Thursday, 30 October 2008



Songs From The Shows are a four piece band featuring ex-untitled1961 bassist Steve and ex-Time.Space.Repeat drummer Ania, along with bassist Jim and guitarist Ben. The four of them make an unpredictable and dynamic wall of noise that recalls the likes of Sonic Youth, Shellac, Slint, Joy Division and The Cure. Having said that, it is very much its own and therefore out of step with just about everything clogging up the stale turd we know as contemporary music. This four piece will be trendsetters and it is with great pleasure that we witness them headline the first Trail back at home. Don’t count on seeing them in venues like this for long though; London itself isn’t big enough for them, let alone one of its many music venues…

Last time we saw Steve, you were playing in untitled1961. Tell us about why you disbanded, how SftS came about, and how you all got together?

I think '61 had just gone as far as it could. We'd all developed hugely in terms of our playing and what we wanted from music. Sadly we only had time to explore one direction, despite the fact that we wanted to go in three different ones. So we all went our separate ways. Thankfully it was an amicable split, and we're all still working on projects together now.
SftS came about in the last days of that. I know Ania from her days in Time. Space. Repeat., who were going through a similar thing. Ben and I used to play together in an instrumental band called Inemuri, who had also just imploded. Jim we found online through And then it turned out that he knew a few of the people who'd become my mates through '61, and we went from there.

Your line-up and instrumentation differs somewhat from the norm, i.e. having not one but TWO basses going head-to-head, what inspired that?

I don't think it's THAT different from the norm. Even the Cure had two basses at one point. I think most people miss the fact that the bass is really two instruments - it's part of the rhythm section, and one of the melodic string instruments. So by having two, we can explore both options. Or both be rhythm instruments at the same time when we want to scare the shit out of someone. Jim and I are also really different as musicians, so the tonal options with both of us on-board are pretty much endless.

A rather dull question but leading on from the last, what would you say your primary influences are?

I'm not going to name bands. Ugh. The main things that unite and excite us are:Complicated electronicsThe gorgeous bar staff of Big RedBadgers (and some other furry mammals)Volume Amstel (from Big Red)Nachos (from Big Red)Bass (or basses)ContrastHolloway, and especially the Islington Arts Factory.

There is a much darker vibe than that of Untitled1961 and Time.Space.Repeat (drummer Ania's former band). Is that intentional or is that simply how it came about?

I don't think that was intentional. These are just darker times. It's harder to find work, money is tight for everyone, and we have the threat of a Tory government coming in and sticking their noses in the trough all over again. It's hard to write happy music in a city run by a son of the privileged establishment, whose only qualification appears to be an appearance on "Have I Got News For You". And don't even start me on the blood-sucking mess that is the Olympics.

You (Steve) and Seb (untitled1961) run a clubnight called Duel In The Deep at Catch in Shoreditch. Tell us about that...

The typical London gig experience is as follows:
Play with 3 or 4 other bands. Maybe even 5. All dreadful sub-indie nonsense or smug singer-songwriters and their unpaid session musicians.
Argue about who was meant to be bringing which bit of kit because bands consider themselves too important to reply to an email, and their drums too precious and delicate to be used by anyone else.
Fail to get a soundcheck because someone takes an hour and a half to get the right amount of delay on their vocals to cover up the fact they can't sing.
Your mates get charged 5 or 6 quid on the door, despite the fact that there's no way they would want to see any of the other performers.
Promoter pockets all the money, slipping out during the last set so he doesn't have to pay anyone.
Duel is just meant to be the opposite of all of that: Interesting bands who are trying to do something a bit different, intentionally blended together, helping each other, and getting paid all the profits from the night. We think it's time that musicians started taking control, rather than letting everyone else make money from our music.

There is plenty in music at the moment worthy of hatred - but tell us what irks you particularly....

There are so many things to choose from...I'm intrigued by this new 'Union' that a bunch of multi-millionaire pop stars are setting up. There's already a union for actual musicians. It called the Musicians' Union. You'd have thought these guys would have been able to Google it. I think it's a bit of a stretch that these bajillionaire bands, and Robbie Williams, are looking for public sympathy as they try and screw more money out of their labels. And why are they angry with their labels anyway? It's the major label marketing budgets, focus groups, influence over radio playlists etc that made them famous. If it weren't for their labels they'd still be playing circuit gigs and driving round in old vans.
And Radiohead, proving that 'bands don't need labels' with their internet release? Fuck off. All Radiohead did was prove that once you've had millions spent promoting you, you can sell records using free PR instead of paid-for advertising. There are thousands of bands out there making music ten time as interesting as Radiohead and giving it out for free on MySpace. These are the guys changing the musical landscape, not some bunch of pampered poshboys with an Aphex Twin album in their back pocket to rip off later.
You knew the deal guys - sign up with the devil, he'll make you rich but he'll also fuck you in the ass. You're whores, and you knew you would be whores. Don't expect us to give a shit. You foul the cultural waterways we have to swim in every time you squeeze out another turd of a record, so don't expect anyone to pay you even more for a privilege.

Finally, the obligatory dull kiss-off....what is next for you?

Songs From The Shows have got a good-looking gig coming up at Barden's on November the 12th, and will hopefully get into a studio before long. We're also working on some material with an artist called Gethan Dick, which should be fairly stunning, and very different from a lot of what's out there on the regular gig scene.
Duel in the Deep has a very loud line-up on November 11th with Batrider, who are coming up from New Zealand! Seb and I also have some very-exciting secret plans coming up for the Duel Xmas special. Watch this space. And start planning your festive outfits. You're going to need them.



Almost one year ago, The Drowners first hit the Vapour stage in what was to become one of the best nights the club has seen. They also conducted a shoot-style interview where they set out their stall and declared their aims. A year later, much has changed; musically, they are no less ferocious but have instead gained a sense of grandeur. Where once their reference points easily would have included ‘Pornography’ and ‘The Holy Bible’, it now seems more appropriate to compare them to ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Everything Must Go’. Their horizons have broadened and they have seen some notable changes; not just in mood, but also in line-up and setting. Vocalist Rob and bassist Simon take us through a humorous trip down Drowner lane…

First of all, what with your next gig being as what you might call the new Drowners, do you want to take us through the story of why Tim left, how James joined, how you know him and how it’s all working out.

Rob - Well this is a particularly interesting story.
Simon - (Laughs)
Rob - Unfortunately, there was no animosity or drugs, or sleeping with girlfriends, or even AIDS, Tim just moved to Dubai to earn some more money. Which is fine, kind of goes against my socialist credentials but, hey, what can I say, I earn loads of money.
Simon - (Laughs)
Rob - James basically conned us into pretending that he didn’t know that we were looking for a drummer. I met up with him thinking I was gonna con him, he conned me better and pretended that he didn’t know that we didn’t have a drummer and basically offered to play drums for us a bit too quickly. I was subsequently told by a friend that he’d been informed about a week earlier. We knew James from an old band called Such Little Things that we used to play in back in Birmingham when we all used to live together. It was a bit more indie than the one we’re in, ‘jangly’ I’d say, even though Simon would go ‘No!’
Simon - I would say it was more angular than jangly. It was a four piece, less heavy and more….shit. Yeah, that’s the important bit, very shit.

This brings us back to when we interviewed you last year. The quote was “We wanted to marry the ferocity of Holy Bible-era Manics with the overt melancholy of The Cure and make a more aggressive sound than before. Becoming a three-piece actually helped in that regard as it enabled us to get rid of parts that weren’t necessary and encouraged us to play more violently to make up for that”. What do you have to say to that in terms of the songs you have written since, do you still follow that ethos and how has the music changed? What have you been aiming for?

Rob - It’s become more aggressive, partly for the fact that previously I was writing pretty guitar parts over choruses, for example, which all sound very nice and Smithsy I guess, and layered, but didn’t really achieve the sort of thing I was trying to go for, which was just like teenage angst and I think now I haven’t been able to lose myself in writing those twiddly bits, which are essentially pretty much pointless, I’ll just play what I can physically play while singing at the same time. Then obviously because there’s less physical noise coming from three amps as opposed to four, Simon uses a distortion pedal to make up for the lack of rhythm guitar sometimes. I’ll use a lot more effects and play a lot more harshly.
Simon - But that was the case already in the previous interview! So that’s the difference between the four piece and the three piece but in terms of since the last Vapour Trail interview, that was more the question. More poppy I would say, but also more heavy.
Rob - I think I probably, in terms of writing, slightly got away from just making noise over dance drum beats. Perhaps got more anthemic, to use a horrible word. Just in terms of how we perhaps got carried away in our early Drowners days of just being the three of us and going “yeah, we can make loads of fucking noise and, even if people don’t like us, their ears are gonna hurt. Now I’m possibly putting it more into a song structure whilst maintaining that sort of early aggressiveness.

What do you think about - you talked about the aggressiveness and also the staple of the early sound, maybe you could say in the guitar parts that you wrote back then there was that melancholy - what do you think about that, do you think that’s changing or do you think you’re leaving that behind?

Rob - I definitely don’t think we’re leaving that behind, I think that’s always been there in everything I’ve written. I think the only thing we’re perhaps leaving behind is that we’re perhaps slightly more subtle, whereas before it was very loud, very soft, all at once. But, yeah, I think the melancholy will always be there.
Simon - When the melancholy goes, I go. Truth up!

