Tag Archives: Journalism


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 review first appeared in NME dated March 6, 2010.

We’d have forgiven tautologically named young pups Local Natives for being exhausted, irritable and half-hearted, tonight being the last show of their European tour’n’all. No fear: amid the sticky Academy floors, glazed with a sickly sheen of beer and alcopops, the LA band wield their charms with first-night energy.

‘World News’, the opener of the evening, is a thundering bulletin with an irrepressible chorus of “Oh, oh, oh!” that’s soon picked up and run with by everyone present. Here, they display the tendencies towards Fleet Foxes-ish folkiness that made their debut album ‘Gorilla Manor’ such a joy. It’s bolstered by barbershop vocals that take every breath away from the crowd – and we’ve only been here four-and-a-half-minutes.

Zesty string-tinged track ‘Camera Talk’ conjures wholesome thoughts of summery frolics, while ‘Sun Hands’ displays the band’s penchant for Vampire Weekend-esque clean-cut freshman-frenzy. ‘Airplanes’, meanwhile, is startlingly beautiful from the instant the drumbeats thud into action.

A tribute to singer Kelcey Ayer’s grandfather, who died before the two could meet, the track is full of rustic sentiment. Ayer sings of strangely affecting details such as souvenir chopsticks and sleek wooden photo frames with an exposed honesty, tying the chorus together with a raw cry of, “I love it all so much/I call, I want you back, back, back”. The delicate and careful ‘Shape Shifter’ comes to life onstage, with all five members of the band lending their soft vocals as a foundation for an almost embarrassingly rousing chorus.

The key to Local Natives’ emotive power is the way that Taylor and Rice, like sagely, bearded sirens, coax audiences to prick up their ears and open their hearts, in a set doused with sadness, but set alight with celebration. So good, they named themselves twice, indeed.


This column originally appeared on Wannabehacks on December 23rd.

It took me a while to realise that I was in the middle of an identity crisis, but only because my single experience of such a thing was from my school days. Jonathan Pye, in Year 4, came into school one day and declared that he must now be known as Sophie. He stood on his tip toes, he was a ballerina. He was fucking mental.

Thankfully my experience is far less warped than that, but I’m still baffled. I’m not sure what to call myself when I mingle, network, or generally meet new people. Am I a journalist, or a writer?

I remember last year I met a friend of a friend in a London club; he is a mildly famous person but not so much so that it’s worth naming him. I told him what I do, ‘I’m a journalist’, to which he said, ‘Oh, who do you work for?’

FHM,’ was my reply, to which he pulled a face. ‘FHM? That’s not real journalism,’ he declared.

I wondered about what he meant. Real journalism? Is that the non-media types way of saying that consumer work (or magazine work, or both) isn’t considered journalism? Maybe I should refer  to myself as a writer. But that makes me sound like either (a) those guys on Family Guy who sit in Starbucks and write novels or (b) a crusty old has-been who hasn’t had anything published, who spends his time spilling baked bean juice on his typewriter and stinking of cats, all the while refusing to leave the sanctuary of his dressing gown.

Anyway, in my current position I’m not a journalist in the sense that I don’t REPORT on things. I don’t break stories, or declare anything particularly new. Most of my work is feature-based, and even the news stories I write are usually about the newest pair of Stan Smith’s being released or a new store opening in London. Not like my friend, a reporter for The Cornishman, who often gets a front page detailing the most grisly of murders.

So I started thinking pragmatically about this journalist/writer conundrum. It can’t be so simple that newspapers/serious stuff make you a journalist and magazine/lifestyle stuff makes you a writer. What about people who work on websites, like Digital Spy? If their music editor announces that Coldplay will be opening an envelope for charity or that Adele was caught buying a candle, is that journalism? The site is, after all, entertainment news…

Or live-blogging, chronicling the opening of an envelope or the engaging story of Adele buying a candle. What does that count as? I think it’s reporting. Though if you’re watching Rupert Murdoch get grilled on the telly and you’re typing something hilarious into Twitter, maybe not.

I can’t be the only one suffering an identity crisis (of my variety, I’m not interested in gender confusion here). Since the original pastiche of reporters – white shirt, braces, shouting atpress conferences and getting pictures of Spiderman – has been so diluted by digital content, magazine work, social media, publications like Project (the iPad magazine) and Blokely (my current place of work; an online magazine behind a subscription service), it’s understandable that people are confused.

Especially when qualifications often don’t lead people onto the paths they find themselves; you can do an NCTJ if you’d like to be a journalist, or maybe a Magazine Journalism MA if you’d like to be in magazines, but I’m sure we all know people who did one and went on to do the other.

In fact, of the crop of NCTJ students I studied with, I’d say the minority are the ones doing the straight-laced, down-the-middle presupposed notion of journalism. Others work in magazines, on features desks, they copywrite, they staple things on to other things and so on. There’s not one word to describe us all (except maybe Hacks, though that’s like calling a photographer a snapper or a Sales Assistant a shelf stacker).

Furthermore, with people constantly telling us that we’ll look at copies of magazines and papers in museums and gawp at what we see, tugging our friends sleeves and saying ‘Crikey, how funny that the internet used to be printed out onto the skin of beautiful trees and then wrapped around deep-fried fish’, there’s a lot of evidence to assume people will be moving around print, digital, radio and television in future with the liquored-up limberness of a drunk fresher at a party.

So, what to do, what to do. As you can see, moping on about it hasn’t done me any favours in figuring out whether I’m a reporter, a journalist, a lion, a witch or a wardrobe. Maybe the crucial thing – and I might be on to something here, since the debate was only stirred when the famous one raised his eyebrows – is that actually, it doesn’t matter.

Do let me know your thoughts…unless you’re Jonathan Pye, because sorry for being a bit mean but you were absolutely terrifying, especially that time when you got your head stuck in the back of a chair? How does someone do that with their eyes closed?