Category Archives: Interviews

Introducing AIVIS

AIVIS are Aidan and Travis, a brand new electropop duo from Scotland/USA. They’ve spent the past couple of years writing and recording songs, culminating in the release today of debut single “The Wilderness”. I totally love it: it’s catchy and modern and a wee bit world-wise. Glasgow-boy Aidan Smeaton’s vocals command this post-breakup tune, with its metronomic rhythms and intricate percussion; I’m sure I even heard some sleigh bells at the end….! With a cool 4K ‘mercan video, there’s comparisons with Lorde, Bastille and especially Chvrches (and not just due to the shared Glaswegian origins of Aidan and Lauren).

The PANSENTIENT LEAGUE spoke to AIVIS to find out a bit about them and their plans…


aivis-profileI assume the name AIVIS is from your first names, like ABBA right? Do you worry about people confusing you with a car rental company? 😉

A – An ABBA comparison! That’s a good start. Yes, it’s Aidan + Travis. We spent a long time mulling over options and just couldn’t agree on one. We wanted something that was short, represented both of us, and made us easy to google. Then one day Travis just said “AIVIS” and I was like “That’s it. That’s the one!” Now every time I see the car rental company I always think they’ve spelled it wrong 🙂

Were either of you in a band before AIVIS?

A – No, I’ve never been in a band until now. In my early 20s I had a solo project called Little Flare, where I would produce electropop instrumentals on my computer and then go to a studio to record the vocals over it. Over the next few years I really worked on improving my voice, my lyric writing, and my understanding of sound design and music production. Then AIVIS happened.

T – Electronic music was kind of an accident for me: I started out playing guitar and piano when a friend introduced me to Fruity Loops 5. I was tired of trying to depend on other people to make music so I started writing myself. While mainly using FL as a place holder to eventually record on instruments, the control and ease to create exactly what I wanted kept me on FL.

You live on different continents. How did you end up working together?

A – I hit a plateau in 2014 with my solo project and wanted to work with someone with a better ear for beats, basslines, and who enjoyed the production aspect of making music more than I did. I looked on Reddit for collaborators and started a few projects that never took off. I found a track Travis posted and luckily he’d used the same software as me, so I sent him one of my tracks and he played about with it and made it sound amazing. So, even though I was in Scotland and he was in Ohio, we were able to work on our projects by sharing files back and forth. Over the next few years we spoke a handful of times on Skype, but mainly just chatted over Facebook Messenger and shared files via Google Drive. The Internet is a wonderful thing!
T – I had posted my song ‘Airports‘ on Reddit and Aidan sent a message saying he liked my work and wanted to collaborate and I thought, why not? Our first song together was ‘Metamorphosis‘ which is exactly what these last 2.5 years have been. We lucked out. I think doing this online has helped because our schedules are so different and we can both maximize our free time to work on this without having to actually meet up.

Who are your musical influences or heroes?

aivis-24A – I always feel a bit embarrassed answering this question because I’m so uncool. I grew up in the late 90s and early 00s when pop groups dominated the UK charts. As a kid I listened to Steps, S Club 7, Vengaboys, Spice Girls… the cheesier the better! When I became a moody teenager I listened to James Blunt, Delta Goodrem, Yellowcard, Avril Lavigne and My Chemical Romance. That was as angsty as my poppy personality could go! Since then I’ve been influenced by the likes of Mika, Robyn, La Roux, Bastille, Lorde, Lady Gaga, Clean Bandit, Fun, Hurts, Grimes, Marina and the Diamonds, RedOne, Max Martin and Sia.

My favourite band for some time now are CHVRCHES, partly because they’re Glaswegian but mainly because their songs are just so fucking amazing. They’re definitely heroes of mine and I look up to them for their songwriting and for their authenticity as artists.

T – I’ve taken a lot of influence from groups like Tool, Animals as Leaders, Modest Mouse, Emery. Emery’s been my favorite band for the last 10 years. I think often what I take out of music is the way it makes me feel so I may not sound like any of these groups but I put that feeling it gave me into the things I create. Then there are random songs by groups that I don’t particularly listen to a lot of that will strike me and influence me in a big way. CHVRCHES has definitely been the biggest influence on AIVIS though. Our music taste doesn’t overlap a whole lot but we both agree 100% on CHVRCHES. I think one artist I look up to a lot is Matthew Morden of Bubblegum Octopus. It’s just some dude from New Jersey with a tiny fanbase but he doesn’t give up. He’s always touring and making ends meet doing what he loves and that’s absolutely inspiring to me.


How would you describe your music to people?

A – Catchy emotional insidious glitchy electronic pop.
T – I’ve always had the toughest time trying to explain my music to people. Lately I’ve been saying think of Lorde with a male vocalist and darker vocals but more instrument heavy.

What is your typical songwriting process?

