+ PURITY RING WAXAHATCHEE EARTH JAM CITY SPECTRES AUTO ITALIA GIRLPOOL FUTURE BROWN
L7 RUN THE JEWELS SIMON PRICE
A CONVERSATION WITH A$AP ROCKY
REBEL SOUND: THREE GENERATIONS OF SOUNDBOY
5pm @ St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Lecture Hosted by Benji B
10pm @ Steelworks Show Rebel Sound: Chase & Status + Rage, David Rodigan, Shy FX. Congo Natty ft Congo Dubz, Jus Now (DJ set) featuring Serocee, Earl Gateshead
THE FUTURE SOUNDS OF HIP HOP
7pm @ The Garage
Show Pusha T, Little Simz, Jay Prince, Semtex
09 April Thursday
TROPICAL ROLLER DISCO
11 March Saturday
7pm @ York Hall Special Hosts On The Night: JME, Skepta, C4, Flowdan & Friends Djs On The Night: Preditah, Slimzee, Plastician, Logan Sama
10 April Friday
STUDIO SCIENCE: JULIO BASHMORE 6pm @ Red Bull Studios London Workshop The Bristol producer reveals the craft behind his trademark sound
4pm @ ArcelorMittal Orbit Live Broadcast
Deja Vu FM / Wayne Dlux & DJ Spooky Bizzle Fantasy FM / DJ Hype Freek FM / Jazzy D & DJ Laren Future FM / Terror Danjah Kiss FM / Norman Jay & Gordon Mac Kool FM / Eastman, Brockie, Mc Det Phase 1 / Fabio & Grooverider
0800 - R1NG 2 R4V3 10pm – venue TBA on the night Special A homage to the bygone era of illegal raves
DARK & LOVELY GLOBAL ROOTS
8pm @ KOKO Show Analogue Cops (live), Fantastic Man & DJ Noema (exclusive), We Are Shining, Afrikan Sciences (live, UK exclusive), Iman Omari (live), Blackfoot Phoenix, Thris Tian
RBMA RADIO: LIVE IN LONDON
12 April Sunday
4pm @ The Old Queens Head Club Night Wolf + Lamb (6hr Set), Kool Clap
T DANCE 2pm @ Shoreditch Town Hall Special Music: Joe Claussell, Prins Thomas, Zebra Katz, Honey Dijon, Poisonous Relationship, Dan Beaumont, Charlie Porter, Cedric Woo. Plus: Jonny Woo, A Man To Pet, John Sizzle, Roy Inc, Ted Rogers, Max Allen Daniel ‘Stevie Nicks’ Sallstrom, Benjamin Milan, David Magnifique, Michele Paleta & More.
"Fuck this. Let's go dance..."
secretsundaze THURSDAY APRIL 2ND - EASTER SPECIAL THE LAUNDRY / 10PM – 6AM
DJ QU · MOSCA · VIRGINIA JAMES PRIESTLEY · GILES SMITH SUNDAY 3RD MAY - 2015 OPENING PARTY PART 1 – OVAL SPACE / 1 – 10PM
FRED P · JOEY ANDERSON · JANE FITZ GILES SMITH · JAMES PRIESTLEY PART 2 – THE LAUNDRY / 10PM – 6AM
STERAC AKA STEVE RACHMAD PEVERELIST B2B KOWTON · LINKWOOD JAMES PRIESTLEY · GILES SMITH SUNDAY 24TH MAY - BANK HOLIDAY SPECIAL STUDIO338 / 2 – 10:30PM
VERY SPECIAL GUEST · DELANO SMITH JEREMY UNDERGROUND GILES SMITH · JAMES PRIESTLEY TICKETS:
Find your flow.
MAR. (2015) FOUNDATION
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PAUL WOOLFOR D BOOK A SH A DE OC TAV E ONE PEDE ST R I A N
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Highlights Exhibitions Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee 3 Feb 2015 – 12 Apr 2015 Lower Gallery
Dor Guez: The Sick Man of Europe 3 Feb 2015 – 12 Apr 2015 Upper Gallery
First Happenings: Adrian Henri in the ‘60s and ‘70s 27 Jan 2015 – 15 Mar 2015 Fox Reading Room
Ydessa Hendeles: From her wooden sleep...
Events Artist’s Talk: Viviane Sassen Wed 4 Mar, 6.30pm Culture Now: Ulay Fri 6 Mar, 1pm Looking Gift Horse in the Mouth: A Symposium on Hans Haacke Sat 7 Mar, 11.30am Artists’ Film Club: Christoph Schlingensief in “Crackle of Time” Sun 8 Mar, 1pm
25 Mar 2015 – 17 May 2015 ICA Theatre
Pikin Slee Gallery Tour led by Simon Baker Thu 19 Mar, 6.30pm
Appropriate Behaviour, White God and The Duke of Burgundy Screening from 27 Feb
Symposium: The Copyists Fri 20 Mar, 12pm
BAFTA Shorts 6 Mar 2015 – 12 Mar 2015
Styled-Un-Styled: Workshop on Photography Sat 21 Mar, 10am Artists’ Film Club: Mathieu K Abonnenc Wed 25 Mar, 6.45pm
Talk Series: Where Theory Belongs: Ayesha Hameed Wed 11 Mar, 2pm
Talk Series: Where Theory Belongs: Sharon Kinsella Wed 25 Mar, 2pm
Symposium: Interior Design: Dead or Alive Sat 14 Mar, 11.15am
The Sick Man of Europe Gallery Tour led by Astrid Schmetterling Thu 26 Mar, 6.30pm
Misogyny: Witches and Wicked Bodies Wed 18 Mar, 3pm
Artist’s Talk: Parviz Tanavoli Fri 27 Mar, 6pm Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
With a Q&A on 6 March
The Supreme Price + Q&A Tue 17 Mar, 8.15pm White Shadow + Q&A Thu 19 Mar, 8.30pm Cinemania: Time is Illmatic Wed 11 Mar, 4.30pm Chantal Akerman 18: Un divan à New York (A Couch in New York) Thu 12 Mar, 7pm Catalan Avant-Garde 28 Feb 2015 – 18 Dec 2015
Discover the fascinating physical and intellectual landscapes of Catalan cinema.
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
AUTO ITALIA Geraint Davies exchanges emails with the fearless London art studio who assimilate the unsettling discourse of modern communication into hyperreal visions and ferocious satire
JAM CITY The avant-garde producer has turned his back on a chrome-plated realm of inspiration, crafting lullabies for a broken world. He talks power, love and resistance with Anna Tehabsim
PURITY RING James F. Thompson talks evocative lyrics and colourrich textures with the highly rated electronic pop duo
EDITORIAL ( (31*57)-13^3 ) /5 = - x -6^2
RECOMMENDED Our guide to what’s coming up in your city
NEW MUSIC From the periphery
TURNING POINTS: L7 As the seminal all-female outfit prepare to reform, Anna Tehabsim talks pro choice, 90s grunge ubiquity and revealing yourself on live TV with lead singer Donita Sparks
RICARDO VILLALOBOS On the occasion of our half-century, Thomas Frost visits the Chilean master’s inner sanctum for a landmark insight into the world greatest living DJ
WAXAHATCHEE The profoundly talented songwriter describes the still solitude that allows her creativity to breath. By Suzie Mccracken
Shot exclusively for Crack by Alex de Mora Berlin: February 2015
SPECTRES “We will always be outsiders”: despite growing acclaim, the rising noise-rock outfit continue to shun wider acceptance
CONTORT Hayley and Sam Kerridge expand on the liberal approach behind their Berlin-born party-turned-label with Aine Devaney
GIRLPOOL The punchy LA duo deal in zero-bullshit misfit indie. They talk swerving definition with Sammy Jones
REVIEWS Gig reports, product reviews and our verdict on the latest releases in film and music
DIGRESSIONS Baines’ World, Sold Out! with Tegan & Sara, the crossword and advice from Denzil Schnifferman
20 QUESTIONS: EL-P The Run The Jewels rapper tells Davy Reed about his signature recipe, his hair style troubles and why he’s willing to overlook Gary Numan’s iffy politics
PERSPECTIVE Possible the most feared voice in rock journalism, the awardwinning critic assesses the chequered history of the person holding the notepad
EARTH A quarter of a decade ago Dylan Carlson formulated the blueprint which became drone metal. Fast-forward to today, and Tom Watson meets a man enjoying the most unlikely of renaissances
AESTHETIC: FUTURE BROWN Future Brown have garnered support from music, art and fashion worlds alike. Alice Jones talks to the production supergroup about the benefits of a streamlined vision
Music, Creativity & Technology www.sonar.es
Barcelona 18.19.20 June
the chemical brothers, skrillex, duran duran, die antwoord, fka twigs, flying lotus, róisín murphy, hot chip, jamie xx, arca & jesse kanda, autechre, siriusmodeselektor, fat freddy’s drop, kindness, laurent garnier, dubfire:live hybrid, totally enormous extinct dinosaurs, maya jane coles, pxxr gvng, evian christ, annie mac, cashmere cat, ktl, daniel avery, ten walls, henrik schwarz, the 2 bears, sophie, roman flügel, special request, lcc, holly herndon, the bug, ralph lawson, dorian concept, kiasmos, kate tempest, yung lean & sad boys, vessel, badbadnotgood, tourist, russell haswell, meneo, redinho, desert djs, mika vainio, lee gamble, helena hauff, niño, randomer, voices from the lake, powell, klara lewis, headbirds, mans o, sta and many more.
