Music & Me: Younger Brother
Friday 11 March 2011
Younger Brother began life as an electronica side project of psytrance producers Simon Posford (aka Hallucinogen) and Benji Vaughan (Prometheus) but without the full-on bpm of their usual dancefloor fare. Rather than rely on their sample-heavy, synthesized sounds, the band has instead organically evolved into a live show that fuses together their trademark sonic soundscapes with real bass, drums, guitars and the soaring vocals of Ruu Campbell. It’s a collaboration that works well – and although new album Vaccine might at first alienate fans more used to the beats and beeps incarnation of the band on their first album A Flock of Bleeps, the album looks set to gain more fans than those who fall by the wayside. Change is a good thing folks – it never hurt Bob Dylan after all.
The first record I bought was...
Simon Posford: Never Mind The Bollocks, by The Sex Pistols was the first cassette (remember them?) I owned that I would listen to regularly. I don’t think I bought it though; I “borrowed” it from a friend’s older brother. It had swearing and everything! Which was definitely the reason I listened to it – teachers and parents hated it. The first album that I was excited to go and buy myself was Welcome to the Pleasure Dome by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. They had released two singles “Relax” and “Two Tribes”, with both videos being shown on Top Of The Pops (one of them being banned). I thought the videos were amazing and couldn’t wait to buy the whole album. Unfortunately my first listen to the whole album lead to immediate disappointment and an early realisation that sometimes a record could be filled with an awful lot of padding to flesh out the singles.
Benji Vaughan: The Beatles Hits, I think. It was certainly the first tape I remember falling in love with. I remember being mesmerised by the sounds and atmosphere of the songs. Then I totally fell in love with Madness I was about seven; I played one of their albums so much I remember the tape wearing out and snapping – gutted.
Ruu Campbell: I’m afraid I have no recollection of buying one but the first “tape” I remember feeling was mine was Foreigner, some time ago now...
The first gig I went to was...
RC: Santana followed by the Grateful Dead where I was sprayed with liquid acid… I think the gig ended.
SP: I went to see Elton John with my parents, at the Hammersmith Odeon. I don’t think they could get a babysitter. They told me that he might throw a piano stool into the crowd at some point and I spent a large part of the show worrying that it would hit me. The first gig I chose to see myself was Twisted Sister, again at the Hammersmith Odeon. My parents made my brother’s nanny chaperone me because they thought I was a bit young, but I can’t have been that young as she later stole my virginity. In return for dragging her along to Twisted Sister, I went to see Dire Straits with her also. In fact, it might have been Mark Knopfler’s fancy finger picking which charmed her knickers right off her body. I’m quite sure it wasn’t Dee Snider’s fangs and blond mega-perm.
BV: Michael Jackson doing Bad at Wembley. It was also my first date with a girl and my mum who wouldn't let us out of her sight. I don't really remember the show – I think I was probably too nervous about the date.
My favourite album is...
BV: Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s Kid A... God, I can never choose just one! I always have a “Favourite Album of All Time Club” with about five albums in it. I've probably listened to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks more than any album in my life – it still fascinates me and sounds like no other album ever made.
SP: Faith by The Cure. Along with their Pornography (the album, not smutty magazines... OK, maybe the magazines too) these got me through my teenage years.
RC: So much time doing music that The Peace is just the ultimate most of the time, if not that then one of the classics like Legend by Bob Marley and The Wailers.
But my parents always liked...
SP: Breakfast in America by Supertramp.
BV: I really don't remember what my parents were into. They're really not that into music. Hooked on Classics and Dr Hook – hook-themed music I guess.
RC: Supertramp and ELO, which I also liked.
I couldn’t marry someone who liked...
SP: Blancmange – the food, not the band. Actually I might extend it to the band as well.
On stage I like to wear...
RC: A guitar
SP: My feathered fedora that my girlfriend made for me, and my in-ear monitors that make sure I can hear everything.
I’d love to perform with...
RC: Lisa Hanigan.
SP: Robert Smith on vocals and guitar, Björk on vocals, Dave Grohl on drums and Rodrigo y Gabriela on guitars. If we could bring back Noel Redding from the dead, he’d be on bass.
BV: It'd always be a love/fear thing ...playing with or working in a studio with a hero would be so nerve racking… but I'd love to perform with Björk.
One thing that must change in the music industry is...
RC: My future!
BV: The music business should be about artists and fans – the rest are middle men; the less middle men the better. The internet, whilst crippling artists through piracy, is also making the need for middle men smaller – you can record, market and distribute digitally now from a laptop, but you still need money to pay for these things. That's why we used PledgeMusic to fund our record. The fans pay the advance and get the music they want when it’s been made – who needs a label owning your rights when you can do it like that?
SP: The opportunity for artists and writers to earn money from making records. We are raising money for Younger Brother’s new album, Vaccine, with PledgeMusic as well. It provides the possibility to interact with fans and provide more than just music. We are offering everything from handwritten books to studio workshops.
A great album cover is...
RC: Got to be Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland – sorry!
SP: Anything made by Storm Thorgerson, a particular favourite being the one with the beds on a beach – A Momentary Relapse of Reason. I have a particular fondness for extraordinarily bad album covers too, so a mention has to go to one of the most memorable, which hasn’t aged at all well: Zip Zap Rap by Devastatin’ Dave (the turntable slave!), although my all time favourites are the weird creepy Christian sects that release records. Let Me Touch Him by the Ministers Quartet is one of the best examples I can think of that demonstrate the idea that sometimes it’s best not to put a picture of your band on the cover.
BV: Dark Side of the Moon – simple, iconic, perfect.
On my iPod I listen most to...
SP: Audiobooks and podcasts, particularly science and comedy-related shows.
BV: Ricky Gervais and nursery rhymes for my kids.
RC: Mixes, mixes, mixes.
If I could have written any song it would have been...
BV: “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” – it’s so beautiful, original and the images it creates in my mind are so vivid and clear. Or maybe “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin, it’s such a beast, that song – more like a piece of architecture than a song!
SP: "Imagine2 by John Lennon, for the simplicity and great song writing. However, I can’t avoid throwing in "Mr Blue Sky" by ELO for the sheer majesty of production and orchestration.
RC: That is some question… I remember sitting down at Carole King’s piano, leafing through her song book, beside the actual tapestry, feeling very under whelmed with my talent. Took at least four days before I could sing another note…
The worst song I’ve heard is...
SP: Whatever I am currently working on, until it is actually finished. It’s like groping around in a dark room, trying to find a way out, until finally I see a glimmer of light and follow it to the exit, at which point I can decide if I actually do like it after all. A dishonourable mention has to go to "I Will Always Love You" performed by Whitney Houston, which after a truly horrific 10 weeks at Number 1 in the UK Chart, started to shove me violently ever closer to the brink of insanity.
BV: The music on Aeroflot when you're waiting to take off. The combination of their music, food and service could give you fit of some sort. It’s like some sort of Ludovico treatment... terrifying!
RC: Got to be our, if not all, national anthems.
Vaccine (Twisted Records) is released on 11 April. Younger Brother play - Brighton, Digital on 25 March, London, Xoyo on 30 March, Thekla in Bristol on 31 March and Stealth, Nottingham on 1 April.
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