Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Midlake, the pride of Denton, Texas have gone from strength to strength and are a personal favourite of mine. My love for Midlake didn't happen straight away. First hearing them back in 2006, I really didn't think much to them. Maybe because my maturity level wasn't quiet at the stage where I could truly appreciate their lyrics and style or maybe because I would have rather have consumed my days with mainstream nonsense that really didn't effect me emotionally one bit... However over the past two years Midlake have become a real escape for me. Listening to them in times of happiness and incredible sadness, the band have been an inspiration to me.

With their album 'The Trials of Van Occupanther' they pay homage to the harmonies of Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John, but added layered narratives about the harsh lives of pioneers in an unforgiving landscape. A true work of art in my eyes, so when receiving an email back from their management regarding my interview request I was truly over the moon. A long 4 months past and I finally received the go ahead to send over the interview and within in two, what seemed like forever weeks, I received an email back with the completed interview inside.



Q. Happy New Year to you. How was your Christmas and New Years? Anything fun happen?
Thank you and same to you. Christmas was an enjoyable time with family, and New Years was an enjoyable time with friends...that's the definition of fun!

Q. For some of my readers who are not clued up on who Midlake are could you give us an insight into the band?
We are a group of bearded bums that love music and the opportunity to share it with others everywhere.

Q. So you’re recording the follow up to The Courage of Others at the moment? How is that going? When can we hope to see its release?

Yes we are and its coming along quite nicely. We dont know when it will release, but we promise it will be asap.

Q. Compared to your Bamnan and Slivercork (2004) album your sound has taken on more of a folk quality to it. Are you going to move away from that folky sound in the next album of course without giving too much away?

I think we'll always have a 'folky' element to our records, but this one is definitely more dynamic. We always desire to grow taking something from where we've been and making it better. More than anything, we just want to create music that moves us.

Q. I understand you collaborated with John Grant at SXSW. Is that kind of collaboration something that you want to do a lot more of in the future or is it just particular to John Grant?

We're open to it, but that was a unique situation. We just love John and his music and he needed a band and place to we were happy to fill that void.

Q. Between the new record and collaborations and LateNightTales and festivals, it sounds like you have been pretty busy . What are some of the hi-lights?

Our focus has been recording, but breaking to take part in those things was nice. We got the chance to try out some new music and poke our heads out of our cave.

Q. Not really a question but my favourite line to one of your songs is ‘Bring me a day full of honest work and a roof that never leaks and I’ll be satisfied’ – Head Home. A really inspiring lyric.

Thank you, i'll tell Tim. i like it to...simple.

Q. What is something you’re particularly proud of since you started out as a band?
That we're still together.

Q. What’s your ultimate goal for Midlake? Or do you just take every day as comes?
We want to create something great that moves us and others.

Q. Thank you so much for your time. See you soon and look after yourselves please.
Thank you and we look forward to it.

Please check out the bands webpage for news and tour dates:

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

This month I had the great pleasure of interviewing the lovely Ryan O'Neal from Sleeping At Last. The wonder behind the amazing album Yearbook, Ryan takes time out of his busy life to answer some of my questions. This is surely the best Valentines present I have ever received.


Who are Sleeping At Last? Could you give me a little insight for those of my readers who are not aware of you are?

RYAN: Hello there! My name is Ryan O’Neal and I make music under the name, ‘Sleeping At Last.’ I’m from Chicago, Illinois and have been privileged of making music for quite some time now. The name “Sleeping At Last” has stuck with me for a while. I am the only official member of Sleeping At Last, however I have lots of friends that play with me on tour and such.

I once read that you approach songwriting like an audio journal but I have also noticed you use a lot of imagery in your songs, which I have often found when listening to your music that I tend to picture myself in a moment or time when I myself have felt what I believe your song is trying to portray – When writing a song do you always use situations you have experienced to help write lyrics?

RYAN: That’s really neat to hear! Thank you. I definitely write a lot about my own life experiences. I also write with other’s experiences in mind, that I’ve observed. And sometimes I make up stories entirely to express a specific idea or thought. And sometimes my songs aren’t really a specific story at all, but a collection of thoughts. So I definitely pull inspiration from a lot of directions. And In my writing, I’ve always been attracted to imagery and analogy. I’m not entirely sure where that comes from, other than perhaps it’s just my way of better understanding things explained to me through visuals and analogies.

