Nico Muhly

Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Nico Muhly for State (in advance of his performance at the Absolut Fringe festival – see below), and I have to say it was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done in a long time. I’ve been doing so many email interviews lately, which require little to no interaction between interviewee and interviewer, that it was a breath of fresh air to just get on the phone and have a nice chat with someone about themselves and their music. (I could probably write another blog about the pros and cons of email … Continue reading Nico Muhly

Archive: Fujiya and Miyagi interview

This originally appeared in the Event Guide

Bright Lights of Brighton

By Aoife Barry

They may sound like a pair of Japanese martial arts experts, but Fujiya & Miyagi are in fact a quartet from Brighton who specialise in synth-rock electronica with a kraut-rock edge. A three-piece up until early this year, they’ve now got a live drummer and are after releasing their third album, ‘Lightbulbs’, this month. Aoife Barry spoke to lead singer and guitarist David Best before their show at the 2008 Dublin Fringe Festival.

Every band has their Spinal Tap story, the one they pull out at parties to entertain people; and perhaps David Best’s anecdote will be about that time he played a gig in Rome – and wound up suffering from gout. “I’m alright,” he half-whispers, when asked how’s doing. “I don’t know [how I got it], ‘cos I don’t even drink that much,” he sighs. “We had a show in Rome so I got ferried through the airport on a wheelchair…I think I might have to drink less cans of pop and change what I eat. I’m taking it easy so I can stand up when I get to Ireland.”

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Archive: Silver Jews interview

From the Event Guide, May 2008

Suffering Jukebox

By Aoife Barry

American alternative rock outfit Silver Jews, fronted by the enigmatic David Berman, began as a musical project back in 1989, when David hooked up with friends Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement) and Bob Nastanovich. The band were famed for the fact that they never played a live show, something which earned Berman a reputation as a reclusive rock star. But that all changed in 2006, when Berman brought the band on their first ever tour, which took in the US, Europe and Israel, the latter having huge importance to Berman who, after a struggle with addiction and a suicide attempt, found salvation in his Jewish religion.

However, although the Nashville-based band are now set to embark on their second ever tour, in support of new (sixth)  album ‘Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea’, it seems that Berman still has his concerns about life on the road, and performing live. “I really didn’t know whether I was gonna like touring, you know, on the first time in 2006, and I guess I did like it, because I look forward to it [this time],” he says, sounding surprised at himself.  “I know what to expect and I was concentrating so much on just getting through it last time that I didn’t have a chance to move around or talk to anybody; I really had to sort of hermetically seal myself off.”

So with such a fear about touring, did making that leap back in 2006 help him prove anything to himself? “I proved something to myself,” he agrees, “but I also feel like maybe the people who came to the shows proved something to me that I needed to see. I could never have imagined…there was no way to imagine how many people were interested in the band. I was just really gratified you know, and people came from such far distances to the shows.”

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Archive: Nina Nastasia interview

From the Event Guide, July 2008

The Beautiful One

By Aoife Barry

New York-based Nina Nastasia is a woman blessed with a voice that has the power to stop the listener is his or her tracks. It’s beautiful, strong yet fragile, and utterly compelling. Her debut album, ‘Dogs’, gained cult status after John Peel played tracks from it on his radio show after being given a copy by Steve Albini (who has recorded all of Nina’s albums) – it went from being an out-of-print album to being released in 2002 by Socialist Records and hailed as one of this decade’s most acclaimed debuts. Since then, Nina has gone on to release four other albums, the last of which, ‘You Follow Me’ was in collaboration with Dirty Three drummer Jim White and somewhat divided listeners. She recently released the single ‘What She Doesn’t Know’ on the Fat Cat label in February and is hoping to release a new solo album this year.


Those of us who aren’t musicians must wonder what it’s like to return home after being on tour – surely it’s nice to sleep in your own bed, relax at home and get away from the rigours of life on the road? Not so in the case of Nina Nastasia, it seems. “I’m good – I have been home for a little bit, for a couple of months so it has been kind of nice,” she says when asked what she’s up to at the moment. But that’s swiftly followed by: “I usually don’t like to be home but I like it this time. I prefer touring around.” This admission is one that is quite startling. A softly-spoken, funny and seemingly shy person, one would imagine she would relish the time spent off stage.

So is it the case that, as Alan Sparhawk of Low said in a recent interview, getting home after touring can be an anti-climax because there no longer is that ‘goal’ of doing a show each day? “That is true for me as well,” agrees Nina. “I get home and a lot of the time I get a little bit down for a little while because I don’t really know what to do with myself and I am not very disciplined either, so it takes a lot for me to get stuff done. It’s a bit of an adjustment.”

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