Wednesday, 9 December 2015

I Like (No, LOVE)... Commercial Awareness / Klondike 5-LAWW

Well, you'll be thrilled to know that I'm alive. An achievement in itself at this stage. 

In a desperate bid to prove by *law buzzword* commercial awareness, I started a blog dedicated to legal music news called Blurred Lines Law, should you want to keep up to date with the contentious world of music copyright. 

Also, I wrote the following *terrible journalism buzzword* listicle for BPP a little while ago but I don't think they're going to publish it as it tells a few truths about the GDL experience... So I present it to you here instead


How far are we into term now? Four weeks? Five weeks? Does it even matter? What does time even mean anymore when you don’t seem to have any?

Well, whatever point we’ve reached on the GDL, apart from the glut of information we’re all imbibing from tutorials and private study, I know I’ve learned a few key lessons that are not on the syllabus.

Here’s what studying the GDL in Bristol has taught me so far…

1)  This is NOT comparable to the final year of studying for an undergraduate degree. Those were easy days you took for granted. I harbour contempt and resentment for all those whom barefaced lied to me about this.

2) Organising a trip to your local court is a justifiable ground for taking some time out of studying. I went to sit in the public gallery for the verdict of a murder trial at Bristol Crown Court. It was a profound experience to see the law in action in such a grievous context.

3) Waking up earlier and working later than you thought possible is, indeed, possible.

4) Having too much work to do is your fail-safe excuse for avoiding events and invitations you would rather avoid. Use it often. Use it unapologetically.

5) If you feel your CV isn’t up to scratch the Careers Service is there for you at the end of an email, or, even better, in person with bespoke advice.

6) Just when you think you’ve finished and have worked hard enough. Think again. There’s always more to do… 

Friday, 16 October 2015

I Hate... / When people don't do the basics of their very basic jobs

1) When an employer owes you wages and they tell you they don't have any money left. And yet their Instagram shows them at hair salons and spas mid-day during the week, taking trips to Europe and generally showing off the fact that, yes, they do have the money but they are just flagrantly refusing to pay what they owe... 

2) When an "editor" fails to perform straightforward requirements of their job title because their definition of "busy" is going to fashion parties and shopping whilst you're studying the structure of the English legal system and EU law...

Sunday, 4 October 2015

PRINTED WORDS / Iconic Issue #20

The latest issue of Iconic magazine is a big one; the biggest in the mag's HIStory, in fact.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Michael Jackson's HIStory album this edition celebrates all things HIStorical - I mean, just the cover features a never-before-seen option for the album's artwork. I mean - come on! - that's rather amazing.

The inside pages are equally great; lots of interviews with Jackson's collaborators, a book extract from the excellent Joe Vogel and general ruminations on this highly significant album. 

Oh, and I've written about other artists sampling Michael Jackson - which is interesting, obviously. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Thursday, 1 October 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / I'm trying to change my life

So I'm trying to alter the course of my life - LOL - by doing a Graduate Diploma in Law. 

You may read about my decision to do so HERE

Whilst I love being a music journalist, I cannot wait to achieve my career goal of becoming Will Truman. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Last week my family's six month old Shih Tzu puppy, Cookie, was attacked by a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that was NOT on a leash.

The dog's owners did nothing to prevent or stop the attack.

After five nights in hospital, constant pain relief in the form of morphine and methadone, and surgery to remove one of his eyes, Cookie is now back home where he belongs.

Please read this full report from the Swindon Advertiser for more details as I am finding it very hard to keep re-telling this story and I want to move on from this utterly harrowing experience for Cookie and everyone who loves him (which is A LOT of people). 

Cookie is the most wonderful and beautiful dog anyone could ever wish for. He has totally changed mine and my whole family's lives for the better. 

We have done as much as we can to make others aware of the culprits and it is now in the hands of the general public to come forward and identify the callous perpetrators who do not deserve to own an animal of their own. 

If you know them, live near them, see them around your street or Coate Water, PLEASE CALL 101 and report them. 