One of my favourite lines from one of your songs is “There’s nothing in this world that we can’t fix with some scissors and some glue” Truly a wonderful line that inspires me every single day.

RYAN: That is so nice to hear!! Thank you so much for that! That’s from “Next To Me” – Enjoyed writing that one a lot! I had a lot of fun writing about my own childhood and using child-like imagery, to tell a love story.

You approached recording in a different way with Yearbook. What was the inspiration for this and how did you motivate yourself to write an EP a month?

RYAN: The idea for “Yearbook” came from asking a simple question.. what do love most about being a musician and songwriter? It was a very simple answer – I love writing songs! So, with that idea, I tried coming up with a project that was challenge the typical “album” release format, and also challenged my more than ever before in my craft of writing songs. So that led to the idea of writing, recording and releasing 3 songs every month for 1 entire year. I finished that up last September and am SO thrilled to have had the opportunity to devote an entire year of my life to writing songs! In spite of the challenge and the constant deadlines, I honestly couldn’t have asked for better. 36 songs later, I feel more excited about writing music than ever. I’m very grateful to be doing this and that folks listen to these songs. Means a lot to me.

If you had to choose any of the yearbook EPs which one would you say is your favourite and what song from the whole collection would you say affected you the most writing it?

RYAN: Wow, that’s a tough one! I feel like I poured just as much of my life into each of them, so I’m not sure I’d be able to choose… but releasing the first EP “October” was very special, as it marked the beginning of a very long and amazing year! I’d say my favourite song, at least at the moment, might be “Silhouettes” – that one came together very easily and naturally, which isn’t always the case. And I love the clarinet lines that my friend, Paul Von Mertens played on that song… it was one that came together with little wrestling. I like it when that happens.

Recently you had the great opportunity of having one of your songs played in Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 1. ‘Turning Page’ a truly wonderful song. I read that you tried to put yourself in ‘Edward Cullen’s’ shoes in order to write the song. How hard was it to write a song from someone else’s life experience (even though they are a fictional character)?

RYAN: It was actually quite fun to write from Edward’s perspective! I enjoyed the process of watching the Twilight films and trying to capture a sense of a character… the 3 movies prior to “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” were all leading up to these incredible moments in the final films – the wedding, the honeymoon, etc. So writing a very straight forward love song felt right. I was SO thrilled and honoured that they picked the song to be a part of those scenes – I couldn’t have hoped for better.
Since having Turning Page used in the movie your life must have gone from one extreme to the other? Although a very positive moment in your life has it come with any hindrances?

RYAN: Not at all! It’s been a truly incredible experience. The Twilight fans, as well as the folks behind the films could not have been more welcoming and kind to me from the start! So this whole experience has been really special to me. It’s always been a dream of mine to have music I wrote, featured in a film on the big screen. With Twilight, I feel like I was given the deluxe super version of that dream, because not only does my song get to be a part of a film, but the folks I’ve met through it all have been so wonderful at every step of the way.

What do you see for the future of Sleeping At Last? What great adventures and experiences are you hoping for? Is there a UK tour on the cards?

RYAN: This year I’ll be doing another large new music project – “Yearbook” was such a great experience and has really made me excited about writing lots of new music, so I plan to do a lot more new music this year. I also plan to tour quite a bit this year! Can’t wait to bring all of these new songs on the road. As for a UK tour… I cannot wait for that to happen!! I’m hoping it’s a very near future possibility! I LOVE the UK. Had the privilege of living there for a couple months, during the mixing of my “Ghosts” album a while ago. I’ve missed it ever since!


More on a personal level:
When growing up what would you spend your summers doing?

RYAN: I loved to draw. So every chance I’d get, I’d ask my Mom for a pen and paper. I also spent a lot of time “making things” – using old broken toys, I liked trying to make new things. I have some scars to prove it. One “thing” in particular that I was trying to make, involved me “borrowing” my parent’s kitchen knife… I was trying to make a mini basketball hoop out of straws and old RC car tires (strange, I know..) and needed to trim some pieces, but I slipped and cut my thumb pretty good instead. So I probably spent most of my Summers healing from things like that!  But one of my absolute FAVOURITE Summer traditions was going to Disney World with my family! I had a pretty incredible childhood, in fact. I have my Mom to thank for that!

