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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A spy with a sonic screwdriver - Sound like an Eleventh Hour Initiative? TEHI

If we have said it once we have said it at least three times. Bands fall into your lap with Twitter and Soundcloud. Once again this post is about one such band. This band makes you question all your juvenile ideas of what it is to be part of a band, how connections between muso's are not about knocking on someone's door with a guitar, saying....."I hear you can sing". (Moz and Marr) The world is becoming a smaller place with each and every advancement in communication. Strong friendships are being formed from the slightest strand of interest.

Minds connect in very different ways. Just like the two virgin bloggers from Indie Dunes first met, so did TEHI. A great distance separates them but distance is irrelevant. Two bloggers, one band.. meet without meeting when these crossed paths in the petri dish of Twitter an intriguing friendship is starting to blossom. At its core MUSIC and respect.

Let me introduce you to Bill (USA) and Emrys (UK) they form The Eleventh Hour Initiative. They create a soul searching musical landscape which makes you ask just as many questions about yourself, in tandem with numerous queries about TEHI's thoughts and experiences. Escapism their first release as TEHI is an interesting attempt to try and strip down the meaning of the daily grind. The music is just one piece of TEHI story, their website features a blog where they have a story for each tune - all 14 of them - inspiration or afterthought, even the artwork - its all done by them - a lot of work for two people divided by an ocean. There is a lot of good music around, but I think what makes finding a band like TEHI so rewarding is that you can feel, pain, a darkness and a light at the end of the journey (Well that's my take on it). 

The "album" name dangles an optimistic carrot to keep dragging you forward "Escapism" Is it a little teaser of a better life? or part of an illusion where you need to be skilled like a slight of hand magician, deceiving the masses that impossible is probable.

In what is becoming a world wide phenomenon, a waiting list becoming increasingly unmanageable, bands wishing to experience an Indie Dunes Q & A session. We have subjected TEHI to this experience for your pleasure. I hope our "original" style of taking the piss will give you a humorous but honest insight into what makes TEHI an intriguing and truly original find.

Please welcome the Guys from the TOP 1 band on a radio station in Plymouth The Eleventh Hour Initiative (thunderous applause from two bloggers). Here on known as TEHI. We catch up on a foggy night somewhere in the world, at some point on the international time line and share an imaginary coffee and fat free low GI donut....

Let's get into the tough questions straight away then.

1.Its a boring Friday night and about to go to decide to start a musical journey. Is the name an insight into how you guys gave birth to this band?

Bill- Yes, it is actually and thank you for the applause Steve and Tatjana! Emrys and I are going to write songs for the rest of our lives, but when we met we were both in a place where we weren't so sure we were always going to release said songs. However, we were so excited by the music we were making together that we decided to go for it right at 'The Eleventh Hour'. It didn't hurt that it was also the name of a Dr. Who Episode. Then we found out that 'The 11th Hour' was also the name of a documentary made by Leonardo DiCaprio. Since our band is not a documentary made by Leonardo DiCaprio we added 'Initiative' to help us stand out. Plus 'The Eleventh Hour Initiative' sounds like a spy movie from the 1960's and we like that.

2. You live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, how did this amazing collaboration spring up?

Bill- Emrys heard some of the demos I had put up on a site called Soundcloud and asked if I wanted to collaborate with him on a song. That song became 'Where We Go Next' which is still one of our favorite songs on 'Escapism'. We liked working together so much that we decided to form the band. Though we're in different countries, the way we record isn't all that different from most bands that go into the studio. We just have to send our tracks thousands of miles away instead of to the next room.

3. Odd socks. Do you think some people deliberately wear odd socks are fighting the unspoken social structures, or is it just a case of getting dressed in the dark?

Bill- It could go either way I think. It happens to me every once in a while, but mainly due to the fact that my dryer eats socks and car keys. I intend no political statement with it. I could picture people wearing odd socks deliberately to look like rebels and fight the social structure, and Im sure it's extremely effective, and by 'effective' I mean it is not effective.

