Interview with KatzKab!

Photo by: Stephane Herve (www.iseethings.com)

KatzKab is a newer band forged from the shadow of Katzenjammer Kabarett. I got the time to interview these shady characters. Vik B, Mr. Guillotine, Mr. Monsterhead and Klischee will stand for today and tonights entertainment on this blog. I asked them about Katzenjammer Kabarett, their new band, the upcoming record and much more. Tune in for some wicked things.

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Interview with Birdeatsbaby!

Photo: Polly Harvey – Polstar Photography

Birdeatsbaby is an alt-classical-punk four-piece outfit from the UK. Consisting of Mishkin, Charlie, Garry and Keely. What I was going to state here has already been said before, so I don’t mind if I don’t. I got the opportunity to talk to Mishkin about philosophy, the music industry, beer, what they’ve got in store for us in the future and much more.

You’re featured on the compilation “A Dark Cabaret 2”, what made you participate in that compilation?
– We were offered a slot on the compilation from Sam Rosenthal who runs Projekt Records – I first heard about the genre Dark Cabaret through the first compilation and loved it, so a chance to be on the second one was an easy decision! I’m sure it’s given us a lot of exposure and new fans too so it was great to have that opportunity.

Why do you think is the reason that you’ve got more fans in Europe and the US than England?
– I’m not sure… I do think that the ‘klezmer’ or ‘gypsy punk’ element in our music is more popular in Europe anyway so perhaps that’s why. Also the UK music scene is a little saturated, too many bands and venues and not enough quality. We seem to have an unusual amount of fans in Mexico, I’m not sure how that happened but I imagine the cabaret scene is pretty big there!

I saw on twitter that you wanted to get together and play with Jill Tracy, how come? Is she a big inspiration to you?
– I heard Jill on the Dark Cabaret 1 compilation, I think our music would work quite well together as we’ve similar instrumentation but deliver in completely different ways. I would just love the opportunity to work with someone who has a similar approach to music, and to perhaps collaborate in some way, it could be amazing to duet with her!

What would be your philosophical inspiration, are you all a bunch of Kantians or do you follow the teachings of Aristotle? Tell me!
– Philosophy? Wow that’s a tough one. I don’t think any of us follow Kant or Aristotle, our philosophy would be ‘make music, party hard and don’t be a dickhead’. …or something like that, only more clever sounding!

Aesthetically speaking, what would be your inspiration? You seem to have a somewhat dark approach, yet everyone automatically puts you in the dark cabaret-compartment. How would you define yourselves aesthetically?
– We would define our music as a blend of classical, punk rock, cabaret and progressive. It’s very hard to categorize so I think that’s why everyone labels us as Dark Cabaret, which isn’t the worst description! We prefer ‘alt-classical punk’ though! The dark element mostly comes from the lyrics, especially our earlier work.

What do you think about the releases you’ve put out there up until now, I mean, you as in yourselves and not as in music-critics?
– We are very proud of our current release – I think it sums us up so much better than our first album, which is very manic. This record is more defined, better executed and slightly more mature (very slightly, haha). Feast of Hammers is definitely how we would like to present ourselves to the world, as we feel it’s our best work so far, and more in keeping with the direction in which we’re moving.

I always try to put in a question about the music industry, some artists are positive towards it and others are more cynical. But what do you think about it?
– It has it’s ups and downs like everything. On one hand we can reach people all over the world through the magical internet. On the other hand, making a living has never been harder – I don’t think we’ll ever be rich and famous, but we’d prefer not to be constantly broke!

– We work incredibly hard to put our music out there, it’s really nice to have a bunch of fans who appreciate us. Schemes like X Factor and BGT are quite depressing as it’s just a massive money-making plot and seems to take precedence over hard-working musicians and real artists. I guess that would be our only gripe, it’s not all bad!

Since you seem to be drinking a lot, what would be your tip for the best pub in Britain? And also abroad?
– Excellent question! Best pubs in Brighton would have to be The Foundry for it’s excellent Guinness and surroundings, The Great Eastern for great beers and atmosphere, or The Ranelagh for amazing staff, music and a great night out. Abroad? Generally everywhere we’ve been drinking in Europe was a winner. German and Dutch beer is best.

What would then be your favorite beer?
– Tyskie or Orangeboum…

Do you have any recommendations on bands that have recently emerged, that you like very much?
– Recently emerged? Gabby and Other Young Animals, Marcella & The Forget Me Nots and She Makes War. All female led alternative types who rock.

Have you got any new releases planned for this year? And where will we, most likely, see you the nearest weeks or months?
– We should have another single coming off the new record, and we play London on the 27th April with Joe Black and Ribbon. All tour-dates for the summer (when we go to USA and Europe) will be revealed on our website shortly.

What is your favorite record of late 2011 and early 2012 that you would recommend with the uttermost sincerity?
– For 2011 we would have to say Marcella & The Forget Me Nots – Born Beautiful. It is a heartfelt stunning rock album with unusual instrumentation and timeless songs. My personal favourite is ‘No, Billy Please’. For 2012 the Band of Skulls new record is pretty sweet, but there’s so much more music to come… We’ll have to see!

Thank you for participating, do you have any wise philosophical advice to my readers?
– Thank you! Hmmm… How about ‘live life, drink beer and listen to Birdeatsbaby.’ …Please don’t blame us for any strange consequences though!

Birdeatsbabys newest video, of the song Incitatus:

You can find them hiding out over here:

Homepage: http://www.birdeatsbaby.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/birdeatsbaby

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/birdeatsbaby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/birdeatsbaby

Last.FM: http://www.last.fm/music/Birdeatsbaby

Bandcamp: http://birdeatsbaby.bandcamp.com/

Interview with Unwoman!