One thing that you said last year, and this is a big difference between then and now and has to be addressed, is “Obviously, we’re going to carry on gigging as much as we can. We’re just so desperate to break out of Birmingham, there’s nothing there for us. We’ve seen so many bands from Birmingham supposedly ‘achieve’ things but what that inevitably means is that they’ve managed to get a gig in a slightly bigger venue and played to more of their friends and family at once than usual”. So basically that was then, you lived in Birmingham and things have changed obviously. Tell me about what it took to make the change and how it affected you guys and your music.

Rob - In terms of the change coming about, I guess I split up with my last girlfriend and Simon got bored, and I got bored, we’d slept with everyone in Birmingham, so we just made a snap decision to move to London after meeting Ross and Julia and everyone (ed - the VPT crew, basically) and realising we had friends and everything. I basically walked in on my first day back at work and quit, Simon didn’t have a job so it didn’t matter…
Simon - Yes I did…
Rob - You were only temping, you dickhead!
Simon - No I wasn’t…
Rob - Oh, I take that back, Simon was actually working, bizarrely…
Simon - I turned down a job in insurance to SIT HERE!
Rob - He could’ve been like his dad and everything! In terms of moving down here, we basically just packed up and fucked off. Musically, I think there’s maybe slightly more disillusionment whereas with the songs I was writing for early Drowners I couldn’t get disillusioned with Birmingham because I’d lived there all my life and knew it was shit, whereas here, whilst I don’t think it’s bad - I wouldn’t be anywhere else - it’s not quite as rose tinted as I thought. The streets aren’t paved gold but then they’re not paved with lead either.

So one other thing regarding that, how do you find London audiences differ to Birmingham audiences, or do they differ? When The Drowners came about, you said you wanted to pummel people’s ears and now you say that’s not so much the case, is that a reaction to the audiences or do you think there is any difference?

Rob - That’s an interesting question actually. Yeah, I think possibly, because in Birmingham we always knew we were so different to everyone else around and we never really expected to be particularly liked because we were so unfashionable and so noisy compared to most of the indie schmindie stuff that was going around. Whereas here I guess I don’t quite feel I have to do that because there’s loads of other bands playing pompous noise with no songs to it.
Simon - So actually, in London we’ve probably got a little edge of credibility but also we’ve got songs which I think there’s a lot of bands in London that don’t have songs, that have just got the sort of style, but I think the audiences are very similar. The only difference in London might be that there are more people who might be into what we’re doing.
Rob - I think the other thing here is that there are so many fucking cunts who can’t sing and can’t write a song but they’ll stand there making this pointless shit but they’ll look kind of cool, so even I’ll go and see them sometimes…
Simon - I’m talking about SCUM!
Rob - I think in London, as far as I’ve seen anyway, it seems rare to be able to marry the two together, whereas in Birmingham there wasn’t even the noise part of it whereas here there is, and now I feel like I’m distancing myself from that, purely because I don’t feel the need to just shock people.

Do you feel that with the majority of bands you’ve seen in London, do you think that there is a case of style over substance?

Rob - Er, yeah, very much so. In some cases, I mean you still get some of the same sort of bands you do in Birmingham, the sort of shitty bluesy indie bollocks, but here it seems like you can get away with just being cool far easier, I think, I don’t know what Simon thinks about that - I mean, he’s cooler than I am….
Simon - Haha…I actually do agree.

Now you’ve just recorded two new songs. Tell us about how the songs came about, what they’re sounding like, what they’re about and, again, how they differ?

Rob - Both are probably a bit more poppy. They came out of a combination of when we recorded them we didn’t really have any money so we basically just recorded two songs in a day and chose to mix them ourselves. One of them I’ve pretty much finished mixing, it’s probably poppier than a lot of the stuff and less noisy, as we’ve been alluding to.
Simon - Not that dissimilar to ‘Not A Love Song’ really, probably a similar-ish vein, I’d say.
Rob - But the chance to produce them yourselves gives you, whilst I don’t know anything at all about production, I’ve just been sort of winging it, which is why one song sounds a bit shit still, it gives you a chance to experiment and make it sound generally what you want without the tiredness of doing it all in one day and being subject to a producer. Whether it turns out to be a good or a bad thing, I’m not really sure yet.

Now, for the benefit of people who may not have seen you or heard you before, when you play in October - we’re gonna pay a little game of word association - try and describe The Drowners in five words. I know this is a stupid fucking question, but try and describe The Drowners in five words - both of you…

(Long pause)
Rob - Rob is probably too drunk….
Simon - The bass player is…better…

How do you think in terms of style, if at all, James differs from Tim, playing-wise?

Rob - He’s probably a bit more imaginative I’d say and maybe slightly less aggressive - but I’m not sure yet if that’s just cos he doesn’t know the songs as well. The main thing is he puts in more fills and tries to do more complicated things.
Simon - …though in every other respect, he is the same person! He’s beefy (ed - The Drowners, amongst other things, are famous for bringing the word ‘beefy’ - meaning ‘good’, essentially - into the London lexicon of colloquial language - soon to be hitting Bournemouth and Bognor shortly, surely) and he’s the originator of ‘beef’. He’s the good looking one, he buys cars, he earns money.
I was gonna say then, a new picture that’s turned up on your Myspace, a couple of war painted cretins either side and a good looking guy in the middle…
Rob - Actually, that photo’s a complete con, the photo of James is from the old band. I just stuck it together with pictures of me and Simon. We haven’t had a chance to have a proper photo shoot yet but, yeah, he is irritatingly attractive - but he’s got a girlfriend so fuck off!
Simon - Yeah, fuck off. Let me just confirm: he is taken…but I’M NOT! YES! I’M NOT, I TELL YOU! (Ed - this may no longer be true!)

One thing that we always ask, and it’s a fucking boring question, what are your future plans, whether that be in the immediate future or the future as a whole? Maybe answer both…

(For the uninitiated, cue numerous Peep Show references!)
Rob - Yeah, we should talk about that and action some points!
Simon - Let’s do lunch. Is two good for you?
Rob - Yeah, I’ll drop in and I’ll see where you’re at and have a couple of Frappacinos and shoot the shit!
Simon - Me, you, some Chinese food and a couple of fuck-off spread sheets!
Rob - I’ve got a 32 inch HD monitor at home, when you’re looking at a spreadsheet, you’re fucking looking at that spreadsheet!
In terms of plans, we probably need to step it up a notch and stop floating around.

These new recordings, where are they gonna go and are you gonna do more new recordings?

Rob - Obviously we’ll hope to do more new recordings. In terms of James, he seems to have some sort of contacts, or at least he says he does. I think our major next step is to really concentrate on getting some sort of good management, get better gigs, not just keep on playing in bars and pubs and stuff, like all London bands play.
Simon - And just to get more people to hear us, which I don’t think we’ve done. We need to get everyone to at least know who we are and maybe have an opinion on us.
Rob - Yeah, it doesn’t matter if they hate us, that’s absolutely fine. I won’t like them but that doesn’t matter.

One thing that is definitely worth asking and has to be asked tactfully so that you don’t end up slagging anyone off…

Both - Hahahaha!

…you talked about management, can you advise on what to look for in good management and what NOT to look for?

Rob - I think mainly stay away from wide boy cunts, especially ones who try to shake your hand too hard just to prove how manly they are, and comment on people who you’re sleeping with like it’s a big fucking deal. That just proves that they haven’t slept with anyone.
Simon - In normal circumstances, pinstripes are good, but in managers, I would say avoid the pinstripe suit and shades, and if they talk about their dad more than they talk about themselves, you know there’s something wrong.
Rob - Also, if you can name bands and little venues they haven’t heard of, stay away. What a cunt.

To conclude, firstly, what can you remember about your first time at the Vapour Trail, which is now one year ago?

Simon - My biggest memory is thinking ‘wow, there’s a few people that like us - that’s never happened before!’ Apart from that, I remember good people, bad sound, and we were the best band of the night!
Rob - Well, obviously we were the best band of the night - Ross (Liddle, The Firm) was on! Jesus! The main thing I remember is getting paid, that doesn’t happen, and then being so impressed that I spent it all on…not getting myself and everyone else drunk cos…we didn’t get paid that much!
Simon - Hahahaha!

And FINALLY, give us some sort of insight into what will be happening, in terms of the set, in terms of the drunkenness, in terms of what songs Simon will play when he Djs, some sort of insight into what’s gonna happen when you play again?

