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Updated: 2017-08-16T11:08:07+01:00

 



“This is the dream”: DiS Meets Everything Everything

2017-08-16T11:08:07+01:002017-08-16 11:08:07 +0100

The Manchester band talk about fourth album A Fever Dream and the madness that seems to have enveloped the world When I pick up the phone to speak to Jonathan Higgs, lead singer of alt-rock titans Everything Everything, he tells me he has spent all day painting a wall in his house. “I’m painting it green. Apparently it makes you go mad if you paint a wall green.” His madness may have already taken hold. As we speak, Higgs is streaming Fox News into his Manchester home. “I watch quite a lot of American news because it’s funny. It’s like a strange play, and watching the way they interpret the same stories as we do but in that ridiculous way, and the bizarre way they look, is hilarious. I quite enjoy it.” It’s a funny image. I’m sitting in a busy cafe just off London’s Regent Street, straining to hear Higgs above the coffee machine and children’s cries. He is the lead singer of a successful four-piece band whose records have racked up Mercury Prize and Ivor Novello Award nominations, and whose much anticipated fourth record, A Fever Dream, is set for release this Friday. Meanwhile, Higgs is sitting at home, choosing to stream one of the world’s most bizarre, most biased, and most problematic news channels into his house, purely for entertainment value. width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VrLfU45Gi2w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> His keenness to find hilarity and amusement in feats that would otherwise be fearsome or dangerous is a theme which runs throughout our conversation, and this insistence on finding humour in the horrific is by no means lost when it comes to the band’s music. As a title, A Fever Dream is at once soothing and startling. Higgs explains it to me. “I was trying to think of a way to encapsulate the feeling that's been slowly swamping everybody for the past couple of years and it seemed like that was the best description I could find. It’s very surreal – A Fever Dream feels right for when everything is changing in front of you. Sometimes it's nightmarish, sometimes it's amazing, and no one really knows why.” The song which lends its title to the album is notably softer and more beautiful than the sound with which Everything Everything have made their name. More often than not, their music is comprised of jarring chords and revved-up riffs, with Higgs’ distinctive fast singing providing a call for arms over the top. Instead, ‘A Fever Dream’ begins with a delicate piano counter-melody. Higgs declares it a lullaby. “It’s ‘go to sleep - it’s just a dream’ and then when you actually go into the dream it’s darker but hypnotic. It’s almost wanting it to be a mantra that gets said as you make your way through life. ‘I see a fever dream’ is a way of saying ‘I recognise that everyone’s feeling like this’, rather than saying ‘Isn’t everything terrible?’, or ‘Isn’t everything great?’ I’m just saying, ‘This is fucking weird, isn’t it?’ That’s the idea.” While countless musicians are writing about our planet’s impending doom, it takes a very blunt human voice to simply acknowledge a feeling and label it, rather than feel inclined to get angry or upset, or start attaching any emotional response. Does he think Donald Trump is really going to start a nuclear war? “It doesn’t even raise my eyebrows.” All Higgs can stop to say is: “This is it. This is the dream.” This insistence on labelling and observing ridiculousness, and taking an outsider’s observant perspective, has led to an album of incredibly inventive songwriting. At a July gig at London’s Heaven, one of a handful of shows where these songs were played live for the first time, the band opened with ‘Night Of The Long Knives’, a gruelling title for a raucous song which opens the record too. The historical reference to Hitler’s violent clambering for power is unmistakable. On the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, Nazi officials purged leaders of the SA, intending to consolidate Hitler’s absolute hold on [...]



