Scotland, the land of tartan, Scottish Gaelic and a profound rock scene that has stood the test of time and yet ironically appears to be somewhat disconnected from the rest of the UK. As far as we know Scotland voted to remain in the union so we don't know what's going here, but let's not go down that road and instead pop open a bottle of Glenfiddich, cook a haggis and do some highland flinging as all this inertia can happen if Vukovi's Janine Shilstone makes it out of our interrogation, which she did.
Vukovi hail from both sides of Ayrshire (because naming the actual towns would get you all confused, so let's not go there) and are leading the rock revolution up in Scotland. Just like the Loch Ness monster is a fabled story told endless times, Vukovi have their own fabled story and are ready to unleash it on the world. Let the interrogation begin.
"Having that make-up definitely brings out an element of confidence in you as it’s like a disguise"
Vukovi's male members started off in a band called Wolves, but as Janine goes on to explain, not all was well in the camp: "things weren't working with their singer so our old drummer, who I went to school with. messaged me on Facebook asking if I fancied coming along for a jam", this ultimately led her to cement her place in this promising band as she goes on to explain: "I went along and we instantly clicked. Musically and personality-wise as well. We wrote a couple of songs, recorded one of them, and the next thing we knew it was getting played on Radio 1! At that point we thought "maybe we should take this more seriously?", before adding that Vukovi is the Serbian translation for 'wolves'. Perhaps we can call them the wolves of Scotland now?
Speaking of wolves, Vukovi have been challenging convention with their infectious style of rock music that will certainly leave you gasping for air whilst you groove the funk out of you. But Vukovi aren't the only rock band from Scotland to hit that perfect note, with bands like Franz Ferdinand and Primal Scream throughout history stamping their authority on the album charts and becoming the beacons of Scottish rock. But as generations come and go, it's the youth that deserve the most attention for they are the ones to refresh the scene, and so what bands in Scotland are making a name for themselves? Well given Scotland's relatively small size, it's rock scene is in contrast rather big and as Janine explains, Scotland has offered itself to the world of rock:-
"There are so many amazing Scottish bands right now that are showing the world how talented a country Scotland really is, considering its small size. You've got the likes of Fatherson, Model Aeroplanes, Chvrches, La Fontaines, The Van T's, Hector Bizerk, White, and that's just a handful. We’re very proud to call these artists our friends. "
Speaking of offerings, Janine has her sights set on the film industry and she cherishes the idea of having Vukovi offering themselves to making a sensational achievement. She is a James Bond fan and so naturally she wants to write a theme song for one of the eventual forthcoming films in the highly successful and long-living franchises, however she "would also love to have our [Vukovi] music on the upcoming film "Trainspotting 2"", adding that she had grown up watching the first film and listening to the music from it.
However she is less optimistic at the opportunity of entering Eurovision, adding the thought that many British music fans have, that is one of seeing the ESC as very political and somewhat of a joke. Aside from that she feels that "it's a great programme to watch on a Saturday night with your pals while getting drunk"; with the Ukraine winning with a highly controversial song, maybe Janine is on to something, I wonder if she would like the idea of a Rock/Metal-based Eurovision Contest?
Vukovi's latest single 'Animal' is out now and you can watch / listen to it here at their YouTube channel:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1TgTVXEpYQ&feature=youtu.be
So what is the meaning behind the song 'Animal'? Does it carry some sort of personnel connotation or is it about the species of the world (or maybe about party animals)? After all humans are animals, so in an indirect sense it is about the specie of the homo sapiens, but actually as Janine explains, ironically what I just said is not far from the truth:-
"'Animal' is all about karma and the 'animalistic' qualities of it. Once you're on its wanted list there's no escaping it. It's a feisty, energetic and powerful song to us, which I think musically reflects well with the meaning of it. All the lyrics I write are personal to me whether it's about my own experiences or experiences people close to me have had. This song in particular is far too personal to reveal but even if I did it would ruin the mystery of it!"
