Saturday, 19 October 2013

Student Somethings

29 days ago, my parents helped me pack up almost my entire room, load it into the car and drive 201 miles to my new home; student halls with the University of Leeds. I got my official student ID card a few days ago, and though it's a little like a mug shot, it's exciting.

I adore my flat mates- a part of the universtiy process which I was really worried about. During the past few days I've met some interesting people and heard some interesting tales and boy, am I lucky to have these guys in my flat. I'm loving Leed's nightlife which is pretty much 'go hard or go home' and is going beyond my expectations. I've made my room cosy and organised with an Ikea delivery, a bundle of pillows, a beautiful embroidered throw from India which I've pinned to the wall, an obviously essential lava lamp, and a number of photographs from this past summer. 

In other, less personal news, let's talk about Miley Cyrus and Fall Out Boy. Yes, another blogger discussing Miley Cyrus. We are exposed to much worse things than the misuse of a foam finger; if anything I think in retrospect it was rather hilarious. Miley is either a) pushed, blackmailed and pimped by the music industry to attract attention and ultimately pull in the moneys or b) a very clever little lady who is bored with the 'Hannah Montana' image and knows how to get the entire internet and beyond talking about her. My dad knows who she is, and he wouldn't know Harry Styles from Justin Bieber. I don't think Miley even cares if you laugh at her or with her. PS. For halloween costume of the year, see below.

Okay so Fall Out Boy. Yes, I like FOB along with Panic at the Disco, My Chemical Romance and Justin Bieber. I wasn't aware however of FOB's Save Rock and Roll Campaign. Beginning on 8th February 2013, FOB have been gradually releasing a series of music videos for their album, each one being a chapter in a mini horror movie where FOB represent Rock and Roll and some hot, bad bitches are trying to destroy them. There's blood, boobies and more blood, and it's actually kind of cool. How strange, Fall Out Boy are collaborating with Foxes and Big Sean. Cool, but I thought we were emo, guys? Even more strange; Patrick Stump is suddenly incredibly hot. (And in an Ewan Mcgregor sort of way)


Anyway, the songs are good, Patrick's hot, it's all pretty clever; go check it out. Part 1 starts here and the latest release is Part 6.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

BESTIVAL again and again and again (We Can't Stop)

I've finished this summer- and my gap year-  with an incredible weekend at Bestival 2013. It was my third year at Bestival and I hope to continue this annual tradition 'til I'm too old rave it up at Big Top and my Zimmer frame gets rejected by security.

While I love going to festivals with just one best friend (going in a pair to Outlook and Benicassim resulted in making new and amazing friends and having an insanely good time), Bestival has always been a huge communal thing for me. Last year I partied to Major Lazer and Buraka Som Sistema with a group of about thirty. This year we were an unusual assortment of twenty friends; a strange mix from Leeds University, Manchester University, my old school and friends of friends. I shared a tent with Amy and Bex (two of my best friends; the latter whom accompanied me to  Benicassim).

Highlights of Bestival this year were Clean Bandit, Fatboy Slim's Birthday Bash (Bestival was celebrating its 10 year anniversary), Crystal Fighters and Angel Haze.

Clean Bandit, who are currently winning over 2013 with their hits 'Dust Clears' and 'A&E (Random Acts)', demonstrated that good music is still about. The group, who formed at Cambridge University, rallied the crowd with an enthusiastic set, buoyant beats, electronic tunes and brilliant talent. They are musicians who play the string quartet that you hear on their track, giving them a truly skilled and artistic edge.

Fatboy Slim at the Main Stage was just a standard, well chosen DJ set but the vibe of 60,000 party-goers who were high off Bestival's love and energy (or other things) was insane. His set was the beginning to an unforgettable evening (albeit, maybe a little hard to remember in my state). Similarly, Crystal Fighters were a phenomenal end to the entire festival. They pumped tunes that excited my friends and me to new levels of happiness (Crystal Fighters is like, our thing, and their song which goes 'Hola, me llamo Mimi, I LOVE LONDON' (if you sing 'Mimi' a little differently) is like, my song).

