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Spin this playlist to hear songs by the awesome people who have participated in our 10 Questions interview series!

Feat. Clara Engel, Verena von Horsten, Shoot The Wendy Bird,, Dana Dau & Ang Kerfoot, Sofia Deville etc. etc.

Also, FIND US on soundcloud and share the playlist!

Together we can sound louder.

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10 Questions with Verena von Horsten

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verena

1. How would you characterize your music?

V: Rock with a lot of old synthesizer sounds and heavy drum beats. For several years I played the piano until I was fed up with its sounds. A friend of mine gave me an old synthesizer, a Juno 109, and voila there was a whole album… Along with heavy drum beats the songs contain a lot emotions and sometimes they can be dark too.

2. What is one early music experience that made a deep impression on you//made you rethink what music can sound like//has helped shape the music you make today?

V: Live records of Leonard Cohen and Bob Marley on tapes. Listening to these live songs -as I was a child- was mind blowing to me. The sound was so full of life and freedom. I pictured a wide horizon that made me feel I could fly. And classical music by Russian composers: Most of these compositions are wild, honest, deep,dark and free.

But I guess the most important fact that shaped my music was the way I was raised up: both of my parents are very much messed up. I had to follow their madness every second without saying a word. As a child I could not raise my voice against them. This led to a bunch a really sick problems that I only was able to express or somehow able to deal with doing music. There I found my voice and to say things out loud and at the same time the courage to show my vulnerability.

3. What is usually your process when creating//writing a new song?

V: For 3 years I was working on my upcoming record! Not only that I recorded and produced myself but most importantly every time I was trying to write a song I began to cry. Every single note I played made me remember my brother who died 2 years ago of suicide. I do not say he commit suicide. I say he died of suicide, like to die of cancer.. It’s still hard to write songs. I considered myself as a daily writer. I was writing songs, playing the piano and I sang just because I loved it. My heart was always open so I could let things come out of me. But when my brother died and even a year before he died, when he had his first attempt, tears, sorrow and helplessness always overcame me. I could not feel these sentiments every day! So I stopped doing music. Sometimes for several months.. At the beginning I thought I will will be able to do any music again. But one day I went to a medium. She told me a lot about my brother. And that he wishes I would do more music. I guess I would feel the same way if I was dead. I would not want people to stop their life just because I am dead. I would wish they had a happy and fulfilling life… After many dark moments and grief things are getting slowly better and I am able to release this record…and yes it will be about grief, crisis, death but as well how we can find the way out of the darkness and learn that these dark moments are there to teach us something.

4. Where can we find your music//what have you done to make your music available?

V: Uff, too many places: Youtube, Itunes, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, Facebook, Homepage blablabla.. I feel like I want to do a lot more concerts. That’s where the music really happens and comes alive. My last concerts where in New York which were a blast! They gave me much and I felt that my music could give people a lot too.

5. What is a recent musician//band//music that you are excited about?

V: Prince Rama. They are signed to Animal Collectives Label,.They’re from Brooklyn. And: they are really crazy. I like crazy people. People who are kinda on the edge of something I call “out of order”. Our world becomes more and more organized and controlled and we follow unsaid rules. i.e. do we have a respected profession, do we wear the latest fashion, shoes, do we have a cool bike, nail polish, money, the latest iphone, a car, do we eat healthy food, work out, be skinny, maybe have a house…I mean we all do those things. Even I do. I buy clothes that I like to express my personality – if I can afford them. I work out, I dance and jump around in my apartment. But those things should not affect your self confidence or even worse, DEFINE you. Your self confidence should not be defined by those things! And you shouldn’t feel less worth if you can’t live your life this or that way .. Many of us, me too, we feel good only if we have certain things in our life that are unconsciously considered as “good”. i.e. as a musician I only feel good if I write a spectacular song, or if I can do a show at this or that venue. Or if I sell enough records. Or if I get good press reviews.Or if I get signed to an awesome label.. We feel good if we achieved something, if we can afford to buy things or get the success people are proud or jealous of…. But doing so we are only obeying. We don’t choose freely what kind of things in life makes us happy. No. We let people, society tell us what makes us happy in life. Or lets put it that way: We THINK this is how everybody does it so it must be right. We don’t even know what other people really think. But we act as if we know. Because we are told, educated and raised that way. But do this kind of system really makes us happy?

I think we somehow feel that these kind of things are not truly the ones that makes us happy. Therefore we try harder and harder in achieving and getting more and more. And it still doesn’t make us happy. Some people get burnout or are suffering from depression or the really worst case, they die of suicide. It’s a vicious circle. It’s as Albert Einstein said: Madness is if you repeat doing things the same way by expecting a new result. I do think we all are very mad nowadays. Which actually is a good sign. Nothing is normal. But we want things to be normal. We can’t stand the madness. People with a approach to mad things, people who dare to be mad might understand and have the courage and the faith to do the things they really love. If we do so, if we do things we really love ,then we might have a chance to experience a moment of wholeness. A moment where you don’t need nothing more but yourself. A moment in which you feel whole. I wish that many more people had that chance. that we as a society would give every human being the chance to feel such moments in their life. And to share them with other people. As an artist you let the art speek through yourself. Music can make you forget things around you. And can make you experiencing what life could be all about.

