Interview On The Rock 'n Rollercoaster Show on Assembly Radio - 8 April 2013

  • Date of interview: 8 April 2013
  • Method of interview: In studio (broadcast live)
  • Original publication date: 11 June 2013

On the 8th of April 2013, I was invited onto the Rock 'n Rollercoaster Show, a radio show hosted by Dylan Culhane and Ace Swart on Assembly Radio in Cape Town, South Africa. They interviewed me about my then-upcoming trip to the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, USA. We discussed and played music from some of the artists that I was most keen to see live at the festival.

Assembly Radio Interview - 8 April 2013 - Live And In Studio.jpg

Audio (edited)

All killer no filler. All music breaks removed, only interview portions.

Assembly Radio Interview - 8 April 2013 - With Host Dylan Culhane.jpg

Audio (full segment)

Banter and beats. Includes all interview portions and music breaks.

Music breaks

2:26 - 11:11: First music break (Desert Sessions - Cake (Who Shit On The ?))

16:56 - 21.31: Second music break (The Stone Roses - Waterfall)

21.31 - 26.01: Third music break (Tame Impala - Mind Mischief)

30.47: Brief 30-second musical interlude (Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue - Wild Rose)

34.30 - 37.43: Fourth music break (The Gaslight Anthem - 45)

37.43 - 41.01: Fifth music break (Biffy Clyro - Mountains)

41.01 - 44.39: Sixth music break (Alt-J - Breezeblocks)

44.39 - 49.00: Seventh music break (J Roddy Walston - Full Growing Man)


Interview Transcript

DC: Good evening and welcome to the Rock 'n Rollercoaster on Assembly Radio – only on Assembly Radio; no one else will have us (unfortunately). So for the time being this is where we are, but we love it in our cosy little booth here right at The Assembly. Still smells of sweat and beer from the weekend that was and I'm sure it was a good one, as it tends to be. This evening we got a pretty interesting show lined up for you. We've got well of course our foundation of some really good rock and roll music of all different types. And in fact on that note, I better tell you what we just heard so you’re not all confused or anything like that. You just heard Spiderbait – an Australian band with their track ‘Buy Me A Pony’. Before that there was a Spanish ska band Ska-P. You remember Ska-P, don’t you Ace?

AS: (off mic) I do indeed. I don’t think I’m-

DC: Ah there you are.

AS: Can you hear me now? Yes…

DC: Unfortunately I can hear you.

AS: (crosstalk) Unfortunately I do remember Ska-pay.

DC: We called them Ska-pee. With Animales De Laboratorio, which means ‘Animals Of The Laboratory’, I guess? And the New York Dolls with ‘Trash’. And opening up a new theme song, George Thorogood - ‘Bad To The Bone’. Anyway, coming up I’m going to be speaking to a journalist named Kurt Duvel, who’s actually in the studio, staring at me right now - slightly unnerving. He’s going to Coachella. Can I get a “hella hella”?

KD: (off mic) Yeah (laughter)

DC: That’s next weekend and that’s just the ultimate festival; it’s actually makes me sick hearing about it. We’ll make you sick and tell you all about it shortly. And then after that we've got Beach Party coming into the studio. Now we had Dave the lead singer a few weeks ago by himself but now the whole band’s coming. And that's relevant because they’ve just released a brand-new EP that you can download for free – on the Internet. And I’m sure we’ll tell you how to do that later. But coming up, we’re gonna keep playing some music. We got a treat for you. It’s the Desert Sessions; we featured them on our Stoner Rock set a couple of weeks ago with Joshua Homme leading a whole bunch of different artists. And it’s ‘Cake – Who Shit On The Question Mark’. Close brackets – it’s just easier to read. Anyway, you’re listening to the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster – enjoy it.

(music break)

DC: Uh guys, you’re actually on air. Hi! We were just having a quick break there. You’re listening to Assembly Radio, and that was a really good old fashioned nine-minute rock song there by, well a collective known as the Desert Sessions, headed up by Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age fame, and uh about – I don’t know - twenty seven different other artists all just jamming out in the desert. Doesn’t that sound nice? And speaking of jamming out in the desert, the next person we’re speaking to - Kurt Duvel, in case you didn’t get it the first time – is a journalist who finds himself in the lucky position of going to Coachella Festival, which I didn’t realise, but it happens next weekend-

KD: Yeah, and this weekend as well.