"I don't particularly like playing live": DiS Meets Opeth

2017-08-16T11:14:35+01:002017-08-16 09:47:00 +0100

We spoke to founder member Mikael Åkerfeldt about the band's longevity and why he dislikes playing live Opeth have been one of the most innovative bands on the metal circuit for nearly three decades. Having formed in 1989, the Stockholm based five-piece have gone on to release twelve albums since 1995's debut Orchid. Fusing influences ranging from prog and ambient rock to death metal and more besides, they've been cited by many bands down the years not only as a main source of inspiration but in some cases a reason for their existence. Currently playing the final few shows of what's been a long summer on the European festival circuit before returning to the UK for a handful of shows in November, DiS spoke to founder member and lead vocalist/guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt about the longevity Opeth have enjoyed throughout their 28 years and why he dislikes playing live. --- width="540" height="304" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/98wXIjkO4i0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> DiS: You've played a lot of festivals this summer. Which has been your favourite so far? Mikael Åkerfeldt: For me personally I like the smaller festivals. Ones where they have time to cater for your needs rather than just ship you in and straight again after you've played. Finnish festivals are the best. They have great food and it's always in a beautiful place. Whereas with the bigger ones it's easy to get lost because there's usually so much going on. You formed Opeth 28 years ago and you're still one of the most forward thinking metal acts today. What would you say is the reason for your longevity? Just sticking around I guess? We've been lucky in the sense there's always been some type of interest for us. Every record label we've ever been on always picks up the option for us to do another album. Which then leads onto another tour and inevitably the band ends up building its fanbase. I'd like to think the quality of our music has something to do with it too. I think we've always done something a little different to most of our peers. Opeth have always incorporated a diverse range of sounds, styles and ideas into their music. Are there any other directions which you see the band's music heading in the future? I'm a rock guy generally so I guess we've pretty much exhausted that kind of thing. There's always much more you can do with any genre. Although at the same time, there is no specific genre I'm particularly interested in or want to bring into the band. Because I'm a pretentious guy I'd love to have more strings incorporated into our music; we worked with strings on the last two records and it sounds so beautiful. So maybe that? I know it's been done to death by a shitload of bands but we haven't done it as much so I think it's something we'll definitely come back to at some point. Your most recent album Sorceress came out last year. Are thee any plans for a new record? No. Nothing actually. I demo stuff with pro-tools and I've actually forgotten how to use them so before we start thinking about a new record, I'll have to relearn how to use pro-tools first. It's been a while since I wrote; I start writing and then I finish as soon as the record is done - I don't write a little bit here and there, I prefer to write everything together in one go. We've been touring a lot this year so I've not really had time, and I don't have any ideas at the moment either. You're playing some shows in the UK in November. What can fans expect from the shows? Will the sets be mainly based around the last record or will they be more career spanning? The album will not by brand new by November but it will still be a Sorceress tour so I would expect us to play at least three songs from that album every night. We normally play a lot of shows when we tour the UK but because we played Wembley last time round we aren't doing as many on this tour. I'd like to think we'll mix it up a bit. Play some songs off most if not all of the albums. We haven't really discussed it yet, to be honest. We're touring with [...]



Dutch Courage: DiS Does Dekmantel 2017

2017-08-16T09:34:02+01:002017-08-16 09:34:02 +0100

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A forward thinking event that doesn't rest on its laurels

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It’s safe to say that there aren’t many electronic music festivals like Dekmantel Festival. Spanning over five days this year, the Dutch festival showcased once again some of the best local and international talents. It's almost flawless organisation is without any doubt the results of years of experience by veterans of Amsterdam’s electronic music scene.

Much like last year, the festival opens on Wednesday and Thursday with a series of concerts in indoor venues along the river IJ. The concert hall Tolhuistuin, accessible in a few minutes by ferry, hosts a night dedicated to experimental electronic musicians. Forest Swords, whose new and highly-anticipated album is now out, brings his trademark blend of heavily distorted guitar riff loops interlaced with barely recognisable hip-hop and R&B samples. Later in the night, Actress pleases the crowd with an audiovisual live show and his unique sound resulting from the collision between R&B and electro.



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From here on, you're on your own. Head to Garage for some rock, to Landmark for some indie, or to Østre for some electronica. Then sleep tight. Or go to nachspiel.

For Nature

Head to Floyen for a great view of the city. It takes roughly 30 minutes to walk to the top. Or head to Ulriken for an even greater view of the city. It takes a little longer, but you can use this gondola kind of thing. Ice cream at the top. Treat yourself.

That's it. If you do some of this, you'll probably enjoy our city. Other than that, just be yourself, smile, and don't be afraid to talk to strangers. Bergen people love to talk. Eat, drink, dance. Pub, club, sleep.


Photo Credits: Stephan Naphets, except "Muskedunder" (by Christiane Huseklepp).

![105014](http://dis.resized.images.s3.amazonaws.com/540x310/105014.jpeg)