Sunday, February 27, 2005

Weekend Reading
Jim Derogatis proclaims an end for the Age of the Hoes. Then he declares himself a feminist. Then he declares Ashlee "I'll be your French maid" Simpson and Lindsay Lohan leaders of this new Hoeless generation.
Vaguely related: Derogatis on Tori Amos
Hua Hsu: What is Public Enemy's legacy?
Mars Volta: The progpire strikes back
Pete Doherty's eyewitness
Kings of Leon: Studied in callowness
Doves: Lost City
Doves: Cheery
Bloc Party: Scared
Futureheads: Jerky, joyful speedballs
Brendan Benson: Uncertain master of powerpop
The travelling band gets busy
Life after the protest song
The NYT's Playlist
INXS continues on in search
Disco Inferno at the library
Woody Guthrie in Inuktitut
The inevitable piece that compares the Stars to the Proclaimers
Whither Nigerian music?
Nellie McKay joins Alan Cumming and Edie Falco for a little Threepenny Opera
(And wins the Humane Society's Doris Day Music Award)
Jacob Hoggard back with band
And Michelle Branch is pregnant
Stuff And Things About People
A few items before we run off to watch Kobe ditch the triangle offence just long enough to score like 86 on the Raps...

First, should Salon's Audiofile still exist (we're getting a Page Not Found message), we think they're talking about k-os. Won't know for sure until that link works.

Second, we were just listening to his record today and that reminded us to mention that Jason Collett is bringing back Radio Mondays. The schedule as passed on to us by Miss Amanda Newman:

Radio Mondays In March @ Supermarket 268 Augusta Ave.
March 7th: Al Tuck, Alex Lukashevsky, Will (from Constantines) and Catherine MacLellan
March 14th: Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Gentleman Reg, Lexi Valentine (Magneta Lane)
March 21st: Andre Ethier (Deadly Snakes), Wayne Petti (Cuff The Duke), Julie Fader, Chad Ross (Ghost Story)
March 28th: Howie Beck, Andrew Cash, Bill Priddle, ....?

And third, another e-mail brings us news of an Alex Soria memorial concert in Montreal. To wit:

Alex Soria Memorial Concert
Friday, March 11, 2005, show begins 9:00PM
Main Hall 5390 St Laurent Boulevard, Montreal

Canada lost one of its greatest songwriters and Montreal a pioneer of its music scene when Alex Soria died tragically December 13, 2004 at the age of 39. In a musical career that spanned some 25 years, the leader of the legendary Nils and later Los Patos and Chino crafted some of the finest rock songs of his generation. The Globe and Mail newspaper called him "a rock and roll prodigy," saying he "created a legacy of power-pop classics." One of those classics "Scratches and Needles" has been nominated for CBC Radio series 50 most important Canadian Pop songs.

On Friday March 11, at the Main Hall, 5390 St. Laurent Blvd., Alex's friends and musical contemporaries will celebrate his life and music at the Alex Soria Memorial Concert. Performers will include members of the Nils, Chino, Los Patos, Nils producer and rock and roll legend Chris Spedding, John Kastner (Doughboys, All Systems Go), Ian Blurton (Change of Heart, C'mon), Mack Mackenzie (Three O'clock Train), Id'es Noires, Chris Page (Stand GT), Jerk Appeal and other special guests.

The evening's proceeds will go towards the funding of the Alex Soria Fountains Award for the most promising local songwriter as part of the annual MIMI awards. A donation will also be made to the local Portage Program for drug dependencies.

Admission is $10.00. Doors open a 8:30pm Show at 9.PM

For more information:
Jim Hynes
callmejimplease at yahoo.ca
The Last Season
Before a proper batch of weekend reading, here, abridged, are Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric debating indie rock, Montreal, success and whatever those three things have to do with each other. Smoothies and coffee not pictured. All speeling mistakes the fault of this Mac which does not allow me to spellcheck blog posts.

On the Spin/NYT-hype around Montreal and the general excitement that surrounds the new generation of CanRock...

Shaw: I like being a part of it because I think they’re all great bands. If I thought they were all a whole bunch of frauds than I would go somehwere else and not want to be associated with it. But I like all the bands that are invovled in it and I like everybody that I’ve met that’s invovled in it.

Haines: It feels like there’s an atmosphere of everyone realizing that we’re all going to do better if we’re inclusive of each other instead of everyone trying to pretned they’re the only person in the room.

Shaw: I get worried when The New York Times starts writing about an article about a scene though because that usually means it’s over...

Same discussion, cont'd.

Shaw: Just means that the next Pop Montreal is going to be all American A&R people. And that’s fucking nauseating.

Haines: Well, or, that’s really great, because you know...