A – I’m basically the provider of pop: song structure, lyrics, vocals, melodies, and harmonies. Travis is the devil for detail – beats, basslines, glitches and instrumentation. We really complement each other’s skills. For the first album, we chose songs that were originally part of our solo projects. So half of them started out as my songs, and the other half were Travis’s. I’ll rearrange the elements of the track and flesh it out then send it back to him to polish it up. While he does that I’ll write vocal parts and lyrics and I’ll record demos with my PreSonus Studio One mic and audio interface. Each song goes through countless iterations until we’re both happy with it, but many of them are just abandoned.
Once we have a decent backing track with lyrics, I’ll take it to Elba Audio Studios in Glasgow and work with the very talented engineer Phil Feenan, who helps me get the best takes of all the vocal layers I’ve written. I can have 20 vocal layers in one song so it can take days to complete. I used to be a shite singer but doing that definitely helped me improve my technique over the years! Once we have a finished backing track and vocal stems, we send everything away to Chris Graham in Columbus, where his team mix and master it.

I’ve seen your lyrics described as having “dark overtones.” Do you agree?

aivis-17A – Haha, I totally agree. I’m generally a happy and friendly guy, but I guess my dark side comes out when I’m writing lyrics. The lyric part of songwriting can be quite cathartic and I suppose that’s one way I express and deal with those unpleasant emotions. Plus, I’ve always been attracted to music and art that taps into the darker side of the human experience. Black Mirror is my favourite TV show by far. Writing about going clubbing or falling in love or hating someone is fine, but it’s boring. I’m more interested in writing about the feelings I don’t feel comfortable talking about or about my views on society and humanity. I’m such an emo!

Your debut single “The Wilderness” is infectiously catchy and probably the first song I’ve ever heard with the phrase “molly-coddled” in it 😉  Is the song about or dedicated to anyone in particular?

A – Thank you! Everyone picks up on the “mollycoddled” lyric, I love it so much. ‘The Wilderness‘ is probably the first song I wrote where I really decided to express how I was feeling in a completely honest way. I actually feel very exposed and uncomfortable when people close to me listen to it because they know who it’s about. I wrote the music years ago, but only started on the lyrics last year during my first ever break up from a long term relationship. It’s hard to describe how scary it is being single at 24 when you’ve had the same boyfriend since you were 15, and how the process of finding yourself again is equally difficult and rewarding. Having to deal with the mixed feelings of regret, relief, abandonment, freedom, loneliness, hope, anger, and forgiveness in ways most people deal with for the first time as teenagers.

We don’t speak any more sadly, but I’m happy that we’ve moved on and I don’t hold any bad feelings against him. I held on to a lot of guilt and rage for a long time, and I’m glad I’ve moved past that. I probably won’t be ready for another relationship for a long time. I guess I’m still trekking through The Wilderness, paving my own way now though 🙂.

Where was the video for “The Wilderness” shot? How involved were you with the whole process and did you enjoy the experience? And who’s the girl?

A – The video was shot in Joliet, Illinois, where our director Dan Lotz is from. Michael Downing from Signal-to-Noise posted a link to his band’s music video and I loved it. I got in touch and asked if he’d be interested in doing the video for ‘The Wilderness’. Travis and I came up with the concept for the video and pitched it to Dan. We felt like we had won the lottery when he said yes!

So because I couldn’t get a cheap flight out to the States for another couple of months, Dan got his team together and started filming the story part of the video with the actors first (the fantastically talented Chelsea Rambo and Caleb Harris). They worked with cinematographer Noah Harris. The shots in the woods are stunning and both Chelsea and Caleb perform so professionally.

A few weeks later I flew from Glasgow and Travis drove from Columbus to Chicago, where we both met in person for the first time. That was really weird because we’d been working together for over 2 years, talking daily, we wrote an album together, and yet we hadn’t physically met! So we spent 5 days in and around Joliet and Chicago getting to know each other better, doing touristy things, meeting Dan and his friends, filming the studio parts of the video in Dan’s apartment, and then editing the video. It was strange because we were so used to working in different places at different times that we didn’t really know how to work together in the same place. We ended up mostly sitting on our own computers in opposite ends of the room working as we normally do!

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing a new band like AIVIS?

aivis-10A – The main challenge is geographic. Because I’m in Scotland and Travis is in Ohio it’s just not practical for us to gig right now, which is super important for new bands to do. But, in fairness, we’ve always done things unconventionally and over the Internet. Perhaps there’ll be some way for us to virtually gig until we’re able to do live shows!

T – Definitely living on the other side of the planet from one another. It’ll put an extra challenge on us when we start playing live shows since we haven’t been able to practice sets together. Though on the bright side it gives us a wider audience. You know how people can be about their local bands.

Who was the last band or singer you saw live? All-time favorite gig?