They have a dog capable of causing serious harm and no control over it. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / Morrissey Live Review

Find the original post HERE

“This is my life,” are the words Morrissey welcomes the crowd with. And what a life it is at the moment: playing a large number of songs taken from an album that was pulled after just three weeks due to various disagreements with Harvest records and has seen him without a record contract ever since. After the runaway success of his ‘Autobiography’ he is days away from releasing his debut novel, ‘List of the Lost’, something he doesn’t even mention this evening. With no outlet for new music in the UK on the horizon, Morrissey has stated that this two-night booking in Hammersmith is “likely” to be his “final ever UK shows”.

The fact that Morrissey refuses to acknowledge the terminal state of album sales and the lucrative lifeline touring has been to the music industry – and can continue to be to him, since no artist has fans as dedicated as he – seems rather misguided but he still gives good showing in that other money-spinning outlet: the merchandise table. “Be kind to animals or I’ll kill you” t-shirts fly off the shelf next to the PETA stands that are part of Morrissey’s touring crew. 

Despite the changes to the wider music world, Morrissey’s realm remains reassuringly the same. His first steps on stage are prefaced by a delightfully eclectic variety of video footage, ranging from Anne Sexton reading a poem titled ‘Wanting to Die’ to Bob and Marcia performing ‘Young, Gifted and Black’. His band remain impressively firm and versatile and in matching outfits. And, as ever, his audience is made up entirely by people of the most strikingly devoted order. Morrissey’s stage demeanour remains stately and commanding, his intrinsic majesty transfusing into everyone present who physically cannot sing one of his lyrics without grandly stretching out a single arm with an open, skyward facing palm that offers the sentiment to the world.

Morrissey’s song choices tonight are, on the whole, challenging. Perhaps finally sick and tired of the fact that every time he expresses an opinion, headlines of supposed of controversy are created (one does wish that every artist or public figure that is too afraid to form opinions and express them should be handed their P45 – it certainly would thin the herd), tonight he commits to many of the feather-ruffling numbers in his arsenal; ‘Staircase at the University’ (sample lyric: “She threw herself down and her head split three ways”) , ‘World Peace Is None of Your Business’, ‘Istanbul’, ‘The World is Full of Crashing Bores’, ‘The Bullfighter Dies’, ‘Oboe Concerto’ and a powerfully punctuated ‘I Will See You In Far Off Places’ all strongly bristle.

In-between song quips are as much a part of any Morrissey show as the music, and he does not disappoint. He urges the crowd not to vote and “support the process”. In reference to the current government he asks if anyone is happy with the arrangement. A resounding “No” follows. “That’s the United Kingdom,” he shrugs. On Labour’s new leader: “I hope Jeremy Corbyn does not does not – does not – go to Buckingham Palace and kneel before the Third Reich.” And when there is a complete power cut after he plays a cover of Elvis Presley’s “You’ll Be Gone”: “It’s a conspiracy! It’s Buckingham Palace! They’re gonna get me. And I’m not kidding!”

Humour aside, tonight’s show had two tormenting centre pieces. The first, whilst he plays ‘Ganglord’, footage of American police brutality is projected high above the band: (mostly) black men, women, peaceful protestors, the disabled, animals and acquiescent civilians all savagely beaten and tortured. It’s paralysing. “American Taliban” is Morrissey’s closing comment. Later comes ‘Meat Is Murder’ with unapologetically graphic films of animal slaughter across the world. The stage is dimly lit a scarlet red so that Morrisey’s repeated cries of “eat” and “kill” act as ominous narration. Opposition to organised and state-sanctioned cruelty should not be seen as some quirk of Morrissey’s, it should be a shared belief that one is ashamed not to possess.

The only healing salve of the evening comes in the form of the Morrissey’s 1988 debut solo single ‘Suedehead’; still so gently enchanting. The recent ‘Kiss Me A Lot’ too provided a moment of light, romantic release. But the eternally mesmerising ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’ is the most uniting and crowning moment of the night. Yes, a sold-out hall all willing on the dropping of a nuclear bomb is a strangely beautiful thing. Seeing Morrissey live can vary from the harrowing to the sublime, but, hey, isn’t that all our lives?

