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15 Great Songs About Happiness And Good Times - Part One

A brilliant, starlight sky. A loving wife. A new car. Do any of those summarise what happiness means to you? Or do you look inwardly? And how secure, and obtainable, is happiness? Philosophers, self-styled self-help gurus and psychologists have, as Derren Brown's book Happy makes clear, come up with different answers to at least some of these questions over the years. Yet few songs, even amongst the uptempo ones, are truly joyous, blissful, happy. That said, many others give us a view of happiness that isn't exactly straight out the creative department in the TV show Mad Men. In fact, some songs about the subject are anything but happy. Step aboard for a rocky ride of euphoria, anxiety and analysis, amongst many other things. If there's one thing most that study happiness can agree on, it's that experiencing 'good times', or seeking to, can be looked at from many different angles. Here's a sweeping panorama of the grand, anything-but-shallow subject, even if some of the songs about it aren't the most profound ever written: 

1. 'I Feel Fine' - The Beatles

Although it has been said that this George Harrison composition about the joy of having someone love him is the first, at least among number one singles, to feature guitar feedback, it is notable for a far more obvious reason: the amount of pure joy it inspires. That's not to mention excellent guitar work, some of the best among The Beatles' canon. Slices of Sixties euphoria don't get much better than this. While they would later have some rather strange notions about happiness (Lennon described it lyrically as being "...A Warm Gun") and other hits related to such a feeling (like 'Hey Jude') , this song is arguably as straight-forward as Beatles lyrics get while retaining such immense greatness.

2. 'Happy Is A Yuppie Word' - Switchfoot

In stark contrast to the previous song, this one starts with the phrase "Everything dies". Apparently inspired by the 'speculative wisdom' of Ecclesiastes and perhaps other pessimistic literature, Switchfoot still manage to inspire with their view of happiness with such lines as "Blessed is the man who's lost it all", which recalls Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, while remaining grounded in a soberly realistic mindset. The same singer Jon Foreman who reminds us that "Nothing is sound" is also so daring in his positivity as to claim "Nothing in the world can fail me now". It might not be the greatest song by Switchfoot, but it is far from one-dimension in its views of happiness.
  
3. 'Dusty' - Soundgarden

On this arguably cheerful, out-of-character 1996 song by the usually gloomy Seattle band Soundgarden, the apparently joyful lyrics are countered by quite-heavy backing as well as a bluesy feel on the guitars and indulgence in typically abnormal timings, much of which suggests an undercurrent of comedowns, chaos, confusion and similar unhappy happenings. In this way one finds similarities with AllMusic's take on Ice Cube's 'It Was A Good Day', a hip-hop track which they said showed "a quiet sense of violent anxiety", thought perhaps the word "quiet" does not apply to 'Dusty' so much. The lyric about things "turning back around" in this Soundgarden classic shows that happiness can be based on a brighter future as well as good times simply found in the here-and-now, something also shown in the yearning 'Boot Camp' from the same album, Down On The Upside.


4. 'High' - James Blunt

An early single from singer-songwriter and ex-military serviceman James Blunt, 'High' is about being at the top of the emotional spectrum, but also confronts worries about the future, while the line "Sometimes it's hard to believe you believe me" hints that perhaps he feels his happiness is undeserved or an event that could easily have not happened. Such a mixture of moods explicit or implied is interesting: even a few minutes' worth of songwriting here does not show a kind of bliss unrestrained or detached from everything else, even if it is truly blissful at times. The opening phrase about the "dawn" links Blunt's emotional heights to a common cause of such feeling, beauty, which is also the subject of his hit, "You're Beautiful" that's also present on the Back To Bedlam album.        

5. 'From Can To Can't' - Corey Taylor, Grohl, Nielsen, Reeder

Featuring Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl on both the opening guitar and drums, this track from the Sound City Players' album also features Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick (guitar) and Kyuss' Scott Reeder (bass) backing Stone Sour and Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor on singing duties. "All these people - tragic little people - they're smiling and they don't know what for" sings Taylor in one of the clearest denouncements of happiness on an album as popular as this, right after a line about "Burning my cathedrals [a great source of happiness for some] 'cause I don't pray anymore". Feel good hit? Maybe not. Leave that to Grohl's co-collaborators Queens Of The Stone Age ... 