6. How would you describe the music climate in your home when you were a child?

V: Very diverse. My mother is Turkish. I only spent 10 years with her. Then my parents get divorced. Until then I was listening to the Beatles, Elvis Presley but as well, Turkish folk music, Greek folk Music and Reggae. After the divorce of my parents me and my brother stayed with our father and he married a Colombian woman. I then experienced a lot of other music like Mercedes Sosa, Pablo Neruda, Maria Callas, Pink Floyd.. As you can see i came in touch with a bunch of different music. It all helped me to understand that music is freedom. And that I can do whatever I want in music. Even more, I think it’s the most important thing if you are an artist maybe even as a human being: Do what comes from within. Experience that unique thing that is yourself and train it, do the best out of it and people will understand that your art is not to impress others or to follow a given image but to show how we can liberate ourselves.

7. Is style//image important to you and if so what//who do you consider cool in music?

V: Style can help people to understand your image. And your image should express your personality. If style is simply used to be stylish in the sense of being fashionable, I don’t like it. Then it’s boring to me. But if I see that your style is reflecting your personality then it’s interesting to me.

8. What song do you want playing at your funeral?

V: Never thought of that. My brother wanted Amazing Graze to be sang at his funeral. I sang it for him and to him. But before that I did some research on the internet. I wanted to understand why he choosed that song. Because he surely looked it up! I learned that the song was written by John Newton, a captain involved in atlantic slave trade. His ship was hit by a violent storm one day, so he begged for mercy. The ship and the crew as well the slaves survived the storm and Newton thought that god have given him a second chance. He then gave up trade with slavery and became part of the fight against slavery.

..I assume that my brother felt very guilty for a lot of things and might have thought that death could bring him freedom and redemption. I don’t agree with my brother regarding his feelings that he needed to be forgiven but I agree with the message of the song, that every person can be forgiven regardless of what he or she did when that person is ready to take the responsibility for his action. By the way I don’t think suicide need to be forgiven at all or is a selfish action. And now I quote somebody from Facebook: “I often wonder how many suicides could be avoided if we as a society decided to treat mental health with the same serious nature that we address our physical health. Somewhere along the way we became uncomfortable talking about it. We decided that people who commit suicide are selfish — that they didn’t love those closest to them because SURELY they wouldn’t want to put them through that heartache. I can’t believe that for a second. These are beautiful people that bring a lot of joy to those in their life.”

I don’t think death is the end at all. I believe in a sort of afterlife and that we all are still alive after being dead. I sometime even speak to my brother – mad I know! But I got a slight impression he likes to talk to me too. And he compares those conversation with as if you would call somebody on the phone. You don’t see each other, you can’t touch the other person but you know the person is there cause you are talking to her, right?

9. Why music and why do you make it?

V: First it was the only place where I felt totally free. It was the place I experienced freedom and the only place where I truly felt like me. But now life becomes freer and freer to me. And music becomes the place where I can put these experiences I have in my life in and share them with people.

10. If I should listen to one unknown musician//song today who//what should I check out?

V: Unfortunately the song of the woman I wanted to share with you is not available because she does not want to share it..yet. So I suggest you to follow this blog about humans of New York on Facebook. Reading the posts AND the comments help me learn a lot about people and their life:
https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork?fref=ts

Humans of New York


Visit at:

http://www.verenavonhorsten.com


Songs from Verena von Horsten’s upcoming album

10 Questions with Barry Snaith (THE INCONSISTENT JUKEBOX & SHOOT THE WENDY BIRD)

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barry

1. How would you characterize your music?

B: Guitar-based alternative rock soundscapes, ambience and commercial indie.

2. What is one early music experience that made a deep impression on you//made you rethink what music can sound like//has helped shape the music you make today?

B: Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band. An utterly unique double-album’s worth of creativity and groundbreaking innovation in a rock music medium. Smashing the rule book on musical timing, writing and melody. Don Van Vliet (Beefheart) said that ‘music should be an irritant’. It taught me that music should be allowed to be difficult and worth spending time getting to know and love it. That it should be allowed to seep in. It also taught me how to play with time on a song, in fact, how timing can be almost disregarded because your brain will always try to put the music into some kind of recognizable time signature anyway. It’s fun to play with that. And then there was that playfulness with words, using them like paint.The whole of that album is like a painting. After a few listens it becomes a masterpiece. It counters my love of beautiful music too.

