The Man. The Hair. The Beard. The Legend. We Finally Interview BBC Introducing in Oxford’s host, Dave Gilyeat

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In September of 2010, we visited the BBC’s podcast page and began perusing. After coming across two or three that seemed fairly promising, we caught sight of one that seemed entirely fitting and appropriate. BBC Introducing in Oxford was described as a show devoted to spotlighting the very best of Oxfordshire’s local music scene. In the early ’90s, we had been introduced to the music of Oxford legends Ride and Swervedriver, We couldn’t help but be instantly curious about this programme. 8 years later, we have Dave (and the equally amazing Ronan Munro) to thank, countless times over, for introducing us to artists such as Gunning For Tamar, Wild Swim, Aureate Act, Phantom Theory, Rhosyn, Bug Prentice, Spring Offensive, Coldredlight, Lucy Leave, Richard Walters, Young Women’s Music Project, Hold Your Horse Is, Undersmile, Leader, Esther Joy Lane, Cassels and many, many more.

Dave graciously took time out of his frenetic schedule to have a sit down with us, in Anglophile Studios, to have a proper chin wag. He was as nerdy as we had hoped and as amiable as we had suspected.

  1. When you were young, what inspired you to believe that you would eventually combine journalism with music and combine them into an actual career befitting an adult (or did this simply seem far more fulfilling than working in Waitrose or Tesco)?

 I remember at school the careers booklet didn’t have ‘musician’ or ‘journalist’ in it, so I gave up on that dream pretty early. I did study media at university but spent several years in the wilderness before getting an actual job in the profession, and that was after I helped out at BBC Radio Oxford in my free time, which eventually led to a job at the station and on the news website.

 2. Given you’ve been at the helm of such an iconic radio programme, for ages, and have seen so many artists come and go (or hang around and survive), what do you believe makes Oxford one of England’s ground zeros for producing top shelf music talent, year in and out?

Being able to see other bands and artists having made it is a huge inspiration for those just starting out. I remember seeing Radiohead at Glastonbury and it was the first time I heard Thom Yorke speak. It seems very silly now, but I remember thinking, ‘his accent is just like ours’!

 

3. Arrange the following Oxford bands in order of greatest cultural/musical impact (in your opinion): Ride, Radiohead, Foals, Supergrass, Swervedriver – and explain why

 The fact that a lot of these acts massively influenced each other makes putting them in any sort of order feel weird. But most of the people that send us music are clearly influenced most directly by Radiohead and Foals.

4. What has been your defining moment as host of BBC Introducing in Oxford?

 I’m still waiting!

5. Who would you love to (or dream of) having as a guest on the show and why?

 I’ve interviewed three members of Radiohead so I’d like to complete the set, please. Thom and Ed, I await your call!

6. Do you, Dave Gilyeat, play any instruments?

 The guitar, badly. The piano, horribly. The harmonica, disgracefully.

7. How did you come about crossing paths with Nightshift’s Ronan Munro? What was your first impression of him?

My first impression of Ronan was from his reviews in Nightshift. I can’t say I was one of his biggest fans because he kept giving my band rather mediocre reviews. Tim Bearder, the show’s first main presenter, wanted Ronan involved in the show to give it a bit of integrity, and when I started working with him I found we had a lot in common! And in retrospect, my band was a bit mediocre. We had a couple of good tunes though.

8. Who are your top five favourite British and American bands?

 Just bands? The Beatles, The Divine Comedy, Glass Animals, LCD Soundsystem, The Walker Brothers.

9. You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty has just asked you to choose a book and luxury before she casts you away. What do you choose and why?

The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and the Complete Works of Netflix.

10. Who would you fancy taking afternoon tea with?

 Tom Baker.

 11. What is your favourite venue, in Oxford, to see concerts?

 

 I love them all exactly equally.

12. What makes you proudest to be British?

 Blue Planet II!

13. Do you believe that female musicians are gaining momentum in being discovered and promoted more now than in the past?

 Not nearly enough. Festivals need to do more, promoters need to do more, my team and I need to do more.

14. What does music mean to you? Could you go one day without listening to it?

 Yes, unless I had to drive somewhere. I can’t drive without listening to music, it’s desolate.

 15. What does Dave Gilyeat want his lasting legacy to be?

 If I’m a small footnote in a book somewhere, I’ll be happy.

