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Africa Oyé 2011

Posted on 02 June 2011 by Glenn Tucker

kareyce-fotsoAfrica Oyé 2011. A free festival set to be a scorcher!

After a great start to Spring followed by a dismal few weeks it seems the Summer has finaly started and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as Liverpools Africa Oye Festival 2011 kicks off in Sefton Park on the 18th and 19th of June.

Smashed Music have got the directors cut on what to expect this year and provide a teaser on the atmosphere you can expect at Africa Oye 2011. Thanks to Paul Duhaney for taking the time to answer these pressing questions.

SM: How did you get involved in promoting Africa Oye?

PD: I moved to Liverpool from London in August 1999 and was looking to continue working in Events management and managed to secure a trainee position with Africa Oye which eventually led to a full time post, and 12 year later a Director.

SM: Do you think the festival will spread to any other cities or will it remain unique to Liverpool?

PD: It’s a question that gets asked every year as other cities have always shown an interest in hosting Oye but I think it would only work as an addition to another Event as the logistics and cost implications might make it too difficult to replicate somewhere else. Naturally if we were in a situation where the Event was no longer finically viable in Liverpool then that is something we would need to look at in the future but I think the Festival’s unique atmosphere is due to it being held in Liverpool and would not want to lose that.

SM: How much exposure does Africa Oye give the artists in the UK?

PD: I think the quality of Artists who want to appear at Africa Oye shows how important the Festival has become for them in order to showcase their talents in the UK. 10 years ago it was harder to attract big names to the Festival but such is its reputation in Africa and mainland Europe that we could now programme the Festival 20 times over due to the number of requests we receive to participate.

SM: Does this help them expand their global presence too?

PD: I think so because most of the Artists are massive in their respective countries and in continental Africa but the UK and Europe is a different market so they are aware that a certain amount of re invention is necessary if they want to be a success over here and playing the lies of Africa Oye. Glastonbury and WOMAD certainly does that.

SM: What kind of people /atmosphere can we expect to find?

PD: The great thing about Oye is the complete mix of people you will find there. There is no specific audience type or age and it truly is the whole world in one Park.  I think this has come about because we have put the message out from day one that the Festival is fully inclusive and it has grown naturally in this way. I think that gives me the most pleasure as that is what we have always wanted to achieve.

SM: How does this benefit Liverpool from a cultural perspective?

PD: I think it has a massive impact as every year we are introducing even more new people to the Music and Culture of Africa which breaks down allot of barriers and perceptions. I think from the outside looking in people can see that Liverpool is a City who prides itself on Cultural awareness.

SM: What can we expect from Africa Oye in 2011 compared to 2010?

Much of the same to be honest and if we can emulate last years event then it will be amazing. We have managed against all the odds to make the Festival free again but the quality of Artists has not diminished. We are delighted to announce ‘Queen of Reggae’ Marcia Griffiths will be appearing at Oye this year which is a real coup for us as well as Internationally renowned band The Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars will also grace the Oye stage this year.

SM: Aside from music and food are there any other cultural activities happening around the festival?

PD: There will be FREE workshops onsite open to all ages, Children’s Entertainment, as well as some of the best clothes, Arts and Crafts, and Drums on sale from Africa and the Diaspora.

As a registered Charity we will be asking audience members for contributions to help keep the Festival free in the future via Collection buckets, buying an Oye T-shirt, or buying a drink at the Oye Inn.

SM: How do you feel Africa Oye helps with the perception people from the UK have with regards to African culture?

PD: We try to concentrate on the positive images of Africa as most of the stories relating to the continent in the media have negative connotations such as War, Famine, and Aids. We think that by promoting the Music, Food, Fashion, and Culture people can see that Africa is a Continent on the rise.

– Interview Ends –

Check out the line up online at the offical Africa Oye website: http://www.africaoye.com/artists.html

Glenn Tucker

Kraak_en_Smaak

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Kraak en Smaak

Posted on 05 May 2011 by Glenn Tucker

Kraak en Smaak Interview.

