Rap hip-pop wunderkid Dena is completely and utterly cool.

I interviewed her for Dazed & Confused at her manager’s flat in Dalston, and we discussed the perfection that is a good pop song, the constant brilliance of Beyonce and how Destiny’s Child’s songwriting inspired her new record.

INTERVIEW: DENA for Dazed & Confused



The other day Skrillex released a whole album out of nowhere, available to stream through an app before its eventual release on March 17th.

I interviewed him for Dazed & Confused, and we chatted about the influences on the album, from Chance The Rapper, Niki & The Dove and K-pop, to the logistics of releasing music in 2014.

INTERVIEW: Skrillex for Dazed & Confused


After Giles Peterson hyped her demo track ‘Bout You’, seventeen-year-old Rainy Milo became inundated with offers from record labels, but she took time to figure everything out. “I just wanted to do it properly, on my own terms,” she tells Notion.

The result was Limey, released last October. “It’s pretty scattered, I suppose,” she explains. “The material’s broad, I wrote a lot of it a year ago but some of it was older. It covered a lot of different feelings.”

Limey is remarkably mature, held together by pensive, window-gazing lyrics; ‘I always forget the bad stuff that he does, all too easily/I just hope he don’t regret me‘ she sighs, on ‘Don’t Regret Me’. Elsewhere, Rainy sings with a straight-up sass befit of Lily Allen, ‘betting all my heart on this shitty guy‘ on ‘The Other Way’ and praising a guy wearing a killer pair of Nikes.

Rainy draws inspiration from the sombre storytelling of Amy Winehouse and Corrine Bailey-Rae; “They bare it all, and it’s beautiful,” but she also loves Willow Smith. “I was listening to Willow and I just thought Oh My God… she’s just amazing, isn’t she?”

Her heartbreaking tracks are tied together with old jazz beats, but Rainy is no old soul; her Tumblr features street style, GIFs, dip-dyes and cats. She recently posted a shot of her squatting next to this year’s Lovebox poster, pointing at her name (she’s playing on The Fly Presents… stage as well as Ghostpoet, Big Deal and Splashh).

“I keep seeing it! It’s an amazing feeling,” she says. “I love the festival and to be a part of it is so cool. I had to share it. And why not? Tumblr makes me feel like a real person, with my feet on the ground. And I want it to stay like that.”


The raw sounds of dreamy shoe-gaze band Coves take over Battersea power station

Battersea’s iconic power station is going through a bit of an identity crisis. Once a coal-powered station sitting comfortably on the south bank of the River Thames, later this year it’s going to be turned into a luxury hotel.

Until then, the huge, four-chimneyed building – pock-marked with shattered window panes, the inside raw and exposed – houses a sleek, shiny glass structure, where tonight Superdry are celebrating their 10th anniversary. Contrast doesn’t even come close.

That contrast resonates with Coves, who perform their dreamy, shoe-gazey indie in lieu of a DJ tonight, as toned catwalk models sweep across the stage. “If I had to describe the night I suppose I’d say… well, Super is a bit obvious,” says singer Beck Wood. “Energetic is good. There’s a lot of energy tonight. We’ve been here for a few hours and I haven’t got bored once. There’s loads going on. “It’s like organized chaos,” says instrumentalist John Ridgard thoughtfully.

Fashion and music aren’t total strangers, nor are Coves to the idea of fashion and style; Beck studied fashion at university, even having her work featured at London Graduate Fashion Week – but grew tired of the industry and dropped out to pursue music photography instead.

“Then me and John were out drinking and we decided to be in a band,” she says. “It was one of the best decisions we made.”

“It’s a continuing theme; we haven’t recorded any of the songs on the album without at least a bottle of wine. We’ve kept the drunk theme going,” John says proudly.

Coves’ signature sound – a kind of lethargic-chic that turns savage and sweet in tight turns – should feel out of place in the glassy castle within Battersea’s ruins, but taking to the stage in the brand’s latest premium collaboration with contemporary British tailor, Timothy Everest’s moddish, tailored jackets and brogue-boots gives the band a kind of sophistication that takes them beyond their two years together.