To listen to the programme, please click on the link below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrsq7/episodes/downloads

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She Was The Real Deal(ia): TSF Presents The True Story Of Delia Derbyshire

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No interview (RIP Delia), no hype, no pomp and circustmance, no trooping the colour. Rather, we invite you to watch this fascinating documentary about a woman who was years ahead of her time and the credit that she was never properly given.

 

 

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Molly Davies IS Dolly Mavies IN…Our First Post of 2018!!

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We admit that it took an age for us to return to Anglophile Studios and we’re well chuffed to do so. We’re equally over the moon that our first interview, for the new year, is with Oxford-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Dolly Mavies (real name Molly Davies….or…is it? ;-)). She has the voice of an old, introspective soul and personifies a ray of sunshine. During a break in gigging round the UK, Ms. Davies popped by the studio to discuss her new single, My Buoy, off her forthcoming EP, Reflections, and to chat about a variety of other topics.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a musician and to learn to play guitar?
I have always loved music, listening to music and have been surrounded by music from an early age. My dad plays the guitar and my nana played the piano so if I was not around one, It would be the other and this fuelled my interest and desire to get creative. I picked up the guitar properly when I was around 16 and asked my Dad to show me a few chords and my learning carried on from there, teaching myself how to get around the fretboard and to compose songs.
2. Describe your songwriting process? Do lyrics come before music or vice versa? What motivates your lyric writing?
I don’t have a definitive songwriting process. I love lyrics, poetry and words, and will often think of something and write it down, or more often than not put in in my phone so I can look at the words at a later date or when I have my guitar to hand. Sometimes I will play around on the guitar and come up with a little riff or some chords I like and work from there. My new single My Buoy is an example of this, I tried out some different tunings and came up with the riff for that song.
My lyrical motivation comes from the everyday, my interactions, relationships, feelings and friends experiences. Anything that particularly moves me.
3. As a young and aspiring female musician, what is your perspective of the Oxford music community? Have you been supported and embraced?
I think there is a large but dispersed Oxford music community, which whenever stumbled across is very supportive.
4. Describe the experience of playing the Common People Festival? How did you come to be invited to play?
I had a brilliant time playing at Common People Festival in Oxford in the Summer. I was so excited to play and be able to perform on both days across the weekend. I had such a large supportive audience and the weather was lovely so it was a brilliant experience all round. I stumbled across the chance to play through applying to play a completely different festival on the other side of the UK and the wonderful Greg just so happened to be running a stage at Common People and thought that would be better suited due to my location. Which it was, so that was a brilliant twist of fate!
5. How does music (either listening to or playing it) make you feel?
I love listening to music and think it is such a powerful tool to express emotion and allow yourself to delve into your feelings. I love playing music really loud, in any genre, and I particularly love music with great lyrical content. I love the opportunity to create and express myself through songwriting and I have found that I can reveal things I didn’t realise I was feeling in hindsight.
6. Who are your top 5 favourite British music acts?
I particularly love acts that are incredible to see live, particularly my local friends Zurich and Sam Martin. I am also a huge fan of Daughter, Travis and Laura Marling.
7. You’re on the Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs and host Kirsty Young has asked you to choose a book and luxury before she casts you away. What do you select and why?
One of my favourite books I have ever read is Patti Smith’s Just Kids. She is an incredible woman and has led such a complex, heartbreaking, wonderful and enchanting life and I think she is incredibly inspiring and I love a book that is about real life and so I would definitely take that with me. I think having the time to read is a luxury!
8. What does being British mean to you?
It’s a funny thing to think about really as I have Welsh heritage and feel very drawn to that part of me, however I think the qualities of general courtesy, and being polite are great attributes to being British.
9. Who would you love to perform with and why?
I would love to perform with The National, as I love their music and think they put on a great show!
10. What is your favourite area of England and why?
Being from Oxford, I would have to say here! I love the combination of city and also lots and lots of picturesque countryside. And Cotswold Stone, that’s lovely.
11. What celebrity would you fancy having afternoon tea with?
I would love to have afternoon tea with Debbie Harry as I think she would be an incredible woman to talk to about music and her experience in the industry.
12. What’s next for Dolly Mavies?
I am releasing a new single in February, My Buoy, taken from my forthcoming EP Reflections, which will be out later this year, which I am very excited about sharing with my fans.
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Her Story, Her Words, Her Mission – TSF Proudly Presents Ms. Zahra Tehrani, Director of the Young Women’s Music Project

A special introduction by The Shipping Forecast founder, Mr. Scott Lyman

Ladies and gentlemen, over the past seven years, I’ve helped bring some fascinating interviews to this blog so that readers, from around the globe, can discover someone they would not have otherwise known of. Whilst this interview is no exception, the subject of it is, without doubt, exceptional.

