Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Templating it up

Woohoo! Got the email I've been waiting for! Bagged an interview with Shinedown on their UK tour over here. Already got a ticket to catch their show in Manchester so should be awesome (though I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't in fact filling my pants with you know what). Still waiting to get my questions back off Bowling For Soup, who themselves are currently ploughing their way through the UK! Managed to catch their show in Manchester the other night. It was pretty good, although I now share complete hatred and distaste for ANYONE who picks up VIP tickets. You already see the band close up in the day while we freeze in the cold for 5 hours so what makes you think you're better than us to be at the barrier? twats.

At the moment just getting some templates together in Quark Xpress, at the risk of sounding like an elitist arsehole mac user, I have to say I'm loving using Quark on this MacBook Pro. Although it is a pain when it comes to deleting certain boxes. Gutted about some of my Skindred photos because when I import them into Quark they're too small and they pixelate when I expand them. Wouldn't mind but I got the photos off a professional photographer. Nevermind I'll have to use a different gig as my lead into the gigs section, hopefully Shinedown considering I've hopefully got my mate in for free to take some pictures for me. Here's hoping his pictures don't suffer the same fate.

Off topic if you're an aspiring journalist and wish to interview people here's what NOT to do, this helped me take comfort in the fact I won't be this bad when I interview a multi-platinum rock band next week...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

To title or not to title?

Can't think of an idea atm for a name for the magazine (although one blunt genius of a friend suggested an idea or two as it'd be a magazine like Kerrang and Metal Hammer. Although I fail to see the name 'Merrang' setting the world on fire...)

Anywho got an idea for a letters section. Instead of the usual random rants and musical politics you see 13 year old kids sending in; thinking that they warrant a credible opinion as to what real music is (bearing in mind half these kids metaphorically masturbate off 'fashion' bands like Bring Me The Horizon and My Chemical Romance). I thought I'd take it in a different path and get some people to write down their favourite gig memory or anything to do with music in their life i.e funny stories at gigs, meeting bands or anything of that origin etc. Just to give it a more human approach.

On the subject of Bring Me The Horizon etc I've come up with another feature that I best get cracking onto. Slightly inspired by Jack's 'So You Want To Be A Metalcore Singer' feature he's writing. I thought I'd write a short on how the image of a band has become more important in selling bands rather than their music. At the risk of sounding biased I freely admit I hate this 'emo' trend that shot up over the last 5 years or so. They offer nothing except ball-restricting pants, lego haircuts and a tonne of scars on a whiney kids arms which pissed off and scared the parents of America

It pains me to see these days that bands like Paramore, who when you actually sit down and listen to instead of looking at them with your mouth open. You'll see that they're offering nothing new and selling a tonne of records as compared to in my opinion far more superior bands such as Mastodon. Although admittedly not to everybody's tastes continuously raise the bar creatively with each album they've released and have received critical acclaim yet are criminally under-looked (Their latest album 'Crack The Skye' my favourite album this year, and possibly one of my all time favourites, has only sold around 200,000 copies in America). Anyway not too much to report, and hopefully should recapture a bit of motivation that I've lacked this week to tame this beast!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Transcibing and unwinding

Just had a crack at the new trailer for The Expendables, Stallones way of getting everyone whose ever been hard in a film (or in a wrestling ring) and ripping stuff up on a big scale. Can't wait to see this film, although it'll inevitably possess more ego than Kanye West's diary...

Finally got round to transcribing the Dead By April interview, spent two hours solid typing up everything. At this point I think it went a bit too far because I ended up writing over THREE PAGES and I still had another four minutes of audio to write up. A photographer I met at the gig has granted me the use of some of her photos so I can write up a gig review to bung into the magazine, and as I've already told her she will get photo credits ;)

Sent off my questions for Bowling For Soup to their A&R guy at their record label so should have them up some time soon! Not to go into too much detail but I basically asked a few bog standard question such as:
  1. The new album Sorry For Partyin’ just came out and is doing well in the iTunes chart, how have you celebrated thus far?
  2. Tell me about the recording of the new abum. Were you distracted at any point? And how fun was it to record?
  3. Like in the song No Hablo Ingles, have you ever done or said something comical to get out of a tight situation?Jaret, you commented on your Twitter that there was enough material for a double album. Could a double album be a possibility in the near future? and will the left over material be released at some point?
  4. When you’re not touring what do you guys like to do in your spare time?
  5. I understand that you never play to a setlist at any show, has this at any point in your career not gone according to plan i.e fuck ups etc?