A – The last gig I went to was Malcolm Middleton at the Art School in Glasgow. His latest album is great and I listened to ‘Music Ticks’ on repeat for weeks after it. I’ve been to loads of amazing gigs, but the standout one for me was probably CHVRCHES at the Hydro in Glasgow. I think it was just a very special gig because you knew it meant so much to the band. It was the largest venue they’d headlined at and it was in their home town. I may have shed a tear during ‘Afterglow’.

T – I saw Moon Hooch this last October with Honeycomb and a couple other beatboxers and it was a spiritual experience. It was definitely the best show I’ve been to yet. The energy was through the roof and it was just absolutely wild. Though I’m seeing Animals as Leaders soon and they’re one of my favorites so that may take number 1.

What can we expect from the album? Any particular themes or styles/genres? Any song you’re particularly proud of?

thewildernessartA – Hooks, hooks, and more hooks! The album is full of electropop earworms. Most songs touch on a dark theme but in a fun way, such as abandonment, envy, obsession, blind faith, or state surveillance (yes, there’s a song about state surveillance!). Others are more uplifting or nostalgic. I’m particularly proud of the track ‘Flick’ because it’s one of the first songs I wrote as part of my Little Flare solo project. I rewrote the lyrics and Travis completely reproduced the track for the album so it’s it’s definitely a cool throwback.

T – You can expect to feel happy, to feel sad, to feel reminiscent. There’s definitely a familiar theme to all the songs yet they’re all quite different. There’re lots of groovy basslines, sultry harmonies, glitches, and a tinge of 80s synthwave. I think the biggest accomplishment for me so far is the song ‘Record and Surveil‘.

The Wilderness’ is out now, available from: 

With thanks to Aidan & Travis (and other friends).

Interview with DeepHouseHQ

The Fastest Way To Get Quality Deep House Out Now –  GUARANTEED!” That’s a bold claim made by DeepHouseHQ, a Spotify-friendly blog that specialises in deep house, chill-out, and other related sub-genres of electronic music. Site owner Pov Vysniauskas kindly spared some time to let us know what his site is all about.

Over to you Pov!

How did your site get its name?


Since the start of the blog (2010) I have changed its name several times. The first name we had was, but that was more an impulsive spontaneous decision influenced by few pints of beer and some friends. A lot has changed since then… speaking about how much I know about SEO, marketing, the music world…. having said that, choosing the current version of the name was more a strategic decision and involved analysis of search engine optimisation as well as analysis of our content and our targeted  crowd.  We needed something clear, obvious and still catchy so the recent name change to DeepHouseHQ  came as a best solution.

 How long has your site been running for?

We have been in the music market for quite a while. I started the deep house music blog when I was at my first year of university with the intention to share deep house playlists and other music I liked with some of like-minded friends. Since then, the blog became one of my addictions and it went through many changes in design, functionality and content as well as targeted audience. Sometimes, honestly my free time starts and finishes online.

 What styles of music do you cover?

We fall under the label of electronic music, actually to be precise and more specific  90% of our music is deep house. The rest falls under titles such as deep tech-house, chill-out and minimal. A lot of influence on our shared music has artists,  music labels and  DJs like Darkside, Noir music, Rembo music, Solumun and Nicolas Jaar.

 What makes different from other blogs?

I believe we present ourselves with a sense of humour: that’s one of the main  differentiators. It is really important to us that we differentiate ourselves from other deep house music blogs. That said, we  relate our name with quality deep house,  a sense of humour and blog posts with nice pictures to compliment the articles. We want the deeephousehq blog to be not only a place for your ears, but also “heaven for your eyes” too.

So the image we are trying to develop here are more or less reflecting young and progressive people. We also are very selective on the music we post and if you’re listening  to any  playlist, track or mix on our site that means that music has our stamp of approval.

Why do you blog?

Solomun - Love Recycled 1 (Original Mix)

Music is part of my life, and sharing my music taste is a hobby which makes me really happy. Blogging combines a number of my interests together in one  place. After countless hours of work it became a big part of me; it’s a really nice feeling to see the positive comments and get a chance to work with DJs I like. I blog because I love to share music and it’s a great opportunity to learn a lot about branding, blogging and SEO. I have already learned tons and I have enjoyed all my time on this blog. Deep House HQ to me is a game, a hobby, a way to express my thoughts and a place to learn new things.

Do you have other blog contributors?

Yes!  Though I take the lead and decisions for  blog development, to do everything on my own would be too much! My team includes IT/ Technical support  which is done by my brother Martynas, an  IT architect. Logo Design is done by one of my good university friends Deividas, who studies graphic design. And finally some of the content and music is provided by my mate Mack. These guys helped a lot in different ways, and helped push the blog forward, especially Mack and my brother.

How do you decide what to write about?

98% of our content is written on the spot while listening to a track. I would say most of the content is based on emotions, recent experiences and adventures. The rest are pre-planned articles written by freelance writers.

jaarWho are your favorite bands and artists?

