Becky Becky video interview

In the way of the blogs, we sent Brighton’s electro-pop superstars Becky Becky some questions, thinking to celebrate the release of their new albumGood Morning, Midnight they might supply a few hesitant stuttering finger-typed words, about why House of the Black Madonna is the future of rock ‘n’ roll and how Jean Rhys could have rocked the middle-European disco had she been of a certain age.

Instead, they sent us this.

The album’s out May 1st and is available from their website at www.beckybecky.com

 

Who are… ?

Becky Becky is two people: Gemma L Williams and Peter J D Mason. Bandmates, friends, lovers, enemies. We´ve existed together in almost every possible permutation. We´ve loved each other, hated each other, walked together, walked out on each other. There is no pit of despair we haven´t pushed each other to, we struggle together… but we always remain together.

Where were Becky Becky… ?

…formed in Brighton, England, a long time ago. There have been casualties. We started making music by following a very loose manifesto. One rule that will always remain is: no “real” instruments. No drums, guitars… only electronic music.

By limiting your options, you free yourself.

Where does… ?

What´s in a name? It´s our name. A fifty-fifty partnership, making one complete whole: Becky Becky.

Why “Good Morning, Midnight”?

…from Jean Rhys´ 1939 novel, which took its name from an Emily Dickenson poem. We recommend both these texts.

And what does she mean to you?

Jean Rhys was an author often depicting mistreated, rootless women. To this day, her words are still relevant and easily identifiable. She is an inspiration and a favourite author of ours – a fact which helped bring us together.

Are you a European band now? 

We formed in Brighton and currently reside here, but we are not involved with the Brighton music scene or anything like that. We feel like outsiders here.  If ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ feels like a European record, then that makes sense. It was written in Prague and recorded up a mountain in a wooden chalet in Seythenex, a tiny French Alpine village.

Who are your musical influences?

Hot Chip and ´80s synth-pop. From Europe, the Knife and Legowelt. Eurotrash and Eurobeats too, if you put aside your pretensions. That kind of music is full of joy and is genuinely great.

Is this music to dance to… ?

When we created Becky Becky, we wanted to make danceable music with lyrics tackling serious themes. We hope you can sit and listen to it, to the stories. But we also want you to just switch off and dance. If you come to see us play live, you should definitely be dancing.

Do you have live… ?

We are not really a gigging band. We do not just play. We try and make every show unique. This requires a lot more effort these days as our ideas become increasingly more elaborate. So we do not play very often. We do not just turn up and plug in and play. We make shows.

Do you… ?

For the autumn, we are lining up some shows in Europe and we have one in New York City on the 26th September in the Pyramid Club. Our next show is our album launch in Brighton on Friday 23rd May. It will be an audio-visual show and probably the most elaborate we´ve ever attempted.

What comes next ?

Becky Becky is in a constant fragile state. Gemma is recovering from the unexpected death of her Woodpecker alter ego; and Peter is working on other projects.

Becky Becky tumblr_inline_mnmen1Xg2w1r1ougb

 

Who knows what comes next ?

The album Good Morning, Midnightis out on May 1st 2014 and available from the Becky Becky website at www.beckybecky.com

 

 

New Music – Woodpecker Wooliams, Gudjohr, Caveman Genius, Milk & Biscuits

It seems like only yesterday that we put up a post of new music. That’s probably because it was only yesterday. But as fast as we can post about it, more music is coming out. We can barely keep up.

First up is Woodpecker Wooliams last ever single, Crow, taken from 2012’s The Bird School of Being Human. Woodpecker Wooliams apparently came to an abrupt death in September of last year, but Gemma Williams is putting out one last single from her alter ego. There’s a rather brutal (and NSFW) video, and a five track bandcamp download which comes with four new remixes.including one by Becky Becky, one of Gemma Williams other projects.