Ms. Tehrani has been involved with the Oxford-based YWMP for 15 years. She has helped mentor countless young ladies in an effort to help them realise their voice, self-esteem, confidence and identity. I am only too honoured to help her spread the word about this amazing non-profit project. For, without it, too many aspiring female musicians either wouldn’t know where to begin or would be too afraid to pursue their dream of making music.

Due to an illness (at the time), Ms. Tehrani sent us a very special gift; she recorded her answers to the queries we sent her. Her responses are far more powerful than any transcription we could share. After listening to her thoughtful and considered replies, twice, I invite anyone who views this post to take the time to hear the audio in its entirety.

Please visit http://www.ywmp.org.uk to learn more about this noble endeavour.

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TSF Presents: A Woman Who Rocks – Our Chat with Famous Banana Pictures Founder Laima Bite

Her name is as intriguing as the name of her video production company is playful. She’s a multi-talented filmmaker, singer, guitarist and songwriter (along with being a Film Studies graduate from Oxford University) who has been a cornerstone of Oxford’s legendary music scene for 20 years. So, how did we get the top banana of Famous Banana Pictures to agree to an interview with us? To be honest, that’s a jolly good question. The answer is, Ms. Bite loves afternoon tea and a cracking chin wag…and we’re quite adept at providing both…in our very humble opinion 😉

Ms. Bite was not only kind enough to visit the patriotic dwellings of Anglophile Studios, she even gifted us with a signed guitar (how lucky are we?!) to add to our growing collection of guest provided souvenirs. Ms. Bite truly is a woman who ROCKS 🙂

1. What inspired the name of your production company?
It was originally to be called “Box of Frogs productions”, I had a little frog logo and everything, but that was already taken when I researched it, so I started thinking about things that were more personal to me and it just fell into place. When we were in our early teens, my friend Sarah and I would spend the school summer holidays shooting sketches and spoofs with my dad’s camcorder. It was a massive thing that you could plug straight into the VCR after hours of cable searching as I recall. We had devised a couple of characters called John and Mike, who were meant to be huge pop stars from the 1960’s (they went more glam rock in the 70s and had developed some pretty disturbing characteristics by the 80s), they both look a bit like Jeremy Beadle! We made up a TV
show for John called “John’s Star Corner”, and during the title sequence (“John’s Star Corner” written crudely on the inside of a shoe box lid and held up in front of the camera) a plush toy banana with googly eyes was bounced around, really just as a novelty. Then out of nowhere, John exclaimed “Oh look, it’s the famous banana!”, and that saying has stayed with us throughout the years as a private joke really. I couldn’t imagine it being called anything else, now.
2. What motivated you to get behind the camera and help bring other act’s visions, for their songs, to life? Which do you prefer more, performing or making videos?
I think I love both equally, but making videos for other artists feels more rewarding, and is more challenging. I’m also less limited by any preconceived ideas and subject matter that I already understand in my own music, so I can build something new on lyrics that are someone else’s. It’s fun to visually show the artist what you’ve taken from their music, as it will always be different to each listener. We all make our favourite music mean something personal to us, even if we don’t realise it. Well, I think so anyway. I’ve been encouraged by my family to be creative since I was a child, but the motivation really
came from necessity. I reached a point where I had to leave the soulless day job, go and study, and try to turn what I love into a career. It was a now or never moment that I’ll never regret. And it’s not come without its sacrifices, but it had to be done. I’m still trying to reach my goals, the struggle is very real!
3. In the context of your film production work, what has been your proudest accomplishment thus far?
I shot a short half hour film a few years ago between Oxford and Somerset. Its been my biggest challenge to date and tested all of of my capabilities as a screenwriter, a director and a produce and I am extremely pleased with it, and so grateful for the crew and actors I worked with, they truly were an absolute godsend, and I still work with some of them now. It was a real team effort taking months to shoot and I now take nothing for granted when shooting even the simplest of scenes. The experience really broadened my knowledge and appreciation for the difficulties of filmmaking, and the fact that I was able to do this, has left me with a new sense of bravery regarding the tasks I take on. Also, I learnt that you can fit six people and a dog into a one bedroom accommodation if you really have to!
4. You’ve mentioned that you’re an Oxford girl through and through. What do you love about the city? As a musician, why do you believe the city has produced so many amazing bands over the last three decades?
So many great bands have emerged because there are so many venues and opportunities to play. There is something happening every night and many open mics for people to start at. The music scene is great and really varied here, and its all pretty compact, to the point where music events like The Punt (which Ronan Munro of Nightshift Magazine has been putting on since 10 BC) are able to spread across the city centre, and people can discover all kinds of different and new acts over one evening without getting too many blisters.