Make of that what you wish, Vukovi clearly have vision on the table and by connecting with their feelings, they manage to express themselves through the beauty of music and for this song, the artistic nature of make-up. Their tribal make-up used in the video looks remarkably sexy on them all, but at a timely cost and it's because of this, it might only see the light of day at big concerts as Janine went on to tell me:-
"We'd definitely consider doing it on bigger shows as a surprise, and it's well fun. Having that make-up definitely brings out an element of confidence in you as it’s like a disguise. Our friend who's a make-up artist didn't have a lot of time to do it, but she's a trooper and took about 40 minutes per person. Getting it off was amazing! Took about half an hour in the shower though, and another half an hour cleaning the shower!"
Aside from raiding the fancy dress store or buying lots of make-up from Superdrug, Vukovi have taken another bold step on their path to success as they were fortunate enough to be asked to support the vastly popular Nothing But Thieves of whom Vukovi are good friends with, but with this is British rock seeing a renaissance period?
"British Rock never goes out of style but I think right now there are so many good rock acts dominating the music scene, and I think in particular the younger demographic are swaying towards rock bands more so than your electro pop culture which I think is a good thing... Not that I'm biased..."
2016 bodes well with the band as they are ready to set Download Festival alight and record their album, Janine has one last message for those reading this and of course Vukovi fans, friends and families:-
"We love and thank everyone that's got us to this point in our career, whether you're a fan who's come to a show, bought our music, showed us your appreciation, or all of our team that believe in us every day and work just as hard as us. We hope that they feel just as much a part of our journey as we do."
Catch Vukovi live at the following dates.
1 – Leeds, Brudenell Games Room
2 – Birmingham, The Sunflower Lounge
3 – Chester, Live Rooms
4 – London, Camden Rocks Festival
12 – Download Festival
25 – Inverness, Ironworks
26 – Aberdeen, Café Drummonds
Vocals - Janine Shilstone
Guitars - Hamish Reilly
Bass - Jason Trotter
Drums - Colin Irving.
Yet another Eurovision hopeful, this time it's Georgian entry Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz who faces the questions about their career, Eurovision chances and the like. Although they might as well be fairly unknown across Europe, they have in fact been going a truly respectable sixteen years. Their song 'Midnight Gold' should give them the much deserved attention.
They're an all-male Indie Rock band and so despite the sexist connotations made in the interview, they are sure to win over the hearts of European Indie Rock fans.
As Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz look ahead to their inaugural Eurovision performance at the second semi final, GMA wants to stress that only ten countries can progress from each of the two semi-finals and join the big 5 (UK, Italy, Spain, France & Germany) plus Sweden. Georgia has never won an edition of Eurovision unlike their neighbours Azerbaijan, so perhaps it might be there year. Their best result is a commendable 9th in 2010 and 2011, last year they placed 11th in the final with the super-gorgeous Nina Sublatti.
Here is how the interview panned out:-
Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz, how does it feel to be representing Georgia for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016?
Of course I’m excited. Regarding my expectations, I don’t really know what to think, our strength I feel lies with our live performance.
How have you been preparing for this event? What was your reaction when the GPB chose you as their selected entry?
To be honest I didn’t even know what to think, I never thought I would get an offer to play at the Eurovision Song Contest, but after the first meeting I realized “why not” and now I’m pretty much into it.
Are you excited or nervous? Seeing as you're the first all-male entry to represent Georgia, do you take pride in this fact?
Well it's a bit sexist isn't it? Joking aside, of course we're proud to be representing Georgia.
Please explain the meaning behind your song 'Midnight Gold'.
It’s about what goes on in a persons head after a long night. Basically “hard nights day”
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
Well at the moment we've got more than enough songs for one album, the plan is to start working as soon as we come back. During the summer, for us is the best time for recording sessions.
Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's, etc you wish to send out?