My music style is based on deep house, acid-jazz, chill-out and minimal  so it is very hard to list names. I would say my favourite DJs and music labels would  be: Sasha, Noir music, Darkside, Nicholas Jaar, Zabiela and Solumun.

 Name a band you love that no one else seems to have heard of

Well, this is a very good question! We recently published an article featuring Top 100 deep house tracks  that no one else seems to have heard of , a lot of the music there are produced by unknown bands/ music producers but my favourite though is Nicolas Jaar.


Many thanks to Povilas Vysniauskas for taking the time to answer our questions. Check out his site at!

Interview with Indiekingss

indieIndiekingss is a new Spotify-centered blog about indie music. Site owner Ryan Freeman got in touch to tell us about the site, so I persuaded him to tell us some more…

How did your site get its name?

Well, I picked up the name Indiekingss when I started sharing music on tumblr, but I couldn’t seem to gain much traction in getting attention. I still use tumblr all the time, but not for sharing music. Nevertheless, the name lived on, and made it to my full website. The name was a good fit, because it sends a straightforward message about what you can expect to find on our site. The name also plays on the fact that most indie fans want to be the best hipster they can be. They want to know as many talented, underground, and unheard of bands as possible. It’s up for our readers to decide whether we are throwing down the gauntlet, or just being facetious. Lastly, it’s a little bit obnoxious, so it’s easy to remember.

How long has your site been running for?

We’re essentially a newborn baby blog, we only got started in mid-October 2013! When my friend and I got started, we decided to use WordPress as our web design tool; It has given us tons of flexibility, and that decision also allowed me to focus primarily on generating content. We’ve tried really hard to pack our site with articles and playlists,  so visitors can explore as much as they like, and not hit dead ends! It has  been a busy few months for us, and we’ve got some big plans for the future! In the short term, we’ve got plans to do online interviews with Hotel Cinema, The Zolas, Kid Runner, Young Liars, and Slow Runner. Writing that last sentence is mind-boggling for me, because those are some of my truly favorite bands right now!

What styles of music do you cover?


I think most of the genres covered on our site fall under the umbrella of either indie rock or indie pop, but more specifically: electro, synthpop, post-punk, lo-fi… I could go on all day with that list, but honestly I dislike this part where we dissect these bands and squeeze them  into universal categories. I would rather group songs together by what sounds good while you’re driving or working out. So if you’re still curious to know what kind of music would be covered on our blog here’s a few rules: 1) If a band has rock or pop influences were going to give it a listen. 2) If the band is in anyway influenced by the 70’s or 80’s well try them out. 3) Lastly, and most importantly,  if a band is idiosyncratic or obscure then we’ll write about them.

What makes Indiekingss different from other blogs?

It is really important to us that we differentiate ourselves from other indie music blogs and outlets. I mean, were primarily fans of musicians that explore different routes in music, so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for us to have a conventional blog about them. With that being said, there are a few things that make us different from the normal music blog. Firstly, we take a different stance in the indie music community then most blogs. We are all about keeping the momentum behind the artists we love, and we gravitate toward the little guys. Our goal is to promote as many talented underdogs as possible.

Secondly, we’ve yet to tear anyone down for making music we don’t like. That doesn’t make any sense. So instead, we just ignore them. If you’re reading about a band on our site that means they have our stamp of approval.

Thirdly, we put together massive themed playlists that range all the way from 25 Songs You Might Listen to if You Were Flying on a Unicorn to The Best Songs of 2013. Obviously, the former is the one that makes us different from other indie music blogs, not the latter,  to more specifically answer your question.

Why do you blog?

zolasI always find myself reaching out to friends and sharing music with them. I think my friends and I have a lot to offer anyone that wants to be a part of our community. Particularly when it comes to bouncing songs and playlists around on Spotify. I want to create a situation where I can publish a playlist in an article and generate a good discussion about artists that deserve to be included. However, I primarily blog because I have a vision for a clique that will help spread the word about artists they love and help me get the best of the best off the ground. It takes a lot of courage and commitment to start a band and generate any kind of following. Often it’s the bands that have less than 1,000 fans that want it the most and because of internet things like blogs, anyone can help them out! It’s not like you have to drive to a record store and pick out one or two albums you want, then go home and put them on your 8-track. It’s easier than ever to give musicians a chance, and my blog is specifically designed to provide publicity where we see fit. We obviously do all kinds of other fun things too!

Do you have other blog contributors?

Yes I do! Many of my friends have written at least one article and admittedly most of them are better writers than me. But, I work with two people who regularly contribute to the website. One of them is a content creator and the other is a web designer. I wouldn’t have been able to make my vision a reality without them.

How do you decide what to write about?

kidrunnerWe typically focus on three different types of articles: features and interviews from our favorite bands, articles about themed playlists such as 10 Songs Indie Kids Can Twerk To, and classic articles that cover our favorite songs, bands and albums over a specific period of time. We try to mix it up and we are willing to write about anything that seems interesting. Just to reiterate, we are only a few months old, so we are not trying to put up too many stringent rules about what we are willing or not willing to cover.

