"It is wonderful to be able experience art without understanding how it was meant or what makes it good." (Kim Boekbinder said that during an interview I did with her) I might not have the biggest knowledge about music but I have a great passion for it. Passion is what counts.
I live in Berlin, Germany (born, raised and still resident) and this is my personal blog about music and other things that cross my way. Things I love to be exact. And even though I am German and my English is still not perfect, this blog is in English.
In celebration of finishing my thesis and 19.000 followers I start a new series. It’s called “Sessions For The Heilewelt”. It’s a combination of interview and a live session recorded from my favourite artists exclusively for this blog. Download, listen and read the interview below. The first session is by singer-songwriter duo Stylusboy.
It’s a bit of a longer story of this whole session as I was very busy with my thesis. The result are two interviews in a frame of almost seven month and a huge change for Stylusboy. When I did the first interview via Skype, Stylusboy was the moniker of Steve Jones. He used to write and record with friends but usually was alone on stage. One of these friends was Rachel Grisedale. Me and Steve talked about this in the first interview.
Heilewelt: Would you like to have a full band “back”? I know you sometimes work with others and you have been in band but mostly you are on your own, so is it something you miss?
Steve: hmmm, I miss the feeling of it all coming together with others live - it is magical when you nail it live but i really enjoy trying to hold an audience with just me and guitar. I may do some band work in the future.
Heilewelt: and all the pressure is just on your shoulders?
Steve: I don’t really feel it as pressure, more challenging.
Heilewelt: As I am watching a few other singer songwriters, too, there is always a point when a band gets involved.
Steve: I do enjoy it when Rachel Grisedale comes to sing with me.
Heilewelt: She also writes with you.
Steve: Yeah we wrote beyond the flags together and some of ‘Something worth keeping’. We are working on a new song, too.
Heilewelt: So, there seems to be some good chemistry between you both?
Steve: Yeah, we are a good friends and like a lot of the same music, I have know Rach for years so it is great!
Heilewelt: Yes, I have heard you mentioning her a bit. Is it difficult to write with someone else? Or does it depend? Do you think you could write with a stranger?
Steve: It is good to write with someone else, like a sounding board, Rach contribute lyrics and gives opinions on the chords. I have also written a song recently with my friend and fellow musican Wes Finch. One day we will record that.
Now Stylusboy is a duo. Steve Jones got Rachel Grisedale into his boat just two months after we did the first interview, so we did a second interview with Rachel. The live EP “Session For The Heilewelt” features six songs as you saw incl. a cover of “It Must Be Love” by Madness.
Dörte Heilewelt: I like “It must be love”-nice to hear you singing a full song
Rachel Grisedale: it’s nice to sing a full song actually…it was a bit nerve wracking as it obviously put’s me more in the limelight; but i enjoyed singing it! Thanks for the kind words! Steve sorted the arrangement
Heilewelt: Haven’t you sang full songs before (in general, not specifically with Steve)?
Steve Jones: Rach is doing more now. Particularly for the album which is exciting.
Rachel: I have sung with bands before; but I’m usually in the background, so it’s really exciting to get stuck in on some leads! Challenging and exciting!
Heilewelt: How come you guys started to do it more as a duo instead of Steve alone?
Steve: Rach has always sang on the Stylusboy recordings and we have started writing songs together on “Whole Picture EP”. “Beyond The Flags” is a co write. Then we started writing more like this for the album and decided to make Stylusboy a duo. We talked about changing the name but decided it was unique brand name really.
Rachel: It made sense after working together for so long, and that was the way the songwriting was heading.
Heilewelt: It wouldn’t really make sense to change the name as you already have a fanbase and even people who just follow what you do loosely have heard of Rachel.
Steve: yeah she makes the music 100 times better anyway!
Rachel: aw thanks! haha!
Heilewelt: I think your voices fit together really well-you do have a warm touch to your music, don’t you?
Rachel: Yeah the type of music we are currently producing is quite sunny I guess. The newer songs might be getting a bit darker.
Steve: Some of the themes of the songs are a little darker maybe. One is about a father who goes away from his family in war
Heilewelt: Because it happens so often lately again? Well, actually there were little times when no one had to go to war. How come you chose that topic?