Love & music will save the world (seriously :) )
(Check out their video below)
It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with Tuesday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Iceland, whose entry Pollapönk made it to the finals (live Saturday night on BBC1 - check your own national broadcaster), they mix punk rock with children's music, this however is overshadowed by the interesting fact that their back-up vocals are split amongst Óttarr Proppé (from Ham) and Snæbjörn Ragnarsson (from the Viking Metal band Skálmöld). You might as well admit that Iceland and Finland have both gone down the rock route this year (we would like to see more of this), what with Ukraine's Gothic pop entry also gone through, there is a little theme going on this year.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Pollapönk and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'No Prejudice' and the Icelandic Rock Music scene. Many thanks to Haraldur
Gíslason for talking to us.
"Eurovision is a happy place".
Hey guys, first off how does it feel to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest?
It is a dream come true to get on to a big stage like this and to get our message out to as many people. We don’t feel any pressure, but we are determined to have fun and do our very best to make Iceland proud.
The song "Enga fordóma (No Prejudice)" is about a young person who has the habit of stuttering around others and fears to be mocked or bullied because of this. With this song it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all bullying and prejudice as everyone has the right to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. We think that the world needs to hear the "no prejudice" message. Especially from middle age, heterosexual, white men like us. Being middle age, heterosexual, white men makes us a group that is most unlikely to be discriminated against and we believe that we should use this opportunity to point out the injustice in this world. Of course we know that it will not instantly make the world a better place. It is our small contribution.
What inspired you to get the suits? Especially in vibrant colors :)?
With different colors we are calibrating diversity. We may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the same. Also we just look very good in these colored suits.
What does Pollapönk mean and why that name?
Pollapönk means two things. Punk for kids and puddle punk.
Could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Icelandic Rock scene?
The Icelandic rock scene is very good. All the members from Pollapönk come from the Icelandic underground rock scene. There is a lot of good bands coming up and the scene is growing.
Now you have been going eight years, where have you played outside Iceland?
Not so much as Pollapönk. But Heiðar and Haraldur are in a band called Botnleðja that has toured a lot outside Iceland. Once they supported Blur in the UK. Gudni and Arnar are in a band called Mugison that has toured a lot as well. Bibbi or mister Orange as we like to call him is in a heavy metal band called Skálmöld. Our member of parliament Óttarr is also in a band called Ham.
Could you give a brief history of the band and how you met?
Pollapönk was founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gíslason and Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnleðja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of education from the University of Iceland. The purpose was to write and perform music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing-a-long to. The first album "Pollapönk" was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Þór Gíslason who is Haraldur‘s brother and bass-player Guðni Finnsson joined Pollapönk which then became a quartet. Pollapönk have made two more albums, and played numerous gigs for children and grown-ups all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is the chairman of the Association of Pre-school Teachers, Heiðar Örn is a Pre-school teacher and Arnar Þór and Guðni are professional musicians.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
No prejudice! Spread the word.
The Eurovision Semi Final No.2 is on tonight on BBC3 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm and UK viewers CAN VOTE tonight - we'd like Malta, Israel, Lithuania, Finland and Slovenia to go through amongst others - Romania, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Belarus.
The Eurovision Final is on Saturday - BBC1 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm we believe.
"We played what I'm pretty sure was the first ever Steampunk festival in Lincoln back in 2009".
Genre: ALTERNATIVE ROCK / DEATH POP
Label: GOREMOUNT RECORDS
All questions: Laurence Beveridge (except question 7 which was Kier Kemp)
So guys you're playing Download Festival, this surely has to be the band's biggest career highlight so far?
Yeah well we played Download last year as well, so it's really awesome to be back. It's definitely between playing Download twice and playing Brixton on the Kerrang! tour that ticks the box marked "highlight of career".
You just released your second release 'Exposition', has there been a shift in music style from 'Militia of the Lost'?
Yeah in fact it was almost a shift backwards. On 'Exposition' each member of the band wrote a song and it was much less collaborative. I guess we just wanted to flex our musical muscles. It's an awesome record, but not the direction we're heading in.
There have been times where you have been associated with the Steampunk / Victorian image, what is your opinion?
We love Steampunk. We played what I'm pretty sure was the first ever Steampunk festival in Lincoln back in 2009. We love the whole Victorian vibe and I guess the literature we write could be described as steampunk.