Shaw: I don’t know, have you been to CMJ? It’s nauseating.

Haines: But it’s also a matter of there being opportunities for bands. Instead of feeling you’re so isolated...

Shaw: But that’s the thing, it’s like how many bands come out of Montreal? I couild list like five that have done extremely well, so they’re not having a problem being...

Haines: Well then maybe it took them a lot longer than necessary. Like compared to their counterparts in America. Like the idea that it’s so hard for a Canadian band to get any exposure. I think it’s probably good...

On finding a comfortable middle between community and exposure.

Haines: I guess that’s the thing. Just from my own experience, the main thing that everybody needs is a chance to do it. Like for this band, what made it ever get anywhere is that we just got the opportunity to become it. I guess I’m less paranoid about that. I guess you’re right. If Warner Bros. walked in and bought up all these bands or something...

What if Warner came to you?

Shaw: It’s not about that so much to me. It’s more about, Montreal created those great bands because there were no fucking opportunities It’s like...

Haines: Yeah, no it’s true.

Shaw: ...when you think that someone standing right outside your door is going to give you a million bucks, you tailor everything you do on your side of the door to that person. That’s what happens. That’s what ruins the scene. That’s why Manchester in the 80s was so great, because tghere was nothing going on. What creates a great band doesn’t always a great life for the band.

Haines: Yeah, no it’s true. That’s like I was talking to Chris Murphy last night on the phone about this exact thing. He said his favourite Sloan record is, you know, the drums were recorded on four track. And he said, it’s really hard once you have an awareness of the medium and an awareness of what you could do to make it more accessible. When you’re a million miles [away from] ever being accessible it seems like that’s where really good stuff comes.

On whether things could get too big.

Haines: I think as much as, creatively, it’s nice to romanticize starving artists, I think a lot of people do a lot better work and they’re just getting to do what they want to do. I think in our case that’s definitely true. To be able to play in venues that have a good sound system — you know, we weren’t a better band when we were playing in crappy, little clubs, we really weren’t. We’re a better band now. I just think fear of things growing, is not... I guess I don’t share that because I feel like the point is that you navigate it when you’re in it. You just steer it, but don’t be afraid of the speed though.

There was plenty more. If we find time (note: don't hold your breath), we'll try and post more.

Friday, February 25, 2005

We don't really love the Fred Durst sex tape scandal. But we do love that the self-directed mini-porn was leaked because he is a "sellout." Awesome.
Finally, at long last, Mel C and Franz Ferdinand have collaborated.
Motor Motel
BTK found! But BTK still missing.
All The Small Things
After a few days of "Did they or didn't they?" we now know that the members of Blink 182 have no set plan for working together again. Whatever that means.

If there truly is a just and well-meaning God, he surely will smite Mark, Travis and, uh, the other guy should they even consider getting back together. Not because they were a particularly offensive pop-punk trio, but because THE WORLD NEEDS FEWER BANDS. Seriously. Nobody breaks up anymore. Or at least stays broke.

Name a band. They're probably still together. Unless they're the Jayhawks. Par example...

Oasis: New album later this year
Backstreet Boys: Back on tour
Harvey Danger: Working on a new album
Hall & Oates: Touring Japan. (And they've got a blog!)
Third Eye Blind: Apparently still alive.
Jesus Jones: New record last year.
The Wallflowers: New album in May.
Slint: Reformed.
Def Leppard: Covers album coming soon.
Smash Mouth: At work on new album.
Goo Goo Dolls: Just performed at the NBA All-Star game.
Crash Test Dummies: Released an album this past October.
Martha & The Muffins: Resurrected.
Fastball: New album last summer.
Garbage: First album in four years arrives in April.
Gang of Four: Back on the road.
Spin Doctors: Making new album, touring UK.
Cream: Four-nights only.
Dog's Eye View: New album this year (And they've got a blog!).
Cocteau Twins: Back together for Coachella.

And let's not forget Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, the Black Crowes, Motley Crue and even Alice in Chains. And nearly Pavement.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Oh Windy
Let the record show that the press release announcing the impending arrival of Mariah Carey's upcoming album was given the subject line "MARIAH CAREY ADVISORY" as if she had just fallen ill or a hurricane of the same name were about to blow ashore.

Quite to the contrary, the heaving newcomer is set to be some sort of Hip-Hop Heals Mariah benefit featuring Kanye West, the Neptunes, Jermaine Dupri, Snoop Dogg, Nelly and Twista. Everybody hold hands. Together we can make the world a more Mariah place.
Dylan: Dislikes Green Day, Hearts Architecture
Still grumbly after all these years.

