Introducing: Hella Better Dancer

So, it’s been a very quiet period on this blog as of late. Of course, the usual excuses have been holding back the updates; a new job, moving cities, the holidays, etc. And while it may be the turn of the new year and the renewed excitement that comes with it which has me blogging again, I am happier to say that it is more down to a collection of artists that have me all excited about new music once more, a few of which I will be blogging about over the coming weeks.

The first of these is  Hella Better Dancer. While they hail from Camden, London, there is little else listed online to describe the four-piece And yet, with music as immersive as these guys are putting out, you’ll almost be glad that there are no such distractions.

No doubt about it, Hella Better Dancer’s music is some of the freshest I’ve heard in a long time. Even despite the obvious youth seen in their press shots, they have a rich and atmospheric sound that artists double their age long to pull off successfully- a sound sometimes even captured through nothing more than a Built-In-Microphone recording in a member’s front room.

However, as the video above shows, this is more than just some laptop trickery. Indeed, played live, tracks like ‘Sleep’  are delivered with even greater passion and impressive musicianship than their lo-fi counterparts. Why not see for yourself? The band play The Lock Tavern, Camden on January 20th (more info). In the meantime, be sure to check out the band’s Bandcamp page for some free downloads (link).

Interview: Django Django

Last month marked the return of the Parklife Weekender to Manchester’s Platt Fields Park. Boasting an even bigger and better line-up than previous years, the Saturday played host to British “psychedelic” quartet Django Django. I caught up with Dave (Drums/Percussion) and Jim (Bass) from the group for a chat after their set:

You guys have just come off stage at the Parklife Weekender, how did you find the set?
D: A brilliant crowd, a brilliant atmosphere! I guess it was a proper festival set, good fun.
J: [A guy in the crowd] looked like he was on a different plane. Some guy down at the front was getting lots of funny looks from security staff…
D: …but he was enjoying it, which was the main thing. However you express yourself it doesn’t matter, as long as you enjoy it.

One thing that stood out about the set was the blend between dance and more alternative genres. Do you think about that mix when you put the songs together?
D: Our background is a mixture of Dance music, like House music and Techno, Classic Rock like Fleetwood Mac, and old Rock & Roll like Bo Diddley, so its very hard to stick to one thing for us. We kind of pinch bits and pieces from all types of music and have fun with it really. Its funny being called Indie, its a new thing to me; I grew up listening to Hip-Hop and Dance music, and Indie was always a bit of a dirty word I guess. As long as people like it, I don’t think we should worry too much about how to pigeon-hole it, or what to make of it. But yes, the root of it all is Dance music.

There’s such a diverse range of acts here at the festival, is there anyone you’re looking forward to seeing yourselves?
D: There’s loads of good Dance music here which is really refreshing for a festival. For me, that’s what is missing; good Dance music at festivals! I just met Goldie in the carpark and he’s a big hero for me personally, growing up listening to Metalheadz. Flaming Lips is another one- they’re just a colossal band, really good fun, and there’s loads of good up and coming Dance acts as well.
Both: Pearson Sound, Space Dimension Controller, DJ Hype- there’s plenty!
Its quite interesting that some of the acts you mentioned, such as Pearson Sound, put their live set together in a similar way to how you do.
Both: Yeah!

How does the Parklife Weekender compare then to other festivals you’ve been at?
J: Its great! The sun’s just come out, all the crowd seem totally up for it as well. I mean we were on at about 4.30pm today, but people were still bouncing around, enjoying it and having a good time. They all seem really up for it here, and when you go to some festivals and it seems a little quieter, its more difficult to get people worked up.
D: It seems to me like there’s an area of music catered for here that’s maybe missing at some festivals. Acts like Pearson Sound, Jackmaster; I think for me that’s what I would want in a dance tent, so whoever’s done the booking has done an amazing job I think.

What have you got planned for the rest of the summer then, and beyond?
J: Festivals from now until the end of summer. We’re going over to Australia and Japan, we’re doing a UK tour at the moment so we’ve got a few more festivals in there, a few shows in Ireland and Scotland. Just working out, doing the festivals.
D: You’re working out?!
J: I’m working out. Asides from doing the festivals and going to Australia, I’m going to start working out.

 

Keep checking back on the blog for more Parklife Weekender interviews to come, including those from the likes of Ghostpoet and Factory Floor.