DID YOU READ

Shirley Manson on Garbage, Azealia Banks and being a CEO

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Seven years ago, Garbage broke up. The band that brought us the chart-toppings anthems “Stupid Girl”, “Happy When it Rains” and “Supervixen” was done with the music industry that helped them sell millions of records and bring their music to the masses. The 90s alt rock band was formed by Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson, three American musician-producers (Vig was best known as the producer of Nirvana’s 1990 album”Nevermind”) who invited Scottish singer Shirley Manson to front the band. Success came quickly, including numerous awards, sold-out stadium shows, and even a James Bond theme song (“The World is Not Enough”). The band was overwhelmed and soon the fun was gone. So they broke up. But now, after a seven-year hiatus, the band is back with a rollicking new album, “Not Your Kind of People”.

Shirley Manson took some time out of her schedule to chat about the 90s, the benefits of running your own company, and being an outsider who sold over 12 million records:

Your band went on indefinite hiatus in 2005, why was now the right time to get back together?

I don’t know why. It just felt like we were ready and had something to say. We felt regenerated and ready for the next phase of our career. I guess we felt excited to work together again and all those reasons made it the right time.

How does it feel to be with the old band again?

It’s amazing. We’re having the time of our life right now. We’re privileged to be playing again and to be playing sold out shows to packed houses. We’re very lucky to still have fans like that, especially in this day and age when there is incredible ADD among fans, that our following has shown they are still curious about what we are doing and what we have to say.

Now you are back and …it kind of sounds like you ever left.

Is that a question or a statement?

Both, I guess. Do you think people will buy the album out of nostalgia or do you think it will appeal to new fans?

Kind of a mixture. But we’ve been surprised to see how young a lot of our audience is. We’ve made a classic sounding Garbage record, for sure, but it’s a competitive record for sure. It fits in with radio programming right now. We want to reach a new audience and we think it will. We don’t sound like anyone else on the radio. Much to our surprise there hasn’t been another band like ours since we came off the road. We have a unique sound and we hope the new album will result in a whole new generation of listeners.

Do you think your sound has been influenced by other bands that have come up during your hiatus?

I’m sure we have. I think there’s a lot of music that’s come up in the last decade that has excited us for one reason or another. I think young artists are always inspiring because they are coming at worlds from a different point of view.

Do you think you’ve matured as a band?

I don’t know if we have matured as a band per se. We definitely have matured as individuals and we view our role in a different way you now. When you’ve had a long career it feels different coming back and playing festivals, meeting other musicians or meeting bands who have been influenced by our music. It’s amazing to meet to meet artists who grew up listening to us. That’s an incredible privilege.

What made you release the album yourselves?

I think we just decided it made more sense for us philosophically. A lot of collective experience lead us to believe that we could do a better job getting our music out to our international audience than a label that was indifferent. We could self propel ourselves. Plus it’s fun to be a CEO.

Do you give yourselves a lot of coffeebreak? Good benefits?

Very good benefits, naps and lots of coffee breaks.

What does the album’s title, “Not Your Kind of People”, mean to you?

I think it’s just a call to arms in a way to anyone who feels like we do about the world. Just to a human being trying to figure life out. As a band we’ve come from a weirdo oddball place. We’ve never fit into a music scene. In my life I’ve never been an insider. I was a redhead and a middle child, both can make you feel excluded. It’s like fighting to be included, in the swim of things. After a while you start to develop a bit of a victim mentality, which isn’t great for a happy life. So this time our attitude has changed. It’s great. It can be great to be outsider.

You say you were a band of outsiders, but you sold over 12 million records. So are you insiders or do your fans think they are outsiders?

I think it’s a bit of both. At the time we sold that many records there wasn’t anything like us on the radio. We had a sound like no one else and I think it resonated with people. We did attract a huge following, internationally too. I just think it was a case of a lot of people identifying with our sound and what we were saying. I think a lot of people in their lives feel like they don’t fit in, even if it looks like they do. People feel like outsiders even if others think we the lives we live have everything. If they are popular or they have everything they are supposed to have. Even then people still don’t feel quite included.

So …we are all outsiders?