Simon - I think we need to step up the drunkenness cos we’ve been lagging recently, but we’re gonna amend that, we haven’t drunk enough, we need to work on it, we’ve let the side down a bit recently. We haven’t been bad enough.
Rob - But you always have a go at me when I get drunk! Er…seven songs…on average, about three and a half minutes to four….
Simon - ….about average length and medium girth…
Rob - …you can expect a guitar solo, a verse…probably two…two, if not three, choruses….usually three….there’ll also be a nice ‘Roses In The Hospital’ clap along moment…and probably a very out of tune guitar.
Simon - And we’ll be swooning the ladies in the audience with giving out free flowers, and knickers are welcome onstage.
Rob - What Simon really means is he’s gonna try and take the flowers and fail…
Simon - What else?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008



Welcome back to The Vapour Trail. And welcome back to where it all started exactly one year ago in a small boozer on the Holloway Road by the name of The Old Kings Head.
Although the sign with said name remains, nearly everything else has changed. It is now known as The Gaff and is operating strictly as a live music venue. Once again, however, we are pleased to be working with Gene, Joe and Gina, three people who enabled The Vapour Trail to come to life and become the bastion of exciting alternative music that it is.
Sadly, we will not be joined by Kris, however he is the main man at The Rock Attic at the Bedford Park in Streatham, and continues to put on the same energised rock’n’roll gigs as ever. This time, we will be joined by a Mr Marc Rollins, who some of you may know as the former drummer of VPT legends Untitled1961. We will also be joined by former guest DJ Simon Drowner, now a permanent member of the disc spinning team, headed up by Miss Julia Justice (The Firm/Trashcan Club) and Miss Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu).
Much has changed for us in the past year. We enjoyed a five month stint up the road at Nambucca where we witnessed some great sets from The Drowners, The Virgin Suicidez, Untitled1961, Doe Face Lillian, The Resistance, N,N Minus, Tempting Lilu, The Humanity and, of course, The Firm (ha!)
Speaking of that particular organisation, much has also changed. Guitarist Alex Avery departed earlier this year and was replaced by Chris P Willsher. Without diminishing Alex’s contribution or anything The Firm did previously, it became apparent that with the line-up of Ross Liddle, Julia Sieradzki, Yameen Khan and Mr Willsher, The Firm was finally born. We also played a one-off special show in August with former Untitled1961 guitarist and current False Flags frontman Seb ‘The Holloway Prism’ Pidgeon on guitar, purely to stick some icing on the cake of rock’n’roll romance. Our debut single ‘If You Don’t Want To Know Life’s Dismal Results/Round The Rim (And Back To Him)’ is provisionally out in February on Whimsical Records. Watch this space.
This month sees live music from VPT mainstays and rock terrorists The Drowners. They were instrumental in shaping the Trail and putting it on the map, and without them, the story might not even have been told, let alone been so interesting. Read within these pages their interview where they take a retrospective and often humourous look at the events of the past year. Also, we are joined by Higher Love, a group who do away with first impressions and instead insist on shocking people into attention with a sound and songs so epic and affecting. Last but not least, the first VPT back where it belongs is headlined by Songs from the Shows, a band you will definitely be hearing a lot about over the next year if there is such thing as justice in the world. On vocals and lead bass is former 61 bassist Steve Cross, who will be gracing the Vapour decks in the near future.
Finally, it is with great pleasure that we are now putting the Trail on every third Friday of the month. We always intended the night to be equal part gig and equal part club, and despite everyone’s best efforts, it was very difficult to pull off on a Wednesday. That said, I will always have fond (if entirely fuzzy) memories of going into the wankplace on a Thursday morning still inebriated from the previous night’s shenanigans and putting the fanzine articles onto the online blog.
So all that’s really left to say is that we hope you enjoy the evening and that we see you again on a regular basis....


Sunshine and Sub prime
By Dale Every
Mood: spiritual
Listening to: Accidental ornaments cyclefly

Couple of week’s back I thought id hit a café to get some reading done for an exam I had later that week. I made it my mission to avoid Starbucks because I wasn’t in any rush and I thought id let my principles guide me for a change. I parked up in a street in west London and the first thing that met my eyes was a certain coffee shop. I thought to myself, ok no worries I have plenty of time. Twenty minutes later I’m still cant find a café that isn’t my nemesis, my patience was becoming increasingly compromised. Ok …think Mcfly think…. bingo, ill walk down this nice big road it looks like it might lead to some options. So I’m strolling down the yellow brick road, cold and conscious that I have been messing around for over an hour now and I really need to start revising. So far I haven’t succumb to the corporate beast but then my hope dies when at the end of the road I meet another certain coffee shop. Beyond principles now, need coffee.
Feeling slightly deflated that my mission has failed I open my book. It must be exam season, I cant concentrate, on the adjacent table is little lord fauntleroy being quizzed on what sounds like some sub genre of advanced molecular biology and I’m thinking he’s a bit young for all that (shouldn’t he be out chasing girls or something…)…. even in the convenience of this coffee shop I’m still not getting these imperialist economics in my head. Anyway, I try and shut out abuse the kid hurls at his subservient mother as I try to ingest the words on the page.
Coffees gone cold and I hate the world so I leave and try to forget the situation and brave the cold again. So it’s back up the yellow brick road and I can see Harrods and other ostentatious high street outlets getting gradually smaller in the distance. I walk past a homeless guy staring blankly into the road; he’s sitting outside a grand old church that looks like whatever significance it once had has now gone. All this at a moment when a huge Rolls Royce casually bullets past and I try to balance all these visions together as I start to feel worse about my failed mission.
So I’m feeling like Christopher McCandless in the film ‘into the wild’, wanting to escape cold materialist society but then as if by a premonition my gaze meets headlines of credit crunches and rising oil prices. My mood immediately lifts as my pain turns to hope that perhaps the machines will finally kill their masters. The mind begins to wander….
Perhaps the Starbucks monopoly on overpriced coffee will disappear and just maybe the NME will cease being the only voice of the music scene. Perhaps necessity will become the mother of invention where the credit pinch might take us away from the price of oil and the second home by the sea. Just maybe we’ll have to start giving a shit as the sub prime crisis devours our seemingly natural desire to destroy the world and the people in it, for profit margins. Bring on the recession; this useless generation needs a bit of history. England is sick and its needs another pill. Lets hope it’s a good one….
…. Or maybe it wont happen, I can dream cant I? Ill just hold onto these ‘maybes’ little bit longer before reality bites. And back to the revision…


The Good, the Bad and Holloway Best Kebab

When Ross and Julia asked me to write something about Holloway at first I thought it would be easy. I mean, I've lived in Holloway for two years now. Nearly the first quarter of that wondering the streets, unemployed. I could talk about it's pros and cons until you eat your own eyes out of boredom, but that wouldn't be very interesting, would it! So, I looked to the people of Holloway themselves, the Hollowegians if you will, for other inspiration, only to find that they'd written the article for me. Below are extracts from various posts online, discussing our beloved N7. Enjoy!

Holloway is okay

been living here for about six months now. Sometimes i find holloway road itself a bit soulless but theres good cafes, cinema, i like drinking at big red and nambucca. its really really brilliant travel wise and bus wise. Safeway pisses me off cuz its cheap but the queues!!! art shops, library etc etc. but perhaps it just misses a little sparkle somwhere? still everything is so convenient....

Holloway not pretty

around seven sisters road is really quite awful. dirty, illegal cigarette sellers, rubbish everywhere, people can be a little scary sometimes too. convenient but not the nicest of area

Holloway could anyone help please
i am looking for my cousin going by the name of lillian killin or carpenter last heard of living in holloway road if anyone knows of her whereabouts could you please contact me. if i come to holloway iwill certainly try hollywoods cafe.

Holloway FRIENDS ANY ONE!!!??

Hey i'm moving to Holloway road in October. I don't know any one in london!! I'm looking for friends to go out on the town with!!! Also any good pubs and clubs in the area? Please get in touch at Mail-me Thanksxxx

Holloway safety question - part 2

So yeah, just wanted to ask, is the area really as shady after dark as everyone's been telling me? I heard about the bus-stabbing incidents, but at what time of the night did they occur? At what time of the day should a young woman not be seen walking around by herself?

Holloway FW Perrin - bookshop up to 1947

Hi thereMy Dad had a bookshop in Holloway in the early 1940's - Does any one recognise his name?I would love to know where the shop was - I think it was near the Nags Head. It would be great to have info as he met my mum there and they lived somewhere in Holloway during the first years of their marriage - in fact my brother was born there in 1946 but as they moved away in 1947, he can't remember anything!!ANY info would be really welcome


hi sweetiepie, u just have to use common sense regarding safety, there is no specific time that is more unsafe than others to be out.cos there is 1 0r 2 bad people does not mean the area is bad!!!! "bad" things happen in every area. My advice is to "WAKEY, "WAKEY" AND SMELL THE COFFEE, HAVE FUN IN hOLLOWAY,GREAT CHEAP CLOTHES SHOP!Amen to that! Until next time...


Monday, 20 October 2008

Interview with Higher Love

First of all, tell us about how the band got together and when you formed?

Band was formed in Warsaw and then re-established in 2005 in London.
There are 3 people in the band MarkD.-lead singer and drummer,Ichi on guitar and Ajit on bass.

When you got together, was there an initial aim or direction interms of style and influences?

At the early stage we were heavily inspired by the post-rock 80's music scene and the bands like Joy Division,Depeche Mode,The Cure but also Queen and The Doors.

Now I think we have our own sound and we define the music we play as a cold rock goth punk-'not too dirty to name it just punk and not...too symphonic to name it just gothic'.

The current music scene is very stale, what are your thoughts on it and what do you think you can bring to it?

Yes, we agree there too many bands with 's-they play retro rock-we don't want to be like them.

I think the best way is when you go your own way-if you have any inspirations,mix them,always you can get something new from that;)

We want to be different and I think better is to create your own trend than to follow the others.