Reverting back to Download, will there be any new material unveiled on the day? Will you be playing any earliest material?
We might be playing a new song, as we're heading into the studio to record album number 2 like 3 days later, so yeah. But old material, who knows.
On the note of Download, have you brainstormed set designs or will you go for the simple option?
I'm not sure how much we're allowed to do regarding set design, but we're going to get something exciting. Maybe a replica spitfire or some shit.
You have been nominated for the Kerrang! Awards, in two categories I believe? What is your reaction to this?
We're excited. It's the same award we were nominated for last year, so lets hope we get it this year!
Kier, you appeared on Channel 4 News in light of the changes to hate crime, how was this for you, was it easy to express yourself on television or was it a little surreal?
It was both! I had never done live TV before that and it's a very different experience. Luckily being in a band and performing prepares you for these things a little more. It was evident that my counterpart from The Telegraph didn't feel so comfortable. It was a fantastic experience. I'd do it again in a heart beat. Especially for such a good cause!
What plans does Fearless Vampire Killers have for the year ahead and what can fans look forward to?
New album, touring with Madina lake and another single off 'exposition'.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings etc you wish to send out?
Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us even though we're busy and can't always chat. You guys are more important than anything else in this business.
"Edenlust isn't considered straight "Gothic" but we keep that dark aura within it".
Genre: DARK ROCK / METAL
So GMA found time to pull aside Torrin from Texan rockers Edenlust to have a quick chit-chat, this was quickly followed by a rodeo of which we lost.
So Torrin how did Edenlust come about and how does the band differ from the many Texan bands out there?
Edenlust was formed by Taylor Dennis (guitars) who also fronts Revengeance, Nick Crane (bass), and myself (vocals) back in mid fall / autumn of 2009, just the 3 of us. Nick and I have been friends since high school and so he introduced me to Taylor who both were already jamming at the time and brainstorming ideas for a new, at the time labeled, Gothic metal band. That first night of us being together we sat down in the middle of Taylor's rehearsal room and wrote our first song "Baptized In Winter Blood".
Throughout the next two years the line up would grow into a 5 piece group with some member changes here and there. Currently it's back to Taylor, Nick, and myself which we all felt that just like the beginning of Edenlust, is best for us creatively and mentally. Comparing to most of the bands back in Texas there would be the Pantera (which I love by the way) influenced groups metal wise, and occasionally something way past different from any of them. But it wasn't just all of that, many bands that I've heard or have seen are all very different as possible. With Edenlust, my personal goal was and still is to make it stand out a little more than most others. Nowadays the sound of the band has become more open in terms of musical, lyrical and mental influences and has been a personal goal of releasing personal feelings, whether it being from my own experiences, others, or the entire world for that matter. I wouldn't so much say that now, Edenlust isn't considered straight "gothic" but we keep that dark aura within it. Our brand new song "Frozen Red" comparing to the more popular "Kiss The Rain" track really explains that evolution and maturity of Edenlust.
Given the Texan climate, do tornadoes affect the band's activities and if so how? Have you seen or been affected by any?
There have been tornado or thunder storm warnings here and there, I say that it has ever rarely affected a small portion of audience members for an entire show with us playing alongside 4 other bands from showing up in order to remain safe. However we are still to this day very grateful for all of their support and coming out and having a good time anyway. I wouldn't say I've been so close to a tornado, but a decent distance away to know one was around, that had to been around 4 years back.
What would you say the biggest challenge was for American bands these days?
In my own perspective, it's pretty tough when your a local band working really hard to promote a show or whatever while most people seem to be more interested in major acts, which is completely understandable and I have no hard feelings towards them. If one decides to attend a local show, you won't regret that $5 or $10 bucks you've spent checking out 5 to 12 unknown bands. You may like them all, you may like only a few or only 1, probably none, but you never know what you could be missing out.
How would you describe your music without using genre tags or cliches?
As mentioned before, it was common for us to be labeled as a Gothic Metal band in the beginning. I hear the sound of Edenlust... well, just Edenlust! Haha! It's tough to really describe it other than dark, melodic, often monstrous, catchy metal / rock.