Get your tickets here: www.sonartickets.com an initiative of
in collaboration with
07/03 Room 01
Craig Richards Magda Samu.l Room 02
MDR Marcel Dettmann Anthony Parasole Answer Code Request (Live)
Craig Richards Praslesh (Raresh & Praslea) Voigtmann
Demo Te r r y Fr a n c i s Eddie Richards Oli Furness
R&S Lone Space Dimension Controller (Live) Alex Smoke ALSO: Appleblim & Second Storey (Live)
Te r r y Fr a n c i s Dave Clarke Rrose (Live) Room 03
Craig Richards Ben Klock Ryan Elliott
To i To i Audio Werner Voigtmann Lamache Andrew J Gustav
4 Ye a r s o f N.o.N Music Te r r y Fr a n c i s Justin Drake The Pushamann
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Craig Richards Michael Mayer J o h n Te j a d a ( L i v e ) Shaun Soomro Room 02
Sushitech Daniel Bell Delano Smith To b i a s ( L i v e ) Yo s s i A m o y a l
04/04 Room 01
Tu s ke g e e Craig Richards S eth Trox l e r The Martinez Brothers Room 02
Te r r y Fr a n c i s Robert Hood Karenn (Live) Room 03
w w w. f a b r i c l o n d o n .c o m
Route 94 Jasper James
Executive Editors Thomas Frost firstname.lastname@example.org Jake Applebee email@example.com Editor Geraint Davies firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton email@example.com Deputy Editor Davy Reed Junior Editor Anna Tehabsim Head Of Digital Content Billy Black Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Design Graeme Bateman Intern Flora Symons Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Dexter Lander, Sam Rubenstein, Studio Maud, HannahRyan, Carhartt-WIP Contributors Josh Baines, Denzil Schniffermann, Tom Watson, Angus Harrison, James F. Thompson, Suzie McCracken, Sammy Jones, Aine Devaney, Simon Price, Xavier Boucherat, Adam Corner, Thomas Howells, Tamsyn Aurelio-Eros Black, Joe Goggins, Jon Clark, Calah Singleton, Henry Johns, Jack Lucas Dolan, Danny Nedelko, Billie MonnierStokes, Alex Briand, Jack Drummond Photography Alex de Mora, Roisin Murphy, Antonio Curcetti, Jonangelo Molinari, Stephanie Elizabeth Third, Theo Cottle, Dexter Lander, Aine Devaney, Danny Nedelko, Clare Sarson, Elliot Simpson, Khris Cowley, Alex Gwilliam Illustrations James Wilson Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: firstname.lastname@example.org 0117 2391219 CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
DEADBOY It Did Not Feel Right
Crack’s hit a milestone. But listen, we don’t like to make a fuss. As the Editor recently proclaimed on the eve of his 30th birthday – please, I’d hate to make a fuss. But as a job lot of Prosecco descended on his head unannounced and he spied a clutch of unfamiliar faces he was fundamentally not expecting to see, he thought to himself, oh, OK then. Let’s make a fuss. And when the greatest living DJ, the microhouse progenitor, the minimal techno globaliser, the masterpiece creator and the night definer, the constantly befuddling percussive genius that is Ricardo Villalobos, invites you to spend the afternoon in his family home, after five years of nagging, you can’t help but cede; alright. Let’s make a fuss. So we’ll reluctantly agree, there’s something special about 50. The alchemy of digits coming together. It’s a magic number. It’s half a century, five times ten. Oh hey – it’s actually two times twenty-five too. And lest we forget that old nugget, eighty divided by two plus ten. Gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it? We’re being facetious, of course. There’s more to 50 than a number. It’s a golden – golden, like a compass or a medal, or a touch – anniversary. If you wanna send us a golden memento, our address is on the previous page (Richard Ross, we’re looking at you). It’s the number of states in the US, that must mean something. It’s the Roman numeral L. It’s the atomic number of Tin. Tin, no less! It’s the number of cents that Curtis Jackson III deemed worthy to adopt for his name. And god knows it’s worked for him. We’re still waiting for him to release his second single, but he’s famous as shit. And unless you’ve been buried under a soundproof tortoise for the last 50 days, you’ll know how many shades of grey it takes to make a morally bankrupt blockbuster. Clue – it’s not 60. Ah, we’re being facetious again. We can’t help it, there’s nothing worse than schmaltzy nostalgia. But as it goes, we’re incredibly proud that this issue, this landmark issue, has one of the all-time greats beaming out from its front page. So maybe 50’s pretty cool after all.
LA PRIEST Oino
Geraint Davies, Editor
HELENA HAUFF The First Time He Thought, He Died POWELL Sylvester Stallone CEREMONY Root Of The World PILE The World Is Your Motel BLANCK MASS Loam SIMON & GARFUNKEL Keep The Customer Satisfied NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS Jangling Jack MARCUS MARR Brown Sauce SEMTEK Bad Teeth TEI SHI Bassically
THE SOFT MOON Want CHRIS & COSEY Exotica VITA NOCTIS Hade ARTHUR RUSSELL Keeping Up KENDRICK LAMAR The Blacker The Berry MURLO Deep Breath ft. Gemma Dunleavy STARS OF THE LID Mullholland CHICAGO ART ENSEMBLE Certain Blacks MARCHING CHURCH King Of Songs KLEENEX Hedi’s Head L7 Wargasm HUDSON MOHAWKE Star Crackout TRUST FUND Jumper TREE Trap Genius MEEK MILL B Boy ft. Big Sean & A$AP Ferg H.GRIMACE Cavepainter TRUSS Clawdd Du METZ The Swimmer
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Gaby Ritchie Göetz Gose Dresden Leitner Alex Jukes Lewis Lloyd Claude Barbè-Brown Louise Taziva Nindi Aled Simons Leigh Evans
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
MODESELEK TOR Tobacco Dock 6 March
METZ 100 Club 3 March
BOOMTOWN FAIR Squarepusher, Surgeon, Amadou & Mariam Matterley Estate, Hampshire 13 - 16 August £155 + BF SQUAREPUSHER Barbican 18 March £25.50
DELROY EDWARDS Corsica Studios 4 March
Oh, Tom Jenkinson, where will it all end? The image of young Mr. Pusher looking up momentarily, breathless, eyes glazed, from a bass with so many strings we’d lost count before hurling himself into another bumblebee run of ludicrously technical nu-jazz widdling interspersed with hellish breaks and yelps of the ‘C’ word is a far-off memory. It’s now all a little more sci-fi. His ultrasensory 2012 A/V project Ufabulum saw Jenkinson go full computer man, and last year he actually, literally formed a band with a bunch of robots. This massive Barbican show will premiere his latest live iteration along with material from upcoming album Damogen Furies, the first taster from which, RAYC FIRE 2, is a stunningly confrontational block of 8-bit mentalism. Good luck.
BEN UFO fabric 6 March
If you like dressing up like a bit of a looney, revelling in elaborately-built temporary cities, jigging away to every type of music under the sun and feeling constantly over-stimulated every time you turn a corner then you might just find yourself a home-away-from-home in Boomtown. Since 2009 it’s grown from a well kept local secret to a cult institution that puts emphasis on ambience whilst catering to all musical tastes with a healthy smattering of imaginative art, theatre and comedy to keep that Boomtown magic alive.
POWELL Dance Tunnel 16 March
FB55 ICA 24 March - 17 May Free with Day Membership CONVERGENCE Andy Stott, Gazelle Twin, Zomby Various Venues, London 12-21 March Prices vary Back for its second year, Convergence is hosting a series of events across London that will showcase some of the most vital innovators in contemporary music in carefully curated settings. In venues such as Royal Festival Hall, Heaven, Village Underground, St John-at-Hackney Church and Kachette in Old Street, Convergence will include sets from Andy Stott, Clark, Andrew Weatherall, Pantha du Prince, Zomby, Tricky and revered Brighton experimentalist Gazelle Twin, while P-funk icon George Clinton will join Alex Petridis for a conversation at Amnesty International UK. Alongside these shows, there’ll be workshops, installations and discussions too, so if you don’t get one of these dates pencilled in, you’re having a nightmare.
JANE WE AVER The Lexington 29 March
HOOK WORMS Oval Space 21 March
In 1955 the ICA, at its previous Dover Street home, presented the first solo exhibition in the UK from one of history’s most fearless, controversial and emotionally jarring painters: Francis Bacon. It’s still an event shrouded in mystery and enigma, and little is known about the exhibition beyond its funding, courtesy of Bacon benefactor, ICA founder and the richest man in Britain at the time, Peter Watson. To the ICA’s eternal credit, they agreed to include a piece entitled Two Figures in the Grass, depicting two nude men engaged in sexual activity. At a time when homosexuality was illegal, it was a huge risk – police later decided the men were just having a nice wrestle. The Fox Reading Room is the location for this archival display of a hugely significant moment in the history of British art.
