Archive for November, 2011

Ajimal – Interview

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Ajimal

Ajimal is the dynamic-in-ear-collaborative-experiment of Fran O’Hanlon. It evolved from what used to be called Ideogram, writing about the way that music and medicine and art and ideas and science and stories and hallucinations combine and interplay. The idea is to invite people we enjoy to come and perform and record and make stuff together and see what happens.

At least, that’s a vague semblance of the idea.

Can you take us back to what first got you into music, and what inspired you to start writing your own songs.
I’ve always enjoyed music, started on quite a classical course when I was young, which I’m grateful for now, but at the time maybe didn’t appreciate it quite as much… it’s come in really useful though, and I think it filters through at times, particularly during piano stuff.
I started writing because I knew other people who I thought were great writers I suppose, and started to get into people like Radiohead and later Tom Waits, Paul Simon etc, who are just incredible song writers, so that inspired me.

For anyone who hasn’t heard your music how would you describe it?
An in-ear-sound.

What made you go for the name Ajimal?
Ajimal came from Haiti, from a place I worked for a few months in 2010, he used to be a voodoo priest under the name, and was connected to the Duvalier regime in the 60s. A pretty dark past. He converted to Christianity and changed his name, but when I heard the sound of the word, I loved the phonetics of it, it was only a while later that I came back to it. I like it because it doesn’t really have many connotations as a sound and most names do. I like that people don’t really know what to expect from the name.

What have been the highlights of the year for you so far and what are you looking forward to for later in the year?

It was great to get a band together a couple of times, at The Roundhouse, and at Evo Emerging, with friends playing strings and drums, I enjoy re-inventing the songs, I think that way it stays fresh for both me and for the audience. Which is important!
Recording the debut Ajimal release at the moment, so looking forward to cracking on with that and finishing it, there are quite big plans for what we want to do, with lots of musicians and different people involved, so hopefully it will all come together.

Your track Wolf was recently used in a competition for local filmmakers to make a music video. How did you find the whole experience?
Yeah, I was massively grateful for the opportunity and that so many people took the same starting point and ended up with completely different videos and stuff that the song had inspired them to make. I think that’s the whole interesting thing about any creative idea – the reactions it conjures up for different people.

Ajimal – Wolf from Pinball Films on Vimeo.

Music from the North East is attracting a lot of attention at the moment with the help of organizations like Generator and Amazing
Radio based in Newcastle. How much do you feel a part of the North East music scene? Which bands would you recommend checking out?

Yeah definitely, it’s great to be part of. Ah loads of people man! Grandfather Birds are class, Minotaurs fo sho, Holy Mammoth are just bloody excellent. I recently heard the debut release from Mr Ben Sir, which is absolutely beautiful. Nadine Shah is amazing as well, and her debut record is going to be fantastic.
What I think is cool about Newcastle is that lots of musicians seem to overlap and stumble onto each others gigs and support each other. It’s nice to be part of that, and also people want to go to gigs and hear live music, which isn’t always the case.

What influences have helped shape your music?

Everything! I suppose everything that ever happens to you influences how you process what goes on around you and how you interpret it, but that’s perhaps not a very helpful answer. Too many to mention I suppose!


With the growth of music sharing on the internet it’s much easier to discover new music through platforms such as Soundcloud or Spotify. Have you made any new musical discoveries you can recommend?

Yeah I came across Everything Everything through Myspace back in the day before it was totally shit. It’s interesting that since the digital era, anyone can quite easily make music on a laptop with a basic set up (myself included!) but then the difficulty becomes not the making of the recording, but actually getting it to people you think will enjoy it!

Where can people see you live next ?

I’m playing my first headline show at The Bridge with the excellent Blank Maps and Toyger on the 3rd of Dec, which should be a great show!

What’s next for Ajimal?

There’ll be some news soon about the debut Ajimal release in the new year… in the mean time lots of free stuff to download at http://www.soundcloud.com/ajimal – please share it as far and wide as possible!

