom/id1195525999?i=1195526008

Newborn-Interview

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
We were about 14 and had just started playing guitar. Eric and I were really into Metallica at the time. Our first time seeing them play live completely changed our lives. There was no question after that show that this is what we wanted to do with our lives.
2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
Pink Floyd, Metallica, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, The Eagles. Those were some really big early influences. Apart from the Metallica years, we have always listened and continue to listen to a really diverse selection of music. I think over the years there have been so many different styles of music that have been built into our subconsciousness. It gives us a lot of freedom to create because we don’t get stuck making only one type of song. We really do appreciate all types of music and I think it reflects in our sound.
3 – How long have you been playing/writing?
I’ve been writing poetry and lyrics for as long as I can remember. I started playing guitar at 13 or 14 and then Eric started learning guitar soon after I met him. We would jam a lot and then somewhere during high school we started writing our own songs. I only started singing about two years ago when we formed the band.
4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
We play in the NYC about 1- 2 times per month. We have been taking a month off of shows to finish the EP. We don’t have any shows lined up other than a solo acoustic gig that I’ll be playing on May 7th at The Producer’s Club at 8PM. We are currently also planning a big release show in NYC around June 14th.
5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?
Allen:  For me it was when Pink Floyd reunited at Live Aid in 2005 to play four songs. I was 15 at the time and made sure to catch it live on my television. I think I almost cried. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life.
Eric: Favorite moment in music was seeing Metallica live for the first time at Nassau coliseum. I was always into different music genres but hearing the sound of roaring guitars , the bass, and kick drum hitting your chest and rattling the stadium was unlike any experience. You become fully immersed in the music in a way I did not know existed at the time. Listening through headphones and speakers can be it’s own great experience, but seeing Metallica live made me truly appreciate the power of music and the personal connection it can make with the audience
Blake: For me it was seeing Pat Metheny with his orchestration live in Manhattan.
6 – Where is the best place to find you online?
Our website – http://www.newbornband.com
And also our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/newbornrockmusic/newborn 1.jpeg

The Breaking Point-Interview

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
I was 12 years old moving from GA to TN when I first picked up my sisters guitar. It wasn’t until I was 15 and moved to AZ that I started getting really into local music. It was at that point that I knew I wanted to a musician and form my own band.
 
2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
My parents weren’t particularly musical but I always gravitated heavily towards my dad’s old classic rock albums (eagles, zeppelin, hendrix). When I was in middle school I was introduced to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Modest Mouse. None of those bands probably influence me musically, but they led to my wonder and amazement for music. It wasn’t until I discovered Brand New, Lydia, The Early November, and Circa Survive did I start really drawing musical influences.
 
3 – How long have you been playing/writing?
As I mentioned earlier I picked up the guitar at age 12. I never actually never had any guitar instructors or vocal teachers, I was all self-taught. Because of it, I’m pretty bad at covers, so I essentially began writing my own songs to right away.
 
4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
We play roughly once every other month. Our next show is opening up for Polysenso on May 20th, who will be taking a one off break from their tour with Pvris and Lydia to headline this show. The show will be at Pub Rock, you can follow us on Instagram at TheBreakingPattern for more details!
 
5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?
In music history? It has got to be the feud between Brand New and Taking Back Sunday. Two legendary, iconic bands in their prime, squaring off with all their lyrical wit and aggression. That fight sparked a movement and is still the subject of heated debate over a decade later. Hands down one of the most influential moments in recent musical history.
 
6 – Where is the best place to find you online?
Our favorite is Instagram which is just TheBreakingPattern. But we’re also pretty active on Twitter and Snapchat at TheBreakPattern. Thank you!

Pink Fireball-Interview

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
Thomas Nowak (vocals / guitar) : I have always been into music. Even as a baby, the best way to keep me quiet was to play some classical music to me. I’d just listen to it and would not cry. My favorite style has always been rock n roll though, and always particularly listened to the pioneers, the innovators of every styles or sub-genres of it.
2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
Like most people, I started with my parents’ record collection, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvis, and all that old 60’s and 70’s good stuff. The first CDs I ever got for my birthday at 8 years or something, were The Eagles and Jimi Hendrix. It was pretty life-changing as I’m still regularly listening to those albums to date. I’ve had moments I was way into Metal, others into blues, surf, pop, punk, space rock, or whatever, but I keep coming back to those classic rock records. As a guitarist and a musician, I can say I have also been a student of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath since my teens.
3 – How long have you been playing/writing?
I had a few disastrous guitar lessons when I was a child, but it’s really in high school that I started improving and learning more about the instrument. My best friend at the time had a pretty big influence on me then because he showed me how he could learn different songs just by hearing them on the radio. Stuff like Guns N Roses, Rage Against The Machine or Faith No More, etc. That was pretty impressive to me, I used to go to music stores and copy guitar partitions on paper, because I didn’t have Internet then … He also had a really cool distortion pedal. I finally found out how you could have that cool sound, because my first amplifier didn’t have it. We started to write some music together, mainly instrumental, for fun.
4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
We are currently finishing recording our first album in London. Once it is completed, hopefully by the end of Spring, we’ll start booking as many shows as possible.
5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?
Every time you complete the mixing of a song, it’s a great moment to me so far, especially with Pink Fireball. When you realize how good it has become with everybody giving its best shot and working hard in the studio.
That and some great tour memories I have like with my previous band Novagreen. The fun and crazy-ness on and off-stage. I really look forward to do that again.
6 – Where is the best place to find you online?
We are very active on our Facebook and twitter pages, so these are the best places at the moment to be informed of our new releases and upcoming shows. You can download or stream our first single « Turn Around » on all the main sites, subscribe to our YouTube and Tumblr channels. Thanks for the support.

Witchingseason

Witchingseason

1 . When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

Tom- I remember sitting in the back of my dad’s car in the booster seat listening to nirvana my favourite was slither, I think I was about 3 he also had pearl jam on cassette I loved the track deep but who doesn’t !

Wayne- I have been into music since I can remember, my family always had music playing around the house.

James – I first got into music when I was 10 and found out about qotsa and foo fighters through my parents, but at the time i was mostly into foo fighters

2. Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Tom- I grew up listening to everything my pedants and my aunt and uncle were all mods so there was a lot of Northern soul and mod bands got to say Steve Marriott was the most underrated singer/guitarist of all time if I could bring anyone back from the dead to jam with it would be him !

Wayne -I listened to a broad variety of music growing up, all of which inspires me in what I do now.

James – Growing up i listened to a lot of foo fighters, then started to branch out intoqotsa territory, and looked out for more artists through that. I think its had an impact on how I play.

3 . How long have you been playing/writing?

We have all been playing since our teens but didn’t start writing till last May those are the first songs we wrote the songs on the EP I mean

4 . How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

We have been on a bit of a break we have a new drummer now Wayne so we will be back giging on the 14th of August at the islington academy 2 but keep your eyes peeled for more shows.

5.  What has been your favourite moment in music?

Tom- soundgarden reunion I have seen them 5 times since! And the new album is incredible. And seeing pearl jam for the first time at reading 2006 still the show that changed my life and impossible to top!

Wayne- sonisphere festival with my parents was pretty awesome but it has to be foo fighters at the Milton Keynes bowl.

James – My favourite moment has been meeting one of my heroes Duke Garwood.

6. Where is the best place to find you online?

Probably Facebook but we also have twitter

Links

https://twitter.com/Witchingseason

https://www.facebook.com/Witchingseason