Tag Archives: interviews

Wille & The Bandits Live London Review & Interview

16 Jan

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was two bandits short of a band when I sat down with Wille in a red be-curtained anteroom at The Islington to discuss the imminent live performance and the new album ‘Grow’.

When I asked Wille to outline a Banditine gig, he described the experience as a “dynamic” journey, explaining that even though they had the songs to perform an entirely “bouncy” and upbeat show, they prefer to put their audience through their emotional paces. Certainly the heavy-rock centred numbers and the reggae-fusion material had the crowd at their most animated. However there was an engagement with the slower, introspective songs which had a trance-inducing hypnotism.

As I listened to ‘Grow’ on the Tube, getting hot and bothered on my way to North London, I could almost have been trekking through an African savannah, caught in a Caribbean heat wave or mopping my brow in a Deep-South jazz cafe owing to the global journey the album undertakes.

Incredible genre-jumping from heavy-rock/reggae fusions to blues and bluegrass demanded instrumentation to match. Matthew Brooks swapped seamlessly from 6-string guitar to electric double bass, while Andrew Naumann played the djembe (a ‘goblet’ drum) and the ‘ordinary’ drums sometimes simultaneously! Just to hammer the point home that he was a one-man bandit in a band of one-man bands he also used a tongue-drum for good measure. Wille explained beforehand that “carrying around so many instruments can be a pain” but that “music [was like] painting, the more colours in your pallet, the more texture you can use…” I asked Wille if he knew how many instruments appeared on ‘Grow’ and he replied “are we counting the drum kit as one instrument?” It was clearly a question he hadn’t considered before and he gave up the count at eighteen.

I inquired whether they learnt new instruments for fun or do they try and match them to new ideas for songs? “We just go on YouTube, and if we find a really cool instrument, you can usually find someone selling it somewhere”. This magpie approach, taking advantage of the ubiquity of digital music, appears to have grown their world-music sound.

‘Dylan-esque’ is a label quite often ascribed to Wille’s lyrics, and resonates most noticeably for me in ‘Still Go Marching In”, an anti-war song with the refrain “when will that rainbow, when will that rainbow come?” Wille told me that “people like to frame music in terms of comparisons, which is fair enough” but while he agreed it was humbling to be compared to Seasick Steve or Bob Dylan, “at the end of the day it’s your message”.

The gig drew to a close with ‘Angel’, a 12-minute instrumental on the album, but “quite a bit longer live” Wille chuckled. This was, I discovered, the song that was closest to his heart during a live performance as it explores the passing of his mother: “although it’s an instrumental it has a real journey for me”. With this insight into the music I listened more closely as the band spiralled in electronic sprawls and Matt wailed bluesily on the 6-string, lapping up the applause to his solo.

I was still contemplating the penultimate song, the quite spiritual ‘Angel’ as the underground sign of the same name passed over my head. This marked the start of my journey away from the venue and back to civilisation, cynicism and commercial society from which I had blissfully escaped for a few hours.

WATB have “something for everyone” in their sheer range of musical styles and genre-fusions. There are still tickets for the remainder of the album tour and I heartily suggest you go and that you are not put off by the label ‘heavy-rock’. The crowd consisted of all ages, all appreciating the technical musicianship and thoughtful lyrics.

‘Grow’ is available via iTunes and in CD format via the band’s website.

The post Wille & The Bandits Live London Review & Interview appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Forgiving Amy Interview: James Mulholland Revisited

13 Oct

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Back at the start of the year, this writer interviewed James Mulholland, the rising talent from Ireland and director of the stellar short My Father’s Son. Half a year on, and Mulholland has been busy with his latest short, the harrowing Forgiving Amy. His latest dramatic short focuses on family and forgiveness, and is just as affecting and emotional as his last. The output being produced by his Cedarwood Park outfit is reminiscent perhaps of the likes of Ken Loach, but they are without doubt their own thing- a very different and distinct beast.