Emrys - I always make every effort to match up pairs of socks. I lay them all out like kids at a school disco waiting to be asked to dance. Most of them marry up. Then the odd one goes back in the basket to await the arrival of its partner... hopefully overdue in the next wash load. And you know what? I now ask myself why? Why do I go through this routine... when I could just be a free spirit. I too could be that man who wears one purple sock and one yellow sock. That man who boasts about the time he's saved and how he has taken a stand (wearing socks) against all social injustice. I could have be that man!!! But I won't. I'll stick with wearing matching pairs!

4. What technical or teething problems are you encountering with the great distance

Bill- Technically speaking we don't really have any teething problems with the distance? With tracking for our album things actually run pretty smoothly. However, we've been trying to do stripped down live versions of our songs on Skype and have had some issues with the delay inherent in these sorts of things. It's pretty impossible to keep in time when your on a 1/100th of a second delay. Also we can't have one of those pictures where we're both leaning up against a wall or pouting at a diner together without trickery.

5. The addition to Scrappy into Scooby Doo, do you think it added to the team dynamics or did it destroy the very positive hidden message under the surface of Scooby and Shaggy?

Bill- Scrappy gets a bum rap! It definitely added to the dynamic! Try saying 'Scooby Doo' without adding 'and Scrappy too!!!' …impossible. Unless you just did it, then my response would be, 'Rut Ro'?

Emrys - They just had to mess with the formula. The introduction of the 'comedy side-kick'. I thought Scooby and Shaggy between them were already the gang's comedy side-kicks? I must have been missing something! Ha ha! So... I have to disagree with me esteemed colleague - Scrappy was a slippery slope for Scooby Doo.

So by this, I'm guessing Bill is open to adding someone in residence on Antarctica and Emrys isn't.....hmmmmmm

6. Do you take responsibility for helping deconstruct the myth that the Beatles probably didn't live in houses with a separate frontages but a common living area?

Bill- What do you mean that's a myth?! … You mean that they made that up?…. Wait!, but that would mean!….. I guess I thought… …but what about Obama?

Emrys - I always loved that Beatles/Monkees vibe of a band living in one big house with separate frontages. I used to watch 'Help' and buy into the idea that this was real! - that this was what being in a band was all about! But in reality I now realise that was a con. That myth got me into this whole band thing but I notice the Beatles are now conspicuous by their absence. I have to go it alone. I'm currently trying to tunnel under the Atlantic to connect Bill's house to my house to give at least a semblance of a 'shared band living area'. Although to be honest... most of it will be damp, constricted and underground. Perhaps we should change our name to the Wombles?

Well guys that was really enlightening, and slightly longer than i expected, I need to trim my beard again. 

What is wonderful about TEHI is that when interacting with them they want to know as much about you, its a two way street. We encourage everyone who listens to TEHI or reads this to take the time to interact with these two very friendly musos/artists. It wont be just a chat about music, in our experience it will turn into an ever evolving conversation about coffee, fears, tips on getting laid in a videogame, inspiration, the mystery of hash-tagging, winning the battle against yourself, pondering the propriety of eating sushi for breakfast. About life.... woven together with a love of always at the core, the way it should be.

October Update #1:

The Eleventh Hour Initiative cover John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero', live across the Atlantic 

October Update #2:

The Eleventh Hour Initiative's From Shipwreck to Shore, track 13 from their album Escapism is featured on NME, read more HERE

October Update #2:

TEHI meet!!! 

Stalk options:

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

On the Radar

It's that time of the month again (not that this is a monthly event), to draw your attention to a few gems discovered of late. I seem to be tuned into the 80's vibe at the moment (as in loads of synth), but I will not stray from angry PMS tunes, promise.

UN (Montreal, Canada)

Not UN as in United Nations, but UN as in UN-available, UN-able to find a lot of information about them, UN-willing to believe there are only two tunes out there. UN is a two girl band from Canada, Jen and Kara, with loads of synth, drums and emotional vocals placing you in the middle of a post-apocalyptic (grass hasn’t started growing yet) haze. So far there are two tracks available for free pickings on bandcamp, with an announcement on their webpage of a full album release due out June 2012 – this either hasn’t happened, or I am unable to find it – either way, I hope this is not all we will hear from UN. To quote Calgary Herald “It’s anti-dance music, cold, moody, distant, aggressive and very nonchalantly sexy”


I believe that the lack of information about this guys is absolutely deliberate (Amy and Ray - no second names) – they keep themselves elusive, throw out a song like 'Pays to Know’ then step back into the shadows leaving you to squirm for more. Her voice, the synth and bass line are entwined in a lyrical foreplay you feel you are trespassing on, should look away, but chose not to. I want more of this. Watch this space.