All this housed inside a venue where a new restaurant called Meat Yard prepares to open next door. And a world where the next morning the UK will be greeted by the front-page news that it’s prime minister once placed his genitals inside the mouth of a dead pig. Morrissey – we need you still. 

Written for FMS

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Thursday, 10 September 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / We’ll Meet Again: The Libertines Reformation Assessed

Find the original post HERE

So this is it. This is what happens when wishes are granted. For fans of The Libertines, the release of a third album, Anthems For Doomed Youth, on September 11th seems like the impossible dream come true. More than eleven years after their second and seemingly final LP, and a whimper of a last live gig under the Libertine name in the form of a support slot at an unremarkable Paris venue, here we are again. It was an underwhelming conclusion to what had been an intensive and iconic chapter in the history of British rock.
So much had happened and all so quickly: the alchemic chemistry between co-front men Carl Barât and Pete Doherty; the poetic ideology; the romantic vision; the too-good-to-be-true interviews; the NME’s die-hard dedication to documenting every high and low; the near-misses; 112a Teesdale Street; the guerrilla gigs; the homoerotic tension; the matching tattoos; the betrayal; the reconciliation. And on top of all this, timeless songs that possessed energy so raw, so honest, and acted as totem examples of rock ‘n’ roll’s non-discriminatory policy of not having to technically be the best to actually be the best.
Yet the glory and triumphs were matched only by the depravity and disappointments. So acute was the fallout from the end of The Libertines and their Arcadian dream that the resultant resentment made the notion of the band ever getting back together, let alone touring and recording new music, too much to hope for.
“It’s either top of the world or bottom of the canal,” is the pledge Carl Barât put to his partner in crime, Pete Doherty. And each of them have experienced them both, the latter with too many court appearances and drug charges to his name to recount, and the former with a play alongside Sadie Frost and an opera with Marc Almond on his post-Libertine CV. But, once again, it’s the lows that make the Libertines’ current high – in the form of a major record deal and extensive touring schedule – all the more extraordinary.
Even after a brief reunion that saw them play one slot below the headliners, Arcade Fire, at Reading and Leeds in 2010, this current Libertine renaissance has been far from a sure thing. Doherty admitted at the time that he agreed to play with his old band because of the generous fee. A documentary, ‘There Are No Innocent Bystanders’, about the lead up to the shows revealed the wounds of their past to still be very much open, if not infected. When Pete failed to attend the film’s premiere, a rightly spurned Carl turned to the NME to vent his latest frustrations and doubts about The Libertines having a future whatsoever.
Barât’s lone solo album followed (Pete’s only solo record was released the year before), as well as his admirably honest autobiography,Threepenny Memoir. Doherty made his acting debut in the critically panned Confession of a Child of the Century, during which time he became romantically involved with his co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg, whom subsequently fled back to France just four days after absconding to the UK with Pete and discovering the full extent of his profligate lifestyle. A third album with the ramshackle Babyshambles came and went in 2013. And so brief was the lifespan of Carl Barât and The Jackals – a band consisting of what one suspects were Libertines fans who couldn’t believe their luck – that they were seemingly dismissed as quickly as they were assembled (so swiftly, in fact, they are still yet to have an entry added to Barât’s Wikipedia page).
And yet, come July 2014 The Libertines were playing to the biggest audience of their career at London’s Hyde Park. The gig itself was atrocious; marred by the constant need to stop the music whilst mass crowd surges were dealt with by inept security, a sense of stressful tension amongst the band and a general feel of dangerous unease in the audience. A few months later, three sold-out nights at Alexandra Palace confirmed they were a band able to deliver under the right circumstances and drew in new fans with no nostalgic attachment but who’d discovered their legend retrospectively.
By October, Pete Doherty had checked into a rehab facility in Thailand and was joined by his band mates during his successful treatment, where they all signed a contract with Virgin EMI and began work on the album that would become Anthems For Doomed Youth.
