Thursday, 23 January 2014

Interview with Phil Manansala from OF MICE AND MEN - Playing Reading Festival 2014

The album streamed on Rock Sound today. Did you wake up with a nervous tummy wondering what the fans were going to say on the hashtags on social media etc?

Yeah, even though I’ve been driving all morning, I’ve had time to check my phone and look at the responses of everybody, and it's awesome to see people actually enjoying our music. And it is a different album than what people were expecting, but at the same they are still relating to the music, which is really nice. 

A lot of the feedback comments on how diverse an album it is. Was it a conscious decision that you wanted to cover many different sounds and styles?

We wanted to make this album so that if you are a fan of ‘this band or you're a fan and ‘that’ band… so if you like Linkin Park, or Korn, and obviously our band, you can find a song that you can relate to on this album. The songs are definitely really relatable. So If you want a heavy song we got those, if you want a slow love song we got that, if you want rock and roll song to jump around to we got that too. We tried to make sure we got all corners hit for everybody. 

There is definitely that Nu-Metal sound included (like you just touched upon). Over here at least for many Nu-Metal was deemed uncool  for a while. You guys have always been very happy to admit your love for the bands that fit within the bracket. What do you personally like about it? 

Oh man, it’s the heaviness, the emotion in the music. Like when you listen to like a Korn album, or a Linkin Park one, it has its heavy parts and also its emotional parts throughout. With us growing up in the 90s and early 2000’s, Korn and Linkin Park were like our favourite bands, so that's the kind of music we like to write because thats the music we enjoyed when we were younger. 

Why do you think some people look down on the genre?

Because people are scared. They just wanna hear what they wanna hear. Thats what todays media is - ‘We want this, so If they don’t do this we’ll be upset.’ So we took a step back and did just what we wanted to do. So it was a risk putting in that so called nu-metal sound. It was a risk we were willing to take, but we really weren’t sure if the fans were going to like our music. 

Would you say you are risk-takers in general?

Oh yeah, definitely big risk takers. There is no reason why not to take a risk, whether the outcome is good or bad. It was something we wanted to do. Either it would come out good or it would come out bad…but we wanted it. Luckily now, I feel like Nu-metal is still something the fans are into. So it was a good risk we had to take - it was worth it for sure. It is definitely new music and different to our old stuff, but it is also something that people our age can relate to with the guitar riffs, the vocals like that, and just the raw sound that it has. 

Now you work with David Bendeth who has an unbelievable discography…was there a record in particular that made you  think he was the right guy for you? 

Oh yeah…..(signal cuts out) 

Did you say Bring Me The Horizon?

Bring Me? Oh man, when he produced that my mind was blown seriously….I feel like a Bring Me Horizon advert. 

I hear he is quite a unique guy….

He is one of the kind. He makes sure all your emotions are in the music. Whether you are a vocalist, or a guitarist….He makes sure it an experience to record…you know. He knows how to pick you apart and put you on record. Its crazy because, especially with Austin on this record, his vocals were recorded how they should be for the first time, like raw and with pure emotion. 

For the first time you were allocated time to work in the studio, rather than grabbing time here and there….

Man, we got to be a band for a bit. It was a wonderful experience. Usually we just have to write songs on the road, in the back of the tour bus, and go ‘Does this sounds cool everybody?” We write as much as we can on the road but you can only do so much that way. So being able to go into the studio as a full band and write songs that we wanted to write, or write songs that we all came up with together, was the best experience we could have had as a band. 

What it hard to adjust to having so much time to write? Was it difficult to put pressure on yourselves to get things done?

Yeah, it was really stressful, especially working with a producer like that with so many hits. It was kinda like man we gotta step it up to the next level. And also having so much time, you know, and the album has been done for months. We have been out of the studio for like 2/3 months, with the album finished, so we have been just been sitting around waiting for it to unfortunately leak…it hasn’t (only a really bad version). But thinking about it and speaking about it for so long we kept thinking ‘ maybe we should have done that there or we should have changed that’. It’s a weird feeling. I‘ve said it like this. You can’t have five chefs in the kitchen you know, it’s hard. Everyone has their own input on each song, so sometimes it can get kind of crazy. Someone would have that one idea that would bring a song together then the rest would be like ‘shut up’. It was kinda crazy having that, like I said, that mentality of five chefs in the kitchen. Who’s right in the situation to do this? Being in the studio for that long had to happen. We needed to be in the studio that long to create THIS. 