SECRETSUNDA ZE E ASTER SPECIAL The Laundry 2 April £9.50 + BF New Jersey deep house virtuoso DJ Qu has a similar take on music as his fellow Tri-State natives Levon Vincent and Joey Anderson. Emerging from their lineage of dark and dusty house, the master percussionist has carved a home for his complex rhythms through his own Strength Music Recordings. He brings his deep sound to James Priestley and Giles Smith’s institution Secretsundaze for their Easter bash. Residents Priestley and Smith as well as the unshakeable Mosca and Panorama Bar’s Virginia, whose own unique approach sees her adlib vocals over her set, join Qu for this bank holiday blow out.
TIME WARP FESTIVAL MANNHEIM Ricardo Villalobos, Rôdhåd, Magda Maimarkthalle, Mannheim 5 April €65 +BF Existing in various forms across the world for the last two decades, Time Warp is an institution. Taking place at the original site in Maimarkthalle, Mannheim, the 21st Time Warp event sees a mouth-watering selection of techno veterans Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin and our iconic cover star Ricardo Villalobos return alongside the likes of Magda, Carl Cox, Marco Carola, Laurent Garnier, Luciano, Loco Dice as well as techno elite Chris Liebing, Joseph Capriati, Pan-Pot, Rødhåd and more at the 19-hour event. With a sprawling line-up over various arenas, the annual mecca exceeds its gargantuan status yet again, sure to cater for techno fans of every ilk.
WEEDE ATER Underworld 8 March
VISION FORTUNE Ace Hotel 10 March
SLE ATER-KINNEY Roundhouse 23 March
ANDY STOT T Village Underground 13 March
JESSICA PR AT T St John On Bethnal Green 8 April £12.50 + BF MOURN Birthdays 14 March
K APPA FUTUR FESTIVAL Seth Troxler, Sven Väth, Solomun Turin, Italy 11-12 July Prices vary WOMEN, FASHION, POWER Design Museum Until 26 April From £9.30 Exploring the language of clothes and power, the Design Museum is hosting the most wide-ranging presentation of modern fashion ever to be shown in the UK. Studying 150 years of fashion through exclusive interviews and historic pieces of clothing, it offers an unprecedented look at how compelling and accomplished women such as Lady Gaga, Diane von Furstenberg and Dame Vivienne Westwood use fashion as a tool of self-expression, a display of confidence and an assertion of authority. Designed by worldrenowned architect Zaha Hadid and co-curated by fashion expert and commentator Colin McDowell and the Design Museum’s Donna Loveday, head down and gain some insight into how princesses, models, CEOs, Dames and designers have used fashion to define their position in the world.
After making trips to Turin for Movement festival as well as Club to Club last year, Crack can confirm that the city’s credible electronic music events attract impressively large crowds of enthusiastic, clued-up clubbers. Last year, Kappa Futur festival pulled together a line-up that included Omar-S, Tale of Us and Mano Le Tough, and so far the event has confirmed the likes of Sven Väth, Seth Troxler, Solomun, Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock to play sets in the festival’s remarkable venue: an enormous post-industrial complex in the Parco Dora park. A huge weekend to be had here.
WE HAVE AN ANCHOR Barbican 31 March
MOTOR CIT Y DRUM ENSEMBLE Oval Space 14 March K ARENN (LIVE) fabric 4 April £17 Early Bird / £23 OTD
HOTFLUSH The Steelyard 28 March
THE GARDEN 100 Club 19 March
SASHA SIEM The Lexington 25 March
JOHN TAL ABOT Brixton Electric 2 April
We think it’s a bit unfair that Jessica Pratt is constantly lumped in alongside the likes of Joanna Newsome under the freak folk banner. Then again Jessica Pratt’s haunting, experimental brand of folk is actually kind of … freaky. Her whispering, bucolic voice and wandering guitar picking underpin unhinged lyricism and sometimes unsettling melodies. We love a challenge though and when it’s executed with as much class and beauty as this, there’s no point even trying to resist.
Blawan and Pariah’s analogue techno taskforce have been pretty quiet of late, but we still remember sitting in awe watching their searing Boiler Room set; Pariah a vision of heads-down focus, Blawan puffing on rollies and chugging back cans of Stripe like his life depended on it. It was the coolest shit ever. Their rough’n’ready hardware assault in Room 2 represents the stillflourishing newish wave of beefy, grainy British tech, while the bill is topped off by fully-fledgedpreacher-man-cum-minimalGodfather Robert Hood, and a certain Seth Troxler plies his wares in Room 1. A pitch-perfect coming together of new and old schools at the best club in the country.
PR AYER / IYDES / FOREVERFOREVER Rye Wax 3 April
STANDON CALLING Little Dragon, The Dandy Warhols, The Antlers Standon, Hertfordshire 31 July - 2 August £127 - £137 + BF As the story goes, Standon Calling started out with a couple of dozen friends, a pair of decks, a barbecue and a swimming pool. Look at them now: 10 years on, tens of thousands of devoted attendees, worldrenowned headliners – and a swimming pool. They’ve pulled out all the stops for a decade in the game, with guaranteed crowd-pleasers like Basement Jaxx, The Dandy Warhols, and our favourite slippery synth Swedes, Little Dragon. A little further down the bill standouts include the gorgeous widescreen chamber indie of The Antlers and nu-disco starlets Hercules and Love Affair. Out-Standon!!! Haha jk.
DARLENE SHRUGG Garage rock can get stale pretty quick, but as long as it’s done well it’s alright with us. With a healthy dose of candy floss psychedelia, Darlene Shrugg do it very well indeed. The Canadian band have been tearing it up around their native Toronto for a short while and when they came to our attention recently we were instantly enamoured by their acid washed take on garage rock. That’s not all though, they also feature members of Tropics, U.S Girls and Ice Cream so in a sense, they’re the Audioslave of Canadian garage punk. Make of that what you will.
O Freedom Comes In A Plastic Card 1 Thee Oh Sees / Allah Las : darleneshrugg.bandcamp.com
GHOST BATH Move over Norway, shove off Finland; prepare yourselves for the new wave of Chinese black metal. Well, probably not, but Ghost Bath are a Chinese black metal band and they’re pretty awesome. They released their first EP back in 2013 and slipped under our radar back then but we’re not letting them get away so easily this time. Their latest album Moon Lover is a melodic, ambient black metal masterpiece that shimmers and horrifies in equal measures; a grimly symphonic, swelling blanket of noise, hardhammered double pedal cacophony and hyperspeed tremelo-picking that could rival any of their competitors across the rest of the globe.
O Golden Number
GABI Daniel Lopatin’s work on the debut album from GABI will certainly open ears to a sound that many might have otherwise missed. The latest addition to Lopatin’s Software roster, operatic powerhouse Gabrielle Herbst began formal training at an early age, learning the clarinet and piano as well as studying Balinese dance and gamelan in Indonesia. Herbst premiered her own opera, Bodiless, in 2014, and now she extends her art-pop-opera hybrid into a series of intimate vocalcentric compositions for Software. Debut album Sympathy is a soft tangle of crystalline elements, piano, violin, viola and her own velveteen voice, with additional production from Lopatin and Paul Corley who has worked with Tim Hecker and Ben Frost. A series of operatic vocal loops and grandiose, elevated bliss is far removed from sounds associated with these artists, but maintains their dexterity for intimacy and space.
O Fleece 1 Björk / Julianna Barwick : @GabrielleHerbst
1 Deafheaven / This Will Destroy You facebook.com/blackghostbath
Things are going seriously well for the Colombian-born, LA-based artist Kali Uchis. Although she’s fresh enough to be featured in this very New Music section, she’s already clocked in studio sessions with the likes of of Snoop Dogg, Dâm-Funk and Tyler, The Creator, the latter of whom has enthusiastically contributed beats to her new Por Vida EP alongside Kaytranada and in-demand Toronto musicians Badbadnotgood. While Uchis’ lo-fi but colourful debut 2013 mixtape Drunken Babble saw her talk-rap in a nonchalantly cool manner over self-produced GarageBand beats and adventurous samples, Por Vida soaks up warm vintage soul and doo-wop influences. So what inspired the retro aesthetic? “I felt the 60s were a very real time, when social norms finally began to decay and people started to become more open-minded,” Uchis tells us. “Love and freedom have always been main inspirational points for me and the 60s and 70s very much reflected that. I naturally found meaning in that time period’s culture, especially in music and fashion.” A style icon in the making, we ask Uchis which women have inspired her look, and her reference points are basically impeccable: Bridgette Bardot, Jackie Burkhart, Shelly Duvall, Edie Sedgwick and Hilary Banks. Yes, Hilary Banks as in the The Fresh Prince’s sister. But while major labels have been inevitably knocking at the door, the staunchly independent Kali Uchis wants to remain in control for the time being. She’s keen to avoid being moulded into a stereotype by the industry, and her outsider perspective may have been shaped by her formative years. “It was easy to be an outcast in both [the US and Columbia] for me. They used to make graffiti threats on our house and harass me every day. By the time I was a teenager I had already moved to Virginia. I didn't mind standing out because even though people made fun of me a lot, I would rather have got made fun of than blended in.” If Kali Uchis wants to monetise the hype in 2015, we expect there’s lucrative offers on the table. But how does she personally define ‘success’? “There would be nothing more rewarding to me than to have a positive influence on society on a massive scale, to where my work was able to live physically longer than me,” comes her reply. “I would define success as being able to continue shaping the world after my death.”
