Sunday, 11 October 2009

In Conversation with Shaky Dawg
















In Conversation with

Shaky Dawg..

October 2009



A little background:

The basis of how I got this interview is straight-forward,
trying to describe the band are another ball game.

Flash back to Poets Express, a poetry and arts
festival that I co-hosted back in July 2009, I ended
up seeing my friend Kylyra's brother, Tor in action
with his new band 'Shaky Dawg'.. If my memory
is correct, they were that brand new there was
nothing online on their website at the time, so
it really was going to be a total surprise.

And it was - I was expecting perhaps industrial
rock or prog rock (knowing what sort off Tor's
other projects are like) but Country & Western
on Acid with dollops off House in places.

It was barking mad certainly, but sounded really
fresh to me, so when I got back to England and
started with the re-launch for Setting Sun, sorting
out a interview with them as well as a new
interview with Kylyra became a priority.

Ky's interveiw for regular viewers came quite
quick. This interview took for reasons too
long winded to explain took longer.

Either way, it was worth it as they are superb.

Check out them on Darkworld and download
some of their mp3's..

Cheers guys, and additional thanks to Ky
for being the taskmistress here (lol)

A good link for them is:

http://www.darkworld.com/11page.html

AEN

****

Setting Sun:

Hi. How goes tricks and whats happening At the moment?

(Tor) Hallo Andy. Well, O'Shott and I are finishing some
techno underlays to new songs which should fill out our live show.
Shott wanted to see the band doing a hour and one half
length show.

I felt happy with the 45 min show we had for Poets Express.
It gave us the ability to open for larger bands, but it did limit the
shows we could take locally. So now it's back in the studio,
trying to give the band enough choice to take longer shows,
ourselves.

(Shott) And we got the Ep done on CD.

Setting Sun:

Can you next tell us a little bit about S-D What
started it all off etc?

(Tor) I guess I'll start here and let Shott fill in what I
missed. O'Shott Crawler began working with
Dark World in 2005
when he agreed to
front the Cafe Crawlers.


I knew his children and they had told me that he had so
many songs he had written, and Dark World should try and get
him to record them. At the time, Dark World agreed to let him
do a recording of whatever he wanted after the Crawlers project
ended.

I had worked with him finding the chords to some of the
Crawler tracks. I felt I knew how he was approaching his lyrics.
So in November 2008, I ran into him and asked him if he was
ever going to come down to the studio and try recording
his songs
the way he wanted to hear them (He had
always been a bit uncomfortable
with the classic
Nashville country sound J.A.Bohr had produced

the Crawlers with.) I asked him what he wanted to create
and he told me this dream of Country-Techno. Playing his
songs with techno rhythms, instead of the classic sound
line-up of country.

I'm not a country fan, but did want to try expanding my
own studio performances (Having someone like Kylyra as
a sister can be intimidating, with her being so versatile and I
having so much similarities in my work. I wanted to do more
styles myself.), do something unexpected.

So Shott and I talked about how we could try and get
the sound he wanted. In early February 2009, we got together
in the studio and began with 3 songs; Cruisin', Criminal, and
Prison. Shott is the main vocalist, I played the guitars and
bass, both
Shott and I wrote the techno rhythms,
and Ky and I sang back-up vocals
on the tracks. It
wasn't Shaky Dawg at that time, it was O'Shott's
solo project
with me as a studio musician. After
finishing mixes for the first roughs
('cause we needed
to hear what we were creating), he passed
around copies
to his friends, and requests
for live performances began. So as we began
working on the next four tracks, we decided
to try and take the project
live. So it was in
March that Shaky Dawg really becomes a
band.
I was originally supposed to play
bass live (my choice). So as we
finished the
second set of four tracks and began the next
set of
three tracks, I began pushing the
bass a little, going more eccentric.

He really wanted me to enjoy playing
the tracks live. The electric guitar

parts were written and played like
Shott wanted to hear. He choose
the
sounds (amps, eq and distortion) for
the electric. I enjoy playing
with the
sounds he chose, as they are probably
not something
I might have
chosen myself.


Kylyra had been working on setting up the first Poets Express
night and wanted us to open it up (the pre-show entertainment).
The core band is Shott and myself, but we both wanted more to
the live show. My half-brother, Spike, joined the live
band on bass, a
friend of Shott's played the acoustic
and I had to jump in on electric
(we couldn't find
someone who wanted to play my leads?!?). I
probably was a
bit put off for the first few
weeks having to memorise the guitar now,
but
Shott had always wanted me on guitar
live, so I did give in. And we
rehearsed the
show which 'Break the Bottle' video came
from. Then
Ky decided to sing with the band
live.


So with some summer shows under our belt, we're finishing the
full length show. The original final mixes Shott and I finished
before Poets Express are available online
as the 'Bass Ridin' for Digital Cowboys EP'. Physical copies are
available through Amazon.

(Shott) I could give an answer, but I don't know if I need to.
Although I don't want people to believe I'm a hick, only listening
to Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Because my roots originated
in bands like Stiff Little Fingers, The Cramps, and
Madness and even though I have strong country roots, it
would be more the Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, and
Kris Kristoferson end, the story tellers.

Setting Sun:

Certainly from listening to your initial Recordings,
it is clear you have varied Musical influences, what
have you proved all of your musical influences and
what are you listening to at the moment?

(Tor) Yeah, I listen to things like Korn, Slayer, Anthrax and
Merciful Fate,
industrial stuff like Skinny Puppy,
Einst├╝rzende Neubauten and
Front242, jazzy stuff
like Mahavishnu Orchestra (or anything with
John McLaughlin), gothy stuff like Death in June,
Bauhaus, The Cure,
New Order, Joy Division,
and classic progressive rock like RUSH, ELP,

and Pink Floyd. Lately I have been listening
to Tor's Angst most,
as I want to go into the studio
and do the final mixes and want as
much opinion
as I can get out of myself before I'm there. I listen
to
Ian Brown's Greatest hits too lately (since
Shott turned me on to him),
and discs of rough
Dawg, to program the songs into deep memory.


Can you tell I'm hypo-manic? Shott listens to
quite different stuff.


(Shott) Alabama 3 would have to be,
The Twang, Everlasts new album, 'Return to Form',
as well as all the old classics.

Setting Sun:

I know from conversations with associates Of yours,
shall
we say, you have just Started to play gigs?
How have
these Compared to your studio
recordings? Is their
one you prefer over the other?

(Tor) We played our first gig opening Poets Express. I have
more to pull
off on guitar live compared to studio (which
I find much easier these days).
So I like the rehearsals
and gigs. It moves things away from songs into a
show.
We write knowing that we want to play them
live now, so new material should fit in fine, b
ut there is
a difference in studio to live. Shott wants the first full
length release
to reflect how we perform them over
how we first recorded them. These days,
studio is for
making the underlays to play live, with thoughts of
final mixes being
done only after the song was played
enough to 'break it in'. The EP were selling at
shows
and on Amazon are the first final mixes Shott and
I done. They are good,
very good actually. He had
ideas and we turned them into a real product which

was unique. But playing them live has changed
little things that will be added
to the full release
(which probably won't be worked on until next
year) when
we finish it. Right now it is about finishing
the show and playing out for 6 months
at least
before we are trying to finish anything. For me,
playing live is what
excites me about
Shaky Dawg. We are thinking and planning
around this idea.
It is a better band for me to
play live in Ireland than trying to play Angst
here.