So what of the new album? “Long-awaited” is an overused phrase, yet it’s both simultaneously apt and understating the fact in this particular case. The marked difference, sonically, is the relative polish of the production finish. Although Anthems’ producer, Jake Gosling, didn’t have to do much to outstrip Mick Jones’ previous method, which seemingly was to put a microphone in the same room as The Libs and let the tape roll. The context from which this new material is emanating is, of course, the variant that really matters. Rather than the squat of well-read, would-be rent boys, or the fraying edges of a competitive creative partnership, Anthems’ is coming from a place of healing, renewed friendship and the temerity of building upon a legacy.
Admirably, The Libertines pull it off. Their lyrical tropes and vocabulary remain intact; it’s all veins, prison gates, the streets of London, death, glory, setting suns, bleeding hearts, boozers, doom and fate. And whilst they still communicate through guitar play that varies between jaunty strums, jolting squalls and absent-minded noodling, the energy behind it all is not the same as that of Up The Bracket orThe Libertines, because, well, it can’t be. Time has passed. Life has changed. Only a fool would expect the intentions behind this album to be the same as its predecessors.
Saying that, there are still chaotic flourishes to be found, most notably during the closing moments of lead single ‘Gunga Din’, the wind-up pace of ‘Heart Of The Matter’, Carl’s spitting vocal delivery on ‘Fury Of Chonburi’ and the ripping chords of ‘Glasgow Coma Scale Blues’. On the other hand, ‘Fame And Fortune’ and the re-recorded ‘You’re My Waterloo’ feel like a hat tip to the band’s patriotic penchant for old British music hall. The album’s title track and centre piece, meanwhile, heavily invokes the emotional tenderness of the likes of ‘What Katie Did’ and ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’. ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ also contains one of the band’s finest lyrical sign offs that encapsulates their starry-eyed nihilism: “We’re going nowhere/But… nowhere seems to be on our way.”
All in all, The Libertines have done a good job. Confirmation of the worth of this new material was truly evident at Bristol Academy – one of five small club shows the band announced last minute to celebrate the release of the new album – when a voracious crowd were just as joyed to hear ‘Gunga Din’ as they were the beloved songs of old.
Yes, The Libertines have played a hell of a lot of festival shows this year, including a surprise set on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and three in three days during their Reading and Leeds headline slots over the August bank holiday weekend (they took a jet over to France to sandwich in another for Rock en Seine). And, honestly, their fatigue was evident by the time they reached Berkshire. The setting was far too exposing of their limitations and a thinning crowd didn’t help matters either. The missed guitar solo during ‘Time For Heroes’ and an unmissable eye roll from drummer/conductor Gary Powell summed up the set rather succinctly.
But on stage in Bristol, it was a different story. Hilariously, after 45 minutes’ worth of five (yes, five) roadies taking their sweet time over setting up, and one even dedicating his time to pacing the stage checking for any hidden hazards, Pete Doherty saunters on (clad in elasticated, drawstring jogging bottoms, we hasten to add!), and lightly trips over a guitar cable. Not that he cares or is phased… Thanks, roadies!
A 22 song set of glory ensued. The atmosphere was electric. The boys in the band played furiously. Gary was the backbone around which the chaos could flail. Doherty enthusiastically insisted on making the band play an under-rehearsed and cack-handed rendition of new song ‘Iceman’. The commotion felt closed in and gratifyingly abrasive. ‘What A Waster’, ‘Up The Bracket’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ make for a riotous encore. It was like the good old days. A true joy to behold. This is the setting in which The Libertines’ unique vigour can truly be absorbed.
So, where do we go from here? Based on pre-orders alone, Anthems For Doomed Youth is probably destined for a high chart position. The Libertines have a few more live dates to fulfil. Their interviews have been living up to their track record for talking frankly and in delightful pull-quotes. Really, this is all just a rather delayed return to service. It will take some doing, but perhaps The Libertines can inspire fans enough to adore them beyond their romanticised past. But, for now, as they sing on ‘The Iceman’, “Just for now, we have all the time.”
Written for FMS