Do you plan out your posts in advance?

Up until I started this project, I had never creatively written anything, so planning and organizing posts plays a major role in covering up my inexperience; that and making jokes every now and again. It also takes a ton of planning to organize some of the playlists that we put together. At any given time, I’m working on 5-10 playlists for future articles. I mean, I’ll be working on my Best of 2014 playlist all year, but even more unconventional playlists take a ton of time to put together.

How do you approach reviewing an album?

As of right now, we haven’t reviewed any albums. We are sort of at an impasse about whether we ever want to review albums. When we started blogging, writing album reviews was definitely on our roadmap, but now that we’ve got around 30 articles under our belt, it’s starting to feel like we never will. There are a few reasons why we might never take that route: We can keep a 100% positive upbeat atmosphere if were not ripping on other people’s music. I don’t personally ever read album reviews. I decide for myself whether I like a certain album. I might read them after I’ve already formed my own opinion, but reviews rarely sway me one way or another. Sometimes, I read them just to disagree and comment with my own two cents, but like I said, I haven’t decided yet whether writing them for my own blog would be a worthwhile venture. Maybe if our regular readers requested that we do specific album reviews we could do that.

Who are your favorite bands and artists?

hotName a band you love that no one else seems to have heard of

Well, this is officially my favorite question of the interview! We recently published an article featuring 100 Underrated Bands, and while some of them are more popular than others, there is some truly undiscovered talent in that list. But, in the spirit of answering your question with one band I think Hot As Sun fits the bill. They are currently followed by 280 people on Spotify and their most popular song on Youtube, Night Time Sound Desire, has 991 views. That being said, they are badass and definitely deserve more attention.

Which review, interview or feature are you most proud of?

That’s a really tough question, because I’m proud of the various articles for different reasons. I’m going to go with the aforementioned 100 Underrated Bands. It takes a lot of work and time to put those together but in the end,  it felt the best to put that post up because I’m plugging so many of my favorite artists all at the same time. I’ve spoken to a few of our readers that have started to regularly listen to some of the artists on that playlist, so that makes it even more worthwhile!

Thanks very much for you time Ryan!

Schmoof Interview 2013

To follow on from my retrospective article about Schmoof over on The Electricity Club, here is a brand-new interview with Schmoof!


schmoofcoverLloyd and Sarah Schmoof: it’s great to hear from you both again! When I interviewed you last you were just about to release your second album, The Glamour and preparing for a UK tour to promote it. That album turned out to be my favourite release of 2007, but I think a lot of your potential fanbase either didn’t “get it” or just weren’t ready for your brand of analogue synthpop, retro ZX Spectrum visuals, and latex (there was a lot of latex).

 Just a couple of years after Schmoof there was a huge resurgence and interest in electropop – do you think Schmoof were just around too early, or do you think you were just a little bit too different from your contemporaries?

L: When we first started gigging in 2000ish, we found it really hard to get gigs. All venues seemed to expect four dirty blokes playing guitar…

S: …and most sound engineers didn’t understand how to mix us!

L: So we started running our Warm Electro club nights at the Water Rats. If you go out to gigs now in London, there are many electro duos. So either we were too late for the early 80s electro era, or too early for the current one. I still believe that using proper synths is really important. Most electro bands these days just press ‘play’ on their laptop and pretend to twiddle knobs on their mixer that isn’t plugged in – it ain’t live.

What was important to us was writing catchy songs that were actually about something. A lot of electro music today is dance music with bland lyrics about love. Some people thought we were a joke band because there was a lot of wit in our lyrics. It didn’t feel like a joke for us; music is all about entertainment and making people happy.

S: In this way we were different from our contemporaries; we were serious about making music but we didn’t take ourselves too seriously and had fun with the song-writing process and the performance in particular. Some people just didn’t get that. A lot of the electro-pop around at that time was very ‘cool’, both in terms of the timbres used in the production process, the lyrics and particularly the aloof style of performance. In many ways we were the opposite of that, hence Warm Electro. Perhaps people would have understood us better now, with people like Lady Gaga around who have fun with their performance.


Which Schmoof song are you most proud of?

 S: I’m really proud of the whole of our second album, The Glamour. It realised our musical aims with Schmoof; it’s all essentially electro but it doesn’t all sound the same, for example Backseat Driver contains rock elements and Hayfever has a country’n’western vibe. I also think it contains some of our best songs. In terms of songwriting, I’m particularly proud of Northern Line.

