June 18, 2012

Interview Special!

We have a whole host of interviews on the site this week, with familiar faces, like Maximo Park and The Wombats as well as up and coming bands Friends and Pond.

Contactmusic.com talk to Paul Smith from Maximo Park about the band's latest album, The National Health and how the band came together after taking a hiatus. The album's been well-received by the press and Smith describes it as a conglomeration of all of their past work. "I think having a break was good for us but there was just a little shift in opinions of where we wanted to go. Some days I would wanna make a concept album [Laughs] lyrically, and then other days I'd wanna write a pure pop song that wasn't connected to anything. In the end we pooled all of our ideas together and decided that we definitely enjoyed writing direct, catchy, upbeat yet somehow complex pop songs. It came back to the core ideals of the band."

We caught up with Brooklyn newcomers Friends following their Primavera set. Singer Samantha Urbani was nursing an injured ankle but took time out to explain where she sees Friends sitting on the pop music spectrum.

"We're the alternative to the alternative," reckons Urbani, who goes on to explain how the band was created during a time of emotional turmoil and managed to play their first gig less than a week after they formed.

Pond sat down with Contactmusic backstage at Field Day to try and find out why they called their album 'Beard, Wives, Denim,' the horror of being on tour and getting cabin fever and that transition from hippies to punk. The band have been tipped for great things, in their native Australia and in the UK and were one of the biggest buzz bands at this year's SXSW festival.

Liverpudlian band the Wombats have been getting the UK ready for the tour of the Olympic torch. We caught up with the band when they were fresh from a North American tour and a looking forward to a support slot with Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band chatted about this summer's Olympics, as well as the 'Party in the Forest that they will be hosting in Delamere Forest, Cheshire... "It's always kind of exciting for a band to just play somewhere that you know you may never get the chance to play again or something different and, for us, a bit of a session in the forest had a pretty decent ring to it."

Record of the Week... The impossibly youthful Disclosure made a name for themselves with their remix of Jessie Ware's 'Running' and now they are launching their own EP and despite battling criticisms of being too derivative of other artists, they've impressed us by being "are wonderful at . using dynamics to let a track flow into a widescreen reverb heavy fog, with sustained vocals and delay, letting it build then bringing it back into a tight and minimalist beat. It's similar to the old loud/quiet/loud trick that Nirvana learnt from the Pixies." High praise indeed for this young production duo.

Videos of the Week... Kooky songwriter Fiona Apple returns, off the back of her much-talked about SXSW performance. 'Every Single Night' is a theatrical, playful number; the video shot in playful technicolour. If you're not a fan of snails, though, you may need to prepare yourself to cover your eyes.

New Jersey rockers Gaslight Anthem have made a bleak and brooding video for their latest track, '45.' Living up to their name, this one is underwritten with stadium-sized ambition. The track is taken from their forthcoming album, Handwritten, scheduled for release in July 2012.

Music in the News... Yesterday, we learnt of the sad news that a stage collapse ahead of Radiohead's gig in Toronto has resulted in the tragic death of their drum tech, 33 year old Scott Johnson. Three other people were injured by the incident, one of whom has been hospitalised with a head injury. Two others were treated at the scene. Philip Selway, Radiohead's drummer posted a statement on the band's website, saying that the band were "shattered" to learn of Scott's death.

And finally. A very "happy birthday" to Sir Paul McCartney, who was born on this day, in 1942. The former member of The Beatles celebrates his 70th birthday today and he's revealed that it's his love of music that keeps him healthy and happy: "I can't believe I do a three-hour show without taking a breath. You assume you would be feeling it now but it's the opposite," says Macca.