“Like” Ajimal on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ajimalmusic
Follow Ajimal on Twitter @ajimalmusic

Thank You

Weird Shapes – Interview

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Weird Shapes

In a short space of time they have secured BBC Introducing play from Tom Robinson & Bob Fischer, national radio play from Q Radio & Amazing Radio, as well as being featured on the influential BBC Introducing & Sentric Music Podcasts. They are playing a string of shows over the back end of 2011 to satisfy their growing online fan base. Ladies and Gentleman I give you Weird Shapes:

Dan Spooner on Lead Vocals and Bass (also answering these questions)
Michael Spooner on Synths and Soundscapes
Matt Cole on Guitar and Graphic design
Ben Curry on Guitar and Vocals
Jonny Snowball on Drums and Samples

Can you take us back to what first got you into music, and what inspired you to start writing your own songs.
My dad has 1000s upon 1000s of Vinyl and every time me and Mike would go to his house we’d listen to different styles and genres. I always liked the rude covers Roxy Music used to have on their records. I have wondered that if Madness had featured scantily clad women on their albums would we now sound like a Ska band?

For anyone who hasn’t heard your music how would you describe it?
Chill Indie is one of the latest monikers doing the rounds in the music press and I suppose that describes half of what we do. The other half is upbeat Guitar Indie, a bit Prog/Math with an Ambient edge? *Blushes* (I hate this self assessment stuff!).

What made you go for the name Weird Shapes?
Being a Teesside based industrial worker I spend a lot of time on Night Shift staring at the vast array of illuminated cooling towers and flare stacks that Teesside has to offer. In the instant that you look away from the lights and flames you still have these weird shaped images imprinted on your retina.

You’ve had a good year so far, what have been the highlights and what are you looking forward to for later in the year?
Recording at Courtyard Studios was pretty awesome. We’re all industrialized mutant children of Teesside so to go somewhere as nice as Oxford for a couple of days was very nice. We’re very much looking forward to releasing more material, we have around 30 demos on our studio computer that we’re itching to get out there.

Tell us about your new single?
It’s a double A side featuring ‘Blue Sky at Night’ and ‘Weird Shapes Light’. It was produced by a guy called Graeme Stewart who has a long association with Radiohead a band we admire.

Music from the North East is attracting a lot of attention at the moment with the help of organizations like Generator and Amazing Radio based in Newcastle. How much do you feel a part of the North East music scene? Which bands would you recommend checking out?
I think the North East scene has never been as healthy. I’ve always been very envious of bands in cities like Liverpool and Manchester who have these huge musical dynasties to tap into. I think bands in the North East are getting themselves out there and making their own history, it’s not all about Jimmy Nail and Chris Rea anymore.

What influences have helped shape your music?
I think mood and atmosphere in music are more influential to us than any particular style. I’m quite into film soundtracks, Matt is really into 70’s prog. It’s all got to be a bit leftfield to get us going, although we do partake in the occasional drunken Simply Red sing along on the way home from gigs…

With the growth of music sharing on the internet it’s much easier to discover new music through platforms such as Soundcloud or Spotify. Have you made any new musical discoveries you can recommend?
3 Trapped Tigers was the last thing I got ‘really into’ as a result of a Facebook share. I’m quite old fashioned in that I prefer to see a band live first and then fall in love with their music afterwards. Probably due to some drunken nostalgic itch for the night before. There’s more to music than being sat behind a laptop!

What’s next for Weird Shapes ?

Nov 29th we’re playing at The MacBeth in London and we’re off back down to Oxford to record the next single which will be released early next year.

Anything else to declare?
I once stole a mars bar and a bag of space raiders from a shop when I was 10.

Give Weird Shapes a “Like” on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/weirdshapes

Follow them on Twitter @weird_shapes

Check their website http://www.weirdshapes.co.uk