When you aren’t taking on the music world what do you get up to in your very minimal spare time? What do you do to help you escape reality?

RYAN: Movies! I LOVE movies. So I tend to see a lot in the theatre. It’s definitely a bit of an escape. Aside from that, I love travelling. Specifically, Hawaii… that’s definitely a favourite escape. It doesn’t happen often enough in my opinion. ;)
I have a quote for you. It is one of my favourite quotes “Gandhi once said what ever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Would you like to share we me and my readers a quote that means a lot to you and inspires you everyday?

RYAN: That’s a beautiful quote for sure! Hmm.. let’s see… a favourite quote of mine. Here’s one from gorgeous book, The Little Prince “It is only with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

If you weren’t apart of a very successful band what would you be doing do you think? As a child we always come up with jobs we want when we are ‘older’ what jobs did you want as a child?

RYAN: For a long while I wanted to be a professional basketball player! That didn’t quite pan out, but I’m thankful that somewhere along the line, music became my passion instead. I wasn’t very good at basketball, so the odds were stacked against me from the start. I also wanted to be a Disney animator! Now I dream of writing music for Disney/Pixar Animations!
As valentines is coming up how about a question regarding romance. Some of your songs are very romantic but what is the most romantic thing you have ever done?

RYAN: Hmm.. good question! I’d say that how I proposed to my wife would hopefully be considered “romantic” … she told me it was, so I’ll take it. I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but the gist of the day was: I put together several small puzzles that told my wife where to go next (some of her favourite spots/things to do) that she needed to put together (actual jigsaw puzzles with messages on them) and then set up a decoy dinner “plan” and had her picked up in a limo, which drove her downtown Chicago, where I was waiting to propose to her on the rooftop of a skyscraper. The very same place, we visited on our first date. She said yes. Win.
Lastly, through all your success with the band what moment in your life are you the most thankful for?

RYAN: Wow, these are great questions! A moment in my life that I’m most thankful for … wow, there are TONS to choose from. I don’t know that I can pinpoint one! I’m very grateful to have the life that I have.

Check out all the news on Sleeping At Last Here: Website

Monday, 13 February 2012

When I think of The Karpinka Brothers, not only do I think of warm winter nights sitting by the fire with a hot coco in one hand and good old fashioned romantic novel in the other, I also think of how truly wonderful these brothers are. Not only do they produce heart warming, charming and pure songs but they also have the ability to make your heart skip a beat with glee as they enter a room. Full of passion for life, these to brothers are the soul of Saskatoon, SK, Canada's music scene and I feel proud to have had the chance to interview them. Although this is only a short warm up interview. I wanted to prepare the boys for a even bigger interview over a bottle of red wine or two when I return to their home town in June. So enjoy getting to know The Karpinka Brothers, I know I did. Truly the two most charming and beautiful people I have ever met. Enjoy.

Q1. Thank you for excepting the offer of taking part in one of Ivory Faces music interviews. How are you both today?

SK: Wonderful.
AK: Just peachy.

Q2. So for all those that don’t know The Karpinka Brothers why not give us a insight into who the K-Bros are.

AK: We are two gentleman who play music with acoustic guitars and harmonize. Sometimes we perform as a duo. Sometimes we have a radical backing band with us.
SK: And yes, we are actually brothers even though Aaron looks Mexican. We're best friends as well.

Q3. What was it like growing up in Saskatoon, CA? How has life changed for you in the past 2 years?

AK: I grew up in Mexico.
SK: He's lying. We love Saskatoon and we're proud to have lived here our whole lives. There's a real sense of family and community among the musicians here. Life is the same, although we've had many opportunities to play our music here which we're so grateful for.

Q4. From what age did you both realise you wanted to play music?

AK: Around 8 years old. I saw the movie La Bamba and wanted to rock like Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. Also I thought the Muppets were amazing and Michael J. Fox shredding it up in Back To The Future inspired me to sling an axe.
SK: Since I was a kid too. The first song I learned to play was "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.

Q5. You released an album back in 2009 I believe? Since the release how have you progressed as a band?

