Mixtape Mondays | Mostly 90s Soundtracks

Monday, March 28, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

I don't know you, but I had a phase during my teens & early 20s when I was obsessed with soundtracks. It was my new found way of coming across good - & potentially unknown - music back then. Not to mention reliving in my head moments from some of my favourite films of the time. My Romeo + Juliet, Cruel Intentions, The Craft and Garden State CDs have been played so many times I don't know how they haven't crumbled.

Spoiler Alert! Brilliant 90s teen movie moment, end scene of Cruel Intentions, to Bitter Sweet Symphony, by The Verve

Recently I had a taste of what it felt like back then when I came across God Help The Girl - I've been playing its soundtrack on repeat over and over for the past couple of weeks... But anyway, I kept the theme of this mixtape "mostly" 90s soundtracks because it takes me back to a time of a billion discoveries. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough to limit myself solely to the 90s, but hopefully these early 2000s additions are so good and so representative of their time, that it will make up for the tiny deviation.

Mixtape Mondays | Mostly 90s Soundtracks

Semi Charmed Life - American Pie (1999)
Kiss Me - She’s All That (1999)
You & Me Song - Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Love Fool - Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Praise You - Cruel intentions (1999)
Every You Every Me - Cruel intentions (1999)
I Want You to Want Me - 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Alright - Clueless (1995)
Just A Girl - Clueless (1995)
Dreams - You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Follow You Down - How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Bitter Sweet Symphony - Cruel intentions (1999)
Colorblind - Cruel intentions (1999)
Tiny Dancer - Almost Famous (2000)
Simple Man - Almost Famous (2000)
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want - Never Been Kissed (1998)
Tomorrow Never Knows - The Craft (1996)
How Soon Is Now - The Craft (1996)
Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm - Dumb & Dumber (1994)
Such Great Heights - The Garden State (2004)
One Of These Things First - The Garden State (2004)
Son Of A Preacher Man - Pulp Fiction (1994)
My Girl - My Girl (1991)
All Along The Watchtower - Forrest Gump (1994)
The Passenger - Trainspotting (1996)
Where is My Mind - Fight Club (1999)

Mixtape Mondays | Awesome Covers vol.3

Monday, March 21, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

This is one of my most obscure playlists, however it still has some of my favourite artists. We've versions of not that long ago chart hits, going all the way back to the 60s. And as a fun fact, it also has more female vocals than any of my previous playlists, not to mention a fair amount of collaborations.

Illustrating some of the statements above is the opening track, Jason Derulo's Want You To Want Me gains a whole new shape in the voices of Megan Davies and Kyle Nachtigal, two Nashville based singer-songwriters. And it is followed by Birdy's beautiful take on Ed Sheeran's first ever hit, The A Team. By the way, if you're seeing Birdy live this summer do not miss supporting act Dan Owen, our first ever Offstage!

Jasmine Lucilla Elizabeth Jennifer van den Bogaerde, a.k.a Birdy's new album Beautiful Lies comes out this Friday 25th. 

In the sequence, we've a mashup of Echosmith's Cool Kids and Vance Joy's Riptide, performed by Less is More with The Queen & King, both upcoming American duos, with incredible female vocals. Imagine Dragon's Demons is another song which sounds beautiful in this stripped down acoustic version by Tyler Ward and Kina Grannis, both became famous by their youtube covers. Kina appears in this playlist again as a featured artist on Manzano's brothers trio - a.k.a Boyce Avenue - take of Tracy Chapman's Fast Car. But that's not the only song performed by Boyce Avenue this week, I really liked their version of Photograph (yes, another Ed Sheeran song, this is probably the cheesiest ever Mixtape Mondays!), featuring Bea Miller.

Mixtape Mondays | Awesome Covers vol.3

The collaborations don't stop here, we've Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan acoustic take of Get The Party Started and Julia Sheer & Jon D cover of Little Talks, by Of Monsters And Men. The latter has been played nothing less that 31 million times on Spotify.