Not only have i been lucky enough to get my ears into
the latest release (Electric Hustle) by Kraak en Smaak, a funky upbeat journey with magical, soothing and uplifting vocals but i have also been granted the honour of getting some answers to my own questions for the band, such as:

“Where can i go out in Leiden?”

Ok maybe not your average interview questions but hey, if you want to get the stats and not the personality your’e in the wrong place.

Enjoy, I certainly did.

GT: Are you all from the same town in the Netherlands or did you originate from different parts of the country?

KS: We’re all from around here, villages near Leiden; it’s the biggest town nearby.

GT: Did the close proximity to Amsterdam have any influence on your music?

KS: Not really in terms of creating music but for record shops, clubs, concerts, etc. Amsterdam is very interesting of course. But at the same time most of the bigger cities in Holland here are in the vicinity of Leiden: The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, etc. We went there a lot also and we’re more influenced musically by the scenes in The Hague and Rotterdam than Amsterdam.

GT: Where do you hang out/ go out when you’re at home in Leiden?

KS: Mostly pubs really and the odd concert here and there. If you’re travelling that much for dj and live sets it’s great not needing to do that much. We also try and drop by clubs and concerts to have a look how they perform, getting some new perspectives for ourselves, that sort of thing. But these are in general out of town expeditions. Still there is always good music to go and see – last weekend we went to see the Innervisions night in Trouw, Amsterdam with Henrik Schwarz live.

GT: Where can I go for a great night out in your town?

KS: Enough good pubs around to get you through the evening but unfortunately slightly poor club – and concert-wise.  Recently a proper and cool dubstep club night opened though – which is good if you are feeling lively.

GT: Your new album has such an upbeat style mixed with a variation of great lyrics and vocals, where would you say you fit in to the music scene in the UK at the moment?

KS: That’s difficult to say but our closest affiliation at this moment will probably be the vibe of ‘nu disco’. With our first album Boogie Angst it was clear-cut funk, breakbeat and lounge, but since then our style has evolved, incorporating electronica, house, pop… we’re still exploring I guess, but it’s all K&S.

GT: Do you have any favourite UK Festivals and can I catch you anywhere in the UK this summer?

KS: Of course! Glastonbury’s great, Big Chill, Bestival and Lovebox also. Glastonbury’s already in the pocket for June 24 and hopefully we’ll be able to drop by at the other ones again too this Summer, thank you Sir!

GT: Do you prefer luxury or roughing it on tour?

KS: Of course we prefer luxury but for getting your live show together it’s better to rough it; definitely makes the band tighter (unfortunately).

GT: Have you found yourself in any bizarre situations while on tour? The kind where you check yourself and think “How on earth did we get here?”

KS: Hell yeah; we had a live tour in the US where we also played the Joshua Tree festival in the middle of nowhere, nearby Palm Springs in California. It was one big hippie celebration,  it was the weirdest shit; cross-dressers on quads.. errr. Cool show though…

GT: With electronic music changing so fast what can we expect to hear from you in the future? Changing sounds or a similar style?

KS: Electric Hustle feels like a natural development given the last couple of years but the next album could well be more clubby or more pop. We don’t know really.

GT: Who are the artists you have always wanted to collaborate with?

KS: Although we were lucky again to have our share of great vocalists for this album (Romanthony, Lee Fields, John Turrell, etc.) there are of course always more artists out there we would love to record with; Bill Withers would be great, Little Dragon, and of course Ben Westbeech again if possible.

GT: Your new album has a definitive jazz/funk sound mixed with some cool beats. How do you feel about mix genre bands that use a range of music styles (e.g. bands that are fusing rock and electronic music)?

KS: I’s always a good thing if bands and producers try to find new sounds and mix up things to be and stay creative; we consider ourselves lucky to like loads of different things, and these influences will pop up one way or another in our own productions eventually. We don’t want to stick too much to one style; it will bore you in the end because at a certain pont there will be little to explore anymore.