For me, Oxford is all about the music community, and the little family environments created by promoters such as Klub Kakofanney. I’d rarely leave the house of an evening, if it weren’t for this.

5. Who or what inspired you to become a musician? Why do you believe that, even in these modern times, female musicians are in such short supply?

I did music at school and we had to compose our own songs. I fell in love with the process from then on. I was in a duo with my friend Sarah Wilson called “Michael Myers”, then did open mic for years before joining my first band. That broke up and I started another, which eventually also broke up, so its really tough doing music to be honest, and you need a real sense of determination, that most people will lose at some point as the reality and responsibilities of life kicks in, especially when people reach the point of wanting to start families. So its hard for men and women to really get somewhere musically. I don’t think women in music are in an overly short supply to be honest, but I do believe that their achievements are less recognised publicly, but the way has been paved by the likes of Joan Jett, Chrissy Hynde, Siouxie Sioux, Debbie Harry amongst others when it comes to women having a well deserved place in rock and alternative music. But perhaps there are still expectations of us within the industry which can cause a feeling of limitation. There are still also gender stereotype issues within society and there is definitely an uneven balance when it comes to male and female musicians rather than solo artists and singers, but luckily Oxford is full of women playing instruments, and things are always changing. I’ll leave it at that, because there is literally a whole essay on women in film, media, and music!

6. Who are your top five favourite bands of all time?

Of all time?! Wow, way too difficult to name just five. Let’s give it a go. The Drifters, Queen, Crowded House, Muse, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Siouxie and the Banshees, Roxy Music… no I messed up already. Too many. Can’t compute.

7. What Oxford bands past and present do you love the most?

I’m not sure that all the bands I love are Oxford based actually, but I often see them in Oxford, so I’ll go with that. Past: Ivy’s Itch, Borderville, Cogwheel Dogs (might still be going?) Barry and the Beachcombers, Phyal (who do still occasionally play), Los Diablos.Present: Kanadia, Orange Vision, Cherokii, Vienna Ditto, and Man Make Fire who have been going for a long time and I never get out to see them enough, they are brilliant. The Other Dramas are a duo with Richie Wildsmith on drums and Oxford legend Maria Ilett on vocals and guitar, and they are very enjoyable to watch. I’ve recently worked with Beaver Fuel (a punk three piece) and The Shaker Heights who are making a come back and have changed their sound from indie rock to electronica, kind of, which I’m loving. There are more no doubt but I’ve gone blank. Kanadia are probably the most exciting band around at the moment for me, huge sound and hopefully destined for success.

8. Describe the collaborative/creative process between you and a band, as you create a video. How does it compare to crafting of a song?

Most of the time the artists don’t have a plan, just some ideas, so we discuss those. I listen to the music and visualise the entire video several times. Then I figure out whether or not everything I’ve imagined is doable. Once the technical aspects are sorted I’ll run through the ideas and process with the band to get everything okayed, which usually involves down playing the “suffering” aspect! Its similar to songwriting in a way I suppose, as everything in my head needs to become real, and that’s the challenge. Its usually quite fun, and I enjoy seeing the artists really putting in their best performances into each piece, despite the fact that a lot of the time they can feel quite vulnerable in front of a camera. It is daunting, so having fun is a must.

9. What are your favourite local venues in Oxford to see live music?

The Wheatsheaf. Always the Wheatsheaf. The Cellar is also great. The James Street Tavern has no stage, so its more of an intimate old-school gigging experience and I’ve always enjoyed that.

10. What band would you like to make a video with, and why?

Are we talking fantasy scenario? Because that would be Muse. Their sound is so epic that the visuals would have no limits. And although she’s not a band, Lady Gaga has produced some of my favourite videos to date, also The Horrors. Any band in pointy shoes is good for me. But back in the real world, there are many local bands I’d love to work with, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to over the next year.