Rachel: Steve had taken a walk through our local park where there is a war memorial and felt that he’d quite like to write a song that tackled the subject of war and all the men that had been involved over the years
Heilewelt: and women…
Rachel: Yeah, I guess he was looking at it from the perspective of being a man himself, and so how he would feel as a father or husband. We looked at it from a universal perspective, too.
Heilewelt: It just depends on the point of view which he used to write the song.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s quite an epic chorus actually…new for us.
Steve: Yeah. It is good working as a team writing songs.
Heilewelt: How did it change your writing, Steve? And how do you write together like from the start on or are you bringing your bits together and see what the other one thinks?
Steve: Well, it made the process a lot more thought out and interesting. [We are] both suggesting ideas for melody and lyrics. It changes for each song really. Sometimes I come up with a melody and then work out chords for it, then we come up with lyrics.
Heilewelt: How did you started singing, Rachel?
Rachel: I’ve always been into it, from an early age I remember the Beatles and 50’s/60’s music being played throughout the house then i taught myself how to play the guitar and the singing followed on not long after that. I’ve been performing since I was about 14.
Heilewelt: Do you play an instrument as well Rachel?
Rachel: Guitar and a little keyboard; but wanting to learn the piano currently…but as with everything, it’s finding the time in amongst work and doing the current music stuff. I will find time eventually!
Heilewelt: A day could have 30 hours and it’s still not enough.
Steve: It’s great timing for the session as its like an mid point between Whole Picture EP and the album.
Rachel: Over the next few months, the focus will shift to songwriting and polishing up the new songs that we have been working on, so gigging will be less
Heilewelt: Writing and polishing can be just as time intense.
Rachel: Yeah, definitely, and we don’t want to rush it
Steve: We have a monthly residency in a lovely venue between September and December where we will try out new songs
Heilewelt: That is nice. Where is it? And how did get it?
Steve: In Kenilworth, we got it through a friend. We have been playing there for a few years on and off
Heilewelt: Is it sometimes challenging to play in a restaurant? Do people eat while you play?
Steve: Yeah, sometimes but its a lovely place to play and try things out. The Ego gigs give us chance to play to people to often don’t go to our usual gigs, too.
Rachel: It’s without too much pressure, it’s really enjoyable, the staff are really friendly and make us feel at home!
Heilewelt: It always depends on whats around you, right?
Rachel: In terms of the pressure?
Heilewelt: If it is enjoyable or not…
Rachel: Yeah, most gigs we do are really enjoyable to be honest…the folk crowd are a lovely bunch!
Heilewelt: Compared to other music fans?
Rachel: haha! no, as well as other music fans!
Heilewelt: Folk fans occasionally seem to be more polite and behaved.
Steve: Every audience is lovely and unique.
Heilewelt: You should know as you have played in bands with quite different music styles…
Heilewelt: Have you played in bands with different music styles as well, Rachel?
Rachel: Not as much as I’d like to; I’ve done a little trad Jazz, which I suppose was probably the most different!
Steve: I have played in rock bands but i enjoy this acoustic folk the most.
Rachel: Acoustic stuff is mainly what I listen to these days
Heilewelt: What did you listen to when you were young? How did it change?
Rachel : Lots of indie/britpop…rock….I think as I’ve got older, my music tastes have broadened…they’re not as narrow.
Steve: I listened to a lot of music as my dad was into lots of music then I discovered bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. My tastes have broadened, too.
Rachel: I like anything from classical to dance to rock to pop.
Heilewelt: What music was your dad into or was it meant in general?
Steve: he likes loads of different music, lots of Folk, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and people like that.
Thank you for the interview, Rachel and Steve!
You can see them live at Greenbelt Festival:
25th August – G Music Store (1pm)
26th August – The Shed (8.50pm)
and monthly gigs at The Ego.
Thank you for reading, downloading and listening,
Happy 3. advent Sunday with one of my favourites of this year Stylusboy and his Snowflake Sessions. It’s a collection of Christmas songs for free download. What else do you need to get your Christmas mood together?
Have a good Sunday,
I have mentioned Stylusboy aka Steve Jones already a few times here and there on this blog. Last time when he released the wonderful video to “Whole Picture” (here). And now it is time for the EP to the song. Sometimes it feels like it was out already - he did all he can to make me waiting for it almost impatiently. He has been playing lovely little online gigs for people who don’t have the chance to see him live and posted a couple videos where he covered songs in the last weeks. That is how you build up anticipation.
