Thursday, March 19, 2015
An Interview With The Half Earth

An Interview With The Half Earth

I was lucky enough to get a cheeky pair of tickets to see Lucy Rose last week at the Arts Club in Liverpool and in return I was asked to interview the support act, The Half Earth, for my university's Radio Music Society! Lucy Rose was just amazing and so lovely in person too- she also found it rather hilar when she asked who to sign my autograph to ('To Lucie Rose, Love Lucy Rose' hohoho)... Anyway, onto the subject of this post...the main man behind The Half Earth is Conor- vocalist, guitarist and other words, a real talented little so and so. I asked Conor a few questions (or several cause I'm nosey) about how it all began, his sound, and why a certain Kate Bush song inspired the name...

So, for those who haven't heard of The Half Earth before, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I started The Half Earth about two years ago. It was sort of my 'solo project' as I tried to be in bands for ages and I just got really impatient and I could never write anything with other people. So yeah, after my degree- I did Chemistry at Sheffield University- I decided I didn't want to do anything to do with that as a career! So, I thought yeah I'll do some music. Then my tour manager, and one of my best friends, Sam, said yeah come and do a show for me so he booked some gigs in Sheffield. I was incredibly nervous and did what I thought was a really bad show.

Was it a big crowd then? 

No haha it was a tiny crowd! But a high-quality crowd at the same time. There was a promoter there who puts a load of shows on in Sheffield and he saw me and he liked it.

Right place, right time then! 

Yeah, exactly! So then I got booked for another show at a much bigger venue, which I really wasn't I thought, well I better start practicing if I want to be better than last time! So I started taking it a little more seriously and working hard on my music and now two years on, I've released my first EP- Light Breaks In.

Buy EP 'Light Breaks In' on Amazon here or listen on Spotify here.

Do you feel like you've improved a lot since you started out?

Yes for sure, I was pretty bad when I started out! And now I also have another musician that plays with me, Ben (keyboard, synths & beats) - he's incredible and he's added so much to the live set because I was on my own for over a year and that was difficult... now there's way more structure.

Would you say it's more challenging being a solo artist? 

Not really, I like it. I like having full control over everything and being my own boss. I like working on my own. Sometimes I get so immersed in it that I forget to eat- like when I've written a song, I'm like 'I need to record it right now'! I start getting really excited about drum beats and synth lines and everything!

That's great you're so passionate about your music then... 

Yeah definitely! Well, for me, I think if you aren't passionate about your own music- no one else is going to be.

I completely agree with that! So, how would you describe your sound? 

I think it could be compared to lots of other music but I think it also stands on its own, I hope so anyway. I'm a guitarist. I play electric guitar but I don't generally like guitar bands so I try to move away from's more electronic, it's more about the production, it's big. I try and make everything epic...I don't like that word- actually, cinematic is a better word! Cinematic. Cinematic and always beautiful is what I aim for. If I write something and it's not beautiful then I throw it away.

Are you a bit of a perfectionist then? 

A bit yeah! It's one of the good things about working on your own though...if you don't like something you can just get rid of it without hurting anyone's feelings or causing conflict-you can be more ruthless.

Is there a meaning behind the name The Half Earth? 

Yes, there is, quite a big meaning actually! I came up with it when I was about 16- I didn't start writing music till two years ago but I thought if I ever get in a band, this is what I'll call it. So yeah, I'm a massive fan of Kate Bush and I listened to her a lot when I was a teenager 'cause my mum was also a massive fan of hers. When I used to live in Blackpool, we had a house near the seaside and the moon would pass my bedroom window so I'd sit at night and I'd listen to Kate Bush in my bed, as a teenager, looking at the moon...and there's a particular song I love by her called Hello Earth. The chorus goes 'Hello, Earth. Hello, Earth. With just one hand held up high, I can blot you out, out of sight.' 

So, I used to imagine myself sitting on the moon, looking back at the earth and holding up my hand and seeing half the earth peeking out the side of my hand...and I thought that was quite a good image. One of the hardest things is choosing a name but I thought at least if it has a meaning for me then I can never really get annoyed with it. 
Great story and so interesting- I really like the name! So as for lyrics- what influences them?

Erm, I have pretty much only up until recently, exclusively written about *long pause* I put it to my housemate the other day, people that I fancied. That was such a childish way of saying it! But, yeah they're love songs, they're kind of sad...but I'm not a sad person generally! I try to make the lyrics quite abstract. I always improvise my lyrics first time round so when I've recorded a song, I'll let it play and I'll improvise whatever comes out then I'll sort of find meaning in it afterward then I might change bits and structure it a little more but I like the lyrics to be quite freefall and I don't think about it too much.

So do the words or the music come first?