Half a year may not seem like a long time, but James and his career has come on leaps and bounds since we last spoke. As Forgiving Amy starts to do the Festival rounds, it seemed as good a time as any to catch up with the delightful James once again and see how he had moved on as a filmmaker, and what exciting developments are in store both for the short, and his upcoming projects. And rest assured, he didn’t disappoint. Read on for an insight into the evolution of a promising and challenging filmmaker, and the development of a subject that has been long gestating…

So, what was the inspiration behind Forgiving Amy?

Forgiving Amy was the film that my first two films grew out from. Two and a half years ago I first thought up the idea for the film, and from that idea grew the ideas for my other two films (What If? and My Father’s Son). The film has been in my head all that time, I finally wrote the first draft of it in October 2012 and went from there. The penultimate scene in the film was a big thing for me as the entire idea (for the film] grew from that moment in my head. It also hits home with me- it’s about family… the choices young people make… [but] mainly forgiveness.

What are your intentions with the film- is there anything you’re hoping it will convey to audiences, or do you think it’s entirely up to them to interpret the motivations of the characters?

I like my films to be a bit of both. I try to write complex characters with a lot of depth; I direct the films to tell the story the way I want and to get across the points I want [to make], but I hope that the characters have enough depth [so] that [the audience] can take a lot away from the film. I directed with forgiveness being the main [theme] I wanted people to think about- to try forgiving people in their life, because we never know what might happen or what we might regret if we don’t. But there are also other things like relationship problems, relationships with family, etc.

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Your output is very realistic, understated and intimate. Are you just trying to tell good stories, or are you trying to represent what certain parts of Irish society are like now?

I feel for this trilogy of films I’ve made, the style suited the story. These films need to feel gritty and real to hit people, make it feel like documentary in a way. My main goal is to tell stories that make people think about life- in the background there is a small look at society but I don’t start the script with those ideas up front, at least not for this trilogy of films. All three films represent the society I’m growing up in at the moment, [so] I comment on what I see, or have seen in my life.

Since the last interview, how do you feel you’ve changed as a filmmaker? Do you feel that your methods of production or storytelling have matured?

I’ve matured as a filmmaker but my methods are mostly still the same. I seem to have a way with performances- actors say they have never been directed the way I direct them, but it seems to work so I’ll continue [with those methods]- it works for me.

I have matured in the sense that I really don’t want to move on until I get something I can use. Forgiving Amy was supposed to be 4 day shoot, but it turned out to be 8 days because I would not move on from takes until I got what I wanted.

It ended up putting me in debt for a while but it made the film a lot better by doing so. If I had moved on the film would have been a lot weaker, and last year I would have just said “Aw, let’s just put it together in the edit”, but I wanted to stick with storyboards as much as possible and get the right performances.

Would you want to do something a bit more light-hearted next?

It’s funny you ask this, since I’ve gotten asked this a lot lately. Firstly, I directed a comedy in 2011- unfortunately I had to take my name of the project when it was in post-production, but in the end that film went out, did well and won best comedy at a festival.

I also helped re-write that film, so I know I’ve a bit of lightness in me but it doesn’t drive any sort of passion for me. I love going to see comedies but I have no passion to make one, at least a slapstick one. I do have ideas for dark comedies but that’s as light as I might go. I do have a Kids’ animation story in mind that’s light, but we will see if that ever gets the go ahead or not.

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So what’s happening with Forgiving Amy? What festivals will it play at? Will there be an internet release after that?

I recently found out [Forgiving Amy] got nominated for Best Indie film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actress at the underground cinema awards. I’m thrilled by that! Our first screening was at Underground Cinema last month, so to come out of that with nominations is great. Then I found out we got into the underground film festival for 2013.

I’ve sent it out to about 18 festivals and will get word back mostly from October onwards. Overall I should be sending the film to about 30 festivals, then there’s a national TV release in Ireland, ending with an internet release alongside my other films.

What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects you can discuss?