Finally, tell us what your future plans are, both in the immediate future and the future as a whole for the band?

Currently we are recording material for new EP called
'Me and The Real World'.
In 2009 we want to move outside Londontown and play small UK and European tour and sign contract with the label.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Vapour Trail Listings: June 08


Nearest tube: Holloway rd / ARCHWAY
Buses: 29, 253, 254, 91, 17, 43, 271, 153 & BUSES TO ARCHWAY

8pm – till late
£4 with flyer/fanzine
£5 without

NEXT: JUNE 18TH 2008


With DJ Sets from Julia Sieradzki (The Firm) & Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu)

Glasvegas + Doe Face Lillian: Review

Camden Roundhouse, May 14th 08

This year, Scottish troupe Glasvegas have been steadily but surely making a name for themselves following endorsements from Alan McGee and the NME, at whose ceremony they won an award this year. Their beefy brand of Spector-influenced indiepop has been heard on two official releases, the glorious ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart’ and the epic ‘Daddy’s Gone’, which was a far cry from the original, skiffle-punk demo. And tonight they headline the sold-out Roundhouse in Camden.

But first, we are greeted with the familiar sight of Doe Face Lillian. And if tonight’s set is anything to go by, it’s a sight that will become more familiar as time progresses.

With all three members onstage (programmer Magenta is on the audience’s right, vocalist/guitarist David is positioned audience left and bassist Rob moves maniacally in the middle), the aesthetic of the group is something to behold in a larger venue such as this, and they launch into their guttural noise punk with suitable aplomb.

Although much of their set is based around frenetic cacophonies of the most pleasing kind (think Mary Chain and Sonic Youth going head to head with The Horrors and even Placebo), the group really shine when playing slower, mid-paced material such as the crowd-pleasing ‘Vision’, a Cure-esque ballad with U2-esque guitars and a call-and-response chorus that sounds a bit like Ian Curtis interrupting a Bob Smith phonecall. Ian Curtis being Rob, of course, who takes lead vocals for the group’s other slow number, a song clearly indebted to the Mancunian miserablists but with added psych-noise guitar from David (his style veers between noise rock and shoegaze brilliantly throughout.) Having said that, they are a fast-paced outfit in spirit, and they finish up with David triggering all sorts of feedback-laden sounds and general noise from his guitar, amp and pedals, much to the crowd’s approval.

Glasvegas then appear before a crowd that seems to include a fair portion of people who’ve made it down from Scotland to see their band perform. Straight away, reverb-soaked guitars shimmy in and remind us of Creation heroes My Bloody Valentine and The House Of Love (proto-shoegaze legends who you can read more about this issue.) Vocalist James Allan’s singing gives the music a soulful and heartfelt feel, which is exactly what it is, as he croons wistful and often nostalgic lyrics in his native accent.

The Mo Tucker / Bobby Gillespie drums shouldn’t work with music that sounds this huge, but thankfully they do, as guitarist Rab manages to combine playing what are fairly intricate, sometimes Edge-esque lead lines, with throwing his guitar around his head. Bathed in red light, the four of them look awesome as the crowd sings along to every word of the songs, some of which haven’t even been released. And as for the songs, it seems that the group are poised to take an epic, shoegaze / 60’s Wall of Sound – inspired direction, possibly leaving behind the 50s / surf – influenced style that graced early versions, most notably the aforementioned ‘Daddy’s Gone.’

Finally, with six songs played and just one more to go, James announces the group’s intention to ‘piss off after this one’ and, rather sweetly, he does invite the crowd to come to the dressing room afterwards and help them polish off a huge hamper of food. A soaring rendition of ‘DG’ later, and that’s what happens.

Tonight, two excellent bands played and reminded us that, not only can Alan McGee be forgiven for inflicting The Others upon decent people seeing as he did create, er, Creation Records and discover all manner of genius in the 80s and 90s, but also that bands don’t necessarily have to be taut, angular and in debt to Gang of Four to be any good in these dreary times. Tonight was about big sounds and big songs, albeit from two pretty different perspectives, and long may it continue.



With a combined love of all things pop and experimental, Divina Icon play The Vapour Trail in a perculiar position – that of a band in transition. Led by vocalist and guitarist Dale Every, their songs are often dynamic explosions of the 3 – 4 minute variety, while their sound is richly layered with crunching guitars, melodic riffs and bubbling electronics. Lyrically, the songs have always explored the whys and wherefores of life, sometimes set against the grainy backdrop of London, the city which spawned the group. Although they appear to be very much in the midst of a period of uncertainty, one thing that we can be sure of is the power they pack live. But let’s find out more….

We first wonder how the group got together, although we forget to remember how unremarkable stories of this ilk usually are….“We all met at a ‘model railway’ convention! Our shared love of the locomotive brought us together. The usual.”As mentioned previously, the subject of the group’s range in sound and influences gets broached, as we wonder what the primary inspirations were when getting the group together….“We all bring our own (influences) to the table. The darker pop edge comes from, without name dropping, bands like Cocteaus, Killing Joke etc that Giorgio and Leon bring in while the electronics are influenced by the Dancy stuff Dale does – Nixie listens to a lot of American guitar music like Pumpkins, QOTSA and that comes through. Some kind of vague mix of these elements.” Moreover, was there any initial aim in terms of the overall musical direction, lyrical direction and so forth?“Nah, too many egos in the band to agree on one ideology! The nature of what we are is about not being confined to a set identity as such– that can be great but it’s not what we do, at least not yet. Might be one or two concept albums in us!”One thing that definitely sets the group apart from the gaggle of identikit indie rock bands you see floating about is there use of electronics within their multi-layered sound. We wonder what inspired them to implement this…“We feel it brings a dynamic to out guitar-based sound – when there are so many guitar bands that have that one sound it gets a little dry. It’s another layer, which can change the whole vibe of something, it’s important to our evolving sound, experimenting is important to us. Pissing around with soundscapes, definitely comes from the electronic influence on the band.”
Bearing in mind the fact that there is a greater emphasis on live performance now more than ever, what does the band hope to achieve when they go out and play?“We haven’t played any gigs while because we have been putting this new project together but we are looking forward to doing some shows. Each gig has its own character, if you’re playing in front of no one except for someone’s lost dog then you’re not gonna be trying to make some big connection (which actually happened!) so each as they come but we always like to make an impact in whatever form – its very much a cathartic release for us – throwing our tunes out …”
And lastly, the inevitable question that always must be asked – what is next for them?“Revolution, after Giorgio has got the next round in! – Then a name for this new project – we are Divina Icon for this gig although the band is no more and this new one needs a name.”

So, does this gig symbolise the end of an era, or the beginning of a new one? I suppose we’ll just have to find out….



Describing themselves as ‘darkside electronic rock’, Rapid Fiction’s fraught and epic sound is matched by their dynamic live performances. Combining metallic guitars, epic synths, throbbing bass and singer Carl’s powerful baritone, they recall the best and most brooding moments of such post-punk figues as Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnymen, Sisters of Mercy and Depeche Mode, while still conveying originality through a style that brings to mind both the militaristic and the neo-classical.

The band has been going for a little while now, albeit in a few different guises. Bassist Nick takes up the story….“Rapid Fiction has existed in various formats since 2004 when myself, Carl Thompson and a drum machine hooked up, and has since spread in a slow and sinister manner, adding a keyboardist, Marc Picazo, who we found in Loot, and a guitarist, Hugo Bronstein, who was on Gumtree. We replaced the drum machine early on due to musical differences, and after a stint with one drummer and lots of other tryouts, Dan Wing joined.”With a sound and style as defined as that of Rapid Fiction’s, it begs the question as to whether or not there was a specific goal in terms of musical direction from the word go….
“We wanted to create a mix of styles to avoid being too much in one genre. Carl came from the indie side, I came from industrial/goth influences, Marc from electronic and classical and Hugo from metal, so we've tried to put all that together into a dark, electronic, rock kind of affair- hopefully successfully and hopefully not sounding too much like anyone in particular.”Your live shows are known for being rather more exciting than your average indie 'non-performance' gigs you tend to see. Was it a conscious decision to put on a show or are you all natural exhibitionists? Which bands would you rate in a live setting?
“It is frequently a conscious decision to drink heavily, which can have some consequences for the performance when you are dealing with several prima donnas in a small stage space. “I personally rate bands who make the effort to put on a show, like Rammstein, but also bands who don't have all the stage accoutrements but still make for an attention-grabbing show. Deftones have been good at this. There are too many bands around though who just stand there being tedious. If it doesn't look like you are enjoying playing, then I'm not sure why anyone else would enjoy the show.”Along with this, you have a very defined aesthetic as a group - was image important? Also, you (Nick) do the artwork (logo, flyers, etc.) Is the combination of music and visuals an important part of what you do? Also, what with downloading, how do you feel about the decline in the physical product of music?
“Image has been complicated due to our different backgrounds but we have found an image that everyone is comfortable with. I'd like to push it further, but there is the view that too much image detracts from the music, like you are trying to be all image to make up for musical shortcomings. “I think that a band should have a clear visual identity though and given the time, I would make a lot more of Rapid Fiction's. In my design work, I am very keen on building up striking and memorable logos and visuals, which I think is essential in a band distinguishing itself from others - it's often the first contact people have with a band and can make all the difference in making them interested.“I think that not having to press CDs makes life easier for unsigned bands to distribute their music and means that there are fewer industry obstacles to reaching the punter, but clearly the problem of marketing and actually getting people to hear your music remains!”