DC: Oh really?

KD: Yeah.

DC: So it’s happening right now?

KD: Well there - it goes over two weekends.

DC: Oh okay (crosstalk)

KD: That’s how popular it is.

DC: Well I suppose you’d have to do that seeing how many bands they’ve got playing, and artists. For those of us who don't know much about Coachella, give us the rundown on why it's so highly regarded by anyone who loves music really.

KD: Well it's built up over fourteen years like a really good reputation for just mixing lot of genres – you know, a lot of rock, indie, electronica acts, hip hop as well. And also just bringing out big-name artists in a lovely environment. It’s very similar - to compare it to South African festivals, it’s sort of like a Synergy Live-

DC: Except about forty-nine thousand times bigger.

KD: Yeah. Last year there were eighty thousand people per day.

DC: Per day?

KD: Yeah, over the – it’s a weekend festival, so for three days, it’s a hell of a lot of people.

DC: And apparently there's something like two hundred bands playing in total.

KD: That was last year. Not sure of the total this year, but it’s a very long list.

DC: Right, and out of that long list – I’ve got to first of all paint a picture of how well prepared Kurt is for this. He’s obviously a serious journalist and he’s making notes along the way. I just have to commend because usually the people we have on our station just kind of crawl into the door drunk or stoned and kind of barely make it into the chair, and then end up just talking shit for an hour or two. But you on the other hand have got notes that have been highlighted, and the notes in the margins and it looks very impressive (crosstalk)

AS: Orange and yellow highlights, and underlined-

KD: (off mic) And pink as well.

DC: Hmm, and pink. That's for the very special notes (laughter) Who says you don’t learn anything at university? Anyway so the purpose of that is you’re gonna break down out of all those two hundred or so bands that are playing; you've got your eye on a finite number that you’re going to tell us about and you’ve even chosen your top five acts that’d you like to see.

KD:  Yeah because as a music fan going there, you’re gonna be interested in seeing a lot of artists; you might not even be able to see all the ones you want to see. And I’ve kinda just narrowed it down for your show to just point out five that really are interesting me.

DC: Okay so it’s a subjective chart, of course, but why don’t you tell us your top five acts that you are dying to see at Coachella.

KD: First of all, The Stone Roses is going to be one of the- probably the highlight of the festival. They’re one of the three headliners; they’re going to be on the Friday night. And they’re just a legendary, influential band in just all forms of rock post-1989. They emerged from Manchester in the late Eighties and they’ve only released two albums, but it's enough to have just sparked off a revolution in music.

DC: Right. That’s interesting because they’re a bit before your time, you’d have to say?

KD: True, they came out- I only actually discovered them about two years ago-

DC: But good music is good music (crosstalk) Okay so The Stone Roses – we’re gonna play them in a moment so don't you worry. And then you’ve also chosen Tame Impala – a more contemporary act-

KD: Yes and also I think really linked to The Stone Roses in terms of their style – it’s a very psychedelic style; emphasis on groove, melody, Sixties-influenced, very similar vocals, and yeah you could maybe say a modern take on what the Stones Roses have done.

DC: Right. I suppose because as you said earlier, The Stone Roses were of course very influential and continue to be so. And tell us about the track you've decided to play from them: ‘Mind Mischief’.

KD: Well, ‘Mind Mischief’ is from their latest album – talking about Tame Impala here - it's their latest album Lonerism; it came out last year. It's my personal favourite of 2012. It’s just such a dramatic move from their first album Innerspeaker, which came out in 2010.  It’s just swirling layers of sound; just pushing the boundaries of what is considered psychedelic. If you listen to it on earphones, it's like you travel to a distant planet.

DC: Awesome. Well that’s what good psych music should be. Alright well this show's gonna be great for the next half an hour or so because I’m just gonna sit back and toss band names at Kurt and he’s gonna tell us all some trivia about them. But of course we’re all about the music so lets listen to some of those first. We’ve got The Stone Roses with ‘Waterfall’, followed by Tame Impala and ‘Mischief’. This is the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster.

(music break)

DC: Alright that was Tame Impala with ‘Mind Mischief’, and before that we had The Stone Roses and ‘Waterfall’. And we’re going through Kurt Duvel’s list of top five bands he not wants to see - is going to see – at Coachella next weekend. Who's number three, Kurt?