And revisiting some decades back we've Keane performing U2's With Or Without You, Wolf Alice playing Wicked Game, Young The Giant with an inspiring version of It's A Man's World and, back in the female front, Russian Red - one of my favourite singers - with Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and The Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan unmistakable voice defending Fleetwood Mac's anthem Go Your Own Way. This just to name a few, if you want to know what else is in store I am afraid you will have to give it a listen. Happy Monday! :)

Offstage | Conor Coughlan

Sunday, March 20, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-


First time I heard this guy play was back in December at SETS Showcase. He introduced one of his songs, For You, with this amazing story about touring through the States and bumping into Steve Reid, from Supertramp, who offered his studio for him to record the track. Then he walked off stage and performed this amazing song completely unplugged. Needless to say he had us all mesmerised. I can't think of a better word than prodigy to describe Conor Coughlan. He started playing at 9 years old and at 19 had his first album, Give It Up - recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California - released through Homewood Music Collective in the UK and US. And on top of that, besides talented, he is a joy to talk to, humble and super down to earth musician. What not to like about him? I am so pleased I had a chance to catch up with him Offstage. Do check out his album and don't miss his next London gig on April 19th at The Lucky Pig, details below. 

♯ You started in music incredibly young, can you tell us how did you get into it?
I kind of grew up into it, my dad was a musician when I was younger and it was sort of inevitable. When I was about 4 or 5 years old whilst other kids would be watching Teletubbies or whatever I would be sat there watching Neil Young or The Rolling Stones and be amazed by them. I’d sort of impersonate Mick Jagger and run around the house like a lunatic. I am still like that to this stage. And that’s how I got into it. 

Conor at the Bedford, what a great performer. Great stage presence and what a sweet guy! Photo by Zaira.

♯ Was YouTube your first platform to showcase your music? 
I am from a period when kids were starting to upload their music on YouTube. I was about 12 or 13 when I started uploading my music, but I’ve been playing prior to that. I started playing songs when I was about 9.

♯ Who were your main influences back then and how much has it changed since? 
I guess everyone gets influenced by their parents record collection. My dad and my mum’s musical taste was basically The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Tom Petty, all that kind of stuff you know. And a lot of music from the 70s. That’s probably my biggest musical influence, those kind of artists, but of course there is a lot of new music out there that I do listen to, people like The 1975, Jake Bugg, who I’ve been listening to a lot. It depends on what kind of mood I am in, it kind of varies.

♯ Who would you like to collaborate with and why? 
I am a long way from that but if I had a choice to collaborate with anyone… Hmm is this dead or alive?

♯ Let’s say someone you would like to write a song with and someone you would like to share the stage with. 
Ok, so someone I would like to write a song with would be Bruce Springsteen, just because I admire his writing so much, he tells a story like no one else. And someone I’d like to share the stage with… Hmm it would be go to go on stage with someone quite popular nowadays, like The 1975, but then again it would also be cool to go on stage with a legend, probably someone like Keith Richards, from The Rolling Stones, particularly seeing he’s getting quite old.

♯ Your first album was produced and recorded in America. This is a bit unusual for such young British artist. How did it happen? 
Going back to the YouTube thing, that came from uploading videos when I was younger. I basically got found by my manager Ricky. He got in touch and there I was, this 14 year old kid exchanging emails back and forth with this guy, quite funny now looking back at it. So we’ve communicated for about two years and kind of worked together as best as we could being in different countries though email and Skype. But when I got to about 16 I left school, got a job and saved up money to move to California for a couple of years. I basically toured up and down the country. And that’s how it came about really, I was lucky enough to have my manager sort of taking me in and wanting to travel the country with me. It was a lot fun.

♯ How much has this experience changed you and your music? 
I was very fortunate but then again it was a lot of hard work. I was supposed to be in school until I was 18, but I left when I was 16 because I already knew what I wanted to do. It was a lot of hard work. I think everything you do on a day to day basis influences your writing. You cannot not be influenced, so totally. At times when I listen to myself now I mention America a lot, which is kind of what I thought about when I was writing, as I spent quite a lot of time out there, and it worked its way through my lyrics

♯ Do you think a new album would have a completely different shape since you’ve been in the UK?
I’d like to think so, it is always nice to evolve as an artist. I’ve already started writing it, in fact I’ve almost already finished. It is taking a bit of a different direction but not too much. I am listening to different music now, that’s always gonna happen I suppose, you start listening to new music, you experience different things, you get older and you go to different countries. I do think so, but do I think it will change drastically? No, not really.

