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Rush Midnight is the shadow persona of Russ Manning, who is also known as the bass player for the synth-pop outfit Twin Shadow.  Shuf had a talk with Russ on Brooklyn musicians, Last Gang Records and where the future of Rush Midnight lies.

What inspires Rush Midnight’s aesthetic?

I used to read a lot of comic books growing up. The vibe of Marvel comics inspired the look and feel of this project.

Nestled among a plethora of talented artists at Last Gang Records, what other artists make you tick?

MSTRKRFT hit me the hard the first time I heard it. The entire roster is rad. Ryan Hemsworth is my most current favorite. 

Sculpting music for the night, how do you as a performer ensure that your audience are throwing their best shapes on the dancefloor?

We're still in the early stages, but I think transitions are important. If we can keep the beat moving throughout most of an hour the audience usually responds. 

What is your least favourite aspect of the music industry?

I guess the calendar. Its real tough when you finish a song or album and you have to wait 3-5 months, if not more, for the world to hear it. Often by that time I'm writing new songs that I'm more excited about. 

Growing up what music did you listen to?

Growing up I listened to a lot of Tom Waits, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Fugees, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre...

Do you think other Brooklynite musicians take themselves too seriously? Or does crafting modern disco tunes still require an element of solemnity?

I think Brooklyn's a lot like LA. Adults who play music professionally need to treat it like a job in order to survive and pay rent. But it can be still be a continuous party. If you're not having fun then I guess quit? In the past I've catered, I've taught, I've been a secretary, I've walked dogs and I've done other worse things for money... this is an improvement.

Where does your future lie? Will you continue to make music with Twin Shadow or do you hope to pursue your own project?

This project takes up a lot of time between writing, producing, remixing, making music videos, and touring. Unfortunately I don't have time to play in other bands at the moment. Maybe when this picks up some more momentum I can play bass for fun in other bands.

What music have you been listening to recently?

Mac Demarco, Kindness, Future Islands, Kingdom, Mas Ysa, Michael Beharie, Omar Souleyman,..

Can we expect to see Rush Midnight over this side of the Atlantic any time soon (with a UK album release)?

We'll see if I can get over to the UK/Europe sometime in 2015. I love playing festivals over there!

Anything else you would like to add?

RIP Robin Williams. I grew up on Popeye the movie and he was a true inspiration to myself and all my friends. Sending love to his family and friends. Thank you.

Words : George Hemmati 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison

With only four songs released, just over 800 followers on sound cloud and very limited information to be found, you wouldn’t expect much of an assembled sound from Belgian Fog. However he has created a self assured sound that disconnects us in the best possible way.

Robert Dale is the man behind Belgian Fog. While his music can draw many comparisons to modern electronically formed indie rock. Its in the fine details that makes Robert’s music a catchy yet intriguing listen. “Wait for help” is a perfect example. Filled with jarring synths and a gravelly voice that hits notes we aren’t used to, yet just from a couple of listens it feels familiar. Infectious yet rebellious, Robert is very much on the right path. Shuf had a chat with Robert to talk on the process behind his sound.

How did you start out?

I've played in bands in the past and always just recorded on my own, and for this project it was simply music I'd recorded by myself at home and released. I've just been fortunate that bloggers and listeners really attached themselves to it.

Stylistically your music draws many similarities to modern indie rock but there are some clear differences. Was this intentional?

Haha, hmm... I simply try and record what sounds good to me and I suppose if it has character to it then that's all the better. I think regardless of the scenario, just based on the person, their individual character will likely come out one way or another.

Can you tell us a bit about the process of recording, mixing and mastering all from your home studio, and how it affects the finished product? Do you think your sound would change if some of these processes were left to some one else?

Yeah, as I mentioned, I just record and produce the music and continue to refine it till I have something I'm happy with. I'm sure it would be quite different if I worked with someone else... maybe less painful

What have you been listening to recently?

Passion Pit, Melody's Echo Chamber, Dave Fridmann is great too. As well as SNES music

Whats the plan for the rest of the year?

I'm hoping to just continue to release music once I have something I'm happy with.

Anything else you would like to let us know?

I can't think of anything. Hello GB! Take care.

Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud

Words : Jacob Roy

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison

As Hip Hop ages It has become a strain on the genre to create a movement or style, and the easier to hashtag the better. This has lead to a lack of authenticity and heartfelt sound as the gimmick takes centre stage. Chicago based rapper Tree is a rare standout in a sea of diluted and warn out trends. The reason being that his personality, past experiences and soul are an integral part of the movement. He calls it ‘Soultrap’. Drawing from this inspiration he has simistaniously created a movement, genre and sound that is undoubtedly all his own creation. Shuf spoke to Tree on Soultrap, using his voice as an instrument and being a rapper from Chicago who isn't connected to the Drill scene.