Also of note: Martha Stewarts loves Chronicles.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sans Shower Curtain
Canada (via Newman) to Moby:
"We love you because you play with our stank ass dogs."
On the way to a interview with Karina Huber at MuchMoreMusic, I uttered my despair at leaving my 4 month old bulldog puppy alone at home for such an extended period of time. Moby suggested that we go to my place and grab the little guy. So, fully knowing that my house was a mess and smelled like an animal shelter (I have 3 pets), Moby sauntered up my stairs and played with Bodie the Bulldog with the exuberance of a 12 year old. He insisted that we bring Bodie to the Much studios to be a part of the interview for which we did. Bodie made sure he left his mark in the studio, a few times in fact with a few potent farts for good measure.

Moby (via his blog) to Canada:
"I love you because you're not like my stank ass Red State neighbours."
canada is such a nice place. i really do wish that the northern blue states could be annexed by canada and thus create 'the united states of canada.' as i said to some of the journalists in toronto, we would gladly give up our guns in order to forge a more perfect union with our northern neighbors(soon, hopefully, to become countrymen). i mean seriously, can't we just let the red states go off on their own to do whatever it is they want to do, while those of us in the blue states pledge our new allegiance to the u.s of c? we'll even learn 'o canada'.
It's All...
This (in which the Arcade Fire schedule a concert, the kids get upset about the price of tickets, the Arcade Fire attempt to calm the masses and then the kids go back to moping and grousing) makes for a nice post-script to the NYT-Spin-hype. Beware kiddies. Indie will eat itself.

(link via Chromewaves)
No Disc
Back from a weekend in Ottawa with two bits of news.

First, Apostle of Hustle have returned from Europe sounding like the Guns N Roses Social Club. Or the Buena Vista Fucking Roses.

And second, the kids from Arts & Crafts will have a showcase night at the Ottawa Bluesfest. Quite possibly "sans feist mais avec metric." But we'll see.

Hunter S. = Dead.
Paris = Naked, again.
And some Feist.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Notes Scribbled Into The Margins Of A Newspaper While Riding The Train or Via1 Holla
Re: Spinhype/NYTcred/Montreal/Toronto/Vancouver/Halifax/Guitars/Scenes/Other excuses to interview Torq Campbell/Etc.

The thing about things like this is that other writers can spot the loose threads from 15 paces. If only because we've all stretched them ourselves. Doesn't make things like that any less worthy. Unless it does.

Sure it's about old v. new, Celine Dion v. Arcade Fire, major v. indie, but it's also about City Mouse v. Country Mouse. See here. k.d. lang has an o.k. line (note to self: find exact quote later) about how Canadian music is all about Canadian geography. Wide open spaces and such. And she's right. Even applies to Avril (the space between her ears being such a vast and dark emptiness). But the new kids are city mice. They're shaking their boney asses (or fists) to make some space for themselves but also to break free from everyone else's self-conscious sheepishness. They form gangs. They band together to create what they find lacking. They fill their stages full of friends and neighbours. They collide, wrestle, hug. They build up and up. And from there they can see more. Restless little critters. Still trying to figure out what to do about that cat. They sound like neon. Or human traffic.
Joel Plaskett's record (our favourite of his four) is like country mouse trying to figure out city mouse.
What is the point of the hot towel?
People drink too much alcohol. We eat too much salmon.
Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best Love Songs has no love for Boyz II Men. This is a shame. Mr. and Miss PopWherry's first dance was to Bended Knee. Which tells you much about our age. And our coolness.
Guy across the way saw some of the Grammys between loads of laundry. Thought Alicia Keys and Melissa Etheridge were great. It's all live. Kanye West was good theatre, but thataboutit.

Friday, February 18, 2005

At the corner of Nerd and Skinny
We hear things. Seasame Streets is talking. M.I.A. album release in the States has been delayed. Legal issues over sampling? Major label bidding war? And what about Pierre Pettigrew?

If we were a two-bit gossip columnist trying to be coy, we'd say our (educated?) guess is that 'major' movement may be afoot.

(Zoilus expands on the innuendo. Interesting to see what retailers might say with a major on the other end of the phone. We may soon see.)
Freedom Rocks!
So the French Consulate is sponsoring a showcase at Canadian Music Week. And we have already begun the delicate process of clearing our schedule for the night of March 4. No seriously. A quick preview.

Reverb - $10
Doors at 8:30pm

9pm - Sebastien Tellier
French Consulate says: "Tellier's 2d album 'Politics' was released in 2004. It is a very ambitious album, where all the clichés of the world are burned on the bonfire of global politics."

10pm - NUD
French Consulate says: "An authentic revelation of Electrorock music, with Gothic and Emocor trend!" Also: technically Norweigan.

