A chat with City Weezle’s Simon Fleury

Alternative, Experimental, Folk, Interview, Metal, Prog, Rock

With a new record approaching close over the horizon, and numerous hungry fans to feed, we sat down with City Weezle frontman and founder, Simon Fleury; chatting everything from cabin fever to Japanese pentatonic scales!

AM: What would you say are the key differences between your debut record and the upcoming No.2?

SF: This album certainly has less Primus and Mr.Bungle influence. Even though we can still hear some Patton/Primus/Bungle colours in there. There are certainly more keyboard and piano sounds on this one thanks to the wizardry of Axel Steinbiss and CSL Parker; two excellent players/composers. CSL really encouraged me to get back on the City Weezle stuff and taught me free form improvisation which is super fun and it had been a long time since I’d done a lot of improv. For those things I’m very grateful and, of course, for his parts on the album..

It was so much fun working with Axel, he’s super zoned in and could just do anything. He composed some really cool key lines for the album and pulled really amazing takes out of the bag; all in his stride, He’s also one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met, Germans not being funny is a post-war myth. We’ve just had a Hitler joke we put in our press kit published in a review of German Punk Magazine so I think the proof is in the pudding there ;).

This one was recorded in many different places over a much longer period of time whereas «Taboo» was recorded all in the same place in the space of about a year. I think this one is definitely less chaotic, intentionally so, ‘Cluedo’ is the final track on this album and it fulfils the role of the track that brings the crazy. Of course, there’s a bit of craziness in all our stuff in different ways.

She’s a Stomper’ is our most straightforward rock song and I really dig it. It’s got a very Melvinsy feel. We haven’t really released a straight hard-hitting rock song before and this is certainly a new feel to our catalogue. In any case these are eight new diverse tracks we’re 100% happy with and can get behind and I can’t wait to perform them live.

AM: What do you think you learnt as a musician from writing No.2?

SF: From an educational perspective, I learned to write string quartet lines and it’s given me a better vision of how to approach orchestration for other instruments in the future I’ll definitely be delving into that a bit more on certain tracks.

It’s also given me a second round of collaborating with guest musicians which was also really cool and I’m really grateful to everyone who put a little piece of their magic onto this album.

AM: Did you encounter any challenges while writing/recording No.2? How did you overcome them?

SF: Yes there were many barriers to making this album not least the distance between all the personnel. It’s certainly one of the reasons why it took so long. Mixing this album at distance with Gautier Serre (Igorrr) was a lot of bouncing mixes back and forth and that was definitely the hardest part from my perspective.

But I really want to thank Gautier and think it was worth it as he did a great job, he’s responsible for the album having a great quality of sound. There were obstacles and a lot of flights booked to record this one but as with anything worthwhile it took motivation and perseverance to overcome those obstacles and finally get to the result we wanted.

AM: How would you describe the most dominant emotions coming from No.2?

SF: I’d say like most of our music it has a theatrical energy and there are moments of mystery and emotion. The most personal and emotional song for me is “Even Weezles get the Blues”. It was a very alcohol-fueled part of my life where I’d just split with my GF when I wrote that track and was feeling the solitude of those emotions. So while it seems like a funny upbeat track it actually has a very deep meaning for me.

In a fun way, I guess it’s me singing about my problems back then, therefore the song title makes perfect sense.

AM: Do you have a general songwriting method that you stick to or does it come from within the moment?

SF: Well I have different methods of composing and I don’t like to stick to just one. Sometimes I’ll write mostly the music first and then only have one or two vocal hooks along the way while imagining what the vocals will sound like. Sometimes more recently I’ve been finding vocal ideas first and then just finding the music to suit the vocals and I think it works really well. Like ‘She’s a stomper’ was mainly written like that.

Igorrr has done some composition sections within our tracks on “Taboo”. Sometimes we’ll create things as a band in a rehearsal room and take each other’s ideas and develop them or alter them.

I have a method of composing I’m sure other bands like “The Ruins” use too maybe? It’s to record an improvisation and have the other instruments learn it and record over it.

I call it “Comprovising”! So you record an improv and the other instruments record over it in a structured manner. So it sounds tight enough to be written but comes from a completely spontaneous performance. We’ll certainly be fitting it in on future tracks.

AM: Do you have any interesting or funny stories from the recording process?

SF: We tracked the drums and guitars out in this lovely little cottage in a very remote area in the Nyre Valley in Co.Waterford, nearly Bally Macarby.