6. 'Palo Alto' - Radiohead

One of the few feel-good tracks in the Radiohead catalogue if read at face value, one might suggest given the pessimism of other works by Thom Yorke and company such as 'Planet Telex' and 'Let Down', that such good cheer is a mere veneer behind which they criticise or sneer at the corporate West and Silicon Valley. Appropriately forward looking, in terms of its effects, for a song about "the city of the future", it is also arguably overly simple. However, it still sounds great thanks to the majesty of Radiohead's array of skills, one that makes even songs that are relatively poor compared to, say, 'Karma Police' an enjoyable trip out. While this may be a throwaway by their usual standards, in another band's hands it could be considered their best work. This shows how out-of-place happier material can seem with certain bands, and also its hit-making potentially if used by certain other acts on the sunnier sides of the spectrum.

7. 'Just Looking' - Stereophonics

One of the sadder songs about happiness, this one is clearly about consumerism, a common source of happiness, or at least a quick attempt at it, in the modern capitalist world. More accurately, it's about "not buying" but "just looking" because it "keeps me smiling". Full of self-doubt ("There's things I think I want / Do I want the dreams: the ones we're forced to see?") and using individual anxieties to critique a much larger system, such analysis, shot through with emotion and complete with a pop/rock chorus, reinforces the claim that Kelly Jones and his fellow Stereophonics are a band for the working class, especially those that like to rock out.
       
8. 'Family Portrait' - Pink

A common theme in music is how things are not as they might seem, and such is the main trope of 'Family Portrait' in which a family are said to "look pretty happy"  but surrounding verses give the impression that reality is anything but picture-perfect. Although arguably too direct in its moralizing, the song was nonetheless a hit, sitting (un)comfortably alongside the likes of 'Just Like A Pill'. While dysfunctional, unhappy families are appeared in other tracks, few have been this good at balancing commercial value with seemingly unusual (in the context of hit records) but, in actuality, bluntly realistic imagery.

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My Giant Steps: A Journey Featuring Mental Illness And Recovery (With Music And Words)

Reflections From A Recovering Mental Patient

I proudly present to you this playlist: a musical collage, personal but relevant to many, accompanied by commentary and clickable links. I hope it will help you and maybe inspire you – as well as promoting great music, of course!

(Note: I'm not a fan of trigger warnings but feel free to skip parts of this if you find some of the music or commentary challenging.)

No title sums up many of the problems of the modern era quite like that of the playlist’s opener, ‘Virtual Insanity’, especially given the emergence of stranger-than-fiction videos like this. Meanwhile, despite being written in the Eighties and enjoying a single release in 2003, ‘Bad Day’ by R.E.M. remains relevant. Lines like “Please don’t take a picture” and “Save my own ass, screw these guys” are reminiscent of unstable, illiberal and self-centred politics in post-Brexit Britain and contemporary America, both of which hark back to another era despite an uncertain future. Sadly, I was certainly not the only one suffering from a low mood and anxiety this year.

While the songs referred to above may be, despite their social and political commentary, personal works of art that are personally affecting to audiences, it could be argued that the following two pieces of music go even deeper. Michael Kiwanuka’s ‘Worry Walks Beside Me’ speaks on not just anxiety but hopelessness to amazing effect. The title of ‘Voices’ by Alice In Chains could simply be about negative self-talk, something common if not universal. However, the track might speak about stranger phenomena, such as  some of my symptoms which are apparently psychotic and, in the past, meant I stayed in hospital several times. Regardless of the words exact meaning(s), they, alongside those of Linkin Park’s ‘By Myself’, reflect well some of my own thoughts as well as those of many other people, surely.

The beautiful Lou Reed composition ‘Candy Says’, performed by his band The Velvet Underground, speaks on “endless revisions” and dislike, or even hatred, for one’s “body and all that it requires”, speaking in these ways to a shallow and perfectionist age full of both narcissism and self-hatred, achieving such relevance despite being written in the Sixties. Next on the playlist  are ‘Given Up’ and ‘Breaking the Habit’ by Linkin Park, as well as ‘Slip Out the Back’ from the album The Rising Tied by Fort Minor (a side-project of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda). Those songs are – like, one might argue, ‘Candy Says’ – the epitome of despairing lyricism. My own suicidal feelings of the past, which were unjustifiable but somehow convincing at the time, are seemingly reflected in the songs mentioned in this paragraph, although thankfully I feel much better now.

The 2017 song ‘One More Light’ by Linkin Park was performed, hauntingly, shortly after Chris Cornell’s death and not long before that of Linkin Park’s own Chester Bennington, to whom tributes were paid at a music-packed ceremony in September. The title track from the band’s most recent album speaks on the devastating effect of a death on those who knew the deceased and is, despite its sadness, life-affirming as well as being death-conscious.