11pm - Vegomatic
French Consulate says: "Vegomatic’s musical electro-surf originality, form their devotion, with body and soul, to the Pop-Rock scene, now brighter. For Vegomatic, Paris has become too small: French Up!"

12am - Bang Gang
French Consulate says: Well, nothing. So use your imagination. Wait, don't.

MP3s for listening, sampling and podding:
Vegomatic - Danger Surf (Ouh Ouh)
Vegomatic - Rock N Roll Star

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Free Parking
This can't possibly be real, can it?

Sharon Stone and Denise Rich are producing a song to benefit victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster in Asia. The "Basic Instinct" actress and the socialite-songwriter are co-writing a single, "Come Together Now," to be sung by a collection of recording artists... Aretha Franklin, Lindsay Lohan, Natalie Cole, Wyclef Jean, Peter Gabriel, Patti LaBelle, Lionel Richie, Mya, JoJo, Gavin DeGraw, Brian McKnight, Kelly Price and Paulina Rubio are among those scheduled to participate, it was announced Friday.

Also: New Backstreet Boys single goes to radio on March 18.
Take 1 Capsule
Second best e-mail we've received in the last 48 hours (the first said these people were talking about us in public):

Some time ago, you rated a young Toronto girls first album quite highly. I have no idea what kind of music she plays, but I enjoy taking chances. I dont know her name, but you said she had lived in Paris, and that when she did her recording, you could hear the traffic in the background on one track,also,I believe that you had attended her concert. Could you remember, this person, and is her album on an independent label? I would be greatful for some help. Thank you Aaron.. Dave C.

We fear the second sentence implies we didn't fully do our job. Though re-reading the piece in question, we think we gave Dave some idea.

Anyway. Dave C. is getting a Feist gift-basket in the mail fer shur.
Furthermore, Carl
Wilson: "Yes, more people listen to Our Lady Peace now, but the question is, do they get that because it's what they want, or do they want that because that's what they get?"

Wherry (adopting the persona of a straight-shooting newspaperman/record label executive): "They'll read as news whatever we tells them is news!"

It's funny cause it's true.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Would have mentioned this if we weren't getting our Valentine's on last night - Arts & Crafts announced last night that Feist will perform on the live Juno telecast in April.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Dear Magazine Editors...
Please dispatch a writer (this one, even) to track down and interview all of ODB's children (numbering somewhere between 3 and 37), reporting back on what these offspring, their lives and their futures tell us about Mr. Jones, hip-hop, celebrity, wealth, family, fatherhood and America.

Today Montreal. Tomorrow Walla Walla.
Carl Wilson is a smart guy. As recently proven by this weekend's column. Though we still find the fancies of the Spins and NYTs so fickle (Spin apparently had a sidebar on Toronto, but ditched it at the last minute), there is much mucho musico to celebrate. But there has been for about three years here. And it's not site specific. Montreal has a certain cool. But, as Carl makes passing reference to, this entire country is feeling a certain... something. Personally, we think it has less to do with Montreal and more to do with young urbanites who find little for themselves in Heritage Canada's rubber-stamped Canadiana. But our name hasn't ever appeared in Spin or the NYT. So what do we know?

All the same, more people in this country listen to Our Lady Peace than that... something. So, ya know, let's not soil our indie undies.

One thought:

Selling out is an old, sad idea. And indie insecurity is tiresome. In a perfect world, Leslie Feist would be getting Norah-love. But we're not entirely convinced that major labels have much of a role in the... something that's going down right now round here. Why, we must ask, would we want to involve the people who brought you Ryan Malcolm in this... something? If there are ways in which we can use them to our advantage, cheers to that. But otherwise, let them go hungry. Or, at the very least, keep a firm grip on the goods and just let them nibble.
White Is The New Beige
1a. Y'all can't hate on Kanye making like the Messiah because Amy Grant loved it. And Amy Grant loves her some God. And ya can't hate the speech that followed cos Jill Scott gave it the whole "Preach On My Brutha" head nod.
1b. Come on man, dude referenced Al Bundy. Polk High Holla.
2. Is Horatio Sanz doing voice over work for Old El Paso now?
3. Number of times Ray Charles had won album of the year before Sunday night: Zero.
4. Wherever the New Radicals are, Maroon 5 can't get there fast enough.
5. It perplexes us that Alicia doesn't get Norah-level love.
6. If we heard correctly, the new rules are as follows: You can say 'faggot' on TV. But you can't say 'niggas.'
7. Jack White = adorable. Also, evil and creepy.
8. Notice how in all the historical comparisons Queen Latifah threw at Usher (James Brown, Sam Cooke), she failed to mention the most obvious one.
9. Still don't understand how Suit got nominated over Sweat. Seriously.
10. While the rest of you were watching the Grammys, we flipped on MuchMusic. Just in time to see a segment entitled "Devon Goes Condom Shopping." Still now, we throw up in our mouth just thinking about it.
11. Scott Weiland on the anti-tsunami climax: "John Lennon was probably smiling down on us."

