1. Mike Watt was in The Minutemen who were pretty much the most exciting band of the 80’s. Double Nickels on the Dime is one of alt-rocks definitive statements and generally one of rock music’s most astounding bursts of creativity. 40+ tracks without any let up in quality. Funky, jazz-y, post-hardcore which no one else could ever write. The Minutemen were like a much better, American version of Gang of Four. D Boon’s (guitarist/singer for The Minutemen) passing age 27 in a car crash is one of rock music’s great tragedies.
2. Mike Watt was/is in fIREHOSE, who were/are great. His solo albums are cool. He played bass for The Stooges (THE STOOGES!!!). The man has a discography which most other artists would kill for even a tenth of.
3. On that note Mike Watt is pretty much the greatest punk or post-punk bassists of all time. Effortlessly incorporating influences from all over the shop in to his style, from Creedence Clearwater Revival to funk to avant-garde jazz.
4. His new band Il Sogno Del Marinaio are amazing. Like genuinely great. They have songs which sound like Do Make Say Think meeting a tropical jazz troupe who’ve just heard a Don Caballero record.
5. Mike Watt is the man. Have you ever read ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’? So many people in that book seem like they were total jerks (I’m looking at you Black Flag) but The Minutemen (Mike Watt’s first band) just seem like great dudes. Socially conscious and DIY to the core. I’m pretty sure no one has a bad word to say about Mike Watt. He’s pretty much the embodiment of the DIY punk ethic.
The Pictish Trail play The Harley on the 2nd February, in anticipation of the event we had a quick interview with them, words by Alex G.W.
So yeah this was promised a long long time ago and we’re only just getting on doing it now. Sorry about that. Small Ideas has kind of been called a ‘promoter school’ before so we thought we’d give doing a lesson a go. We’re going to be running a workshop on how to put on and promote gigs which will be both good and won’t lose you a shit tonne of money (hopefully…).
We’ll be covering:
- How to email bands and venues
- How to promote your gig
- How to organise the show (before and on the day)
- Gear share
- What do bands mean?
- Being a nerd and making spreadsheets.
It’ll be at 6pm on Wednesday 6th February in the Student Union Gallery. Here’s a facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/462174703839342/
We’ve been itching to tell you all about this FOREVER. We’ve got DIY punk legend Mike Watt’s new band Il Sogno de Marinaio coming to town on the 7th March. If you claim to even have a passing interest in Alternative rock and can’t spare an evening for Mike, well I’m worried for you.
Tickets will be available from the Harley and The Harley Live website and will cost £8 in advance and £10 on the door.
Ahead of their show at the Harley on the 10th (you can purchase tickets here), we sent a few questions Rolo Tomassi’s way about the new album, influences and playing live.
You’ve mentioned that the new album is more direct and accessible than Cosmology or Hysterics. Was this a conscious effort from the beginning? Or was it something that happened more naturally while recording, like, toning down some particularly technical or mathy bits as you recorded them?
It happened naturally with the writing I suppose. The second half to Cosmology was a side of the band I wanted to explore more of. I feel like by using the ‘mathy parts’ of our band more sparingly they have a greater impact anyway.
After working with Diplo on Cosmology you went back to self-producing with Jason Sanderson. How did this affect the recording process – was it easier or slower or more relaxed, for example?
We had a lot more time which was amazing. Cosmology was a great experience in terms of the recording but we were very limited in our room for experimentation with the time frame we had. With Astraea we took our time and made sure we got the best out of each song we could because we could.
How has having Chris and Nathan onboard affected the writing & recording process? What have they brought to the table, so to speak?
By bringing them in they brought a different way of writing to begin with. Initially they were both living in Brighton (Chris is now in Nottingham) and so we sent around a lot of demo’s and recorded every practice we had which is something we hadn’t done before. Having the demo’s and constantly listening back meant for far better rounded songs. We could hear what needed changing and what we could improve on. Both of them have a wealth of experience playing in other bands and it was just cool to have people who approached and heard things differently on board.