O Lottery 1 Mary Wells / Amy Winehouse : @kaliuchis
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
Cattle are, or at least appear to be, a band from Leeds with really great, kinda creepy artwork. It’s actually hard to glean any kind of tangible information about them apart from that so we’ll just have to talk about their music instead. They make a racket, first and foremost, that’s punk in its delivery but also complex. It’s wild. It builds, it sputters, there’s clunky bass parts and screams that sound like they’ve been rocketed from the other side of a bloody massive warehouse. It’s all very mysterious but we can’t help but blurt out sensationalist hyperbole every time their stuff comes on in the office.
Tri Angle were joined by a very special guest on their Rinse FM show last month. As Björk rolled her r’s through the label’s rrresidency on the former London pirate, she closed out with Lotic’s crushing remix of orchestral Vulnicura track NotGet. The Berlin-based Texan, who established his DJing and production talents across small Berlin venues at GHE20 GOTH1Kesque party Janus, has transformed the original’s woeful melodies while maintaining its devastating sense of urgency with piercing drones, shattering glass and shrieking synths. Sometimes glistening, an overall sense of foreboding prevails. There’s more where this comes from on Lotic’s debut Tri Angle EP, out this month. As it scuttles through various deformities, the shuddering rhythms on title track Heterocetera snake around a sample of Masters At Work’s The Ha Dance – one of the staple sounds of New York ballroom culture. It showcases the rising producer’s excellent harnessing of contrast, between hard and soft, tough and sweet, tension and release.
O Whoa Bessie 1 Shellac / Melvins : cattle.bandcamp.com
O Heterocetera 1 Total Freedom / Arca : @_LOTIC
O Listen 1 File Next To : Online
For two decades Ricardo Villalobos has played and created records that have consistently re-aligned the spectrum of electronic music. In recent years heâ€™s rarely spoken about it. On a bleary February afternoon, arguably the greatest living DJ/producer invited us into his Berlin home
Words: Thomas Frost Photography: Alex de Mora
Ricardo Villalobos makes a point of seldom opening up to the press – never mind welcoming them into his inner domain. Crack’s attempts to ensnare the Chilean techno deity date back to the magazine’s formative stages. My first meeting with him was an hour of bright, loose-lipped conversation at an after-hours party on a Croatian beach, a personal email exchange (I took his wife’s address as he has no email account of his own) hastily typed on an iPhone, then promptly lost on a Berlin subway. Numerous subsequent attempts proved fruitless, so as I touch down in the German capital there’s the sense that this one has been years in the making. Merely setting foot in the Villalobos residence, situated in an annexed pocket of residential serenity in Kreuzberg, gives a sense of accomplishment. “Your face does look familiar,” he mentions, when I remind him that we’ve met previously. “I remember, they were like ‘Ricardo, do you want to play?’ and I was like ‘yeah’ – but all the records were bending in the heat. Damian Lazarus was playing and the records were warping, it was so hot.” That after-hours scenario is a stark contrast to the homely setting of our interview. The cushioned top floor of his immaculately decorated, three-storey detached apartment is far removed from the party animal image the dance music media peddle so frequently. The smell of bushweed fills the house and there’s a serenity to be found among the floor-to-ceiling windows, while a colossal sound system playing choral music provides the sonic backdrop to our time together. There is instrumentation in the form of a piano and bongos, and evidence of children playing everywhere, not least in the swathe of green space at the front of the house. Villalobos has two, aged five and seven. This feels like a place for family, and this is a different man. Nestling into a floor littered with cushions, we begin our exchange, appropriately, on the subject of interviews. “Giving interviews is not a form of communication in which I work,” he asserts in his easily identifiable German accent, delivered with a zeal and a rhythm with betrays his Latin American roots. “Talking about music is good, but in general music is what I do, it is the basic communication form I have. After many years you realise in interviews the questions are very similar and the answers you give are also very similar. So why do an interview if the public already have the answers? “Secondly, I have a problem with the press and journalism in general,” he continues. “Journalism is a department of a much
wider industrial thing, in general the media is negative and the information they supply is negative. When journalists talk about music or the social phenomena of parties and what is happening there, it is only positive journalism that helps the people to understand why it is good. But writing something negative about music or art in itself – I detest this.” Villalobos pauses here. There is a drama to his delivery. “The power of negative information is too strong, so I prefer the life reception of music, selling records, on vinyl, to special dedicated people who spend 10 Euros for a piece of music that guarantees every artist and every person involved with the process gets paid.” Villalobos is a scarred man. The internet and amateur message board journalism have not been kind to him. Unflattering photographs and Facebook posts littered with conjuncture and speculation on his personality have left him inherently suspicious of the digital world. A rare anachronism, a creature out of time, his music is presented on vinyl, he “doesn’t do the internet” and lives a life of simple values. For someone often perceived as a wild, even out of control, character, the overwhelming impression garnered from our conversations is a commitment to protecting the more traditional variables that make his world, and his work, function.
“When music connects people, whatever the music, it has a strong healing influence on society”
“I stopped getting digital promos an age ago because when I did, I was getting 400 in one go. I was missing the good music, so I said “no.” Then my email got hijacked by these guys in London. They wanted money from my wife and started sending mails to my friends saying things like, ‘It’s me, Ricardo, I’m in London, I lost my mind, can you send me some money?’ So I don’t have an email anymore. “The internet is a monster, it’s an uncontrollable monster. Of course it has positive effects, but it can also be so negative and I think the negative parts of the internet have more power than the positive parts. The music I receive and play and also the people I exchange my music with is 10 to 15 people around me who are exactly as dedicated to music as me. They are dedicated DJs or dedicated producers or both. The Romanians [Rhadoo, Pedro, Raresh], Dorian [Paic], and Zippy [Zip] of course. We share four studios behind the Berghain.” He smiles. “It’s a boys’ studio.” The studio in question was the original destination for our interview, but there was good reason why the venue switched at the last minute. “No one has cleaned the toilet!” Villalobos exclaims. “I would have been so ashamed to invite you as it’s not my turn to clean it. So I was like, I cannot invite the guys here to make the interview. The absence of girls there is horrible. It’s like Lord Of the Flies.” This studio is a microcosm of Ricardo’s position within the wider musical community; he rarely wavers from his tight group of allies, kindred spirits and trusted accomplices. The connections he has established with clubs and labels reads like a roll-call of credible European techno, and his passion is heightened when recounting the kind of personal relationships that have not just ensured his success, but have ensured the product he has presented over the years is free of compromise. “My life has to have less confrontation, less conflict and be more harmonious, as it makes everything more fertile, especially my relationship with the people and my surroundings, my family and the people I am connected with when I am working” he says. “The people in the scene that survive 10 or 20 years, and people who run certain labels for that period of time and certain DJs; these people are really
not following the hype and they have a real connection with their surroundings. They are all members of a social net and this social net is the soul of every party, the soul of the musical movement and the soul of selling records to dedicated people who have a turntable and are prepared to pay this money, even though they can get everything for free.” Frequently, Villalobos uses the act of purchasing vinyl and placing it on your turntable as a metaphor for a respect for musicians and musical culture. There is vinyl on the shelves, vinyl on the floor and an old gramophone in his kitchen. The physicality of the format reflects a participation in the music world as a growing, breathing, mutually-beneficial organism. “All my friends and all the people I am dealing with worldwide belong to this musical, social movement that guarantees the parties and the quality” he continues. “So if anyone who belongs to this group is having a problem they are caught by their surroundings, helped, and they survive. An example of this is a very long and strong relationship with Time Warp. I met Steffen Charles when I was working with a distributor and was carrying around records while he was buying records for his shop. So I’ve known him for 22 years and I’ve been playing for 15 years at his Time Warp party. It’s a very important social update for the scene and your colleagues.” Villalobos talks about the mythologised ‘party’ frequently and fervently. The party is framed as a social institution that brings music, culture, people and identity under an umbrella heading. In Villalobos’s case the party fuel is the social experience, and if “social facilitators,” as he’s previously described them, play a part in the positive connection then so be it. It’s his ability to tap into a collective consciousness, to connect with thousands of people in one single moment, which have made him one of the greatest proponents to ever do what he does. And the party is inexorably positioned at the centre. “I am concerned about playing and having a good time with my friends at a party with a lot of happy people, where we all have a feeling of togetherness. And then we go home, and if you entered with some problems, hopefully you left feeling at least slightly healed. This is the effect the club scene and the electronic music scene has