Did you find someone in the band came forward as the mediator or peacemaker when you got in to debates? 

That’s the funny thing about this band, we kept battling,battling and battling until we got tired of battling. If Austin really dug something and someone else didn’t, we’d think well if Austin likes that part we’ll keep it as his vocals are the main line that goes over the music. So he had a lot of call. Him and Aaron actually because their vocals were determining what the music was. So if it wasn’t something they liked we’d keep going and make it something they could use to make things better.  

How do you all ensure you get your moment to shine when it comes to performing the tracks live? Have you accomplished this in Restoring Force? 

Yeah, there are songs that we all shine in. There’s a cool guitar piece I do, and Alan has a sweet guitar solo. The thing with Tino is, I actually feel like he really had to cut back on the drums, he is a phenomenal drummer, but with this album he had to cut back a lot. So when we were performing live a couple of days ago on the tour he went in and all the crazy parts he wanted to do on the album. It is pretty awesome to hear, because you know he was a little upset he had to dumb it down on the album, but at the same time playing live now he puts all his nice little drum fills and tricks and it just sounds INSANE! Seriously!

Did you find because you recorded a lot of it raw and live that you have all improved your skills as musicians?  

Yeah, definitely. Going into that studio I really felt like a guitar player, when I went in, but then left as a musician. I learned so much about my instrument, you know. Going in and having Bendeth, who is a guitar player, a better guitar player than me. So he would say stuff like, ‘Come on Phil I could do that blindfolded.’ or 'left handed’ or ‘first take’. He would get in to my head sometimes and it would push me to want to do more and drive me to do more. It definitely was an experience to go in there, especially because he is older obviously, he just taught us so much as musicians. We learnt so much about everything. 

Were you surprised at how much the addition of Aaron opened up the amount of melodic possibilities? 

Yeah, I’ve know Aaron for a couple of years, and knew he was a great singer, but I didn’t know how great a musician and a writer he was as well. He really opened up the books to us to really accept this OMAM album to change… not change out style, but go for a little better, a bit more easy listening. I didn’t know he has these ideas in his head, and in the studio he put them all done and I was like ‘Wow’. It is unbelievable the talent that he has. He really stepped it up a couple notches and one he did that everyone realised they had to that step up as well. 

The album goes in hard with Public Service Announcement and ends in an ethereal, melodic, positive track. How did you decide on the right order for the record? 

We wanted to keep itt spaced around, you know. Opens up with a heavy song, then a singy song after that, then another heavy song, and then another sing-y song after that. We kind of wanted to space it around the heavy songs and to showcase to our fans that we still have the heaviness, but then at the same time showcase our new style to the potential new fans. We just kinda listened to all the new songs and figured out a good flow, a good easy listening flow song after song, that you wanna keep banging you head and just going with the flow of the music. It took a while actually, a couple weeks to get that in - we wanted it to be perfect. 

You are coming to the UK in April for a headline tour. Will you use that to gauge which songs have connected with the UK, ahead of your Reading and Leeds performance? 

Yeah. I am so so excited to get back to the UK. It’s been so long since we’ve been there. Like, not last year, but the year before that, I felt like I was in the UK more than I was at home, so it’s exciting to go back, and we will definitely see what songs are obviously more popular out in the UK, because everyone has their own handful of songs they like.It is the first headliner of Restoring Force we are doing, so I think we might try to play a lot more of the new songs compared to old ones. It doesn’t really matter which ones they like we are gonna give it to em!!

Now, when you come to the UK are there places, restaurants, clubs etc that you make sure you hit? 

Yeah, Um. First things first when I come to the UK, is I go to Stanford Bridge because I’m a Chelsea fan. I usually do my little walk through, and I’ll go to a game, and I try and buy a Jersey every time I’m there. I do that, and right off I’ll either go to Nandos or Wagamama, usually Nandos though. Then I usually like to go and get some drinks in Camden, personally I like Camden town… and sometimes Soho - it’s pretty cool. But Camden is definitely more my vibe. 

Oh you won’t like me, I’m a Man U fan…

Aw, last season was not good for you at all. I was actually really happy, especially because Chelsea usually gets their ass kicked by United, but finally we have resolved that! I was pretty happy about that.

