Monday, August 27, 2007

While Our Iron Lung was on holiday over the summer, we met up with Jeremy Warmsley at Summer Sundae in Leicester to have a little chat before he dashed back down to London, discovering a love for Gary Barlow, some capers with someone else's drumkit, and a strange tale about a blue tunnel...

- Jeremy, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. How did you feel your show went today?

Yeah, it was good. I was really car sick on the way up, but as soon as I got on stage I was like, "whoosh!" here we are. It was a bit wierd as we walked on stage there were like these signs or projections behind us with like, 'Night Of The Living Horror' or 'Zombie Death' written on them. Very wierd.

- Cool. Are you hanging around today to see some more bands?

No, we can't actually. We've got to dash back to London because some of the guys in the group have other commitments. Spiritualized tommorow night would be one of the things I'd stick around for, definetly.

- Bad luck then... Ok, you've got a new album coming out soon, how's that going?

Soonish... Yeah, its going really well. Just got a bit of singing left to do. I played some new stuff today which was nice.

- Is the new material taking any paticular direction?

Um, yeah, actually. Its more extreme! The pop bits are more pop, the wierd bits are wierder, and so on. Its kind of more of the same.

- So is it good to be getting back into the studio then?

Of course, its great. I mean like, my thing in the studio is to dictate things myself as much as possible. To be able to set things down. Not have a situation impossed on me, actually go in there and do things that I want to do, and I'm able to that in more exciting ways than ever before.

- Ah, because you used to record in a bedroom/DIY kind of way didn't you?

Yeah, I still do some stuff in the bedroom, well, my house. We actually did the drums for this album in a very nice studio where there was this drumkit set up which actually belongs to quite a famous band, which we used. I don't think I should really say who though, they might be angry.

- What about featuring other artists on this album? Of course you had Emmy The Great singing on your first album, and numerous other guest vocalists on your EP's...

Thats right but this album I'm trying to concentrate more on my own. Getting my own stuff together, and then hopefully next time I can go for some collaborations! I mean, all of the people who play with me live are on the record, plus we've got another drummer called Andy Betts. There's a band called Three Trapped Tigers and three of the four musicians from that band are on my new record. Amazing musicians! Its wierd, this album is a lot more... I don't know. The last album I sort of planned out all the songs in my head, sorted them all out as demos before I started recording properly in the studio.

- Yeah, your last album was very split in half... The first half more, 3 and a half minute pop songs, and then longer more experimental material in the second half of the album.

Well, hopefully I'll be doing something similar again. 45 minutes is a long time to be doing just one thing. I want to mess around with ideas and maybe experiment as well. I prefer to think of an album as, like you said, two EP's stuck together. Its like an album tries to be a 40 minute statement, where as, surely there's nothing wrong with a 20 minute statement if you make it concise. And if you can be concise twice then stick them together it has the same effect.

- As far as having the freedom to record the album you want, something progressive, taking it in the direction that you want to, do you find its helpful being on Transgressive Records?

Yeah, I mean the only imposition they set on me is to do what I want to do. I mean, I have friends in bands on other labels, and they'll talk about how they need to change the lyrics in one song, or put strings on another, things like that. So, I don't think I could work with those constraints.

- What about the label you put your debut release out on, Excercise1?

Well, that really was just a bedroom recording! It was a very early version of I Believe In The Way You Move, with a couple of b-sides, both of which are on the Art Of Fiction actually. They only ever put out about 300 copies though, so... I think the video is on Youtube somewhere.

- As far as Transgressive goes, they've got quite a few similar artists to you...

You think so?

- Yeah, I mean, Larrikin Love for instance. Did you sing on their album?

Um, no. But Jamie T did, and Mechanical Bride, who is signed to Transgressive.

- Ah, thanks for that. But would you say that you have a similar sound to Transgressive or ex-Transgressive bands such as Larrikin Love, Mystery Jets, and so on..?

I think the thing with a lot of the Transgressive bands is that... No, wait. I'm not really sure, I think its something you'll have to ask the guys who run the label, Tim and Toby.

- Whats your first memory of listening to music? The first time it made you sit up and think?

I think, possibly when I was about 8, I remember listening to Handel's 'Messiah'. I mean I'm not in to classical music in a big way, but I remember listening to it with my eyes closed laid on my bed. Its not the most exciting piece of music and I think I half drifted off, having this wierd dream that I was swimming through this strange blue tunnel thing. This was all, maybe 5 years before I got in to any other type of music, so...

- Thats a nice story! What about when you first started writing? What made you want to start creating your own music?

You know what, like a lot of people I didn't really think about it at the time. I just started learning guitar, learning some chords. Then making my own songs, seeing if I could fit words to what I was playing. There was never some burning message or desire inside of me that I had to unleash on the world, it was more some kind of like, oh, I'm going to write some songs!

- Ok, so you've toured with quite a lot of bands now. After all, you've been touring as Jeremy Warmsley for, what, two years now? Which one of them was the most, I don't know, fun?

Mystery Jets, for sure! They're all such great lads. I only did three dates with them, it was meant to be this serene acoustic thing. We did like an art gallery gig and all these other lovely weird venues... Penzance, Exeter, the west country I think it was... I mean, my partying days are over, but it was just a lot of fun!

- So on the other hand, what artist was most inspiring to tour with, musically?

Well, the Mystery Jets again, obviously. REgina Spektor was a real inspiration night after night. I did a show with Daniel Johnston which was a real eye opener, he's someone who can really perform.

- Awsome! Lastly, if you could be in any boyband which boyband would you want to be in?

Take That, definetly! I was reading all about, whats the guy... Gary Barlow! I was reading his autobiography in a service station and he was a prodigy on the organ! Seriously, he was playing in working mens clubs at 11! Thats definetly something to aspire to!

- Great, thanks a lot Jeremy!

No worries!

Thanks a lot to Jeremy for talking to us, and to Hannah and Jenny for holding important things while I was chatting.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dark Sparks's mission statement invites us to hold on to them, through nights of beating drums and hearts, the world that can pass you buy when you're just sitting still. Their music, and the forthcoming double A-sides of Blood Petrol Fire and Bullet In The Eye, reflect this energy and desperate yearning for substance in an otherwise watercolour world. Blood Petrol Fire's pounding drums and sparky, jumpy guitar, soon covered in an abrasive rendition of the tracks title refrain, set out the tone for this and the following track. As singer Leigh Greenwood dives in and out of verses and chorus, his voice complimenting the relentlessly driving guitar perfectly. Its only for a couple of bridges part way through the song that the full-on sound experienced so far lets up, breaking down in to a more melodic strummed line or two. If Dark Sparks let up in quality anywhere, it’s in their sustained aggressiveness, particularly showcased on these two tracks. It’s great to have pounding drums and guitars, but coupled with Leigh's vocals, it can lead to Dark Sparks material being slightly too intense. There is a thin line to tread here between energy and cacophony.

Listen to Blood Petrol Fire on Dark Sparks' myspace, download the flip-side, Bullet In The Eye below, and buy both tracks as well as others, at the link below.

[MP3] Dark Sparks - Bullet In The Eye
[BUY] Buy from Indie Store.