Many thanks to The Fabie Family and Henstep McGrath of “Crow Black Chicken” for letting us use the place for recording, it was a really nice little drum room in the upstairs of the little cottage called “Gypsies Cottage”out there you get a real old Ireland feel, it’s kinda like going back 50 years in time.

A pub with a shop attached to it and the people to match, it was really cool. So we were very isolated out there, no phone signal, no internet just the basic equipment I had and the tunes to be recorded. We recorded the drums in the space of two days out there with “Ai Uchida”, all credit to him he’s a great guy and an amazing drummer!

I went out there to track the guitars for “She’s a stomper” by myself and it was a completely different ball game. I started getting cabin fever as they call it. It was like the Shining except I didn’t even have my wife or kid! With no internet and no telephone connection, it felt really really weird. I stayed at it for about two days and then got super depressed, scrapped everything and came back to civilisation

But it was very fun tracking out there with the lads other than that whacky experience!

AM: Can you tell us what it was like to work with Gautier Serre a.k.a Igorrr on this project?

SF: When I decided to get making this album I hit him up straight away with the question, ‘Would you be game for mixing and mastering it?’ Cause he’d done our 1st LP “Taboo” and I think he did a great job.

Plus I trust his ear. He’s a guy who’s been making top quality albums since I met him so I trust him on that front. He knows how to balance things well and get really great sounds. So I was delighted when he agreed to do it. Even though we did all of this at distance bouncing things back and forth and I haven’t seen him in ages I’d still consider him a friend. He was always super supportive of us and even jumped in a van to drive us around Europe for the Taboo tour.

He threw in a few little sprinkles of sound on No.2 where he saw fit and I think it worked out really well that way.

AM: How was City Weezle originally formed?

SF: Initially, I met a really wicked prog guitarist, Sylvain Ducloux, AKA ”Cloux” in ATLA music school in Paris where I was taking courses and he made this really insane prog guitar album called “Full Fool” and he invited me to do some vocals on a few tracks.

That was my first time participating on a professional quality recording – up until then I’d just done my own demos on my 8 track where I’d play all the instruments for the most part. From those demos, I had a bunch of tracks that I wanted to make a fusion band with and I selected those tracks to make the 1st demo of CW with “Cloux” on guitar, Eric Carrere on drums and Maxime Gilbon on Bass.

Eric Was playing with Cloux at the time and he’d done drums on my Demos too. Max and I used to mess around playing covers of queens of the stone age and Primus with this other summer. I feel lucky that I’m still very close friends with those guys to this day. They’re great people and great musicians.

AM: How did music first enter your life? Do you have any standout memories?

SF: The first song I remember hearing as a kid is that “Dire Straits” track “Walk of life”; I must have been about four, it was on the radio and my mother was cutting celery. Every time I heard that song after that I would get the smell of celery and, vice versa, every time I’d get the smell of celery it’d bring that famous keyboard line of that song into my head. I only really started getting into music around age nine or 10 when I got into Nirvana.

Before then I’d had a few of those Now compilations. Discovering Nirvana was obviously a life-changing moment as it was for us all. Shorty after I got into Metallica and Alice in Chains, another pivotal moment was discovering Mr. Bungle Age 16; I’d discovered Zappa shorty before then.

There was also a legendary singer song writer named “Warwick Embury”. He wasn’t famous but he really should’ve been.. He was good friends with Donovan and had come from the really thriving music scene in the UK to live in Tipperary, Ireland.

I imagine he wanted to get away from the hustle-bustle of London and found solace in Tipp. English guy, real deal rock and roll legend who used to come round to our house and sing tunes and improvise lyrics and he was super fun and entertaining. He was a very fun, very cool guy, real heart and soul of the party. He wrote great songs and he was a massive influence on me too. Unfortunately he’s passed away now but he left a lot of great happy memories. His music lives on. I’d advise anyone to go and check out his stuff. Really great songs.

AM: I’ve seen that you’re a Francophile and also becoming fascinated by Japanese culture! Is this something that you think has ever leaked into your music or could do so in the future?

SF: Yes that’s 100% accurate I’ve always been into the french language and now I’m a fluent french speaker. I learned it from having lived over there for years. That’s where City Weezle was initially founded and I still have great friends over there.