on me. This is the only thing I am interested in. All the other things are not so important. “The social net around you should also catch you if you are not having success and not working properly, or if someone is being portrayed in disgrace in the eyes of the media and falling down in his DJ career. Or if people are saying he does too many drugs and will die soon!” He laughs, his hands motioning to the sky as if dismissing the fantasy. “In general, the safest people are the ones inside the net because no one can take or tear this net apart. Even the government, or other parties with economic interests in making parties and selling drinks can’t destroy it, because it’s like a bubble. Our scene is a wonderful scene that is co-existent to normal society. We are not bothering them, most of the people after the weekend go to work and lead a normal life. If the party has good expression, people will come again, if they don’t come again maybe I’m not so necessary next time. If they do come again maybe I am necessary to the party, but for the right reasons. Not because of promotion and interviews and being everywhere in the media. Promotion is essentially a lack of talent or attraction.” Herein lies the crux of the reverence bestowed by legions of fans on Villalobos. Whether it’s in the middle of an eighthour set in fabric’s main room (a club he describes as being run by “really wonderful people who put in a lot of dedication to the party happening, often at a big risk”), or at Sonar, or The Robert Johnson, or any electronic music institution where the sound system is paramount, the wild experimental dexterity of peak-time Ricardo Villalobos sets him totally apart from the pack. The number of risks he takes has become the most enduring feature of his legacy and his most celebrated facet, not just of his DJ career but also his production work. Creator of some of the most ambitious and outright bizarre electronic constructions of the last 20 years, his latest work can only be heard at the party on weekends, and his physical releases are frequent and confounding in both length and form. This field of ambition has proved crucial to his survival. While detractors have held him up as minimal techno’s foremost purveyor, when the genre became something of a dirty word – shorthand for posing, wearing sunglasses in dark rooms and horse tranquilliser – Villalobos was already reaching far beyond the genre’s rather shaky roots. His 2003 debut album Alcachofa remains the genre’s masterpiece, spawning the majestic, polyrhythmic Easy Lee and the achingly melancholic refrains of Dexter. Though these were the show ponies, a 19-minute remix of Shackleton’s
Blood On My Hands – a dystopian ode to 9/11 – remains one of the most affecting pieces of abstract techno ever released and cemented him as a superstar outside the booth. Two more full album releases, a mix CD for fabric that was essentially an artist album, a reinterpretation of a classical record with collaborator Max Loderbauer and a slew of EP releases with tracks that frequently check in between 12 and 30 minutes, as well as over 100 remixes to his name have proven Villalobos to be something of a studio addict. Even as we sit talking, he feels pangs of guilt about missing studio time. “I protect my time, so today for example I need to go into the studio. When I found out I had an interview I was like ‘no, no!’” He laughs, but there’s no doubt he means it. “Even having an interview is not protecting my time and space for producing or listening to music.” The careful division of time between the trinity of the home, the studio and the party is an issue of profound important for Villalobos, but time management is also a key feature of his professional work, namely in the comparative elongation his tracks. As the minutes and the phases build, length and repetition become instruments in themselves. “If the track hypnotises me so well, I forget the time,” he says. “Even if the music is half an hour in, it was probably worth it, so I stop the recording. If a track is shorter, it’s because everything was done and all the mixtures, the frequencies, the claps, the bass drums, basslines are complete, so we can also stop the recording. But as far as the length of my tracks are concerned, I’m not guilty for that. I’ve done several remixes and productions and handed them over to the person in question in their raw version which are say between 10, 30, 40, 50 minutes long – but it’s not my fault, I’m just giving them the track and if they want they can cut, cut, cut! I much prefer other people doing the edits, because for me it’s really difficult.” It’s a pattern adhered to in recent remixes of Insanlar’s Kime Ne and his own Voodog. Each a two-part release due to the fulllength of both pieces reaching over half an hour, they boasted those typical Villalobos traits of percussive strains and warped vocal abstractions. But though his own musical connections are built on more esoteric leanings, on organic percussion mutated and elongated into infinity, it’s the connection itself which is key. If people are being harmoniously brought together under the banner of music, then why should it matter what that music is?
“When journalists talk about the social phenomena of parties, it is only positive journalism that helps the people to understand why it is good. Writing something negative about music or art in itself – I detest this”
“I can’t condemn EDM or cheesy pop music if the people democratically decided that’s what they want,” he declares. “It belongs to them. When music connects people, whatever the music, it has a really strong healing influence on society because it connects their interests. People who have the same interests do not go to war and kill each other. It’s hard to kill someone when you share similar values.” That said, his mood turns when discussing why he doesn’t play in America, and particularly his feelings towards Burning Man. “I would go, but there are millions of parties between here and Burning Man,” Villalobos stresses. “I’m not going because I have my Burning Man every weekend, and I’m not going there to share with people that have millions of pounds in their account and invent a system to share things for 10 days, but in normal life they don’t care about anyone.” After our serene start the interview ends on a spiky note. Where there is disorder and disquiet Villalobos is seemingly at his most vulnerable – though one suspects if he did find himself at the heart of Burning Man, he’d probably be the first on the Playa. The themes of order, discipline and structure away from the public eye remain the most potent variable during our time together. There is an incredible resilience against anything severing the systems he has in place that have provided him with so much success, whether that be his home life, his studio life or his party life. Balance is of singular importance. He is dependent on little, but serenely happy. As our conversation winds to a close we’re interrupted by a professional speaker technician, invited round to tinker with that insanely impressive system. As asides go, nothing could feel like a more apt. I happily make way. In this world and in the mind of Villalobos the DJ and producer lies a musical imagination that hasn’t just re-shaped what’s possible within the parameters of techno, but in the history of music. He remains utterly unique, so free of modern day restraints that he doesn’t even understand the concept of compromise. He should be treasured as a true musical visionary of our time. Ricardo Villalobos headlines Time Warp Mannheim, 5-6 April, and Sonus Festival, Croatia, 16-20 August
12" – OUT NOW
7" – OUT NOW
7" – 23rd MARCH
The Times: “a giant leap forward... a brighter, poppier sound, boosted by satisfying blasts of distortion.” Nme: “a grotty, grubby and exciting refining of Cheatahs’ sound”
The Wichita debut for a new signing we are very excited about.
NPR: “When Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker harmonize, it’s like a lightning bolt to the gut”
The Fader: “a swelling indie rock pick-me-up” diY: “a serious melody maker”
The 405: “The promise of more to come from Girlpool is irresistible”
HAPPY 50tH CRACK! here’s to many more g r e at i s s U e s . t h a n K yo U F o r t h e s U P P o r t o F w i c h i ta a r t i s t s .
LP / CD – 6th APRIL
LP / CD – 19th MAY
The third Waxahatchee album is the sound of an artist truly coming into her own. Katie Crutchfield continues to write songs with the honesty and intimacy of her lauded previous work, now delivering them with a new level of confidence and power.
The sophomore album from a band which features members of Cloud Nothings, Emeralds, Cruelster and Swindlella. Totally tuneful, punky indie rock with a wonderfully twisted edge.
all releases a l s o ava i l a b l e d i g i ta l ly W e h av e s o m u c h m o r e fa n ta s t i c m u s i c to t e l l yo u a b o u t t h i s y e a r … Watc h t h i s s pac e …
w w w.w i c h i ta - r e c o r d i n g s .c o m
After 16 years of touring their rebellious grunge punk, L7 ground to a halt in 2001. By this point they were notorious for more than their music; in their 90s heyday the band – consisting of Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Jennifer Finch and Demetra Plakas – were renowned for their raucous live shows, political activism and prochoice campaigning. Currently enjoying a surge of enthusiasm from fans, the band will play their first live dates in 14 years alongside the release of a crowd-sourced documentary entitled L7: Pretend We’re Dead. We spoke to Sparks about the band’s forthcoming reformation and the moments that shaped her fabled career. 1985: Forming the band I moved to LA at 19 and met Suzie Gardner through my job at LA Weekly, she was playing the kind of music that I wanted to play – distorted guitar and tough rock and roll, and I added my hookier side. They were rough times. We had no money, and Suzie and I struggled a lot just keeping the band together. At the time I found LA to be a borderline misogynistic town, especially in the rock world. Guys who wanted to play hard rock didn’t want to be playing with chicks. Our first drummer was a guy, he eventually got kicked out of the band for calling us cunts and bitches and not wanting to play a gay bar. When Jennifer came in she had a lot of drive, she was fearless in talking to people and asking for things. Dee was a very solid drummer, a very solid human being, and a very good friend. The sound really solidified then and became powerful, people started going crazy. October 1991: First Rock For Choice concert When we started to get popular, I thought we should do something for pro choice. I’ve always been a feminist and we were in this position of power as a female band. [LA Weekly journalist] Sue Cummings got us in touch with the Feminist Majority Foundation, who we partnered with. We were like ‘we know this band called Nirvana, and they’re getting really big and we think they’ll play for us’. Abortion clinics in the US were under attack – there were bombings, freaks protesting trying to block women going in, it was really intense. The response was great; people were like ‘hallelujah, somebody’s doing something about this.’