Dawg is crazy enough, but still got an elderly
couple to two-step to live (which
was a bit
weird, but I enjoyed it, was good Craig that show).


(Shott) To me Live is where I want Shaky Dawg to be.
The aim of the band is to make people dance. So
performing live is the gratification of that, hell
if you can make people enjoy themselves for an
hour and a half, you got to be winning. That's not
to take away from the studio because the foundations
that Tor and I laid down there are the foundations
of the show.

Setting Sun:

Have really being enjoying your songs up
On DarkWorld and also your
tracks that have
appeared on the DVD that I bought - I
think probably my
favourite has gotta be
‘Rogue Trip’ (which I originally thought
was called
‘Road Trip’) which I think is a
knock-out track… Can you tell us a little

bit more about this track?

(Shott) I would like to say that I write the lyrics
down, I don't interpret them. That's your job.

(Tor) But we do both write the techno,
and if makes you dance, it is
doing the right thing.

(Shott) I do have to say, that on stage
I would say it is our favourite track, too.

Setting Sun:

Have being hearing talk from the same source
shall we say you are
going to doing some
cover versions which I am sure was going to

include Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire? – how
are your approach
going to change from
doing original tracks Like ‘Rogue Trip’? etc


(Tor) Yeah, well we got two covers in rotation right now.
'Ruby' by Kenny Rogers and 'Ring of Fire' by Johnny Cash
(actually wasn't that written by June, not Johnny?).

(Shott) Yeah it was, June Carter Cash. Nothing like being right.

(Tor) The approach to covers is two fold right now.
We originally
were working from a list of songs
Shott wanted to do, like Woody Guthrie's

Vigilante Man or Grateful Dead's Sugar Magnolia.
But as we started playing
out, we realised we needed
to do covers of classic songs that some of the

audience would know and be able to sing along to.
That's why Ruby
and Ring of Fire. And playing Ruby
live twice already showed that people
would sing
along (even if it was joined in more out of key and
sounded
more like screaming at times). So
covers need that sing-ability to
them right now. But
we put the techno together just like any other

Dawg song, same method of madness
and cider (which Dawg
drinks Druids cider-
hint for sponsorship).


(Shott) I think the use of the word 'cover' for what we do to other
people's songs is a little loose. I think interpretation is more
what we do. Because the original is in there and we
hope it's essence is preserved, these songs are
we and truly Dawged.

Setting Sun:

What’s the origin behind your name out of Interest
and where
did the inspiration Behind the artwork
for the band come from
(Very Tank Girl must add)

(Shott) Should we say Cider and drugs? I think for both
that would be the answer. 'Cause I couldn't say w
here Shaky Dawg came from, it just arrived.

(Tor) Cider and Caffeine? Yeah, well about the dog pics.
Hmm, I looked
online for a picture of a dog with an
eye-path, in a cowboy hat, holding
a gun (Shott's
request for a cover idea). The pics I found
ended up being
used on the EP cover. For the
full-length release we want new pics for each

song, so if you got a dog and a camera and
get a good funny pic
we could use, send it
on over. We're looking.


Setting Sun:

What’s next for you lot? Do you have a
album on
the way and maybe more gigs?

(Tor) Hmmm, I think that got covered in my
ramblings... But 'Bass Ridin' for
Digital Cowboys
EP' is now available online from
Amazon.com and at t
our shows from
the band (the physical disc with cool graphics-
you need this
on your shelves). There are
free MP3 downloads on darkworld.com
from this disc.

You can hear the full disc at LastFM.
We'll try to get public performances

listed on the social site pages for the
band (yeah, we'll try...).


(Shott) Now that we have just finished
the full live show, a few gigs have been
booked, so check online for the
when and where.

Setting Sun:

Couple of lighter questions to
finish off with, What do
you do
when you are all not Shawky Dog?


(Tor) Hmmm, Future Dialogue, Deemed Psychotic,
Tor's Angst, the
subterranean sharpened key combo.
darkworld.com web work, reading comics,

and doing logic puzzles. Oh yeah, and spending
hours on my bicycle
getting to every place
(yeah I need my licence these days).


(Shott) Mop floors, clean toilets, cut grass,
vegetate, look after kids, avoid mothers, sleep...
that's pretty descriptive huh?

Setting Sun:

What would you like to be doing
when you are 60?

(Tor) Same thing I do everyday Pinky,...

(Shott) Have my nappy changed and clean my
catheter, turn me twice a day... Is that a little cynical.

Setting Sun:

Lastly, what will you be doing when
you are 60?

(Tor) Same thing I do everyday Pinky,...

(Shott) Mop floors, clean toilets, cut grass, vegetate,
look after kids, avoid mothers, sleep...










In Conversation with SoPhIe'S pIgEoNs’ (Originally done 25/05/07 - updated 11th October 2009)
























In Conversation with

‘SoPhIe'S pIgEoNs’



(Recorded lived 25th May 2007
in Cornerhouse Bar, Manchester.
Transcribed by Andy N
June 2007)


A little background:

(25th May 2007)

As much as I love doing interviews viva email
There is a strange sort of buzz that can only
Come from doing a interview live.

To date over my travels as ‘Rising Sun’
And ‘Setting Sun’ – I have done four live
Interviews – the first was a unpublished interview
With ‘George’ which came just as ‘Rising Sun’
Folded in the summer off 2001 and by the time
I got going again as ‘Setting Sun’ in 2003
Was un-useable.

Two more interviews followed with ‘Octave
Sounds’ and ‘Laymar’ over the next few
Years – both of which I had a great laugh
Doing and in the Laymar case resulted
In a stinking hardover the next morning.

Sophie’s Pigeon who are the band in question
Are very different from any of the three previous
Acts interviewed live, although perhaps akin
To ‘George’ in the sense of they throw everything
Into the mix.

On their myspace.com page they are described
By Mitten Records as a ‘genre busting musical
Collective revolving around pianist and singer
Sophie Nelson.

According to their press notes they were hatched in
Moss Side Manchester, in a dusty loft space.

Their notes also advise their ‘is one of an great tale.
One became two, then three and then the fourth came
swooping down to form this feathered collective.

This collection of musicians created a sound thats
toe tapping, fingerclicking, erratic rocking - wearing
down the rocking chair. Hands clapping, feet a stomping,
new voices filling up the smoky air. ‘

I stumbled onto them through one of my annual
Journeys through myspace.com and was spellbound
By what I heard.

This really was something cool.

So of course I dropped them a line and when I discovered
They were a local band, this live interview came about.
Quite quickly.

Update 11th October 2009

Reading up on the band, they are very very active indeed
and am regularly still doing gigs etc.

I know they have a EP called 'SayPlaySway Ep'
out which I will ordering when I can...

Pop over to their myspace page for more details..

http://www.myspace.com/sophienelson

Thanks to all of them for the interview.