Yes it’s worked its way into our music a bit. On our latest album No.2 on the 3rd track Maestro Mafioso, at the intro of the song I have some lyrics in french and I sing them with Pedral and Mina of “Vladimir Bozar ‘n’ ze Sheraf Orkestar” one of my favourite bands!

We also do a rock cover of a french pop song “l’amour a la plage” there’s a version of it on the “Lysergik tea party” EP; there’ll definitely be some more french stuff in future!

Yes, it’s only now I’m starting to learn some Japanese and am very fascinated by Japanese Culture. I feel very lucky to have two great Japanese members in the band and really looking forward to gigging over there with the lads and learning more about the culture. Musically I’ve only learned the Japanese minor pentatonic scale and I wrote a really cool sounding intro with it once – we might break that out of the bag and make it something hopefully. Look forward to learning and hearing more.

AM: How do you believe that City Weezle fits into the prog scene?

SF: We initially come from the underground scene in France where Igorrr, Pryapism Vladimir Bozar and all these bands were kind of our contemporary’s. I think our music is quite diverse and will remain so we can be appreciated by the open-minded members of many different types of audiences.

I could see us opening up for any band we’d cite as an influence and fitting the bill very well, I think we fit in many places; we’re a fun band and we put on a fun show! It should fit right in everywhere. (Probably not in all-metal show line up but we’ve done it before and didn’t get murdered by an axe-wielding maniac, but who knows? Maybe next time it’ll happen 😉

AM: What is the main mission statement of City Weezle?

SF: Our mission is to keep people entertained as fuck and bring this super fun music to as large an audience as possible in this lifetime all while sharing the love of the music we love and the influences we channel through our music.

I believe it was Frank Zappa who said “Music is the Best”.

Words by Alex Mace

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Row, Row, Row your Roly Boat as TV Composer Gives us a Cracker of a Sea Shanty

Folk

A sea shanty, chantey, or chanty is a type of work song that was once commonly sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels. The term shanty most accurately refers to a specific style of work song belonging to this historical repertoire. However, in recent, popular usage, the scope of its definition is sometimes expanded to admit a wider range of repertoire and characteristics, or to refer to a “maritime work song” in general.

Of uncertain etymological origin, the word shanty emerged in the mid-19th century in reference to an appreciably distinct genre of work song, developed especially in American-style merchant vessels that had come to prominence in the decades prior to the American Civil War. So now we have wikipedia’s view point , take your slippers off, put on your oil skin or what ever it is fisherman wear and learn to love and give a big hug to Roly our favourite sea shanty composer, he is truly excellent.

Hailing from Peckham, London, though currently based in East Portlemouth on the South Devon coast during the lockdown with his heavily pregnant wife, Roly Witherow has composed for television programmes such as BBC’s hit, Who Do You Think You Are? and Channel 4’s On the Edge as well as for films such as 2014’s Gregor; Sex Ed (2017) and Try (2018). Ballads and Yarns was written and recorded in Roly’s own home studio and was mixed by Joao Noronha in Brazil (where his wife hails from). A nod to the past, present and future, Roly Witherow’s Ballads and Yarns is 21st Century folk music in all its glory.

Tracklisting:

1.         Foreword (Witherow)

2.         Lord Franklin (trad.)

3.         Wedding Song (Witherow)

4.         Row Bullies Row (trad.)

5.         Carousel (Witherow)

6.         ‘Ow Bist Satan (Louis Thompson/Lily Hurdman)

7.         Derry Gaol (trad.)

8.         Paean to Earthly Things (Witherow)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rolywitherowmusic/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rolywitherow

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rolywitherow/

Website: https://www.rolywitherow.com/personal-work

Spotify:

Meet Your New Favourite Folk-Punk Artist: Jay Thackery

Folk, Punk, Rock n Roll

Feeling angsty yet sensitive? Need to look else where to get you punk-folk fix after you released that Frank Turner stopped releasing decent music and became kind of a knob? Well look no further because we’ve found just the guy to fill that particular hole in your life: Jay Thackery.

His debut EP is a gold-mine of story-led folk-punk ballads rooted in personal experience. Indeed, ‘The Rehab Diaries’ isn’t just attempt to make the artist sound edgy and tortured: the album was literally written and recorded during Thackery’s second stint in rehab for various  substance abuse issues. He refers to the EP as a ‘perfect snapshot of that period in his life’, which encapsulates the almost memoir-like quality that the record has: it is introspective, reflective and cathartic.