Next we have Gudjohr‘s new EP, which is a lot less acoustic than his previous outings. Gujohr appears to have forgotten that it’s winter with five tracks of sun drenched almost tropical pop:

Caveman Genius has a new track of shimmering electronica on the Physic House Band’s KLDSCP label. Favourite is available for download on Soundcloud now:

Finally, a track that we’ve posted up before and rather liked. We were such a big fan of Milk & Biscuits‘ Hairstyles that we made it day 16 on our advent calendar / end of year round up. In 2013 it got a digital release. In 2014 it’s getting a physical release on Lick Music (who happen to be the same people who sold frozen yoghurt on Gardner Street) alongside another three tracks – Town & Country, Rivers and Middle Distance – two of which recorded in the shop. Suitable entitled “Tape” the EP will on 24th February.

Esben & The Witch / Wash The Sins Not Only The Face remixes

esben4

Earlier this year, Esben and the Witch released their new album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face, and this week have released an accompanying album of remixes for free. The cast of remixers spreads wide, with Maps, David Andrew Sitek (from TV on the Radio), Lumbers, Klad Hest (from BEAK>), Teeth of the Sea and Brighton’s own Woodpecker Wooliams.

Some sites I’ve seen have managed to embed the fancy widget they’ve got online to stream and download the tracks, but after spending most of the night trying, I’m giving up and will just direct you to this link instead!

 

Becky Becky drop a new track

Becky Becky play for the Black Madonna

play for the Black Madonna

Becky Becky, Brighton’s premiere electro-pop band, have dropped a new track called ‘House of the Black Madonna’, a follow up to their excellent debut ‘The Harder Stuff’ and a precursor for their forthcoming, as yet untitled, first album due out later this year. The album was written in various places around Europe (Stockholm, Malmo, Berlin, Hamburg, Prague) and apparently recorded in a wooden chateau halfway up a mountain in the French alps.

You can hear the new track below.

Becky Becky have been quiet for a while due to a variety of reasons, Peter’s travelling, Gemma’s recent much-feted solo release as Woodpecker Wooliams and her work with Ghostpoet, and Tom’s departure from the band. But they’re back now and will be performing live along with Kellar and Cloud at a free-entry gig at the Green Door Store tonight, Saturday 20th April.

(Photograph by Jon Southcoasting)

Woodpecker Wooliams BBC 6Music session

Following hot on the heels of Milk & Biscuits, who did a session for Marc Riley last Month, Woodpecker Wooliams is the lastest local act to grace the 6Music airwaves. She joined Tom Robinson last night, and you can listen again (if you’re in the UK, and for a limited time, obviously) here.

First track Gull starts around the twenty minute mark, Sparrow is around forty minutes in and around Dove is around fifty two minutes.

 

Brighton Music Blog Advent Calendar / Day 16 / Woodpecker Wooliams

Woodpecker Wooliams has played a great second half in the game of her year.

Back in May we saw her play a beautiful short set in the tiny Fishbowl Pub to an audience of about a dozen blokes who probably hadn’t heard of her. However, her album ‘The Bird School of Being Human‘ was released in September and since then she has garnered an array of great reviews, including a great band-of-the-day piece in The Guardian, and much airplay for the album and its lead single ‘Sparrow’. It really is one of the most original and enchanting albums of the year.

The video for the single, by Gemma’s sister, involved puppets and a lovely cranky sound helped on by producer Marcus Hamblett of The Sons of Noel and Adrian. Watch it below. New single Gull is out now and another slam-dunk classic.

Woodpecker Wooliams - Photo by Jon Southcoasting

Words and Picture by Jon Southcoasting

Woodpecker Wooliams – Gull

Since we’re starting to get into the Christmas spirit, we’re going to let you into a little secret – Woodpecker Wooliams is one of the artists still to feature in our Advent Calendar. We’re not going to tell you when yet though. We don’t want to give away all our surprises. You’ll just have to keep reading.

