Tag Archives: Punk

Ask no questions tell no lies: An interview with Ask My Bull

Just ahead of their EP launch, in case you’re not yet convinced that you want to see, encounter or listen to these musicians, we asked their bull some questions and got some answers.

So where is the Bull I can direct the questions to lads?
Next question

 What was the decision behind the band name?
A friend of Fritz once misheard him and thought he was saying Ask My Bull, while he was actually referring to his uni tutor Mike Bull. Now we’re making up for that mistake and are again often mistaken for Ask My Ball while shouting our name to the audience during and after gigs.

So Ask My Bull, how did you get together as musicians?
We congealed in Fritz’ house one musician at a time. You know congealed, like when Mayonnaise has been left on a pizza box for a couple of weeks and it’s now gone hard rather than being soft.

Actually it was only Alex and Fritz in the beginning who had the idea of playing with different guest musicians for different songs. We got as far as Luc on saxophone and Tom on bass when we realised what this did for the overall sound of the band. Elliot filled in for Luc a couple of times when Luc was travelling. We ended up playing and writing a lot with Elliot and decided to have them both as soon as Luc was back. So we started out wanting guest musicians, but kept most of them in the lineup. That’s why Tom Moon on trumpet is appearing on the EP and there might be more collaborations in the future, though the core of Ask My Bull is pretty clear.

How do you go about composing music?
In the beginning Fritz had already written a lot of songs and often the guitar was used as the general foundation. Sometimes that can be a whole tune and sometimes the chords or a riff. That creates a certain mood and in the practice room evolves further and is strung together in interesting ways. It basically starts from one idea and is then free for everyone to play on top of using their imagination.

So far a big part of the writing process has been that all the musicians have joined Ask My Bull one by one, so that for most of the songs everyone has written their parts at different times. Powder Keg and Magpie Manoeuvre came from jams though, and jam definitely congeals. I guess we have a theme there. Congealing music.

 I am feeling some Punk influences in here and I hear some Eastern European/Gypsy Jazz influences too. If you had the choice of tight leather trousers and a gimp mask or an eccentric colourful jacket and silk scarf combo, what outfit would you go for and why?
The problem with gimp masks on stage is that it can often ruin communication and the saxophonists will have trouble playing. Except for Tom who hates communication and wants to be an anonymous machine who doesn’t have to look at any of his band mates who he doesn’t like to listen to anyway. Also no one would understand the emotion of the other musicians by looking at their faces which would result in less overall dynamic cohesion between them, except for Alex who registers emotions on peoples’ elbows.

 Your friend once described listening to your music as being like the mathematical mind of Mickey Mouse playing chess with a sledge hammer. What was he on and where can I get some?
That is our number one fan and cameraman Joao Meirinhos and the substance he was on is just his own genetic material. It’s a bit difficult to get you some, but he does donate his sperm on a regular basis. Which means you could make one that’s kind of like him, but you’d have to wait for it to congeal first.

                                      Above: Ask My Bull Teaser by Joao Merihnos

 No seriously, how do you like to describe your sound?
“Just don’t, we like other people to try. It’s certainly funny to ad up people’s weird attempts.”

“I like to describe it with my body rather than my mouth, because every time I describe it I come up with this boring list and in the act of describing, people lose all interest and I lose all interest in saying it.”

“Trying to find the middle ground between things that are not on the same scale.”

“Rock Fusion with a sense of humour.”

Ask My Bull started as a power duo which was loud and erratic. Once we expanded to the bigger lineup we wanted to keep this big Punk Rock energy, but were really interested in all other genres apart from Rock, like Jazz, Math, Prog, Video Game Soundtracks, Gypsy/Balkan, Afrobeat, Trip Hop and Breakbeats. So we basically try and bring a Punk energy to some of those genres and also blend them together, preferably in the same song.

ask my bull alex and fritz
What song were you humming in the shower this morning?
Powder Keg. 16 tons. Rolling Stones. Didn’t shower. Hyper Sweep. We actually try to stress the saxophonists out with the songs so much that they can never get them out of their heads. So it’s good to hear that this is working, as they were both humming Ask My Bull tunes.

 If you were to be eternally delayed on the M60 between Prestwich and Middleton and only had one cassette, what 10 tracks would you have on it?

Ask My Bull EP twice 😉

No, seriously.
Ask My Bull EP once normal and once reversed.