Yeah, I’m currently in pre-production of [what could] possibly [be] my last short film, ‘Jorund’ (Working Title). It’s a short film based in 841A.D in Ireland [with Vikings]. I’m being extremely ambitious and making a different type of film than I’ve made [before]- feedback on the script is extremely positive and it is also by far the darkest of my films.

It’s about a young Norse man who is tasked by his mother to regain his family’s honour by getting revenge on the Viking who killed his father. I’ll be casting it next month and shooting in February 2014. I’m also writing my first feature film due to shoot next summer for a festival run in 2015.

Forgiving Amy will be available soon. You can follow James’ ouput and get updates at Cedarwood Park’s Facebook page.

The post Forgiving Amy Interview: James Mulholland Revisited appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Interview: Dan Boultwood – Creator Of It Came!

10 Sep

Dan Boultwood’s It Came! #1 was released on Wednesday and tells the story of a giant robot from space appearing in a country town in 1950s England. Told from the perspective of our two heroes, Dr Boy Brett and his lady friend Doris, the comic is a funny, wonderfully drawn, and hugely entertaining comic that pays loving homage to cheaply produced sci-fi movies of this era, among other things. Dan spoke to me about his latest series and other topics, including his obsession with b-movies.

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Noel Thorne: First of all, I loved this comic – congratulations on creating such a brilliant, clever and funny comic. What made you want to do a comedy about space robots coming to Earth framed as a 1950s b-movie?

Dan Boultwood: Hello Noel, I’m glad you enjoyed issue one I hope the rest lives up to expectations!

I’ve always loved B-movies, they’re my favourite genre of film so I had a look about to see if anyone was doing any B-movie related shenanigans and found that it was a sorely overlooked area. I suppose it’s that thing of write what you know, the thing being that I also love the old Ealing comedies so combining the two was a natural progression and also the fact that whenever I’ve tried to write anything it’s always been a comedy, I tried serious once but I had a headache within 4 minutes so decided against it. I think it was the Ealing influence that made me veer towards setting it in England in the 50s as I love the era so much that even my car is from that decade, in fact it’s my car that they drive around in for the whole book! As for the robot, who doesn’t like robots?! Actually originally it was going to be some sort of mind controlling brain alien but then it was too much like Quatermass and I didn’t want it to be a parody of just one thing in particular so a robot seemed like a nice classic antagonist.

NT: It Came! is your first writer/artist project and it turned out really well. The script was really funny and the art is fantastic – what’s your process, do you write the script first, do you storyboard it in draft and then work on the dialogue later?

DB: Thank you for saying so, it’s a bit nerve racking when all the onus is on me if it’s rubbish! It’s been a bit of a learning curve where the writing is concerned, I started out trying to write a script but I found the jokes staled really quickly upon several re-reads to the point I didn’t find any of it funny so I had to change tack a bit. I start off by listing each page number then writing out roughly what’s happening on each to get the flow working for each issue then I write out in a notebook a loose script that’ll just say things like ‘Panel One: Boy says something contentious, Doris looks perturbed’. After that I thumbnail it out and it usually changes a hell of a lot at this point anyway as I think of better stuff to put in and make notes next to the roughs. Most of the dialogue I think up when I’m lettering as I wanted the jokes to be more off the cuff and spontaneous. I’m sure all this would give my editor Steve at Titan a heart attack if he knew how I really put an issue together…. o… erm…

NT: Do you prefer being both the writer and the artist or you do you prefer collaborating on comics?

DB: I still like working in collaboratively as there’s the opportunity to work on different stories that I wouldn’t think of, the serious stuff being one of them and I did do so for many years up until this point. Saying that I am massively enjoying working on my own stories for the first time and it’s really nice that so far it seems to be going down well, I’m loving the freedom to chop and change things at the last minute and developing a fluid way of putting it all together is very satisfying, if knackering.

NT: How did you get started in comics?