Buke and Gase (Brooklyn, USA)

Upon hearing ‘Misshaping Introduction’ I experienced a ‘Wait! What???’ moment with this two piece band from Brooklyn. Arone and Aron – play for ten. All limbs are busy playing something, controlling pedals, or trying to prove that some people can and some people cannot touch their nose with their tongue (whoop whoop if you can). They play buke (a self-modified six-string former baritone ukulele), precussion, gase (Aron's creation of a guitar-bass) and a mix of home-made 'instruments' I cannot name – even adding reverb to acoustic instruments. Arone’s vocals hold their own, ducking, diving and soaring through the forest of strings, leading the way into something unique. To get a feel of what they can do – listen to the couple of tunes I singled out from their freshly released EP Function Falls –  amazing, me thinks.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

An interesting concept, doing it together - The Bedroom Hour and more

Today, for the first and may be the only time - Toons and Fishy attempt to write together. Why? Because we discovered the band almost on the same day, and have been silently tug-of-warring on who will write this one. Both will. Peace reigns.

OMG everything is so dramatic. Can't people have a vigorous debate over writing a blog without one party turning it into part of the blog hmmmm. Btw I do see the irony of me actually commenting on this little tug of "my blog would be different to your blog" war 


In upside/down world (Australia) Spring has hit, and in my little world that takes me to different places in my music library. As the gentle warmth of the sun starts awakes the dormant garden, so springs to life my desire to share new delights with my IDDs 

Bloody hell she is trapping me on the metaphorical shoulder. I better shut my dribbling down. Over to the Fishie one. 

You had to bring beautiful weather into this, didn't you? This past week has been one of great musical discoveries – and cringes. What made me cringe? ‘how to dress well’s cover of Janet Jackson’s “Again”. I was listening hoping it was going to turn into an obvious piss-take – but low behold – no one giggled. As usual, one digresses

Rolls eyes...stay on topic Oh Fishy one

But its been a couple of weeks of high expectation for me as well. With the release of Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon Cd and the impending release of The XX - Coexist. I'm like a kid at Xmas. I think  if I was to mention a cringe factor, I'm still trying to get over Brian May looking like John Pertwee in Dr Who from the Olympics closing ceremony LOL. 

I must admit. I'm not sure what the hell I was doing to have missed the introduction of The XX into the world but Ive fallen head over heals with the beautifully simplistic mesmerising sounds and lyrics. Like I mentioned in a tweet to a fellow blogger. They act like they are the coolest of cool. But if I could create atmosphere like they have, I'd probably think I was pretty cool too. The tracks I've heard so far bring a sense of excitement I've long since felt on a big/much anticipated release. With that though comes hole that needs filling 

I wasnt a big fan of joining Twitter, but Toon seemed to be getting all the limelight. So he dragged me in. I was wrong about twitter. In the few days I noobed around, I discovered numerous up and coming indie bands with loads to share and constant flow of recommendations which overwhelmed me with new discoveries by the hour. The long hard hunt for bands has become so much easier - they fall into your twitter lap - all you have to do is pay attention.

And so here enter The Bedroom Hour, not sure how we both managed to stumble across this 5 piece from London within 24hrs but it happened and here we are...

First impression on listening to these guys is that they know their craft, a nice blend of guitars and synth with a vocalist that knows just how to add to the music without to stamping a overbearing pressence. The bands says big influences are The Doves, Elbow and Death Cab For Cutie. Interestingly both Fishy and I, are strongly reminded of one of our favourite bands James.

These muso's have been around a while. The Bedroom Hour came about when other bands the members were part of came to a natural end. From the death of one musical journey there starts a new musical direction (OHHH back to the beginning of spring again). Anyway.....

We managed to catch up with the band for an interesting little session with the guys, where we asked the hard deep probing questions, and also some about their music

Hey Guys, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. And lets start off with a nice serious one.
The Bedroom Hour, Its a great name for a band. Are you hoping to make all your albums under 60mins so its like a name and a way of life?

If we are lucky enough to be signed or be in a position to release an album then it could well be a plan, no one likes  false advertising.