His music is Folk and a bit of Pop in a wonderful summery melodious mixture. His music is acoustic. Especially the first song “Whole Picture” shows it. I think the glockenspiel makes it sound very light. Sometimes it seems everything sound lighter with a glockenspiel. The backing vocals are by Rachel Grisedale. They sound very harmonic together - I mean the sound of their voices, as if they are made for each other. They coat you like a warm summer rain.
The first two songs are a bit more “up beat” and then it he goes into slower, partly darker and “simpler” melodies. “Simpler” doesn’t mean anything into the direction of worse. They are heartfelt and just leave a lot more room for the lyrics to unfold. Like in “Dave’s Song”, the last song of the EP, which is a song that makes me sad but also is spending comfort with its words. It is about grief and lost. The complete opposite to the first song. The EP makes you go through the emotions - like love, lost, friends, hope… so very beautiful.
He might play another online gig next week (mid week probably) and I can recommend you to watch it. If you sit around at home, you could at least watch something lovely and charming and maybe even someone who drinks a bit of tea. If you want to know when you might want to follow his twitter: http://twitter.com/stylusboy.
Thank you for reading,
I stumbled over a lot of new and shiny videos this evening and thought it would be nice to share them with you. One each day for the next seven days.
Number 1: The very charming and lovely Stylusboy with the video for “Whole Picture” - sweet folk with delicate melodies:
Actually I should do something different now than writing my blog. I should listen to another mumbling competition or study but I think I have to get something off my chest before I can continue doing these I kind of things today. It has been on my mind all morning and I can’t really focus on the stuff I should do. This week has been mediocre - good music wise (will write about this in a bit) and then I found out once more that I am very thin-skinned when it comes to certain things. The thing is that I already get nightmares of horror movies - I’ve been forced to see “Scream” when I was like 17 and even though it is more than 10 years back I still see the scene in the garden when I am home alone an let down the shutters to our backyard or the one with the garage door. I still see the end scene of “Haunted House/Castle/whatever” which I saw when I was 18 and my ex boyfriend tried to convince me that it is a happy ending. Or when I read the book to “Seven” - I had to stop somewhere in the middle because I got heavy nightmares of it. This was all at the same time of my life and since then I refuse to watch anything that is close to horror - except that one time a friend got me “Pans Labyrinth” for my birthday - she thought it was less horror and more like story for kids. Very wrong. Nightmares… I had to watch it to the end, thought it might be better then. So, I am already not good with dealing with fictional horror.
Dealing with real horror is even worse. I know it is there a lot of it and mostly I kind of avoid dealing with it to be honest. It is certainly not the right way but it brings me down so badly that it takes me days to get back on track and to get it off being constantly on my mind takes me much longer. And at the moment I need me to be sort of ok there just to get through a normal day already. But that is me. A friend of mine changed his life in a big way because of things like animal testing and all this stuff - he became vegetarian. I have a huge respect for him doing this (I might not have seemed like this but thats the way it is, Scott. You rock!). I am not so good with words sometimes. I admire everyone who is doing the things he needs to do to find himself and to be happier. One of my principles is take everyone as he comes (accept everyone the way he is, try my best there) and when he wants to change go along with it and be supportive - if that makes sense. It is mostly good to change yourself in order to be more satisfied with yourself. Sometimes this actually happens without noticing it. I think I changed quite a bit during the last year or two. I got more open and sometimes less shy (considering that I told Slash my opinion on Monday! Read here: http://heilewelt.tumblr.com/post/674668411/slash-apologized-to-me). A friend of me told me that as well and I refused it to be true but I think it is. I might have changed a bit. I think I lost some weight due to doing sport as well but I am not sure. I didn’t really checked it because it always sets up some kind of pressure and I didn’t want that. I have done enough diets in my life and lost enough weight and gained enough weight again to come to a point where I think that it is good to do something, eat less sweets and all that. Changing a little bit to feel better with myself. Once you feel good about one part of yourself, the rest will follow. :)
This was the personal part of my blog - something I wanted to avoid but yet just can’t. On the other hand I had a fabulous week music wise (even the Slash concert had its ups). It all started of by the arrival of the new single of the Elephants (yet another great signing of Alcopop records - the only favorite record label I have). It came with a unique cover (1 of 100 polaroids) and I think I got a pretty awesome one:
I love their song “Strong Arms”. I have been listening to it for days and barely could turn something else on. I love the beginning:
"If I saw your cheeks were wet. And the tears rolled down filling the room with water.