DB: I started in about 2000 where I worked for a company called Com.X doing concept design work and their in house comics, the first comic I drew there was called N-Jinn and I think about 4 people probably saw it but I was incredibly proud of it. From there I worked for varying small press publishers and moved into Flash animation for online games and dvd releases for a few years until I shifted back in to comics in 2007/8 where I worked with the writer Tony Lee on numerous book adaptions and such for Hachette Children’s books and other publishers until ending up with where I am today, professional cynic and bon vivant.

NT: What’re your influences and who inspires you?

DB: I have to admit I don’t really have any influences, I stopped reading comics when I was about 20 as every time I read something my art would suddenly be so heavily influenced by what I’d just seen that I became really concerned with being the poor man’s somebody. So I just stopped and let how I draw develop naturally, though I should probably start again as my lack of industry knowledge is just a bit embarrassing now even if I have perfected the blank stare of false acknowledgment.

NT: The comic is framed as a b-movie and the endpapers show an IMDB-like look at the actors playing the characters – will the series go into the actors’ lives, behind the scenes of the movie, or will the focus remain on the b-movie story?

DB: The main focus is on the story in the books but I really wanted it to be a fully immersed world and play the whole movie aspect as straight as possible, so there is a slight running theme going on behind the scenes but that doesn’t affect the story of the film, wow that just sounds confusing. Saying that though this was planned as a series of different B-movie genre films so each one would have the same actors in them but playing different parts so in the future the back story would start to subtly affect the on screen interactions between the characters.

NT: There’s an intermission in the middle of the comic where we get some great ads, one of which is a poster for a forthcoming film. Is “My Reptilian Bride” a possible spinoff to this series?

DB: Not originally but I’m starting to be really tempted to do it as one! There are more posters coming up the next three issues though that point towards possible other movies from the studio.

NT: The presentation of the comic as well as the endpapers show an obvious love of cinema – is working in film an ambition of yours?

DB: I wouldn’t say no to a job in film but the reason I love working in comics so much is that it’s limitless in it’s scope for story telling. It’s not constrained by special effects budgets, if you can imagine it then it’s there on paper and there’s something really satisfying about that. I did use the old black and white cinema technique in the colouring of the book where shirts are coloured blue so they show up as white when it’s converted to saturated grey tones. Come to think of it I’m probably only able to work in 60 year old cinematic techniques so if I wanted to work in film I’d have to quantum leap back to the 50s anyway.

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NT: What else do you learn at space university besides space is rather large?

DB: You also learn how to keep a pipe well stacked and lit at all times for consummate sciencing!

NT: Dr Brett is very much a product of his time – or at least a stereotypical version of a man of his time, playfully socking women while talking down to them – but I still want him to get his just desserts from Doris. Is that something we’re going to see in later issues?

DB: All I can say on that one is keep reading and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed…

NT: There’s clearly a lot of love for old-timey 50s movies – what’re your recommendations for fun sci-fi b-movies?

DB: How long have you got there’s loads! I’ll do my top 5: The Land Unknown which has possibly the ropiest man in a suit T-Rex of all time, Robot Monster which is right up there with Plan 9 From Outer Space as the worst movie of all time, 20 Million Miles to Earth which is good for the Harryhausen action and appalling Italian accents. Attack of the Crab Monsters because these poor buggers are not only being attacked by giant crabs and the disembodied electrified spirit of an evil scientist they’re also on a radioactive island which is sinking. Earth VS The Flying Saucers which is more a series than film but the beginning of It Came! where they’re in the car is an homage to this one. I could go on for hours to be honest!

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NT: It Came! gets the 21st century Hollywood remake treatment – who is your dream cast as Dr Brett, Doris and the Robot?

DB: Hmm this is tricky as most of favourite actors are six feet under and probably quite ripe by now. I have to admit I’d like to see Colin Firth give Dr. Brett a go as he definitely has a plummy enough voice though really David Niven all the way! Possibly some Emily Blunt action for Doris, the ages are all about right I think. For the robot it has to be Vin Diesel as The Iron Giant is one of my favourite films so I know he gives good space robot.

NT: You go into a country pub – what do you order first?