Sunday, 6 September 2015

This is quite wonderful.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / 'Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz' Album Review

Find the original post HERE

How much of a surprise release is this, really? After a disappointingly unremarkable turn as the host of the MTV Video Music Awards – which this year drew a record low number of viewers – Miley Cyrus revealed the release of this: a previously unannounced free album available for streaming only. No word yet on a physical or download formats that may compensate Ms Cyrus for the $50k she took out of her own pocket to fund this oddity of an album.
Whilst uninteresting in its “surprise” form, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz is fascinating in function. It feels authentically Miley; a committed statement of her fluctuating artistic intent. Helmed by her steadfastly supportive mentor and now co-writer Wayne Coyne of The Flaming LipsMiley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz makes 2013’s Bangerz seem as out of touch with the 22-year-old media meteorite as her long-time abandoned purity ring-wearing Disney child star material.
Having been at this fame game for over a decade already, this album is a well-earned eruption of inventive freedom. In many ways, Cyrus has proven how easy pop notoriety is to earn these days; make a pledge to lewdness, have Terry Richardson document some of it and there you have it! Everyone will still be talking about you and MTV still using you as ratings bait two years later (a lifetime in pop years, of course).
Now for something more interesting than the chart crushing likes of ‘We Can’t Stop’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’…
As opening track ‘Dooo It’ details, smoking weed and not giving a fuck are two overpowering forces in Miley’s universe. So it’s only to be expected that Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz and it’s 23 tracks is awash with rambling stoner structures (or lack thereof), but it’s certainly not an unpleasant trip. Once past the coarse aforementioned opener, and deliberately provocative likes of ‘Bang Me Box’ and ‘Milky Milky Milk’, plus the hyper self-aware ‘BB Talk’, there’s a kaleidoscope of dreamy, slow burning numbers to get lost in. Sure, there’s a feeling of being stuck on loop sometimes but the free form nature of the likes of ‘Tiger Dreams’, featuring Ariel Pink, the gently confessional ‘I Get So Scared’ and soothing ‘Evil Is But A Shadow’ prove neither radio nor MTV approval are on Miley’s agenda right now. The Lady Gaga ARTPOP aping ‘1 Sun’ is as close as Cyrus edges towards palatable pop.
After what feels like a very long two years of the least subversive rebellion possible (as if a young, white, skinny woman with a proclivity for sexual fluidity and a permanent Hollywood wax isn’t every male music big wig’s greatest commercial wet dream come true), Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz is a striking example of Miley literally putting her money where her mouth is. Pretty much every move Cyrus has made since cutting her hair off and sticking her tongue out has made her seem like a pop culture Frankenstein-like monster, but a tearful piano ballad about the innocence and death of a fish (‘Pablow The Blowfish’) finally shows someone genuinely not playing up to every industry expectation.
What happens next with this material is where things will get really interesting. Whilst Cyrus’ label RCA have stated they are “pleased to support Miley’s unique musical vision” they didn’t provide any budget for Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz and this self-release will not impact her multi-album contract. But can Miley go one better: can she take this material on tour? And – this is getting carried away now – but what if she can inspire even just one other A-list name to spew out a collection of songs as artistically accurate as this. It would make next year’s VMAs a hell of a lot more compelling.
Written for FMS

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / iMessage Interviews with Billie JD Porter and Bertie Brandes

Not sure if I have just made a rather significant contribution to the ever accelerating decline of modern journalism, of if I have just enhanced the field beyond measure with the invention of the published iMessage interview.

I spoke to filmmaker and journalist Billie JD Porter and Mushpit editor Bertie Brandes over text for My Flash Trash.

Read the interviews and you can decide if I have just become the redeemer or enemy of 21st century journalism... 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Sunday, 19 July 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / Evvol Interview

Find the original post HERE

“Progress is impossible without change…”  - George Bernard Shaw.

“Ch-ch-ch-ch- changes,” - David Bowie in 1972.

