Category Archives: Huddersfield

5 Questions in 5 Minutes: Alicia Edelweiss

Five Questions in 5 Minutes. I interview Alicia Edelweiss, Accordion songstress from Vienna on what influences her and reveals that toilet paper, not traditionally underwear, is thrown at a rock star such as herself…

Alice, Alice, who the f*ck is Alice?! Hi! I’m Alice. Some dudes call me Edelweiss, cause it was my birth name (but too embarrassing in Austria to stick with such a name!) I do all kinds of stuff, mostly music and most of the time singing to my accordion. When I’m in the mood for it I mix performative aspects into my shows. I’m also part of some circus projects in Vienna where I hula hoop and do clowning or sing “anti-operas”. I also love making silly videos and drawing illustrations. I used to play loads of street music, especially while travelling, but during the last year I got really tired of it and want to focus more on doing shows now. One day I told myself that I don’t wanna be broke all the time and that it’s not a bad thing to have money and spend it on cool stuff like white clown make-up or new instruments, so I decided to become more “professional” (I know it’s a horrible word). It’s getting better and better, still getting used to writing so many e-mails, and maybe I’ll have to get a laptop of my own at some point! I used to play with a band called Old Trees, we toured a lot, but now I play solo most of the time! But I’d like to play more with other people again, so this November before the UK tour I’m going on tour as the accordion player of my friend’s project “Voodoo Jürgens” which will be loads of fun!

 

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2. The first thing that struck me about you was your intricate theatrical videos. Do you have a background of performing arts and how do you transpose this to your live performance? Cool, I feel flattered that people might think I’ve got some kind of education in the performing arts! I wanted to get into drama school when I was eighteen, but none of the schools I applied for took me. That’s when I thought, “Fuck schools.” So I went travelling and became a hobo street musician playing guitar. At some point when I started writing songs, I began doing small concerts in Portugal. That was cool, but after some time I got really bored with myself and really couldn’t understand why people liked what I did – just playing songs. So I started dreaming of combining the music with theatrical elements. I started to experiment around when I returned to Vienna and did some quite intense and funny small concerts, where I staged giving birth or did shamanic exhortations – trying to do it in-between the songs and giving the whole thing a red line. Then the last year I would smash my head with a bag of coins while everyone would shout “Please Kill Me!” or I’d ask people from the audience to throw toilet paper at me at a special moment in the song. It’s fun, but also a bit tiring sometimes, carrying around props and always having to think of what needs to be done and what I forgot to prepare and so on. At the moment I really enjoy just playing song after song again hahaha. Oh – and costumes!! I like wearing glittery stuff and cloaks and hats with feathers and painting my face! I think just that does already a lot! And signs, just holding up signs with silly pictures and words on them while you sing, that’s fun too.

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3. Who do you see as an inspiration as a songwriter and a performer and why? I think my first inspiration for songwriting was the anti-folk music from New York – The Moldy Peaches, Adam Green’s early stuff and Jeffrey Lewis were always my favourites. I finally had found this ironic imperfect folk that I’d been craving for. Also when I saw some videos of The Moldy Peaches performing in their bunny suits and cloaks and hats I really wanted to do the same! Then the second big wave of inspiration came when I discovered Freak Folk – like CocoRosie, Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart – they somehow made me realise that there are so many possibilities to use your voice and also how to “design” the music. There are no rules. That was incredibly liberating. Then there are people like Jeff Buckley, Daniel Johnston or Soap&Skin who I admire a lot for their songwriting, but especially for bringing so much depth and emotion into their music and performances.

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Copyright Florian Razocha

 

4. What do you love most about touring? I like getting really nice food! (doesn’t happen always of course, but when it does, it’s a great feeling!) And of course I love getting new fresh reactions from people who haven’t heard my songs yet, that’s why I go on tour! Sometimes it can feel like you are playing a real old song for the first time if it’s heard by fresh ears!

5. Finally, anything you would like to add about your UK tour? Well, I am just really really excited about it. My mum is from England and it feels a bit like finally presenting my work to my own folk (even if I never lived in UK) – people in Austria or Germany often don’t fully understand the lyrics and sometimes it’s a bit frustrating, because that’s why we write songs, right? To tell stories and be understood. Sure, the emotional part can touch without words, but the lyrics are a very essential part. So that’s why I am coming to UK. I am really curious about how my music will be received and how it will feel playing up there!

Alicia will be making her debut at the country’s longest running Socialist club, The Red and Green Club, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield including Gerrard Bell-Fife https://gerrardbell-fife.bandcamp.com/ and Me Rex https://merex.bandcamp.com/releases

 

Doors 7.30pm and donation entry. Wednesday 7th December.

Main Image Copyright Franzi Kreis.

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© Mariana Vasconcelos

 

Thoughts on the upcoming UK / Ireland tour…

Since the ‘official’ release of ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ in late 2015, the release hasn’t had its tour of the UK yet… March will be its time…

I find releasing a record a lengthy and quite draining process. Preparation will have occurred at least a year in advance of release and once it has been released for public consumption, there is still a lot of promotion to be done for tours and reviews etc.

