Mountain Bird: Up, Up and Away.

Sweden’s Mountain Bird isn’t your standard band, in fact, it’s not a band at all. In the wake of the new EP, KINSHIP finds out who’s who, what’s what and the lowdown in downtown Stockholm.

KINSHIP: First off guys, congratulations on your new EP! How long was it in the making?

Mountain Bird: Thank you, I wrote the songs during a time of 2 years, and recordings took about 6 months from start to finish..

KINSHIP: Further to that, why the title Cosmos II? Was it something in the stars? Or something you have an interest in?

Mountain Bird: Cosmos is the word I’ve always used for things that’s too big to understand but yet make an impression in that space you have in your head.
Imagine a cloud of thoughts floating above your head, that’s my Cosmos.


KINSHIP: Who and what (instruments) makes up Mountain Bird?

Mountain Bird: Mountain Bird is the name I use when I write music to vent and to get problems out of my head. So It’s basically a solo project with input and help from friends.
Live it’s different since I don’t want to be alone on stage with a lot of boring backtracks. Anders plays the bass, Sam plays the drums, Dennis plays the guitar and Victor sing falsetto-backup and sometimes lead, he also does synths. When I write I tend to use every instrument I get my hands on. So Mountain Bird is basically my head. So it’s not a band.

KINSHIP: Confusion aside, what’s the best musical collaboration that has never happened? And why?
Mountain Bird: Mountain Bird and The XX but that will be happening soon.

KINSHIP: Complete the following…

The best thing about Stockholm is that (there is a music studio in every corner).

If (Jonsi) wanted to join our band, we wouldn’t be able to refuse as she/he is our main influence.

If we could do the score to (Sean Penn)’s next film, we would drop everything to do it.

KINSHIP: Back to more civilised questions! How long into playing together did you realise you were going all the way with this as a band.

Yet again, It’s not a “band”. We didn’t play together and then realized we were going to go all the way. I made my music and got a mail from a big booking agency here in Sweden, it was a really big opening gig and that was too big to not go through with. So I called every friend I knew that played the instruments I wanted. I then taught them which parts to play and then it continued from there.

KINSHIP: And last but not least, If you may, please tell KINSHIP something about Mountain Band you’ve never told anyone else. We promise we are really good at keeping secrets!

Mountain Bird: I’m moving to London, that’s a secret that nobody knows yet. Surprise!

Little Liar: Uncaged

In less than 140 characters, it’s fair to say Maya Yianni has been making bird-like sounds well before the world caught on to it. KINSHIP goes beyond the perimeters of the birdcage and gets personal with the singer-songwriter whose number is definitely on the up. KINSHIP: So first off, what’s the biggest porky you’ve ever told? Feel free to change people’s names if it’s bound to cause any embarrassment or possible emigration to another country.

Little Liar: Do you know what, I really hate lying, so I don’t have any lies to truth for you! That’s boring isn’t it.

KINSHIP: Is Little Liar just you or is there a band of people who also collaborate on the project?
Little Liar: Little Liar is me, but it’s fundamentally a collaborative project. I perform and record with the band. I’ll write a song, show it to the guys, and then we’ll usually arrange it together. Working with them is natural, They’re so patient when I struggle to articulate myself.

KINSHIP: What instruments do you play and any you aspire to learn? And if you weren’t a musician, what what be your next calling in life?

Little Liar: I’ve always been involved in music but my views and consumption of music have broadened a lot since studying it at University. I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was pretty small. And I started to play guitar to accompany myself about three and a half years ago, I’m no ‘guitarist’, mind. Although my lack of skill can be restricting and frustrating at times, I kind of like that my guitar ability is pretty limited, it means that I’m rather technically unaware of what I’m doing most of the time, I like that, especially when I’m writing, I’m less bound to the rules of theory and more led by what I want to hear. Jamie Coe, my guitarist knows what he’s doing though, so does Ed Burton (drummer) and Idan Brutman (bassist).

To be honest, I’m blessed to be working with such astounding musicians. They keep me in line. Since working with them, I’ve gained a confidence I’ve needed for a long time, and gained the frame of mind that I can just do what I do and people will merely take it or leave it. There used to be that worry in the back of my mind about sounding a certain way, or, pre-empting how people might perceive me, but I’ve come to realise that thinking really distorts my ideas and creates a lot of doubt and insecurity in my mind, which hinders my work a lot before I’ve played a note or written a word. I’ve come to realise that what I do tends to involve as little technology as possible because, to be frank, that’s just a whole other area of distraction for me.