Helplessness Blues’ by Fleet Foxes seems to be about existential crises or the like and the struggle to define one’s identity in the world. The song’s questions and uncertainty, with those of John Lennon’s ‘How?’ speak to the trouble many mentally ill people, including myself, have after a period of illness or a breakdown, and the consequent scepticism and anxiety. That latter track by Lennon also helps, alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Soul to Squeeze’, to demonstrate how difficult recovery can be for the mentally ill.

One of the more optimistic songs on this list, R.E.M.’s ‘Uberlin’ splits the day into different steps to complete. This is similar to the way in which one might split a journey on the Berlin U-Bahn transport system, which is referenced in the song, into stops at different stations. Breaking days or challenges down in order to tackle them piece by piece is a good method for the mentally ill (or anyone) to use, and so could be telling oneself, “I will make it through the night” as Michael Stipe sings here.

Time Won’t Wait’ by Jamiroquai is also encouraging, although it is worth noting that, despite the helpfulness of being reminded that “you just can’t stop the clock”, Jamiroquai’s call to action should probably be tempered with sometimes following the example set by the singer of ‘Soul To Squeeze’: sometimes you “gotta take it slow” in order to find “peace of mind”. Likewise, I would not always apply R.E.M.’s lyric “Enjoy yourself with no regrets” to every situation, but the general message in ‘Supernatural Superserious’ (a title which could have sometimes been my nickname in the past) is welcome. It reminds the listener that “Everybody here comes from somewhere that they would just as soon forget or disguise”, but that we should enjoy ourselves anyway, especially since it is often true that “fantasies are wrapped up in travesties”.

Moving on, John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’, the only instrumental in this playlist, arguably represents my recovery process, since it takes a great deal of skill to accomplish amid high tempos that resemble the chaos of life, as well as requiring assistance from others: even Coltrane could not play every instrument simultaneously. Audioslave’s ‘Nothing Left to Say But Goodbye’ and Linkin Park’s ‘What I’ve Done’ are also about giant steps, ones striding away from old habits, with a highlight being Bennington’s line, “As I clean this slate with the hands of uncertainty”, indicating that recovery or redemption is often a rocky road. That said, the sound of Chris Cornell of Audioslave shouting repeatedly on ‘What You Are’ the words, “Now I’m free…”, though probably in the context of ending a relationship with a person, can still be seen as very encouraging for those struggling to leave certain harmful symptoms or habits behind, even when one considers the “uncertainty” mentioned earlier.

Another great source of inspiration for me is ‘Walk’ by Foo Fighters, which is metaphorically about “learning to walk again” and “talk again”, things I have had to do in a way because of struggles with something that might be selective mutism or perhaps a condition similar to it. R.E.M’s ‘Every Day Is Yours to Win’ is another excellent, optimistic song which comes with the realistic qualifier, “It’s not all cherry pie”. ‘Iridescent’ by Linkin Park concludes the playlist, offering even more advice for those for whom “failure’s all… [they’ve] known”. The band’s wisdom is, “Remember all the sadness and frustration and let it go”. I guess that a benefit to making playlists or commentary like I have here is that completing such a project allows you to do just that.

If you have been affected by any of the themes spoken about in this article, it might help to speak to the charity Samaritans, either by a UK- or Ireland-based phone or by contacting them from anywhere via email. They have often helped me by listening.

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The Outsiders: 12 Rappers Who Collaborated Memorably With Rock Artists

Ever since Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. hooked up for a different take on the rock band's  ‘Walk This Way’ in 1986, there have, as recently as the 2017 unleashing of U2’s songs with Kendrick Lamar, been many marriages of rock and rap. Subgenres such as metal were irreversibly altered by such fusion that progressed through the Nineties and onwards, with many surprises and fruitful collaborations along the way. Some didn’t just push the envelope -- they tore it apart. Jump aboard with reckless disregard for boundaries. This is an eclectic brew containing major and influential players from the two titanic genres. As the rap-metal crew Limp Bizkit once declared, Results May Vary.

Rakim

One of the godfathers of the beat-backed wordsmith’s game, Queensbridge emcee Rakim rose to prominence in a duo with his DJ, Eric B., back in 1987 with the excellent album Paid In Full, where his words adorned bare-bones instrumentals with impressive flows. Such ability is showcased on the weighty ‘Guilty All the Same’, a metallic track from Linkin Park’s self-produced, rough-around-the-edges LP The Hunting Party, during which Rakim declares, ”I’m still me.”