Regards

Andy N



Setting Sun:

First of all, can you all introduce yourselves?


Sophie:

I'm Sophie, I write the songs and play the piano
and sing.

Sam:

Hi, I'm Sam I backing sing and try to keep
in time and play the frog.

Phil:

My name is Phil and I play the Melodian and the Harmonium ,
Drums and Percussion.and Sometimes I play rap too...

Marie:

I’m Marie, play Violin and also Percussion. ,


Setting Sun:

Can you next tell us a little bit about the history
of SP? What started you off?

Or as I like to say ‘who fired the starting pistol?’

Sophie:

I was doing it solo for a bit, I did a demo
recording in the Zion
centre and I did a gig at
the green room and my friends came along,

I got introduced to Sam who was in another
band and she said,
"I'm a backing singer, can
I sing with you" and that was it,

jamming in Moss Side! Classic!!

Sam:

Weird story Phil was living next door to Sophie and when
Phil moved out I moved in Phil’s room and we both lived
near Sophie, so we all say we are from Moss Side?

Setting Sun:

Can you next us what are your musical influences and
what are you
listening to at the moment?

Sophie:

I have fell back in love with Tori Amos again! She
understands
everything I go through – she get’s it!

Setting Sun

I love her too!:

Phil:

We got a lot of comparisons with Tori Amos and Regina Speckor….
I think we get compared to it because Sophie’s song writing is
quite of that ilk… I think we try and add a bit of a handmade
feel to it by swapping around instruments and it’s more like of
an experimental feel on that place.

(Sophie agrees)

Setting Sun:

I can certainly see that in your recording
In particular on
your two songs on myspace.com.

Sophie:

It was to jam in, I just play my songs and everybody
just comes up with little bits and bobs.

Setting Sun:

It is good to see you play regular gigs.. How does
gigging compare to your recordings – is their one you
prefer over the other?

Sophie:

Giggings’ better but recording is fun.

Phil:

We have lots of fun with both. Recording is
emotional though.

Sam:

I must , if we had to record it in a studio
it would take so long because nothing has
it’s set time. It would be a nightmare
for a producer.

Sophie:

It would also be a nightmare for sound
engineer.

Phil:

We’re very relaxed because we’re all mates.

Setting Sun:

Do you have a mixing desk at home or an eight
track or do it do it live?

Phil:

Gawd, we don’t do it live.

Sam:

We all record it in our bedroom.

Setting Sun:

So you have your own little studio?

Sophie:

Tiny little bedroom. Soundproof fibres and
mattress on the walls.

Sam:

Gaffe Tape and microphones to the bed.

Phil:

There’s some air on the CD is the heating boiler.

Sam:

I play the Bass with a bit of clean fill tube.
You play the Box don’t you?

Phil:

Yeah I do… Personal project

Sophie:

We like to play a variety of instruments.

Setting Sun:

Can you next tell us a little bit about
‘She Sucks Lemons’?

Sophie:

It’s about one of my friends where I am
originally from it’s basically about being
emotionally dependent on the male species
being romantically linked.

Phil:

It’s not about being a Lesbian isn’t it?

Sophie:

No, its not.

Phil:

The Song name has that kind of
connotation

Setting Sun:

Can you next tell us a bit more about ‘Naked Bitch’
is about also?

Sophie:

Naked Bitch is about another err.. friend who is
also dependent on men and flirts her body and
talks about herself a lot and changes herself a
lot for men.

(PAUSE)

We tell them. We don’t think they realise though
this song is about them.. We see them dancing them a
lot at our gigs – ooh I love this one, oh dear…

Setting Sun:

What’s the inspiration behind your name as a band?

Phil:

I don’t know where it came from but it sounded
brilliant, it seemed really original at the moment, but
there are a lot of bands with similar names like the
Pigeons but we were first – Sophie’s Pigeons. I did
find out there was a song wrote called by Cyndi Lauper
called ‘Sally’s Pigeons’ so some people may think we
took it from that but we didn’t.

Setting Sun:

What’s next for you all? I notice you are always gigging
which is always good to see but you have any more
releases planned etc?

Sophie:

We are really working hard to get our name out –
We have really being only together since June / July last year.

Sam:

We are playing a gig soon with Ivan Campo,
who are an amazing band.. We really compliant
each other’s sound really well and one of our big
aims are to go on tour together…

Sophie:

We are next playing In a Crypt under a church –
supporting Anni Rossi In Skipton.

Sam:

We think we would live to get gigs in
Liverpool and Brighton and maybe London
and start getting ourselves out of Manchester.

Sophie:

We are just hammering Manchester to get a
base as a good start before spreading our wings..
We do want to write new stuff, but there is no point
in writing new material in going to different places
playing new stuff when the new place doesn’t
know your old stuff…

Setting Sun:

Good to see you also from reading your press
releases, you also like doing cover versions?

Sophie:

We do ‘The Smiths’ – ‘There is a light that
never goes out’ that’s really good and Justin
Timberlake ‘Sexy Back’ that goes down
well which Phil sings.

Sam:

We played a indie kind of venues in
Leeds and we found either play love
it or hate it (The Smiths’s song) in
those kind of venues, and there was
these two guys who were dancing and
just didn’t get it we had made it ours.

Setting Sun:

Did you change the chord progression?

Sophie:

No the chord progression is the same, we
slowed it down and it is a bit different in the vocals,
the harmonies, the violin, the harmonium and
there was no drums.

Phil:

I think some people were expecting a
football chorus – it’s one of those sorts of
songs – our version is a bit more delicate.

Setting Sun:

Couple of daft questions, to finish off with..
What do you all do when you are not in
SoPhIe'S pIgEoNs’?

Sophie:

I direct films.

Phil:

I teach one day a week and I am also
part of a 20 strong arts collective.

Sam:

I am a producer of live art and
contemporary performance.

Setting Sun:

Two jokey questions to finish off,

what would you like to be doing when
you are 60?

Sam:

I would be dead.

Phil:

Hopefully I will have trapped somebody
into a marriage.

Sophie:

I will be the crazy lady who goes to all
of the open mikes with all of my demos.

Setting Sun:

What will you be doing when you are 60?

Sophie:

The Pigeon’s will still be going!

Sam:

We’ll still be caning those open
mike nights!

Phil:

I’ll still be a musician!






Tuesday, 18 August 2009

In Conversation with Amanda NG (August 2009)














In Conversation with


Amanda NG


August 2009


Done live at Dukes 92, Castlefield, Manchester


A little background:

Over the years doing Setting Sun, when possible
it has being good fun to revisit acts
and do follow up interviews with them somewhere along the case.

Amanda NG, a talented young singer songwriter from
Manchester but originally from a land far far away who
mixes elements in her sound off dreamy piano ballads
with jazzy pop to name but two things contacted me about
nine months after we first met and asked me would I like
to do a second interview with her for Setting Sun.

After seeing her do an enjoyable gig in Manchester just
before that, I said yes straight away and this interview
happened a few weeks later.

The interview was as straightforward as interviews
can be, and I had a good natter with Amanda.