1992: Breaking the mainstream Sub Pop brought us to an international audience, we played Europe, we were hot shit. Then we recorded Bricks Are Heavy when Nevermind hit the charts. We were friends with Nirvana and we watched their huge explosion, and suddenly we were blowing up too. Being in the mainstream was never part of the plan and that was just blowing our minds. It was a time when record labels had a lot of money and so many underground bands were getting signed. We were unique in the fact that we were women playing this very aggressive punk rock, our shows were mayhem and people really hooked on to it. That whole L7 ride was really great, until the end, which got really depressing [laughs]. But on the ascent it was fabulous. 1992: Controversial performance on The Word From what I understand it's a little bit of television history in the UK – people may not know who L7 is but they’ve heard of the chick who took her pants down on live TV, I’m fine with that, I had already thrown my tampon at the crowd at Reading Festival by this point. That show had weird stuff going on, they had a men’s bum contest and a hidden camera in Oliver Reed’s dressing room, showing him intoxicated with his shirt off, which was really fucked up. So I added my contribution to this craziness. We were never asked to do live television again. 2015: Reforming We were doing audio interviews for the forthcoming L7 documentary and that got us talking again. When we posted on Facebook we started to get an immense response from fans – sheer enthusiasm from them, to the point of badgering, to get out and do some shows. You go away for a while and you don’t realise that people still really want to see you. There’s been an outpouring of support, it's fantastic for us insecure artists to read positive remarks. This is all happening at the moment that it was supposed to happen. L7: Pretend We’re Dead is due to be released later this year. L7 tour Europe this June
"Abortion clinics were under attack. The response to Rock For Choice was ‘Hallelujah'"
Words: Anna Tehabsim
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
Turning Points: L7's Donita Sparks
To conjure up a colour-saturated dream world, Purity Ring need little more than a laptop and the chemistry of two stimulated minds Words: James F. Thompson Photography: Alex de Mora
Three years ago, the Canadian duo of Megan James [vocals] and Corin Roddick [production] released Shrines, their first album as Purity Ring. With Corin’s iceblasted synths and fragmented, RnBinfluenced beats, it was the sort of thing naval-gazing critics at the time labelled “future pop” and bundled up with the likes of Grimes – who’d released her own breakthrough record a few months prior – with a smidgen of justification. Megan’s lyrics, meanwhile, tackled matters of the heart through macabre metaphors involving disembowelment, drilling holes through eyelids, having her sternum ripped out and other particularly gruesome acts. Ostensibly there was an emotional core to it all and to be sure, Megan’s voice certainly sounded vulnerable enough but the gore suggested her emotions were not to be toyed with. It was with some trepidation, then, that I took my seat opposite the pair in a backstreet photography studio as people clattered about around us, preparing for the shoot. Did Megan have the deeply damaged psyche that her lyrics would suggest? Would Corin turn out to be pretentious and self-serious? Thankfully, the answer was an emphatic no on both scores. Corin, dressed in grey and black, is unwaveringly polite and thoughtful as he offers studied responses to all my questions. He’s also shy. Megan is wrapped up in a cosy-looking off-white outfit and is smaller than I expect, sipping tea between cheerful replies. I’ve got nothing to worry about. Still, I say, those lyrics – a mix of the morbid and intensely personal pulled from Megan’s own collection of journals and writings – would be difficult to draw from from a well-balanced, happy place. “It’s more about being satisfied, not happy,” she offers cryptically. “Or like, understood and understanding, rather than happy. Maybe it feels good at the end but not all the way through.” She lets out a resigned sigh. “Such is life.” Fortunately, new record Another Eternity – recently released via 4AD – should be a major source of satisfaction for the two.
Another Eternity is a bigger, brighter and altogether bolder experience than Shrines. Megan’s vocals, once shrouded in effects and Auto-Tune, are now crystalline and pure in the main. Much of the bloodshed in her lyrics is influenced by the heartache of a breakup, and is implied rather than made explicit (“Meet me in the back shed, I’ll be hanging up the knives,” she sings on Stillness in Woe). Instead, the dreamlike and surreal takes centre stage. “There’s definitely a lightness to [the new album] and that’s really intensified,” Megan says. “I feel like making anything – in this case our music – you do it in an attempt to create a world where you feel comfortable existing, or that you need in order to, like, go on. I feel like that’s kind of a part of why it seems like it’s turned into this figurative dreamy place that you can go…” Corin cuts in: “Any way that we can transport people through music and visuals, that’s ideal.” Megan’s lyrics are inarguably deeply personal and I can’t help but wonder whether there’s a degree of discomfort given that she’s now exploring themes of vulnerability so directly. I ask her about a lyric from new track Flood on the Floor, which goes: “Don’t forget the way she pushed the water inside.” It feels like a metaphor. “Uh. Oh. Hmmm.” For the first and only time during our chat, Megan is completely lost for words. Tears seem to glisten in her eyes. “I was hoping no one would ever ask what that meant,” she finally says, quietly. “It doesn’t mean you have to answer it,” Corin responds, momentarily protective. Megan clears her throat before continuing. “I guess in a sense that song is about … I use the word ‘she’ in it a lot because it’s a very feminine song about the womb. I think that’s all I’ll say about it,” she concludes, laughing nervously. We move on. Purity Ring concede that, with Another Eternity, there was a concerted effort this time around to achieve a more direct, bombastic sound; a process of elimination that involved a more intelligent use of space. “We took all the ‘haze’ out. It’s when you remove things that everything else gets bigger,” Megan explains. “It’s not what you use to gain size. It’s what you lose.” Perhaps an even more significant change the pair made to the recording process, though, was co-location. Putting together Shrines via file-swapping, Megan and Corin lived hundreds of miles apart across Canada – she in Halifax, he in Montreal. “That’s the thing, it wasn’t even sending things back and forth, it was just, like, sending things once,” Corin laughs.
“We took all the ‘haze’ out. When you remove things, everything else gets bigger” - Megan James
After a period of touring and resting up, Corin and Megan ditched their previous approach and came together amidst the frozen industrial landscapes of their birthplace – Edmonton – to record album number two. Another major development was the move to a bona fide recording studio for the sessions, although Corin downplays its impact. “I don’t use a ton of gear or anything; I like to keep my setup as minimal as possible. Like, 95% of what I do is just on a laptop,” he says. Megan starts laughing. “This giant mixing board would be there and the laptop was just like, sat on top of it!” she marvels. “Having a studio isn’t that crucial but it’s just comfortable,” Corin counters. “Although yeah, it was a bit indulgent. There would be all this amazing vintage gear with an incredible board with a laptop dumped on top and we’d just be using, like, one mic for vocals.” But while Purity Ring describe their craft with a faintly self-deprecating sense of humour, both Corin and Megan are visibly proud – and rightly so – of the expansive aural experience that is Another Eternity. I ask which song is their favourite. “Bodyache,” they both say. “It feels like an achievement just because it seems like the type of song we’ve wanted to make for years, even back to the very first song we ever wrote, which was Ungirthed,” adds Corin. “Maybe in a few years we’ll do something better than that. But for now, I feel good knowing that’s absolutely the best we can do.” Another Eternity is released 2 March via 4AD
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
One of the great things about being a music writer is getting to meet the personalities behind the music. Sometimes you’ll be presented with an endearing contradiction, other times people turn out pretty much exactly as you would imagine. Navigating the rain-soaked alleyways of Bethnal Green on the way to meet Purity Ring, though, I had pretty good reason to be apprehensive.
The gnarled visage of drone metal’s creation, Dylan Carlson’s Earth are revelling in an unlikely second chance Words: Tom Watson Photography: Antonio Curcetti
Dylan Carlson has this joke. It’s one that’s been parroted for over a decade now. “I joke I only had one good idea in my lifetime and have decided to run with it.” He laughs earnestly, winter winds bayonetting at his lungs as he relieves the catarrh from his throat. Carlson is currently travelling with his bandmates Adrienne Davies and Dom McGreevy to the north of England, a place he treasures for its folklore and sardonic humour. There’s this giddy movement to his delivery. “Obviously I’m as happy as a
into his music’s prolonged sustain. The audience hardly move, put under by Earth’s amplification. “We brought three guitar heads with us on this tour and blew two in Birmingham. I’ve really really missed playing loud” Carlson says, knowingly. It’s particularly rare for a band like Earth to have the luxury of a second chance. Their legacy can be partitioned into two polemic eras. Formed in the grisly bosom of the Seattle grunge scene in the early 90s, Carlson’s first era of Earth was a clamorous slobbering of elongated instrumental fuzz stretched out into fragmented riffs that would repeat and repeat and repeat. Like the hallucinatory arcs Earth’s music was trapped in, the majority of this time Carlson spent doped in a storm of narcotics. His criminal activity was habitual. Wrongly famed for aiding his best friend, Kurt Cobain, in his suicide (he gave Cobain the shotgun which was subsequently used to end the frontman’s life on the pretence that it was only to be used in times of defence), Carlson’s career was ebbing away. After the canonical three-track debut album Earth 2: Special Low-Frequency was followed by two ill-received records between 1995 to 1996, Carlson succumbed to a sonic oblivion, disbanding Earth and tumbling off the radar for nine years.
news that the record sold more than all the Earth records combined in the first week alone, I was speechless.” But despite Primitive and Deadly’s surprisingly accessible heavy rock marauding, Billboard chart climbing is not what drives Earth Mk II. “I knew from day one as soon as A&R men started crawling out of Seattle’s woodwork we were never going to be a major label band. That was not our route. But the success of this record is overwhelming. “I’ve always felt like when you’re recording an album, you’re recording a specific moment in time and its set of variables will never be the same again. And it’s the same with live shows. It’s us and this audience who are creating this moment in time that will never happen again in the same way. It’s this moment of possibility and transcendence that doesn’t occur every time. The best shows for me are when I almost don’t even know that they’ve happened. I start and suddenly it’s over. Those are the shows that matter.”