There is no doubt that the world of a musician is changing rapidly. Advancements in technology and how we reach a ‘fanbase’ are ever-changing and I have only just succumbed to using a touch screen phone. This technological Luddite has made peace with the fact that he will never be up to date with technology and staying ‘one step ahead of the game’. There are fantastic ways that the technology we have can link us all across the globe and help us reach and connect with new people (those who read my posts may recall my Latvian super-fan called Monika) and I believe that Facebook and even Twitter has had its time to some degree as a social media platform as they sensor posts and encourage you to pay a fee to reach more people. There is over-saturation and the social media bigwigs realise that.

Even doing a world tour for the Mainstream artists doesn’t have the same gravitas as it once did, streamed concerts and uploads onto Youtube kill any kind of anticipation and mystique of set list and arrangement.

But for the DIY artist, I believe a ‘back to basis’ route is possibly the simplest and most effective way of creating a buzz in your area for a tour. The March UK / Ireland tour will be in England / Northern Ireland / Ireland with a couple of gigs in Yorkshire and none in the south of England. (That’s in September). As musicians (and promoters) we don’t often get out as much as we’d like to shows but it is very important. Not only to support your scene, pick up new ideas, influences and of course, if you don’t attend your friends’ shows, how can you blame them for not attending yours? In a DIY scene there has to be give and take. It is that simple.

Me and Tim Holehouse will be starting the short 11 day run of shows in ‘home town’ Huddersfield. ‘Home town’ shows are something I have a love/hate relationship with because as a touring artist, I don’t believe that the place where I decide to pay rent is the place where I garner a baying audience who ”Just can’t get enough” to quote an 80’s Synth-Pop band. Also if the place you decide to call ‘home’ has little or no scene, performing a ‘home town’ show isn’t likely to be worthwhile. Musicians will often use their ‘home town’ to end or start a tour to create a buzz and can often guarantee a sizeable crowd. Luckily Huddersfield has a number of venues where original music can get well attended and there is a healthy alternative scene, but as will all scenes, it can be fragmented and the dots haven’t joined up yet so to speak. Nothing is guaranteed.

I haven’t performed in Huddersfield for nearly a year as I knew that it would be my first show since the release (preparation a year in advance) and I’ve enlisted Kieran O’Malley and Karl Senior for duties on Cajon and Violin to create more of a ‘show’. Support will be Satteli, a Alpine melody duo from Holmfirth. As for the shows that are out of my physical reach, posters, flyers, social media and word of mouth have to be the way of spreading the word.

There is still a lot of preparation for this show (a video release and press coverage planned) and whilst that isn’t ‘back to basics’, making appearances at shows to spread the word, obligatory posters and flyers etc will play their part. I hope the preparation will pay off!

Johnny x

HUDDERSFIELD @ Small Seeds (formerly Bar 122) 8pm doors – £5/4 entry OTD

UK /EIRE TOUR INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/481914091989124/

REVIEWS: http://brightyoungfolk.com/records/hook-line-and-sinker-johnny-campbell

https://londoncelticpunks.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/album-review-johnny-campbell-2015/

Tim Holehouse: http://www.timholehouse.com

 

The Dreaded ‘C’ Word…

Barely a few mundane weeks roll by before the next consumer opportunity rears its ugly head to sell us what we ‘want’, not what we ‘need’…including the dreaded ‘C’ word…

Possibly the only adults who look forward to the ‘C’ word are Noddy Holder, Cliff Richard and Shane MacGowan. As they do their shopping at this festive time whilst hearing their songs blared out through some crackly shopping centre P.A system, they must take great comfort knowing that the royalties in 6 months time will pay for those lavish holidays in The Bahamas. As a 28 year old I haven’t got excited about the ‘C’ word for a long time. I take great delight in stuffing my face with copious lashings of gravy and Yorkshire puddings in the meal rather than ripping open gifts. It’s a bit overrated as an adult with no children to buy for and besides, I get gifts for loved ones all year round so this particular day holds no significance. Don’t get me wrong, surprising your loved ones with kind words, Whiskey, chocolate, ironic jumpers and socks (on the same day of every year) isn’t anything many could necessarily disagree with. (unless it’s a blended malt) This show of appreciation for family and friends is something that should be explored all year round, and for most, I believe it is.

Now this annus mirabilis is reaching its conclusion, there are many things we have seen across Europe and the globe that have shaken the world to its core. The first things that spring to mind are the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris at the start of the year. The Tunisian beach attack and only this month (November 2015) a further attack in Paris upon bars, a football game and a concert. All conducted by ISIS we are told by the mainstream news. On a daily basis in the Middle East there are similar attacks and the ‘west’ doesn’t bat an eyelid. Or at least, the news networks don’t give the stories enough credence in the billing to make us feel some empathy. The ‘west’ only bats its eyelids when it affects the the ‘west’, like the ongoing refugee crisis. Only today I see on mainstream news that a Russian jet has been shot down by Turkish forces and I feel a new era will emerge of tumultuous chaos.