In much the same vein music and fashion sit comfy, so does music to Battersea; the station has been featured (and popularized) by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and, er, Take That, who rowed past it in their video for The Flood.

“I was reading up on it the other day,” John said. “Battersea Power Station has one of the best Wikipedia pages ever. The first thing I said when we got here was ‘Did you know this is the biggest red brick building in Europe?’ and [Beck] said ‘No, it’s the biggest brick building in Europe. Full. Stop.”

Superdry founder James Holder calls the band ‘raw and exciting’ earlier in the evening. “They’re a rare talent, they’re doing a great job representing British music at the moment and we’re thrilled to have them with us tonight.”

And for Coves, the venue has stood out as one of the most iconic venues they’ve taken their music. But where will they go from here.

“Maybe the top of the shard,” Becky says wistfully.

“Or failing that, we could play some tunes on the District Line,” John says, before the band button up their blazers and take to the stage.

“Everything I do is a contrast,” says Scandi-pop star-in-training MØ. “I like the solitary nature of being on my own but then I really like working in the studio with people too.’

The girl formerly known as Karen Marie Ørsted is Skyping us from her childhood bedroom, where she’s recording the vocals for her debut album.

A soundproof vocal booth has been constructed by taping bedsheets up against the ceiling, teepee-style. It’s a fitting environment for the 25-year-old’s icy tales of adolescence, heartache, love and self-identity to crystallise within.

The fragmented, glitchy audio of her singles “Pilgrim” and “Waste of Time” gives her a fragile and precious songs a defiant toughness.

“With Waste Of Time, I heard the beat and remember thinking it was this combination of aggressive and energetic, then something cold and silent,” she explains. “Like two poles, or two forces, so I wanted the vocals to be the same. Very soft, but very aggressive.”

The song’s video splices a series of images together by an ominous theme: a chainsaw ripping through wood, a chair bursting into flames, a grass snake rearing its head, ready to strike.

The dream world also plays a pivotal role in her song-writing process. “I just wrote a song that’s about a break-up, and there’s a house. Inside the house is all the chaos, and outside, in the garden, lies the calmness.” She pauses, catching her breath. “Then things get mixed up, and the chaos comes inside, infecting the calmness. And that reflects the relationship between the two people inside.”

MØ’s debut album will be released later in the year. She promises it will be a snapshot of love and the journey to become and find oneself.

“As a teenager, you're as close to being a psychopath as you'll ever be. Focused on yourself, on your own emotions. Even when you get older you’re always searching for something more; we’re made that way. Always looking for validation towards what we’re feeling.”


This interview first appeared in The Fly like, last week.

Hi Chris de Burgh. How are you?
I’m grand thank you. I’ve been having a look at some of these chats and I’m excited. It’s funny and irreverent, which I like. I was amused and delighted, I don’t want anyone to think I am stuffed up.
Are you having a busy day?
I have just got off the phone with a newspaper actually. We talked about an item from the film Alien that I bought at an auction. It’s the chestburster that jumps out of John Hurt’s chest, covered in blood and gore.

So you like your films blood-splattered and violent?
I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of horror, actually. So much is created by special effects these days, it’s just unconvincing. With Amageddon, it ain’t even a real spaceship, do you know what I mean?

What are you doing today?
Well I have got another chat later, and then I’m spending the afternoon working. I’m going to be going to Sardinia soon, with my daughter. She was a former Miss World, and the first Irish girl to be on the cover of Playboy. We’re launching the new Volkswagen Golf 7 over there. It’s a very nice car – 100kg lighter than anything they’ve done before, I’m told, the metal is heated to 700 degrees and the alloy is pasted on, so its much lighter and more fuel efficient.