Friday, February 11, 2005

Turning Down
Sometimes we worry that we're slowly turning Republican. Then we remember how much we still dislike Ryan Cabrera.

Still. Maybe they're right. Maybe guns don't kill people. Maybe music does. Maybe it's all Eminem's fault.

Nah. If November 2004 proved anything, it's that no one listens to musicians. But give Elizabeth Mendez Berry's latest piece in Vibe, Love Hurts (lovingly provided by SFJ), a close read anyway. And add to that, this.
Mutual Appreciation Society
Salon has launched an MP3 blog, Audiofile, evolved from Thomas Bartlett's Wednesday Morning Download. And we're not just mentioning because Bartlett's been nice enough to link here. Really.

Plenty of good-looking music.

One he should consider hosting:
Melanie Durant f. Kardinal Offishall - Let Me
Listen with Real or Windows
Pink Jacket
Dear Sluggos: Is anyone, other than Newman of course, planning on attending "High Tea" next week with that bald fellow? If you haven't the slightest idea what we're talking about, we'll be sure to clarify later. Promise.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Woah Is Winnie
Maybe if Winnipeggers lived somewhere other than Winnipeg, they'd have less time on their hands to get all pissy about poor ole Randy Bachman not being included in the Junos. Or maybe they'd just have more interesting CanRock legends to worry about.

(And anyway, why fret over Randy - surely Neil will have him guest on guitar or something - when you've got so much else to swell with civic pride about?)
Red White Dude
In the latest issue of XXL (the one with Fiddy preparing to go hunting on the cover), Tommy Lee says he was authorized to remix Jay-Z's 99 Problems, but he couldn't get around to it because he had the book to write. A few paragraphs later, he claims he was making beats for Eminem, but when Lee got back to Em, Em said his record was already done. Lee was like, "Fuck!"

Just saying.
Pazz This
The 2005 is like 40 days old now. So way past due for a Best Of...

1) M.I.A. - Arular
2) Beck - Guero
3) Hot Hot Heat - Elevator
4) Iron & Wine - Woman King EP
5) The Game - The Documentary
6) Joel Plaskett - La De Da

Iron & Wine - Woman King
Hot Hot Heat - Goodnight Goodnight

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Just How You Like It
Looks like Marcel Dzama did the cover of Beck's new record. Sweet.
This Is The Ehhhnnndd...
... of the Innocence.
That Is Correct
Whatever happened to Remy Shand?

No seriously.

Dude releases The Way I Feel in early 2002. Gets big ups from Elton John. An A- from Entertainment Weekly. Baz Luhrmann nominates him for the Shortlist. Four Juno nominations. Four Grammy nominations. And then poof - vamoose, sunnuvabitch.

Last we'd heard he had shacked up in Toronto with one of the Sugar Jones girls. (The most recent update on his website - Oct. 2003 - puts him back in the studio. New, er, ish song here, if the link still works.)

At dawn, we're heading out with a search party.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Good Ole
We effin love us some Juno nominations kids. We defy you to find something you'd rather do with your Monday morning than fake interest in the alleged music of Thornley and the rumoured comedy of Brent Butt.

Some interesting Juno Factoids to be swapped at your next bowling party:

-Three former Canadian Idol contestants are up for awards, including Ryan Malcolm. And yes, he's still walking around with one of Avril's ties around his neck. Just. Sorta. Sad.

-Extra! host Mark McGrath got a nomination for single of the year.

-The theme song to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (is that still on?) was nominated for dance recording of the year. Dance. Is. Dead.

-The five most vital and vibrant Canadian artists of the last 365 days as determined by Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences voters: Avril Lavigne, k.d. lang, Diana Krall, Celine Dion and Bryan Adams.

Friday, February 4, 2005

Rental Car
Zoilus puts nail to head in his review of Miss M.I.A. - Not. Yet. In. Focus.

Her She and Diplo may work wonders together off stage (hint, hint), but they've yet to find bliss on. Soon though. Maybe. Hopefully.

(Which isn't to say it was a particularly bad evening. It was quite good. But it wasn't as holy-fuck-wow as, say, Dizzee Rascal around the same time last year.)

What she can't yet manage as a performer, she apparently can as an instigator. Shortly before she arrived amid more technocolour war imagery than an inaugral address on PCP, Zoilus, The Artist Formerly Known As 32w and us were lamenting the lack of non-snark over at ILM.

Well, how's this? Beginning with February's posts, shit gets heavy.