My influences for Primitive and Deadly were early riff-based groups like Scorpions and Diamond Head. Bands that could make the similar dissimilar.” Despite his own synonymy with a very distinct musical subgenre, Carlson struggles to register with the music industry’s inclination to produce homogenous copies of the same sounds. “Bands, especially in metal, are obsessed with the microgenre. And instead of all these microgenres making music more broad, it has a reductionist tendency. It almost feels like people decide what kind of microgenre their band’s going to be before they start, rather than playing together and seeing what happens. You can be influenced by a band but that doesn’t mean you have to sound exactly like them. There just aren’t any gaps anymore.” But is this just another sign of Carlson’s detachment from modernity, the same detachment manifested in his fervour for English oral history? “I think there’s a contrariness and a resistance to modernity that I find attractive. I like being a curmudgeon,” he says. Yet modern audiences dote on Carlson’s Earth as he blithely explores the outer-boundaries of drone. “The Devil makes work for idle hands,” Carlson lets out another crow of laughter, “I find myself very busy nowadays, but I need it to be that way. And thankfully people are still interested in Earth’s second era. Really, there’s a point where I think a band should stop. There are bands that shouldn’t keep going and bands that have stopped who should never get back together. Hopefully I haven’t worn out my welcome yet and hopefully, when that moment comes, I’ll know not to continue past it.”
“There’s a contrariness and a resistance to modernity that I find attractive. I like being a curmudgeon”
Then came Hex, Earth’s 2005 return. While Carlson was in the wilderness Earth’s influence had grown far, inspiring a musical movement, including being more or less the sole formative influence of the now-adored Sunn O))) – but his newfound direction was starkly different. The devilish repetition was still intact, but Carlson’s guitar work had manifested into something far more shamanistic. Pocketed influences of Ennio Morricone and Neil Young were more overt while the previous nods to minimalist prime movers La Monte Young and Terry Riley were more pronounced. Carlson reflects on this time with a chastity of gratitude, “There are a lot of people who established us on our second run after the release of Hex. Since then, all of our records have been received very positively. pig in shit to be back in the UK,” he cracks another chesty cackle. As the founding member of doom drone devisors Earth, Carlson’s ‘one good idea’ is currently traversing from London to Newcastle with multiple appearances between. The shows, championing the group’s eighth studio album Primitive and Deadly, are sell-outs. Starting at Islington Assembly Hall, Earth’s performance was captured as a live stream for Boiler Room. One shot dissolves into the next in a whirring delirium as Carlson slouches back
“We’ve toured a lot more, we’re much more of a present, functioning band than during the first era. We just weren’t popular. It’s weird now, because so many people talk about Earth 2 as a seminal piece of work. But the first pressing of that record was only 2000 copies and it took three years to sell. It was not universally acclaimed.” Carlson begins to laugh again – now, with the success of Primitive and Deadly, the band have amassed a reputation surpassing what anyone could have speculated. “Our latest record charted. I can’t really fathom that. When I got the
Like last December’s unexpected Ninja Tune collaboration Boa/Cold with fellow low-end fetishist Kevin Martin of The Bug, Primitive and Deadly stands as proof of Carlson’s fearless thrust to evolve and better his previous works. Yet the album hasn’t been met with total esteem from Earth formalists. Amongst the throwback hard riffing of 70s heavy metal and the sludgey drone nuanced by the likes of Neurosis and The Melvins, are the occasional inclusion of vocals – a trait seldom utilised in Earth’s aural arsenal. “I always thought of vocals in a different way than most bands. It’s more like if we use them, how should we use them? I really love what Wolves in the Throne Room did with Jessica [Kennedy] on Celestial Lineage. For Earth, vocals need to be instruments rather than the cheaper frontand-centre thing. “It’s funny because a lot of people that dig us are just into noise. And that stuff is cool. Maybe I’m showing my age, but I don’t think doing loud or extreme music means you have to sacrifice melody or a riff. Songs can still have arcs and development. To me, everything is focused around the riff. It’s the riff you want to hear over and over again.
Primitive and Deadly is out now via Southern Lord Records. Earth headline Temples Festival, Bristol, 29-31 May
“I don’t think it exists yet in the material world but perhaps it could exist in the future, if we learn the power of our own imagination. We’re able to think of and inhabit places that aren’t colonised yet. That’s the message of the album in a way; our dreams are still our own, our dreams haven’t been sold yet, and they’re incredibly powerful.” Jack Latham has always typified a bunch of producers assembling music with an architectural approach, building imagined environments for their electronic constructions. Making music as Jam City, his is a sound born entirely out of fantasy and imagination, feeding off the textural brutalist structures of his label home Night Slugs. Though a stylistic U-turn, Latham’s latest album might be the most explicit exploration of this theme yet. Grappling to live and love within a stifling world, Dream A Garden finds Latham tearing down his chrome-plated realm of inspiration, and longing for an environment that doesn’t yet exist. It’s been three years since Jam City’s blueprint album Classical Curves. Widely regarded as one of the most influential electronic albums of the decade so far, it incubated the London producer’s stylised amalgam; angular yet incredibly bold and expressive. A montage of disembodied sounds where broken glass and camera flashes feel comforting, Latham’s debut album subtly imitated a dystopian present; beneath its seductive gleam laid a sinister, distinctly inhuman refraction of Western society. Where Classical Curves was influenced by the physical material of capitalism – marble, mansions, oily black Jeep windows – Dream A Garden sees Latham tackling the emotional fallout of its excess.
Words: Anna Tehabsim Photography: Jonangelo Molinari
You can trace this evolution through his sublime Earthly mix series, where feverish NY ballroom and grime unfurl into the stretched out, displaced comedown of the third instalment. “The digital culture we live in often makes a virtue out of being incorporeal,” Latham explains over Skype. “The meaning behind the name is that there is a physical world that we still inhabit. As scary and as unkind as it is, it’s ours to take back.”
Love breeds change: harnessing the power of dreams with Jam City
Having teased first single Unhappy through a site that requires users to click through various ‘pop-ups’, Latham outlined reasons for his pervasive unhappiness; under-25 depression, nauseating capitalist ideals, aggressive weight loss schemes and alien muscular definition are just a few. “It’s a reality, just walking down the street to get a pint of milk you are bombarded by expectations, lifestyles trying to be sold to you, or things you should be doing. It’s really difficult not to let that make you feel really unhappy and depressed.” Embracing traditional songwriting structures, this is the first time Latham has used his voice so clearly. As it utters through a mist of undulating guitar leads, cushioned chords and brunt edges, sadness permeates his lyricism too. It’s an unexpected, yet remarkably affecting comment on the persistent millennial anxiety many find their lives embroiled in. “I expect more from mainstream popular culture than what is being given to us at the moment,” he explains. “I have very high expectations of it, I want to hear things that make me question a lot of the standards by which we’re taught to live our lives.” For Latham, lyricism was a way of streamlining his concerns in order to communicate them, crediting Curtis Mayfield as a massive influence for his ability to write love songs, and songs that have a conscience. “It’s a really privileged position to be in, to make music that is going to be heard by people,” he says. “Even if it’s a small audience, you have to take responsibility for that and try and commit to it emotionally.
“This imagery, this objectification of bodies, it all contributes to a fascist landscape,” he continues. “I don’t think that’s OK and I know that I’m not the only one who thinks that. I know that we all feel under pressure from that world and it’s my way of saying, ‘it’s OK to be angry about this, we should try and make our voices heard together.’”
it. I wonder whether he thinks this is being reflected in club culture at large. “As part of an underground culture, even if it is global now, it’s important to realise the power in not being immediately monetised or having capital expectations of ourselves. We can honestly take things wherever we want. We have this huge opportunity to talk about these things, to open up conversations. I really want to contribute to that, to start a dialogue.” Indeed, the very act of DJing brings into question ideas of authorship and appropriation, and an expert navigation of that is something that Night Slugs have made their name for. Yet, in London for example – a city that Latham agrees has become a “ghetto for rich people” – it can be increasingly difficult to actively participate in counter culture. “The parties I started going to when I was younger did feel very politicised and very much felt like a free space away from daily struggles. It’s important that we try and preserve that.”