Q-Tip and KRS-One

One of the most laidback songs referenced herein, ‘The Outsiders’ (from 2004’s Around The Sun album) sees the coming together of two hugely influential standard-bearers for their respective genres: rock band R.E.M. and A Tribe Called Quest’s main man Q-Tip, both of whom had mixed up genres in their music prior to joining forces. Tip had Korn (who also collaborated with Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst) on his album Amplified. As early as 1991, Tip’s pioneering peer K.R.S. One (Boogie Down Productions’ emcee and the subject of a song by the reggae/rock group Sublime) opened Out of Time’s ‘Radio Song’ with R.E.M.

Eminem

The man they call Marshall Mathers (A.K.A. Slim Shady) possessed at the turn of the century much crossover appeal to fans of rock and rap. Consequently there beckoned a remix of ‘The Way I Am’ featuring fellow offender of the masses, Marilyn Manson, as well as a performance of the hit ‘Stan’ at the Grammy Awards with the Seventies rocker and evergreen songwriter, Sir Elton John. Later, Eminem created The Marshall Mathers LP2 with celebrated rock and rap producer, genre-blender Rick Rubin who worked with Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith on the ‘Walk This Way’ remake and acquainted Public Enemy and their producers with the music of thrash outfit Slayer.

Chuck D and B-Real

The lyrical talisman for Public Enemy, Chuck D, has also appeared alongside members of Rage Against The Machine, three of whom who also form the instrumental backbone of Audioslave. Chuck was heard with them not only in the Nineties, but additionally as part of another group, Prophets Of Rage, also featuring B-Real. The latter emcee’s group Cypress Hill have collaborated with several rock artists including Prophets Of Rage guitarist Tom Morello, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and System Of A Down’s Daron Malakian, all of whom are on the 2010 LP Rise Up.

Method Man and RZA

A strange, Portishead-esque remix of Texas’ pop/rock hit ‘Say What You Want’— produced by Wu-Tang’s wizardly beatmaker and rapper, the RZA (AKA Prince Rakeem), and featuring Method Man’s vocals — can be found on Texas’ Greatest Hits. That song stands in stark contrast to the skull-bashing takes on classic Wu – featuring such rock royalty as Tom Morello, Chad Smith, Incubus and System Of A Down – that are showcased on the compilation Loud Rocks (alongside heavy interpretations of hip-hop tracks including Mobb Deep’s ‘Survival Of The Fittest’ and Big Pun’s ‘Still Not A Player’).

Kanye West

Having worked, as a rapper, with Chris Martin on a single from Graduation, ‘Homecoming’, West has also collaborated with Paul McCartney (on ‘The Only One’ and ‘FourFive Seconds’, the latter with Rihanna as well). In addition to collaborating with 30 Seconds To Mars, singing on ‘Hurricane 2.0’, West has also joined forces with Mr. Hudson and Bon Iver, two acts that arguably played a kind of ‘soft rock’ earlier in their respective careers.

Jay-Z

“I told Jay[-Z] I did a song with Coldplay. Next thing I know, he got a song with Coldplay,” says Kanye West on 2007’s ‘Big Brother’. In fact, eventually Jay remixed one song by the pop/rock band, with results showcased on ‘Lost+’, after crafting a new composition with the British quartet’s frontman Chris Martin entitled ‘Beach Chair’. However, these adventures were not Jay-Hova’s first foray into rock circles. In 2004 he appeared on the Collision Course mashup project with Linkin Park, an excursion that yielded ‘Numb/Encore’ amongst other tracks.

Timbaland

Pop/rock band OneRepublic, fronted by the great songwriter Ryan Tedder, got their big break as a collective thanks to the massive exposure given to Timbaland’s remix of their song ‘Apologize’. But OneRepublic were not the only rock band to work with Timbaland. On the same album from which their debut smash was taken appeared a shedload of guest stars, amongst them Fall Out Boy, The Hives, Elton John. The producer would go on to work with the frontman of both Soundgarden and Audioslave, the late Chris Cornell, as well as The Fray.