KD: The third one is The Gaslight Anthem. They’re a New Jersey punk rock band - kind of like Bruce Springsteen meets punk rock.

DC: Okay that’s an interesting comparison. Why are you so in awe of them?

KD: The thing is, they’ve got like four albums and each one of them I just think is consistently brilliant; like each song- I don’t think they’ve put a foot wrong in their career. And each album’s got consistently better. Their latest one Handwritten last year was probably one of their best. And that's what actually the song I’ve chosen; I think it's really most representative of their sound – it’s called ‘45’.

DC: Okay well that's a pretty bold statement: “they haven’t put a foot wrong in all their albums”. I’m not gonna disagree with you because to be honest, I don’t know them as well as you seem to. But we’ll let the music do the talking, shall we? And then after that I see you’ve chosen Biffy Clyro – and what’s the appeal there?

KD: They’re one of my favourite bands at the moment. They’re a Scottish rock band – when I say ‘rock band’, they've moved through quite a bit of styles in their career. Their early styles were very grungy, almost like metal. Very very bizarre – almost like the ‘left-field lunatics’ of the genre. And lately they’ve got a lot more mainstream, you could say, but still maintaining that hardened edge. They also had a new album come out in January called Opposites, and it’s quite a bold, double album so excited to see the new material live.

DC: Cool, well we’ll definitely play it on the show. As we said earlier we’ll be playing ‘Mountains’-

KD: That’s one of their biggest hits; it’s the song that got me into them, actually.

DC: Okay cool cool. And then, ironically the final artist you’ve chosen to highlight on this show is Alt-J. And most South African fans will have heard today that they’re coming to South Africa for Rocking The Daisies. So you didn’t have to go all the way to Coachella. You should just cancel your ticket and just buy a Daisies ticket; it’ll be much better.

KD: (laughter) I’ll still be going to Daisies, especially after last year bringing my favourite band Bloc Party (crosstalk) So after that I’ve got a lot of trust in what Rocking The Daisies can do.

DC: And now they’re bringing on one of your top five Coachella bands. And what is it about them that you like so much?

KD: Well they’ve only got one album out – they arrived on the scene last year – but they almost defy description. You could say they’re like this indie rock pop, mixed with folk – you kinda gotta hear it to believe it. Also you could say psychedelic. Their song ‘Breezeblocks’ is one of their most popular ones that I think-

AS: ‘Breezy Bollocks’

(laughter)

KD: They’ve got some like weird lyrics as well, if you listen closely, and ‘Breezeblocks’ is kinda, huh, a good example of that-

DC: (crosstalk) I’ll never be able hear that without thinking that, Ace, but it’s a pleasant thought-

KD: I’ll pass it on to the band when I see them.

DC: And then Ace gave you some advice because apparently you don’t know too much about Nick Cave, but he's gonna be performing at Coachella too so-

AS: And Grinderman. I’ll playing Grinderman a little bit later. Just because.

DC: Just because, why not. I’m sure there’s a lot of bands you haven't heard that you’re looking forward to seeing.

KD: That’s the thing: I think as a music fan, you can know so much but yet you can know so little. So thank you for pointing that [Nick Cave] out to me, Ace.

AS: It’s good to recycle old stuff, you know; like when you said you hadn’t- The Stone Roses – that you haven’t heard of before; I mean that's quite an old band. But it's good to recycle that old stuff because there’s a hell of a lot of good stuff still out there-

KD: Well, the thing is with The Stone Roses; they actually weren’t that- they were popular at the time it came out, but then they kind of split up in 1996 and only really reunited 2 years ago. And they influenced a tonne of bands in their wake, such as Oasis – particularly - and as well as Blur. Also the whole Britpop of the Nineties; that whole era. They were the starting point.

AS: So this song you’re hearing in the background is Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, singing ‘Wild Rose’

(short music break)

DA: That was beautiful, Ace.

AS: Thank, Dylan.

(short music break continues)

DC: So that’s Nick Cave, and if you hear that noise- not noise, I mean voice (crosstalk) you run towards the stage, because he’s pretty amazing. Anyway, tell us about- you’ve got a whole list there, and I would feel remiss if we didn’t go through at least page 7, 8, through 15 of your neatly-highlighted notes-

KD: Of the first volume.