Yeah, man is an island. That phrase doesn’t come from nowhere. I think it’s inherent in human nature to feel a little lonely or maybe alone is a better word for it.

In the 90s there were a lot of female-fronted acts like Garbage, No Doubt, Alanis Morissette, and Hole. Courtney Love. Do you think it has changed the face of rock? Or is the glass ceiling still in place?

I feel like my generation burst through the glass ceiling. But, arguably since September 11th, radio programming has become very conservative. Now, there’s a proliferation of pop music from women. Pop music seems to be the way radio programming has chosen to support female artists. They have chosen not to support a more provocative voice from women, which I find disappointing.

The only women being heard right now are the popular girls, the cheerleaders, the pretty ones. There are a lot more voices to be heard. That’s not to say I don’t like pop. There are a lot of pop stars I like. I really like Beyonce and Rihanna and I admire what Lady Gaga and Katy Perry do. The radio just needs to play other voices.

What about the rise of female rappers like Kitty Pryde or Kreayshawn?

My favorite out of those is Azealia Banks. The first time I heard “212” I almost died. It felt dangerous and exciting and really fresh and I have a little crush on Kreayshawn, too. But I don’t know if those girls are getting time on the radio. It’s great that they are getting played via YouTube or Tumblr, but I want them on the radio. Like in the 90s when Missy Elliott was getting played. You know, it’s hard out there right now for women with attitude.

Where did the song Blood for Poppies come from?

It’s come from a lot of things. It’s really an analogy for a story I read about Afghanistan and the opium wars over there. Actually it’s from a few stories, one about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan and the other about the opium wars. I use that as a backdrop for a story about maintaining sanity in an out-of-control place.

Check out the video for “Blood for Poppies” by Garbage:

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

Chantal Claret talks Bond theme songs, zombies, and how her daddy killed a man

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The first song Chantal Claret wrote after departing as the singer of Morningwood, was the chronicle of a hedonist that Nancy Sinatra and Tina Turner would equally appreciate. The crisp 60’s vibe with a huge low end sets “The Pleasure Seeker,” a daring song about her own father, in a direction 180 degrees from her previous work, but it’s the direction Claret always intended to go.  It was something of a long shot too, she couldn’t find anyone who could mix the record until she sent an email to the general address listed on Mark “Exit” Goodchild’s (Erykah Badu, Cee-Lo) website. Amazingly, within a few hours, she’d won Exit over with her raw material and he was all in.

Claret’s previous “major label fiasco’s” drove her to seek creative satisfaction elsewhere (and new indie label), and she’s finally making music the way she’s always wanted to — as the bad girl of blue-eyed soul. I talked with her about her love for 60’s music and at extreme length about film, her other passion, during which time she gushed about “Labyrinth” and David Bowie. “Hells yeah, that’s the one acceptable use of spandex in the world, David Bowie’s pants!” she raved, accurately. I know she wouldn’t mind living in “A Hard Days Night,” eternally following the Beatles around either. She also proclaimed her undying love for “Meatballs.” It was a discussion about Bond movies though where we stumbled on a take away meant for one Daniel Craig. Chantal Claret’s record comes out June 19th on The End.

 

This is all such a big departure from Morningwood  and what you were known for in the past, how did you come to such a musical reinvention?

Musically it is yes, but this is 100% me.  This is the type of music I grew up listening to. Since I was 15, I would go out to mod clubs — I was a self proclaimed mod — I was in a short film called “American Mod” [laughs]. So I grew up dancing to 60’s music, if anything, it’s Morningwood that was weird for me. The 80’s inspired pop tunes were a switch for me. This is me with no filter.

The song, “The Pleasure Seeker,” is actually about your Dad?

Yeah it’s about my Dad [laughs]. It’s not the most becoming song in the entire world, so I was absolutely petrified about playing for him, like shitting my pants petrified.  And he flipped! He plays it for everyone. There’s a line in it, “a skinny little woman is gonna be your fatal flaw,” which is not a compliment. And that is a quote from him, “a skinny little woman is gonna be my fatal flaw,” he said. That’s not an awesome thing to admit, but he called up one of his girlfriends at the time and was like, “there’s a line about you in it!”