The tables have turned for sure. You are one of the first bands to be announced for Reading and Leeds Festival 2014. For many bands it is an iconic festival and one they really want to play. Is that the case for you guys?

Yeah, man, it is actually unbelievable. I remember watching Nirvana videos from that festival. It kinda blows my mind that we were offered to play and I think we are headlining a stage so it’s like ‘JESUS! What’s going on!!?’ We were a homegrown band just playing hometown shows, it feels like we’ve grown overnight. It is an unbelievable feeling to be on a line up with so many great acts and just to go back and play Reading and Leeds, I’m pumped. BLINK 182 is going to be there, I don’t even care about the set, I’m just happy to see them. 

Are you going to come up with any cool production features, covers, or guest appearances for your set?

Man, I don’ t even know. That is a good question because I think now maybe we could do some production, or maybe we can have a guest and do something. So we don’ t have anything up our sleeves yet but usually we do…just not ready yet. I hope we will! 

When an albums just been put out to give yourselves a break from writing?

Writing happens almost everyday. There is not one time where our band is like, ‘We’ve got a new album, out lets just relax now’. The more music we have prepared ahead of the next album the better. Everyone has their 10-15 songs a piece, that is like 60 songs we can go through and pick out the best parts and put them together and that can potentially be a song we put on an album. 

When do you find you personally get your inspiration. When lying in bed, when driving for example? 

I like to just… I call it ‘freestyle guitar’ for a little bit. I put it to a click and start playing guitar .Sometimes if I want to write a song that is like a song, I’ll listen to say System of a Down and aim to write the next Toxicity. So I’ll listen to that song and work out how they put it together, then try to do something just as driving, or just as fast, and catchy as their style. 

I find whenever I’ve tried to write I song it ends up sounding exactly like another song? How often does that happen for you?

Yeah, sometimes you don’t even realise when you are writing and jamming, and then the next thing you know you work out you’ve just wasted hours writing a drum programme to it, or something like that, and you’re like ‘Man I wished I’d worked this out sooner!’ There are so many songs out in the world you never know. It's crazy how many songs have the same riffs but with different drums or different vocals. Some people have no idea…

Yeah, I guess you can’t possibly know every song out there…

At the same time though if you have an idea just write it out and if you suddenly realise it is someone else's riff or something, just try and change it up and make it your own! That is kinda like what we do. It has happened before. 

A silly question to end out chat. Do you have a secret, weird or unusual hobby or skill that might surprise your fans? 

Hmmm, a weird hobby? I dunno?! I don’t think it is that weird…I play video games and smoke weed!!

Haha that is pretty standard isn’t it? 

Um yeah it is pretty common to me. I do clean a lot?! I have a thing about cleaning.

A bit OCD perhaps?

Yeah, I clean until it is CLEAN. Until it is to my liking, until it is insanely clean. So.. like dusting, sweeping, vacuuming. That is like every other day. But, I dunno…Oh yeah, I road bike, that’s a hobby.

Nothing too weird though (disappointed)

I’m a Chelsea fan?

Yeah that will work for me….

A lot of the UK fans get at me because I’m a Chelsea fan saying, ‘So why do you support Chelsea?” I’m like, ‘I have been watching them my whole life. Why do you like orange juice?’ Cos its good…

I could be weird…I don’t think I do anything too random?! 

Maybe a question for your bandmates….

Haha yeah I don’t think I’m too weird. 

Ok, I’ll let you go now . Thanks for chatting.

No problem, thanks for the interview.  Hope you have a good day.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Clean Bandit - Live version of 'Rather Be' at Sub - Sonic

Clean Bandit are one of the hottest acts in the UK right now with their current catchy number 'Rather Be' sitting pretty at Number 1 in the midweeks of the UK single charts. It's also the most blogged track on Hype Machine as well as topping the iTunes chart. I reckon it is going to be a massive year for the band. 

This innovative electronic collective are built around a string quartet and recently performed at Fred Perry's Sub-Sonic Live show alongside fellow up and comers Gorgon City and Javeon and this live version of 'Rather Be' is taken from that show. Having already racked up 1.1 million views for the official video, this is a great live version.

Sub-Sonic Live brings together the most influential heritage artists and tomorrow's trailblazers and previous guests have included Lee 'Scratch' PerryAndrew WeatherallTerry HallThe HorrorsFactory FloorTom Vek and King Krule. 

