In Conversation With… Will Robinson

My piece with Nottingham’s Will Robinson, the man behind I’m Not From London. One of the main guys behind the region’s music scene. Have a read and enjoy

https://whatson.guide/2019/12/01/in-conversation-with-will-robinson/

 

 

In The Spotlight: The Lumineers – Hey Ho

Perhaps one of their most infamous songs around to date, Hey-Ho, is best described as a folk, indie/rock type of song. It is very much an easy listening sort of song and one that you can just as easily sing along to. In terms of the musical structure of the track it is melodic, upbeat and a rather chirpy one. The song is taken from their self-titled debut album back in 2012 and is one of those sorts of tracks where you can never really tire of it no matter how many times you listen to it. The song itself was written by founding members, Wesley Shultz and Jeremy Fraites. As songwriters they are incredibly talented, even with instruments. Since I first heard this track, I immediately liked it, and if you like indie/folk/rock music you’ll see why. An absolute classic to listen to.

The video that accompanies this song features is a fairly basic one and just features members of the band walking down a corridor just singing and dancing. Now what is also interesting is that the hospital itself looks like it has been unused and there is no lighting except for the light pouring through the windows and outdoor light decorations adoring the corridor. During the video they are accompanied by a young woman then by several extras who are dressed similarly to the band themselves. The video ends with the duo giving a small performance to room full of extras whilst clapping in beat with the rhythm.

🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvCBSSwgtg4

 

Graham Norton/Harry Styles

Former One Direction star’s new singer, Harry Styles’s new single, Adore You, is out now and even I have to admit that it sounds alright. I heard it for the first time this evening and it does have a proper rock-type sound to it and vocally Harry’s singing seems to have gotten better. In terms of his singing his voice has more of a roughness to it which it didn’t have before. He actually sounds more like an actual musician and is leaving his boy-band image behind and is coming more into his own now as a solo artist. If the rest of his upcoming album is as good as his new song this could mean a progression into becoming a more serious musician. The performance did have a fishy element to it bearing in mind there was fish being projected in the background.

Since the group split up their music seems to have got better, sounding less manufactured.

Also on the sofa was Jodie Whittaker, Michael Palin, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart with banter and laughs as well as discussing upcoming projects.

Graham Norton/Kesha

Raising Hell, the new single from American singer, Kesha, is quite an upbeat type of song and has a gospel-sounding quality to it, and it’s probably as close to gospel sounding without going all the way. As always Kesha steals the show with her voice and stage presence. The song itself is upbeat and has a happy sound to it, also it has that singalong vibe to it with some EDM thrown into it. This is quite a good comeback for Kesha as musically it stays true to her musical roots as an artist, where her songwriting abilities are popular. She always the type of music she knows her fans will enjoy and this new song is an example of that. Rather interestingly everyone on the stage was dressed in pink. Pretty in pink (pardon the pun), the audience seemed to like it. In fact there was a lot of clapping and cheering from there.

Also on the sofa to share laughs, banter and discuss upcoming projects were David Mitchell, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton and Jamie Oliver

In The Spotlight: The Weeknd – The Hills

Literally just a few minutes long and from his second studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness and ironically also the second single by Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye better known by his stage-name, The Weeknd, (minus a 3rd E). The Hills has quite a dark, intimate and sinister tone to it which seeps throughout the whole song, to me though, it has a somewhat apocalyptic feel to it. In some ways the darkness in the tone has a type of hook to it where you know that trouble or danger is literally just around the corner. Also, another thing I can’t help but notice is that there is also something quite seductive about the track. One of those where you after listening to the first few seconds you immediately want more. Now this a perfect example of The Weeknd’s talents as an artist as it shows what he is capable of when it comes to song writing.

One of the videos to this song begins with a car that’s been involved in an accident, The Weeknd crawls out of it and walks down a road. The car blows up behind him as he’s walking. He then enters a mansion, goes upstairs where he meets a small group of people where the video then blank. Both videos suit the mood and dark tones of the song as it does refer to deep subject matter in regards to both human behaviour and the human psyche especially as it deals with sex and drug abuse.

For your viewing pleasure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzTuBuRdAyA

 

Graham Norton/Niall Horan

Former One Direction singer’s new single, Nice To Meet Ya, and I admit that it’s got a nice intro that’s worthy of Noel Gallagher and Alex from the Arctic Monkeys, and I don’t say that lightly. I admit that I’m not a huge fan of Niall, partly due to him being of boy-band stock, but even I have to admit this new song of his actually sounds pretty good. An entire dimension away from what I’m normally used to hearing. If Niall’s hoping to make the transition from boy-band to serious artists this is a good way to start it. It’s my type of music and is a decent mixture of Indie, electro and acoustic. If his new album, Flicker, sounds as good as Nice To Meet Ya  then I would be solely tempted to get a copy. His performance was really good and it was quite nice to see him play with a band, almost as if they record together, permanently. Now providing that he stays on this musical route there’s no reason why he can’t become a more serious indie/rock musician.

 

Also on the sofa were Helena Bonham Carter, Oliver Coleman, Chadwick Boseman, Lady Glennconnor and Richard Ayoade

In The Spotlight: Grimes & Hana – We Appreciate Power

This is an amazing song by Canadian singer and rapper, Grimes, and features vocals by American singer, Hana. Now what is quite intriguing about this duo is that both artists almost appear to sing at the same time, but either way it adds quite a bit of depth in regards to the song. The line, We Appreciate Power goes around like a catchy hook which you can quite easily sing to. I always found something quite dramatic about certain parts of the song in both the way that the music is arranged and combined with the lyrics. Overall this is good song for anyone who’s into electronic music and shows the best qualities of its two female singers. Why Hana and Grimes aren’t better known, or recognised, in the British music scene is beyond me.