The music always comes first. I very rarely write down any of the words first, it all just sort of exists in my head for a while and I think that's the best way to be really because as soon as I start writing something down, I think about it too much- I like it to come naturally.

So how did you go from studying chemistry at university to a career in music? 

Well, I really enjoyed chemistry at college so decided to study it a degree level...then I enjoyed it less and less as time went on, which happens! I still live in the same city I went to uni in (Sheffield)...I love it more than anywhere on earth so that's a positive to take from it and I met some of my best friends from my course and university there. I only realised I could sing well about two years ago...I listen to Wild Beasts, a great band, and the singer in that band sings in a really operatic way, so I thought maybe if I tried I could sing like that too and I sort of developed that style.

What was the first record you ever bought?

I believe it was the first Gorillaz album, I was obsessed with that album when I was a kid...I still am!

And what's the most memorable gig you've played so far?

I supported Rae Morris at The Deaf Institute in Manchester, which is one of my favourite music venues. The sound was perfect, the crowd was yeah, definitely one of my most memorable.

Describe the Half Earth in 3 words.

Ethereal but immediate and...

is but part of it? 

Oh sorry ok, literally just 3 words haha- ok, we'll do that...ethereal but immediate! I like that.

All photos sourced from 'The Half Earth' Facebook page.

If you could meet with 3 musicians who would they be?

Thom Yorke, Bjork, and Kate Bush. We'd chill in a park on a lovely summer day drinking lemonade and we'd talk about music.

What's the best thing about being a musician? 

Getting to think about music, play music, and dedicate my time to music, without feeling guilty as if I should be doing something else. I get to spend my days trying out different sounds and experimenting so that's definitely one of the best things.

What's next for the Half Earth? Playing at any festivals this year?

I don't want to rush anything so I'll probably release a few more EP'S before I release an album- it's a good way to test the water. I'm still experimenting with sounds and songwriting and everything- cause it's still quite a recent thing for me. I'm looking forward to writing more music, playing more shows and just seeing where things take me and what happens...and yes, I can confirm I'll be playing the Live at Leeds festival this year. I'm really looking forward to it!

...anddddd that's a wrap for today's interview! I certainly enjoyed doing it, going backstage, meeting the lovely and very chatty, talented Conor of The Half Earth, and hearing all about his exciting music career so far. If you want to keep updated with what he's up to and where he's touring, just visit his Facebook page here. Till next time!
Thursday, March 12, 2015
An Interview With The Orielles

An Interview With The Orielles

One of the great things about going to university are the really cool and really talented people you meet there. One of my flat mates being a member of an even cooler band...

Meet The Orielles.

With Esme-Dee Hand Halford on vocals and bass, Sidonie Hand- Halford on the drums (yep, they're talented musicians and sisters too) and Henry Carlyle Wade on guitar and vocals...this trio, ladies & gents are Yorkshire's finest. The Orielles are a 60's pop-inspired band mixed with garage and surf with a Beach Boys vibe. With already an EP (Hindering Waves) under their belt and past surfy singles Yawn and Space Doubt making huge waves (surf...waves, geddit?) on the music scene, The Orielles are a high one to watch in the future...and they're only in their teens. I've never interviewed a band before on the blog so I thought who better to ask first than The Orielles themselves, so here we have it...enjoy!

From left to right: Henry, Esme & Sidonie.
Photo by Rachael Yielder.

First of all, tell me a little bit about how The Orielles formed?

We met at a house party a few years ago and started jamming on a few instruments together and we realised we all had a sick taste in music. Then we (Sidonie & Esme) started playing in our basement, and it just grew from there.

How would you describe your sound to someone that hasn't heard you before?

Aitch-Faxers mixing Shargi-La weep into your pillow melody with surf scratch and skew, just trynna get weird.

Have any other artists inspired your sound?

There are so many haha! The Beach Boys, Velvet Underground, Pixies, The Ramones, Steely Dan, and more recently- Homeshake, Colleen Green, Guantanamo Baywatch and Thee Oh Sees.

A bit of a cliché question but, is there any particular story or meaning behind the name The Orielles?

We chose it because it kinda reminded us of a 60's surf/soul band name.

Lyrics. What influences your song lyrics, where do you get your inspiration and who writes the songs?

Films, books, life and memories inspire our lyrics. More specifically, we're inspired by the dialogue in films. We've written songs about Quentin Tarantino's 'Death Proof' and more recently on David Lynch's tv series, 'Twin Peaks'. It's mainly Sidonie & Esme who write the lyrics.

What was the first instrument you all ever played?

E: The bottom string of a guitar, clearly I was always headed in the bass direction.
S: I played the recorder when I was about 7.
H: I've played the guitar since I was 6.

What was the first record each of you ever bought?

