Archive for the ‘Cover feature’ Category


On ASIWYFA and the advantages of meeting your interviewees…

September 12, 2010

All photographs: ASIWYFA, photographed in Portrush for AU by Carrie Davenport

I had a few post-work pints with AU writers Francis Jones and John Freeman yesterday. Fra was the editor of the mag before me, and we’ve both been involved with it for about five years. His day job has changed but he still contributes regularly and is a good friend. John is from Manchester and found out about us through a mate of his who is obsessed with Duke Special – when we had Duke on the cover a couple of years ago, this guy got hold of a copy and showed it to John, who got in touch, pitched some work and soon became one of our main feature writers. However, he had never in his 40 years been to Northern Ireland so after interviewing Jeff Tweedy for our Wilco cover feature he took the opportunity to fly over for the band’s debut NI gig, at the Open House Festival. After innumberable phone calls and emails it was good to finally meet him.

Anyway, we were chatting about the mag and music writing in general, and got on to talk about the interviews we do. Being based in Belfast, most of our interviews are done on the phone – we are normally either previewing a gig to be played here, or the artist is promoting a new album. Either way, the interviewee is unlikely to be in Belfast. On certain occasions it does work out (sometimes we interview bands when they are here to play a gig, especially if they are about to release an album soon after) and of course we often interview bands from Northern Ireland.

Any music writer will tell you that a face-to-face interview is always preferable – there is only so much you can do with an interview based solely on words down a phone line. When you meet up with an interviewee, however, there is so much more to play with. Context, geography, even something as simple as facial expressions and body language make a huge difference.

With that in mind, and because I haven’t posted it up here yet, here’s an interview I did with And So I Watch You From Afar in March last year, just before their debut album came out. The photographer Carrie and I went to their own patch – Portrush – for the day and chatted to them in Barry’s Amusements, the Harbour Bar and on the beach. It was a fun day. Read the rest of this entry ?


AU62: Snow Patrol cover feature

April 4, 2010

Bit of a delay on this one…

The feature ran as the cover for the last AU of 2009. It was a great chance to speak to Gary Lightbody, especially as the quality of his music seems to be in inverse correlation with the success of his band. Not that I quite told him that. But the most striking thing I took away from the conversation was his resolute belief that the band is on a steadily upward curve. As I hopefully make clear in the piece, I don’t believe that for a second… Read the rest of this entry ?


New issue of AU out now!

December 15, 2009

So yes, the new issue of the mag is in the shops, featuring, as you can see, a rather beatific-looking Gary Lightbody. I interviewed the man on the phone and was able to quiz him on the band’s history as well as where they are at now, and the future. Aside from that, we have our Irish Albums of the Decade list – 50 of the island’s finest over the last 10 years. In all, 339 different albums were voted for*. ASIWYFA’s victory was by a huge margin – almost half of voters had their album somewhere in their top 20. It was a landslide. See the bottom of the post for the full list, as well as my own. Read the rest of this entry ?


AU58: Simian Mobile Disco cover feature

July 1, 2009

This was my third cover feature for AU, and my first trip across the water for an interview. Nice guys, the two Jameses.

SMD cover

In the middle of the decade, Simian Mobile Disco were among the pied pipers of electro, leading the sweaty, synthy charge for others to follow in their wake. But now, two years after their debut album, the English duo are back with some big name guest stars in tow – older, wiser and ready to test the water again. Read the rest of this entry ?

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