Imagine if the response to the November Paris attacks were not ”Who did this and how do we get them back? Who do we blow up?” Instead, a response from world leaders on ”How do we make our public spaces safer?” or ”Why do certain groups feel the need to attack us and our culture? Are we marginalising certain groups in society and is there something we can do to make ALL feel welcome and co-contributors?” The Middle East is a convoluted place where civil wars rage over centuries of battles and US, UK, USSR forces over the past 50 years have made the situation even more complicated. Carpet bombing huge swathes of land can’t be the answer.

If the ‘C’ word is about the time of giving, sharing and helping others in need, then this is the time. In every major city in the UK and many towns there are places where you can donate clothes, shelter, etc for refugees. There are many events that can be found through a social media link or looking though a search engine we can find where to donate. If our world leaders aren’t going to debate on how we can stop people in society feeling marginalised or how we can make our communities safer and inclusive, then it must start with us. This is not to say we shouldn’t be adding pressure on governments to provide aid and financial help. I’d rather taxes went to help those in need rather than the billions we’ve seen since 2008 propping up banks and the lifestyles of those who keep us in Austerity. If Europe is going to be even more multi-cultural we must build bridges with refugees and make them feel safe and included. You can feel very helpless watching or reading the stories and struggles of refugees coming to Europe but the things that can be done at this time of embracing people is to donate. Organise. Spread the message.

I for one will be donating clothes I don’t use and anything else I feel would be worthwhile. Have second thoughts on the ostentatious three bird meal for the festive dinner or at least…don’t waste it. If the socks that Nana got you aren’t to your taste you might as well donate them. I will eat up all the food I have on my place not to waste as I know others won’t have that choice. Rebuke the Black Friday craze where risible scenes of hypnotised shoppers are sent into gladiatorial bouts over microwaves and flat screen televisions. If this is the time of giving, then let’s give. We are co-creators in this world, so let’s create.

Johnny x

Hook, Line and Sinker release and the ‘Alternative’…

So, here’s another self-obsessed blog post by another DIY musician instafacetwittering for the approval of others while trying to promote their new release with no backing from agents, labels or Arts Council funds. Yes… and no…

Contrary to what is lamented and blown out of proportion in music (auto)biographies where a front-man/singer/songwriter in a band for years craves to release a solo record and finally relishes the opportunity because ”I can put down what I really feel now, man” or some other equally stomach-churning diatribe that serves to build up the ‘Myth of the Man’, it may come as some surprise that I wasn’t necessarily compelled with or struck with an immense creative urgency to release my début solo record.

Songs had been festering for a while I admit, but some riffs (Blue Mountains) lay dormant for years. In fact I must have written the Guitar riff well over seven years ago…but I digress. I started recording in October 2014 with a friend of mine at his home studio. A couple of days to lay down the Guitar and vocals for the songs and working on it from there. A few tweaks in the future with the vocals and doing re-takes…it’s a lengthy enough process.

What I was apprehensive about with releasing a record is simply the way we consume and interact with music these days. On average, people will listen to 15-30 seconds of a track and make a judgement before skipping tracks. Imagine if you did that with Pink Floyd or I Am The Resurrection by The Stone Roses. Yes, as a musician, you want to get your work out there, but with so many outlets to spread your product and the days of listening to a record all the way through (god forbid) are now confined to the dusty box filled with such gems as ”The days when you could leave your door open”. Is there really any point to release another musical interlude into the ether? After all, videos, music and more are being uploaded every second making it a commodity and while the World Wide Web is a true democracy, it is open to a lot of these problems. As everything is expected to be free, it diminishes the countless hours of work put into it, production costs and more…

Rant, rant, rant…come on, get to your point….

It may be tempting to wait in line for the next Bob Dylan release to keep your collection up to date regardless of the quality he puts out (£400 for a box set of every musical brain fart he’s had from 1965-’66 available now!) but if we can tear ourselves away from bolstering Dylan’s lifestyle, supporting localised events and projects, music, theatre etc, must be the way forward right?

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Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business. When I put on my own shows, I try my utmost to support the right venue. Bar 122 in Huddersfield was started by ‘Stevo’ who built from the ground up, supports underground artists, national and touring artists and manages to keep his drink/food prices at a competitive and affordable level. This is not a corporate venue and has been a lifeblood of the town for a long time and continues to support the local economy this way. In this past year I put on a show at a corporate venue where drink prices were over £4.50 a pint and because the show didn’t manage to cover itself by ticket sales (booking the room fee, soundman, bartenders) and as soon as I stepped offstage I was handed a bill of £3.20 to the venue. It is little things like this that remind me that personality, familiarity and supporting the right people will hopefully pay off for all of us. Grow your own, support the scene and create communities!

Johnny x

Hook, Line and Sinker will be released Friday 9th October via http://www.johnnycampbell.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/johnnycampbellmusic / http://www.johnnycampbell.co.uk