For more information on Amanda go to her myspace
page which is:

http://www.myspace.com/amandafoxylady.

Thanks Amanda as always!.

Cheers.

Andy N x.

. .

Interview with. Amanda N.G. August 2009.

SETTING SUN

GREAT TO SEE SINCE THE LAST TIME WE SPOKE
YOU HAVE NOW AND YOU HAVE STARTED PLAYING
LOTS OF GIGS - HOW HAVE THESE GONE SO FAR?

AMANDA

Stressful! Due to some unreliable musicians. But
so far, so good. I'm in the middle of organizing
some more gigs. The last gig gave me a lot of confidence.
Last time we spoke I hadn't done many but after the
last gig, I want to get out there and do lots more.

I've also recently done my first photo shoot at
Prohibition and.

General Store, Manchester.

You can see the pictures at.

http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.terra-preta.nl/blog/foto-shoot-amanda-in-manchester.

And on my myspace page at: www.myspace.com/amandafoxylady.

Also, my web site is being built at
the moment.

SETTING SUN

How did that go?

AMANDA

It went brilliant and took 13 hours
to complete the shoot. Now I can't
wait to do some more.

SETTING SUN

I WAS AT YOUR GIG AT MANCHESTER
ACADEMY 3 RECENTLY, CORRECT ME
IF I WAS WRONG BUT WAS THAT YOUR
FIRST GIG SINCE THE ROYAL EXCHANGE
IN 07? 08?

AMANDA

2008.

SETTING SUN

I REALLY ENJOYED IT. THOUGHT
BOTH OF THE GUYS BACKING YOU
REALLY ADDED SOMETHING
TO YOUR SOUND. HOW DID YOU
MEET RICHARD (KEYS AND SAX)
AND KIKI (GUITAR)?

AMANDA

I first met Richard at university
and he's like a little brother to
me. Kiki (Guitar) I met more recently
because of un-reliable musician
who let me down just two and a half
weeks before the gig. So I went
to a guitar shop in Northern Quarter,
found his number and met him the same
night. Happened to find out he was a
session guitarist who had played
for a number of bands in Spain.

SETTING SUN

EVEN BETTER. TAKE ARE BOTH
OF THESE GUYS NOW SIGNED
EXCLUSIVELY TO YOUR BAND?

AMANDA (Laughs).

Yes.

(Setting Sun laughs).

Richard is the most important
element of my kind of sound.

SETTING SUN

YOU COULD REALLY HEAR THAT
AT THE GIG WHEN HE REALLY
KICKED IN WITH THE SAX…
AND WHEN I HEARD KIKI I
THOUGHT OH S**T THIS GUY'S
A REALLY GOOD GUITAR PLAYER.

(Amanda laughs).

IT ALWAYS MAKES A MAJOR DIFFERENCE
I THINK TO YOUR SOUND WHEN YOU HEAR A
GOOD GUITAR PLAYER. HOWEVER IN YOUR CASE,
I THINK THE SAX IS MORE UN-USUAL
CERTAINLY AS IT REALLY BUILDS SOMETHING
DIFFERENT INTO THE SOUND. HOW DID THE
GIG GO FOR YOU CONSIDERING IT WAS
YOUR FIRST SINCE THE ROYAL EXCHANGE?

AMANDA

It went amazing - I was not nervous
at all in contrast to the Royal Exchange.
I think that night at the academy they
say we had about 100 or maybe 120 people
there and I wasn't even nervous. I just
tried to give it my best.

SETTING SUN

I KNOW NOW YOU'VE GOT A DRUMMER WHO
COULDN'T DO THAT FIRST GIG.

AMANDA

He was in Canada!.

(Setting Sun laughs):

SETTING SUN

THAT EXPLAINS WHY HE COULDN'T
DO THE GIG. I KNOW HE IS GOING TO
JOINING YOU FOR LIVE SHOWS
ETC. HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR
DRUMMER, SAM?

AMANDA

I met his girlfriend randomly
at a restaurant that she is working
at and she introduced me to him.

SETTING SUN

OUT OF YOUR LIVE SET AT THE
ACADEMY, ARE THE DRUMS GOING TO
BE QUITE PROMINENT?

AMANDA

Depends.

SETTING SUN

OBVIOUSLY THE FIRST TWO
'DEEPEST EMOTIONS AND
'UNFINISHED BUSINESS' WERE
THE FIRST TWO FROM YOUR MANCHESTER
SET ARE MORE PIANO BALLADS.

AMANDA

Those two may well have soft drums.

SETTING SUN

HOW DID YOU FEEL THE SONGS ARE
NOW SHAPING UP NOW YOU HAVE
THE BAND BACKING YOU?

AMANDA

I think it's great as they have
had added much more atmosphere and
entertainment to my performance,
it is an important element that
cannot be missed and makes it more
enjoyable for the audience and us.

SETTING SUN

I KNOW FROM THE LIVE SET THERE WAS
ONE TRACK I HADN'T HEARD BEFORE
'UNFINISHED BUSINESS' -CAN YOU TELL
US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT
TRACK?

AMANDA

Well - to be honest it isn't
about one particular person - it's
for everything and all the possibilities
with somebody where sometimes where
maybe the situation or the timing isn't
right. It's a song, which sums up the
same reason that would trigger all the
old memories for myself, and I can share
with the world.There is too much
unfinished business.

After listening to this, you might
think that I wrote this because I was
heartbroken but it’s really not the case.
Most of the time the situation may not
allow us to be together.It is just something
that can apply to a whole host of
situations.

SETTING SUN

IT WAS NICE TO SEE A RANGE OF MATERIALS
FROM UNFINISHED BUSINESS TO THE MORE
POPPY STUFF ON THE SET SUCH AS WHAT
IS LOVE..., IS THERE ANY CHANCE YOU MAY
DO A HARD ROCK SONG TO GO WITH IT?

AMANDA (LAUGHS).

I haven't done one of them yet. Would
be a challenge certainly.

SETTING SUN

I'M JOKING SERIOUSLY - DO YOU THINK
YOUR MATERIALS ARE MOVING INTO SEVERAL
DIFFERENT CAMPS OR TERRITORIES?

AMANDA

Definitely… Unfinished business is
for example a piano ballad as is
Deepest Emotions. I then move to
My love, My life that is more
upbeat and so on.

SETTING SUN

IS THERE MORE STYLES YOU WOULD
LIKE TO TRY NOW YOU HAVE THE
BAND SUPPORTING YOU?

AMANDA

I would like to mix Jazz
with pop and indie rock.
Should be fun.

SETTING SUN

CERTAINLY WHEN YOU HAVE SUCH
A GOOD GUITARIST SUCH AS KIKI, IT
WOULD MAKE MORE SENSE TO GIVE
HIM THE OPPORTUNITY TO FLY
ONCE IN A WHILE.

AMANDA

I totally agree. For example,
he created a fantastic solo
for Unfinished Business.

SETTING SUN

LAST TIME I SPOKE TO YOU, YOU
WERE HOPING TO GET THE ALBUM DONE
BY THE END OF LAST YEAR - HOW IS
THAT LOOKING NOW WITH THE BAND A
LSO IN PLACE?