In the meantime though, here’s the video for her new single Gull, which is as bonkers, brilliant and beautiful as her album:

Abi Wade / Heavy Heart

November 5th see’s the Abi Wade’s second release for the Brighton based Love Thy Neighbour label. Heavy Heart, which can be bought through the bandcamp link below is another slice of Abi’s unique combination of haunting voice, cello and drum box, and is backed with another new track, Faker.

Abi is one of Brighton’s most compelling live acts. If you haven’t seen her yet, she’s next playing on 11th December at St Mary’s Church. If you want a Brighton related gig before then, she’s supporting  Brighton Music Blog favourite Woodpecker Wooliams at the Old Queen’s Head in Islington on 14th November.

 

Woodpecker Wooliams launches The Birdschool of Being Human

It’s a great album. This blog has already said that. And today, Monday, it gets its official release.

But if you were lucky enough to be at St Andrew’s Church in Hove on Saturday night you would have got to hear the whole thing played through in a beautiful setting.

Entering to the buzzing of bees and twittering of birds, the first 50 through the door were offered a small glass of home-made honey mead, made by Gemma Woodpecker herself, a keen beekeeper. And delicious it was.

Opening act Ichi is from Japan and has to be seen, to be believed. Entering stage-left on stilts, which turn out to be part of his musical equipment, he performs a funky witty entrancing set on a series of home-made instruments and objects, including a battered trumpet, kettle drum, balloon and ping pong ball.

The intermission, in-between the intermissions, featured a sword-dance act, where a veiled woman with the longest hair I’ve ever seen danced to the sounds of a saw being played with a bow. It was enchanting.

Saw-player and dancer - photograph by Southcoasting

The headliner then came on, with the unusual addition of a band who proceeded to reproduce the full album in all its odd beauty and electrifying rush. Marcus Hamblett (producer of the album) added some beautiful flourishes on the trumpet and a variety of noises from a desk full of knobs and pedals. The drumming was subtle and inventive, and the occasional addition of Emma Gatrill offered further depth to a sound that filled the whole church hall.

The star of course was Gemma, who was clearly enjoying herself, full of empassioned vocals and smiles. She ended with an unplanned encore, just herself sitting on the steps at the front of the stage playing a lovely acoustic number and charming the audience.

Woodpecker Wooliams

Woodpecker Wooliams

This gig followed a successful London launch the night before and a series of radio appearances. The songs are born of a darker place, but seem joyful and ecstatic in performance. This was a brilliant set, and the album should go far. I recommend you hear it and if you like it, go buy it.

http://store.robotelephant.co.uk/products/502507-woodpecker-wooliams-the-bird-school-of-being-human

http://www.woodpeckerwooliams.com/

Woodpecker Wooliams in St Andrews Church

Woodpecker Wooliams in St Andrews Church playing an encore on the steps

Photographs are by Jon Southcoasting

Becky Becky vs 184

We don’t have much hip hop on this blog. Perhaps because there isn’t that much hip hop in Brighton. Or perhaps its for the same reason we don’t feature much indie pop or dance music, because so much of it just isn’t to our taste.

But there are exceptions and this is one. A fourfold set of remixes by Brighton boy Peter Mason, lead maestro of electro-pop outfit Becky Becky, whose single The Harder Stuff features the much-loved Woodpecker Wooliams and is a brilliant dose of sexy electro-punk.

Peter Mason is churning out a lot of top quality dance remixes at the moment, having produced an excellent remix of ‘Of course you exist’ for The Pictish Trail earlier this year (available as a free download from Fence Records). He has also produced a great remix of Woodpecker Wooliams ‘Sparrow’ single – out tomorrow, a week ahead of her much anticipated new album (see an earlier post on this blog)t

So, a man much in-demand and on the up. And if you take a listen to these reworkings of tracks from the 184-produced Where’s My Parade? you can hear why. The opening track Superman in particular is a powerful smash, giving full voice to a strong lyrical song.

Check it out on the player and then go over to bandcamp. The EP is available as a name-your-price download. Get this while it’s hot!

words and pictures by Southcoasting