How was Soultrap created?

Soultrap was created from an idea. Me and my homie were recording music in the summer of 2010 and it hit him that i needed to give my sound a name. His reason for it was I sounded so unique, even my production. So if I didn’t give it a name people would steal it and it would have no history. Soultrap came up at that moment.

Your voice is very soulful and a pleasure just listen to. Have you always rapped in this style and if not how did it develop?

My voice is an instrument and just like any instrument until you learn to play it well, it sounds like noise. So the last 14 years I've been fine tuning my voice at my home studio. I still try to alter and create different sounds from my vocals kind of like Jimmy Hendricks and his guitar, it takes practice.

Soultrap is undeniably all your own create but is there anyone is particular who influenced it?

Soul music, great singers, Otis Redding, Kanye West and my ups and downs in life influenced my sound.

Which came first, rapping or producing?

I started rapping then producing came a few days later, it was all in a weeks time. I only produced because I hated trap club music at the time I just wanted to sing and harmonise. But it was impossible with other producers at the time.

Soultrap blends elements of the blues and Hip Hop, but was there a genre you first took a liking to?

I started off in church. Church taught me singing harmonies, I was in the choir and I song alto as a child and it just carried over into my music.

What have you brought away from your time in Europe?

I found a renewed faith in myself. I performed to thousands of people, most pf whom didn’t speak english well at all. I realised how important I can be to the world. I’m the only one who does this form of soul/trap/rap/r&b/jazz and I’m unique. In broken english groups of college kids told me this from London to Amsterdam to Paris to Brussels, and I believe them.

Favourite show you have ever played?

I would have to say Paris was my personal favourite. Seeing the crowd go crazy when certain songs came on. I was definitely surprised that all these people knew me and my songs. I felt like my struggles over the years to get here were justified and exalted on the level of a Malcolm X and it all made sense then!

As a rapper from Chicago do you feel connected to the Drill scene?

Hell no! I do Soultrap. I wish all my brethren the best, but what I stand for is good music, anti violence, anti ignorance, anti bullshit, anti spray the block up, anti kill kids, anti rape, anti addictive drugs. I’m not a slave to my culture or environment. I’m against all things that keep poor blacks from achieving. Gangbanging and selling crack is the devil. SOULTRAP

You recently collaborated with Chris Crack. Is there anyone else you would be really keen to work with?

At the moment I’m working with a bunch of artists that you will love to hear over #soultrap production. To name a few, Guidance, Vic Spencer, Young King Jugg, Nesby Phipps, Brian fresco from the #savemoney clique and a some others as well stay tuned.

What is your least favourite aspect of the music industry?

The business is definitely a downer, I’m in this music to change lives and instil my dominance in this sector to the world. Almost everybody else around me and with in it just want to make money. Its slavery to some, to me its life.I’ll do this shit for free, fuck a record label, fuck a deal, fuck mgmt. Im tree, I don’t have a gimmick. I’m not Kanye West. I’m not Rick Ross. I’m Tree.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Im touring and making more music. Look out for a slew of soultrap projects with other chicagoans. Mixtape with Tree x Sha Money Xl and a soultrap album with frank dukes. I have a single coming out soon "Don't een Kare" which is huge and a lot  different from what I usually do but better than the others I guarantee.

Mc Tree /  Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr / Soundcloud

Words : Jacob Roy

Posted
AuthorJacob Roy
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I have no doubt in my mind that if I knew Greta Kline when I was in high school I would spend the vast majority of my time following her around, hiding my true feelings, and daydreaming about her. In reality, this never happened but upon listening to one of Kline’s forty plus records, one can’t help but close their eyes and dream. Recording under the moniker Frankie Cosmos, nineteen year old Kline has a voice like a teenage Liz Phair and a work ethic reminiscent to early 80s Daniel Johnston. Utilizing her preternatural ability to create intimacy, Kline has mastered Frankie Cosmos’ tone - delicate, honest, clever, and gloriously mopey - strung together with lyrics as emotional as they are economical. Greta also happens to be the daughter of 80s dream girl Phoebe Cates and Big Chill MVP Kevin Kline; a legacy she is swiftly shaking off with each new Frankie Cosmos release. I had the pleasure of asking her some questions following the release of her new studio full length Zentropy. 

Do you think your music is defined by youth? How do you see your music evolving as you age?

I don't think my music is defined by youth, but I do think it will evolve and change as I grow..hopefully I will just continue to learn more about music and songwriting, and also as my life changes that will affect my music.