GT: I’ve heard you are a great live act, does this involve full use of instruments and how confident are you all with playing a range of instruments?

KS: Yep, we have full live band on stage with us, involving drums, bass, keys, sounds and effects and female and male vocalists Lex Empress and Sebastian – both feature on the new album too.  We do try to get the thick studio sound in by using a sequencer, also for the sounds that just can’t be recreated live, for example certain synth sounds.

GT: Is this nerve racking or more enjoyable than a D.J set?

KS: It has been a great experience to do both really but there’s always a totally different dynamic involved in either live or dj sets; a dance club ain’t no pop festival!

GT: Do you have any personal mantras you try to live by?

KS: Ha ha, we already have one for the coming years: releasing two albums per three years instead of one 😉

ENDS

Many thanks to Kraak en Smaak for this opportunity and best of luck for the Summer.

Glenn Tucker

Kissy sell out takes time out of the tour to meet our Mizzle

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Kissy sell out takes time out of the tour to meet our Mizzle

Posted on 05 April 2011 by Mizzle

Hey Kissy, thanks for taking the time out to speak to us as we know you are very busy at the moment with the tour!

How is your tour going?

“It’s fantastic, I did Manchester and Scarborough at the weekend, and a big gig at Fabric in London on Wednesday. We’ve been mobbed, with all our dates so far are sold out! We’ve been doing a lot of the student unions, which is great as I’ve not done many of those before…”

“The production aspect of what we are doing now is immense. We’ve not had room to put up the full video screen tonight as it’s packed, but the lighting show is ridiculous! Sadly, I’m the only person who doesn’t get to watch it as I stand in front of it – I feel slight guilty about that!”

How long is your set tonight?

“It’s tough to get everything into the 1hr 15 slot. Tonight there is a live bit which we do with MC Cobra from the BBC Radio 1 show I do. I also do a greatest hits bit, which is cool as long as the sound system is up for it and the four decks don’t break! I do get through a lot of decks…”

How do you prepare for gigs?

“I get really nervous. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was 13 and I find I treat every gig like it’s my last one!  I practice every single day and I don’t label any of my CDs, it’s all done from memory which I guess freaks me out a bit as I mix so quickly.

“What’s wonderful is actually seeing people come through the door. As long as it’s not too rowdy, some of the students really go for it!”

“When I did the ‘San City High Tour’ last October, I wanted to support the people on my label and noticed that if I went and danced that people also danced. They thought, ‘Kissy is out there so let’s go and join him!’ But moving side to side, I looked like a boxer! It was funny as that wasn’t really what I was trying to do at all – I was just trying to psych myself up! I noticed when I played on that, it made me a lot better in front of the crowd.”

“You always have to up your game. When your wildest dreams come true, you have got to put as much effort into it, otherwise it feels a bit empty and undeserved.”

Any Festivals you want to play?

“I would love to go back to Glastonbury, I’ve just been confirmed for ‘Snowbombing’ in Austria. I’ve not really thought about it much as I just feel lucky to be here. Festival season is a wonderful time and now I have this wonderful team of people behind me. It’s amazing.”

Would you do the Leeds festival dance tent?

“No way, not after that Daphne and Celeste video! Putting their slot between My Chemical Romance and Slipknot…. Well, check out the You Tube video Daphne and Celeste Reading. It’s funny and scary what can happen! They still stood there till the end though, it was the most incredible thing.”

How did you get to where you are today?

“I’m a real fan of music, I think that’s what makes my radio show quite good – it’s very genuine. I’m someone who’s had a great opportunity, and I’m trying to make the most of it. My experiences meeting my music icons like Gary Newman and Human League are up there.  I was from a small town and wasn’t part of a cool scene, I just made a few records and got noticed for it. I’ve never been a person who just goes around hob-nobbing with people. There was meant to be some collaboration on my new album with some pretty legendary dance DJs, but they were on world tours, so eventually I just sat down and got on with did it myself. I was pretty happy with the way it sounded and the vocals. A lot was me – but not singing! There’s no ‘proper’ songs on the album, its real ‘banging’ club album. It’s quite extraordinary really, there’s classical instruments all the way through but the thing is every track has a break down pay off structure and it’s really easy to get. I’m quite proud of that.”

