Tag: interview

With the brand new Portugal The Man album out today, Who's Jack snapped up a chance to have a chat with the band on their recent trip to the UK, and here's what we found out...

Firstly, let’s start with the name of the new album, Woodstock, where did that come from?

It’s a small time in up state New York. We were referencing the music festival in 1969 - basically we had been working on a bunch of music over the last couple of years. 3 albums worth of material. Over the course of the weekend - we tried to write 100 tracks and pick the 10 best - but we’re super unfocused so we didn’t stop writing music, which was spiralling out of control! We loved so much of it but the loss of control was a bit much. We were up in Alaska and our friends dad asked what was taking so long. We explained it’s a little more than just recording and releasing; but he also showed us an envelope with a ticket stub in it. He’d given an old tool box to a friend and the friend was cleaning it out and found the old original ticket to Woodstock. Seeing a lot of similarities in the political and social climate to back then, we thought it would be appropriate. The ticket was only 8 dollars! What that festival meant to our parents, acts like Kurt Cobain etc - people on the streets with signs etc. So we scrapped the old record and went in and wrote a completely new one. The old album wasn’t right, so we took a few bits and made something new. We needed the album to say something about the current shit that’s going on with Trump.

Sonically this album has moved slightly away from your previous albums, were you ever worried that fans may not like the new music?

Never really worried about that. Our fans know we change drastically with every album. A lot of times old fans don’t like that but we always think of each album as practice. We’re a new band, this is what we do. We can’t try to make music for anyone else. We’re very involved with our fans over social media and in person. When it comes to music we have to be selfish. We can’t tickle each person individually. If an old fan doesn’t like it, he still has the old tunes. A new one might come on board from the new project! We won’t ever stop changing. We like to evolve. We’re never going to stay the same. 

You pretty much released an album a year up until Evil Friends, but there’s now been a four year gap between that and this new album. Was that quite jarring to the rhythm of the band, or was it quite easy to adapt to?

It totally fucked with us. We wrote more than an albums worth every year and we just had to do something different. 

You worked with Mike D and Danger Mouse on this record, how did that collaboration come about?

Mutual friends really. We worked with Danger Mouse on the previous record - he’s a really good friend and an incredibly smart and talented man. So we wanted to go back in with him. He’s always been very welcome with us coming to his studio. He really gets the best out of you and makes you do it yourself. Steering you in the right direction & motivating you in the right way. He brings that organic super cool vibe - he’s always got that style. 

With Mike, working with him was huge. We’ve been huge Beastie Boys fans for as long as i can remember. Working with him was so much fun because he made us get crazy creative. The craziest idea is the one that will work - the Beastie Boys could do whatever the hell they wanted and people loved it… we had to reign that in slightly. We were out in Malibu at Rick Rubin’s studio - it’s the most beautiful place, so it was very surprising and lyrically we were writing endlessly. Beyonce and Kanye recorded there, it’s amazing!

The video for "Feel It Still" is really interesting, it links to websites that fight Climate Change and fund planned parenthood, how did that idea come about?

We teamed up with an ad agency in Portland who are incredibly smart and incredibly funny people. We decided to make a video together and brainstorm. We knew we wanted something interactive and we settled on the duality of man - the dichotomy of the drug-ridden rockstar video and a bunch of hidden easter eggs that go to different causes - of things we find important. It’s a starter pack, a tool kit, to help you get involved with something - this is what we’re into. When we donate, when we do charity, this is what is important to us and what we would donate to. 

We’re from Alaska so we do a lot for the environment so we have seen climate change first hand. 

General equality... for races, genders etc. 

London - what do you think?

It’s awesome, we love coming over here. The history of music from UK and London. Going to places you’ve seen in pics. We’d look at The Beatles, The Stones, so many iconic things from London and i really love it. We love contrast - when you can see two very different sides all in one place - London is so like that. The tough parts VS the soft ‘proper’ parts. People trying to follow rules and people trying to break them - everywhere.

We are Who's Jack Magazine, do you have a special Jack in your life?

Just because it says jack in it somewhere... "Full metal JACKet" by Stanley Kubric. 

FOLLOW PORTUGAL THE MAN'S JOURNEY

George Ogilvie started writing music at the age of 18 and in just a few years he gained an impressive online presence. George’s influences grew as he threw himself into the local music scene in Kent and spent the majority of his time seeking out music from all of the eras that resonated with him. From people such as Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten, John Martyn to soul/jazz legends like Ray Charles & Nina Simone, George's infleunces range far and wide .
We wanted to find out more about this newcomer, so we caught up with him for a quick chat.

George's single "October" is out now, and was inspired by a close friendship; downfalls taking their toll on something good.

1. What/Who are the main influences on your songwriting

I would say that my initial ideas tend to stem from myself; spanning out into my interactions and relationships with the people in my life as well as with emotions and situations. I have also noticed that nature has become quite an apparent theme in a lot of my lyrics, I've always noticed the correlations between nature and experiences/feelings - both having a light and a dark side - having grown up in the countryside and spending childhood holidays on Cornish beaches I think that the outdoors will always inspire me artistically.