“There is a physical world that we still inhabit. As scary and as unkind as it is, it’s ours to take back”
Since his debut release on Night Slugs in 2010, stark contrast tugs at the core of Latham’s work, a palpable interplay between the hard and the playful, between muscular aggression and hyper-femininity. “To try and express something in between, something a little bit more complex, is one of the main reasons I wanted to express myself via music,” Latham tells me. “It allowed opportunity to be slightly more ambiguous.” Disillusioned with a cold, stifling scene, Latham’s interpretation of masculine energy reflects this desire to present ways of being that are counter to mainstream, normative culture. “There’s a lot of aggression on the dancefloor at the moment,” Latham laments. “It became really important to try and put something out that connected emotionally. I don’t want to put out aggressive, cold, masculine energy onto the dancefloor, I want people to love and respect each other.” Discarding ambiguity, Latham’s ideas are more clear-cut than ever. He’s been resolutely explicit in his motivation for the album, and the political intentions behind
Though Dream A Garden’s soft, bloated core provides the soundtrack to Latham’s lullabies for a hopeful world, the sound hunches beneath a layer of destructive corrosion, existing on an axis of crushing and growth. Indeed, a key aspiration behind the album is resistance. Latham isn’t only interested in mourning our freedom; he’s inspired most by our ability to reject our fate. If Dream A Garden inhabits an asyet uncolonised space, where does this resistance come from? Latham responds with passion, and I think it’s worth printing his answer in full. “It comes from learning to love yourself, to love others, reclaiming your ability to dream,” he declares. “I don’t know how we can change this world systematically, but I do know that it’s possible. The first step is resisting, saying no to a lot of the awful ideologies of this world, selfishness, greed, money, to reclaim the dream. The
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
Rejecting the bleakness of the present, Dream A Garden is Latham’s rallying cry for those left cold by apathy and austerity. “It felt urgent to make a record that reflected the reality of a lot of people’s lives at the moment,” he says, “to try and orientate the work to ideas of love, passion, solidarity, and resistance against what can feel like a totally oppressive world sometimes.” It’s not an abandonment of his stimulus but an inversion, looking at the individuals trying to function within cities that are being sold off before our eyes, and, as he outlined in the text accompanying the album, beneath “vacuous and superficial machinery.”
“The first step is resisting, saying no to the awful ideologies of this world, reclaiming the dream”
society we live in tries to buy our bodies and sell them back to us in a strange form. It conspires to estrange us from our own bodies, our sexualities, our own capacities to love and genuinely respect one another. It’s important to begin a process of saying no to this. While I don’t have the direct solution to dismantle the apparatus, it’s a starting point to realise that as a world we’re allowed to dream, we’re allowed to create a space that hasn’t been colonised, been alienated from us yet. A dream is the first step, allowing love into your life in whatever capacity, and trying to live according to those principles in a way.” Adopting the personal-is-political mantra, for Latham change begins at home. Describing his own embrace of these values as “an incredibly liberating experience”, Latham expands on the light he’s envisaged in this bleak corner we’ve carved out for ourselves. “I’m optimistic about our generation and the next generation, I think we have the opportunity to do an incredible and exciting thing in our culture, if we begin a process of saying no,” he concludes. “We have so much power, we really do.” Dream A Garden is released 23 March via Night Slugs
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
While writing her exceptional third full-length as Waxahatchee, Katie Crutchfield shut out the distractions and embraced the honesty of her words
Words: Suzie McCracken Photography: Roisin Murphy
Sure, it’s easy to make religious parallels when someone plays in a holy place. But the congregation are mouthing along to Crutchfield’s songs – eyes closed, heads bowed. These are functioning adults that know what their interest rates are, giving themselves wholly over to the simple, shadowy nature of her Philadelphian psalms. Is Crutchfield surprised to see her music become an apotheosis at live shows? “I go back and forth with that,” she admits when we speak to her a week or so later. “When I started doing stuff with my first record, American Weekend, I felt really attached to the songs ... like they were mine. So sometimes it was a little strange. But I’ve always operated under the assumption that the more specific you can be when you’re writing songs, the more relatable they will end up. So that doesn’t surprise me any more. But it’s always been just a little weird, I guess.” For someone who writes songs that are so incessantly personal, it’s interesting to hear Crutchfield be so frank about the results of putting it all out there. She seems somehow at peace despite her new record, Ivy Tripp, being centred around themes of being lost, a lack of direction. “It applies to the wander of the 20-something, 30-something, 40-something.” That’s a large chunk of humanity she considers to be displaced. “But who’s to say that directionlessness – that wandering – is a bad thing that makes people unhappy? A lot of the time those people who feel lost might be happier that way, even though they don’t have anything tangible to hold on to. But they have experiences.” It’s a major theme, and one which translates into the most simultaneously accessible and arrestingly dark music she’s ever made. Ivy Tripp has the gnashing lyrics of 2013’s Cerulean Salt but with songs that have shaken off the shadow of formative years spent obsessed with riot grrrl and grunge. Those hallmarks are still present, obviously – Waxahatchee wouldn’t be Waxahatchee unless it sounded like it could be on the Empire Records soundtrack – but Katie’s love of Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens provides a more classic foundation this time around.
Is the timelessness of something like Mitchell’s Blue what Crutchfield strives for? “That’s something that is really important to me,” she replies. “When you’re not trying to make something that sounds so sonically specific or current, then you open things up and it makes songwriting and making records easier. I definitely think about it a lot…” She pauses. “I mean, saying that my music is timeless sounds a little bit arrogant, but I just mean it’s important to me that I make music that’s going to age well.” But we can’t avoid the darkness forever. One of the album’s outstanding tracks, Less Than comes in just past the midpoint of Ivy Tripp, and its lyric stops the listener in their tracks. “You are less than me / I am nothing” is repeated, over and over. “That lyric is coloured in some dark humour, because I think if it wasn’t, it would be so melodramatic that it would be funny in a different way,” stressed Crutchfield. Does she worry that listeners won’t identify that tongue-in-cheek-ness? “That is like, the only lyric where I thought of it immediately and thought ‘that’s what the song is’. But that was also one of the only lyrics I’ve ever written where I thought ‘if people take this the wrong way it’s gonna make me look really weird’. But you just have to, to a certain extent, be unapologetic about what you’re doing creatively. That’s the song I wanted to write and that’s the thing I wanted to say so if I changed it because it was worried people wouldn’t get it … well, I don’t wanna do that kind of art.” Crutchfield has that quiet self-esteem that alludes British people; she knows after a decade of writing that she can create beauty. And she’s remarkably good at keeping herself cognitively distanced from anything that could damage that confidence in her art. When asked if the knowledge of an ever-widening audience affects her work, she says that making a record on Long Island, with just two friends/fellow producers for company, kept her from worrying. “It was easy for me to just forget about that and just make the record I wanted to make.” Unlike her famed week-long duringa-snowstorm recording of American Weekend, however, there were changes to how the threads of this album came together. Whereas previously Crutchfield was most comfortable writing a song in one sitting, this time she drafted. “I was really meticulous about the rhythm of the vocals, and the number of syllables I used, and the rhyming. Really meticulous. “That attention to detail is kinda nice because when it’s finished, it feels like more of an accomplishment.” So does she want
Issue 50 | crackmagazine.net
It’s early evening and Katie Crutchfield is performing Waxahatchee songs at St Pancras Old Church in North London. It’s her, a guitar, and around 100 people, seated in pews. But there’s something different about this crowd – they are older, wiser and more bespectacled than your average lot. And they are all in the throes of utter devotion.
listeners to come to this new achievement with fresh ears? To set aside their ideas about her previous work? “To me, the records have progressed one to the next because I made all of them and I like to draw a line from each one to the other, so if that’s something that’s nice for the listener to do as well, then I think that’s great. But also, if this is the first record that people are gonna hear, then I feel pretty good about that.”
“This album refers to the wander of the 20-something, 30-something, 40-something. But who’s to say that wandering is a bad thing?”
And yet, Crutchfield might not read any of the acclaim that’s about to be published. “I try not to look at my own press,” she says. “I struggle with it because I feel like in other forms of art people don’t take things so
seriously and take things away from it. I think in the long run it’s probably not a good thing to look at, especially for the kind of artist that I am, where I’m making the music I want to make and I’m trying not to worry about how people take it.” Assuming she’s wary of interviews too, however, would be a mistake. “I feel like I’ve worked out a lot of things just thinking out loud. If an interview is really good, I feel like I walk away from it feeling better than I did when I started.” Hopefully she felt a little better after this one. Ivy Tripp is released 7 April via Wichita. Waxahatchee appears at Green Man Festival, Glanusk Estate, Wales, 20-23 August
Daniel Avery New Energy [Collected Remixes]
Out now on Deluxe LTD Double CD & DIGITAL Includes remixes from Roman Flügel / Factory Floor / KiNK Rødhåd / Perc / Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve / Special Request
Debut album Out Now on CD / LP & Digital “Gloriously varied… an accomplished debut album” 8/10 LOUD & QUIET MOJO 4/5
Q MAGAZINE 4/5
DJ MAGAZINE 8.5/10
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