DC: Of the first volume, yes. You need a lever-arch file for all of these.

KD: (off mic) No true.

DC: Run us through some of the highlights for you at Coachella.

KD: For South African fans, Rodriguez is going to be performing. He’s quite far down the list on the line-up, so it just shows how in America they still don't value him too highly. And I hope to see him on one of the smaller stages there-

DC: He’s also quite far down in the line-up for….death.

AS: He wasn't known at all previously- I mean in America, so (crosstalk) this is a big step for him, I guess.

DC: I suppose it’s obviously because of the movie, right?

AS: Yeah.

DC: Well at least he gets one last kick at it before he, uh-

AS: Kicks the bucket

(groans)

KD: Also one of the other headliners is Phoenix. They’re a French indie rock/alternative rock band. I was actually quite surprised when it was first announced that they were one of the headliners. But turns out they- actually looking back, they’ve got quite a number of hits and they’ve got a new album coming out in April.

DC: They’re a bit soft though? Ace, I’m sure you’ll agree with me.

AS: Phoenix? I don’t know it.

DC: Well then it’s obviously too soft if you haven’t heard of it. Alright, some more?

KD: Also, Red Hot Chili Peppers is also one of the headliners-

AS: Never heard it (laughter)

KD: Yeah, totally – what a shame. I’m not terribly excited to see them because I saw them in February, like many Cape Town and Joburg fans-

DC: They’re a bit weak, I thought. I know I'm being very critical today, but they were just- they felt tired.

AS: I think they are getting a little long in the tooth and saggy in the-

DC: Well no, that’s maybe wrong to say. Like they had energy, but Anthony Kiedis was a bit removed. Flea’s always got energy though, and he kind of-

AS: But they are mid-forties or what are they now? Almost fifty you know?

DC: You can't expect socks on cocks forever, right? (laughter)

KD: Well if you know the history of them and reading his autobiography ‘Scar Tissue’, you’d know he was a quite serious drug addict. The fact that he was onstage was pretty amazing. In a festival context, it’ll be interesting. Also, Japandroids. Now they’re a Canadian rock duo. The thing is they don't have a bassist – it’s just a guitarist and drummer, and they’re just wild

AS: Japan-droids? I’ve heard of Japan-ther.

DC: Well now you’ve heard of Japan-droids.

KD: They kick up a hell of a noise for just two guys-

AS: That’s good.

KD: Very raw. Honest. Also their album last year, Celebration Rock, was a really good hit.

DC: Cool. Well enough jibber-jabber, let’s listen to some of your choices and as per your recommendation, we’re gonna start with The Gaslight Anthem, followed by Biffy Clyro, and Alt-J. This is the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster.

(music break)

DC: Alright, that was J Roddy Walston And The Business-  I don’t know if they’re going to be at Coachella? (laughter)

KD: I don't think so, but lesson learnt nonetheless.

DC: Thanks. Well you're going to Tennessee, which is where they’re from apparently, on your trip so maybe they’ll be playing at a little bar there and you can check them out. That’ll be better.

KD: Yeah, better environment.

DC: Cool. So before we say goodbye, just wanna hear about a few more of the bands that you are going to spin some trivia about.

KD: First of all, there’s New Order – for the fans of post-punk dance rock; they’re really the pioneers of that.

DC: Very hip right now.

KD: Very hip, yeah. And it’s going to be interesting to see- their original bassist Peter Hook departed the band in 2007 and they’ve replaced him with someone else. Anyway, he was a quite a distinctive part of their sound, so I’ll be interested to see how they’ve responded to that. Also there’s a young British band- indie rock band called Palma Violets; just came out this year. Debut album came out in February and they’ve got a sound very similar to The Libertines and The Strokes, and very young (crosstalk)

DC: Not bad to be playing Coachella in the same year that you release your first album.

KD: They’ve been quite hyped up a bit by the British press. And the British like to hype up their-

AS: And they’ve got quite a couple of big-name bands there: Blur and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Wu-Tang Clan-

KD: Yeah, for all you hip hop fans-

AS: Sigur Ros-

KD: I’ve heard they’re quite an experience. They’re beautiful, ethereal- I don’t even know what: ambient rock?

DC: Just say Scandinavian; kind of explains it all.