News & Stuff


The Cure, whose ‘The Only One’ single just reached a skyscraping Number 48, are releasing three more singles from June. Each will be released monthly on the 13th and will come with new B-sides, as their most recent did. Next up is ‘Freakshow’, which they played live at Wembley, a gig The VPT reviewed last month (see for more) which, like the other A-sides, should be on the album. ‘13’, the band’s 13th studio album (see what they did there?!) is out in September and is unlikely to be the double LP that Smith & co promised. Said to be entirely upbeat, the apparently darker songs are being saved for a separate album which is in the pipeline for Christmas....My Bloody Valentine, who are back in business and with a new album seemingly on the way, are reissuing ‘Isn’t Anything’ and ‘Loveless’ on June 16th. Although old Kev hasn’t seen it as being appropriate to include anything from their legendary EPs, he has elected to remaster the albums, pen some sleevenotes for them and, in the case of Loveless, include a version of the same culled from old analogue tapes on the second disc......Glasvegas, who you can read about in here, have announced that their debut album looks set for release in either late August or early September. ‘Geraldine’ will be released as a single on June 26th and the album is being co-produced by singer James Allan and Interpol producer Rich Costey. Allan has stated that he is looking for a less jagged and more dreamy sound on the record and this is certainly reflected in their current live output. Songs likely for inclusion are ‘Daddy’s Gone’, ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’, ‘Flowers and Football Tops’, ‘Polmont On My Mind’, ‘Dream, Dream, Dreaming’, ‘Lonesome Swan’ and ‘Sad Lite’…..In news more directly connected to The Vapour Trail, The Firm have just finished recording a new three-track EP which should be available from within the next two weeks. The songs include ‘Terrible Tragedy’ and ‘Buckle Up Shackle Down’, both featuring Archie Knox on drums, as well as ‘Round the Rim (And Back To Him)’, which is the recorded debut of Yameen Khan. The songs have been co-produced by Iain Mullen, who took care of the engineering and mixing duties…..Seb Pidgeon and Steve Cross of Untitled1961, who are headlining next month’s VPT, are launching ‘Duel In The Deep, a monthly clubnight that will take place at Catch 22 on Shoreditch High Street. The first night will be on Monday June 23rd and features live music from Pushboxer (formerly Runner), Time.Space.Repeat, Nitkowski and Yupa. It starts at 7.30pm and is sure to be excellent…..Doe Face Lillian, who you can read about in these very pages, are playing a show with The Drowners on May 28th at the Buffalo Bar. Once again, this one is not to be missed…..Finally, next month’s Trail features live music from Untitled1961, The Firm & N, N Minus as well as DJ sets from Julia Justice and Magenta Placenta.

A Rant Down The Rave - by Seb Pidgeon (Untitled1961)


Stupid People on the London Underground

By Seb Pidgeon of untitled1961

I was walking wistfully along Holloway Road the other day, thinking about the Vapour Trail and its general greatness, when I remembered Julia Justice's vegetarian rant in the second Vapour Trail magazine. Who could forget her utter contempt for those who continue to "let animals die 'cos you fancy a bit'a steak'" Well, this got me thinking about something that really chortles my Stanley. Stupid people on the Underground.

Now, these people may not actually be stupid. They might wake up play chess with their highly trained mongoose and discover a cure for bad aids before they've eaten their morning croissant. But when I see yet another moron stab frantically at the 'open door' button as the Tube train comes to a halt in a station, I want to whisk out their eyes and replace their hands with live grenades. 'Do you not understand you have no control over the opening of the doors, you fucknut?!' I cry as I write TWAT across their forehead in permanent marker.

How many times have you descended the stairs to a platform, only to be greeted by what looks like a Weightwatchers day trip group wearing baseball caps and backpacks staring at the list of stations each platform will take them to as if Jesus Christ himself had appeared in front of them and started to bark like a dog on his hands and knees. Do they not know where they're going? They must know what station they want, or at least whether it is North/South/East/West from where they are? Perhaps they should exchange that next cheeseburger and mega-fries for an A to Z.

I walk, hot and bothered along a crowded platform, one of many walking in what has now become a single file line. Suddenly, as if their heart had stopped or brain had fallen out of their mouth, the person in front of me stops, as if a brick wall had in that second been placed ahead of them. Not because the person in front of them has stopped also, rather simply because they have decided this is where they will stand and wait for the next train. Do they believe they are the only person walking along the platform? Did they all of a sudden remember they left the iron on, and their house is burning down with their children, pets and incontinent mother inside? They're probably too stupid to care as I hurl them in front of the oncoming train, to the applause of my fellow travellers.

One last thing: those who run, run like hares to get on the train, doors already closing. Can't you just wait the entire 2 minutes for the next train? You will save yourself embarrassment, stress and potential injury! Please citizens, relax- or be forever stupid.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Next Month's VPT Listings


Nearest tube: Holloway rd / ARCHWAY
Buses: 29, 253, 254, 91, 17, 43, 271, 153 & BUSES TO ARCHWAY

8pm – till late
£4 with flyer/fanzine
£5 without

NEXT: MAY 21ST 2008


With DJ Sets from Julia Sieradzki (The Firm) & Magenta Placenta (Tempting Lilu)

GUEST DJ Set: Simon Hidson (The Drowners)

Bauhaus - The Essential Mixtape


Nine minute goth opera featuring bossa nova drums, an eerie take on an old Glitter Band riff, pointed bass and a vocal lamenting the passing of Bela Lugosi. Although it helped create the daftness of goth, subsequently doing the band few favours, it remains an unlikely and unthinkable classic.

Not strictly a Bauhaus song, this Bowie cover got the group mainstream success and an element of notoriety (it played into the hands of sniping critics who dismissed the band as glam copycats.) That said, it remains one of the very few covers that urinate upon the original from a great height – and I write that as a Bowie fan.

DANCING (1981)
Throbbing post-punk with one of the greatest basslines of the era, some suitably dancey drumming and classic Banshees-esque guitar from Daniel Ash.

Singled out in the VPT review of recent album “Go Away White”, this song is notable for essentially taking the template of genial early goth-pop numbers such as “Terror Couple Kill Colonel” and turning it into something far more sinister and sexual.

Apparently forgotten non-album single which saw the band’s second TOTP performance – although the song wasn’t a hit. A tragedy considering the new wave thunder of the rhythm section and some nice S & M-inspired lyrics.

Psychedlic stomper from fourth album, “Burning From The Inside”, an album which readily embraced the psychedelic tones that would colour much of the output from Love & Rockets. Here, the urgency and sense of desperation is provided by a brilliant vocal from Murphy.

One of the most remarkable songs in the group’s cannon is a sprawling punk rock masterpiece spread out into three schizophrenic sections. Guitars slash, drums cascade and Murphy delivers one of the most theatrical vocal parts of his career.

Bauhaus were known for issuing extremely experimental B-sides and unsurprisingly, considering how experimental their singles and albums often were, these were mainly unlistenable. Not “Departure”, however – a descending bassline and various atmospheric effects provide a background to a nightmarish and compelling spoken word vocal.

On the group’s last tour, this song was spliced together with a cover of Joy Division’s “Transmission” that pretty much mirrored the original. Had they simply played this quirky synth-laden cut from their debut, it would sincerely have been better.

Dance-inspired rhythms and a seriously melodic bassline lead this song in a Joy Division-gone-pop manner. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of Danny Ash’s legendary sax playing – an instrument they used more for atmosphere and feel than melody, as you can tell. Surely inspired by Bowie’s use of the sax on ‘Diamond Dogs’, surely the inspiration for Porl Thompson’s use of the sax in The Cure.

CROWDS (1980)
Simply Murphy and a piano, this bitter rant against unreceptive and unruly audiences sounds less like the end of a relationship but more like the end of life itself. A fitting end to this mixtape, then.

Ergonburger Smith

Bauhaus: Go Away White


A couple of years ago, the once-again reunited Bauhaus played a number of shows around Europe and the States which, by all accounts, showed a band replenished and reinvigorated. This decade has seen the post-punk era from which the band initially sprang get pillaged and re-evaluated and the timing for a reunion was impeccable. They even managed to get into the studio and in classic Bauhaus fashion, managed to lay down some improvised songs in a matter of days. Things have since gone to pot with the band bitterly going their separate ways for seemingly the final time, but this album is a collection of those very songs.

The potion of styles which made up the group’s music in the early days remains largely the same. We hear elements of glam, punk, psychedelia and dub along with some desolate and doom-laden mood pieces that hark back to the likes of “Hollow Hills”. This might normally indicate a band desperate to relive former glories and instead of failing tragically, sounding like pale imitations of their former selves (as is often the case) but here it not only sounds authentic but very, very natural. Indeed, there are elements of Love & Rockets and the solo careers of Pete Murphy and Daniel Ash, but ultimately what you have is very much the fifth Bauhaus album.