Wyclef Jean

Jean could well be a contender for the title, Most Eclectic Hip-Hopper Prior to Kendrick Lamar. As a member of the Fugees, he takes the lead on a cover of ‘No Woman, No Cry’, its live version by Bob Marley And The Wailers’ being as much a contender for greatest ever soft rock song as it is a reggae classic. Surely the most unexpected element in hip-hop history, Kenny Rogers, the country and rock artist, appears on Jean’s The Ecleftic album singing a sample from ‘The Gambler’.

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Festivals To Look Forward To In 2018

The recently announced welcome return of Long Division to the festival calendar (pleasingly coming back over June 1st-3rd) has prompted us to think about what other events there are to look forward to in 2018.

Having taken a year off in 2017 Rockaway Beach returns to the Bognor Regis Butlin’s over January 12-14 & features The Horrors, The Orb, Wild Beasts, Honeyblood, Alabama 3 & a host of other acts. It could be just what you need to get back into the swing of things after the Xmas excesses. Prices currently start at £79 per person for room-only accommodation for the entire three-night festival – for more details click here.

Midway through spring Hipsville returns to Margate's Dreamland on 04-06 May. We’ve not managed to attend since the first one so it’s high time we remedied that.

June will be jam packed, what with Long Division at the start, Beaches Brew back at the Hana Bi in Marina di Ravenna and Edinburgh’s Franklin Fest seeing in its fourth year from 28 to 30 June.

Staying in Scotland, August will see Doune The Rabbit Hole once again set up shop by The Lake of Menteith. This is another event where a few years have elapsed since we last attended so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of beast it’s become.

Later in the year Iceland Airwaves returns over 07-10 November for its 20th year. Earlybird tickets are already on sale for £115 or so. Further details here.

Further updates on all of the above will feature on Musos’ Guide in the months ahead & no doubt other events will take our fancy and get the attention they deserve too.

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Musos’ Guide Chats With Monkoora

Some time ago I met up with Julie Crawford, better known in creative circles as Monkoora, for a chat about her life and her art. Sometime later, sorry, I’ve composed a feature piece from the conversation which you can find below, hopefully giving some insight to the Glaswegian’s captivating crafts. Anchored around the release of her Nuclear BB EP, a record which is out now on Hotgem, this should give you a taste of what to expect. As such, right now if you are so inclined, you can read our review of that very EP, download it from iTunes, and as mentioned learn something about its conception in the paragraphs below.

*****

From routine guitar lessons to self-taught piano as a teenager, the inclination to be an artist has always been with Julie Crawford, who now plies her eclectic and mind-bending trade under the moniker of Monkoora. Unable to find anyone with a similar musical mindset at high school with whom to form that dream garage band, she instead withdrew to creating music from a library of loops featuring vocals, pianos, distorted effects and whatever else seemed fitting. With the internet yet to be populated with a wealth of how to guides on the subject it was very much a DIY affair at the outset, an approach which permeates Crawford’s music to date. Skipping forward in time from those practice rooms, we find another musical accompaniment to education in the soundtrack that was generated for a degree show entitled WORSHIP. A concept imagined and realised in full by one person, it tells in stop motion the tale of an alternative dimension laced with powerful forbidden fruits, with a musical side that strikes the appropriate tone for this otherworldly saga. Fitting this under the Monkoora umbrella, these tracks and the other “initial” cuts which can be found on Bandcamp highlight a broken yet melodic nature to the overall aesthetic and sonic identity of the project.

This could certainly be a natural evolution from those grassroots beginnings, as layers of knowledge and experience are added like loops on a track to flesh out the enthralling final product. In terms of the basis of the overall audio-visual artefact of WORSHIP, this too was constructed as the sum of abstract parts to make a coherent yet warped whole. Inspired in part by a frequent and picturesque commute, dreams are also a pivotal part of Crawford’s art, once again flagging up the notion of incremental composition as tracks are originally formed based on experience rather than necessarily growing from the ground up on a defined path. This intrinsic inconsistency leads to a varied output which consequently fuels a longing for that “All your songs sound the same!” criticism, or some tangible common thread at the very least. Inverting the talk of dreams, there is no naivety here about attaining that self-sustaining employment position in the creative sector. Whilst she’s content to focus on her art, both Monkoora and beyond, for a time the treacherous and difficult path required has been mapped, but there's confidence in the rewards to be achieved, both in terms of money and indulging your passion.