KD: Of course.

AS: Sigur Ros, yeah, yeah.

KD: And also, interestingly, Johnny Marr is performing solo. He was the original guitarist of The Smiths and he’s released a solo album recently.

DC: And you recently had an interaction with him-

KD: Yeah, via Facebook. I decided I wanted to get a haircut like him, and took it to the hairdresser, showed a photo, and took a photo afterwards and he responded on his Facebook page saying “Great job”, you know (laughter) So that’s how social networking, you know, connecting fans with talent-

AS: That’s how I connected with Billy Corgan as well.

KD: You actually look a lot like him hey.

DC: (off mic) They do?

AS: No. Moby (laughter)

KD: Mix between the two-

AS: No, he’s too soft around the edges.

DC: Who – Moby?

AS: Both of them.

DC: Aww, don’t say that about Billy; I’m a Billy fan (crosstalk) Are Smashing Pumpkins playing?

KD: No, unfortunately not-

AS: Dinosaur Jnr., I see there. But Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, I love that. Wu-Tang Clan – that’s going to be fucking kick-ass-

KD: The thing is Coachella is known for reuniting quite a lot of acts that’ve been disbanded for a while. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they’ve got a new album coming out as well, It’s coming out also mid-April, so they’ll probably be playing some new stuff-

AS: Bands who have been around the block: Blur.

KD: Yeah. And also, fans of Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor, his band How To Destroy Angels- they’ll also be playing.

AS: That’ll be interesting.

KD: Yeah, I’m quite a casual fan of Nine Inch Nails-

AS: ‘Casual fan’? (laughter) Is that possible?

KD: Well I’ve got ‘Every Day Is Exactly The Same’ on the iPod.

DC: And what about Faith No More?

KD: Uh, I don't think they're gonna be-

DC: So Ace has got no reason to go then.

AS: But Tomahawk is doing some tours at the moment.

DC: Okay. Well I don’t know there’s two hundred bands there; I’m sure they’ll probably be there somewhere- somewhere in between Sigur Ros and-

AS: I'd rather just not watch because I’ll be too jealous- I’ll probably climb on the kayak and roll over, you know?

DC: You’ll throw your panties at Mike Patton.

KD: But one thing that's-

AS: Exactly (crosstalk) Sorry to interrupt, but I watched the video of one of their live shows and somebody actually threw panties on the stage and it was like a g-stringy type of thing, and he put it over his- not just over his head, but over his face. And he was singing this thing, and climbed onto a bouncer’s shoulders, walking into the crowd with this panty on his face with the- his mouth part was over that part- singing into this whole panty, you know? That was pretty- you started the ‘Panty and the Faith No More’ thing; I was just finishing it, okay?

KD: Sounds delicious.

AS: I'm sure it was.

KD: One thing that I haven’t focused on is like any of the DJ’s or the electronica acts-

DC: We don’t worry about those, because it’s the Rock ‘n Rollercoaster.

KD: That’s true (laughter) But for the fans of that sort of music there are many tents there that cover that sort of music.

DC: I’m sure there would be. It wouldn’t be a good festival if there wasn’t an electro tent, now would it?

AS: As long as it’s far away (laughter)

DC: Alright, so you gonna be there next weekend, and how are people gonna be able to hear about your travels?

KD: Firstly, Assembly Radio is going to be having on their website coverage of mine. I’m gonna be producing a five-part report, giving an intro to the festival, one summary for each day, and a summary of the full festival. And also on Facebook and Twitter, I’ll be sending posts and that from the festival-

DC: Via which handle?

KD: I think it will go via the official Assembly Radio one. But my Twitter handle is ‘EaglesNestZA’, and maybe they’ll retweet my stuff or- still gotta iron out the details there.

DC: Cool. Well we’ll certainly be following that on the blog and on Twitter. Thanks for coming in, Kurt.

AS: Exciting stuff, man.

DC: I just surreptitiously chose this song by Green Day called ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’. So good riddance, and I hope you have the time of your life- I’m sure it’s gonna be amazing, and hopefully when you come back, we can chat about some of the highlights that you actually experienced. Take good notes; bring your highlighters.

KD: (laughter) Thank you Dylan.

DC: Alright. Now Beach Party have just arrived in the studio, and because of that, I’m dedicating this song to them.

(end of interview)