And although the fact that it appears slightly out of context and out of time in that way that every reunion album does, many of the songs on offer here walk the same line of brilliance as before. The embarrassingly titled “Endless Summer Of The Damned” is a true highlight, classic Bauhaus in its dubby bass and stuttering drums while “Too Much 21st Century” is a high-voltage glam stomp. The latter half of the album sees the group take a more introspective (and occasionally histrionic, in Murphy’s wailing vocals and Ash’s atmospheric guitar scratches and screeches) tone which sometimes sees the mood sag but still sees some interesting moments. The penultimate song, 1998’s “The Dog’s A Vapour”, is simply a dirge and one wonders what made them include it but thankfully it is not enough to sour the overall feeling that the band have left us with an admittedly flawed but certainly poignant and often exciting parting shot.

As David Jay said at the (first) final gig back in 1983: “Rest In Peace.”

Dick Berry

The Cure: Live Review

Wembley Arena – March 20th

It has been four long years since The Cure released their last album, an eponymously-titled effort produced by Ross Robinson that won over fans and critics alike, thus throwing the group back into the limelight and earning them a well-deserved critical appraisal. However, in true Cure fashion, the band decided to re-evaluate itself at such a career height. They did so and this culminated in keyboardist Roger O’Donnell (a member from 87-89 and then from 1995) and guitarist Perry Bamonte (1990 onwards) being unceremoniously (or so it seemed) ejected and the return of legendary Cure six-stringer Porl Thompson. 2008 will see the release of their new album, an album which, given the current lineup, could well be the archetypal Cure record.

Tonight sees the four piece air three new songs that could well find their way onto the record. And in time-honoured fashion, if these tunes are anything to go by, then the new album will be in an opposite vein to “The Cure.” Whereas that album was a dark, brooding and often vicious opus, the new songs point to a much poppier and upbeat direction. Indeed, we get a rare rendition of “The Lovecats” alongside the likes of “Friday I’m In Love”, “Let’s Go To Bed”, “The Walk”, “Close To Me” and “Never Enough”, the style of which being a clear influence on one of the new songs aired.

The band’s return to a much poppier sound is ironic given the choice of support. 65daysofstatic, here to promote their latest album, would have fitted in better touring with The Cure on “The Cure” or “Bloodflowers” tours, the latter album being hugely influenced by the post-rock stylings of Mogwai et al. Tonight, they play a blistering set which is only marred by the poor arena acoustics of Wembley which threatens to hamper the headline band’s set as well.

And during said set, we do get plenty of ‘the other side’ of The Cure. Epic noise rock beasts such as “One Hundred Years”, “Shake Dog Shake” and “The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea” (a real highlight) go down a storm but it is the encores that really provide the melancholic euphoria you might associate with The Cure. One encore sees songs from “Seventeen Seconds”, the band’s second album, get played in quick succession, ending of course with “A Forest”. And the final encore sees about nine songs (the best ones, basically) from the era of their first album. “Fire In Cairo”, “Grinding Halt” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” get to make rare appearances before everything is rounded off beautifully with “10.15 Saturday Night” and “Killing An Arab”. The overall effect is one of the group’s entire career being rounded off and, together with the fact that the songs from the new album sounded absolutely textbook Cure (as well as featuring the definitive lineup), it makes you question how much longer the group may be around. On tonight’s evidence, it seems as if they’re setting themselves up to go out on a high, which in itself is a double-edged sword. This writer believes that the group is far from being a spent force and anybody in attendance tonight could vouch for that.

Mumtaz Mitchell

Seb 61's Animal Of The Year

Seb '61's animal of the year: The African Quince Owl

This rare breed of Owl is secreted by trees near junction 21a of the M25 (St Albans, M1).Nearly extinct, this beautiful creature has a wingspan of 2.3 Squirrels and can jump anywhere between 0 and 3 centimetres.Its long, downy feathers are completely mythical and have been used by doctors doing surgery on 48 year old men for 10,000 years (approximately).Be warned- do not approach this Fabergé Egg of a beast as it is prone to violent attacks on infants, children and pre-teens.
BONUS FACT: The African Quince Owl is also responsible for Adam Sandler, but has not yet been fully punished for it.

Good day

Cinema UK

Cinema UK

A coincidence indeed that just as punters are being enticed back to the cinema (with an incredible 50.8 million people going in the heavily-hyped "summer of cinema" - 27%% up from summer 2006), the quality goes down the pan. Last year was also known as the "summer of the 'threequel'" - generally, studios were short on ideas, and big on budgets. This ego-centric load of fluff resulted sent cinema in pointless circles, and it still hasn't stopped, with Rambo having slumped lazily onto half our screens and the unwanted spirit of Indiana Jones looming dangerously. I'm probably going a bit far. Perhaps the latter is a bit more promising than Stallone's nonsensical mumblings. Maybe the Bourne Identity's "threequel" last summer represented a relatively new idea blowing away the cobwebs, and above all, a good film. But even then I'm clutching at straws, grasping at straws, whichever cliche you choose to use - cinema right now is just mediocre. What about the cinemas, too? Although asking that they take risks is probably useless (disregarding the issue of cinema food prices), surely cinemas based in the UK scaling back their utterly implausible emphasis on Hollywood isn't too much to ask. Brit directors repeating their endless loop of "lovably British" crime films and rom-coms would no doubt help. A little more like Shane Meadows's brilliant This Is England from a couple of years ago, please. British without the rancid mediocrity. The responsibility, therefore, lies with British film students, British Filmmakers - even filmmakers as a whole. Because all cinema needs now is some new ideas, some genuine quality invention, to breathe some life into cinema over here, and maybe make those in Hollywood go back to the drawing board. But don't count on it. Film students have a hell of a lot of power in the matter. It's a well known fact - recently something was passed around (I study film and media myself, by the way) about a Tetley Tea competition. The premise: Make us an advert, film students! The prize, best I can gather, was the satisfaction of seeing said advert being milked for all it's worth on the telly and the net. The prize is meaningless, but then again, it says much for what film students should really be doing. Rather than raising awareness of Tetley Tea, put your imagination into your own projects. You'll be helping everyone.
Dom Liddle
What do you think? I am

These Walls, This Skull...

These Walls, This Skull…..
I’ve been sat on this chair now for an hour, just drinking vodka and staring out my window, I could stay here forever. It’s 4.24pm, my landlord is coming round in two hours to inspect my flat and then I shall be, for all intents and purposes, homeless. It’s a difficult thing to think that this is the end of a time, (I hesitate to say era) that has seen both incredible pain and incredible happiness. From the horror of police being called round (twice) by my vile neighbours because my ex-girlfriend was screaming and hitting me, to the general pleasurable malaise that my best friend and I managed to encapsulate since we’ve lived here, to disgraceful comedowns from too many drugs, to equally disgraceful highs. These five rooms have borne witness to self-harm, alcoholism, drug abuse, cheating and virtual eating disorders. Now I look back on it I can’t believe that so many things have been contained in this oddly shaped box. In the time I have lived here, I have drank more than most people do in their life times, slept with more people than I can remember, formed a band, got a job, left a job, broken up with a long term girlfriend, got together with someone who is desperately wonderful, cheated on the former with the latter whilst the former was in another room and now I’m going to London. Why am I doing this? Is it for the band? Is it because I want something new? Or is it because I felt I needed to escape what has happened here? Every corner of every room has a memory, being it clearing cat shit from the floor, having sex with people I could neither name nor recognise again, or having various discourses on why the Manics are better than any other band…….ever. I feel indescribably sad right now, I want to think of a better word but there are none that I can think of. It’s currently 4.46pm, and I’ve still not left my chair although I’m now obviously staring at the screen rather than out the window which is far less romantic. So what was the point in this naval gazing, well I don’t know, I just feel the sorrow of a departure, a goodbye to this flat and everything that has happened here, the pubs and clubs that I’ve sleazed around is in retrospect a time of deep sadness and I’m not sure why.By writing this I can perhaps make some kind of sense of it and put it in to perspective. In fact, maybe this is the crux of this slightly self absorbed biopic of my time here. Writing things helps, saying things probably helps but I can’t do that yet. But maybe one day I will.

Robert Hardy

Robert Hardy is the vocalist and guitarist in The Drowners (
He enjoys vodka, literature and his cat and currently lives in N7.

Giving In To Temptation


Welcome to the wonderful (and frequently bizarre, going by the stories told by guitarist and VPT DJ Magenta) world of Tempting Lilu. Led by vocalist Kristine, who happens to be blessed with a powerful pair of lungs, they also include bassist Kyle in their ranks, along with the aforementioned axe-slinger. Boasting a sound that this writer believes sits somewhere between the ethereal shoegaziness of Curve and the crunching dance-rock of Pop Will Eat Itself (although sounding like a much more modern and contemporary hybrid, partly due to the swirling and bubbling electronics that back the three piece), they have already released an EP and are evidently quite keen to produce another one.