“When my first album was produced it was quite frightening being put on a label, so young.”

**Drinking a Bacardi Breezer, his favourite drink as a kid…**

“I never drank at gigs, because of my new stage presence is my showmanship thing. I love social interactions like talking to you guys, but it’s not because I’m filled with self-confidence, it’s because I’m really pleased to be here. I’m quite a timid guy and that’s been an element of my DJ stuff but now I do it in a vest and I’ve worked out. I have to compete with the ‘big dogs’. I truly believe not just what I play but the music on my label is the best music around and that’s why I’m very privileged to have them on. Like Art vs Science? I like people to feel safe around me so I decided it was time for me to look after the people around me and then the changes in the DJ stance was just natural!”

Chris Moyles – Comic Relief?

“Unexpected….  Very. .  Extra-ordinary. .  Totally Mad.

I thought he was going to come onto my show and not really be into it that much and sit in the corner as all I was told about the event is that they just had to talk every 6 minutes and it didn’t matter if they said a sentence they could just go ‘Yep’ or the track is by so and so. I made so much effort I turned up with my pre mixed music and then I started watching my red button stuff and immediately freaked out thinking this isn’t what I’ve done. . Chris Moyles has always made fun out of me; he just thought I was some stupid kid. So when I first joined Radio One he read my name out and he called me ‘flopsy’. My producer said they were probably going to sleep, as they racked up 55 minutes sleep time. I asked him to promise not talk to over my intro. What I think was quite amazing, is if you listen to the show the first 15 minutes you can tell there is bonding going on and he started to warm to me, his first comment to me was quite dismissive by the 3rd piece of classical music he said ‘what, you did this?’ . .  You do this every week this is mad. . I know you think us kids at midnight just skive off school and mug grannies but it’s a well known fact that the ‘Kissy Show’ has a lot of effort put in it to make it sound like that. It was an amazing weird experience. Richard Curtis came in; I was like ‘WOW’. He reminded me of my granddad at the end as he said to me ‘Well you’re not part of the fundraising event are you. Well done anyway, I guess.’  As soon as I finished Chris came round and gave me a massive hug. It was so bizarre.”

“I already get recognised in places like Tesco’s, I think it obviously made an impact.”

Mercury Records stopping CDs….

“No one really buys CDs or vinyl anymore. Indie music sounds good on vinyl but dance music sounds ‘shit’ the thing I do miss is the art work. I know that Felix Da Housecats new album is coming out, the reason he’s doing it, is because it’ll probably be one of the last opportunities he’ll get a physical copy in his hands.”

Do you still do graphic design?

“I still do everything. All I’ve ever wanted to do is make music or play it and design record covers that why I went to art school. The only problem is I wish I had more time. It’s part of the music it’s an audio visual experience.”

Future plans. .

“I’m a different person; I’ve grown up a bit which is probably wise. I have a better understanding now how to make music, but I still have that thing in me that I have had ever since I was a teenager. ‘Wild romance’ can actually be played in a night club, it still has those extraordinary bits, and it has those orchestral complicated sections but nothing you’ve ever heard of before. It’s very accessible, you have the quiet bits and the loud bits and quite a heavy speed garage influence on it so I’m very proud of it as I feel it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The first single ‘Wild in the Warehouse’ from my forthcoming album ‘Wild Romance’ was release Monday (4th) follow the link to check it out

Dion Roy speaks exclusively to Mizzle

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Dion Roy speaks exclusively to Mizzle

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Mizzle

A lot of artists have been on popular TV shows such as 90210, One Tree Hill etc, if you could have a guest star performance on a TV show, which one would you choose?