You're now a three piece, what happened to the past two members?
There are about a total of 4 ex members. All I can say is that 1 of them was due to creative and personal differences with us 3 while the others have gone their own ways for something else whether it being for himself, work related, it could be anything. I'm not saying that we should forget the past, but the rebirth of Edenlust is all for moving forward. I'm still appreciative of the ex members contributions though.
How did you personally get into singing and who inspires you? Idols? Influences?
Ever since I was a child, growing up to Pantera, Metallica, and amongst many other well known groups, I've always wanted to be a singer / frontman but I've always wanted to be involved with writing and creating music, which I do with the others for Edenlust or for fun anyway. A lot of my favorite bands come from the Japanese Visual Kei Music scene. Dir En Grey, my favorite band, is a huge inspiration for me not just musically, but the energy consumes me. It's surely a damn great feeling if a band is able to do that. Amongst the other influences are Slipknot, As I Lay Dying, Sentenced, U2 (huge fan believe it or not!), The Misfits (Graves Era preferably) and the list goes on. Other than that I want my voice along with the lyrics I be heard as a moving message.
Finally any hello's, thank you's to your fans?
A shout out to all of my friends and family back in Texas, I love you all! Huge thanks to Taylor and Nick for remaining in the dream, the bands we've share the stage with, my fiancé who had put up with me and my nonsense. Haha! A thank you to YOU who have given the chance to interview me and learn a bit about Edenlust, and most importantly... The Fans, the Victims! Without any of you we would be absolutely nothing, this is only the new beginning... YOU ALL RULE!
Global Metal Apocalypse caught up with Norwegian Hard Rock / Post-Grunge quartet Audrey Horne as they anticipated their latest album release late January / early February. "Youngblood" is the band's fourth studio outing and is an excellent and sweeping Hard Rock album full of soul and without a doubt the highlight in the discography of Audrey Horne!
In March 2013, Audrey Horne will come over for shows in Germany and one show in Prague together with Long Distance Calling and Solstafir.
Singer Toschie’s comment on just announced tour:
"We are truly lookin' forward to tour with such amazing bands as Long Distance Calling and Solstafir, and to come back and see all of our friends in Germany, and in Prague. With our new album, "Youngblood", we are in the shape of our lives, and the vibe within the band have never been better. See you all out there!"
Below you will find our interview with Arve Isdal (guitars)
_Hyvää päivän Suomessa, tämä on Englanti kutsumus!
(Good Day Finland, this is England calling!)
Barbe-Q-Barbies, the Finnish quartet have recently been racking up untolled attention across Europe and are establishing themselves as the next big thing since The 69 eyes and The Rasmus, but what lies beneath these red-hot beauties is nothing near as powerful as their music, they aren't your average girls either as Niki (vocalist) and Kaisa (guitars) explain.
How did you girls form and did you instantaneously feel that you personally wanted to be a musician?
Kaisa: I joined the band in 2003, actually by then we didn’t have a vocalist. I also witnessed BQB’s first gig from the audience: Niina was doing the vocals and a guy was playing the drums. I have played some instruments since I was three so basically that’s nothing new to me. Being in a band was though, and it turned out to be a blast with four of my friends…
Niki: I have always been into music since I was a kid, but I started singing at the age of 19, I was doing a solo project but in 2007 i dropped it and became the singer of BQB instead.
Hailing from Helsinki, the local scene itself - is the rock/metal scene big there and what are the best venues to play at?
Kaisa: There are a lot of bands in Helsinki, and also across the whole of Finland. Also there are a great number of “bubbling under” bands who try to make it big. I would say the metal scene is bigger than the basic rock scene, especially the kind of classic rock that we play. I think the best venues in Helsinki are definitely Tavastia, On The Rocks, Nosturi, Loose and The Circus (we haven’t played in the Circus yet). There also are a few number of smaller venues which are great for the newcomers.