But first, let Magenta take up the story on how this unruly crew came to be…‘Kyle and I were whaling in the Pacific. We had been pursuing a monstrous beast for over two years. Many of our crew had lost their lives in our previous encounter but we were determined not to let it get the better of us. One day we finally caught up with the giant beast just off the coast of Peru. A great battle ensued but our ship was torn asunder! Kyle and I were the sole survivors! We managed to create makeshift reins and saddles out of the remains of the ship and we rode the great mammal to safety. Inside it we found Kristine who had been swallowed by the whale while mountain climbing in Tibet. The people of Lima made a giant candle out of the great beast and we danced around it singing Christmas carols. Ok, so it didn’t happen quite like that. I met Kristine in the Electric ballroom in Camden. When she moved here from Detroit, at the time I was in a band called The Vincent Fiasco with David from Doe Face Lillian and my crazy junky ex-girlfriend, which was a horrifying experience! I told my friend Andy who was trying to pseudo-manage The Vincent Fiasco at the time (which mostly involved him drawing cartoons of himself smoking cigars in a suit whilst muttering “Shazam!” and Bad-ass!”) that I was looking for a singer for another project so I could escape the horrors of The Vincent Fiasco and he suggested Kristine. I later met Kyle while working in Cyberdog in Camden…The whale story was better.’
I mention the musical reference points that I tend to associate with them and Magenta, although in some agreement, paints a broader picture of the groups and sounds that inspire them….‘Yeah I think we have a lot of influences from the early 90’s stuff like Curve, PWEI, Carter USM, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Transvision Vamp, Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush and I just recently rediscovered The Darling Buds! I think people only seem to remember Technotronic and MC Hammer from that period of music (ok so I had their albums too.) There is a lot of eighties stuff too. All my happy childhood memories are of watching bands on TOTP like Duran Duran, Gary Numan, Soft Cell, Dead or Alive and The Cure. Outside of that, life seemed grey and miserable. I have photos of me from 1984 dressed up in full New Romantic gear. Nothing much has changed really.I guess more recent bands we all like would be Ladytron, Goldfrapp and IAmX. But influent wise, it could be anything from Serge Gainsbourg to Run DMC.’Bearing in mind that part of the group’s sound is shaped by the use of electronics, I enquire about whether or not their decision to use a drum machine was by design or not, and ultimately why they decided to go for electronic beats, however there is more to the truth than the addition of a ‘Doktor Avalanche’-type figure….‘Because we like the way it sounds, but we don’t actually use a drum machine - it’s all samples and loops mixed on the computer so we can use any sound we like, whether it’s a drum or banging household objects together. We are actually looking for a drummer right now, but we want to have both electronic drums and real drums, because we are greedy like that!’One thing that grabs you about Tempting Lilu when witnessing them in the flesh is the striking visual effect the three of them have. I ask about image, and whether or not they deem it important…
‘That is just how we look as people. We actually dress down for the band as apposed to how we would dress to go to a club. We spend a lot more time before gigs working on the music and we usually say just before the gig “what should we wear? Let’s just wear black again so it looks like we match.” But if you go to see a band and you have to look at them for 30 minutes or so, it’s nice if they’ve made a bit of an effort. The first gig we did was on Halloween and we were covered from head-to-toe in cobwebs. The second gig was at a military themed party. Kirstine and Kyle wore military stuff but I thought ‘fuck it’ and wore a corset and big boots, which I discovered is not good for stomping on guitar FX, or moving around the stage in general. Stefan, our keyboardist at the time, wore a head-dress that would put Carman Miranda to shame and painted his forehead blue. We looked like we belonged to two different bands! So now we just try to match a bit.’Clearly, with so many ideas crammed into their music, it begs the question of where they would like to take their sound next….‘Bigger! More epic! More dynamic! But more to the point.And maybe something a bit 60’s and French? We want to do another EP. We have lots of songs, about 20 or so, that we are finishing off that we can choose from for it. And then we can start moving on to writing new ones!’So, finally, where do we go from here?‘Some gigs outside London for a change! TJ’s in Newport, one in Amsterdam, and maybe Paris? And hopefully we can find a new drummer and keyboardist?’

Vapour Trail @ Nambucca


Welcome back to The Vapour Trail. Much has changed since our last event in January this year, although the weather has bizarrely worsened. The most noteworthy change is that of our venue. The Vapour Trail enjoyed four brilliant months at The Old Kings Head and remains eternally grateful to Kris, Joe, Gene and Gina for their efforts in making it all possible. Tragically, just as January saw the busiest and best Trail yet, the venue got taken over by new management who wasted no time in destroying the character and beauty of the place and turning it back into a snivelling old man’s pub for people who smell of tea-stained Y-fronts. Obviously, we couldn’t continue it in such rancid and putrid conditions so we ventured up the road to a place that means a great deal to us and plays a couple of huge parts in the Story of The Firm.

Back in March 2006, just as mine and Julia’s previous group Sub-Culture was dying on its arse very, very slowly, ourselves and Robert Fenner (now of RMF Noir) decided to create a new outfit. It was in Nambucca that myself and Joolz met her long-term friend Stefan Hauschildt and discussed getting him into said new outfit. All I remember at the time is discussing Bauhaus and Placebo and thinking that it might never work. Thankfully, I was wrong and as you know, I’m never wrong.

Stefan didn’t stay with us but did help to sow the seeds for what would truly become The Firm. In December 2006, it was back to Nambucca as we met our guitar god and creative force Alex Avery. Alex made his debut (and presence felt) by ordering two pints of beer at once and drinking them at the same time. I can pinpoint this very night as the beginning of the end for my liver. I can also pinpoint this very night as the true beginning of The Firm.

Anyway, the point is very simple. The Vapour Trail and Nambucca is a simple case of fate and we hope to make each event better than the last. And we hope you will continue to join us.

Be Lucky,

Ross LiddleX

Friday, 11 January 2008

Feature: The Firm (By Henning Koehler)


By Henning Koehler

02 September 2006. Somewhere in a stifling and dirty basement in Denmark Street The Firm rehearses for a gig at the Clockwork on Pentonville Road tomorrow. Easily blasting away some lousy metal band in the next rehearsal room the band sets a remarkable starting point for a consistent further development that is about to become a central benchmark of The Firm’s work. Obviously The Firm proceed to be much more than just a successor of the previous band of singer Ross Liddle and bass player Julia Sieradzki called Sub-Culture. Merging a weakness for the C86 era and a justified self-confidence within their definition of indie and shoegaze, The Firm seems to be more than ready to make the first step into a restless future.One year later, going through several line-up changes and gigs, Ross Liddle, Julia Sieradzki, guitarist Alex Avery and drummer Marcin Kasjanowicz built the fundament for the next step in the seemingly relentless development of the band. “There has always been a certain idea what The Firm should be, or should have been, but only this year it’s actually come to the point where this has materialised. Which is probably because we’ve finally got the right line-up right now, and we know what we want to do musically and there are no clashing opinions on which way we should go musically.” The determined sound of their latest recordings and live appearances isn’t at all the only evidence for the veracity of Julia’s statement. As the (not too) “shadowy organisation” behind their own clubnight, The Vapour Trail, The Firm implemented the significant aspect of their ambitions: “Our key inspiration for it was the clubnights from the C86 era, where bands put their own nights, DIY scenes and even fanzines together. Like-minded groups would play together in what seemed to be a reaction to the dull artifice of the times. The whole idea is based on wanting to do our own thing, a night where no doubt good music will be played and good bands will be seen, and to attract people who are actually into music, not JUST about dressing up and showing off their wardrobe, as an example.”As a matter of fact the concept of the Vapour Trail clearly bears the hallmarks of The Firm as Ross points out: “The Vapour Trail shows a love of good music and there really is nothing more to it than that. We're just tired of the same old arserot and London is ours, after all, and we shall do with it as we see fit”. “Whatever happened to the magic where you're counting down days to a gig you're looking forward to, or the release of a record? These are some of the most exciting things about being into music, and those who agree will surely love The Vapour Trail. It seems that about 99% of the times when you play a gig where more than one band plays, the bands will have nothing in common whatsoever. The first band could be a jazz act, followed by a man with bongos, followed by death metal. And noone quite knows why...One thing I know, this certainly won't ever happen at The Vapour Trail....” Julia adds.After all taking their destiny into their own hands probably is the most significant indication of what’s The Firm’s essence.Lately the band recorded an EP, containing four songs that aren’t less independent statements. The Opener ‘Fulfilment For The Faint-hearted’ is the only song on the EP that remained from last years rehearsals and gigs and proves the progress of The Firm. “Fulfilment could well have been the very first thing The Firm made, and lyrically it was a cry of defiance against our favourite subject of complacency, I suppose. And, as such, we crammed as many ideas into it as its groove would allow - but we still wanted to retain its energy.” ‘If You Don’t Want To Know Life’s Dismal Results’ is “quite clearly amusing, although it's also quite tragic” and as such a prime example for The Firm’s merciless and sarky attitude towards modern life or at least with the things that make it so hideous at times. ‘The Art Of Saying No’ is, according to the band, “a carefully constructed comment on conversation, no more, no less” and definitely worth a listen. The last song, ‘My Beautiful Launderette’, is clearly about the film of the same name (guess what, it hit the cinemas in 85/86) and places the band in the orphaned section of pop-culture that refuses to ignore. Asked about his dearest intolerance Ross comes up with a counter-question: “Must we narrow it down to one? We could be here till next Friday.” Alright, what about, let’s say, ten intolerances? “Obvious ones would be ignorance and stupidity. Blandness, complacency and mediocrity are pet hates. Other than that? The modern concept of beauty, fascism, The Pigeon Detectives, lame excuses for eating meat, politicans, Paris Hilton and the 29 bus to Wood Green can all be filed under ‘dearest intolerance’.” Julia remains within the subject of music: “Music talent shows like X Factor really annoy me - it's just another money-grabbing institution, all that money could have been invested in signing real bands with real talent that even write their own songs. Since all that bollocks is around it's so much harder for a band to get widely known, plus people buy less records anyway since you can download it all for free.” Ross bluntly declares, that “pop-culture is a very boring joke with no discernible punchline. Instead of wondering why the world is falling apart before their very eyes, people just immerse themselves in Heat magazine instead. I might actually be able to understand it if there was anything of interest in such garbage but, alas, there is not.” Nonetheless for The Firm pop culture nowadays isn’t inevitably happening in the hypocritical ivory tower of gossip and a consumer society. It might just as well happen at The Vapour Trail or in some grotty rehearsal room at Denmark Street. With this in mind The Firm again head for more. “Things are changing all the time and hopefully for the better. The plan now is to get as many people to be a part of The Firm and to grow as we go along.” According to drummer Marcin The Firm’s ambitions are yet to be satisfied. “We've just sent away about 300 our demos to labels and we are still trying new things in our music. But we have a solid base and we know who we are. Our plan is to record an album soon. We are working on it right now.” As Alex mentions “you don't get any characters in pop anymore, pop music should be about anyone and everyone having a go.” The Firm aim to rediscover the wit, the potential and the anti-formal attitude of pop. “The Firm's journey has only just begun so it is very much early days in terms of national exposure. But we intend to make everywhere our manor and we won’t stop at anything in trying to achieve that. As long as our music continues to explore the humourous in the bleak and the tragic in the trivial, then that's its best definition for now.” You had better not miss the band’s further development, or be blasted with relentless doom loops of middle-of-the-road-, let’s just say, europop.Anyway. Finally intelligent pop music is back.