♯ Can you give us an insight on your songwriting process?
It generally starts with me sitting around with the guitar absentmindedly strumming some chords, I might be playing a song by Van Morrison and then all of a sudden I stop thinking about anything and I strum new chords and think “oh that sounds quite nice”. So I start humming a melody over the top of it and start singing gibberish, then it kind of forms into what eventually becomes the bones of the song I guess. And then I kind of start writing the lyrics. Short answer, I think the music comes first, although still quite simultaneously as the lyrics.

♯ Is there a song you wish you had written?
There are always songs I wish a had written myself. There’s quite a few that I listen to and think “this is quite me”, one of it being Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams. That’s definitely one I could definitely see myself writing I suppose, although nowhere near as good as Ryan Adams.

♯ Have you a favourite song of yours? Either to play or one that’s more personal to you? 
I’d have to say probably Give It Up, just because it is a really really personal song. But then there are other tracks from the album I like, it is a tough question, but if I have to pick one it would have to be Give It Up.

♯ When not making music, what do you like to do?
Buy clothes. Any given musician’s classic combination: buy guitars and clothes. Basically shopping. 

♯ I didn’t see that coming!
Really? No, I love my clothes, love my guitars. Classic musician.

*** Do not miss Conor at The Lucky Pig on April 19th, 5 Clipstone Street, W1W 6BB. 

Mixtape Mondays | Rivers, Seas & Oceans

Monday, March 14, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

This is perhaps one of my most personal playlists, thus why it was so hard to lock it. As with Travis' song Sailing Away, I live by the river and I do hope to die by the river, because water brings me peace. However, not the type most people would associate it with. 

Seaside by The Kooks is probably one of my favourite summer songs

For me it is not about serenity, but movement. Quoting the legend Dory, it's the everyday "just keep swimming" which screams at me when I think at how the water flows. And about how insignificant some problems seem when you look to the sea. And how distance and longing once can be measured by oceans.

Mixtape Mondays | Rivers, Seas & Oceans

So although I've asked around for suggestions and got some really amazing ideas - thanks Quentin! - from J.T.'s version of Cry me a River to Proud Mary, I had a story to tell. And each song had to play a part in it. So I rummaged through my heart and my memories - as well as some old playlists - to assemble this one. It includes some of my favourite bands, like Travis, Keane and Seafret, but also some new found gems, like Leon Bridges - thanks Jam! - and upcoming artists worth checking out, such as Thomas J Speight and Tom Butler. There is also The Lumineers, Young The Giant, Death Cab For Cutie, Vance Joy and James Bay. I hope you enjoy!

Weekend Fun Times: On another note, if you're in London this weekend or next don't miss the Head of the River on Saturday 19th & the traditional Oxford vs Cambridge, on Easter Sunday, 27th. Both races make up for an amazing day out by the river. But whatever rocks your boat! (sorry, couldn't help it!)

Mixtape Mondays | Run Forest Run

Monday, March 07, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

I am yet to understand how a human-being is supposed to live the fulfilling life - or the idea of it - which is sold to us when a day on Earth has only 24 hours, but one can only hope (and try). Having said that, I hope you can forgive the lateness of this playlist, but today instead of coming back home from work and jumping into bed with my laptop and headphones, I've opted for doing something else, something really unlike me, but which nonetheless inspired today's mixtape! 

The 1975 new album "I Like It When You Sleep" comes out in a few days, 11th of March.

Nothing better than real life experiences to feed your creativity, right? If you haven't guessed yet, today I started running. Needless to say I run like Phoebe from Friends, but hopefully the rhythm and the beats of this playlist will help on that front. I've selected 20 songs which make me wanna get up and move around. From classics such as Nirvana and James, going through Strokes, Jet, Two Door Cinema Club, Weezer until the likes of Bastille, Flyte, The 1975, The Courteeners and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Mixtape Mondays | Run Forest Run