H: The Cure- Standing on a Beach
S: Pixies- Doolittle
E: Total Slacker- Thrashin'

What's the most memorable gig you've played so far and why?

We played at a house party in Leeds a couple of weeks ago with Chicago band Twin Peaks and Leeds' Bruising, which was pretty rad.

Had you had any real wow moments while being in The Orielles?

Meeting and hanging out with DJ Steve Aoki after one of our gigs a few weeks ago haha! Also, whenever we play a show and have people compliment us loads, we still find that really surreal.

Photo by Penny Blakemore.

If you could meet with 3 musicians- who would they be and what would you do?

S: Brian Wilson, Fletcher Shears and Otis Redding, and we would make really weird music together.
H: Archie Marshall, Jason from Guantanamo Baywatch and Ty Segal-we'd just chill.
E: Debbie Harry, Jenifer Clavin and Bootsy Collins. We would make a supergroup covering Spice Girls songs.

What's next for The Orielles? Is there an album in the pipeline?

We might do an EP, and there may be an album coming soon but for now, we're just gigging a lot and writing tunes.

What's the best thing about being in a band?

Meeting loads of cool people, the free food and of course- playing live.

Photo by Rachel Yielder.

Describe The Orielles in 3 words.

Surf, scratch and skew.

Finally, a few random questions...

What's your favourite place to eat? A place called Belgrave in Leeds, they do the best pizza slices!
Favourite beer? Red Stripe (B&M Bargains Price).
Name one musician you would happily marry? S: Mac Demarco H: Clementine Creevy E: Andy White.
Favourite song from childhood? E: Niney & The Observer- Blood and fire H: The Ramones- Sheena is a punk rocker S: Mamas and Papas- California Dreamin'.

...aaaaand that's a wrap, my first interview with a band, and hopefully many more to come! for the other important bit!


- Like them on Facebook for updates, tour dates, cool pics, cool music and other cool stuff,
- Subscribe on Youtube,
- Listen on Soundcloud here for all their tunes,
- and on Spotify here for, well...all the same, awesome tunes.

The Orielles will be touring around the UK this year so click here for a list of venues for a show near you- you wouldn't wanna miss it!

I'll end the post with one of my favourites, their most recent track, Space Doubt! Till next time...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015
An Interview With The Vintage Corner

An Interview With The Vintage Corner

I discovered The Vintage Corner back in November at Liverpool's Affordable Vintage Fair and fell in love with their stall of vintage clothes instantly- it was especially the sparkly tops that caught my attention! As I'm keen to get more interviews on the blog, I decided to hop on the train to Waterloo to meet Alison & Cheryl, the lovely ladies behind 'The Vintage Corner', and find out about their vintage business, how it all began and, vintage lovers, fashion lovers or anyone that just likes a good 'ole interview, read on and be inspired by these vintage-loving and vintage savvy ladies!

The fashionable ladies themselves, Alison (left) and Cheryl (right)

So, tell me a little bit about The Vintage Corner and how you both started the business?

Alison: Initially, we both started as two separate businesses. Cheryl started hers about four years ago, and me about three years ago. We did vintage fairs at the weekend and had our own stalls selling vintage clothes and accessories- then we both finally met when Cheryl organised a local vintage fair in Formby and we became friends after that. We were both tired of doing vintage fairs all the time, as it was a lot of hard work and it involved 6am wake up calls!- which meant we weren't able to have much of a social life at the weekends. So we decided to open up The Vintage Corner, just in June last year. It was initially just going to be a storage space then we would do the occasional fair as well but we got such great feedback from locals and had lots of customers, as in Waterloo- we're the only vintage shop and we both get along really well so we thought it would be a bit of fun and decided to open as a shop!

How would you describe the Vintage Corner to customers that haven't been before?

The best vintage shop in the world, haha! ...Well, mainly The Vintage Corner is all about providing the best quality, older vintage clothing, and accessories from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. We sell beautiful dresses, fur jackets and collars...just the best quality vintage we can find. We like to buy in real special pieces, dressy items with the nice material and good cuts- something that you'd want in your wardrobe forever.

Was it always your ambition to open a shop like The Vintage Corner?

Well, when we first met, we said we wouldn't want to open a shop- we've always wanted to work with vintage and sell vintage but it seemed like quite a big risk at the time, economically as it's quite a big commitment to make. It eventually just evolved and we just thought why not, we'll just do it! It's a lot more affordable anyway as we're not in the city center as well and there's not the trouble of competing with other shops as we're out of town. It's easier for the locals but people still travel to us after finding us on our Facebook page which is great.

Did you both study something fashion-related at school or was it something else that started your love for vintage?