 

The sound, at its core, is folky. Jay Thackery has a one-man-band vibe going on, with his use of an acoustic guitar and bass-drum adding to the rough-and-ready production value that amplifies the emotive quality of his music. Manufactured pop-punk this is not. Coupled with elements from classic rock’n’roll, bluegrass and punk- all genres that traditionally have had a large grassroots scenes—his music is nothing if not authentic.

There is also a smattering of rap in songs such as ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘The Fall’, in which Thackery shows off some of his best lines, and is reminiscent of a younger Ed Sheeran, before he became the unofficial mascot of Heart Radio. We only hope that his upcoming releases contain more spoken word segments, as we feel that this shows Jay at his most inventive.

 

Check out the album and more on the links below!

SoundCloud– www.soundcloud.com/jaythackeryuk

Spotify– https://open.spotify.com/album/248U9ocWc6U2e8Xg5Qt4kQ

Youtube– www.youtube.com/jaythackeryofficial

Facebook– www.facebook.com/jaythackerymusic

Website– www.jaythackerymusic.com

Ben Ridley, Turning His Classical World Upside Down, With New Pop Album ‘Sing’

Alternative, Experimental, Folk, Funk, Indie, Pop

 

Being able to switch music genres, midway through your career is something that some musicians crave, to have satisfaction in your work in one field, to them do a full U-turn and create something complete new is one hell of a life goal, and Ben Ridley has made it clear that his new found pop career is here to stay!

Ben Ridley’s previous music path was quite different, consisting a classical piano compositions, however, with the recent release of tracks such as ‘Sing’ and ‘Dancing Mood’. These tracks take the traditional elements of a classic pop song, but with added flare that only Ben could bring to the table.

With the added addition of more pop treats guaranteed further down the line, Ben Ridley is definitely one to keep your eye on.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmbBMAky4e8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ben-Ridley-194235297798511/

Instagram: BenRidleyMusic

Twitter:  BenRidleyMusic

Taking A Stand, Saint Mars Release New Project That Highlights The Effects Of Bullying

Alternative, Experimental, Folk, Indie, Pop, Rock

 

Breaking barriers between Europe and the USA, Saint Mars have incorporated the voice of 13 year old Tryzdin Grubbs, a talented young singer who found fame in a internet viral video, in which he covers Adele’s ‘Hello’, making him an instant hit!

This experimental, pop-rock project is a concept album that revolves around the harsh effects of bullying, especially in a younger generation. To convey this, the band gained the youthful, yet defined voice of 13 year old Tryzdin Grubbs.

The sweet and soft voice brings the track to life, and gives it a new and experimental twist. With a brand new single out on April 28th, be sure to check them out:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/saint_mars

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJDziNXZFtNpmd_BIZ1z_EA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SAINT.MARS.OFFICIAL/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarcDarcange?edit=true

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saint.mars/

Website: https://www.saintmars.net

JohnLikeJohn’s Crazy And Kooky Reputation Is Not Going Away Anytime Soon

Acoustic, blues, Experimental, Folk, Indie, Singer-Songwriter

 

JohnLikeJohn has made us all aware of his strange eccentric style, with music videos, soft folk songs and live performances that are like no other.

Now with the recently released ‘Vegans Are Evil Too’ EP, audiences can learn so much more about their favourite weird and wonderful singer-songwriter.

The EP itself features 5 tracks, including ‘Vegans Are Evil Too’, ‘I Am Scared Too’ and the much loved ‘Fish in the Sea’.

Be sure to check the Ep out as well as the official music video for single ‘Faking Foxes’.

 

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-576372009
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2wX9uVE
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC90iBtQqhlTgWpz0NkdkwUQ
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnlikeJohn/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnlikej
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnlikejohn/?hl=en

Julia Mascetti – A Modern Day Dream Weaver

Acoustic, Alternative, Experimental, Folk, Live, Music, Singer-Songwriter

Dream weaving is no easy feat, but Julia Mascetti and her harp do just that with an ease and sense of style that only a true sonic whizz can pull off.

Listen to a live version of her track “In Bloom” here

Growing up in the UK but living in Tokyo, Julia is a melting pot of influences and her new EP, “In Distance, Everything Is Poetry” showcases this perfectly.

One of the more standout tracks from the EP is In Bloom. The song is built around a haunting picked arpeggio that provides the perfect foundation for Julia’s storytelling and leaves space for the smaller, more delicate details of the production to shine through. Weaving cleverly in and out of this are masterfully placed snippets of traditional Japanese sounds and it is this that gives the music its distinct, eclectic character.