As it really, really should. Entroductions are over. No need to be polite.

A couple thoughts:

1) We're not entirely sure she yet knows what to make of her music, her politics and where and how they mix. That's not meant to be patronizing. That's meant to take into account that she's only been doing this for a couple years. And she's not much older than us we (and, to be honest, we're not sure what we think of, like, peanut butter, yet).

2) We kinda actually think her gangsta rap comparison (see below) holds some amount of water. No really. Suspending political belief, how different is, say, The Game? And all that he espouses and entails.
Earthquake Weather
Is it rash to call Beck's not-yet-released new album the best of his increasingly long life?

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

'Are you lesbian?' 'No, I'm making music.'
Here's a little tip for the kids. If you're going to be interviewing Miss M.I.A., be sure to tell your editor you're going to need at least a half dozen pages to squeeze in all the good stuff. If your editor finds this unreasonable, get a blog and just reprint everything there. That way, everybody wins.

So. Today we talked to the delightful Maya Arulpragasam. The 800 word version of our encounter appears in tomorrow's National Post. If you'd rather just read a couple thousand of her words without ours getting in the way, this post is for you. Laughs have been edited out. But they were frequent. And wonderful.

This will be far too long. And, for the uninterested, boring. Apologies.

On handling the hype:
Hopefully, you know, it’s not going to last forever. I must be the only
person who’s like, thank god this is going to end soon... When I went to Germany I felt that. I went to Puerto Rico to do a show and then I went to Philly and then New York. And I did that in about two days. And then I had to fly to Hamburg and then Berlin. And it all happened in about five days. Then I was like, ‘I physically can’t handle it.’ I thought, I’m just going to disintegrate.

On the audience in Germany:
It’s not even like English. [But] Germans get it. And they’re really into it and stuff. I was thinking, ‘Do they even know what my lyrics are?’ But they kinda do. They just feel like it doesn’t even matter. I get that impression from them. As long as it’s real. When I do music I want to make sure that there’s [something] there for anyone and everyone. So that’s fine that they only pick up on that. The journalists pick up on the lyrics and stuff, but my cousins in Germany call me up and they go, ‘You video’s on in Burger King.’ And I know that whoever’s playing it is not really into the lyrics.

On the controversy with MTV:
I’m thinking still. I have to do it by today or tomorrow. It’s just, I don’t know, I’m going to wait until they get bored of asking me. Then I’ll tell them something. They’re going to play the video. And they said that they’ll let everything slide as long as they have a statement. Otherwise, they’ll have to cut sentences out of the song. But I feel like I shouldn’t have to compromise at all. And they should know that.

On her shoutout to the PLO:
I was thinking, the Wu-Tang Clan said it all the time — I’ve heard it in Method Man songs. And no one even bats an eyelid. So why is it more heavy when it comes from me? It’s kinda interesting. Because I think the image — what I am and the body that I’m in — is totally different to what Method Man looks like. And it’s probably more scary coming from him than me. But, it’s amazing innit? Which is what I want to show — I am the scary thing right now. It’s really mad. It’s just kinda like, I wouldn’t really say it too much, but I just kinda want to be there — offer myself to be there as whatever it is, so people can learn it as it happens.

On her political lyrics:
Really, that’s not what I’m about. The things that I started speaking up for weren’t necessarily, like, huge political subjects, which is what it’s turned into it because my lyrics are taken at such face value. But underneath I use political references or words to reflect everything — whether you’re poor, whether you’re from the street, whether you can’t pay the bills, whether you’re just the underdog all the time. And I think those lyrics can be applied to any of those things.

What I try to do is that it could appeal on any level. Sunshowers is obviously about it. But why wouldn’t I write something like that? You know what I mean? This acts like as an evil dividing the world into good and evil, makes me fall into the evil — so, excuse me, I’ve just spent 30 grand on my education, living in England and I’m paying rent and surviving everyday like everybody else, I don’t need the extra stigma attached to my bloody head. So of course I’m going to write about it. It’s like becoming the new gangsta culture. You know what I mean? We’ve heard rappers go on about it for so long and they’re not stigmatized anymore — in fact they’re driving around in Bentley’s. And, you know, my brother living in Wimbledon right now gets his photo taken around to all the shops by the police, going, ‘Do you know what this kid is up to? Because we seem him everyday and he looks really dodgy.’ And my brother’s just some random kid, totally exactly the same interests as any other average 23-year-old — into cars and girls and trying to survive and he’s got a job. But because he looks slightly Muslim — because, you know, he walks around wanting to make a statement too, I guess — the police take his photo around the cornershops. And you just think, ‘That’s amazing.’ That shit just never would have happened. When it’s affecting a Sri Lankan family, then you think, ‘Man, imagine if you’re an Islamic teenager growing up.’ That must be really intense.