Julie Chance and Jon Dark – a.k.a. Evvol – are a testament to the power of change. The darkwave electronica pair, who previously went by the band name of Kool Thing, are now reaping the rewards of breaking with their established name and sound, and are forging new sounds with a revitalised mind-set and garnering more attention and praise than they had been counting on.

Sat on the rickety wooden benches of an all-organic Dalston café on a sweltering summer afternoon, Julie and Jon are dressed casually but plastered in  some seriously smoky eye makeup, having finished up a cover shoot earlier in the day. Jon’s look is soft and shimmery, whilst Julie’s war paint is jet black kohl to the max, smudged all over her eye sockets and beyond. They laugh off the challenge of removing it all come bed time, plus they thought it would be a waste to wash it off at the end of their shoot.

Over organic juices, natch, the band formerly known as Kool Thing talk excitedly about shedding that exact tag:

“It was freeing,” Julie asserts, “but scary too. I think we kept the old name for too long anyway and we wanted to change it.”

Having released a self-titled album, toured with the likes of Grimes and Peaches, and established themselves on the Berlin scene (where they both call home) as Kool Thing, it would be understandable for Jon and Julie to have felt apprehensive about leaving their old identity behind. Not so for Evvol, whose break with the past has allowed them to move on to bigger and better sounds. “We wanted to change the name and the focus,” Chance explains. “A whole new name for a new project.”

And that “new project” culminates in the release of Evvol’s debut album, ‘Eternalism’, via !K7/Mad Dog & Love on July 24.

‘Eternalism’ is the little album that could. The original intention for Jon and Julie, who had a spell of separation before reuniting to reformulate their band, was to simply lay down an EP and distribute it as a self-release.

Fate had other plans as the music presented itself so generously that an album painlessly emerged. As Jon recalls, “The writing process felt completely free. There were no pre-requisites. All we needed was one thing and it would set off a spark. It could be a single lyric, a sound, a general mood or feel, maybe a harmony. It was just the best time, being around your best mate and playing music.”

The overall sound of ‘Eternalism’ is an authentic reflection of the creative freedom the band remember fondly. It veers between arthouse trance and noir pop with dashes of R&B warmth and intricate instrumental finishes.

‘Eternalism’ also stands defiantly against the ultra-customisable way many now choose to consume music. Pick a song from here. Sum it up with a hashtag there. No. ‘Eternalism’ lends itself to uninterrupted listening. It demands full unerring attention due to its waxing and waning structure, and sense of journey.

‘Starcrossed’ is a definite highlight of album and acts as microcosm of ‘Eternalism’ as a whole. “That’s an emotional song for us,” Jon reveals. The story of the pair of them coming back together is encapsulated in ‘Starcrossed’ and plays out over a beseeching, trembling lyric of “I’ll take care of you” before what they describe as a “John Mayer kind of guitar solo” announces itself, and concludes with a swirl of synth sirens.

Such eclecticism may stem from the fact that the girls are from different sides of the world (literally, Jon is from Australia, and Julie Ireland), and that they had very different musical upbringings. “I grew up listening to a lot of traditional Irish music from my dad,” Julie recalls. “Me and my sister would fight over who would get to singalong to Christy Moore or Mary Black albums first. And I was in my first band when I was at primary school. We would play covers of The Travelling Wilburys.” Jon, on the other hand, admits to being “obsessed with ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. I had it on vinyl and would sing along to it at the top of my voice.”

However, what they both agree on now is the influence being based in Berlin has had on Evvol’s sound. “There’s no way a person cannot be affected by living in a city like Berlin,” Chance insists. “Plus we’re really into the music that has been made in the city – Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and Iggy Pop’s ‘The Idiot’. It was very natural that we ended up there and I just think you can’t help but be influenced by your surroundings.”

The evidence speaks for itself. Whilst the darkened undertones that ebb away beneath glossy electronic currents of ‘Eternalism’ pay tribute to the band’s cultural base, the human pulse of the record reveals the personal voyage that’s captured within. As much of a sonic voyage as ‘Eternalism’ is, this doesn’t feel in anyway like the final destination on the continuing journey of Evvol’s evolution.  