Then I'm onto Angel Haze. So, boohoo; I missed most of the legend that is Elton John but hey, Angel basically blew out all your candles and became rocket woman with her awesomeness. Excusing my awful puns, Angel Haze truly smashed it. I've been waiting to see this girl for so long now and was forced to go alone while everyone else ran to Elton John. I did bump into some friends but that is irrelevant. What is relevant, is that Angel came INTO the crowd during 'New York'. I was standing right next to her, so close, you could probably hear me in her microphone. She screamed 'dopeness' and spat bars like a don. Azaelia Banks could eat turd in comparison to Angel Haze. One criticism- she played way to many new songs and didn't give me the opportunity to show off my Angel Haze rapping skills.

So yeah, Bestival was cool. I got to wear my yellow happy pants from Thailand, parade the very last of my rapidly fading tan, and drink obscene amounts of alcohol. When I left the house with my boxed wine, vodka and ciders, my Mum thought that I was taking drink for three of us. Little did she know...

Next year, I want to take the dressing up seriously (for those of you who don't know, Bestival is a festival all about dressing up; paint yourself gold, wear nipple tassels etc.). This truly is the motto of every Bestival goer, fancy dress or otherwise; anything goes.

Definitely, one hundred percent certain, there is no doubt; I'll see you there next year. And the next. And the next. And the next. (etc.)

PS. The title is for you savvy ones; let me know if you get it ;)

Thursday, 15 August 2013

This lucky bitch

I would sit here and start complaining about how my tan is rapidly fading under London's cloud-filled sky, or how I am dismally living off my parents or how I am feeling the pressures of first-world problems, but who am I kidding? I am one lucky bitch.

I have been enjoying the fruits of España (aka the €4.30 litre of vodka from Mercado in Benicassim, Spain), followed by the luxuries of a five star hotel in Estoril, Portugal (for real this time; think champagne for breakfast and chocolates on your pillow) and then lazing like a lady on a thirty metre 
boat in the South of France.  This has been my summer so far; my lucky getaway break from the 
hassles of London and its bitchy little bubble.

At Benicassim, I met and interviewed Michael and Alex from Everything Everything; one of my favourite bands right now and truly incredible artists. I started the interview off with, 'So this is my first interview ever and I kinda love you guys so I'm really nervous...'. Of course I finished the interview directing them where to find wine in the festival and discussing being drunk on stage. They said it went really well, and I felt the same- if anything, I'm getting rather too big for my boots over my interview skills.  

So, Benicassim was a laugh and a half. We met a tonne of beautiful boys, both at the beach and in swarms around our campsite area. We got drunk, pissed, crunk and every other form of the word every single night. Oh and we listened to some amazing music including The Kaiser Chiefs, who gave a truly brilliant performance, Arctic Monkeys, Knife Party and of course, Everything Everything. 

I went to Portugal on an invite from my friend Tom, where I stayed in a delightfully swanky hotel with Tom, his brother, his friend Paula, his father, and his father's girlfriend.  That was very peaceful and I managed to build up- for the first time in my life- an actual, holiday tan. Yes that's right, I actually came home and was told by friends and family, that I look brown. The usual response? 'I thought you've been on holiday in the sun?' This year? 'Urgh, I hate you you're so brown'. Time to bring out all my white, tan-intensifying clothes. 

After Portugal I headed to Nice, in the South of France, for a few days. There, I stayed with my friend Max's family. I completely adore his family, so I had a lovely time. We dressed up for dinner every evening, I tried escargot (snails), and we spent one day jumping into the sea off a beautiful, big boat.  

Now though, I really need to get back onto the yellow brick road of fashion. I have a lot of cool ideas plus I want to finally show you all my bargain Bangkok buys, which, may I add, have already received numerous compliments. These are usually followed by frustrated sighs when I explain that my shorts cost £2 in Thailand.

For this post I shall leave you with my new guilty pleasure- Asian pop boybands (which is not as creepy as it sounds). Some boring bitches* may add this to their collection of 'stupid things that Mamie loves but I just don't understand', but here goes;

These guys might be my favourite. I especially love the guy in the cap and sunglasses (see him in other videos- a completely new look but o em gee)

Top tip: wait for the yummy scrummy topless bit. 

Okay so maybe this little, teensy obsession with Thai and Korean boys is solely fuelled by my recent trip to Thailand but it gives me happiness okay?!