Photo by: Perception Crisis

Photo by: Perception Crisis

Unwoman is a San Fransisco-based cellist and multi-talent that have been active since 2001, releasing a wide array of about seven albums and one EP. Her real name is Erica Mulkey and she also frequently plays and visits goth, steampunk and science fiction-events. With praise from Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls) and collaborations with various acts such as Voltaire, Abney Park, Rasputina, Jill Tracy and many more – she’s gotten a wide range of perspective, influence and musicianship. Nowadays she also performs solo with the drummer Felix Mcnee as Heavy Sugar Duo. Besides that, she also does guest appearances in other bands. I got the opportunity to ask Erica about her collaborations, how she depicts the “dark cabaret”-genre and what’s in store for the future of Unwoman – and much, much more.

You’ve worked with many known acts within the dark cabaret-scene, if you’d get to choose one ultimate collaboration that you haven’t done yet, what and who would it be with?
– It would be pretty sweet to play with Amanda Palmer. I have seen her live many times but never met her, though we’ve communicated online.

I think it’s pretty cool that you’ve self-produced four full-length albums, could you tell me what goes into that process?
– Writing songs, recording material, polishing mixes (I could talk for days about how I actually produce songs but I suspect this isn’t the right place for that), package design, having material mastered, and communicating with pressing plants. I’ve actually self-produced six full-length albums if you count my remix album Unremembered and my covers album Uncovered – seven if you count Infinitesimal, my very first album which was unreleased until Feb 20, 2012.

Does it give you more artistic freedom if you self-release it?
– I have complete freedom and from what I gather I would not if I were beholden to a label, so yes, of course.

What do you think about the genre dark cabaret in general?
– It’s interesting in its communication style –- it brings back the tradition of songwriters speaking directly to the audience rather than being overwhelmed by intricate musical trickery, yet it’s open to visual glamour and seduction that coffeehouse singer-songwriters don’t generally employ. (For the record I don’t consider myself dark cabaret; my recorded music is too electronic.)

How many projects do you have going at the same time right now, as we speak?
– It depends how you count things. I have my documentary project, which I hope to have to press in March, I have this first album rerelease (Feb 20) for which I scanned a lot of old original lyrics notes, I have my next album (to come out Summer 2012) for which I have 13 songs written… I always have little collaborations happening here and there, too.

What do you think about Siouxsie and the Banshees, more than them influencing you musically?
– Oh yes, they were very influential. I think it was extremely important that post-punk/goth music had a strong female voice and Siouxsie was wonderful for that. I love all of their albums but my favorite may be Juju.

I’ve lately heard something that reminded me a lot about Siouxsie, her name is Zola Jesus, have you heard her music?
– Yes! In fact, her song “Night” is an important one between myself and my boyfriend, as we have to spend a lot of time apart because of my touring schedule. One time at Death Guild (San Francisco goth club, where he does lights and live visuals) we danced to “Night” – not touching, – but our eyes locked through the entire song.

It seems like you have quite dedicated fans, how do you feel about them?
– I seriously love them. They are smart, loyal, forgiving, and supportive, and I do my best to give back what they give me.

Amanda Palmer seems to help you a lot, have you collaborated with her in any shape or form, or do you want to?
– She has helped me a lot – but it was all in one day, when she found my ustream and tweeted about me, and got me at least a hundred new dedicated fans. I know I could double sales of any of my albums if she tweeted about those, but I don’t want to bother her. (Heh, I answered the 2nd question already) I have never actually met her – the last three times she’s performed in San Francisco I’ve had a gig out of town.

Where would you say that you’ve found inspiration for your aesthetics?
– Visual aesthetics: silent films, art nouveau paintings, steampunks, street goths on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, Victorian dolls, post-apocalyptic fashion tumblrs, witches, burlesque performers, tribal fusion bellydancers…

Have you also drawn influences from Lene Lovich and Toyah?
– Not consciously.

You seem to have quite a lot going at the same time, does it ever become tiresome for you?
– I wouldn’t say tiresome, because my life is thrilling and beautiful, but it can be overwhelming. I had recently been saying yes to everything that came my way, and getting lots of people inquiring about shows, and saying yes to all of those, but I think I need to slow that down for a bit so I can make sure my head is above water and I’m not letting too many things fall through the cracks. The main difficulty is rapidly shifting gears between traveling for shows vs being at home editing music or video. I absolutely love both of those things but I need balancing skills that I haven’t fully developed yet – I’ve only been a full-time musician for two years now.

What do you believe that the future holds for you, and will you be releasing something new this year?
– Lots of convention appearances (steampunk, scifi, goth, etc) in the US. I will be releasing my next original album this Summer. Based on what’s been happening over the last two years, my fanbase will continue to grow slowly and steadily; I’ll never be a household name but I’m able to support myself and live by my own rules, so that’s just fine with me.

Will you be touring in Sweden someday or have you done that already?
– I hope someday to have a big enough fanbase globally to justify it, but right now I don’t think I could make it work. I played in the UK a year ago and the shows themselves were really fun, but being in a foreign country, even one where I spoke the language, where I didn’t have any close friends, was really difficult for me – I’ve only just recently gotten comfortable touring in the US and it makes the most sense to focus on playing here.

What would be your last words of wisdom to your Swedish fans?
– I recently expressed this to a young fellow musician but it really applies to every creative person: You will never get permission to rock to your fullest awesomeness. Do it anyway.

Here’s Unwoman covering the song “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails:

You can find her here:

Official Homepage: http://unwoman.com/