AMANDA

Better than I expected because
as a person I am more determined
to show the world what I can do
creatively and obviously, as I am
getting a little older and a
little bit more mature, it
is a case of doing it now
or never.

SETTING SUN

HAVE YOU GOT MANY MORE NEW
TRACKS ON THE GO ALSO?

AMANDA

Unfinished business is a new
track and there are three or
four more new tracks on the
go also.

SETTING SUN

LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING
THEM. GIGS ARE CLEARLY THE NEXT
STAGE FOR YOU THEN?

AMANDA

Basically - having played at
Manchester Academy 3 I was
delighted with my and my
bands performance as well
as the audience's reaction.
I was delighted with all of
it. Now I want to do lots
more gigs.

I have lots of plans for the
future. I want to write more
songs and do lots lots more gigs.




Monday, 3 August 2009

In conversation with Kylyra

















In Conversation

with Kylyra


(Discussing Deemed Psychotic,
Kypoetry,

technoky, Poets & Kids Express,

Shawky Dog etc)


July 2009.


A little background:


Kylyra, my friend from Dark World International is a
busy young lady without doubt and makes my running
around sometimes like I am a beginnier.

First interviewed in the old version off ‘Setting Sun’
(http://www.geocities.com/aen1mpo) at the end off 2007,
when this new site was launched the interview was
One of the first interviews to be transferred across
with a slight update.

Further conversations with Ky revealed
It would be worth doing a totally new interview
With her, as since her first interview at the end off
2007, a number of new projects had cropped up
And in the case of existing projects, all of them
Had being updated.

The interview of course pretty quick, and
Certainly in the case of Kypoetry and Poets
Express I have to hold my hand up and
Say I was in part responsible for both of these,
But both are fantastic in different ways and well
Worth checking out for different reasons.

More details on all of the projects can be found
At http://www.darkworld.com

They are well worth checking out. I have the CD
For Kypoetry ‘Purple’ and it is lovely… Well
Worth the 10 Euro’s I paid out!

Cheers, Ky.
Andy N



Setting Sun:

How are things and whats happening at
The moment?


Kylyra:

I'm just coming off a 10 day down period,
which feels odd! It's the first break I've
allowed myself in over 6 months, and
trying to fill my days by doing nothing was
quite a challenge to a work-aholic like me.

I managed it, with some help from my
friends and family....and that I didn't turn
on the computer at all, and had my
phones off! lol! Now I'm gearing up for a
very full autumn schedule.

Setting Sun:

Now I know since we last conducted
A interview, I know you have being a
Very busy young lady – first of all, can
You tell us a little bit about the development
Of your music in Deemed Psychotic with
Your excellent nine tracks available for
Download on Dark World International?

Kylyra:

Yeah, the new Deemed Psychotic sound is killer.
Tor and I wrote the material for the second release
ages ago, and had roughs done in the studio.
We finished up the nine tracks that are available
for download at our page, http://www.darkworld.com/10page.html,
and our producer, Kristi, spent about two weeks
hammering in the studio on our sound.

The whole band's been remixed, and it's a
much more mature sounding release. Some of
the punk elements of The 1st have been
softened out, and it's been getting great response
on the net. 'Monsters' and 'Silly Mind Games' have
both hit number one at Sony/BMG's site, Musictrax,
in Japan.

Both Tor and myself would like to get the full release
done; we've got another five or six songs in the studio
that need final tracks put in, but our schedules have
been really full! The album is supposed to be done by the
end of the year, though, so it would be a great gift for
someone who enjoys great, full-on hard rock....hint, hint!


Setting Sun:

It’s being great to see you expand into the
World of spoken poetry. I know I am partly
Responsible for this happening but I never
Expected the way you put music into it.
Can you tell us a little bit about how
The sound has developed as I know
Previously your poetry was much more
Inward?

Kylyra:

Yeah, Andy, you're to blame for it! You and
Coll from BlogTalkRadio...egging me on to do
spoken word recordings.

I knew the minute you brought it up
exactly what I'd end up doing, but I never expected
the response I've got from it. I was hesitant at first; I
always am on a new project. I have to feel my way
into what it's going to be. I began using some of
my older poetry that's up on my Dark World page,
http://www.darkworld.com/port/literature/word/Poetry/index.html.

I drew a lot from my experience in Stygian Tars,
the improvisational band I was in. I didn't start
with metering, or refrains...I used my free verse,
and spoke naturally.

Then I added ambience and sounds.
I found some of the pieces ('Afternoon Tea',
'The Poet') began to pull melodies out of me,
and started to work in that direction purposefully.

As you noted, my early poetry is very inward
focused. I used to write to me, to express
frustration or thoughts I was wrestling with.

Two things happened very quickly
this spring that drastically changed that.

One, you invited me to your poetry night,
'Poets and...'.

Two, we began to discuss the beat
generation. All this drove me to google the hell
out of performance poetry; I searched out videos
of poets in the Manchester area
specifically since you'd shared with me
the excellent tip of knowing your audience. I saw
quite a variety of work, but was struck by the
overall humour and quirky language that I heard.

I also did some research on the art form
of performance poetry, and that led me back
to (gasp) the beat generation. We'd talked
of Jack Kerouac, and I finally found some
of his audio files. I also watched some videos
with Ginsberg.

All of this worked in combination, and the
material I presented at your night was
completely new. My words were written
specifically to be spoken live, and I found
a new metering and rhyme scheme to work
with. I found myself being lighter; I'll get heavy
and depressive with myself, but tend to be
more playful when interacting with others.
So my work included humour, I think for the
first time. I also presented the first poem I wrote
in the style of the beat generation,
'Clutched and Frosted', which I'm particularly
proud of. I won't be so arrogant as to say I
captured the style; but I will call what I did 'neo-beat'.

I'm writing more and more these days; thank
you for re-sparking my love of poetry. I'm working
heavy with the jazz combo behind me, but not
exclusively....I hate to be pigeon-holed; in fact,
I refuse to be. So I'm still doing pieces with
ambient noise, still doing pieces with techno
beats, still doing serious material along with
the humour.

I hope to be able to pull a full show together
With KyPoetry; something I could present in a
theatre setting.


Setting Sun:

I love the fact you have also bought your
First spoken word CD on DWI called ‘Purple’.
Can you tell us a little bit about the
sessions for this CD and why you called
it Purple?

Yes, 'KyPoetry-Purple' is available on Amazon.com.
This is a limited edition EP, and includes my first
recordings. I'll be back in the studio re-recording
and re-producing some of these pieces, so this
is your only chance to hear some of them this way!

I've learned quite a bit about how I want this
material to sound, and performing live has,
of course, changed everything for me. It's a great
sounding release, and I'm very proud of it...but I
WILL pull it when I come out with the full CD,
so get it now!

I guess the idea of calling it Purple developed
over a period of time. I'd chosen one of my
abstract photographs as the symbol of
KyPoetry quite a while ago. The original
was in black and white, and I tinkered on my
computer with the file until I came up with
purple look.