Okay, now for real.
1. Richard Wagner – Tristan und Isolde Prelude
2. Mr. Bungle – Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz
3. Tortoise – On the Chin

tortoise on the chin
4. Quantic – Time is the Enemy
5. Nobuo Uematsu – Cait Sith Theme
6. Madvillain – Rhinestone Cowboy
7. Glaxo Babies – Christine Keeler
8. Portico Quartet – Zavodovski Island


9. Venetian Snares – Hajnal
10. Too Many Zooz – F.W.S.

Who should we be checking out on the local Manchester scene?
Dirty Flowers
Luna Marada
Turf
Lucy Mae
Apes Grapes (who will be supporting at the EP launch)
Salutation Dub Collective
Henge
Shyfinger
Galivantes
The Peace Pipers
Psychedelic Pirates
Kalakuta
Esmegma Jazz
Salvador Dalai Lama Farmers

What can we expect from the EP launch?
We’re gonna play some songs and you will definitely get a definition of our sound that we might have failed to describe in question 7. And we’re gonna sell the EP. There will be Tom Moon on the trumpet. Live music that’s different. No vocals. Make sure to check out Apes Grapes, who are fucking awesome. Unusual stuff basically, that you wouldn’t find at every concert, like fortune tellers, face painters, visuals and performance of some sort. We wanted live bulls, but we can’t get them up the stairs, so we’ll have loads of invisible animals instead. There’s also a chance of the real Mike Bull turning up.

ask my bull EP artwork

                                Above: Real life, hard copies for purchase on Friday 4th March

What does the future have in store for Ask My Bull?
Eventually we’ll all die 🙂

We’ll have more band members and still be playing the same tunes as two years ago, but with more instruments and a greater arrangement. We basically intend to never play any more songs than we already do. We might have a DJ set and remixes of our tunes. An all acapella version with everyone humming their parts is feasible as well as a session with Ask My Bull songs arranged for five guitars. Some of this might be lies, some of it are definitely good ideas 🙂

We got invited to do a session with Samsara Sessions in February and will record a live video with them. Also, we’re on the list of The Sessions of March.

TSOM.jpg

The Sessions of March

We got some inside info on one Manchester’s most exciting collaboration projects, and you know M20 collective are all about collaboration. Kris Extance tells us all about The Sessions of March…

TSOM

Header image: Jenna and the G’s

What is TSOM to those who are not in the know?

TSOM is a collection of live music & video recording sessions that took place during the month of March 2015. There are roughly 24 artists involved, with around 80 tracks recorded. It is a snapshot of the phenomenally diverse and talented independent creative scene in Manchester. There is huge variety within the sessions ranging from acoustic singer songwriters to gypsy-punk bands to 9-piece dub bands to cosmic dross space adventurers and that is to describe but a few! There are even a few special one-off improvised collaborations and special renditions of existing material involved as well. In essence, it is a collection of music we love that we want the world to see.

Who makes up the TSOM team?
Myself [Kris Extance], as founder/organiser. Audio recording and production was done by WR Audio, which consists of Dan Watkins and Biff Roxby, working alongside the video guys from Midnight Sounds headed by Dan Jones and accompanied by freelance camera man Matthew Jones. We also have Jason Badiozzaman on board, who is helping with social media and post-production organisation.

How did you come up with the idea?
Up until the beginning of this year, I had been involved with a unique music venue for 5 years and was the General Manager for the final 3 of these. The venue’s history is quite unusual, with constantly evolving family of creative individuals working tirelessly to make a place like no other. A place that supported local talent in all its variety, and a place where like-minded creative individuals could meet and enjoy the music and art they loved.

Our ethos was to support local talent and put on eclectic parties like no other venue. It was one of those places where if you didn’t look up what was on you would never know what to expect. To be honest, even if you did look it up you still might not have a clue! It was as grass-roots as you could get, with too many people to mention who were crucial in its set-up and running virtually all artists and musicians. The tag line I used whilst working there was ‘for creative people, by creative people’. Like a lot of independent businesses, we soon realised that in order to make a living for ourselves, we needed to have a balance between what we truly believed in and what would generate income.

We successfully managed to achieve a balance we were happy with, however at one point due to various reasons we suddenly lost a lot of creative control. We felt like our ethos was being compromised, and we had put too much into the venue to just go on and allow this to happen. The difficult decision was made to walk away from the project, taking our ethos and everything we had learned with us. It was at this point the sessions plan was formulated, everyone had put too much into the venue to walk away without doing something special!

I wanted to create a snapshot of why we put so much into the venue and what we most enjoyed about it, the music! I contacted WR Audio, who had become firm friends through working with us at the venue, and Dan Jones had worked in the venue alongside me already. We put together a plan of action and both teams agreed to do this for “mates-rates” despite being professional outfits, just because they believed in the project and why I wanted to do it. The initial team was formed and I organised as many of our favourite acts we had discovered through the venue into a month of recording sessions.

MONEYSHOT

What is the ‘ mantra’ behind it, so to speak?
Respect for independent musicians in all their variety. To help good people, who make good music, for the right reasons; mainly because they love doing it.