AK: Our first album was recorded as a demo to get shows. We stood in our socks, didn't use headphones, and recorded 18 songs in 10 hours. 13 of the songs went on the album. It began circulating and people liked it. We released it because we were proud of it. Since then we have progressed as much as any band would who works at music every day from 2008 until 2012. I would describe us as more up beat and less traditional these days. There is a lot more dancing at our shows.
SK: We also play with a band now, and they're on our second album. We're so honoured to have Ryan Drabble from Slow Down, Molasses on drums, and Enver Hampton on bass, who was voted Saskatoon's favourite bass player, for good reason. They're incredible musicians and people, and great friends.

Q6. What would you say has been the most memorable gig for you to date?

AK: Easily playing at Gordon Lightfoot's concert here in Saskatoon. It was a surreal moment where I stood two feet from a legend and talked to him about music. He seemed to like us. Imagine being a young Jedi in training and meeting Obi Wan Kenobi.
SK: The other would be playing a Christmas show at a care home we play often here, hearing a choir of their voices in the audience singing with us.

Q7. If you could perform with any artist, dead or alive who would it be?

AK: Feist. And then I would hit on her.
SK: Bruce Springsteen, our hero. When I was a kid, I'd pretend I was him in the video to "Dancin In The Dark." Full circle.

Q8. What can we hope to expect from the K-Bros and the band this year?

AK: An album on CD and vinyl called "There's A Light" and as many shows we can do. We plan to tour as much as we can.
SK: Touring will be a new adventure for us. We love playing in Saskatoon but can't wait to play other cities. We're proud of our album and excited for everyone to hear it.

Fan question:

Q1. How does the older brother/younger brother dynamic influence your music? - From an anonymous fan

AK: We know were the line is. We don't cross it....but I tap dance all over it like Sammy Davis Jr.
SK: We write everything together, and it makes something special that each of us on our own wouldn't write, even if Aaron is tap dancing.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

NME show off Slow Down Molasses new music video for ‘Bodies’

Slow Down Molasses have finally released their brand new music video for their song Bodies from their most recent album 'Walk Into The Sea'. Beautifully shot and animated By Andrei Feheregyhazi.

The band are soon to be heading to the UK and are due to release a remix album on February 21st. Keep your eyes open boys and girls, this band are on the up.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Recently I have found writing reviews of bands some what tricky. I have all this enthusiasum for a band, yet when it comes to writing down how I truly feel about them my brain turns into a mass of words and nothing really seems to form into a complete paragraph. However when it came to the Library Voices this war with my mind was far from a perdicament.

It was only last September that I was wishing the my music collection would be graced with a, 'lets not kill ourselves' type of sound. The reason the Library Voices do so well is because they are the complete opposite of todays down right boring and suicidle cultural music. They kind of smack you in the heart with a " Hey there! We love our lifes" kinda punch. Something I have been looking for for sometime now. 

If you have ever heard of this happy go lucky bunch of guys and girl you will know all too well the kind of punch I a refering to and their most recent album Summer of Lust really provides you with a good bashing. 

If you’re looking for something mellow and easy-listening to help you sleep at night, Summer of Lust is NOT the album you want to try and fall into a deep sleep to.  Mostly because it will have you 'clapping, tapping and throwing an all out dance-party in your bedroom', which is not really going to help you with a good nights rest.

 It screams out "lets dance, get drunk and make sweet love to life" and is in no way a dissapointment. The energy flows through out the whole album. With the second actual song on the album 'Generation Handclap' couldn't have been a better song to add to this masterpiece of an album. With it comes a song full of horns, drums and lyrics, that in my opinion deserve an award. Referencing the way most our generation today only really cares about itself and with that comes a generation of whiners. “We stand for nothing, sugar. This is generation drunk text. Going to love you like a cherub, going to leave you like a lap dance. Oh! You want to save the world! You keep pouring out your heart but all I ever hear is ooooohhh…

Its not every day you come across a band that thats music and lyrics really fit fantastically with their name. I hear you ask how and yes maybe their music isn’t quite right for a library setting, but Library Voices have spent some time with their noses in books that is clear lyrically.  Their music is littered with as much literature references as their songs are littered with synth, omnichord and theremin.