L: Chocolate Boyfriend was the single. That got a lot of press including Single of the Week in The Sun, beating Robbie Williams! The song is really simple musically, it’s mostly two chords. But for the musos out there, there are some odd chords in the pre-chorus and the middle 8. It sounds like a clean mix, but there are lots of distorted synths buried in the mix to add dynamic contrasts between the sections. I’m also very proud of the final section of Backseat Driver where Sarah’s voice morphs. Sarah wasn’t about that day so I got a bit carried away. I spent a whole afternoon trying to get the perfect take by running her voice through some crazy wirings through filters and ring modulators on my System 100 and twiddling the knobs going to tape. These days I could program something similar in Logic in a couple of minutes, but that would lack challenge and you wouldn’t be able to get it as wild sounding.



 Any special Schmoofy memories or moments you cherish?

 L: All of it really. I was so proud of the quality of what we were producing without a major label budget. I also loved our live shows; most bands at the time just turned up and played their instruments but we tried to stamp our brand on the venue. We had striking outfits and our projections helped fill the stage – the ZX Spectrum was the third member of the band. And everyone got a schmoof sticker during the gig.

One gig that I remember was in Bedford (I think). We weren’t expecting anything special – just a small venue, probably half empty; small town mentality. The place was rammed full of teenage metallers who had come to see the local 6th form metal band that were supporting us. We didn’t think that these metalheads would be into us and they would probably just leave after their mates band had finished. They stayed and partied hard. They loved our music and we sold loads of CDs and sold out of T-shirts!

I think that our final gig, which was in London, was our best. We were really on it. It was a great venue in the heart of Hoxton chic; it was rammed. No-one knew it was our final gig except us.

 S: I think one of our best gigs was when we played Infest in Bradford. It was probably our biggest gig in terms of audience size – well over 1,000 I think – and it was one of the first times we had done a gig outside our home town of London and had several people calling out requests for our songs! That was a lovely feeling – we felt like proper pop stars for 20 minutes!


 Your album The Glamour seemed to make a sardonic comment on how life in a band might be anything BUT glamorous. What was the worst thing about touring? Worst gig?

Picture1L: In the early days there were some truly awful gigs. Small venues with limited sound systems. We were so dependent on the sound system because we didn’t have a drum kit and guitar amps. We did a lot of gigs in Glasgow. We know every inch of the M6!

Because all of our synths were analogue, in a live situation with hot lights shining on them, they always went out of tune. This was really hard to manage whilst still trying to make the gigs look effortless. The Roland SH 101 was the biggest culprit – sometimes it could be a few tones out of tune. It needed re-tuning for every song.

S: Yes when you’re a band releasing stuff on your own label, it aint that glam! I loved the gig part of touring but the travel and sleeping on random floors was tough. There’s a photo inside the album cover of us both lifting our massive super-heavy silver flight case, which contained most of our gear. We sometimes got to a venue and realised that we had to lift that flight case up four steep flights of stairs! But of course the worst bit was lifting it back down again at 6 in the morning when you are knackered and drunk! That bloody flight case…

One of our worst gigs (but also one of the funniest) was at a small club in Cornwall. We went on very late and the place was full of very drunk people. One audience member had to be held back by her boyfriend as she screamed rude names at me and a man asked me to sign his bottom when we came off stage! Bizarre…


What made you decide to call it a day with Schmoof?

S: We felt that we had taken it as far as we could. Our ultimate aim was to make music our entire life, so after The Glamour, when we were still having to support Schmoof through our day jobs, we decided not to continue. But I’m incredibly proud of everything we achieved and feel that we ended on a high with The Glamour.

L: And I wanted to surf more. Living in London was doing my head in.


What do you miss the most about being in a band?

L: Spending a lot of time with Sarah. We were so close as friends. We were so focused on the band. It was our lives – it was all we did. It’s really rewarding producing a product that people want to buy into. We did it all ourselves – we had no help from labels or management companies.

S: I agree that Lloyd and I became very close. Experiencing all the highs and lows of a band with one other person is very intense and we were like brother and sister. I really miss the song writing process – I would have loved to have written songs for other people but it is so hard to get a foot in the door. And I really miss playing live.


Any special Schmoof memorabilia you still have? What happened to the Schmoof synthesizers and home computers?

Picture2S: We still have the outfits! I haven’t tried them on since having children but I’ll probably keep them forever.

L: The synths are in my Dad’s attic or some of the better ones are lent out to musicians. It’s best that they get used because otherwise they stop working. Some of them are 40 years old now. If I were ever to record songs again, I would use the same studio gear. I see no reason to upgrade my Atari and my synths. I would like my music to sound individual – not like Logic Pro music as everything in the charts sounds like.


If you were to do it all again now, what (if anything) would you do differently?

L: Produce more records and sell them. Sometimes, I think we kept trying to make the music better instead of just getting it out there.

S: I would have spent less time trying to get a record deal/manager/agent and focussed on releasing our own records and building our label and fanbase gradually.


What did you make of all the female-fronted synthpop bands that came after Schmoof (La Roux, Little Boots, Ladyhawke etc.)?