Having both evolved and devolved several times as a composer, Crawford’s writing style has departed from layered loops through knowledge and experience as mentioned previous. With access to more equipment and information, the scope of possibility has expanded, but the tendency for inconsistent outcomes remains true. Now under the name of Monkoora, taken as an accidental misspell (more on that later) of the title of an exotica track called ‘Moon of Manakoora’ from the 1950s, which you can listen to on YouTube should the fancy it. With the notion of the exotica genre aligning with her own penchant for fantasy and escapism the name seemed particularly fitting, and more original with some rearranged letters. Following the independent releases you can find on the Bandcamp above, contact was eventually made with Clair Crawford of Glasgow-based management agency and record label Hotgem, which resulted initially in 2016’s Pale Slopes EP and now this year’s follow-up release Nuclear BB. Both releases are based in electronic sounds and consist of equal parts excitement and a haunting dread. However, it’s not just the music and amplified voice that this connection has brought, it’s experience and opportunity, with perhaps the most notable example being an inclusion at Anna Meredith’s graphene-related residency at the Manchester Science Museum, which is quite special as far as second live performances go.

Apart from “real world” Influences, two bands have a particularly significant hand in moulding the approach and sound of Monkoora, The Birthday Massacre and Mindless Self Indulgence, two conflicting artists held dear from teenage rebellion until now. From dreamy progressions to bombastic beats you can experience tinges of each on Nuclear BB. The title stems from Crawford’s proximity to the Faslane naval base and is a play on the idea of the nuclear family when the parents of that family are employed at that base. Enthused by the colours of the peace camp the aesthetic is suitably psychedelic and the music is as diverse as expected, it’s also imbued with a political edge which people are taking all too literally. Both ‘Bocx Wurld’ and ‘Straddlin’ The Fence’ (that’s not ‘Straddalin’, a mystery spelling mistake which we’re promised was not the artist’s fault) featured explicitly vocalised opinions, which certainly come across as such. However, the intention was almost the opposite, as the true purpose of those segments was to highlight a discontentment with the state of things and a desire to disengage, not to preach from a pedestal. This is not to say she’s devoid of opinion or prone to shying away from important topics, it’s just not what Nuclear BB is meant to convey. In this case and others it seems that Monkoora is an enjoyable outlet for the creative storm inside Julie Crawford, whilst remaining firmly rooted in reality despite its many fantastical elements. Garnering recognition and spreading the music is the next step, and with a Scottish Alternative Music Awards nomination under her belt already, the path onwards is surely vivid. 

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Franklin Fest 2017 Interview - Chrome Reverse

Last up for this years Franklin Fest 17 special is Lili Zeller of grease monkeys Chrome Reverse, who will be headlining on the Saturday evening. 

DS: Bonjour Lili, could you tell us a little bit about the background of the band?  

LZ: We're Iwan (bass), Dave (guitar), Yan (drums) and myself (guitar and vocals). We're four music lovers and rock'n'roll fans and we obviously all met through music, I think it was at gigs. Iwan and I already had teamed up for a punk rock band in the '90s called The No-Talents. We all share a preference for the raw and greasy kind of rock'n'roll from the late '50s and early '60s.

DS: What it is about that period in time that particularly appeals to you?

LZ: Because it's between two eras, it's a sort of mutant. It's not yet THEE '60s and still pure rock and roll. We have a weakness for the untamed, dirty sounding rockers that weren't necessarily the top virtuosos. Lots of fun and exciting sounds. 

DS: I can't argue with that. Could you pinpoint a few songs that stand out for you?

'Doggone It Baby' - The Rock-A-Teens

'Red Headed Flea' - The Caps

'My Mind's Made Up' - The Renowns

DS: It's great that you can take inspiration from both eras. Most bands just seem to stick to either one or the other. Do you write most of the songs for the band, or is it more of a collaborative effort?

LZ: Yes, I do.

DS: Fab. Will this be the first time in Edinburgh for the band, and who are you looking forward to seeing play?

LZ: Yes, it's the first time. There are so many bands I don't know, and I'm looking forward to seeing them all! But I'm really thrilled to see Russ & Saskia as BIG RUSS WILKINS & LIGHTNING HOLLING. I think everything they've done in their previous projects is brilliant! I also know Los Coyote Men from the old days, and MFC Chicken sure will be fun, I love The Wailers. Earlier this year we played with The Bucky Rage and Professor Baba at Weirdsville in London so it will be nice to see them again. Hope to see you all at the Franklin Fest!!

The latest Chrome Reverse album is available both here and here, or directly from the band's bandcamp page here

Photo credits: V Berazeth and Alain Marie.

Tickets for the Franklin Fest can be obtained here

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