Has your approach to live shows changed particularly over the last year or so?
Not at all. We still play hard, fast and energetic live shows. Thats the one thing about this band that couldn’t and wouldn’t change.
The general consensus online seems to be that the new album’s name comes from the character of the same name in Greek myth (that or an acronym for the development of British drone aircraft, apparently), who was a personification of justice. There’s also a pair of scales on the album cover. What’s the significance behind the album title? Was the theme or idea of justice important lyrically?
Me and Eva spent a lot of time looking into titles for the songs and the album. Greek mythology is something we’ve always found interesting and referenced. Astraea was something that jumped out when we read into her. The song ‘The Scales of Balance’ had already been titled and that was something that tied in. Also, in a single we’d released earlier in the year there was the line ‘Golden Age, Golden Age’ and it was prophesised that Astraea would return to Earth during another Golden Age. There seemed to be these pleasant coincidences that kept cropping up. Also, quite simply, I think it sounds like an album title.
Classical stuff seems to have been an inspiration in the past too, with song titles in the past like Agamemnon – does this just stem from an interest in mythology, etc, or is there something else to it?
Its mainly based around an interest in it. I like the grandness.
You’ve picked Blood Sport and Kappa Gamma to support you on the 10th – are there any other acts, local or not, who you’re into at the moment? Were there any bands that were especially influential while you were writing Astraea?
Speaking of influences, how big an influence do other media & artforms – especially film, literature, video games – have on your music or lyrics?
Film and literature definitely. I find myself a lot more intrigued and influences by film scores and how music is put against a visual element. Especially the dynamics and the emotion it can evoke. Literature has always been really important in what we write. I’d count Brett Easton Ellis, T.S.Eliot and Truman Capote amongst my influences for my contribution towards lyrics.
Finally, if you could go back to any point in time and see a now-defunct act live, who would it be?
One of my favourite bands is a now defunct American rock band called Jejune. They put out one album and a handful of 7”s. I’d love to just be able to hear those songs live.
Photos from our show at Dada yesterday featuring Algiers, Pjaro, Che Ga Zebra, Brazinskas and Jupiter In Jars. Photo Credit: Will McEntegart.
MEETING #3 @ The Union Gallery 6pm
GALAXY’S GARDEN LAUNCH PARTY @ Bungalows and Bears 8pm-1am
DADA’S FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY with Algiers, Pjaro, Che Ga Zebra, Brazinskas, Jupiter in Jars and more @ DAda 6pm-1am
It’s going to be a big old week.
Small Ideas has a new monthly night starting on the 26th October. Galaxy’s Garden will be playing the best alt-rock/hip-hop/funk and generally mind-expanding music the last Friday of every month at Bungalows and Bears. FREE ENTRY FOR ALL.
Fun exciting stuff is coming up. Small Decks is on Thursday, you know the drill, drink, dance funny, drink, dance even funnier. Should be a laugh, free entry as always, loadsa DJs, as always. On Monday we have our first show of the year with Antibang and Shift-Static returning from their triumphant appearances for us at Tramlines alongside Fawn Spots to play the Harley. Small Ideas’ very own Corner Control and the Small Decks DJs are gonna rock the party afterwards. All for the low low price of £4 or £3 for members. SWEET YEAH? Yeah.
We have a meeting on Tuesday 6pm at the Student Union Gallery (go left and up the stairs at the main entrance, if you get lost ask one of the lovely helpful members of staff).
We’ll be discussing:
- WHO WE ARE. And doing personal introductions - I’m Max and I’m BLAH BLAH BLAH - etc., etc.
- Who wants to DJ at the next Small Decks.
- Japandroids social.
- WRITER SIGN-UP.
- Anything else you lovely people want to bring/ask.
If all goes to plan those of you who bought membership but didn’t get a card will also be able to pick those up too.
All are welcome (Uni of students, Hallam students, non-students, etc.) so please come along and say hello!