I went through a variety of ideas of names
for the release, but in the end I decided that
any title would fail to convey what I wanted,
so I went abstract. I began with purple
unconsciously....it just appealed to me. As
usual, though, my mind took the abstraction
and wove it into something new. The idea
now is to release a series of KyPoetry CDs,
taking you through the colours of the rainbow.
So expect to see Purple, Indigo, Blue, Green,
Yellow, Orange, and Red coming out. If I'm
still at it after all that, I'm not out of ideas! lol!


Setting Sun:

It’s also being wicked to see Ky Poetry do
Gigs (I’ve being to two of them). How do
These compare to your studio recordings?

Kylyra:

Performing live always teaches you so
much...I'm fully aware my live
performances outdo my recordings in
many ways. I'm far more animated
vocally in front of a live audience,
and my added theatrics and blocking just
make my live performances that much
more engaging. That is, of course,
the real reason I'll be re-recording
some of the material I've got on
'KyPoetry-Purple'. I've performed them now.

Those recordings are my first attempt
at the pieces. I've got a much better
idea of delivery and vocal pitches,
accents, etc. now. There are also
recordings that would be next to
impossible to perform live, and
I'd like to change some of that.

Setting Sun:

I’ve also found it cool to hear you have a
Recordings also up on D.W.I. under the name
Of technoky? Can you tell us a little bit more
About this sound etc?

Kylyra:

Ah, TechnoKy....TechnoKy is my DJ material.
Before KyPoetry, before Deemed Psychotic,
my solo work, or Stygian Tars, I was doing
trance techno.

TechnoKy gives me an opportunity to go
back and do more DJing, which is a welcome
break from the hard writing I do in Deemed Psychotic
or the melodic work I do in KyPoetry.

It's very groovin' and has some improvisations
layered on top of the trance techno - and
no, not one vocal line.

I'll have two producers on the material;
some roughs from my first producer are
available at
http://www.darkworld.com/16page.html.

One production will be chilled ambience;
the other will be hard driving beats. I've got
more recording to do in the studio
before the first release is available,
and I'm going to try to get that done
before next summer. I'm looking forward
to taking TechnoKy live; I use
some classic equipment in it and get a
really fat sound.

Setting Sun:

Somehow on-top of both of this, I know you
Have found time to set up Poets Express,
A one day festival in Bantry, Southern Ireland.
Can you tell us how this started off etc?

Kylyra:

Can I embarrass you some more? Poets Express
began because you asked about poetry nights in the
area I live, Bantry, Ireland. I was mortified to tell you
there weren't ANY poetry nights in the area, especially
after visiting Manchester and going to poetry night after
poetry night with you! I thought to myself, 'Why don't
you set something up? It can't be that hard.' lol! What
began as a simple idea kept growing and growing. In the
end, Poets Express had seven special guests (including
yourself) come in from around Ireland and Manchester,
open mic times, two bands, recorded audio and video,
catering, video footage specially created for the night,
and one hell of a show!

It almost was too big for me to handle, but I managed
it working non-stop, and relying on the help of several
people. I was very pleased at the turn out; we had a
grateful audience of 60-65 people who loved the night.
This was the first year of Poets Express, but it won't
be the last. I'll be working on securing sponsorships
for the night so I can expand on it. I hope to take next
year to two nights, and add in some seminars
during the day.

I found while working on Poets Express that the event
was not only important for poets and poetry people in
the area, but it was also important to the community.
I chose to hold the event at Bantry Boys' Club, a
community hall that is sadly underused. Many of the
locals were thrilled to see an entire show, all ages,
set up there again, and I've chosen to continue
holding the event there. Bantry has fancier venues,
but nothing more appropriate.

Poets Express is an event for the community, for the
people. Holding it in the community hall, bringing life
back to the building, just makes the event that
much more special.


Setting Sun:

I know also Kids Express has also started from
This and come under the same umbrella? Can
You tell us a little bit about this too also?

Kylyra:

Kids Express is a children's poetry
competition I held in conjunction with Poets Express.
I wanted to get school aged kids involved in this,
and interested in performance poetry.

Poetry is a school subject here, but I heard
from plenty of parents how it's very dry, and
losing the interest of most children. So I hoped
to draw some kids into the event by holding
a competition. We had two age groups, 8-12
and 13-17.

I announced the competition a bit late, but despite
that we received entries from all over Ireland, the
UK, and India! One of our local sponsors,
McCarthy Sports, donated two beautifully
engraved trophies for the winners, and the top
poet in each age group walked away with a
trophy plus a special gift from New Street
Jewellery and a special winners certificate.

They were also able to perform their winning
entries on stage at Poets Express.

Our winner for the 8-12 year olds, Ruby Sullivan,
was a real performer. I think her poetry stunned
the judges (made up from a panel of my
guest poets), but her performance blew
everyone away. I've never seen someone
that young be so poised and composed. Her
delivery was flawless, and I hope to hear much,
much more from her in the future.

Erin Barclay was our winner in the 13-17 year
old category. Erin couldn't be there on the night,
but her mom got up to deliver her poem - now
THERE was a woman with nerves of steel! If
Erin takes after her mom, we've got yet
another up and coming performer to watch,
in my opinion.

Of all the great things that have come out of hosting
Poets Express, running Kids Express was perhaps
the very best. I loved reading the material that
came in; we had an amazing variety of styles.

The maturity of the subjects from some
of these kids was awe-inspiring for me. I couldn't
help but compare my own work from when I
was that age, and let me tell you, mine fell
well short of some of what I read.


Setting Sun:

Last of the main questions, I have heard a rumor
You are now involved with the excellent almost
Literally Johnny Cash meets Nine Inch Nails band
Shawky Dawg.. How did your involvement with
This lot?

Kylyra:

Yes, I'm working with Shaky Dawg! It all began in
the studio (as do most things for me). The band
wanted some female backing vocals; I was
there and able to fill the position. No one
was thinking I'd go out and gig live with them;
my schedule is too crazy as it is. But when
Shaky Dawg opened for Poets Express,
well, seeing them up there just looked like
too much fun to pass up on. So I told them
I'd love to gig live, and away we went! It's a
pretty easy show for me, I'm just doing the
back-up vocals. But I was right, it's loads of fun
to play with the guys. A few days after Poets Express
we got a call requesting Shaky Dawg to
open up for Nik Turner (guitarist
from Hawkwind), and of course we
snapped at it.

I only had 2 rehearsals with the guys,
but all went smoothly....Nik even gave us
a standing ovation after one of our numbers!

We've got some gigs lined up for August
and October already, and we seem to get
offers to do more on a weekly basis. The guys
are up in the studio writing new material
between everything, so the band is terribly
busy - and we love it!


Setting Sun:

What’s next for yourself (apart from sleep)?

Kylyra:

Sleep time is over, at the moment I'm playing
with some special recordings I got of a few of my
guests from Poets Express. I'm adding music
and ambience to the back of each poem and
producing them separately, then plan on a
large montage poem using lines and words
from each performance mixed into something new!
Keep watching our pages on Facebook and
MySpace for links and updates! Next in line –
videos from Poets Express!!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

In Conversation with Alan Lacriox - July 2009
















In Conversation with

Alan Lacroix:


July 2009

According to his myspace page '12 String
guitarist/singer/songwriter Alan Lacroix was
born in South London in 1965. In 2006 he
began writing specifically for solo 'acoustic guitar
developing a combination of classical
techniques and open tunings.'