Very true, thats why Ill never buy fairy liquid or fish fingers stating 100% fish flavour. Gotta be some real fish in there someeeeewhere.

In your bio, you state you want to make credible music. What does this actually mean to you?
To us credible means honest, we don't set out to make music a specific way it just comes we have influences that inspire us and we would love to inspire others I would say that would be the ultimate accolade not money, not fame, but to look at new bands in 10,20 years from now and see our name under their influences. To leave a legacy like the bands we love have done.

Soundcloud and Reverbnation are great for getting your tunes out there. But do they make it hard for you to sell Cds or downloads. Is it a double edge sword? Your thoughts

I think it could be a double edged sword you do have to be careful, but at the same time it depends why you do it. We would love to be doing something we absolutely Love and and making a living from it, we have a lot of belief and faith in what we are doing, so lets just hope people that are as passionate about music as we are share the same belief in us.

We mentioned just a moment ago, The Bedroom Hour came about from the death of a couple of other bands. Is this band a gentle refining of a sound you were creating before, or a totally different entity?
It has grown up a lot but that is not a dig at our old bands, we had a great time in those bands. Its just we as people have all grown up a lot so therefore its only natural the music we make now and the statements behind the songs are maturer.

You guys are in based around London, and its been pretty tough time for everyone in Europe. The Bedroom Hour are a 5 piece.
If you had to cut one because of downsizing, who would be the first to go LOL....? (A long silence ensues) Fishy whispering to me....told you not to ask that question....shakes head. Apparently a short straw pulling competition was taking place.
Stu has done the honourable thing and taken the laws of chance in his stride... Everyone brings something to this band its a level playing field, we are all a spoke in a big wheel 

OK back to being serious
Out of your musical heroes, who would you like to work with in producing one of your future Albums, why?

George Martin has always been a hero of ours, the stuff he did with the Beatles later on in there careers is where we would like to go musically!

So atm, theres still 5 of you making fab music, great tracks.
Are the songs/tracks composed as a group or do you have a Morrissey/Marr thing going on?
A lot of the earlier stuff was written by Mark, Rob and Myself but we have found we have been writing much stronger songs as a band each component is as important as the next. either way works well but the end result is that all 5 members have contributed something special into our work.

Ok Guys we are nearing the end of our time together, just a couple of more hard hitting questions to make this a great unforgetable Q and A session.

I really like the work of the Banana Splits, great tunes, better costumes, even better names for band members, Are you guys fans of their work? If not, why not?

Can't say we are...

Really!!! (Toon crosses The Bedroom Hour of his list of favourite twitter bands)....Anyway What do you think made them unattractive to 5 likeable interesting blokes in this band....not a fan of four piece bands?

We think, as a band fame went to their heads, if they had kept a lid on their rock and roll lifestyle I am sure they could have been bigger than the beatles, but their wild ways cost them dearly....there is a lesson to be learned their kids.

Ever thought of costumes to improve your exposure?

Rob as a polar bear, Mark a Panda, while we just point and laugh.

(Luckily Toon only used a pencil to scrub your name out)
And finally, most important question of the session.
Who's blogs are better, Fishys or Toons....we assume you read them religiously

We could never make such a decision, so we tossed a coin but a low flying crow gathered it in his beak and flew off with said coin....we will never know.....paper,scissors and stone normally solves it.

Bugger that didnt solve anything. So one last question.....long standing arguement settler. Xbox or PS3? 

The old spectrum plus 2 was legendary X

Sighs......Not to worry, Im sure this will be sorted in the next blog

Well guys, thanks for spending some valueable moments in your hectic lifes with US. We really appreciate it. Good luck in the future and keep on making great tunes.

So there we have it, Our first and probably last Interview LOL..

On closing, the message is simple, if you want solid tunes in a comfortable listening range....Go to The Bedroom Hour and get busy. Couple of our favourite tracks attached. Go listen, and give the lads some feedback.

Spread the word

Fishy and Toon


TICP - Volume 5 - Sadly the last one

IndieTernational - Germany

IndieTernational - India

Grab It: Cross Wires #supportindie

IndieTernational - Greece

IndieTernational - Italy

Debut: Blockhouse Bay #supportindie


IndieTernational - Finland