Alison: I studied tourism and then was a nanny for a while- which has nothing to do with vintage really! But I think it was my mum that started my love for vintage as she was always very well dressed and when she was in her 20s, she used to buy vintage clothes then. She would buy me vintage clothes from charity shops, as back in the day, you could find good vintage clothing there. I was a bit embarrassed as a teenager having clothes from charity shops but I think when I grew out of that 'embarrassed teenager' phase I thought, this is pretty cool actually!

Cheryl: I did languages then I worked as a manager in Topshop and Selfridges so I think that retail background has definitely given me some good experience for working at The Vintage Corner but vintage is something I've always wanted to work in.

What would you say is the most challenging part of working at The Vintage Corner?

The ironing haha! ... I think finding the really good stock is probably the hardest part of it, we do have good contacts and suppliers though. Finding vintage clothing is very easy, but finding really good quality, special pieces is a lot more difficult. Luckily, when it comes to marketing, it's quite easy to attract new customers- Facebook is great for that as we have quite a big following on our page.

And the best part?

Finding amazing pieces! It's the shopping and buying that's one of the best parts but we both love being able to work together as we're best friends. It just makes going to work a lot more fun and enjoyable and we spend most of the day laughing! Another thing we love is when a customer finds something that they absolutely adore, it fits perfectly on them and they feel amazing in it too, it's like that item of clothing was meant for them- it's a great feeling to see that happen. It's amazing how it can change people as well, we've had some customers that maybe aren't as confident with their style and when they try on something that suits them, you can physically see the change and that it's boosted their confidence!

Where do you source your clothes?

We sometimes buy clothes at vintage fairs and from dealers but we also get a lot of customers who come into the shop and sell their old vintage clothes to us. The best items come in from people's personal collections, they come into our shop and say "I've had this in my wardrobe forever because I love it so much but now I want to sell it!"...we love it when that happens!

What inspires the clothes you buy for the Vintage Corner?

We keep up with current fashions but the thing about vintage, is you can only buy what you can't go out with a shopping list and expect to find what you we just look for the best pieces we can find and that suit our shop. We buy with our customers in mind and we have a request book where we keep a note of what the customers are looking for as well.

What do you love most about vintage?

I think vintage has something magical about it, it's a much better feeling trying on something vintage and it fits perfectly than trying to wear something from the high-street that doesn't suit everybody's shape. More and more people are telling us that they'll spend all day trawling around town looking for something and can't find anything then they come to our shop and find what they've been looking for! That's what's great about vintage- it's so individual and you don't look like everybody else. 

Is vintage better than the high street?

Yes, definitely! We're trying to get our wardrobes to 100% vintage- it's a bit of an addiction actually! We do still shop on the high-street for basic things like leggings and jeans but for really special items, we always prefer vintage to high-street. We just want to look different and it's also important we represent our shop too. When we go out, our friends sometimes think we're mad for what we wear, but for us it's normal- the wackier the outfit, the better! We don't care really because we feel comfortable in our own style and that's what matters.

What do you think of the style of Liverpool you think they dress too similar?

A lot of people tend to say that but I think honestly the girls in Liverpool like to be unique. We get Liverpool girls coming into our shop that love buying different things- they're adventurous in their own style so we know that if we buy in the craziest vintage pieces that we love, we know they'll love it too. It also makes it more fun for us because it means there are no boundaries to what we can buy for the shop! In a good way, the thing about Liverpool is that anything goes here!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business like yours?

I think the most important thing is making sure it's affordable. We made sure that set up costs weren't a lot so even if it fell through, we'd still be earning enough from selling vintage on our Facebook page. From pretty much day one, we were making a profit so that was important.

As for stock- always go for quality over quantity. There's no point in buying loads of cheap items, it's better buying a couple of expensive items of better quality because you will always sell the nicer things...that's something we've learned from working at the shop because now we will spend a lot more but buying nicer items instead of bulk buying like we used to sometimes do.

Finally, what's next for the vintage corner?

Cheryl: Alison wants to take over the vintage world, and have shops everywhere haha! ... We don't really know at the moment but we're happier where we are currently so the plan is to just keep going but maybe in the future we'd expand to a second shop...who knows!

...and that's a wrap for the third episode of my 'An Interview With...' series...this was my first ever face-to-face interview I've done and it couldn't have gone better! Chatting with Alison & Cheryl felt like chatting with friends and I had a good laugh too. It was so interesting for me (and I hope for all of you too!) to find out more about their vintage fashion business and have a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes. I loved exploring around the shop too and will definitely be back (when I have a bit more dollar) to treat myself to something...I've been dreaming about those vintage Moschino belts ever since I visited!

If you're in the area or are looking for the best vintage clothing in Liverpool, head to 61 St Johns Road in Waterloo and you will not be disappointed! You can also like their Facebook page here & follow their Instagram here for more info & updates. Stay tuned for my next interview with The Orielles!