When I heard his music, without
even looking at his influences which
I will come onto shortly, I heard a guitarist who
certainly had listened to Nick Drake, but then
took it forward with a deep vocal which
touched on Scott Walker, two dear
favourites off mine.

Interested of course - I listened to this and
then read his influences which were
listed as : James Blackshaw, Julian Bream,
Nick Drake, Scott Walker, Laura Nyro,
Jose Gonzales, Thom Yorke, Leo Brouwer,
Tim Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Samantha Whates,
Rhys Marsh, Ted Hughes, Anne Sexton,
Sylvia Plath, 20th C classical guitar music,
Benjamin Britten, Claude Debussy,
Olivier Messiaen, Henryk Gorecki... '

By any stretch of thought that is a wide
range off influences and listening to his music
on his myspace page, you can pick up
nearly all off it without too much trouble,
but then often I felt on some tracks he walks
away from his influences into worlds I certainly
couldn't begin to describe, but loved it and
as far as I am concerned any big fan
off Setting Sun should.

His myspace page is:

http://www.myspace.com/alanlacroix

Check it out - it's lovely and some of the tracks
seem like they go on for-ever which
is even more fun.

Cheers for the interview, Alan.

Andy N



Setting Sun:

How are things and what's happening
at the moment?

Alan Lacroix:

Before we begin, I just
wanted to thank you for

inviting me to take part in this
interview it's not something

I've had the chance to do too
often so I'm looking forward to it.


Things are fine at the moment,
I'm inbetween projects at the

moment having finished off some
recordings recently that were a

long time in the making. I'm just
starting to map out some new

musical ideas so I'm keeping
busy one way or another.



Setting Sun:

Can you tell us a little bit about
your music etc, what started you off
or as i like to say - who fired the starting
pistol?

Alan Lacroix:

I suppose my approach to music
has always been
developing and
changing, I've always had the feeling that

I haven't quite achieved what
I wanted to achieve with the

songs, this is what continues to
make want to write. That is

the one area that still fascinates
me, it wouldn't bother me

particularly if I didn't play or sing
in public again but
I remain obsessed
with writing and the outlet it provides.


After a very long time thinking in
terms of conventional song

forms I have slowly been developing
an approach to extended

frameworks, often with long
narratives holding them together.


I really want to try and give the
lyrics and the music an equal

importance and think in terms
of creating pieces that stand

alone rather than having an
albums perspective. I suppose I

am trying not to think about the
songs in the context of recordings,

to put the accent on the actual
writing and the performance of

the music itself.

As for my start in music I suppose
much of the credit goes to my

mother. I remember banging out
random block chords on her upright

piano and there were always instruments
in the house. She had a
small spanish
guitar which made it's way up to my
room never to
return. I didn't really
start playing in earnest until I was
about
15 years old, like thousands
of others my introduction was the

'Beatles Complete' book for guitar
filled with all those improbable

guitar chord windows... Eventually
I hit a wall with my development

as a guitarist and finally had some
classical guitar lessons, I made

it to grade seven when it became
apparent I would need to find a lot

of practice time in order to reach
the next level. As a result I

went back to playing electric guitar
in indie rock bands before I

finally decided to develop a solo
guitar style about four years ago.



Setting Sun:

Music wise what are your influences
and what
are you listening to at
the moment?


Alan Lacroix:

Over the years many things have
been an influence on me and

as I get older the more interested
I have become in diverse musical

forms. Initially I grew up in the
late '60s and early '70s listening

to the chart music around at the
time but also to the records my
parents
played, mostly Neil Diamond,
Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles.


The one album that fascinated
me the most was my mother's copy of

Scott 3 by Scott Walker. It seemed
at odds with everything else I was

familiar with at the time, there
were hardly any drums or guitars, mainly

this incredibly rich voice backed
by some very strange orchestrations indeed

and lyrics that were more like poetry
than anything else. I know that album

really did affect me because I still listen
to it now with the same sense of

awe. Songs like 'Rosemary' and
'Big Louise' are timeless. Subsequently I

developed a fascination for
West Coast '60s music (The Byrds,
Love, The Doors...)
Hendrix and
by way of contrast Julian Bream
which lead me into a lot of

20th Century classical guitar
music. More recently l have developed an

appreciation of Nick Drake
('Pink Moon' is a timeless record) and

particularly Laura Nyro's initial
albums on Columbia which are
breathtaking.


Over the last year or so my
attention has been divided between

largley acoustic contemporary
artists like James Blackshaw (who
is
solely responsible for converting
me to the 12 string guitar),

Samantha Whates, Blue Rose Code,
Rhys Marsh and the Autumn Ghost,

Show Without Punch, Jess Bryant,
Lee Westwood, Autumn Grieve, Mondesir,

Kelli Ali, Tom Janssen, Josh Bray,
Sam Carter, Jane Bartholomew,

Jose Gonzales, Matt Kebbell,
Amy Kohn... and classical music in

the form of Claude Debussy,
Benjamin Britten, Maurice Ravel,

Aaron Copland, Arvo Part,
Frank Bridge, Erik Satie, Frederic Chopin,

Henryk Gorecki, Joaquin Rodrigo,
Leo Brouwer, Olivier Messiaen,

Steve Reich, Samuel Barber...

Setting Sun:

Listening from your music on your myspace,
you clearly at least to me have at least two sorts
of styles blowing in your music, for example
your two part 'nine black elms' which brought
a proper shiver down my back. can you tell
us a little bit about where these songs
come from, and where the decision to release
them as two separate songs came from?


Alan Lacroix:

'Nine Black Elms' has been a huge
undertaking. It evolved
over a six
month period and started with
the words (as all my
current
material does). I drafted the
lyric on holiday in Greece

last year and then spent months
rewriting it and setting it to

music. A few months before I
started work on 'Nine Black Elms'

I had finished a set of three songs
which told a story of a central

character ('Cain'). Each part
was roughly 12 minutes long and

each had a different 12 string
guitar tuning. This was fine

until I tried to play the songs
live and had to deal with

retuning the 12 string guitar on
stage. This is possible of

course but not very practical in
the the time available at

the shows I have been playing.
The solution then (in order to

have a practical and performable
piece of new music) would

be to have a song where no retuning
would have to take place.


The initial musical ideas for
'Nine Black Elms' were all

sketched out on 12 string
guitar (in an open A Major
tuning).
This did solve the retuning
issue but created it's own problem

in that the tuning was not versatile
enough to carry the
entire lyric. To
create some variety I turned to
the Spanish guitar,
again with an
open tuning. The Spanish guitar
has a completely
different set of
qualities to the 12 string so was
ideal for
creating the contrast
that was required. After much
trial and
error I found the most
balanced approach was to divide
the song
into two parts (of
roughly 15 minutes each) and
to write the guitar

parts to bring out the strengths of
each instrument. You should

think of it as one song, it is
divided into two sections purely

to allow for the change of
instruments. The lyric is simple
enough
as it follows a single narrative
sequence across both of the

sections.