Why do you think it is important for the Manchester music scene?
For me, it’s the showcasing of such variety and talent all in one place. It’s why we used to love the venue initially, because it allowed us to put all the local talent we loved in one building. You can find so many amazing scenes in Manchester however; finding something that links all these scenes together is a much harder task. I love going to events where there is something for everyone, and I hope in the sessions this is the case as well. I also think it’s an important way of helping people discover new independent music. You may look to find one thing, but discover something else as entirely.

How have you developed a personal passion for music?
I love how music can make you forget all anxiety and worry. I love that if the right song comes on, especially when performed live, the world ceases to exist and you are in a serene moment of appreciation and awe. The huge diverse nature of music is incredible, and I feel it is one of the most important and beautiful forms of expressions there is. I play bass myself, and have always been in bands since the age of around 15. Although I have never considered myself a musician, it has always been a hobby not a profession. For the last 5 years or so, I have been surrounded by musicians who surpass my playing in every aspect and I’ve become more a music facilitator. I’m able to get to know a huge creative community both on and off stage, which has been – and will continue to be – something special. I have spent all my time trying to help the people who make music I respect and appreciate, because I want to hear more of it and I want more people to hear it too. I have never claimed to be a musical expert, but I know one thing for certain: I love music and my passion for helping music happen has done nothing but grow and grow. Music brings people together, and allows them to communicate through a beautiful universal language and that is important in this day and age more than ever.

How did you manage to recruit all of these musicians to participate?
I am lucky enough to call most of these musicians’ friends who I have got to know throughout the venue over the years. It was simply a case of calling them up and explaining the reason for the project. We were fortunate enough that everyone loved the idea and wanted to support it by taking part. I could not have more respect for all those involved!

redeyehifilive

Red Eye Hifi LIVE

What does collaboration in music mean to you?

Collaboration in music to me means a world of exciting possibilities of communication through sound. When a person plays their own music, they are expressing themselves and their ideas openly. Collaboration in music is a beautiful moment where people come and express themselves and their ideas together as one. It is a way of bringing people together from any background for a united purpose.

What is the most important outcome for the project?
The most important outcome is that as many people see the music as possible. I hope people discover new music through this project, and it gives some form of exposure to incredibly hard working independent musicians who deserve it. They have made my life so much more enjoyable over the last few years and I want to return the favour.

Noon – ‘I wish I knew how to sing’ live video

Anything else you’d like to tell us about TSOM?
We are also going to try and use this first set of sessions to raise enough money to do a second set of sessions. This will most probably be in the form of a Kickstarter. We didn’t come close to capturing all the artists we wanted to cover in the first round of recording. Due to popular demand by the musicians, we also have a long-term plan to turn this into some form of live event. So please, if you like The Sessions of March and the reasons behind it, then please support us in any way you can as it would mean the world to us.

Follow the journey on facebook: The sessions of march

Interview by Yemi Bolatiwa

M20MIX #4

Naked (On Drugs) – This Gift

The intro announces this tune like a clarion call to the damned. Hardcore style drums propel this along at a frightening speed into the myriad of eerie sounds of the night. By the time it’s all over you’ll wonder what the hell happened and want to get back on the ride.

Aphex Twin – minipops67 ( 120.2 ) ( source field mix )

Alright so you’ve heard it already. Still; it’s Aphex Twin, it’s new, it’s class… what the fuck else have I been listening to?

Mistoa Poltsa – DOCTOR DOCTRINE

Sounds like if the Adams Family started wiggin’ out to the band from Dusk ‘til Dawn in a tomb, or something. It’s loud, there’s howling, I love it.

Douga – Kids of Tomorrow

The first track off the album ‘The Silent Well’. The album is full of irrepressible melodies like this one coupled off-kilter sounds and textures. I recommend the whole thing. This one sounds like The Charlatans, which isn’t a bad thing.

Trus’me – I want you (Alan Fitzpatrick RMX)

The latest released on Trus’me’s label Prime Numbers sees Trus’me’s triumphant Treat Me Right remixed. This cut is aimed right at the dancefloor’s temple. The vocal is delightfully fucked up, the hats are insatiable and the underwater synths that hit halfway elevate this into something special.

Garth Be – Monday Club/Tuesday Nite

Manchester’s own Garth BE released The Seven Movements in the spring to universal acclaim. With ultra-tight grooves and an abundance of soul it covers all corners of the dancefloor. This track is a smooth roller, with an African-tinged beat and deliciously crafted synths over a vocal urging you ‘on and on’. The USA import edition of The Seven Movements is released Monday (15th September) at Piccadilly Records on ultra-high quality 180 gram vinyl. There’s only 300 copies too so get on it!