L: Where are they now? They didn’t last long or do anything new. La Roux wrote some nice songs, but they aren’t classics that stand the test of time.

S: None of them quite worked for me. Of the three, I think Ladyhawke was best. I liked her voice but that’s probably because I love Stevie Nicks!


schmoofeotmcWhat music do you listen to now?

L: Daft Punk’s latest album is amazing. It sounds like proper music because they use proper analogue synthesisers; it doesn’t sound like it’s been recorded on Logic like everything else around at the moment. And Donna Summer’s disco stuff. Sarah and I listened to the 17 minute version of “Love To Love You Baby” last night.

S: I’ve always been a huge fan of 1980s pop music and still listen to all my old albums now. I rarely buy new stuff if I’m honest but recent stuff I’ve liked includes Arcade Fire, Janelle Monae and Haim. I wasn’t as convinced by Daft Punk’s latest album as Lloyd, although I did like ‘Get Lucky’ and was reminded how awesome Nile Rogers is – I’d kill for a career like his! I mentioned her earlier but I do love the humour and showiness of Lady Gaga. I also saw electro trio Midnight Juggernauts a couple of years ago and got really into their stuff.


What have you been up to recently? Do you still do anything music-related?

S: I’m now a mummy to two little boys! So my time is mostly spent running around after them. I’m also in the process of setting up my own business.

L: I run a music technology course. Some of my students go on to have chart success which is rewarding. I can hear stuff that I taught them in their recordings. I also surf most days. That is my new creative outlet.


 Any chances of a Schmoof reunion gig, or some solo material? Any unreleased Schmoof songs that might see the light of day sometime?

S: I’m afraid there won’t be any Schmoof reunion gigs. I did consider doing solo Sarah Schmoof stuff but I never find the time with two young kids and perhaps the moment has passed now (sob).

L: I have tapes and tapes (yes tapes, not mp3s stored on a computer) of Schmoof recordings that no-one will ever hear. The tapes have been in the attic for years – they might not even play now. It is good to reminisce about Schmoof – it’s been such a long time and has reminded me of another life. This has encouraged us to put the album up on YouTube with the original ZX Spectrum animations so people can see them on this modern thing called the internet.

Band and Artist Interviews on Spotify

So you know about the music of course. You may have also noticed audio dramas, plays, poetry, sound effect albums as well as TV, film, and videogame soundtracks on Spotify too. Another category you might not be aware of are music documentaries and artist interviews. Spotify has a good selection of artist interviews, especially from “hall of fame” rock stars and heavyweights such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa (ironically just the few artists whose actual music is still being withheld from music streaming services). Here’s a look at ten artists with interview albums on Spotify!


The Beatles – Here There and Everywhere

The Beatles interviewed in 1965 by Derek Taylor, their former press officer. There are a few other interview albums with the Beatles on Spotify so just do a search!






Johnny Cash – The Interview

The Man In Black talking and being interviewed at various stages in his lengthy career.







 The Doors – Lost Interview Tapes

Circus magazine reporter Salli Stevenson talks to Jim Morrison in 1970, just nine months before his untimely death.







Billie Holiday – Rare (Previously Unreleased Material And Interviews)
Jazz legend Billie Holiday interviewed in 1949 and 1956.







John Lennon – Testimony: John Lennon “In His Own Words”

John Lennon interviewed by Bob Miles in December 1980. Recorded at Geffen Records in NYC, this radio interview was one of the last Lennon ever gave.






Madonna – The Interview
Released in 2010, this album features disjointed snippets of Madonna speaking at various stages in her career (with an eternal Casio loop in the background). One for die-hard fans only.






The Prodigy – The Interview

British electronic band The Prodigy interviewed in the run up to the release of their album “The Fat of the Land” in 1997. There’s also excerpts of reviews, a potted history, and “industry experts” talking about the band.





Elvis Presley – The Complete Interviews from 1955 – 1977

There are loads of Elvis interview albums on Spotify. Here’s Volume 1 of a set to get you started.







Sex Pistols – The Interviews

Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious and the other Pistols interviewed between 1977 and 1978, including the infamous Bill Grundy interview that shocked the nation.








Hear Me Talk About Spotify on the ICI/PRO Podcast

ICO/PRO is the world’s top resource for indoor cycling instructors. Their website ( provides a wealth of advice and help for thousands of indoor cycling enthusiasts, as well as cycling studio owners and health and fitness club managers.

John Macgowan hosts the Indoor Cycle Instructor podcast, an internet radio show that’s listened to by fitness professionals around the world. Since music plays such a big part in their training classes, John kindly asked me if I’d be a guest on his podcast to tell his listeners a little more about Spotify.

You can listen to the full 40 minute podcast here:

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Thanks John for having me on the show: I hope your listeners enjoy my ramblings!

