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Spacey Jane

Spacey Jane – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Mar 30, 2023

Caleb Harper, frontman of the Australian band Spacey Jane, is our final artist interview for Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast. The fast rising band—which includes Kieran Lama, Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu, and Peppa Lane—had six songs off their recent sophomore album, Here Comes Everybody, break into the Triple J Hottest 100 listener’s poll for 2022. Three of those songs were also in the Top 10—an impressive feat only three other bands have achieved since the Australian radio station launched the popular, annual poll three decades ago.

Their 2020 debut, Sunlight, broke the Top 10 albums on the ARIA charts, while Here Comes Everyone went to Number One. A single from their first record, “Booster Seat,” is a sunny jangle about a dark period that won Song of the Year at the 2021 ARIA awards, proving how resonant their music was, particularly for young people who felt the twin stresses of COVID and climate change at what was meant to be the best time of their life.

The global pandemic might have prevented Spacey Jane from touring their first album but the album’s reach helped grow their popularity internationally and meant that the release of their follow up was met with sold out shows across America, last October.

On the podcast, Harper talks about being labeled the poster child for the COVID generation—kids that came off age during the pandemic—because he sings transparent songs about his own anxiety (“Booster Seat”), mental health (“It’s Been a Long Day”), the culture of binge drinking among young men (“Lunchtime”), and his sometimes difficult childhood (“Good Grief”) growing up part of a strict, religious community in rural Australia.

“It’s fine if people say this or that about it,” Harper says, referring to the label, “I might not always agree…but I’ll just keep making the music that I want to make…for the fans.” The band are currently on a Los Angeles sojourn to write new music, and have already been booked for Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta, with more festival dates expected to follow.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams. Season 3, episode four featured Bloc Party. Season 3, episode five featured Phoenix. Season 3, episode six featured Tim Burgess. By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Feb 09, 2023

Author, solo artist, and Charlatans frontman, Tim Burgess is our latest guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast, talking about his sixth solo album Typical Music. Clocking in at more than 120 mins, this 22-track double album is anything but typical. “It was always going to be considered tongue in cheek,” explains Burgess of the album title, “but during COVID…I kept thinking, typically, music can save the day.”

The Charlatans have lost two founding members (keyboardist Rob Collins in a tragic accident in 1997, at the height of the band’s popularity and drummer, Jon Brookes in 2013, from a brain tumor), the first one delivering a seismic shift to the band, and Burgess also recently lost his father, who died during the pandemic. Tim’s Twitter Listening Party grew out of his need to want to connect with people at a time when all live gigs were being cancelled. It quickly became for Burgess, his coterie of musician friends, and music fans everywhere a much needed distraction, then source of joy. The positivity of the listening parties inspired the optimistic tone of Typical Music.

On a more somber moment on the podcast, Burgess reveals the toll that Collins’ fatal accident took on him, “I just drank a lot…after Rob’s death.” Now sober for 15 years, Burgess’ joie de vivre is most apparent when he discusses his love for old records and growing up in Northwich with a mother as the unlikely conduit between him and one of his favorite bands, New Order. He admits that his teenage obsession for listening to full albums from cover to cover with his friends was rekindled during the pandemic when Tim’s Twitter Listening Party became a beacon for people looking to connect with others while in isolation.

Now that Twitter has somewhat imploded with Elon Musk, Burgess was unsure of the Listening Party’s future, “I have no idea. I mean, I’ve disengaged a little bit from Twitter…who knows what’s going to happen? But I mean, the Listening Party kind of is continuously evolving anyway.” They’ve done live shows and Burgess reveals that there are plans for the Listening Party to continue as a radio show.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams. Season 3, episode four featured Bloc Party. Season 3, episode five featured Phoenix. By Celine Teo-Blockey

Check out our interview with Burgess about his Twitter listening parties, along with our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with him from 2020.

Read our First Issue Revisited interview with Burgess about The Charlatans’ Wonderland.

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Phoenix

Phoenix – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Dec 05, 2022

Frontman Thomas Mars of French band Phoenix is our latest guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast. The band—which also includes Deck d’Arcy, and brothers Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz—released their seventh album Alpha Zulu, on Glassnote Records last month and have been relishing being on tour together and playing live, post-lockdown. Recorded in a room at the Louvre Museum in Paris over the course of the pandemic and several strict lockdowns in France, Mars explains the significance of Alpha Zulu’s title and how the songwriting relates to themes of death, aging and trying to “manifest the light at the end of the tunnel.”

On a Q &A session on the band’s Facebook, Mars revealed that the vocal take for the synth-heavy single “Winter Solstice” was recorded “in the fetal position, under a table”—a hint at the mood of the track, which was recorded in the depths of the pandemic and California fires. Though Mars now resides in New York with his wife, filmmaker, Sofia Coppola and their family, the foursome always write together in the same room. This was their first where Mars was unable to leave Northern California and join the others in Paris. “The light in this song,” Mars explains on the podcast, “is loyalty.”

Yet Alpha Zulu is not all doom and gloom. Like their previous album—2017’s Ti Amo, which was written in the aftermath of France’s brutal year of terrorist attacks—Alpha Zulu is life-affirming and filled with moments of pure joy and euphoria, songs designed for the dancefloor. In the end Mars says, “That is the function of art.”

Poignantly, Mars also reveals the lasting impact that the death of his grandfather had on him as an 11-year-old, and he talks candidly about growing up in the “judgy” suburbs of Versailles—how that bonded the four bandmates to make music and their families to become close friends.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams. Season 3, episode four featured Bloc Party. By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Bloc Party

Bloc Party – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Nov 07, 2022

Frontman of everyone’s favorite British post-punk rock revival band, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party is our latest guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast.

Consider the hell-scape which has been the news cycle for the last five years and its cast of villains—Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, Boris Johnson—everywhere you looked it seemed people were trying to outdo or take each other down. Where money talks and people with means get away with murder. It was in this climate of chaos that Okereke wrote Bloc Party’s sixth album, Alpha Games.

On the podcast, Okereke discusses this coarsening of public discourse that he’s witnessed from the political class, which has trickled down and infected everybody. As a result, he refused to dress up the songs and the stories they tell—of predatory sexual behavior in “Traps,” of people who should received their comeuppance in “Callum is a Snake,” and of the nouveau riche and their hangers-on in “Rough Justice.”

Okereke also shares stories of his childhood growing up in an East London estate where a lot of time was whiled away with his sister in the local playground or with his mother at church. And he reveals that the first time he realized that music could really take him somewhere else was when he heard Suede’s second album, Dog Man Star.

Alpha Games is out now via Infectious/BMG.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams. By Celine Teo-Blockey.

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Marlon Williams

Marlon Williams – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Sep 30, 2022

New Zealand singer/songwriter and actor, Marlon Williams is our latest guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast. Williams released his third album My Boy on the Dead Oceans label, earlier this month. Written in the safety of his hometown during lockdown, Williams reveals on the podcast that he felt “he was onto a good thing” and as such, it was one of several reasons he turned down the opportunity to audition for one of this year’s biggest musical biopics despite having the vocal chops for it.

Williams appeared as a young country singer, in the mold of Roy Orbison, in Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born—a role that Cooper had in mind specifically for Williams after having heard one of his songs over the radio. Other acting roles on movies such as True History of The Kelly Gang and Lone Wolf, plus on the Netflix drama, Sweet Tooth, have since followed. He now shares the same acting coach as Nicole Kidman and remarks that recently it’s “feeling like it’s standing on its own two feet—the acting.”

On My Boy, Williams employs skills he’s gleaned from acting to help build worlds and characters that have roots in his boyhood, as a Maori, growing up in Lyttelton. My Boy is a departure from his 2015, self-titled, country-indebted debut. Its palette of choice is the synth-pop fodder from the early 1980s. Elsewhere, Williams admits that Duran Duran was the first album he ever owned but he never quite appreciated its New Romantic allure. Perhaps being back home and closer to his parents again, reignited childhood memories and prompted his ruminations on masculinity, traditional hierarchies, and climate change. Heady as these themes may be, Williams talks us through some of these inspirations and we can see clearly how he employs the over-the-top ’80s sheen as a Trojan Horse to conduct more sobering interrogations.

In May Williams shared the album’s title track (also its opening track), “My Boy,” via an amusing video. “My Boy” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in June he shared the album’s second single, “Thinking of Nina,” a song inspired by the Cold War spy drama The Americans. It was shared via a film noir-esque video and was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then Williams shared the album’s third single, “River Rival,” also one of our Songs of the Week, as well as its fourth single, “Easy Does It,” again placing on Songs of the Week. My Boy’s fifth single, “Don’t Go Back,” shared via an amusing self-directed video, was again one of our Songs of the Week.

Read our review of My Boy.

Williams’ last full-length was his sophomore album, Make Way For Love, released back in February 2018 via Dead Oceans. In 2019 he released his first official live album, Live at Auckland Town Hall.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Seratones

Seratones – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Aug 31, 2022

Seratones frontwoman A.J. Haynes is our next guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast.

Haynes’ Shreveport, Louisiana-based band (which also features bassist Travis Stewart and drummer Jesse Gabriel) released their disco-inspired third album, Love & Algorhythms, earlier this year via New West. At the time of writing the album, Haynes was also working full-time as an abortion advocate in the last standing abortion clinic in Louisiana, an experience that brought her close to burnout and informed much of the record’s theme of liberation, Afro-futurism and radical joy as a form of protest.

“Good Day,” the album’s uplifting lead single, blends gospel with bright polyrhythms. It was written in part as homage to author, documentary filmmaker and civil rights activist, Toni Cade Bambara—whose 1980 novel The Salt Eaters chronicles the emotional and psychological toll of women at the forefront of social justice movements. For the propulsive disco of “Pleasure” she turned to Octavia Butler’s science fiction series Xenogenesis (Lilith’s Brood)—an epic tale of transformation involving alien beings (the colonizing Oankali and the sexless ooloi) and the last surviving humans. It underpins issues of race, colonization, and gender.

The rich sonics of Love & Algorhythms proved that producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart, Caroline Rose) was the ideal complement for Haynes, encouraging all her interests, especially in astrology and divination. Yet, at its core, Haynes admits that she wants “to 100 percent center Blackness,” as she believes that when Black people thrive, all of society does too.

In the episode, Haynes also reminisces about her childhood growing up in the Deep South, among the pine and pear trees of her grandmother and great-grandmother’s homes. And how that matrilineage owned property and their families ate off the land, thus giving Haynes a glimpse into what she’s fighting for, for herself and for her community.

Haynes is the President of the Board at the New Orleans Abortion Fund, fighting for reproductive rights and raising funds for abortion access. Seratones are currently on their national tour. The band’s previous album, Power, came out in 2019.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint.

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Warpaint

Warpaint – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Jul 08, 2022

Our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast returns for Season 3 with Warpaint drummer, Stella Mozgawa discussing Radiate Like This—their first album in six years—and the challenges of completing an album from the other side of the world, during a pandemic. Mozgawa returned to Australia at the start of lockdown and did not have any of her usual studio gear and instruments with her. Listen to the episode below.

Warpaint was formed almost 20 years ago when drummer Shannyn Sossamon urged friends, Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal to join her and sister, Jenny Lee Lindberg to start a band. Mozgawa became part of the foursome in 2009 when Sossamon left to concentrate on her acting career. Warpaint’s 2010 debut, The Fool, was a critical success but it was with their 2014-released self-titled follow up that Mozgawa really stepped up to her role as an equal songwriter in the band.

Mozgawa reveals how after two years at the University of Sydney, she decided to take a year off to concentrate on playing music the way her parents, both professional musicians, had done. “I guess the ultimate goal was to get a degree in psychology,” she says of her studies, “and to be a therapist, or a counselor, or something in that world of therapy.” Instead she moved to New York and never went back to school. But she’s always leaned into her psych background and in this episode we hear how much it has helped her to navigate her way in Warpaint, and any other musical project or otherwise that she’s been involved with—from producing for Courtney Barnett to playing with Kurt Vile.

As a drummer in Warpaint, a band with three strong lyricists, she knows her strengths are in the sonic production aspects of songwriting. But after 12 years of “being in each other’s pockets” through three albums (The Fool, Warpaint, and Heads Up) she shares some of the struggles she experienced with completing songs like “Send Nudes” and “Champion”—the standout opening and closing tracks of Radiate Like This.

Mozgawa also discusses growing up in Sydney as an only child of Polish immigrants, and how having two parents in a band meant she was never lonely as she often spent time with extended family and friends. While early in her career she was committed to technique and indebted to bands like Tool and CAN, she reveals that it was “MMMBop” band Hanson that first got her smitten with playing the drums.

Warpaint will be touring the U.S. later this month.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Blanck Mass is one of the great makers of electronic music. His scope has widened with his entrance into film scoring and his penetrating new score for TED K proves that his Ivor Novello award winning debut effort for 2020’s Calm With Horses was no fluke. On this episode of Check the Score, Blanck Mass talks about his new direction in composition and the isolated journey of crafting music for a Ted Kaczynski biopic.