You even sing, “don’t tell him about this, ’cause it’ll go to this head.”

Yeah!  I mean, he’s a character. And I had a lot of issues with him, you know? I wrote a couple songs about him in Morningwood too, and he always seems to take it as a compliment, which is funny, ’cause none of them are that nice. But ultimately, I think he looked past all the negatives and saw the underlying message that, I love him, I do. He’s my dad.

How did he kill a man, or is that a little tongue-in-cheek?

No, it’s a true story, and he took really big pride in it. My father was an art dealer. He told me this whole long story about how a man committed suicide and he thinks he had a part in it, because my dad was telling him stuff. It was horrifying to me.

He talked a man to his death?

He didn’t talk the man into it, but the man was so depressed and my Dad definitely didn’t, you know, help. It wasn’t like, Kevorkian or a mental coercion scenario.

Art dealers, you say? Maybe we shouldn’t say more.

Yeah, my father is an art dealer, or was an art dealer. There’s a lot of shady stuff in the art world.

Are you a fan of “The Walking Dead?”

Yeah! I’m actually friends with Rooker, he’s on it. Michael Rooker [who is rumored to return for season 3].

Right I heard that, and some of the inspiration for “Pop Pop, Bang, Bang” came from shooting guns with him?

Yeah, I took my husband for his birthday, on his private range. We were doing crazy stuff, like walking and shooting and we got out this stuffed animal that we had in the back of our car, and we were shooting it [laughs]. I love guns, I always have. It’s such a great sport, I don’t have any in my house but, I gotta say everybody looks cool with a six shooter…. so he took us shooting and he was saying all this cool gun slang. Ultimately when I was writing, I called him and I was like, hey tell me all that stuff again. But he went into this whole history of guns and .22’s, and proper terminology, and I was like you’re talking too much Rooker!  So that’s why it ended up just being, “Pop Pop, Bang, Bang.”

 

 

What’s your favorite gun?

A .22! I love me some classic old school, six shooter lookin’ .22. It’s bad ass and I love wearing a holster.  I wear a holster as a — I put my microphone in my gun holster.

There’s a weird convergence here, with six shooters and zombies and that connection to the show and you — where did the idea behind the video come from?

Yeah, I’m not too specific if they were zombies or dead. All I know is I wanted them to be snapping their fingers and a little saucy. Basically my friend David Yarovesky, who directed it, [pitched it to me] like, “so there’s all these dead girls in a hotel room.” I was like, I’m in. We got a hotel room, and we got all these girls, and the biggest expense was those white contacts. We were so paranoid about going into this hotel with all these girls that were in zombie makeup because you are not suppose to be filming there without a permit. We had this big plan about how we were gonna get all the girls in the room and then we got there and every single person at the hotel was in costume — we shot at the week of Halloween on October 27th. So, one of the girls went to get coffee and they were like “oh you’re here for the Zombie party?” And she was like, “Yes, yes I am.”

[laughter] What do you think that’s about?  Other than that being during Halloween, the video is a grim reminder of the zombie phenomena in our culture.

You know, vampires have been tapped out. So I just gotta go with zombies.  Plus, the impending 2012 end of the world. What’s left…zombies.

There it is. Zombies.

Nothing can beat “28 Days Later” though, that’s my favorite. Oh and IFC, [sings] I love IFC! I watch “Portlandia” and a ton of other shows! I went to the School of Visual Arts for a couple years, I wanted to be a director. So, I love me some movies.

And you directed some videos before, didn’t you?

Couple, yeah. I did some stop animation ones, and some, like, lo-fi ones. Back when Morningwood was signed to different labels, I felt like my hands were tied. There are things contractually where you can’t make music with other people and things like that. I would get so fucking frustrated! What the fuck can I do? And I’d be like alright, I’m gonna make a claymation video! I  do it when I get frustrated. I’m like, what can I do to do something creative where I’m not gonna contractually get in trouble?

If you could write a soundtrack to a film what would it be?

A classic Bond film, doing a Bond theme is in my top ten dreams!

What’s your favorite Bond film?