For more tracks and interviews go to


Interview with Hannah Beth Fincham

I first came across your amazing pieces when you created a studded leather jacket for Young Guns’ Bones Video. What have you been up to since then?

Mainly growing the collection and working on a smaller embroidered sister collection of sweaters and tees. I didn't want to launch with just the studded pieces so I’ve been working on two collections and getting a website up and running has been the main focus. I’ve been fortunate to have worked on lots of shoots styling and directing, so it’s been a fun time being creative and meeting other creatives!

Would you only design pieces you’d wear yourself, or do you make with other people in mind? 
I wouldn't design something I wouldn't want to wear myself, I made my first jacket 'Boudicca' because I couldn't find a leather jacket that I loved. 

When did you know you wanted to work within fashion?
Ever since I could pick up a pencil and draw! I've been into art/fashion my whole life its never been a option to do anything else. I'm lucky to have a supportive, artistic family so they have always encouraged my love for it all.

Did you study fashion at university? 
I studied Multi Media textiles at Loughborough University. Which was a great course as I got to focus on textile embellishment for fashion, my favourite skill.

How would you describe the way you dress?
This is difficult as I just wear what I want, I can't put myself in a category as one day I could be wearing lots of colour in a dress with overkill accessories and the next day all in black. My favourite look has a hippy meets rocker vibe, I love textures and conflicting styles – such as Florals and broderie anglaise mixed with leather and ripped denim, topped with layering of gold accessories. I think this look is much sexier than a tight little body con.
What images would I find on your mood boards? 
I love scruffy, undone beauty. Grunge would probably best describe it. Images of Erin Wasson and 90's Kate Moss to Chloe Norgaard. I love beautiful portraits, tattoos and explosions of colour. I am also drawn to the androgynous look which shows within my styling. 

What is the environment that you work in? (music, tidy/messy, snacks, alone etc)
Well I work in my lounge on a kitchen table, so not quite the sophisticated studio yet! I can't work in silence. I have to have music on or a box set on that doesn't need too much attention. As for snack….. I'm a footstep from the kitchen, I’ll let you do the math!! 

Can you tell me a bit about your design process from start to finish….
I'm not very conventional in the sense that if I have an idea I will either do a rough sketch or I just launch straight into making it and see where the process takes me. Something that I found frustrating at university is that I would have to work backwards and fill sketch books with images and notes, pretending that’s how I got the final result, whereas my actual process can be quite improvised. 

Who are your personal style icons?
Erin Wasson 
Alice Dellal
Chloe Norgaard

Favourite stylists/designers?
I love Balmain - the embellishment is insane, I hope that one day I will be in the position to create my own extreme visions. I also love Moschino and the simplicity understated styles of Alexander wang.

You work as a stylist too. Will you always want to be responsible for advertisments, lookbooks etc?
I have such strong ideas and visions that I can't imagine letting someone take over from me when it comes to my own brand but that doesn't mean to say I wouldn't want to collaborate with someone. I love working with other creative people and being part of a team. 

If things keep on progressing, how do you think you will cope with relinquishing control? 
I've been honest on my website in stating that it is only me and these pieces are one-offs that take time. If you’re buying from me it’s because you want a one off and appreciate that you will be the only one with that piece. Obviously I would love to have a bigger team to support me in future and bounce ideas off of!

As someone in the fashion industry will you ensure you are diverse in terms of your models and sizing?
I think theres nothing more beautiful than diversity within models. I think more than ever we are drawn to individuality, it’s more exciting to find a model with something different about them. 

Who would you most like to see wearing your pieces? 
One of my favourites, Rita Ora, has already been spotted in my Princess Jacket but I’d love to see any of the following wearing my designs:

Chloe Norgaard
Kate Moss
Poppy Delvingen
Alexa Chung
Alice Dellal
Daisy Lowe
Nicole Richie
Gillian Zinser

Where do your source your garments from? 
East London.

How long does it take to create a piece like your Disney Princess Jacket?
Roughly 3 weeks, as theres over 2,000 studs, its time consuming work but I'm also trying to run a business at the same time –so it really depends on whats going on within that time.

What are you trend tips for A/W?
Wear what you want, who cares whats "on trend".