DB: Two double Hendrick’s gins and ice, no mixer!

NT: What projects are you working on at the moment?

DB: At the moment I’m finishing off It Came but I also do a strip for the weekly children’s anthology The Phoenix, called Haggis and Quail are on the trail. It’s set in the 1930s and is about cryptozoology which has a grandfather and grandson who go around the world looking for strange creatures with their flatulent cat Bodmin the Beast of Bodmin Moor, very high brow stuff of course.

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NT: What comics are you reading at the moment?

DB: Having only just started reading comics again I’ve just finished reading Hellraisers which is the biography of Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed, cracking stuff!

NT: Thanks for your time, old cake!

DB: You’re more than welcome!

It Came! #1 by Dan Boultwood is out now. To find out more about this and other Titan Comics releases, check out http://www.titan-comics.com

The post Interview: Dan Boultwood – Creator Of It Came! appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Karyn White Makes Her Comeback with ‘Carpe Diem’

4 May

Karyn White

“I couldn’t even think or dream of anything else,” said Karyn White of what drew her to music. A multiple Grammy nominee and NAACP Image Award winner, she stepped away from performing in 1994 to focus on her family, but now she’s roaring back with the new album Carpe Diem. The singer and entrepreneur recently spoke to BFTV about what made it the right time for her to return, and what she’s learned from the journey of her career.

Karyn was not only a successful singer, but also writer and producer from the 80’s to mid 90’s, She released her self-titled debut EP in 1988, and it was certified Platinum, reaching the top spot on the Billboard R&B chart. Another album, 1991’s Ritual of Love, went Gold. She cultivated a fan base both domestic and international, including Japan, the UK and Canada. Yet she put down the microphone and found a second career in interior design and real estate. Once her daughter went off to college at Howard University, however, Karyn decided upon a return to music – one that’s kicked off by the arrival of her new album, Carpe Diem.

“I’ve grown and so it was more of an excitement,” she said when asked if she felt any pressure stepping back into the spotlight. “I know who I am even more. I’m living what I’m speaking about in my music. [That] just gave me a whole other confidence. I feel like there’s a whole bunch of ladies in their 30’s and 40’s that can identify with me.”

Yet Karyn is also quick to point out that for all the things she’s accomplished, she could not be as successful as she is alone. “”I have a great team,” she explained. “A great manager, assistant, publicist, my daughter helps me – and I think it starts there. It’s not just me.”

She’s definitely ready to make her presence felt. Carpe Diem is a reflection of Karyn’s growth as both an artist and a woman. There’s the motivating song “Seize the Day” and the empowerment track “Unbreakable,” which she says “is really where I am. I’m never going to let anyone or anything break my spirit.” She’s also proud of “My Heart Cries,” which is “an amazing composition about being a woman.” The disc also contains her cover version of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”

The album showcases her identity as a strong woman with the benefit of both professional and life experience. “People don’t realize your youth is hard because you’re trying to find it. We really compete with ourselves,” she explained. “My production, my whole brand, I knew who I was. And it was easier than ever.”

The new Karyn White is not just a musical artist, but continues to be a multi-hyphenate, with a brand that goes across countries and platforms. With the release of the album, she’s also going back out on tour, having visited Japan and on her way to Africa and Europe before she travels the United States. In addition to that, she’s hitting the small screen, with both a TV pilot and a reality TV series. And there’s a companion book to the new album, also entitled Carpe Diem. There’s nothing Karyn won’t try, and she encourages other artists to not let anything hold them back, either.

“I definitely want to always encourage entrepreneurship and ownership,” she said. “I have a heart for people in this industry trying to make it. Always believe in yourself and don’t rely on anyone else for that. Don’t measure your success based on finances, measure it based on the happiness in your heart.”

“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do anything. Go after your dreams. I don’t care if you’ve had it all, been there, made mistakes, you have to seize the day. It is the time,” she continued. “I’m so excited because there’s so many talented musicians and entertainers who never get the opportunity in today’s world. Now you can create the opportunity. I respect that, I honor it and I’m excited. Music can only get better because it’s in the right hands of true artists.”