    Though my interviewing skills leave a lot to be questioned I hope I get back some pretty decent answers, I sent them literally about twenty questions too hehe.

    Besides the interviewing and all that stuff I've reignited my love of Black Books and South Park this week, a Black Books marathon took place the other night so all is good

    The second half of series 13 of South Park started last week. I'm quite surprised not alot of stick was given to them by the usual conservative bandwagoners for mocking the many dead celebrities from this year. It strikes me even more that they managed to slip in Patrick Swayze so shortly after he passed on. Yes I had to laugh at the episode, I'm not gonna suck up and say it wasn't funny because that's just who I am. Its human nature to laugh at other people's misfortunes. Whoever says they've never done it is either a liar or a repressed religious nut. Just like the media, we pray on human suffering, because that's what gets the better reactions from people (and that's about as intellectual as I'll ever get so sorry to disappoint!)

    On the subject of Bowling For Soup managed to pick up their new album Sorry For Partyin' this week just before I sent my questions off to them

    It's actually a really good album. Might not be the most 'out there' album to ever grace one's ears but its a decent fun-filled record full of catchy hooks and comical lyrics that you can relate to if you dig deep and find the meaning. What makes Bowling For Soup so popular is their refusal to suck it up and kiss the arse of 'the man' like some of these bands these days do just for business purposes. (give a read of some of the press releases for Linkin Park's Minutes To Midnight from 2007 and you'll see what I mean, and on that note, what a piss-poor effort that album was!)

    They certainly raised a few eyebrows in 2006 when they released The Great Burrito Extortion Case with the song "I'm Gay", in which they declared that they're sick of all these rock and metal bands coming out with all their 'we're moving to be more serious' bullshit (quick mental note: its the old meaning of the word gay; to be happy, not the meaning that makes some of you out there verrry uncomfortable, methinks Bowling For Soup were clever with that song title there hehe) I remember catching them at the 2007 Download Festival and believe me there's nothing funnier than witnessing 70,000 people in unison shouting 'I'm Gay'.

    The best song on the album has to be the Mexican-inspired 'No Hablo Ingles', a song about getting out of sneaky situations by pretending to be foreign. I wonder how many people have actually tried this? Ah well if they succeed more power to them. Overall its an album that deserves a few good listens and is perfect for house parties galore!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Life story so far, well thats what it feels like :P

Yo peeps! I've created this blog to keep up to date with my magazine project, and to rant and rave about anything that pops in my head at some point. Anyways I'll get you up to speed:

  • Started back Uni two weeks ago. Got a bad boy of a project to do. I've gotta make my own magazine at least 40 pages in total with features and at least 3 interviews.

Being a man who loves his music I decided to make a music magazine. After making this decision I did panic slightly, as I wasn't sure what bands to interview! So luckily I've got a good friend whose tight with someone who work in the O2 Academy so simply asked him to get me in touch with PR whenever bands play so I can grab a sneaky interview with them. And at the same time I started thinking about bands that I was already going to see on tour. So I got onto good old Google and tracked down the management companies and record label execs of bands like Bowling For Soup and Shinedown. Had trouble trying to find a way to track down some contact details for Slayer and Alice in Chains but getting them would be like trying to get blood out of a stone.

Well the other week I went to see Skindred, supported by up and coming Swedish metallers Dead By April (one of my favourite new bands) the day before I found out their management's email address and sent them a nice little email explaining what I was doing and if I could bag an interview (even threw in the sneaky word 'exposure').

Fantastic news awakened me the day of the gig as I got this email back:

Hi James

Tomas forwarded your request to interview DBA for your project, as this is happening today, I suggest you just go to the venue (Club Academy) at 19:00 and call Paul, the Tour Manager on +44.....

Best wishes

So we got to the venue and phoned the band's manager around 4 oclock, he met us outside the tour bus (even took us on and gave me an energy drink, awesome!) and scheduled us a bit of time with the singer as we'd already met the rest of the band on their way to the curry mile in Manchester. Suffice to say I was shitting a brick so to speak as I'd never done anything like this before, especially with a band that I'm a fan of. Despite this it was a great success and I'll post a snippet from the interview up when I've edited down the mp3!

And here's a sneaky picture with Jimmie the singer after the show, gutted we didnt have a better camera for when I did the actual interview!

Currently in the middle of writing out features, will keep up to date with other interviews and other things!