2. Can you explain in a little more detail what your song 'October' means to you

I suppose in essence October is about not being in the right place to help someone you care about; a classic case of 'you can't help others, until you help yourself'. I think the story behind the song is a little darker than it immediately comes across as it describes a pretty intense time in my life but an experience that I eventually gained a lot from - this song will always be important to me because, although it's not always pleasant to be reminded of the past; it often shows you how far you've come.

3. Tell us who you’re tipping as ones to watch in the music world (3 artists/any genre)

One of my favourite bands this year are called Palace, caught them live earlier this year, was a brilliant set and they seem to be growing rapidly, think that after their album release next month they'll be making a bigger name for themselves.

Though he's already doing pretty well, after hearing Ry X's first EP I thought there was something special there but didn't quite expect what he delivered in his debut album, one of my top albums of the year and a sound that I'd love to hear more of.

Another would be a friend of mine, Bess Atwell, I think she's quite a rare find, lyrically and vocally very real and pure, she released her debut album earlier this year (which it was a pleasure to feature on) and I think it has the potential to become a classic and do great things for her in 2017.

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4. If you could be alive in ANY decade, what would it be and why?

I think I could argue a case for most, but I don't think I could resist living amidst the buzz of the jazz and London nightlife in the roaring twenties.

5. We are Who’s Jack - is there a special/legendary Jack in your world?

Jack Nicholson - what an actor

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WJ Meets .. Poté

Hi Poté, for those who aren’t familiar with you as an artist, describe yourself and your sound?

I’m someone who loves to experiment and learn new ways to express myself. Currently through co-directing my videos, comings up with artwork ideas, writing poetry/lyrics and more. My sound is a blend of cultures I pick up from wherever I go and listening to a range of music from all over the world, mixed with the love for African percussion and drums in general. Some call it electronica, which is as broad and undefined as it gets really. So I’ll just stick with electronica as well.

Who musically has influenced your sound?

A lot of artists over the years have influenced my sound, from James Blake, SBTRKT, Radiohead to Kanye West, Kojey Radical and Jimmy Edgar. It’s usually about finding little things you love about what people do, adapting and play around with it until you make it your own, then build and build.

Talk us through your writing process from start to finish?

My writing process really differs every couple of months depending on influences I’m picking up and learning from people. Some tracks start with just a word or poem and builds from the feeling I get from them, like Red Moon. Other start with just a drum loop, like Katz.

I usually write all on my own. On some tracks like Fall for example, I’d write the entire beat and some lyric ideas out, then have a session with another artist to help finish the track if it needs it.

Is there anyone in the UK you’d love to work with?

Without a doubt, Wretch 32. I’ve got some tracks I think he’d honestly really like. He’s one of those people I’d just like to play music to and chat about whatever, not necessarily work on anything.

How does the studio compare to live performances?

Studio life is a lot more relaxed and free flowing for me, I love them both but my favorite thing in the world is writing a new track that I‘m really happy with. For that period in time, you’re the only one that’s ever heard it, It’s a great feeling. Live is really exciting though, a completely different energy to writing music in a studio, giving tracks a new life.

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You’ve been heavily championed on Radio 1, how does it feel to be supported by names like Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Toddla T, MistaJam and more?

Honestly, very honoured. I have nothing but love for these guys, they are bombarded with music on a daily basis and for them to not just play it once, but on a weekly basis is humbling. I feel a lot of love for them, and everyone else supporting whatever I do.

What would you like people to take away from your music?

Enjoyment mainly, but also there’s a deeper level to things. Co-directing my videos and coming up with my artwork allows me room to convey that deeper side to the music, there are going to be many different things I want people to take away in future, but for Over the Water the main message is to believe in yourself and be unapologetically you.

What’s the plan for the rest of the year?

I’ve got my follow-up EP to Over the Water coming out later on this year, which features a lot more of my own voice, as well as Kojey Radical and Carmody.

And a few live shows, which I’m really excited about, and some video/artwork ideas for the follow up EP that I can’t wait to begin working on."

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Poté’s  Over The Water EP is out July 15th via The Full Hundred.

Words: Corrie Parris

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WJ Meets: A.M. SNiPER ...

If you haven't heard of rapper/producer A.M. SNiPER you probably haven't been to Ayia Napa or been a true So Solid Crew fan. The multi-talented producer has built up quite a name for himself across the party islands and create a solid fan base watching his every move. We chat to A.M. SNiPER about all things So Solid, Wiley, Ayia Napa and 2016 summer plans.

For those who aren’t familiar with your sound, how would you best describe it?

"I’m an old soul, with a fresh flow, I'm TIMELESS, got no time for less."