*A good song actually, by Etta Bond and Lady Leshurr

Talking to Everything Everything and Reviewing Benicassim; the best, the beachy, the beautiful

I'm going to copy and paste my articles from Pillow Magazine here:

So, how are you guys feeling today?
Michael: Yeah, a bit rough
Alex:  We went out late and watched some terrible music,
Michael: Don’t know why we did that but oh well.

Are you excited to be playing a festival abroad?
Michael: We’ve done loads of them but we’ve never done Benicassim before. It’s nice to be somewhere warm and by the seaside. We’ve done Poland, Netherlands – just in the last couple of weeks. It’s been busy, but it’s good to be busy.

Where are you going after this?
Alex: We’re going to Latitude on Saturday and Germany on Sunday.

What would be your ideal festival to play at?
Michael: The one in Germany is good. It’s called Melt.
Alex: It’s really good – the scenery there is incredible.  We enjoyed playing Latitude; we had a really good show there.
Michael: Glastonbury is Glastonbury.
Alex: Yeah that’s always good to play but I prefer the smaller ones
Michael: Glastonbury is kind of overwhelming.
Alex: It’s like a city.

So, at this festival for example do you like going to the other music?
Michael: Yeah we tried to. We wanted to see Queens of the Stone Age but we clashed with them.

Ugh yeah we saw that… clashes are the worst.
Michael: Mmm; we wanted to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at latitude but clashed with them. And loads of stuff at Glastonbury that clashed.
Alex: We managed to see Phoenix and Nick Cave – that was good

Okay so I’m going to attempt to get more technical – one of the big things about you guys is that you have this whole new genre which is really interesting. I’m sure this topic comes up in every interviews but I’ve once heard you described as ‘math rock’, what is that?
Michael: Well, I think there’s a bit of that in what we do
Alex: It’s complex intertwining rhythms between sheets but I wouldn’t say we’re that much at all anymore.
Michael: We started off a bit like that
Michael: People say that we’ve never played in four/four (which is the normal time signature) but all of the songs are in four/four?
Alex: I think it’s just Mikey’s verse and that’s about as Math as it gets, but even that’s four/four.
Michael: But yes, we are very twisty and turny so I can see why people might say that.

Everything Everything C

Could you put one word to your genre, not a name but a word?
Michael: Urm… colourful

Haha very sweet!
Okay so yes I did some nerdy research but I’ve read that Paul Lester, a critic, said that you sound like ‘a riot in a melody factory’ and I thought that was quite appropriate?
Michael: Yeah I think that was after the second album and melody was something that we talked about a lot. I think a lot of bands shy away from melody because it could be quite cheesy if you have a big, strong melody but we wanted it.

So you guys use a lot of laptops and synthesised noises right? When you make your songs, do you generally have an idea of what you want the song to sound like or do you start on something small and then build on that?
Alex: It usually comes in different forms. It can either be a very unfinished idea or Jon [Jonathon Higgs] could appear with something that’s entirely done really and just needs a lot of work. But the majority of the time, we have a melody and a harmony and we just pull it apart and rebuild it, pull it apart and rebuild it.
Michael: Sometimes Jon tries to write something in a particular style; Radiant on the new album was meant to be a bit like Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen  which it doesn’t sound anything like but that’s what he was trying to go for- tempo wise and all that lot. He thinks about tempo quite a lot. So what you actually end up is normally quite different from what you aim for but yeah, sometimes the idea in that way.

So it sounds like Jon is the main one who drives the music? I know he went to university to study music but what did you guys do?
Michael: He met Jeremy at Salford, I went to Leeds college of music which is part of Leeds University.
Alex: I went to art college and studied fine art.
Michael: He’s a good painter
Alex: Not sounding like a d**k, I just didn’t really feel the need to go to a music course when I’d studied classical music all my life.
Michael: I did jazz; there was no way I was going to do a popular degree but they did haha. In fairness they did more about recording which is quite useful.

Did you form the band because you like music and just wanted to form a band or did you form because you were aiming for a career? 
Michael: Bit of both. I suppose that you always want to do as much as you can with something but you can tell a mile off with some bands if they’re like ‘we are going to make this work no matter what’, but it wasn’t like that for us. We wanted to do it because we wanted to do it so our intentions were pure but of course, as it gets bigger- you want more people to hear about you and stuff.

Well it’s working!
Michael: Slowly but surely haha!