Written for NOTION

Friday, 26 June 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / Juno Calypso Interview

Find the original post HERE

Juno Calypso is the name you need to know on the London art scene. 
The artist and her staged alter ego, Joyce, is making waves with her self-portraits that examine Americana suburbia, consumerism and ideas around beauty and femininity – all with a distinctively unsettling and compelling vision.
Ahead of her upcoming exhibition as Artist of the Day at Flowers Gallery (21 Cork Street, London, W1S 3LZ) on July 2, we spoke to Juno about her life, art and style. 
Check out what Juno had to say and some of her best work below…
Hey Juno! We can’t decide if we think of you as a photographer or an artist… Which title do you prefer? 
I like artist because taking the photo is only the last small step in a long process of prop making and set building. And because it let’s me off when I forget how to use a camera properly! 

How did you get started in your line of work? 
I studied photography at London College of Communication where the course was very fine-art based and they really taught me how to make a career as a fine-art photographer. After I graduated I was nominated for the Catlin Art Prize and I’ve been hitchhiking around the art world since then. 

Tell us about your character Joyce. Where did she come from? What does she represent?
Joyce was an accidental child. I used to only photograph friends and models but I’d always use myself as a stand-in model to test out the lighting a few days before a shoot. I’d pull ugly faces to make the experience less awkward and one day I brought the pictures into uni just to have something to show my tutor for our weekly deadline and she loved them.
My face made her laugh and that was an interesting reaction that changed everything. Before, all I wanted to do was make hyper-alluring glossy images of women looking sexy and dangerous. Now I use my weird face to make people laugh but also to explore the exhaustion women often feel while bearing the weight of constructed femininity.  

What is the proudest moment of your career so far? 
I think being awarded first prize and full marks for my degree show is still my favourite because I had no idea if my work was any good then and I’d worked so hard for it. I’m a born and bred Londoner so seeing my work on the underground was cool too. 

What’s coming up for you next? 
I have a solo exhibition at Flowers Gallery on Cork Street on Thursday July 2nd where I’ll be showing a new body of work that I shot at a couple’s honeymoon hotel in America. I went by myself and it was a very awkward experience but I can’t wait for people to see the images. 

Written for MY FLASH TRASH

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Sunday, 31 May 2015

DIGITAL WORDS / Bebe Rexha Interview

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Think you don’t know Bebe Rexha? Think again.

She co-wrote ‘The Monster’ and gifted it to Eminem and Rihanna – which is one of the Slim Shady rapper’s best-selling No. 1 hits of his career, just FYI. And you will also be familiar with her roaring vocals on the chorus of David Guetta and Nicki Minaj’s latest radio banger ‘Hey Mama’, as well as Cash Cash’s ‘Take Me Home’.

The 25-year-old New Yorker is a huge pop star just waiting to explode. Her edgy look is a refreshing antidote to pop’s overtly bubblegum flavour at the moment, and she writes songs that every girl can relate to (please see ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ and ‘I Can’t Stop Drinking About You’).

Bebe grew up watching TRL, checking her local Toys R Us on the daily in the vain hope that the Baby Spice doll would be back in stock, and freaking out about seeing the video for ‘…Baby One More Time’. Essentially, she’s just like us!

We caught up with  Ms Rexha backstage at a recent live showin Shoreditch, London where she tore the joint up. In between sips of herbal tea to soothe her vocal chords and showing us the eclectic collection of jewellery she had packed in her luggage – a scented coin necklace from Turkey, a gifted necklace from her record label, a body chain, statement earrings and shell rings from Israel –  Bebe chatted to My Flash Trash about her musical upbringing, fashion and beauty tips, life advice and gave us some preview info on her upcoming debut album…

Hey Bebe! Let’s get straight to it. You’ve described your look before as “grunge glamour”. How can we emulate your look?
Mix cool expensive stuff with cheap shit. I’ve got Doc Martens on today but I have a pair of Vesaces that I travel with too. A really good leather jacket is essential. I recently bought a real leather motorcycle jacket, it’s so heavy, it’s about 20 pounds. Tons of jewellery is good too, as well as jeans and lots of t-shirts to switch up underneath. Layer shit – layering is key. Get the basics together and then add to it.

How about your makeup? Your eyeliner is always perfect.
I’m very simple. I bounce between two classic looks. One is clean winged eyeliner and really pretty lashes, and a red lip. The other is a smoky eye and nude lip. Sometimes I just take an eyeliner and smudge it, lashes on and apply a bit of bronzer.

So how has your European tour been going so far?
The crowds have been very respectful and listen to everything I say. In the US they’ll be a little more crazy, but I’ll get to a slow song and I’m like, “Shut the fuck up!” That happened once. I told everyone to shut up and they wouldn’t listen. I was being dead serious but they just kept cheering me on. In Finland yesterday I cried. It was the first time there has been an audience that knew every word to all my songs. I got emotional. There was a little nine year old girl there, crying, she was singing every word, including all the swear words! She had a little leather jacket on and she said, “I’m wearing my leather jacket for you.” It was the cutest thing in the world. Playing my own smaller shows but to people who know all the words is way better than bigger shows supporting someone else. These people are coming to see me – it’s amazing.

Do you like London?
Everybody dresses so cool here. The fashion here is ridiculous. It sucks to say but you cannot compare London fashion to New York. Europe is so much cooler. I wore some creepers in my video and you can’t do that in L.A. or New York, they don’t think it’s cute at all.

You’ve already filmed some epic music videos. Did you grow up watching a lot of MTV?
Yes, TRL! And I will always remember seeing Britney Spears’ first music video. I haven’t had that same feeling since.. All her videos are insane and I’ve never had that strong feeling for anyone other than Britney. I want to make bigger videos in the future. I wanna burn shit down!

You’ve previously cited Alanis Morrissette as a key influence for you…
Once we were blasting her CD at the studio and Glen Ballard was there – he produced Jagged Little Pill. That album is insane, and even though she had the songs she refused to be the fashion girl and didn’t fit the mold. You can do whatever the fuck you want!

Who else did you grow up listening to?
I only started liking the Kanyes and Lauryn Hills, or Tracey Chapman – all these more credible artists as I’m getting older because I can see what they’re saying and it means more to me. But when I was little I was listening to Destiny’s Child and Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. I was a total pop junkie. I liked ‘80s stuff too, like Madonna and Duran Duran. My aunt bought me my first tape, it was ‘Genie In A Bottle’.

You’ve worked with Max Martin already… Can you tell us something about him that no one knows?
He’s very nice but also very gangster. When I was working with him he had two sessions going on at the same time, he would come in, doctor the melody, do it himself. Oh, and he has a great voice! A really fucking good voice. Like, superstar voice! His ear is incredible. When he listens to a song it’s  mathematical to him. It was very different working with him because I just do what I feel.

How does it compare hearing other artists’ recordings of your songs to listening back to one of your own releases?
Hearing your own song is more epic. I can see Eminem and Rihanna perform my song in front of a million people and it feels awesome but if I see 200 people singing the words to my own song, that’s incredible. When you write a song it’s like part of your soul. You put your spirit, soul and energy into creating a song from thin air.

The songs on your EP are very relatable. Is that something you aim for?
In the end I ultimately want that but it usually starts out as just therapy for myself. But when I try to help myself as a form of therapy it does help others too. I do take it into consideration and I’ve been writing about women and empowerment recently – a song called ‘24/7’. It’s about letting a girl have her moment. If she wants to cry, or put her lipstick on,  or go dancing and feel sexy… It’s not easy being a girl or a woman.

You’ve spoken really openly about losing your first record deal. You’ve written about the negativity that followed it too. What advice do you have for anyone feeling knocked down?

There’s this saying I like: “In the end it will be okay. And if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.” I tell myself that. You have to remember that things will get better. I wrote a song called ‘Die A Little’ – a line of it says, “You have to die a little to know what it’s like to be alive.” And if you ever feel down, go for a walk. Walk for miles – that’s what I do – it clears your head. 

Written for MY FLASH TRASH