How much do you look at blogs/tumblrs/instagrams? Any favourites?
I love Pinterest and collecting images to form virtual mood boards. I also love instagram as it lets you see someone’s style at a personal level. I'm not too hot on blogs I haven't got time really, but I am guilty of flicking through image-lead blogs, I have thousands of images saved on my iPad and phone, addicted to pictures be it be model shots or textiles just anything fashion based or inspiring.

What advice would you give designers looking to start a business? 
If you really, truly love designing then never give up, I've had my fair shares of brick walls in the way and plenty of stress and anxiety but If it was that easy, every girl would be a designer. The lows make you appreciate the highs a hell of a lot more. So keep persisting, also don't mix business with pleasure, although this does work for some people!  Also look into local support like the prince’s trust, they run different workshops specialising in specific business areas like accounting and PR also you can get the support of a mentor which has been a big help for me.

How do you differentiate yourself from other designers who specialize in similar techniques? 
If I'm honest I don't know another designer who does the same thing as me. Obviously there’s studded jackets out there I'm not going to pretend I invented this look, I just know mine are intricately detailed and I look at them like walking works of art - they are one off pieces insuring each customer owns a one of a kind piece just for themselves.

Can you give us a hint on what themes you’ll cover in your next run of designs? 
Mermaids, broderie anglaise and a new bag line!  - 3 of my loves.

Recently played on your iPod?
The last 5 tracks were (on shuffle) 

James Blake CMYK, 
The little mermaid 'Kiss the girl'
Duke Dumont feat AME & MNEK
Phill Collins - Easy lover
Le Youth - Cool

Plans for 2014? 
To launch my new mermaid-inspired collection.

Make sure you check out this talented lady's new jersey/jumper range on her website now!!


Monday, 20 January 2014

Monday, 13 January 2014

My Interview with Gregory Porter

Hi Gregory, I'll crack on, you’ve probably had a long day haven’t you!

Haha, its alright, I love it! It makes me feel alive.

I hear that you fall in love easy/quickly and when you are on tour you fall for the places you visit. Have do you feel about London?

You know, I love London. And you know what I like also? The energy that is happening in the center of town, that’s cool. But then you go out in some of these outer neighborhoods, like the ethnic neighborhoods and the regular neighborhoods....(trails off). And then also there are some others parts that if you took a picture of it you’d think that it doesn’t look like London - very modern buildings, glass condos, this kind of thing. It is all interesting to me.

Have you been inspired while you are here to write melodies or lyrics whilst on the go?

Well for my last record, 'Our Love' I wrote when I was at the Tower of London, so you know, I can’t give too much to London.(laughs). But I’m sure it will happen again. I’m always inspired when I come here. All around the UK actually. When I was touring with Jools Holland we went from vineyard to vineyard by car. I was in the back of a big Mercedes and just seeing the country that way, it was amazing, it was beautiful. I hadn’t considered how beautiful the interior of the UK was.

I interview a lot of rock bands and hear stories from tour. Can you tell me what tour is like for a Jazz Musicians...

(Laughs). Well swinging off chandeliers and destroying hotel rooms - I don’t plan on doing that kind of thing anytime soon. It is intense movement. In a weeks time I may be in 4/5 countries, and that can be intense and beautiful at the same time. From London to South Africa, from Istanbul to Holland...That can be a week for me. So maybe, unlike a rock band, I may be working more back to back, so I have to take care of my body, and so does the band. We've been really enjoying absorbing all the places we go to, even though we don’t have a lot of time, I make it my business to absorb something, even if its just food culture or architectural culture, just by what I can see by driving past on the way to the venue.

I guess you get a bit more each time you visit and build up the picture gradually....

Absolutely, that is definitely true of London because you can’t see the entire deal of the city in one visit. It’s driving around, stopping at this coffee shop, and getting a sandwich somewhere else....

We have artists like Jools Holland, Lianne La Havas and Jamie Cullum promoting Jazz in the UK. Are we generally good at exposing our youth to Jazz music?
I think so, I’m impressed with numerous shows that have Jazz and Soul in the titles. There is an effort to keep the life of the music going and to incorporate the young artists into the fabric of the music they are hearing. A similar thing is happening in Germany I think, and definitely in Holland. So I’m impressed with the UK and Europe as a whole.

You have been a sportsman, and spent time working as a chef. They both can require or bring out a competitive nature. Are you competitive with your music?