Interview with Blackvector Magazine

Blackvector Magazine is a Swedish blog specializing in electro, EBM, futurepop, synthpop, harsh electro, and “clubby industrial” music.  They’ve recently started adding Spotify links to their reviews, so I thought this would be the perfect time to find out a bit more about the blog. Björn Andersson is the man in charge; I got in touch and asked him to tell us a little about his site, how and why he blogs, and his thoughts on the current and future electro music scene. Read on for the interview!


How did your site get its name?

Black Vector is actually the model name of some speakers from the Scandinavian quality brand Audio Pro, and is one of their most successful series. The name was something that captured my attention and I thought it sounded pretty good. So I put the two words together.

How long has your site been running for?

Previously I wrote for the now-closed e-zine Neurozine. It was pretty big on the scene. After a couple of years in hiatus, I decided to start my own zine and thoughts started to grow in Spring of 2009. The site was officially launched on May 18th, 2009, so I guess we have a 2-year anniversary in a week. 🙂

What styles of music do you cover?

There are so many different styles out there and new ones show up all the time. But on a big scale everything is more or less some kind of crossover or mix between the different styles that I grew up with. I try to cover as much as possible in the Electro/Industrial genre like EBM, Futurepop, Synthpop, Industrial, and Electropop.

Why do you blog?

My passion for music is very big. I love it. But in a way I don’t see it as blogging, even though that is pretty much what everything is nowadays. I think I’m stuck with the old mentality of running a website.

Do you have other blog contributors?

No, not at the moment. I do everything myself.

How do you decide what to write about? Do you plan out your posts in advance?

A lot of the news and such I get through email, but I also use Twitter and Facebook to get updates from bands and labels. I try to get out as much as I can that I feel is of importance and that the readers want to know.

How do you approach reviewing an album?

The feeling you get of listening to an album is different every time. Some are very easy to understand and others can be very difficult. Some albums require you to listen to them a couple of extra times compared with others. I guess it’s a matter of what you like and what you don’t. But only because you don’t like an album you can’t give it a bad rating, or write that you don’t like it. You have to dig in deeper and really listen to what the sounds are telling you.

What do you think of the current synthpop and electro scene?

It’s a mixed combination. I’ve been listening to this kind of music since 1999 and in some areas a lot of things have happened. Some albums released back then still sound the same with a modern sound. Then you evolve in what kind of music you like all the time. There are some bands and music styles I couldn’t listen to back then but that I have grown into and really like today. But I think that some bands seem to have stopped evolving and still sound the same as they were ten years ago. They kind of repeat what they have been doing from the beginning. Even if they keep their die-hard fans that want them to sound like they always have, it tends to get pretty boring for the music scene.

Nowadays, in the time of computers, anyone can create music and the internet is a great way to show what you have done. Something that just wasn’t possible 15 years ago. Now you can get it out to the public in seconds.

What changes have you seen in recent synth music and where do you see it going?

The main changes I think is in the quality of the music. I can listen to music that was created 5-10 years ago and really hear the difference from the same bands and artists releasing an album today.

Who are some of your favourite bands and artists?

There are so many great bands and artists out there and the styles I listen to differs. One day I feel like listening to soft synthpop and another day I want some harsher stuff. The list would be very long if I were to write them all down! I just want to give good cred to all artists and bands who keep creating great music.

Name a band you love that no-one else seems to have heard of.

Actually I got to hear a new exciting band a couple of weeks ago: UK duo cYbEr.dYnE. They recently released a great free track.

Which review, interview or feature are you most proud of?

I must say my interview with Ronan Harris of VNV Nation. It was the first ever interview I made face to face and I think it turned out great. Ronan is a great guy and we had a great talk.

Which other music websites and blogs do you rate?

I check out Brutal Resonance frequently as one of the founding members is a good friend and was also the founding member of Neurozine. So we have some history together and it’s great to read each other’s reviews of the same records as I think we have similar taste in music.

Thanks very much for your time Björn!


Spobbler: A Spotify Scripting Server

Alexander Forselius (krakelin on Spotify) is the creator of Spobbler, an ingenious server app that lets you automatically control Spotify playlists. Using its own Spotiscript scripting language, Spobbler opens up a world of Spotify programming possibilities. Alex is also an artist in his own right, with several ambient electronic albums on Spotify under the name of Dr. Sounds. I was intrigued by Spobbler and its creator, so I got in touch with Alex and asked him to tell us more about Spobbler and what you could do with it. Check out the interview below!

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The Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw: Are You One?

Adrian Flanagan and Candie Payne are Sheffield-based eccentronic pop duo The Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw – one of my favourite new bands whose debut single Are You One is coming out on the 29th November. We featured them here a few months ago, when Adrian told us about his Top 10 Favourite Tracks. Since then, and with the help of I Monster‘s Dean Honer, Adrian and Candie have been busy putting the final touches to their debut album. Read on for a review of the single and an exclusive interview with Adrian!

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