The trial sequence at the beginning
if part 2 was one of the
first sequences
to be written and was the
result of listening
to the opening
section of Britten's 'Peter Grimes'.
The lengthy
chase sequence which
takes up the majority of the first part

was the final piece of the lyric to be
written and consciously
avoids any
attempt at making lines rhyme.
I have mixed feelings
about rhymes
as they often get in the way of the
more prosaic
language that I want
to use in the songs, the drawback
of course
is remembering it all,
thankfully I've come to terms with
it now.


Setting Sun:

I must admit I also loved your work with
Samantha Whates in particular 'woman from
the north shore' as Samantha really adds
something to it. How did you meet her
and where did this song come from?


Alan Lacroix:

I'm pleased to hear that you enjoyed
that song. I met
Samantha by chance
really, I was playing at an open mic evening
in London when a very unassuming
guitarist took to the stage, I remember he took quite
a while setting up and getting the microphone into
position for his guitar, you're never really sure

what to expect from people at open mic sessions
but this was one of those occasions when I
was completely blown away by the performance,
really wonderful guitar playing, songs and
voice... this was, as it turns out, Ross Wilson.


I caught a brief word with Ross as he was
leaving and
he told me his band was called
Blue Rose Code (I
could have quite easily
let him walk out without
saying anything
and that would have been that

but I wanted to tell him I had enjoyed
watching
him play). It wasn't until a
few months later that
I had the opportunity
to see the band play
and Samantha was
singing with the group
(as she does to
this day...), I have since
been to many
of their amazing shows and
also seen
Samantha play her own material
solo
around London. There is a beautiful
tone to her voice coupled
with a profound
range of emotions, songs like 'Eyes Nose and Soul'

her debut album once it is recorded later
in the year. Eventually
we decided it would
be an interesting idea to work
together on something.


I had already started writing quite
large scale songs so it seemed

like a good opportunity to write a
long form piece for two voices and

guitar, 'Woman from the North Shore'
was the result of that idea.

I was already thinking about
different approaches to vocal duets

having heard 'You are Taken'
and 'Hours' by Rhys Marsh and

Jess Bryant (from their
excellent '&' project) so I knew I

didn't want to restrict Samantha's
contribution to a traditional

backing vocal. With this in
mind I started to write individual

parts for us to sing that would work
together but lyrically could

be separate unrelated statements,
like a conversation where two

people are talking but neither one
really listens to the other.

While the verses are really about
deepening degrees of estrangement

the voices come together on the
'Kyrie Eleison' (Lord have mercy)

lines. For the central section
of the song I wanted to create as

much space as possible so there
are various lengths of pauses

between the guitar line as it
repeats itself in successive waves

behind Samantha's voice. Writing
this song helped to pave the

way for a more ambitious duet
called 'October' which takes the

conversation idea a step further.
I'm sure I'll pick the threads

of these songs up again at some
stage and see where they lead.



Setting Sun:

I see from your myspace page you
also do concerts? How do they compare
to your recordings? Is their one you
prefer over the other?


Alan Lacroix:

My intention with the material I am
writing now is for the
concert and recorded
performances to be as close as possible

so I don't really have a preference. I am
consciously trying
to avoid the scenario
of not being able to reproduce a
recorded
version of a song in a live context. I like to

think of the songs as a text to be
interpreted and
reinterpreted so I think
performing the songs live
is the bigger
challenge, to try to bring them to life

and make a connection with an
audience. Obviously it
is also important
to have the recorded versions as a

point of reference so I have to give both
areas a lot
of attention.


Setting Sun:

What's next for yourself musicwise?
Do you have any more concerts / recordings
planned?

Alan Lacroix:

There are no concerts in the pipeline at
the moment although
I expect I will start
playing again in a couple of months time.

There are two projects I can tell you about
that I have been involved
in which should
be reaching a conclusion soon. The first
involves one
of the first songs I
wrote for solo guitar a song called 'August'.
It
is due to be included on a compilation
album which is being put together

by Ginkgo Music. Ginkgo is an
ecological project and the proceeds
of the
album will go toward halting
deforestation in Ecuador. There are a
number
of significant artists who have
contributed including Kate Walsh

and Devon Sproule. I've heard an initial
mix of my song with the
sixteen piece string
section that was dubbed onto the recording late

last year and it will be very interesting
to hear it in the context
with the other
songs. All being well the album should
be released
in the Autumn. The second
project is a tribute album to the late

Odetta which is being curated by
Wears the Trousers magazine. The

album will feature contemporary female
artists who have each been
given one of
Odetta's classic songs to record. I have
contributed
to the arrangement of
"All the Pretty Little Horses" by Kelli Ali

who you may well know as the
singer from The Sneaker Pimps. Since

Kelli left the band she has undertaken
a very varied and interesting

solo career. Her two most recent
albums Rocking Horse and Butterfly

are firmly based in the rich traditions
of acoustic music. I play the

12 string guitars on the song which
also features the very talented

Jane South on flute. Other artists w
who will contribute to the album

include Marissa Nadler and
Ane Brun, I think the release date is

scheduled for later in the year.

As for my own projects I am
planning to begin writing the

follow up to 'Nine Black Elms' in the
next month or so.


Actually I have already written
a follow up piece but
there was no
real significant sense of development with

it so I have decided to start again. There
are a lot of
disparate ideas I want to c
ombine in the new project,
I've just been
reading 'The Waves' by Virginia Woolf
and
the dense poetic language that
she uses in nearly every
line is very
inspiring. Lyrically I want to move
more in
that direction. As for the
music, I've become interested

in trying to incorporate what are
more traditionally classical

approaches to writing, using the
core material in different forms.

It will be a big challenge of course
but it will be a question
of stitching
all the flashes of ideas together. I'm
very much
looking forward to
beginning the process.


Setting Sun:

A few lighter questions to finish
off
with, firstly what would
you be your dream
job if you
are not a musician?



Alan Lacroix:

This should be an easy
question to answer shouldn't it?

I suppose as I do have a regular
day job, being a full
time musician
would be the obvious answer but
I'm not
sure I would want to be
a full time musician anyway,

I think it can be more productive
and liberating working

in small concentrated bursts now
and then without having

to focus on a full time basis. I
often think it would be

great to work in a coastal town,
to be in that environment

all year round to see the character
of a place change
dramatically as it
does with the extremes of summer
and
winter in these places, I dont even
think the job
itself (whatever it
turned out to be) would be as
significant
as the surroundings,
that would be very interesting I think...


Setting Sun:

What would you like to do when you
are 60?

Alan Lacroix:

I hope I will still be doing
something creative.

I have never really taken the
time to develop my

interests in writing or drawing
as so much of what
little free time
I have is occupied with music. So

to answer your question, I would
like to develop one
of those interests
further.


Setting Sun:

Lastly, what will be you doing when you
are 60?

Alan Lacroix:

Still writing music I hope. Time
will tell wont it?