Do you get a lot of perks being Chris de Burgh?
I think back when Lady In Red was a major record – well, it still is – I was offered all sorts of red cars, you know, but they were pretty crap. If I don’t like the car I won’t drive it, so it’s a bit pointless giving me it! In the US they used Lady In Red on the WeightWatchers advert, they paid a lot of money for that.
We would like to note that you are renowned for taking journalists to court over defamation and winning. Have you got a bad relationship with the press?
You cant expect everyone to like what you to do. I remember reading two reviews from a gig I did in Montreal. I am much admired and loved in Quebec, I have done 2 or 3 shows in a 15,000 seat arena. One review said I was fantastic and one said I was dreadful. And I thought ‘this is just an opinion’. The fans have to buy the tickets and these critics are told to go by their editor, so they’re not genuine fans, they’re not expected to write a rave review. With Facebook, you get instant feedback from your fans. That’s more important to me.

Have you got any advice for readers who want to sue someone for defamation?
Once you have a very good defamation lawyer, why not? Go for it! These people [journalists] need manners banged onto them. You see what the Leveson lot get up to and my jaw feels slack thinking about the hypocrisy in the industry.
Are you quite passionate about the phone-hacking scandal?
I’d say the real villains are the dyed-in-the-wool lads. It goes back to the adage ‘theres only one rogue reporter’ – everyone knows there was more than one. Once you tell a little bit of a lie, you can get away with it. I admire you for being young and wanting to be a journalist. I think there are very few things that make me want to puke as much as a tabloid journalist defending phone hacking.

You also sued Ryanair once. Was it something to do with their terrible food?
Ryanair is dreadful but because its cheap, people put up with it. They suggested my daughter was a racist for an off the cuff, innocuous comment. The sad thing about it is I was prepared to lose the case, but it meant a lot for the little man, if i may use that pejorative. Theres no right for them to protect their good name.

So who is the most famous Chris de Burgh fan?
I suppose Princess Diana. It’s hard to put my finger on who would be second. I did find out that Gorbachov was a fan of my music, and I met him. He was charming, he made history, that thing of bringing down the berlin wall. And I’ve performed for Liverpool F.C before, I keep in touch with some of them. Roy Hodge is a lovely man.

Where was your least favourite place in the world?
I’ve been around the world several times, and I cant think of anywhere I really disliked. When I was 12 I moved to an 800-year-old castle in Ireland which my grandfather, General Sir Eric de Burgh owned. We had no light, no heat, no water, no furniture, but it was good at that age, running around outside. We eventually turned the castle into a hotel. I also spent a term at a boarding school in Carlisle, which was interesting, because it was bloody cold in the winter and the spring.

What was ‘Chris de Burgh’ like at school?
It was an all boys school, although they introduced girls later. Your future Queen of England attended. For me, it was 800 boys, and testosterone was quite high. You could bottle it. The bad thing about having guys incarcerated together means there is a lot of attention on girls when you see them on the high street on a Saturday afternoon. They become exotic. I am sorry, in a way, that education of females was lost on me. Being friends with girls is a great way to learn the complexities of the female mind, you don’t have to regard them as sex objects.

Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life living one day of the week, which day of the week would it be?
I’d pick friday. its right on the edge of the weekend and people are more relaxed. They see the weekend and think ‘I am going to cool down’.

Thanks for chatting to us, Chris.
You take care!


This interview originally appeared in The Fly a few weeks ago. I think I conducted the interview during the really hot friday on that nice weekend, so it was probably published eight days after that. You’re welcome.

Hello, Ana Matronic.
Hey! How are you?

OK! How good are you at DIY?
I’m pretty good! I can change a lightbulb and rewire a lamp. I’d say I have a rudimentary knowledge of DIY. Apart from Scissor Sisters I’m in a light show called The Joshua Light Show. When you’re in the light show “business” you need a lot of knowledge, I work on a giant overhead projector. But DIY is simple enough. Righty tight, lefty loosy, you know. It’s a pretty good mantra for life.

Great advice. Your latest single is called ‘Only The Horses’. How much do the Scissor Sisters love horses? 
Well actually Jake [Shears’] Mom and Dad breed racehorses back home, and my mother and her husband Ron own a horse. They did have two, but one died. I don’t ride horses myself, but I would love to.

