Archives for the month of: June, 2012

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Something wonderful this way comes, a rock ‘n’ roll circus by the name of Kochka. Over the past three years, this fine 4-piece band have been thrilling audiences across the country with their dazzling and original songs. As their fans know, Kochka are like no other band and have their very own distinct and impressive sound – a mix of cabaret and carnival. Last November Kochka released their superbly theatrical 12-track debut album The Entropic Biopic of a Quixotic Psychotic, and now they  have just released a promo for the track “Carousel-o-tape”. Inspired by their music, i contacted the band to find out more.
 
Who’s in Kochka and how did you all meet?
 
‘It was after a bet went terribly wrong and we were forced into a room together with nothing but a banjo and an old video recording of Watership Down. Sheryll (drums and hits) and Stewart (guitar and screaming) already knew each other from high school and Markk (vocals and handclaps) came soon after. After a couple of different guises and line-ups, Scott (bass and foot stomps) joined as Kochka was being formed into the band today.
 
‘Immediately as this line-up formed we felt comfortable and were musically in the same space. It was easy to start writing music and letting the music take the direction it wanted to. There wasn’t any constraints or boundaries. Mayhem ensued.’
 
Kochka have been praised for their songs and their live performances, can you tell me about your approach to music? 
 
‘The band is centred around a similar idea of making music; get in a room, start playing and hitting things. We dont think about it too much. It allows things to be rawer. If a song gets pulled in a certain direction we allow it to go. Nothing is ever put in a song because of convention. If the song is to be 55 seconds long with no chorus, then so be it.
 
‘We dont take ourselves too seriously. We love to make music, play live shows and have fun.We stand out in the Glasgow scene for this reason. Many bands nowadays seem to overthink things and it stops the creative flow. People enjoy our shows, have a good time and know were doing the same. That combined with a bit of lunacy and theatricality – as the video suggests – is a band having fun and loving what they do!’
 
The Entropic Biopic of a Quixotic Psychotic is an inspired debut album, can you tell me about it?
 
‘We started the album without enough material. A deliberate move. The album took ages to finish because of time and money. We also went to Amsterdam in the middle of it to do a short film which delayed its completion.
 
‘With that being said, it allowed us to record a bunch of new ideas as and when we were writing them. It kept the ideas fresh and were pretty much going on the album as they we were being written; without overthinking or analysing anything.
 
‘Some elements were written on the spot. We love that. Thats what we do. Put us in a room with a bunch of percusssion to hit and something was recorded. Thats the essence of the album. A continual, unbroken stream of thought being recorded as it happens. A dismantling of memory and consciousness.
 
‘The result is what we wanted from this record. As a band, we get dragged to the next stream of though and go with it.’
 
Kochka have just released a promo for the track “Carousel-o-Tape”, can you tell me about it?
 
‘Its an intro song that got out of hand. Intended to be a short statement of things to come, it kinda just kept going. It speaks volumes in terms of the ethos of the band and hints to what to expect. Theatricality combined with musicality and just the right amount of lunacy.
 
‘We were delighted when we joined forces with Ciaran Lyons (seaoflyons.com) the director of the video. He came to us with the idea and seemed to understand the band immediately. The video shows what to expect from us and Ciaran understood the madness and was able, somehow, to capture this on film.’
 
Kochka’s debut album The Entropic Biopic of a Quixotic Psychotic is available here – and is an excellent introduction to the band. For updates and tour news check here.
 
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In 1973, The Old Grey Whistle Test presented a special showcase of Reggae music to a rather restrained audience of twenty-somethings at the Edinburgh Festival. It was an audacious move at a time of long hair, flared trousers, Heavy Metal and Prog Rock, and though the presentation looks uncannily like a Butlin’s stage show, this is an important and historic concert, as it brought together some of the original Trojan artists who helped reggae crossover from Jamaican dance halls to UK chart success. These are The Cimarons, Winston Groovy, Dennis Alcapone, The Marvels, Nicky Thomas and The Pioneers.
After a brief introduction from the infamous Ska and Reggae performer Judge Dread, the concert opens with The Cimarons, who formed from Harlsden via Jamaica in 1967. The Cimarons were mainly a covers band, who later released versions of “Kung Fu Fighting”‘ “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Rock Your Baby“, and a major hit cover of “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” under the guise of The Hot Shots, with producer Clive Crawley on vocals. Here The Cimarons perform “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
Next up is Winston Groovy who gives his version of “I’m a Believer”. Groovy moved to England in the late 1960s, where he had a hit with Lee Scratch-Perry produced track “I Want to be Loved”. In the 1970s, Groovy covered Dr Hook’s “Sylvia’s Mother” and a version of “Don’t Slow Down“, which he later re-recorded with UB40.
Dennis Alcapone is on next with his hits “Cassius Clay” and “Wake Up Jamaica”. Alcapone is a legendary figure in Reggae, who released 130 singles between 1970 and 1973.
The Marvels who had a doo-wop approach to Reggae, perform “Jimmy Browne”, “One Monkey”. The Marvels had a variety of incarnations from their early hit “Rock Steady“, through sessions as backing vocalists – appearing on Top of the Pops with Dandy on “Suzanne Beware of the Devil”, to having hit covers with “Then He Kissed Me” and “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands”.
Then comes the highlight of the seeing the late, great Nicky Thomas who fires in with his hit singles “Is It Because I’m Black”, and “Love of the Common People”. Thomas had a song called “BBC“, which was a condemnation of the Beeb’s lack of radio play for Reggae artists. Sadly, Thomas committed suicide in 1990.
The Pioneers were the first reggae band to tour Japan. Here they give their version of Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and The Temptations’ hit “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”. The Pioneers went through a variety of line-ups, musical styles and suits in their long career, and are still performing. Best known for their classic tracks “Long Shot Kick de Bucket“, which proved such a hit that the band relocated to England after their first UK tour. They went on to have hits with Jimmy Cliff’s “Let Your Yeah Be Yeah” and “Give and Take”.
The host is Judge Dread, a former “debt collector” for Trojan Records, who had a long and celebrated career as a white Ska and Reggae artist, who released a series of infamous obscene songs, starting with “Big Six”, nearly all of which charted though he never received any radio air play. Dread had more Reggae hits in the UK Charts during the 1970s than any other Reggae artist (and that includes Bob Marley), and is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the most number of banned songs – 11.