You’ve mentioned that you got into Beat Happening when you were thirteen, how does someone get into a band that good that early?

I have an older brother with a pretty expansive knowledge of music. He showed me lots of cool bands and started taking me out to see music when I was in middle school.

What exactly happens when two butts touch? Paint a picture for our readers.

Basically you just face away from each other and squish your butts together. This is a good sleeping position for couples when it's too hot or uncomfortable to spoon-- a nice cold soft butt touch does the trick.

I’ve seen some people refer to you as the “Lena Dunham of indie rock” in not the most flattering way. Where do you think this impression comes from? How does it make you feel?

This is the first I've heard that, but I'm guessing it's because Lena Dunham & I are both NYC private school kids, children of working artists, and pursuing creative paths? Some people have a knee-jerk reaction to that, they make a lot of assumptions about your life or how you were raised. So to answer your question, it doesn't make me feel anything, since I don't know the people that made the statement, or what they meant by it. But I can tell you that I've always loved Lena Dunham's web show "Delusional Downtown Divas"!

Is “I’m hi I’m sorry lets go” a Daniel Johnston reference? 

I don't know that reference, sorry! Though I do reference DJ in some songs.

What was going on in your life when you made that record?

I made "im sorry im hi lets go" when I was back home after spending some time on tour. The songs are all over the place-- a few songs are leftover from my notebooks on Germany tour (DADDY COOL has mostly songs from then too), one song is mainly a reference to DC Schneider (our good friends we toured with), some are love songs, and some are about feeling out of place socially (on tour and back home).

You sing pretty frankly about smoking pot in some of your lyrics. Do you ever censor yourself in your songs for fear of your parents hearing them? 

Many of my songs are not written from my own perspective. A lot of them are stories or have fictional elements. My parents listen to all my music, and no, I am never worried about their reaction because they know that it's not a diary.

Words : Nick Boyd

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison

As the saucy name would suggest, the boys of Ménage à Trois could give a masterclass in serving up sexy, late night grooves. To find out more about their latest helping 'The Bogans of Life', we conversed with the provocatively funky trio about their habitat, generational gaps and hip-hop production.

For the uninitiated, who are Ménage à Trois?

Ménage à Trois are Craig, Jonathan and Joe. We are a bogan shemale threesome currently residing in Manchester.

Apart from Stupid Sexy Flanders, what else inspires you as a band?

We are always sending each other all kinds of music . A song I think we all loved recently is 'A Different Corner' by George Michael. Our friend Hannan put it on at a practice and Jonathan said it already sounded like something we would make, with the production. She said it was a song her mum liked, we aren't afraid to admit we actually like that kind of stuff.

You channel a Bee Gees vibe in your music (particularly after covering 'Islands in the Stream'), what do you think it is about Manchester that makes it such fertile land for great music?

It's a similar thing with 'Islands In The Stream', I've shown that song to people of my parents generation and their reaction has sometimes been, "that's a really dodgy song from when I was growing up?" sort of thing but our generation remembers it more from Ghetto Supastar so it's more acceptable to them. 

The Bee Gees are interesting because like 10cc, they were Manchester bands before it was a thing. Their music seems a lot more transatlantic than the more traditional Manchester bands such as Joy Division. We'd like to be given the freedom that they had and not be like "you have to have a black and white picture of yourself looking sad in the rain". It seems a lot of people outside of Manchester really buy into the legend of it all, but most people making music here are trying their best to get away from anything traditionally Manchester in their music.

I think though, the bad weather in Manchester does contribute because you often have to keep yourself entertained indoors and in our case substitute the lack of sunshine with sunny music/visuals. 

Our favourite Manchester band is Durrutti Column, their/his music is light years ahead of anything from the city, even the world.

Littered with funky textures and soulful samples, talk us through your latest effort 'The Bogans of Life'. 

'The Bogans of Life' began as a selection of songs we were working on started to have a "hip hop" theme running through, 

I moved to London for a couple of months last year and then was filming in Hawaii and Australia so I had less access to the guitars and keyboards we used to create the songs on 'The Bogans of Death'. This meant I relied more on samples and midi keyboards to create the songs.

We initially thought to put the tracks out on DatPiff because it's what Lil B uses to put out his mixtapes, but the paly counter is a bit vulgar if you're a humble band like us and the fact that Bandcamp gives people the chance to pay if they want really helps us out. 

Do you have any upcoming UK shows?

We don't have any UK shows booked as we played Manchester on Friday and we are concentrating on playing MIDI festival in Hyeres, France.

Any parting words?

We are going in the studio in September to record our first album and on Monday 14th July we will be publishing a video retrospective here.

Words : George Hemmati

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison