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Saturday, November 26th, 2022  

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.

Julien Baker

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

Mar 16, 2022

Julien Baker is our final guest on Season 2 of the Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast. She discusses the songwriting behind her third album Little Oblivions (released last year on Matador), just how close she came to giving up a career in music after losing her sobriety in 2018, and her misgivings about how she’s handled her quick and unexpected fame after the success of her debut, Sprained Ankle.

“I regret sometimes…having had so much to say really early in my career about God and religion, specifically the Christian religion because I think I was being a little bit flippant. And not taking into consideration the history of queerness that I hadn’t been exposed to,” says the 26-year-old, of her zealousness when it came to her faith over her gender identity.

Having spent so much of her career fiercely delving into heavy themes of addiction and mental health in her songs, it was a breath of fresh air to also hear her reminisce about more innocent times, growing up in Bartlett, a suburb of Memphis, in Tennessee. When she first catches herself indulging in the nostalgia of a particular memory—that feels like “a Bruce Springsteen song”—she laughs, “that sounds so romantic and lame!”

Later in the conversation she is thankful for the opportunity to reflect on the real joys of youth that she was also able to experience. “This work talks a lot about addiction and in a really scathing way, and I’ve historically talked about that so much in my songs,” she says. “I feel like I just regarded the very lost child that was me with so much disdain that I don’t even think at that time I was mature enough to understand how destructive that was.”

This summer Baker will embark on a joint tour, called The Wild Hearts tour, alongside fellow acclaimed singer/songwriters Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten. Check out the dates here.

Read our 2017 cover story interview with Baker, along with a bonus Q&A.

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.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 4 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 5 featured London Grammar. Season 2, episode 6 featured Lucy Dacus. Season 2, episode 7 featured Adrian Younge. Season 2, episode 8 featured Sleaford Mods. Season 2, episode 9 featured SPELLLING. Season 2, episode 10 featured Courtney Barnett. Season 2, episode 11 featured Royal Blood. Season 2, episode 12 featured Xiu Xiu.

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).

Look out for Season 3 later this year.

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Check the Score breaks into 2022 with Charles visiting the magnificent young composer Eli Keszler at his studio on New York’s lower east side. They plunge into the fifth dimension on Fifth Avenue, talking about Keszler’s first score for The Scary of Sixty-First and breaking into the world of scoring with his work on Uncut Gems.

Courtney Barnett

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

Nov 19, 2021

Australian indie rocker Courtney Barnett is our guest on the latest episode of Under the Radar Podcast. The 34-year-old released her third studio album, Things Take Time, Take Time, on Milk! Records/Marathon Artists/Mom & Pop last week. Barnett discusses how she wrote and recorded these new songs with fellow Australian Stella Mozgawa, the drummer of Los Angeles-based band Warpaint.

The pair had met in 2017 when Barnett collaborated with Kurt Vile on the album Whole Lotta Sea Lice. At an intimate event at Gold Diggers in Los Angeles this week, Barnett revealed she had enjoyed working with Mozgawa then and hoped that they might have another opportunity to work together again. “Fast forward 23 years,” Mozgawa deadpanned, as the small audience broke out in laughter.

That opportunity came when they both found themselves back home in Australia after COVID-19 hit. They had worked together again on Sharon Van Etten’s Epic Ten, an anniversary album where Barnett contributes a cover. Whilst on lockdown they started exchanging playlists, Mozgawa shared drum machine tutorials with Barnett, who finally shared her musical ideas. Eventually, she asked Mozgawa to produce her new album.

After going through much personal upheaval during the tour cycle of 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel—and scrapping songs that she had originally written for a new album—Barnett reveals in the podcast how she embraced the idea of doing things differently on Things Take Time, Take Time. “It was a fun process,” she says. “That’s like probably one of the biggest lessons for me on the album was just being open to making mistakes. Or taking a path that doesn’t feel like you know the answer or you know where it’s going to end up.”

Barnett, who is famously shy and well adept at side-stepping personal questions, does gives us a glimpse into the connection between her shyness and her songwriting. She also reminisces about her childhood growing up in the Northern Beaches—a collection of suburbs about an hour outside of Sydney that’s famed for its surf, sandy beaches, and national parks.

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. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Xiu Xiu, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 4 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 5 featured London Grammar. Season 2, episode 6 featured Lucy Dacus. Season 2, episode 7 featured Adrian Younge. Season 2, episode 8 featured Sleaford Mods. Season 2, episode 9 featured SPELLLING.

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.