Buena Vista Social Club – Chan Chan

I got drunk drinking wine and listening to this the other day, it was something of a re-revelation. Ry Cooder met Juan de Marcos González sometime in the 90’s, and together they recorded with a load of veteran Cuban musicians that had played at the social club of the same name some 50 years previously. The result was this.

Theo Kotz

An Interview with… Rachele Whatever

The line-up for tonight’s (Tuesday 11th March) line-up for Solomon’s LIVE at Solomon Grundy’s includes Brighton-born, Manchester-living soundstress Rachele Whatever. I caught up with her ahead of the gig to get to know the woman behind the guitar…

 

Here’s how it went down:

1. How’d you get into music?

My gran bought me a guitar when I was 16 and it started from there. I used to get lessons from an old punk, but I never practised so I’d go and play him songs I’d made up instead.

2. Who, or what, inspires your music/sound?

My lyrics are generally quite topical or social commentary – I’ve never been able to write love songs! I have a song about dogging, one about crap jobs – a lot about politicians 

3. What social message or experience does your music try to evoke? 

I spent my teen years in Brighton – there was a lot of the free party vibe left over from the 90s and still a lot of “political” music then, and that’s the scene I started out in, the DIY punk/ska scene and the free party scene and I guess the Do It Yourself and question authority stuff has just stayed with me.

4. What is special to you about Manchester’s music scene? 

I like the way there’s little suburbs in Manchester with different crowds – you can play a city center gig one night then the next night be in Levenshulme and be playing to new people.  I’ve found in Manchester the best thing to do is start a night yourself.  I launched an events company with my friend Craig called Galivantes and our main club night is Swing & Shout – a 2 stage event with bands, DJs, jam sessions, swing dance lessons, face-painting and crazy décor… We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had so far. We started as there wasn’t much scope for gigs in the reggae/gypsy/ska punk scene and we wanted to offer well attended and paid gigs for bands outside Manchester.  The next Swing & Shout is on 19th April at Underland

5. Any particular gigs/releases that we can look forward to from you? 

Yes – I’m releasing 5 tracks with my jungle punk opera band Neghed through Ancoats based label Longevity Records. 

6. If you had to sum it up, what’s the Rachele Whatever dream? 

Lol me and my friends have a pirate ship stage with a 20k soundsystem – my dream would be travelling round the world to festivals with it performing and putting on events.   

 

Sounds amazing – can I come with you Rachele?!? Find her on the interwebs at these sites:

facebook.com/RacheleWhatever

facebook.com/pages/Neghed/231779143580775

and have a listen to some tunes below…

 

***Catch Rachele performing TONIGHT at Solomon’s LIVE from 7pm***

An Interview with… Denim & Leather

Innocent young blog that we are, we sent over a list of innocuous questions to find out more about soon-to-be-legendary, Manchester borne, punk/garage/hardcore outfit, Denim & Leather. We think they’re all kinds of cool, and we were eager to learn nice QI-like tidbits of information about them, like what type of guitar they used, or how many hugs a day they gave their nan.

They, in true punk manner, took the absolute f****** piss.

Here’s how it went:

1. How did you guys come together?

Denim & Leather are keen advertisers and in our market research we found the most banal band name possible to be the most effective towards our target market, the early teens to late 50’s. We met through an interest in fabrics, finding each other on an industrial fabrics messageboard and through our combined love of ourselves, fine cloth and money we decided the best option to achieve our goals would be through the ”rock band” format.

2. What or who inspires your song lyrics and musical composition?

Some have argued Denim & Leather have stolen and plagiarized all our material but those people are worthless, jealous slugs. Some songs may or may not be verbatim lyrics from other bands but thats just a coincidence.

3. What social or musical message does your sound try to evoke?

We are a very serious band and consider any interruptions from our 2 hour pre show meditation to be a direct threat. We do not mix work with play. The only way you could hurt us is to try to befriend us.

4. What would you ideally like to bring to the Manchester music scene?

This grey landscape is on its way to being the capitalist haven in which our Lord Jesus Christ intended, we only hope to slot somewhere above the enslaved majority but just underneath the monetarily enlightened 1 percent. A soundtrack to the destruction of the weak.

5. Are there any events or releases that people should look out for?

Come and give us your hard earned wage at The Crescent in Salford on March the 14th.
We play with Dry Heaves, Sump and No Form.

[Click here for the event page for the gig on the 14th]

6. What is the Denim & Leather dream? (in a few words)
COLD HARD CA$H.

Cheeky b******s.

Luckily for them, they’re also really good, so we’ve kept ’em on. Listen to some tracks below, and watch out for their name coming up in the Things to Do section….