Artists like Karyn White, who is back in a big way, and this time she’s going to be making headlines for a long while to come.

You can keep up with Karyn at her official website (karynwhite.me), on Twitter (@Karyns_World), and on Facebook (KarynWhiteMusic). Carpe Diem is on iTunes and Amazon now.

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my official website and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: PR Photos

Shawn Hatosy Previews Season 5 of TNT’s ‘Southland’

19 Apr

Southland

TNT’s Southland is back for its fifth season tonight, delivering more raw, realistic drama centered around its ensemble of LAPD officers. BFTV checked in with Shawn Hatosy, who plays veteran officer Sammy Bryant, to see what’s ahead for Sammy and partner Ben Sherman – and discuss what continues to set Southland apart.

In season five, Southland will continue to explore its fantastic ensemble, even as there will still be plenty of action on the streets of Los Angeles. “Driving fast cars and chasing people, that’s fun and that’s always going to be in our show,” said the actor. “The character stuff is what I like – in all of these characters, Lydia, Cooper, Ben and Sammy.

“As far as Sammy goes, we get a little glimpse into his world, and we catch back up with Tammi and what’s going on in her world. They’ve got a kid together [and] now his ex-wife, who we know is unstable, is with his kid 24/7. I think that he feels a ton of guilt and responsibility for the kid.”

Sammy’s partnership with Ben (Benjamin McKenzie, pictured above left with Hatosy) will also experience some tension as the younger officer starts to push the limits. “Ben, season one, he was a rookie, wide-eyed, looking to come in the LAPD and change it,” explained Hatosy. “Now here we are in season five, and I think the job has changed him, things from his personal life have changed him. He’s advancing, but he’s doing it in ways that [Sammy], his partner, is looking at going ‘Really?'”

In one of Southland‘s most memorable storylines, Sammy chose to step down from being a detective following the beating death of his partner, Nate Moretta. Although he technically could return to detective work, Hatosy believes Sammy won’t ever come back to that part of his life.

“No, he did that. And these guys can choose to do whatever they want,” he explained. “I think he’s very much like John Cooper in that he knows who he is. He’s inherently a decent guy, which isn’t to say that he doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, and maybe he isn’t necessarily the best cop in the world as far as always getting the bad guy, but he tries and he means well.”

“The writers have done a great job drawing these characters,” Hatosy continued. “we have conversations with the writers about different things, and what seems to be working. They’re really adept at finding where our strengths are as actors, and shading it as much as possible so there’s variety. One of the other things I enjoy about the show, it’s not just dark. There’s some light stuff. Ben and Sammy, I think it’s fun to be in the car with these two.”

Has five seasons of playing Sammy changed the actor’s own perception of the police? “One hundred percent,” Hatosy confided. “Five years ago, you wouldn’t see me going to some LAPD event and shaking hands with Chief Beck. That’s not who I was. I certainly looked at police like ‘Oh, those guys. They just want to mess with me.’ And now I have so much respect for what they do.”

In addition to Southland, Hatosy has made a few guest appearances on other series during the show’s run, including an episode of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0. Asked what else he’d recommend for fans to check out, “The movie Outside Providence I’m really proud of, The Faculty, The Cooler was a pretty cool movie. As far as TV stuff, I did a little arc on Dexter that was kind of fun. I got to play a serial killer,” he said, adding with a laugh, “For me, it’s either a cop or a killer. There’s no in-between. I’m not going to play a teacher.”

Fans have embraced him as a cop, and he’s happy to continue in that role. “I am so proud of Southland,” he said. “if somebody’s reading this that hasn’t seen Southland, tune in. It’s not your typical cop show. This isn’t a procedural. It’s totally different. You feel like you’re riding in the car with these first responders. And it’s riveting.”

Southland returns tonight at 10 PM ET/PT on TNT.

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my official website and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: TNT

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