11. You’re on Desert Island Disks and Kirsty has asked you to select a book and a luxury before she casts you off. What do you choose and why?

Well I’m slowly making my way through the leather-bound beast that is the Necronomicon: ‘The best weird tales of H.P. Lovecraft’, so I’d imagine that would keep me going for quite some time (and would then double up as a shelf, for my coconut). Would it be cheating if my luxury item was my entire bed? If so I’ll make do with just the duvet. Life on the island would seem less daunting from under my duvet.

12. What advice do you have for any aspiring female musician who simply needs a boost of confidence?

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, you’re just doing your own thing and that’s enough, in fact it’s probably brilliant.

13. What makes you proudest to be British?

Reeves and Mortimer.

14. As a songwriter, what comes first for you; music or lyrics?

I’m assuming you are referring to the writing process? As a solo artist I will write the music and lyrics together. Its a kind of ‘see what happens’ process with a vague theme. With a band the music will generally come first and then the lyrics. If you are referring to the overall experience, then for me as an audience member when watching a band, it has to be both. You could have the greatest sound going but if your singer is no good, the whole thing is no good.

15. What is the most memorable concert you’ve seen?

Probably Iron Maiden in Cardiff. I don’t remember the year, maybe around 2003? Eddie was huge, dressed as a reaper and came out of the stage floor. That’s really what you’re after at a gig! Locally though, I’d have to say the Sexy Breakfast reunion at The Wheatsheaf. What a performance. I was blown away by the sheer energy of it, it was a brilliant night.

16. If you could have afternoon tea with any musician, who would you invite?

If I could use some strange magic and bring Freddie Mercury back, that would be the best afternoon tea ever. I’d be a complete fan girl and probably freak him out. He’s such a legend and an inspiration, and quite frankly, I love him. If I can’t do that, which I’m guessing I can’t, then I’d have to try to choose between Cyndi Lauper and Dolly Parton. Those two ladies have the best stories and I could listen to them both for hours.

17. When all is said and done, what would you like your legacy to be?

One good film would do me. One good cult black comedy horror, ideally staring Alice Lowe. That’s a big dream, but why not.

The following are two videos from Ms. Bite’s growing portfolio:

 

 

If you’ve officially had your mind blown, we invite you to visit http://www.famousbananapictures.com or send a shout out to Ms. Bite on Twitter @famousbpictures

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We Give Many Thanks to Nightshift’s Ronan Munro

Today, on this side of the Atlantic, families are gathered, all over the country, to gorge on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and God knows what else, as a way of taking time out, from hectic work schedules, to be with one another and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season (that is, until Black Friday commences, and peace and harmony are chucked out the window and replaced with stress, anxiety, tension, street crime and general pandemonium).

As we prepare Anglophile Studios, for the holidays, we decided it was a jolly good time to invite a new guest into our patriotic inner sanctum. This time round, we’re putting our Union Jack spotlight on Mr. Ronan Munro, the founder, head writer and editor of Nightshift, Oxford’s premier music publication that features the very best of Oxford’s local music scene. During our chin wag, accompanied by our famous afternoon tea (along with a bottle of red wine, Ronan’s favourite tipple), Ronan indulged us like we’ve never been before.

We hope you enjoy the following transcript 🙂 Happy holidays to everyone!!

1.   Who or what inspired/influenced you to become a music journalist?

I’m not sure I was inspired to do it, I more fell into it. I love writing, and I love music, so the two went together well, and I always wanted people to discover good new music rather than accept the mediocre crap they’re fed by mainstream media. Also, I saw loads of great new bands who, pre-internet, had no way of getting into the national music papers, so I started doing a local mag as a way of hopefully providing that missing first rung in the ladder.

2.   Where did you see your very first concert, in Oxford, and who performed?

My first ever gig was by OMD (supported by The Cocteau Twins) in 1982 at Hammersmith Odeon – when I still lived in High Wycombe, before I ever came to Oxford. I moved to Oxford, to study at what was then the Polytechnic (now Brookes) in 1984, and I think my first gig in Oxford was probably by at the time local goth heroes Chatshow in the union bar. I still know the guitarist, John, who is a well known sound engineer for some seriously big bands. I think around the same time I saw The Smiths at The New Theatre – I bought the last available ticket – back row of the balcony. There was a stage invasion. Fantastic scenes.