So if you want something to listen to in the car that will actually have you winding down the window, even in minus tempretures, singing out loud and clapping whilst sitting at traffic lights (this is all from experience) then Library Voices are the band for you. (However be sure to take care on the roads when listening, I don't want my recommendation to cause any deaths). I can not express how truly amazing this band is and of course this is only my opinion. Lets just see what the future holds for this darn right superb bunch of 'pop gypsies'.

Be sure to check out their next tour dates and lets get these guys over here in the UK, yes?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


After the success of their last UK tour playing along side acts such as Joanna Newsom and Mogwai at England's End of the Road Festival, the band are ready and raring to go as they take on Brighton's, The Great Escape.

With their own unique sound the band will be playing along side many new and up and coming acts and with the triumph of their last UK tour this looks set to be another amazing adventure for the band.

Keep your eyes and ears open for Slow Down Molasses May UK tour dates, you really don't want to miss them.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Written by Hannah Stocker. Photography by Mike Morien

"I spent the night on the couch, sick. It was lovely."- Skot Hamilton
"I accidentally drank all the beer." "Also all the Spandex"- Amber Neal
"You haven't lived until you've heard AK-47 rap with R-Drabs and Colin singing LMFAO. Quote it. "- Brendan Flaherty
'there were a lot of intoxicated musicians playing 'music' for a lot of intoxicated audience members for one of the best shows of the year'- Keltie Kiendy
"I barely remember any of it, so let me know how it was!"- Randi Gola (supremely intoxicated)

Ryan 'Slow Down Molasses'
This year I took a trip of a life time and ventured across the pond to Saskatoon, Canada. Whilst staying with my friend Ryan Drabble from the well known Saskatoon band Slow Down Molasses, I'd had my ears filled with talk of Saskatoon's most marvellous Band Swap and was really looking forward to experiencing the hype for myself.
Jeanette 'Jeans Boots'
Ok, so 35 musicians are randomly assembled into seven bands at a top secret (not really top secret) meeting, where they are assigned four cover songs all chosen by the individual members. Each band then has 24 hours to radically put together their songs – or and I quote from the lovely Chris Morin 'figure out some way to butcher them completely and appropriately.'

In the latest review of this years Band Swap, I read that it was notorious for putting otherwise really confident musicians into a rather uncomfortable situation out of their comfort zones and this is a statement that I whole heartedly agree with. From the moment the first band started you could see the tension on their faces, yet trying not to take themselves too seriously. Each band performed in my eyes, incredibly considering that they only had 24 hours to prepare.

I caught up with Darren Miller 'Band Swap's DJ exstrodinare' on what he thought to the night.

Ivory Faces gets proposed to
'As always seems to be the case, band swap was the best night of the year. Every year I worry that the evening won't live up to my sky-high expectations, and every year I'm thrilled to find out that it does. The crowd was a nice mix of new faces and old friends this time around. Definitely more new blood than in previous years, which is great, because it keeps things from going stale. Seeing an admission lineup forming in both directions (indicating that a large portion of the restaurant patrons were eating at amigos to ensure themselves a spot in the crowd) was completely mind-blowing. The performances were all very solid too, I don't remember anything near that level of consistency in previous years. All around, a really amazing time.'

I can almost guarantee that everyone has their own unique moment and I agree with Chris Morin (Ominocity) writing a step by step review would be far too ridiculous but like him I think the most memorable moment for me was the shock and sheer disgrace on some of the women in the audience as Jeanette Stewart (Jeans Boots) launched chocolate pudding into their faces with out a hint of warning, as she sang GG Allin's- Die When you Die. One of those moments when you had to be there to really and truly appreciate the incrediblness of it all.

K-Bro Shawn
Band Swap not only brings friends, lovers and haters together but it has raised around $22,000 in the past 6 years for a wondreful charity, the Saskatoon Crisis Nursery’s Nutrition Program. Not only that but the majority of the people who attended donated a huge amount of non-perishable foods. To all the organisers, performers, promoters, sound and stage staff, Amigos Staff and even to the audience who attended. Pat yourselves on the back as with out you Band Swap would not be the triumph that it is today. Round of applause.

Saskatoon you have been watermarked on my heart...