“Goldfinger,” I don’t know! It’s hard, I judge them mostly by the theme songs [laughs]. Pussy Galore’s pretty awesome. Yeah, and Shirley Bassey. But I heard that Daniel Craig was a fan, he was a fan of my old band. So, I really want him to hear my new stuff.

There’s an idea!

Uh huh! Ya heard me Daniel Craig!?

 

We found the writer of the next Bond theme. You hear that Daniel Craig? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

Exclusive premiere: Hilary Hahn & Hauschka “Bounce Bounce”

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Grammy winning American violinist, Hilary Hahn, and German modernist composer, Hauschka (a.k.a. Volker Bertelmann) met in Iceland to  combine their genius at a place where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide. The result is the collaborative album “Silfra,” which features Hahn’s acclaimed talents (she’s been hailed as one the greatest violinists in the world) and Hauschka’s prepared piano — internally transformed by gaffers tape, bottle tops, bells and all manner of found odds and ends — which create mini rhythm sections within the classic instrument as he plays it.

It’s music to be inspired by, and stop-motion animator and director Hayley Morris‘ video certainly was. It’s her creations and this handmade underwater wonderland with “Bounce Bounce” as it’s score that I most fell in love with. “I really wanted to capture the energetic and spontaneous feeling of the song itself, and honor the collaboration between Hilary Hahn and Hauschka,” Morris told us. “When Hauschka performs he takes different recognizable objects and places them into his piano to alter the sound. I wanted to take the same approach as the music’s creation and have the materials themselves create a narrative and look.”

 

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Morris found her materials hidden in drawers at antique stores and pining for her life giving touch in bins at flea markets around her Brooklyn neighborhood. Crocheted doilies turned into coral creatures. Scraps of fabric formed into two crabs fighting over a wayward snail, and flamboyant starfish dancing with/dueling over a found morsel. The rest of the world was rendered in paper mache, knitting and other hand made brilliance. A wooden bird was born of driftwood she collected over the years.

“For each scene I animated about 10 objects at once frame by frame including the shadows that move across the shot,” Morris emphasized. “I like my work to be tactile and textured and for my art work to pick up the light in interesting ways.” She used no computer effects whatsoever, but created her own. She added atmosphere by shooting glitter floating in water which when applied to the final cut, create depth and little twinkly floaties that occasionally catch the eye.

Morris thought there was a tidal feeling to the song and gave her own adorable take on it. “When I first heard the song I immediately thought of tide pools. Every summer I would go to the coast of Maine and I was always fascinated by the miniature worlds I could find,” she said. “There are so many different creatures and plants compacted into such a small space and I thought it would be an interesting environment to focus on… . It’s timing and feeling is constantly changing and I felt I could choreograph the underwater world beautifully to the song.”

Hahn & Hauschka’s “Silfra,” which is also the name of the rift near Reykjavik (a diver’s paradise) where those two tectonic plates meet, will be released May 22nd on Deutsche Grammophone.

Feel like dancing with starfish now? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

Exclusive premiere: Imaginary Cities “Calm Before The Storm”

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Imaginary Cities’ gloriously soulful pop comes a bit surprisingly from Winnipeg, Canada. From the meeting of Marti Sarbit (the girl) and Rusty Matyas (the boy), their debut album, “Temporary Resident” dropped in just last month and seems to have a long lease. This simple, yet dark and stormy torrent of mood lighting and reflections, “Calm Before The Storm,” was shot by the same director, Chris Mills, who did the video for the title track.

“One thing I love about living in the prairies is the extreme weather. Particularly the intense summer thunderstorms we can get,” Matyas told us. “Chris Mills arrived in Winnipeg on the eve of the shoot [for “Temporary Resident”] and there happened to be one of said storms passing through. He drove around the city testing out a new camera he recently acquired. The next day when the video shoot for ‘Temporary Resident’ was done, he asked Marti and myself to simply and quickly sing ‘Calm Before the Storm’ while looking directly into the camera. A few months later he handed us this video.”

Who knew Winnipeg was so dramatic? “I feel it’s mood captures the mysterious essence of the song and our beloved city perfectly,” Matyas added. “The result is somehow soothing and unnerving all at once.”

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