Niki: I think Finland is pretty famous for their Heavy metal bands and there is lots of festivals over here for that type of music like Tuska, Sonisphere and many more, there are not as many festivals that are only for rock / classic rock, but then again there are a lot of venues for Rock Concerts.
What was your reaction when Lordi did the unimaginable and win the Eurovision?
Niki: I was like Holy S#it! It can’t be true, but it was and then there was a big party all around Helsinki so it was pretty cool ;)
Kaisa: Well, what can you say… it was unbelievable. We were at Nosturi’s “Eurovision studio” drinking beer and watching the show. You could say it was a hell of a party after it turned out Finland won the contest…
Do you feel in recent times, Metal and Rock music alike is breaking down the gender biasness in that only males can play such a genre? Do you feel that more and more females are being attracted to the genres?
Kaisa: I think it takes time to break down those prejudices, and to prove that women can play rock just as well as men. It still is a bit of an odd phenomenon, especially in metal and rock.
Niki: Nowadays there are definitely more girls into playing rock and metal, I guess there is also more music schools, more possibilities and more girls in general that have realized it is okay to be a Female Rockstar!
You got quoted by Bam Margera and The 69 Eyes, are they friends of the band and/or have you met them?
Kaisa: Well, you could say that ;) I meet Bazie every day since we’ve lived together for 5 years now… We met Bam through The 69 Eyes and it’s so cool he digs our band.
Niki: Yes we are good friends with The 69 Eyes and I met Bam through Andy McCoy (Hanoi Rocks) many years ago and became good friends.
Since your first release in 2003, how (if) would you say the band has changed and describe the band's current style of music?
Kaisa: I would say the band has changed a great deal since those days. There have been changes in the line-up (vocals and bass) and it also took time to find out our style of music, or the common thread, so to say. We are also ten years older but still forever kids who love rock ’n’ roll, I think that’s a thing that never changes.
Was your gig at The Borderline in London on the May 30th 2012 the first time you played in the UK? How was the gig for you?
Kaisa: Yeah, that was our first trip to UK as a band. It was a great experience to play there and we would love to go back to UK soon. A big hello to everybody who was there, and thanks for the rocking evening!
Niki: It was Awesome!! Hopefully we can come back there soon, and we have talked about still coming this year so let’s hope so.
As far as band influences go, do they come from just rock bands or are there any other influences in other genres?
Niki: I’m influenced by all genres and I still listen to all kind of music, it depends on the day and my mood, I might listen to heavy metal,r&b or pop.
Kaisa: For me rock music has always been a passion, actually since I was a little kid. I would listen to my older brother’s KISS albums and a great Finnish band called Smack. My influences basically come from rock music.
What plans do Barbe-Q-Barbies have for 2012 and beyond and what has already been done this year?
Kaisa: We’re going to the studio in October to record our next album, besides that we so far have a few gigs booked in Finland and possibly we’re doing some gigs outside Finland after our studio time.
Niki: We are mostly working on our new songs, but also preparing at rehersal for upcoming gigs, i think 2013 will be our year. We are releasing the album some time in February and then we are hoping to really start touring, this year has been great as we made a deal with Plastic Heads and got our album realised in Europe, we have had super good press and great feedback, so we are really excited for what the future shall bring.
Finally, what would you say is the best music festival in Finland is?
Kaisa: In my opinion there are three: Ruisrock (in Turku), Provinssirock (in Seinäjoki) and Tammerfest (in Tampere). Actually so far we have only played in Tammerfest, but we’re looking forward to going also to Ruisrock and Provinssirock maybe already next summer. There also are a lot of great smaller summer festivals in Finland, there is something to do for every weekend in the summer.
Niki: Last year we played in Oulu Qstock and that was a really nice festival but there are many good festivals all around Finland so I do recommend anyone that hasn’t been here yet to come over cause you´ll have a blast!
Global Metal Apocalypse has asked the girls a question we are keeping under wraps as a future project, but it will be the biggest ever taken on and let's just say the girls said yes to it.
The Alternative music interview page features interviews from Eurovision entries to other non-metal music entities.
Eurovision Song Contest