3.    You’ve watched bands like Ride, Radiohead, Swervedriver, Supergrass and Foals go on to worldwide, award winning acclaim. As Jon Spira’s amazing documentary, Anyone Can Play guitar noted, so many other notable acts weren’t able to get their due, for whatever reason. Of the many bands you’ve seen that have come and gone, over the years, which ones would you have loved to have seen go on to bigger success?

Oh god, so many. The Candyskins so completely deserved massive success, and were right on the cusp of doing so not once but three times, but as Jon’s film shows, they must be the unluckiest band ever – nothing that happened to them was of their own making, it was all just circumstances, often tragic. Personally I’d have loved to have seen Death By Crimpers, Beaker and Little Fish make it big, mainly because they were all amazing bands, but also because there’s never been a successful female act come out of Oxford. The industry is still very skewed towards men and women have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously. The Crimpers were all close friends of mine and I saw firsthand how they got treated – by agents, journalists, record companies. They were ultimately destroyed by their own record label. Julia Walker from Little Fish has one of the greatest voices I’ve heard – she’s an equal to Patti Smith or Chrissie Hynde; she’s also been badly stung by industry machinations and probably needs a good confidence boost to recognise her own talent.

4.    In your humble opinion, who are the five greatest live bands to ever come out of Oxford and why those five?

On a purely live basis, Foals take some beating – the first time I saw them they blew me away and they continue to do so. Supergrass were always this unstoppable ball of energy and every song was a hit. Little Fish had so much grace and aggression and poise. Sextodecimo were absolutely astonishing: seriously, just the heaviest, sludgiest, most oppressive thing you can imagine – I think I once described them as sounding like the radioactive waste from Chernobyl if it formed a band. And of the current crop I’d say Vienna Ditto – they’re a oddly ramshackle boy/girl duo who make brilliant, wired sci-fi jazz, rockabilly and electro-pop, all mashed up, like Billie Holiday fronting Suicide at times. When they’re on form their shows teeter between absolute chaos and outright genius; that tension is what makes any gig exciting. They take all their equipment to gigs in a stolen shopping trolley. Totally unprofessional but totally brilliant.

5.    What is it about Oxford that produces such a rich diversity of music? I think about some of my personal favourites, like Rhosyn, Spring Offensive, Richard Walters, Hold Your Horse Is, Undersmile, Gunning For Tamar and Coldredlight.

I think the local scene has grown and expanded at a pretty organic rate over the last 25 or so years, mainly because there have been people who have been totally dedicated to making things happen, and as we’ve produced more successful acts, that’s attracted others to come here, either as students or just to form or further their band. You see that more and more often now. Gunning For Tamar definitely came to Oxford for the music. Undersmile is a different matter – they’re all grunge and metal kids from around Witney, but they were inspired by other local acts like Sextodecimo and Sevenchurch, so you have a generational thing going on, where even cult local acts can inspire the next bunch of kids. And of course, they all know they stand a good chance of getting a review, if not the guarantee of a good one.

6.    You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty Young has asked you to select a book and luxury before she casts you off. What book and luxury do you choose and why?

The book – probably The Secret History by Donna Tartt – an incredibly moving story. She has an almost magical ability to make you root for even the most unlikable character, though Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which I read earlier this year, had a similarly huge impact on me. As for luxury – I’m torn between a bottle of red wine that never runs out and a link to Wycombe Wanderers’ online media player so I can still follow all their matches.

7.    As an avid drummer, I feel compelled to ask; who do you think would win a drum duel between Loz Colbert and Phil Selway?

Tim Turan.

8.    Have you met Thom Yorke and Yannis Phillippakis? If so, what are they like in person?

Yes. I used to see Thom a lot back in the beginning as I helped out with Radiohead’s formative fanclub and interviewed them a couple of times, back when they were still On A Friday, though I’ve not seen him to talk to for a long while. He was very shy but very determined and focussed, a classic introvert, which is why he maybe comes across as prickly or elusive, but he’s always been a nice guy in my experience. In fact Radiohead are all absolute gents, and Colin Greenwood is rightly considered the nicest man in Oxford music. Seriously, he makes Dave Grohl look like a right tyrant. Yannis is a nice bloke too, though I wouldn’t say I know him well. Like Thom he knows what he wants, which helps when you’re trying to make it in music, and again I think he’s essentially quite a shy, thoughtful, highly intelligent bloke who comes across as rather more brash and prickly than he really is. I bumped into him a year or so ago and had a nice chat. Bands who make it out of Oxford don’t really do big egos.