The state of the world cont'd:
As soon as you start segragating people and making them into this other, then they’ll feel it and then they’ll respond and become it. Because human beings do pick up stuff like that. The general atmosphere on the planet right now is this unknown bunch of people are brewing and making bombs in the basement and it’s all going to kick off. And we’re sort of creating it with the hysteria. So then you have to get the other person’s opinions out there to balance things out so they don’t feel shat on. You know what I mean?

That’s kind of what I was thinking at the time. I really felt like I needed to know what I wanted to tell my kids — if being good was striking twice as hard...

I was like, shit, I’m giving up on my life. I dunno what to tell myself anymore. I’m so confused. So I was like, when I have a kid I’m going to lay down some laws and teach it some stuff. My mum brought me up going, ‘Ah Ghandi, he’s such a non-violent man. You turn the other cheek, huh. If somebody hits you, you just turn the other cheek, like Jesus Christ.’ So when people treat you bad, you just think, that’s cool, that’s fine. That’s their judgment, that’s their call. And you get on with it. And then now it seems like what President Bush is teaching us is if somebody steps to you, you just kill him. Don’t even ask any questions. Just take him out. He’s the biggest bloody 50 Cent he is.

On where her music fits:
You know, I’ve never been one to... all my life, everything I’ve been to or whatever I’ve done, it’s always been like that. I just don’t think it will change for me. The journalists and the critics are really good, but I’m still not accepted in a lot of genres musically. And that’s kind of what really, really is the battle. Getting people that understand it, is one thing. But getting people within it to get it is really, really difficult. Music became really segraegated and boxed and dutta, dutta, da... Then people started creating within those boxes and they’ve found formulas that work and they’re sticking to it like hell because it’s the livelihood for so many people. And when you come up and when you question all that, you’re not going to be seen as something great. I know that’s going to be the battle for me. I don’t know, we’ll see. Cos I feel like my career has just been upside down — like I’ve started at the top and I have to trickle down to the chicken shop. Whereas most people start selling at the chicken shop and work their way up to getting recognized. Everything’s just been so weird that I don’t really know what’s going on — where the hell my battle is, but I’m assuming it’s down on the chicken shop because it’s the last place for me to get to.

On her first stumbles into music:
I’m learning as I go along. When I started it was more like... I was tone deaf, everybody knew it, even when mates sit around and sing-along to songs, they’d get me to sit out of those games because they were like, ‘We don’t recognize anything you hum.’ When Peaches and Gonzales on tour and they said, ‘Have a go on the casio’... I used to be really shy and stuff. It wasn’t like, ‘Yeah, let me have a go’ it was like, ‘No please, no don’t do this to me.’ And they were like, ‘No, give me your finger and just press that button.’ And it was so wrong... and I don’t know how it happened, it’s really weird and it’s really freaky... but, yeah, I’m doing it. And I didn’t really think. The first thing I thought is, ‘Oh my god, you make noise and all you have to do is make come out at the right time over the beat.’ Like, it was that simple for me.

Now I’m just getting to know the pitch and the melody, but before when people used to go, ‘One, two, free, four’... I used to go, ‘What are they counting?’ And I couldn’t even get my head around the concept of a count-in and a bar. But that’s as far as I thought about music. And the rest is just me trying to make sense of, like.... me.

No. I just think I can’t really sing. And there’s a part of me that will never aspire to be a proper singer doing record gymnastics. I just hate that. And then, you know, sometimes I think I can rap, sometimes I think I can’t. But however it comes out, it’s just, you know... I don’t know... it’s really weird... I just can’t believe that people like what I do. I can’t. So I don’t know what to say about it.

I started learning that every kid I met who wanted to be a singer and who wanted to be a musician — this is a huge generalized statement, but... when I started writing the songs... I wrote M.I.A. first and then I wrote Galang and I just had the lyrics and the melody and then I wrote it over a beat... Initially I was like Look, I’ve written these songs. I don’t have the confidence and I’ll never do this because I have a real short attention span and I can’t remember my lyrics and stuff. So I was like, ‘Is there anyway we could find someone to sing these?’ So then for like two months that was the journey that I had. My first step into music was finding someone else to do it. And every girl I came across, if she was a black girl she wanted to sound like Aretha Franklin and Beyonce. And all the white girls they either wanted to sing proper indie stuff or sing like, well, you know... And it’s kind of finding somebody that was them in it was so difficult that in the end I just thought, maybe there’s something in this. Maybe it’s just the act of being confident with what you are. And that was quite an important thing just for people to see. Because we’re losing it in music because everything is becoming so generic. And even the kids that I know that strive not to make generic music, in a mad way, make it.