Feature: Untitled1961


They describe their sound as abstract expressionism. They have been described as being one of the best live bands in London and as looking psychotic as they put on one of their furious shows. With a dynamic sound that owes as much to the likes of Godspeed as it does the Cocteaus, it’s little wonder that these N7 boys are the perfect band to help kick off 2008 at The Vapour Trail. We give you Untitled1961…

First of all, tell us how the band got together and an insight into the story so far.

Seb (guitar): We've been playing together since Spring 2006. We formed when my last band split up. Steve had been playing bass for that band too, and then Marc joined on drums, he and I were living together at uni at the time. We rehearsed and rehearsed and unleased the '61 monster on the general public for the first time in May '06 at the Bull and Gate. Since then we've gone from strength to strength, improving our songs, performances and playing some quality venues in London and Oxford. This paid off early last year when we were declared 'Best Unsigned Live Act' in the Pickup Magazine Awards. All three of us live within 100 metres of this very pub, and we are very proud Holloway residents!

What inspires your sound and style? Clearly post-rock and shoegazing seem to be big influences.

Steve (bass): My sound is aluminium, steel, copper, germanium and silicon. In that order. It's understanding every step involved in playing the bass, and the materials involved, and then stretching them to their limits. My style comes from all the players who understand that bassists aren'tguitarists who play low; We're something else entirely. The gods I pray to for strength to play are Bob Weston, Dave Sims, Hooky, Tod A and Sid Vicious.

Marc (drums): It's all about the feel. If you can't feel it, it's not there. Luckily LOUD = Movement of Air particles, thus feel. I think what it boils down to though is the sheer pleasure of beating the shit out of something you love and not feeling bad about it.Seb: As a band we're definitely all influenced by post rock in general. The shoegaze part is mainly just me- I certainly try to rip off Kevin Shields a bit and Cocteau Twins are one of my favourite bands of all time. Then there's your Shellac, Explosions in the Sky, My Vitriol and newer bands like Youthmovies and Biffy Clyro. Personally I think we're moving away from the post rock sound into something new.Your songs and their structures seem to be based around quite a thrilling sense of build-up and suspense. Was this approach premeditated or did it come about naturally?

Seb: Something I've always loved in music in general is building up the sound to a massive crescendo. The whole quiet/loud thing has been done to death, but it is effective, both in building up the volume and texture to sonic eruption and going from silence to violence in the bat of a deer's eyelid. All three of us love the bands that pull such things off with perfection, Godspeed, Mogwai etc, so it is a natural to us as well. However, certainly in our newer material, we're moving away from the post rock soundscapes to more immediate, richer musical waters.You've been described as one of the best live bands in London.

How important is live performance to you and how do you approach it?

Steve: '61 are almost entirely about playing live. We don't consider playing a gig as just a chance to do our songs; We're aware that it's a performance, and we try to bring so much more than just the music to the stage. It's all about intensity and control. We put all our emotions out in front of the stage and, in some ways, we see ourselves as alchemists, wizards or atomic scientists; We unleash these huge energies and then control them, tease them,and direct them to make a sound and a show. It's a real physical and mental effort playing a '61 show, and you'll probably find we can't walk or think properly afterwards.

Marc: Live performance is what its about! You don't start a band and think 'Oh man, we're gonna sound so AWESOME on record. I'm gonna go tune my drums in preparation...' You think 'HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....NOISE!!!!!'

You note Steve Reich as an influence which is interesting as, although fundamentally your sound is quite minimalist by the very virtue of there just being three of you, you do create big walls of sound. Can you see yourselves stripping it back in the future or adding further layers to the wall? Where do you see the sound going?

Seb: Steve Reich is a big influence for me, but not in terms of minimalism. Musically he does things that I aspire to do- chord changes that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, time signatures that make your face fall off. I went to see his '3 Movements' last year and I spent the whole performance feeling like someone had hooked me up to a pylon. It's all about intelligent, interesting music that actually makes you feel, something the droves of Libertines' covers bands need to learn...In terms of stripping it back or adding layers I don't think it will be the former. We've been talking about the possibility of more layers, but that wouldn't be by adding more members. At the same time we love the whole three people, three instruments only sound. We'll see in six months!

Finally, what's next for you?

Steve: I shall retire to my lair with a selection of fine wines and an armful of voluptuous women.

Marc: Holloway Best Kebab. mmmm.......

Seb: After some falafel, we'll continue bettering ourselves. I'm going to take up archery and sailing, at the same time, in case of a post-apocalyptic situation where advanced weaponary is redered useless. We've got a new EP which will be ready any second, in the mean time check out the tracks from it on our myspace!

Feature: Doe Face Lillian


Grabbing the attention of Waks Records last year with their snarling and guttural yet highly melodic sound, Doe Face Lillian kick off proceedings at the first Vapour Trail of 2008 with what is sure to be an unforgettable show. With a sound that mixes spiralling guitars and deep distortion with electronic beats, theirs is a frenetic brand of rock’n’roll designed for the 21st century. As influenced by mind-bending pharmaceuticals as they are aural destruction, here are Doe Face Lillian……..

First of all, tell us how the band got together and an insight into the story so far.
David - played in other bands that all collapsed in unpleasent ways and had tried and failed with other people and then just meet rob in a club some saturday in sugust 06 when I was pretty fuckfaced on MDMA and yeah it works and the rest is history or whatever!Rob - Pretty much that... Chewing his face off and almost begging me to go over for a jam despite the fact I'd owned a bass for a week. What inspires your sound and style? Clearly what you might call the darker side of rock seems to be a big influence. David - I like big guitars that sound big and menacing and have a sort of swirl of beauty and ugliness I feel like creating a sound has been almost a subconscious thing there has been no real plan its more a sound that has evolved with lengthy jamming, we have tried to create something with dips and troughs like life but soundguys tend not to get it really "Too much Noise/feedback" or "the levels are wrong" seems to be a common cry from sliderman! Fuck that, I find it quite disgusting and patronising that the assumption is that their view is the only correct one !Turn up everything! A FUCKING LOT!Rob - There was no real plan, and it's quite strange how things turn out the way they do. I'd always intended on being in a straight up punk band!Although your sound is based around natural instrumentation, you do have the electronic element of the drums? Was this intended from the beginning, to combine the two elements?
David - Not really, just we couldn't find a drummer of any worth and it was a case of wait to find one or find a solution and this solution turned out really good! And in a really boring muso way the electro drums are perfect for the sort of wall of noise that is created using delay! And a laptop or Ipod is much smaller too!If I remember correctly, you seemed to be on the cusp of putting a single out not long ago, what is happening with that?
David - you clearly don't remember correctly but Waks records do want to work with us to release something in the future but they are kinda of busy at the moment with Hatcham Social !

In terms of the future, can you see your sound changing at all? I.e. building upon the electronic element, etc.
David - well the sound changes by its own accord experimentation leads to change! I can see things moving in extreme directions possible heavier ideas emerging and also pretty beauty soundscapes emerging too!Rob - Definitely heavier, but not in a silly snarly metal way. I might actually learn to play bass properly too! Finally, what's next for you?Rob - More writing, more gigging, see if we can't actually make something big of this. We're a bit lazy, so we've vowed to actually work at it now. We've vowed many things though...David - Think I might watch a bit of telly?