This is the thing. I see the opposite. You say competitive, I always thought of it.....Well when talking about being a chef or working with food, that’s very much like making music. In a way you are working independently, but ultimately the end result has to be taken to a larger group of people. You are using your improvisation and you are creating skills. So in a way when I was a chef/caterer, it was a very independent thing. I didn’t have a boss standing over me, so I enjoyed it. Thus far I don’t have a musical boss standing over me asking me to do stuff (laughs). It try to shy away from the competitive thing that can be in music. I’m interested in an organic approach and just having a voice - my voice being independent of other voices but also connected and unique. In that sense I’m a unique entity and can’t be judged by way of a competitive arena.

You put a lot of yourself in the music. It is very authentic and honest. But is there a sealing point?

I’ll say no because when I write, you know, I kind of want to tell it all. But I kind of have a governor in a way that .....There are some songs that I’ve written that are really really revealing of some infirmities that I have, some weakness that I have. Then there is something in me that says I probably can’t. (trails off)...I may have to rewrite that one. Maybe I do that, you know. I think that things that have happened in my life and my past, in my current relationships - I will probably record it. I don’t mean to make my friends feel that our relationships may make their way to a song, but they are aware of that and I just say 'let's live our lives'. That fight we had might make it into a song. Do you know what’s funny? The songs that I’ve written about past relationships, where they’ve broken my heart or something, they always come back and say they really like that song and that they're glad something came out of it.

A lot of your songs have a positive message. Has there even been a time when your stories have come out more more negative and you’ve thought that perhaps you don’t want to put that message out?

I’m not really that calculated when it comes to the overall vision of the record. There were a few songs which made people wonder if it was a breakup record. I say no, these were the songs that I put together that were about some period of time in my life. These are the songs I’ve coupled together right now. I have all of it, I have both the positive and negative, full balance of relationship experience, a full balance of political experience, and life in general, that is all whirling around inside of me. So I suspect over time, if I’ve been more positive or more negative in my three records thus far, over time there will be a balance because all of the things exist in me. I hope to have some triumphs and failure in relationships, and in life, period.

You say that you and your band are a team, and you are equal. What do you think it is about your performance that mesmerizes audience members and makes you stand out?

Most of the time I wear a white jacket and I’m tall (laughs). I always make sure the brightest light is on me (laughs). People connect...I’m aware that everyone has a voice and can sing. But not everyone can sing well. I’m aware of the connection people have to my voice, but the necessity is not to look at me all the time. After I have sung I prefer to step to the side, let the band members have their say as well. So there is a collaboration happening on stage when I put forward a song. I can’t sing the lyrics, and sing the bass line as well. So everything  I do is supported by rhythm, harmony and bass. So it is definitely a collaborative thing. If I sing a crescendo and it is not supported by piano, bass drums and saxophone, it would just sound like some guy singing a strange high note.

How comfortable do you feel appearing alongside famous musicians and celebrities on high profile TV shows and awards events like the Grammys?

You know, it’s interesting. I’ve had phone calls from Jill Scott, India Arie and a mention from Erykah Badu and even Prince. Those are people I’d never thought id be in the same room with, or even be in the same sentence of conversation with. But to have my music somehow come past them, be on the radar and for them to comment on it, or catch some feeling from it, that’s amazing to me. It gives me a confidence and a level of belonging. I think for people who do music for a while view it as a family of music. You are essentially a storyteller and you know, a county singer, is a jazz singer, is a R&B singer etc....

Is there anyone who could watch you from side of stage that would make you crumble with nerves?

Yeah, you know, that has happened a few times. I’m always amazed by the people who come to gigs and stand to the side and think that their presence doesn’t cause some.....I remember I was performing a few years ago and Stevie Wonder was in the audience. And a great singer who I have respected for many years, Will Downing was in one of my concerts recently in Washington DC. It’s the great voices I’ve respected for many years. Herbie Hancock was in the audience the other day when I was performing in California. It could make you tremble but I kind of have this healthy thing where I think that I can only be me, and I have to be satisfied with that. I can only be Gregory Porter, I sing the way I sing and write the way I write. I’m trying to be organic with that and with that I should be okay. I’m not telling a lie. If the truth of me is good enough, then I’m fine with that.

In terms of writing, what is the environment that works best for you?