As an expert procrastinator, I have to remove any thing that might divert my creative train of thought. As I’ve gotten older, it has become more and more important for me that what I share with an audience, live or recorded, is as close to the original idea in my head as possible, and not a diluted realisation that’s trudged through a ‘mill’ of complications. I want to learn to play the auto-harp, that’s next on my list. Despite me saying I embrace my limited guitar skills, I’d be a fool to say I don’t wont to improve them. To answer the latter part of your question, if I wasn’t a musician and had no interest in music at all, I’d be a gardener.

KINSHIP: What was the last album you bought? And what are your biggest influences making music? Not necessarily other musicians, this could be art, inspirational people or books for example.

Little Liar: People watching is good. Everywhere I go I find myself building little narratives about people, I guess it’s just day dreaming. My songs are quite exposing, and discuss topics that I’d never talk about in conversation with most people, so my own emotions play a big part in what I write about and also the romantic relationships I’ve encountered. There are a lot of characters, good and bad, that I have encountered throughout my life that make me want to write. And of course, my friends are massively inspiring and influential.

KINSHIP: Tomorrow morning, you get a phone call from one well-known artist, requesting you write/produce for them? Who would that artist be?

Little Liar: That’s quite a tough question, does the artist have to be alive? I don’t think any one would want me to produce for them, I’ve done a bit of production and I know how it all works but If I could write for anyone, alive or dead, it’d be Ella Fitzgerald. With regards to more current artists, I think all the musicians that I admire write their own music, people like Connan Mokasin, Anna Calvi, and St. Vincent; it wouldn’t be the same if that changed. In correlation with some of the thoughts I currently have about mainstream music and the industry, I wouldn’t mind writing a big pop song that broke out of the standardised form that so much music is saturated in these days. I’m all up for recycling ideas and patching them together with new ones but when things start to sound too similar it encourages every one to become passive listeners. Music should be precious. One day, someone will probably use those words against me when I decide to release a banging club anthem album… It doesn’t men that I don’t like pop, it means that I don’t like uninventive and lazy musicians and music, especially when it’s artists that release dull stuff and you KNOW that they’re pretty amazing really.

KINSHIP: If we could turn back time, ‘KINSHIP’ aka I, would have loved to have been a jazz bassist in 1950s New York circa the Cotton Club years. What other musical era would you have liked to have existed in and why?

Little Liar: The Jazz Age, without a doubt. Though, saying that, it wasn’t a great time to be a woman back then.

KINSHIP: Finally, what are you working on at the moment? An EP or full album. And what does the summer hold for you in terms of shows and festivals?

Little Liar: At the moment, we’re working in the studio and gigging in London. I just played at Glastonbury, which was great, apart from clashing with Connan Mockisan and Dolly Parton. I’d seen Connan before so I knew the drill with him (though I’d gladly watch him again), but I cut my set by 20 minutes so I could catch Dolly. As I approached the Pyramid Stage I could hear the introduction to “Joleane”. Damn good timing. Couldn’t see anything though – being short at a festival is shit, saying that being tall isn’t much better because you have people like me telling them to get out the way every 5 minutes…
Coming up, we’re booked to play the ARAF Collective’s new night at the Montague Arms, Queens Road, Peckham (one of my favorite pubs and Collectives) on the 10th October and should also be playing at Steez on the 20th (acoustic) and back again later in the year with the full band, both at the Amersham in New Cross.
I’m excited to release some more music soon, we only have one band track up on the internet at the moment – On the NX Records Mixtape and on the Little Liar Soundcloud so it’ll be good to unleash some more. I’m not sure how I want to disseminate it, I need to think about that. There’s also talk of making a video at some point which would be cool, I’ll just keep going with what we’ve got for now and just see what happens. I’m excited though. Really excited.

Photo: Malcolm Fernandes. Words: Ade Bankole. Links: soundcloud.com/littleliarmaya

From Sweden’s charming second city comes this aptly named artist who’s new track ‘U Got All I’m Looking 4’ is bound to be a keeper while the seasons change. Summer Heart aka David Alexander, with the help of some old synthesisers, uplifting beats and lyrics to match, creates idealistic and heartfelt pop songs that do exactly what they say on the tin. The beautiful curse that is the Gothenburg music scene strikes again, and thankfully so.

Juce: Making Champagne out of Lemonade.

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Music and necessity rarely mix but Juce are the proverbial kick up the rear that inner-city popular music representative of London needed. Tell us what you really, really want but girl power probably died with Patti Smith’s Horses. With a hook-like drum break straight out of The Neptunes playbook and a groove that could have been penned on Nile Rodgers’ stratocaster, their debut single ‘Call You Out’ is a strong opening statement from the denim-clad all-girl trio. Cherish + Chalin + Georgia = Juce and on this evidence, they’ll be dropping hits like 3rd grade mathematics.

KINSHIP: How did Juce happen? Was it a planned operation or did you just realise you sounded good together and took it from there?

Juce: We met at the disco. Sly came on and we all started singing ‘If You Want Me To Stay’. We realised we all had it word perfect, after that we knew what the fuck. That night we swapped numbers like we’d pulled the future and were going home with it but we didn’t even hear each others names so our only point of contact was all our numbers saved in one phone as ‘girl band ting’. JUCE was born! 

KINSHIP: What’s the story behind the scenes? Do you play any of the instruments and come up with the grooves and beats yourselves or do you have a producer or a studio band behind you?

Juce: Chalin sings, Georgia plays keys and Cherish is on bass. We write the songs and we play the songs! We had loads of fun working with producer Dan Carey on ‘Call You Out’ and ‘Braindead’. 

KINSHIP: As a band, which three songs do you always find yourselves always singing when you are together? In a “if walls could talk…” type scenario?

Juce: This week it’s: ‘Oops’ - Tweet, ‘Nights Over Egypt’ - The Jones Girls and ‘Climax’ - Usher.

KINSHIP: Is your music a reaction to a current trend in the music industry? Was your thinking that there is a gap in the market so to speak or do you want to take listeners back to a different era with it?

Juce: Not at all. The songs we make are just what comes out when JUCE plays music. We want to take people to the JUCE era! 

KINSHIP: The saying goes, “there’s no “i” in the word we” as is the case with the name Juce. What do you think each other brings to the band on and off stage?

Juce: Chalin brings love, lyrics and living la vida loca. Georgia; songs, soul and sass and Cherish; funk, fun and flange. Groovy, funky babes on and off stage! 

KINSHIP: What’s the plan for summer? Any festivals lined up and is there an EP imminent or are you planning a full studio record?

Juce: We’re playing a few shows at the end of May including Radio One Big Weekend in Glasgow. Apart from that we’ll be writing, playing, recording and making the JUCIEST tunes ever. 

KINSHIP: Further to that, Wu-Tang have their new album in a vault and are touring it like an art exhibition surrounded under a cloud of mystery. What would you like to do, management permitting of course, with your future releases that would raise the bar in terms of promotion.

Juce: Our journey with JUCE is going to take us to where the stars explode. We’re in talks with Richard Branson about the JUCE BABEOLOGY galaxy tour.

KINSHIP: And finally, Snoop’s ‘Gin and Juice’ or Mtume’s ‘Juicy Fruit’? Which one would you be more likely to perform live.

Juce: ‘Juicy Fruit’. Standard. 

Interview: Ade Bankole.

Photo: Bonnie Walsh 

Links: http://jucelove.co.uk/

https://soundcloud.com/jucelovemusic

www.facebook.com/jucelovemusic

https://twitter.com/JUCELOVIN

http://instagram.com/jucelove

In the company of stag beetles, crows, and most importantly, singer-songwriter Maya Yianni also known as Little Liar, we spent a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in Hilly Fields wired for sound and on coffee. Despite the wind playing havoc on us, what came through was the range and quality of her voice. Simply put, she blew our collective socks off. Here’s one she wrote earlier called ‘Swim Deep’, Listen in!

Camera: Malcolm Fernandes.
Links: https://soundcloud.com/littleliarmaya
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Liar-Maya-Yianni/189067171166896?ref=hl

As The Great Escape festival looms on the horizon, we are looking forward to seeing Young And Sick make a splash in Brighton. Straight out of LA, they make a holy matrimony with their project that’s part art part music. Rapidly proving somewhat infectious to an adoring public and high-profile fans, we guarantee if you haven’t heard their beats you’ll have seen Y&S’s puppet master-in-chief Nick van Hofwegen’s handy work in your local fashion or/and record store. As well at the visual stimulants, it’s a project that meshes that neo-soul sound with an array of embedded elements which make Young and Sick hard to date. Think the multi-talented rainforest that is Georgia Ann Muldrow drenched with sun beams of Sa-Ra up towards an electronic ravine and you’re closer than when you started.

SANTEGO: HOT SHOT

Here at KINSHIP we enjoy nothing more than finding artists we like and capturing them in their element. In the first of our new Hot Shot series, we met Santego, a hip-hop artist from south London and watched on as he spat a few bars for us. Peep the dancing Greengrocer too at stage left!

Camera: Tamara Beyrouti
Links: https://soundcloud.com/santi-santego.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santego-Music/176961705746345?fref=ts

Part 2! And this time we’re with singer-songwriter Sam Lunn, his acoustic guitar and his flatmate’s stool. After a hearty breakfast we talked winter jumpers, overhead planes and Victor Wooten. Thanks to The Brockley Mess for the use of their garden. The composition is his own, enjoy! 

Camera: Tamara Beyrouti

Links: https://soundcloud.com/samlunn

On this day it rained something chronic. The wind cried Maria and combined with the howling rain to make short work of our umbrella. Tottenham Hale didn’t disappoint that’s for sure. Inside the complex that houses Bally Studios, we met Massimo Zeppetelli also known as Feminist and he showed us a very special antique piano, more Nigerian churches than a rich Lagos suburb and a forgotten rock star’s amplifier. This is us creeping up on him at play, naturally. The track is called ‘Ome’.

Camera: Samir El Bay Yusuf.

Links: https://soundcloud.com/feminist

Stats: Lies, Damned Lies.

If Stats’ choice of track title ‘Where Is The Money?’ isn’t a nod to first off Brian Eno and the Talking Heads lyric “into the blue again, after the money’s gone" then it should be. In this banquet of treats we call music, Stats are bringing the funk, mean grooves, wise words and a whole lot more to the table. Channelling the spirit of the late, great scribe Mark Twain, KINSHIP tries to discover what lies beneath the tape.
KINSHIP: Live performances or 12” vinyl immortality, what’s more important to you as a band?
Stats: Live performance. Although recording is completely satisfying, it guarantees the death of a song ahead of its immortality. Once it is recorded, particularly if it is well-recorded, it tends not to change any more.
KINSHIP: We’ve always wanted to use the word “plethora” in a sentence so, after listening to your music, we heard a plethora of influences going on. In your own words, how do you describe it and if you could place it in a record shop yourselves, what other albums would surround your LP.
Stats: “Stats are a minimal pop band. Stats are you on the internet and Stats are also work. Stats are a grown-up thing to do. 
Stats can’t dance and Stats don’t take drugs. Stats are painting with numbers. Stats are a way of looking at the world. Stats are a people person. Stats are also a way of creating order in the world when it appears not to exist, and although ordering record racks alphabetically makes no ultimate sense - they could just as meaningfully be ordered by colour or by weight, or chronologically - the idea of disturbing the alphabet is worrying. So Stats would fit happily between Laurie Anderson and the Staple Singers on one side, and St Vincent and Talking Heads on the other”.
KINSHIP: In a quote most attributed to Mark Twain, there are three types of lies; lies themselves, damned lies and statistics. If there was one rumour about the band you’d like to start on KINSHIP, what would it be? 
Stats: That we all know a lot about statistics, to a postgraduate level or higher, and could safely be employed in any government department or reputable bank.
KINSHIP: Further to that, what’s the best statistic you’ve ever heard?
Stats: Remembering statistics may be a knack, like remembering jokes, but jokes probably age better. I can’t remember jokes. There are statistics that may be jokes, like the reported fact that Gary Oldman is thirteen days younger than Gary Numan, but perhaps a number in service of a pun does not count as a statistic. Or maybe it goes to prove Mark Twain’s remark. Statistics are often numbers in service of words, words hiding behind numbers as if they can claim truth or objectivity that way. In which case, all statistics are of equal value, more or less.
KINSHIP: When you get around to making an album, can we expect more groove-orientated sequences or are you going to throw a curve ball at us in terms of direction? 
Stats: We don’t know, we haven’t made it yet. We start to come up with songs by playing the same thing for a long time. If there’s no reason to change, we don’t change. We’ll start with that, and see where we get to. It’s going to be exciting to make, and hopefully to listen to.
KINSHIP: Finally, If you could add something else to your set up, what would it be? And why? 
Stats: What we need is people - as many people on stage as possible, each one doing something different and useful at the same time. People doing something computers could do much better, people messing it up at a critical point and changing the whole direction it was meant to go.
Words: Ade Bankole
Image: Dominic John
Links: https://soundcloud.com/statsstatsstats