You’ve been busy promoting your new single “Hype” with Curren$y, which sampled A Tribe Called Quest's track “Butter”. How did choosing that sample come about?

I knew from day one it would be a single, I wanted to make a statement and I felt the whole world is stuck on an uptempo vibe (which I like by the way) but I wanted to start the journey towards my debut album in first gear. I feel I've been building my vision for so many years that it’s only right to drive through it starting from gear one. I recorded "Hype" knowing I wanted an iconic feature on it.

When I heard it back I knew I wanted to make it a single and an intro to my new sound, look, and vibe, it felt mature and of essence, so I thought who could fit such a track? Of course the first names that came to mind were Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, but I needed someone of that calibre but not as mainstream, as the purpose of this track is to prove that good music can bypass that.

Immediately I knew I would release the video directly to the public before radio, before promo, before TV and make noise, and Curren$y was my first and only choice. Cool & Dre who have been influential on my album and my US family, these past couple of years put it together for me and also connected me with Zook who helped us clear the sample from A Tribe Called Quest, that sampled the late Phife Dawg (RIP).

You're pretty big on the club Ayia Napa scene, how do you feel the holiday club scene has changed from 10 years ago?

It's definitely got wilder as I know from performing to the crowds, moshpits keep getting bigger and bigger however once the show is done everything is a lot calmer than a decade ago. I feel people now are lot more in tune with their preferences and they are very music orientated so it makes our job even more special. The crowd is part of my show, we put a show on together, I have seen multiple crops of artists rotate, and different sounds come and go. This is my blessing and my fountain of youth that keeps me grounded and always rising and relevant.

Your collaboration CV is varied to say the least, is there anyone you’d love to work with who might come as a surprise to fans?

Major Laser in on my list as well as The Game. I am a loyal player, I’m like Ryan Giggs and I know after my solo moves I will enter the Pharell, Dre, Rick Rubin mould… Mans already got the beard flowing!

You’ve built up a reputable fan base and following, having released a large and varied number of tracks. Do you still consider yourself an underground artist? 

Yes, 100% It will always be in my DNA to go under the radar and do selective projects similar to the SNiPER SKILLS mixtape with Jaguar Skills.

“Hype” is from your forthcoming album ‘Good Night Good Morning’, what can we expect from the release?

The album has three segments, so the segment that captures “the past” will most definitely have a similar vibe to “Hype". But I never like making songs sound like one another, I’m more about making one-off pieces that stand strong on their own as well as part of a body of work. I’m the vegetables that kids push aside in their plate to eat the junk food but as time goes by they need the veggies to make sure they stay healthy! “Hype" is healthy even though the smokers vibe to it! LOL.

The UK grime/urban scene is the strongest it’s been in years, is there anyone in particular your championing?

Everyone! That is the key, we need to push what comes from home and not snob it, or ignore it because of personal feuds or because unfortunately some people are measuring how big the piece of the pie is for them to eat. Everyone eats, everyone wins! Together everyone achieves more.

What else can we expect from A.M. SNiPER in 2016?

I have an iconic, major key collaboration in the works, and with all the right blessings we will have another serious collaboration coming. That will set up the stage for my debut album to release in 2017! It’s such an incredible time for me, my family, my team, and all my fans, my snapchat Zombies!

 

Words: Corrie Parris

LOUIS BERRY JANUARY TOUR (76 of 130)

We've been big fans of Louis Berry's music here at WJ, so we caught up with the Liverpudlian singer-songwriter to discuss all things music, growing up and what the future holds.

Tell us a bit about yourself for our readers, who is Louis Berry?

Louis Berry is the leader of a new movement bringing about a new age of rock and roll.
Born in Liverpool.

How would you best describe your sound, and what makes you stand out from the rest?
I think what makes me stand out from the rest is where I come from and my background.
I didnt come through the typical route to music i.e university or practicing in someones garage.
Reason being I come from a place where the vast majority of people cant afford to go to university, and where I come from no one has the luxury of garages.
Musically I stand apart because I dont try to sound like anyone, look like anyone, speak like anyone or act like anyone.
My songs are truth, I dont write because it ryhmes. I write about hardships and struggles whether it be about personal troubles or world issues. But dont get me wrong I like to have fun. My songs make people dance. Thats the irony.

How has your personal life effected your music?

My personal life affects my music everyday. From a young age I learnt to see things differently.  I had to just get my head around things. My dad was a heroin addict, I lived in a very poor household and was an only child. When its all you know you accept it but when it hurts you still have to adapt.
Today my personal life is a lot better but still shapes my music in every way imaginable.

What would you like listeners to take away from your music?

when they come to listen to my music I want them to walk away with their head held high knowing that wherever or whatever they come from they can achieve what ever they set out to do. I'm the example of that but mainly I want them to have a f**kin good time.

What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?

Big singles and a Big album. I'm gonna tear rock and roll up. Then I'm coming with the soul ...

Check out Louis latest single "Nicole" below:

Words: Corrie Parris