The end result though is something that is truly unique, emotive and haunting and showcases the storytelling of someone who truly loves and respects their craft.

Follow Julia here!

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/juliamascetti

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliamascetti

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JuliaMascetti

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliamascetti

Albino: Night At The Chemist

Alternative, Country, Folk, Rock, Rock n Roll

Albino, ‘probably London’s greatest alcoholic garage rock band’, are back with their brand new album, ‘Night at the Chemist’. The band, consisting of Ben Tucker on guitar and vocals, Merv Salole on bass, Gareth Morris on guitar, and Don Gibson on percussion, and managed by Rocker Young, have easily performed over 250 gigs since starting up the band in 2005. Once a year, they even head out on an international tour, so those not from the UK will still have the chance to see this highly animated band of vintage-rock tendencies.

Albino can only be described as whisky obsessed Americana/garage rock musicians who can rock any venue using their incredible, often humorous original songs, including ‘Belinda’, the lead single off the new album, which displays the band’s energetic, light-hearted and passionate characteristics.

The strong beat alongside the catchy melody and lyrics, and the tremendous vocals from Ben Tucker, complemented by the extraordinary guitar solos, make their music incredibly satisfying and enjoyable for a wide range of listeners, making us dust off and tune our air guitars, ready to play along.

Check out more on Albino here:

http://www.albinomusic.com/index.php

https://www.facebook.com/Albinomusic

https://www.reverbnation.com/albino

https://soundcloud.com/al-bino-6

https://mobile.twitter.com/Albinomusic

https://www.youtube.com/user/Albinomusic

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla Reissue ‘Gaodhal’s Vision’

Folk, Jazz, Rock

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Back in the 70s, Joe O’Donnell was known as one of the world’s best rock violinists with the bands East of Eden and Headstone, but now he performs alongside his band Shkayla (Gaelic for ‘stories’) who are reissuing Joe’s classic 1977 album Gaodhal’s Vision, to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

At the time, Gaodhal’s Vision, was ‘visionary’ to say the least, demonstrating Joe’s innovative and experimental playing which he combined with the guitar skills of fellow rock-legend, Rory Gallagher, who was a close friend of Joe’s too. Consequently, the record was met with critical acclaim then, and still stands the test of time now as one of the best celtic-rock concept albums ever produced.

As part of their 40th anniversary celebration, Joe and Shkayla played a double show at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre which will be featured as an exclusive DVD along with the reissue. The new remastered, enhanced and extended version of Gaodhal’s Vision is available from the band’s website with 20% off until the end of April:

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/shop/gaodhals-vision-40th-anniversary-edition/ 

Links:

http://joeodonnellsshkayla.com/

https://soundcloud.com/shkayla

https://www.facebook.com/shkaylaband/

https://twitter.com/shkayla

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfqphCzdhiwEgpykm1SQyg

‘Call Me The Moon’ by Mark L. Oakes

Folk, Singer-Songwriter

Belgian singer-songwriter, engineer and producer Mark L. Oakes is releasing the ideal soundtrack for what he calls a ‘karmic road trip’ with his debut album Call Me The Moon.

Mark’s home studio, tucked away in the Ardennes, provided the perfect location to record the album, whilst it was mastered in Los Angeles by Grammy award winner, Gavin Lurssen.

Oakes’ influences are clear once you listen to his music and he is keen to show his admiration for the likes of Neil Young, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Tucker Zimmerman and Ryan Adams.

While singles ‘Shredded Jeans’ and ‘Friend From Above (Sleepless Spouse)’ are tinged with soft melancholy, tunes like ‘Aloof Again’ and ‘None Of These Roads’ will lead you straight to a risky, bitter ground. Although Mark’s sound can best be placed in the folk genre, he employs elements of rock too such as the deep and resonant, yet subtle electric guitar on ‘Aloof Again’.

Travelling between Europe and the United States with a bag full of projects, Mark sees ‘Call Me The Moon’ as the silver thread out of the vague existential maze. The album is a must listen for anyone wanting to rediscover their love for quality folk music – a real easy listener!

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/mark-l-oakes

https://www.facebook.com/oakesmusic

https://twitter.com/markloakesmusic

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8pq-OE8Cknqw4FwMdfhMLA

www.oakesmusic.com