I enjoy open space and quiet - simple surroundings. I love nature a lot. I love what nature can do. A warm breeze. I love springtime all over the world and the explosion of life. Those environment inspires me. I love walking in green caverns and valleys and this kind of thing. The more I can get of that, the more I’ll be inspired to write about nature and love, and all of those things. You know sometimes you can walk in a beautiful environment and be reminded of the consequences of not cherishing such things. So something tragic can come from being in a beautiful environment. So yeah, put me in a beautiful green place.

You’ve performed your music in various locations and unusual venues, including schools. Is there anywhere you really want to perform?

The Royal Albert Hall performance was extraordinary. New York, if I am given the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall someday, I think that will be extraordinary. I think for many musicians it is the ultimate, in a way. I think if I ever make it to The Carnegie Hall I don’t know if i would try to perform some hits,  I think I would perform some childhoods songs and maybe work my way up. It seems like such a place that is just about the raw bones of music. I would love to do that some day. Sometimes when a venue is put on a schedule I don’t have the ability to find out where I am at or what it is I am doing till a week before. So when I was performing at the Berlin Philharmonic, I didn’t quite know. It just said Berlin PH, and then you get there and you are like 'Wow, this an extraordinary place!'. Sometimes there just isn’t time to absorb the environment you are going to be in. Until you stand on the stage and you do a soundcheck, you don’t really get a grasp  for where it is or what it is. It's been a really magic ride and I appreciate it, and I’m humbled by it. It’s not false humility as well.

To finish off can you tell me something that might surprise people about you?

I collect old cameras. I don’t know if that's unusual, but I collect old cameras. Wherever I am I try to find some unusual camera - it doesn't have to be of great value, but I love it when it has the native writing on it. When I go to Russia I like to pick up a camera that has some Russian writing on it that I completely don’t understand - I love that! So yeah, that is one of my quirky type things that I enjoy doing.

They are beautiful objects...

I love the manual constructions. There are some old cameras that I have that are so heavy and well put together. They don’t even make the film for them anymore, but the construction is so well done and beautiful. I think of the stuff that's been required - some of it is copper, some leathe and some wood. Where were the things from? Where was the animal walking around? Where did that tree fall? Where did the copper come from? I’m fascinated by all the things that have to come together to create this interesting instrument. 


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Members Only..Ok!?

One of my first lady crushes was the feline blonde bombshell Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2. Despite popular opinion I adored this film, and I thought she was the coolest person I'd ever laid my young eyes on. At that time (and still now probably) I would have given anything to find a jacket like her shiny baby pink bomber. She looked part of the sexiest team/club and me finding a similar jacket would have shown my ardent allegiance. The hunt continues into 2014...
Boys are sorted on this front, thanks to iconic American brand Members Only. They launched their edgy bombers back in the 1980's, but revitalised in 2009 for those that like a nod to retro while keeping up to date with the latest trends.
The Iconic Racer bomber is a lightweight windbreaker perfect for Spring wardrobes and comes in colours both muted to bright to cater to for safe to daring dressers. It's been sported by the likes of JT, Zac Efron and Frank can't really argue its cool credentials.


Monday, 6 January 2014

Noughties Fancy Dress Party

It was a very last minute decision to go to this particular party so it called for an easy costume that I could put together using existing clothes or those that I could purchase in Walton High Street - which is pretty awful in terms of shopping possibilities. 

In the end, after considering Baby Spice, Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne, I plumped for Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City....

2x Tutus from Claire's Accessories - total £14
Eiffel Tower Necklace from Claire's Accessories - £1
Baby Pink top from H&M - £3
Silver Topshop flats - £12 (already owned)
Sheep-style coat from Beginnin Boutique ( about £50) (already owned)


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year...

Hey All, Hope you all had a cracker of Christmas. Like me, you are probably pondering the year ahead, and what you hope it will turn out like. I have compiled a very quick list of goals/resolution type things to get myself started in a positive fashion...

To moisturise my body every day

To stop squeezing spots

To watch even more films

To really try and stay positive and not be consumed by the past

To try and not dread my looming 30th birthday

To body brush my thighs in the shower

Try not to expose my vulnerability to people that may abuse it

To be a better friend

To organize some sort of treat for my parents 

To try not to worry so much about what people may think of me

Tell my loved ones I love them more often

To not let the past affect my ability to trust

To use heat protector on my hair

To find a way to spend time with a dog till I can get my own

Try and go to NY

To do another bungee jumper or something a bit wild

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