3. What is usually your process when creating//writing a new song?

B: If I were to write a song entirely from scratch it would often begin whilst strumming on an acoustic guitar or whilst inventing the whole thing in my head first, like doing a sketch. Most of my songs with a riff would start in my head rather than on the guitar. Riff and drums and a general vocal. Sometimes the title but I would mainly just use phonetic sounds, for a feel of the song. Often these would later determine the sounds in some of the words (because they became ingrained in the songscape). For non riff-based songs I would strum the guitar, getting a feel for some chords or melody, then jam for a while until I the picture started to form, then I would get some kind of structure to the piece. Write some lyrics, which I would really deliberate over, trying to get almost every word right and relevant to the song, and well-considered words too (not just throw-away shire, which I am sometimes very partial to also – T. Rex spring to mind as do a lot of contemporary pop songs). Often I will take someone elses music (willing victims) and try to put an entirely different slant on it. Almost always starting with atmosphere/mood before I even considered adding my guitars. There are so many ways of creating and writing. One of my favourite songs of my own is “Let’s Defenestrate” which came about as a ‘challenge’ – the brief being to write a song using F, Am, C and G. In that order. That’s all. So that was written under strict guidelines as a foundation and then just finding out how to make it sound exciting. I think under that framework you could write many songs, just always strive to make it interesting, unpredictable, challenging or catchy.

4. Where can we find your music//what have you done to make your music available?

B: iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, hearthis.at, and a few others. Two websites (The Inconsistent Jukebox and Shoot The Wendy Bird), Youtube, and links or norices on FB, Twitter, Google+ . I’ve released a few tracks on the Holier Than Thou indie label and these can be found on the the aforementioned sites, for what that’s worth nowadays. Sales have dropped so low nowadays even for major artists that it’s much harder to make a living just from music alone. We do it for the love of it, we have to make it and are compelled to let it pour out, and that’s the enjoyment of any creativity – if we make money from it that’s a bonus.

5. What is a recent musician//band//music that you are excited about?

B: FKA Twigs – like Lady Gaga with interesting songs. St Vincent. Both idiosyncratic and original.

6. How would you describe the music climate in your home when you were a child?

B: My parents weren’t really interested in music, neither was my brother. But my mum’s younger sisters always had interesting taste and liked cool bands, not pop, although those things can live together very well too (interesting, cool, pop). My tastes were influenced by my friends’ older brothers or sisters, so I never really grew up on mere bland pop. I was buying Beefheart at 12 years old. Once I was int my teens my world was entirely immersed in music. And girls. Still is.

7. Is style//image important to you and if so what//who do you consider cool in music?

B: Yes I do think it is. I think image is part of the creation in most music. Even if the image is ‘not having an image’, but too much of that seems lazy. It’s good to see people who add style and panache to their music, whether that be attutide, clothes, charisma. I’m drawn to people who make an effort – Bjork, Cool could be The Velvet Underground, Bowie (a slip in the early 80s), Jim Morrison – I don’t think Alex Turner’s quite mastered the fine line between cool and arrogance yet. The flambouyance and identity of past eras don’t seem to be as prevalent lately – Elbow, Alt J, Hot Chip, even Radiohead (who I love) band like that aren’t people who you’d think ‘hey, they look cool, I might dress like that too’. Not that I’d do that anyway – better to dress like yourself. I dress like the actor Terry-Thomas when I’m not slumming it in t-shirt and cords. See, i even wear trousers that sound like something musical. I like any artist or band who put thought into how they appear, whether it be exotic, subtle, outlandish or minimalist. Anti-fashion as a statement, as adopted by The Fall or The Buzzocks (both great) may be interesting as a talking point for maybe a minute but just looks shit. I’d rather listen to The Fall but look at Prince. Imagine Mark E Smith snarling into the mic whilst wearing a diamond-encrusted tailcoat, platform boots and a ruff around his neck. That would bring us back to Bowie in the mid seventies. Karen O is pretty cool. Style and image doesn’t have to be fashion. It can be art. Like Factory Records. It was more an artistic non-profit-making concept than a business. That’s petty cool and stylish.

8. What song do you want playing at your funeral?

B: I was close to death once and I had to think about my possible funeral, just in case. I chose ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ sung by James Baskett. Just as a celebration of a happy life. Not taking things too seriously. That was a long time ago now and I think I’ll now maliciously choose a song calculated to make everybody cry their eyes out. and be miserable throughout my funeral. So I’ll pick… nah, fuck it, let’s have‘The More I See You’ by Chris Montez.

9. Why music and why do you make it?

B: It’s the only thing that comes naturally to me. I have work at everything else. An old school Physics report said “The mere mention that any effort has to be made on Barry’s part renders the task impossible”. that’s a genius sentence and I’ve tried to adhere to that as a lifestyle choice ever since.

10. If I should listen to one undiscovered musician//song today who//what should I check out?

B: I have to give you two, as i can’t split them. They draw for number one position so you have to allow them both. One is Hydrophone Recording Of Burning Embers Underwater by Richard Devine. Genuis to think of recording that:  and the other is Songe 3 by Serge Gentil and Renaud Deback. Sublime and very cool..


Find Barry at https://soundcloud.com/barry_snaith

https://soundcloud.com/shoot-the-wendy-bird

http://www.theinconsistentjukebox.co.uk/