9. How many concerts do you attend in any given week? Do you find out about new bands on your own or do you receive recommendations?

Funnily enough I was talking to someone about this at the weekend and I worked out I’d been to 23 gigs since the start of October. Which, combined with having kids and not being as young as I once was, is pretty tiring. I’d happily go to even more but I’d be dead before Christmas and I like Christmas too much to miss it. Finding out about bands can be from all sorts of places – demos they’ve sent in, catching them live by chance, or being recommended by promoters, friends and other Nightshift contributors. Joal Shearing at The Wheatsheaf has a good ear for a new band and he always lets me know if there’s some he thinks I’ll like.

10. At this time, what band(s), and even solo artists, are you excited about? Why?

Seeing Glass Animals doing so well is genuinely gratifying as I gave them demo of the month back in 2010 before they’d even started playing gigs. They’ll probably be headlining Glastonbury in a few years. Of the current crop bubbling under, Vienna Ditto are always a treat live, and Coldredlight could be huge if they can keep writing songs of the calibre of `Little Scorpion’. Both Gaby-Elise and Casper are astonishingly talented, and way ahead of their very tender years musically. The August List possibly don’t get the credit they deserve, perhaps because they’re such an understated couple, but they write beautiful songs, as does Cameron AG; he has a gorgeous voice.

11. What’s the greatest compliment you’ve received from an artist that you’ve spotlighted?

I got a kiss off Cerys Matthews from Catatonia once; does that count? Ed and Colin from Radiohead saying they wouldn’t have made it without the help of myself, Mac from the Jericho Tavern and Nick Moorbath from the Zodiac was lovely. Complete bollocks, but lovely. They’d have been huge whatever. I got a handwritten letter off a band whose album I’d reviewed once promising that I was going straight to hell. I’ve been working towards that all my life so it was nice to get confirmation.

12. What did you think of Ride’s reunion tour, this past summer?

I only saw their first reunion gig at upstairs at the O2 in Oxford, but that was a bit emotional as I saw their first ever gigs back in the beginning – I used to work in the same record shop as Steve Queralt, and later sold t-shirts for them on tour. It’ll be interesting to hear what the new songs are like when they finish recording them.

13. What sort of preparation do you undertake when interviewing a band or artist?

Drink heavily, force them into a corner and ask them what the hell they think they’re doing. Sadly, due to the nature of life almost all interviews now are done via email, so it’s all extremely cordial. Checking what questions they’ve been asked before on various blogs is always a good start, so you don’t just repeat what’s already been said. Actually hearing their music is usually the first and most important bit of preparation.

  

14. What interview has been fantastic/disappointing/surprising?

The best interviews are usually with people who have been out there and done things in life, or have strong opinions or a wild imagination. A group of young blokes with little life experience beyond playing in  band rarely makes for a thrilling read. ShaoDow, a rapper who made his name in Oxford before going off to tour round the UK, was always really interesting on all sorts of levels. I think maybe The Goggenheim did the best interview – they were all a bit older, were all into very different things and had loads to say  – too much to fit in the interview. Musically they were insane too, which always helps.

15. Enquiring minds want to know…what is Dave Gilyeat REALLY like?

He has lovely hair, likes cats and loves David Bowie. He’s also even more of a Doctor Who geek than me and would win a James Bond trivia quiz in his sleep. Other than that – awful man.

16.  When Ronan Munro has long left the Earth, what would he like his legacy to be?

There’d be a lot less wine left in it.

17. What makes you proud to be British/from Oxford?

I’m actually from High Wycombe, but I do love the community that’s built up around the Oxford music scene. I love everything about Oxford, except the football team.

18. What is your biggest accomplishment with Nighshift?

Probably just keeping the mag going for over 25 years now. I’ve been so close to it all ending a few times in the past due to lack of money, but somehow managed to keep afloat, while remaining completely independent. After all this time I don’t think I could do anything else. I’m institutionalised.

To listen to BBC Introducing in Oxford, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d7q6

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Louise Beech, You Are TSF’s Artist of the Month

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As writers, we admire, respect and proudly salute anyone who can skillfully take words and turn them into powerful, thought provoking prose (for the past five years, we’ve been trying to do just that). The moment we came across the work of acclaimed author Louise Beech, we were inclined to get in touch.