I’d build us both a boat. To keep us save until our heads reach the ceiling.
'cos I still know, yeah I still know, 'cos I still know we'll be alright
And with strong arm I will hold you tight and make everything alright…”
Maybe it is because of me being me at the moment and strong arms are just what I would need sometimes. But the song is a lot of fun as well. I just wanna dance to it (my inner self wants to dance). It makes me smile. So, the melody makes me want to dance and the lyrics give the feeling that there are still those guys with strong arms who can make everything ok. They give that good feeling you just sometimes need. Listen to them: http://www.myspace.com/fullyelephants!
Another awesomeness came 2 days later. Everyone who knows me, knows I love awesome wrappings. And you can bet that if someone puts the download link to his EP into a fortune cookie that I’ll buy the the fortune cookie! Downloads are just so boring. It is the fast food of music (for me at least). The awesome guy who did this is Sam Little and the EP is called “Trust me, something beautiful will happen”. He is one of those Artists I heard much good about but refused to listen to because I didn’t had much money and wanted to save some (haha). Idiotic way of thinking. I love his EP. I think something beautiful happens when you listen to it. He makes this perfect summer singalong songs of which you don’t grow bored or tired after listening to them more than 3 times. I felt a bit weird being that excited about a fortune cookie. But I was. Huge smile alarm. I took some photos while unwrapping it :D So, maybe you feel the awesomeness and regret not ordering one ;)
Here is the wrapped cookie:
I love this comic book style writing of his name as well. And here is the cookie:
Can you feel the awesomeness? I love it. I love these kind of ideas. Is it too much to say they make the world a better place? Probably yes but they are a mood saver. They will rescue any stupid day. :)
You can listen to Sam Littles music over there: http://www.purevolume.com/SamLittle and probably fall in love (I did, you should). I highly recommend it.
And then I also got “Don’t Blame Yourself, It’s In Your Blood” from Shoes and Socks Off. It is a three CD set with bonus material so quite a lot to listen to and watch and lyrics -you probably know the deal. It takes a bit to get through all :) Love it. And there is this nice video of him to the song “Smithereens” (need to remember that when I write my blog of beards. haha):
I really like him and I like his voice a lot. Voices are so important to me. I would love to see him live because I have heard some recordings and I think they are pretty nice! :)
And a band that I missed to see live last week (a bit gutted about it but sometimes I just can’t force myself to do things): Mimas. Got their “The Worries” as well yesterday (not really a new record). Didn’t had much time to listen to them completely but yes, I like them.
And then this guy called Stylusboy added me on twitter and send me to a website to listen to his music and download it for free (here: http://stylusboy.bandcamp.com/). His music fits into my little folk loving heart (you know, this Ten Out Of Tenn thing loving side of me - such a great compilation). He has got a style close to the music on this Album with a very warm voice and his background singer makes it very beautiful. (Yep, the most professional “Warm voice” term. Don’t know how to say it in another way.)
I think the music universe wanted to make up for the other issues I had last week. Sometimes I feel like music is my only saver when everything goes wrong it is still there to get me through. Ok, only is a bit too much but things would be much more worse without it. I love music for just being there. :) I wish I had the time to write a decent article about every single band/singer I mentioned today. :/
On the other hand I wasted a bit of my time to write postcards that I found (while cleaning my room) from my vacation in California in 2008 with little stories from that vacation and send them to whoever wants one. I made them really beautiful. If you fancy one then give me a shout. I’ll happily send one over (wherever that is and no matter if I know you or not). The first feedback was very positive. :)
To make other people smile, makes me happy. You know, I just want to see you happy. That’s it.
Thank you for reading and have a great week.
P.S. Slash apologized to me. Come on, that is great, isn’t it? (Mainly because of me being brave enough to tell a legend my opinion even it was about such useless stuff.)
P.P.S. Maybe not that long. Posted a lot during the week.
P.P.S. Very beautiful song, wonderful video by Sxip Shirey! ‘Brooklyn Bridge Song’ -http://nyti.ms/cQ2rJB