On getting yourself an education:
Education is just so important. I think especially if you are the other, then it’s always good for you to know what people think about you. So you have to kind of learn the language. That’s what it is. I think ultimately that’s kind of what made me end up in this position is that because nobody really cared what I was, I got to learn what they were. No matter what genre or community or whatever I went through. When I was doing all the artwork for Elastica and hanging out, I got to learn what their thing was. But they wouldn’t let me play dancehall and hip-hop in their dressing room or anything like that. Because it seemed like those kinda kids were really narrow-minded, musically, they had their own encylcopedia of what you should know if you’re in an indie band. But it didn’t go outside the manual. And that’s what makes the stale music. Because everybody’s got that manual. It’s that guerilla book of filmmaking, you know what I mean? And 80 million people have it, it’s the number one best seller — well, you’re not a guerilla anymore, are you? That’s kinda the thing that I was thinking. Them being narrow-minded about what I had to bring, made me learn. In terms of education, I went to an institute. But you can get it anywhere. The point is, it’s just important.

On that chicken shop thing:
Before it was the chicken shop, it used to be the nursing home for your grandma. That’s what I told XL when I signed to them. ‘I want to be played in the nursing home’... It’s not going to happen.

On boxes:
I don’t have to go in a box. And besides, I haven’t been boxed yet and I got to like it. So they can’t box me now. I found my thing and I’ve started the battle. And I have had people giving me a hard time about it and the fact that at the time radio stations and record shops — the fact that they even questioned what I was doing, I just hope that they realize that they’re stomping out creativity and they are totally part of that weird machinery. And I’m going to fight for it now.

At every point there has been something that could have made me compromise. But because — this is the only reason and the only thing that my life has been good for is priming me against things like that. I wouldn’t wish some of the shit upon anyone, but then you just go, ‘Actually, why the hell am I going to back down to blah-blah and blah-blah notion?’ It just doesn’t matter. Because none of this shit really, really, really matters. Like all these boxes that people put themselves in and how much they beat themselves up about stuff and dutta, dutta, da — it doesn’t really matter to me. And it’s like, in the beginning in England, the Indian radio stations wouldn’t put Galang on because I didn’t have an Indian intro. And they wanted me to re-record it and put a Hindi intro to it. And I was like, ‘No, I’m not going to do that. Why would you even get me to do that when the whole point is that I want to be someone on the inside. It’s obvious why I am. It’s obvious I care about where I came from. It’s obvious I’m fucking brown. I don’t have to say it again and again, underline it and talk to the people within the circle when it is about getting it out there. None of them are doing anything that actually gets out and is confident. If they’re really confident about what they’re doing, why don’t they go out? But they don’t. And when you do, they just go, ‘Oh my gosh, she thinks it’s white.’ That internal racism thing is bullshit because everybody suffers by that kind of thinking. Which is why education is important, it opens you up and makes you open minded. I want to be part of that. If I’m going to be the one who’s going to be burnt at the stake, I want to do it. I want to do it in public so everybody can see exactly what our values on this planet today is. It just needed someone brave. And I was just in a point in my life where I had nothing. So I had nothing to lose. That’s kind of where I got my confidence from. It wasn’t like I was going to lose my face, I didn’t have one. It wasn’t like I was going to lose my money, I didn’t have any.

On her visit to Toronto with Peaches:
It was really positive. Everybody was so encouraging. And I just never felt that anywhere else. It felt like there was some new thing happening, new blood that was just like ‘Fuck it! Everything goes!’... It was interesting. It just seemed like things were getting ripped to sheds and put back together in Canada more than any other cities I went to.

And, finally, on her mum:
My mum was still getting me applications from the bank. ‘Mia, you’ve got to get a job. This is too much. No one’s going to marry you.’ And then last month the Sri Lankan newspapers wrote about it and they did like two big pages and they really embraced it and put, ‘We have to support this girl.’ And then when my mum read that she rang me and was like, ‘Oh, you’re actually doing something.’

Every year my mum learns one new English word and it opens up a whole world. So last year she learnt the word, ‘lesbian.’ Because I didn’t have a job and I wasn’t married, she got a phone call saying, ‘Maybe your daughter’s a lesbian.’ So she learnt the word and then she used it on me. And she was like, ‘Are you lesbian?’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m making music. And things are really intense for me right now. I just don’t want to take time out to marry this like fat guy in Sri Lanka with a moustache just right about now.’ And then this year, it’s been ‘underground.’ But she didn’t know ‘underground,’ she thought it was ‘underworld.’ So she rang me up and she was like, ‘My friends in church think you’re underworld, now what is this?’ I was like, this is what happens when you sign to XL.

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