That would be interesting, I think I’d be most suited for Top Chef or maybe one of those shows where they tour the country finding the best local dives. That would probably make the most sense, since on the road that’s what I do anyway. Thanks for the idea – I should have been filming all the crazy places on tour where I went to eat. I’ll give you guys a shout-out on my first pilot.  On second thought,  maybe something like Shameless or Fringe. I tend to like the more eclectic shows, I’m just a nerd at heart so 90210 might be too cool for me.  

Who inspires you?

I just got back from SXSW, and I happened to see Duff McKagan from Guns N Roses play his own set. It was really amazing to see someone who’s been at the top and back a hundred times still playing music, and being passionate and thankful for the opportunity to do it.  Really inspiring to see. That would obviously be my musical answer, but personally my dad is recovering from a few rough patches and again – it’s inspiring to see. Go Dad!

You are compared to electronic bands such as Keane, Postal Service, and Snow Patrol if you did compare yourself to any bands or artists who would it be?

I think these days my sound is a bit closer to Pete Yorn, and Ben Gibbard, maybe even some early Smashing Pumpkins. My newest EP has all “real” drums, in addition to some of the more electronic type drums sounds.

Do you find it difficult running your Manhattan-based PR firm and being a singer/songwriter?

In the past it has been very difficult, but I actually did a pretty good job of making myself obsolete over the past 6 months, so the company for the most part is running itself while I am on the road touring.  Thanks to my trusty iPhone and Macbook – I really don’t miss a beat. In the past though, I was working a full day, then recording the rest of the night and finding scraps of time for other things – like eating on occasion :). 

 If you could cover any song in the world what would it be?

I think at some point I’d love to do a cover of some old “Morphine.” I started out on bass, and that guy was my hero for a long time. Unfortunately Mark Sandman passed away on stage some years ago – but he had a way of playing that was just soothing and rocking at the same time.  He played a 3 string fretless bass, tuned in some bizarre way. When I get some time after this release, maybe I’ll investigate exactly how he did it live.   ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphine_(band) )

What are your thoughts on Music Downloading?

 Tricky tricky… Generally, it would be cool to get paid for every download, but in this day in age I think that when people spread your music via email, torrents etc, it winds up bringing more people to the live show and it counter balances itself. I have a few good friends at Grooveshark.com, and I’m a huge fan of what they are doing for Artists as a streaming site – but not all of the streaming sites care about their artists quite as much as they do.

How are you finding touring with Tyler Hilton? Do you have any funny tour stories you would like to share?

Playing shows with Tyler was an amazing experience. This was my first tour on a tour bus, and I really had one of the best times of my life. It took a bit getting used to sleeping in your little bunk, but after awhile it becomes difficult to sleep without that rumbling of the road beneath you.  It was a bus with 9 dudes (including the Tour Manager, Driver, Papa Hilton, and the band, etc.) and at times it really looked and smelled like a bus that had 9 dudes living on it. It was basically summer camp for musicians.  The rest as they say, is under NDA 🙂

Are you single? (Question for all the girlies out there)

 There’s no ring on this finger, yet.

Have you been to the UK?

Yes – I have been a few times, I haven’t been back in a couple years, but when I was there I had an amazing time. The architecture is just incredible, and London might be one of the only cities to give New York a run for its money. I’d love to get back out there – maybe see Ireland and Wales, and visit the Guinness factory a couple times :). I wanted to maybe hit the UK for a couple shows, but this year just got too crazy, and I wound up booking a bunch of dates in Singapore instead – so that was my international craziness for last year.

What are your thoughts on the Japan tragedy do current issues influence and inspire your music or do you find you write more about personal life?

I am deeply, deeply saddened. It’s more tragedy than I think anyone can really internalize. My hearts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.  If you are reading this, open another window and go to https://american.redcross.org. DO IT!  If anyone donates anything at all to the red cross, I will send you a free copy of my album via email until the end of April. Just email the donation receipt to dionroymusic@amp3pr.com and you will get your copy.

What’s your favorite pizza topping?

Tacos.  Oh wait, you said pizza topping not food.  That would be Pineapple. Call it the South African in me making his presence known.