Of the many honoured guests we’ve invited into Anglophile Studios, over the years, Ms. Beech proved to be of the exceptional type. She not only complimented us, effusively, about our studio’s patriotic décor, she actually brought some treats to add to the afternoon tea that we treat all of our guests to. Needless to say, we were highly impressed 🙂

Many thanks, to Ms. Beech, for the delightful chin wag that you’re about to read…

1.    Describe your writing process; do you prefer longhand or a laptop? Do you need peace and quiet or is there background noise?

 I scribble notes in a notebook when and as the ideas come. I then transfer them to my computer, at my desk. This is where I do the ‘proper’ writing. As in, sit down, with a deadline, very strictly, and get those words down. When writing I like music. It inspires me. But when editing – as in reading back, twiddling, perfecting etc – I need quiet.

2.    In your bio, on your web site, the opening line reads, “Louise has always been haunted by the sea.” That’s a very curious, ambiguous and intriguing beginning. What exactly do you mean?

 I suppose it is, yes. Really it refers to my eternal love of water. The sea. Rivers. But then also – more deeply I suppose – my fear of it. We flooded in 2007, had our house, belongings, and car destroyed. I also nearly drowned when I was three. And of course there’s my sea-faring ancestry, which haunts me most of all.

3.    Where you do look for inspiration? Is it a combination of reading other books, hearing stories from family and friends, living in Hull or is it what you experience in everyday life?

 Ah, I’m inspired by everything. The past, both my own and others’. What’s going on around me. Things I hear on the bus, odd phrases and curious words. What friends tell me, what family say. My surroundings, yes, they too inspire. Music does. Books I read, films I watch. Everything makes me think, makes me imagine, makes me want to write.

4.    Who are your top five favourite British authors?

 Oh, a difficult one to narrow this down. It will change tomorrow, but here we go. Charlotte Bronte, as a classic, timeless writer. Matt Haig for the issues he explores currently. I adore Julian Barnes’ writing style. I love modern writer Amanda Jennings’ style too. And I admire JK Rowling’s tenacity and perseverance.

5.    You’re on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty Young has asked you to choose a book and a luxury before she casts you away to your island. What do you select and why?

 I would take John Irving’s The World According to Garp because it’s the book I read years ago that utterly cemented my desire to be a writer. Also, I can read it again, anytime, and see something new. My luxury would be a good bed.

6.    What makes you proudest to be British?

 Our incredible history, the beauty of our rolling hills, and the (mostly) welcoming and wonderful people.

7.    What author would you love to have lunch, afternoon tea or dinner with?

 Definitely with Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone with the Wind. One of my all-time favourites, that I devour every few years.

8.    What makes you proudest to be from Hull?

 I love how proud the city is. I love how no matter what stick (and there’s been plenty!) it gets, it fights back. Of course, I’m proud of our maritime history, and love the marina, the docks. I live just outside the city, so really I’m an East Yorkshire lass, and this I’m proudest of all.

9.    You’ve written, on your web site, that you love words and that you always have a story in your head. Are you constantly writing or do you need step away, for a bit, throughout the day, to switch off?

 It’s very difficult for me to step away. It’s not something I can easily switch off, which makes it quite tiring at times. Since I also work (in a theatre) and have a family, my husband always tells me to pick one day in the week and make it my day off. But it’s hard.

10. If you had to go one day without writing, how would you fill the hours of that day?

 I’d read, go to the theatre, see my friends, go to the cinema, enjoy some nice food, travel.

11. What does writing mean to you?

 Absolutely everything. It’s therapy. It’s escape. It’s adventure. It’s just magic.

12. When all is said and done, what do you hope your legacy will be?

 Wow, good question. I hope I leave behind books that inspire people, that take them away from the real world for just a few hours. I hope the fact that I’ve little education really (I got pregnant at Sixth Form College) and had to struggle for many years but still made my dream come true makes others believe it possible too.

 13. You have written novels, short stories and a play. What’s next for Louise Beech?

 Oooh, more of the same definitely. I’ve just finished a recent edit of book three – Maria in the Moon – and am working now on my fourth book, The Lion Tamer Who Lost. I recently submitted a play to a competition, and who knows, I may even write some poetry!

To discover more about Ms. Beech/purchase her novels, please visit louisebeech.co.uk

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