But why ‘Only The Horses’? Why not ‘Only The Cats?’
I find horses fascinating and scary at the same time. They’re sentient beings, very powerful. And they have massive mouths and strong back legs. I’m with you on cats, though. I like cats. I think I’ll end up being a crazy cat lady when I’m older.

How much do you love the UK?
Oh I really love the UK! The thing I love is the culture. We’re doing loads of publicity for the new album, but when I get some free time I’ll be visiting loads of museums and exhibitions. I’d like to go to the Science Museum, there’s this great exhibit about alchemy. I’ll be visiting the tate, too.

Do you have a favourite part of London?
Well I like going to Portobello Market, seeing all the vintage stalls and stuff in Covent Garden. I don’t know much of London but I do know Shepherd’s Bush. A friend of mine was living there and I really love it, it reminds me of Brooklyn. There’s a lot of immigrants and a real mix of people, loads of great restaurants. Shepherd’s Bush is keeping it real.

What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever happened at a Scissor Sisters gig? 
We have some amazing fans, so there’s always something unusual going on. But when we were last over in the UK we did a show at Shep Bush and we had a marriage proposal, on stage, by a man to his girlfriend. And this man happens to have the faces of all the Scissor Sisters tattooed on his back. My face is on his back. And yeah, he proposed to his girlfriend during the show. It was the least we could do, he had our likenesses on his back.

What did she say?
I loved how she responded to it. Her answer was “You can’t see tits on the radio”*, which I thought was brilliantly nebulous.

Are they always friendly fans?
Well, we have some bizarre ones too. There was a group of guerrilla drag queens who interrupted a performance in Copenhagen. They burst on the stage, and one of them was wearing a pair of trousers with a hole cut out in the crotch. We didn’t notice at first because there was a sock covering it, but it was quite a show. From the neck up, he was very Gollum-esque and he was frightening, to say the least.

Was there a ‘situation’?
I think I said something like “You’re more show than me, but this is my show. Leave please.” I don’t want to be extreme, ultimately he was very supportive of us. I’m from New York, if you get in my face I’ll tell you.

How do you find the UK’s passive/aggressive approach?
It’s different. There’s a way of being over here that’s like “Don’t rock the boat.” If you’re upset about something here you can’t be direct about it. Personally speaking, if I’m acting like a cunt, just call me a cunt.

Do you like the Queen?
I am in love with all Queens, so of course I love Miss Elizabeth too. I respect her, she is a very strong, committed person, and I think she is great. I am excited as an American can be, but I’d call myself a Royal Enthusiast. Most of the Brits that speak about the Jubilee have been talking about the traffic, and how bad the roads will be. I do enjoy the pomp and circumstance.

What else do you do when you’re not being a Scissor Sister? 
I am working on writing my first comic book, so for that I’m reading a bit about the Middle East. The comic is set in Oman in an archeological dig, so I’m studying that, and the history of Arabia. I don’t have a title yet, but the main character is a mathematician so I’ve had to read up on loads of maths stuff, all the characters are so academic. My next script will be full of salt-of-the-earth types.

Anything a bit less heavy-going?
I’ve been reading this book about colour, which is a natural history of the palette, and the lady who wrote it goes through each colour and talks about the pigments, it’s really amazing. White is all about titanium, and the make-up they used in olden times was made from titanium ground down, so it was all very toxic and cancerous. Also, purple is a very strong colour, because it’s associated with royalty, so wearing a lot of it can be intimidating.

Do you have any advice for anyone who has suffered extensive sunburn?
Okay, what you need to do is first go to Boots and invest in some really good sun screen. I’m talking at least SPF30. I should know, because I am fair with British heritage. Then go to a health food store and get some essential oils, like lavender. Stick it all over your sunburn, it will cool the stinging and lavender helps make you sleepy. It will give you nice dreams.

Finally, have you got any amazing useless trivia?
Did you know in France, their word for dusk, or magic hour, is “Entre Chien Et Loup” – it means “between the dog and the wolf”. I find that really evocative, the dogs own the day time and the wolves take ownership at night.

*‘Tits On The Radio’ is a Scissor Sisters song, so this is funny on two levels.

‘Magic Hour’ is out now on Polydor.