And where does the name Everything Everything come from?
Alex: Umm.
Michael: Not sure really…
Alex: I think that was Jon.
Michael: Yeah well he asked us to be in the band – it was his idea so… It’s meant to be about hopefulness and the idea that anything can happen. But it was a long time ago.
Alex: Stuck with it now
Michael: Haha yep

Are you guys all really close, do you live together?
Michael: We don’t live together no, but we see a hell of a lot of each other.
Alex: I see more of these guys than I do my own friends, family, girlfriends.

Yeah I’m not surprised. Okay so you’ve just released Arc, but do you have anything new coming up?
Alex: We’re writing at the moment yeah. Hopefully try to get some new stuff done, start thinking about next year.

I look forward to it! And about tonight – do you ever get drunk before you go onstage?
Michael: Haha not drunk- but it’s sometimes good just to have one drink. Although we definitely have been drunk, but that’s not really a good idea, especially if you’re the drummer.

Do you ever make mistakes on stage?
Michael: Mistakes? Yeah, all the time. We just bamboozle everyone with stupid music so they never really realise.
Alex: We went on stage with snow patrol once…
Michael: [Laughs] yeah this is a good one…
Alex: It was a homecoming gig for Michael so all his family were there, a completely full arena. We all had our in-ears (our monitors) on. Everything we need to play is sent to these ears by these paddles and it gets transmitted by radio frequency. And uh, our sound engineer forgot to plug the paddles in.
Michael: So we just heard ‘cccchhhhhhh’. Walked on stage, were like ‘uhhhh’
Alex: There were 50,000 people there waiting and Mike was there behind his drum kit going ‘It’s not fucking working!”
Michael: [Laughing] Hopefully there’s not too many mistakes like that tonight.

Hopefully – I’m sure it’ll be good
Michael: Are you going to watch it?

Both Michael and Alex: Go watch Queens of the Stone Age.
Alex: You can see us any old time hahah


THIS year, Pillow Magazine was offered the exciting opportunity to join the crowd at Festival International Benicassim (FIB) 2013 in Spain.

We’ve already mentioned this amazing festival and the brilliant line up that it offers but we were not truly prepared for how incredible it really was.Now that we’re home, we can’t help but sulk at the numerous ‘Beni Blues’ statuses that abound our Facebooks.

Arriving in Barcelona on the Monday, we caught the train down to Benicassim and set up our tent.
Note number one: check that you brought the right tent, not your brother’s one man cocoon which most definitely will not fit two people.


We then began to wander round and introduce ourselves to our neighbours. Note number two: hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to land a spot next to the big group with the boombox; they’re going be insanely fun.

The music doesn’t start till the Thursday but we spend three nights just as we would the others. We’re either smashed, falling asleep on the beach, or enjoying rounds of ring of fire in the lead up to getting smashed. The other 80 percent of the time we’re ogling the eye candy because, ladies, Benicassim is very much a lads’ holiday festival and the ratio of girls to boy is a lovely number indeed. It has to be said.

The walk into town/ beach/ the cheap supermarket (bottles of vodka for €4.60, restocked in mass quantities by the hour) may seem daunting but it’s honestly not too bad and we liked to take every opportunity for tanning that there was.

Then comes the music although the inevitable problem with festivals is the clash list. We had to choose Everything Everything over Rudimental, although the band themselves told us to head to Queen of the Stone Ages instead! [Pillow Magazine also had the opportunity to interview Everything Everything which is one of our favourite bands; see here]. Knife Party was also chosen over Benny Benassi, but this too was a difficult decision.
One of our best nights was spent at the Arctic Monkeys at the main stage where the incredible atmosphere of the crowd, united by their love of Benicassim, was insane. This was followed by Kaiser Chiefs who truly blew our minds; we have never sung along so hard in our lives and the mosh pit was brilliant.

Following standard festival procedures, we then headed back to the tent to top up on our alcohol intake and grab some more friends to head to Knife Party where we finished the night, jumping and raving away ‘til the early hours of the morning like a bunch of fools.

Lets clear this up however; the vibe at Benicassim is just so good that whether you’re too worse for wear to stand up or lounging on the beach, you feel upbeat, happy and simply awesome. I personally managed to dance to the Killers and ‘skank’ to Toddla T with a huge grin on my face and a bundle of energy without the encouragement of the €1.50 rosé…

So, see you there next year?