I think there’s something just a bit eerie about the lyrics with some of its lines; Neanderthal to human being, Evolution, kill the gene, Biology is superficial, Intelligence is artificial, submit submit submit submit. In a way it’s almost like a sort of futurist referencing in regards to both evolution and A.I

The video to this is definitely worth a look at and has a sort of Tron/Manga look towards it. Neither Hana or Grimes are seen singing in it and the lyrics are seen in text in several languages. Throughout the video both singers are seen in various poses either holding props or holding each other. Also, there’s some CGI shots of earth in-between

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYG_4vJ4qNA 

 

In The Spotlight: Dave Stewart & Candy Dulfer – Lily Was Here

Recorded in 1989 and released back the following year in 1990, Lily Was Here is best described in some ways as a timeless masterpiece. It was made by Dave Stewart, one half of the electronic duo Eurythmics, along with Dutch Jazz saxophonist, Candy Dulfer. Now one of the things that is so iconic about it is that it doesn’t have any vocals on it at all, not even a backing vocalist or someone saying a couple of whispering words in the background. Just four minutes and thirty-odd seconds of uninterrupted music by a saxophone and guitar playing together. The song is both smooth, melodic and in some ways somewhat haunting.

The song is to the European/ Dutch film, Lily Was Here (De Kassiere). One of the videos accompanying the song is snippets of small clips of the film which mixed with clips of both Dave Stewart and Candy Dulfer playing the track along with the backing of a pull instrumental band. The film clips that are mixed in with it tell the story of a teenage girl who goes on the run after a traumatic event and then proceeds to go on a series of robberies.

Lily Was Here is one of those songs where, providing you are into jazz and instrumental songs with no vocals you cannot get tired of easily. It is in itself a timeless classic and truly fantastic work by two separate musicians from different musical genres, and one, no doubt where you won’t mind listening to on repeat.

Here’s two for your viewing pleasure, one contains footage of Dave and Candy performing together, have a watch and enjoy

https://vimeo.com/14212055

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNS3zwlHHlU

Just Something on my Mind…

Radio might very well be changing to keep up to date with the times but it needs to remember to ‘listen’ to its listeners

IF you are a fan, or listener, of BBC Radio 2 you will have no doubt heard that the breakfast show that is presented by Zoe Ball has lost several thousand in fact. The number at the last count is reported to be 364,000 weekly listeners bringing the number down to 7.90 million. Down from the previous number of 8.72 million. Now I admit that I’m not a fan of the station, and the breakfast show is one the most important shows on the station as that’s where you get the majority of you listeners during the day. I openly admit that I have listened to the breakfast show on Radio 2 before when the late Terry Wogan was on and as much as I hesitantly thought he was alright I felt that, as a listener I wasn’t being connected with. And don’t get me started on Chris Evans, though I do feel as though I dodged a bullet by rarely listening to him.
Now whether you liked him or not but I was a huge fan of Chris Moyles when he did the breakfast show on BBC Radio 1, and I liked him for a number of reasons: one, he would regularly engage with listeners by having phone-in’s either s part of a shout-out or as part of a feature. Remember carpark catchphrase anyone? It was the one where listeners had to be in their car, Chris would ask a question and listeners would listen by honking their horns. Hence the name of the game.
Also, I just loved the banter, but I always thought that that was where the show was actually succeeding, by actually engaging with the audience. I think in some ways this was where some radio stations, including Radio 2 are more than likely to be failing. I mean by all means you can read out a text that has been sent in by a listener or fan but that doesn’t mean that you are engaging with the people.
Let me give you an example. Some time ago, Greg James, who currently presents the breakfast on Radio 1, and someone who I listen to on a daily basis, once presented his show from a butchers/bakery. Much respect to him as his philosophy behind it was ‘what makes my day more interesting than that of the listener?’, quite right to I thought and he makes a valid point.
What I found that this also showed that the production team were more than willing to take the show on the road and invite members of the public to appear on the show. I remember listening to them when they did this and felt an immediate sense of listener pride and satisfaction as I felt that they realised that it wasn’t solely all about them. If you can cast your mind back to when they did Glastonbury and Radio 1’s Big Weekend they spoke to fans, roadie’s, production crew and people who helped out. They even carried out interviews with the locals.
Now if a radio station and a radio show can do all of that then that alone can demonstrate actual listener engagement. That plus the odd quiz and game-show where listeners are encouraged to phone in and take part. If Radio 2’s breakfast show can do any, or all of that, then they won’t have a problem with not just attracting listeners but keeping them as well.
For me, the way I’ve always seen it, is that the majority of the mornings are about waking up, having breakfast then getting ready to go out to work. And something I’ve always believed that go down well without fail is having a conversation with someone, cracking a few jokes and a bit of harmless banter. And it is true though isn’t it in that it starts the day off on a good note.
At the end of the day it is all very well having a decent presenter who is nice and knows how to talk, but unless they are actually willing to engage with the listener, you might as well just have a pre-recorded show or aim the whole thing for a different age gap. But take notice of all that and you can definitely see why many people are either switching onto other stations or just switching off full-stop. If I was listening to a breakfast show, even I would be expecting to hear a few phone-ins, even if it’s just for laughs, I’d be feeling connected to.