An Interview with Devon More

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Devon More will soon be rocking into Edmonton & Vancouver with her Flute Loops. The Mumble caught her for a wee blether beforehand…


Hi Devon, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Devon: I grew up in Kamloops BC, and now live in East Vancouver, but I also spend a lot of time in New Westminster.

When did you first develop a love of performing?
Devon: I always wanted to be “an artist” – even before I knew what that was. At 6 years old, I learned my first instrument – the flute – at a summer music camp. Recently, my parents shared a home recording of me singing an “original song” (called “The Froggy Dance”) around the same age, so things haven’t changed much.

What are the strings to your showbiz bow?
Devon: I’m a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, though I think of myself primarily as a songwriter – and there is always an element of story to my work. I tour my original musical storytelling shows to festivals across Canada. I’m the frontwoman and guitarist for Hang Lucy – a Vancouver-based punk-pop indie rock power trio (also featuring John Pigeon on bass, and Ariane Tasca on drums). We just released our debut EP this spring! “Stroke of Luck” is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and all digital music outlets. I perform musical works of “edutainment” at schools across British Columbia, where I also conduct workshops with young people and work with educators on arts integration. And I started my own indie theatre series in New Westminster.

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Can you tell us about Way Off-Broadway Wednesday?
Devon: Way Off-Broadway Wednesday is the underground theatre series I run. It’s my effort to keep the “Fringe” spirit alive year round, and create a casual live performance space that is inclusive, unspoiled by market capitalism, and connects people face-to-face. It started by accident in November 2016: I was in the middle of a month-long run in the cozy cabaret-style back room of The Heritage Grill (a legendary local music venue in New Westminster, BC). And then He Who Shall Remain Nameless was elected on Tuesday, November 8th… Performing Berlin Waltz (my Cold War cabaret that details the history of the Berlin Wall and my years living in the city) the following night – to coincide with November 9th’s anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall – was strange: suddenly “Walls” were a hot topic again – and much closer to home. But it also was therapeutic and empowering to share the incredible story of the peaceful revolution enacted by ordinary people that ultimately destroyed the Berlin Wall and the oppressive regime behind it. I have been programming a different weird, wild, and wonderful weekly work ever since. Every Wednesday night, at 7pm, Way Off-Broadway presents a unique show, ranging from Fringe circuit hits, to intimate storytelling events, to first readings of brand new plays. And W.O.W. always operates at a postcapitalist price point: Pay-What-You-Want, with proceeds going directly to the evening’s performers.

What does Devon More like to do when she’s not performing?
Devon: Surf. Cycle. Swim. Be a super auntie to my 2 nieces and 1 nephew.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Devon: Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, and Ella Fitzgerald. I’d cook whatever was in season at the nearest farmer’s market.

You are bringing FLUTE LOOPS to the Edmonton Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Devon: Flute Loops is a comedic music-based play set at the rock concert of a hipster band: The Flute Loops have just gone viral, thanks to Thomas’ knack for translating face-melting guitar solos from classic rock into fancy fingerwork on the flute. I play Thomas’ girlfriend: a classical music-loving, quantum physics PhD student (and fish-out-of-water) who is filling in at the merch table for the evening. The concert doesn’t run as expected…and it might have something to do with my character’s thesis project, which aims to warp space-time – using the pressure of sound waves. It’s worth mentioning that she is heavily under the influence – of Stephen Hawking.

Where did the idea come from?
Devon: Flute Loops started at the intersection of music and math. I wanted the subject matter of this summer’s show to be relevant to my method of music-making. I often work with a loop-station so that I can live-mix the accompaniment for my songs, and in effect play several instruments at once; the result is a progression of patterns and intervals that made math seem like the natural choice. And math lead me to fall down the rabbit hole of Quantum Theory – which from a writer’s perspective is so rich with philosophical questions about the nature of space, time, and certainty. At it’s core, Flute Loops is an exploration of the “space between” – whether it be the intervals between music notes, the gaps in our subatomic structure, or the alienation we feel as humans.

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Can you tell us about the backing band?
Devon: If I am honest, I put a lot of my pet peeves regarding the worst of musician-types onto The Flute Loops’ band members. They’re a 4-piece band of attractive, straight white guys who managed to go viral thanks to a gimmick of instrumentation, sloppy, sexualized lyrics, and an infectious dance video. Thanks to this taste of fame, their egos have grown so big they can’t even be bothered to turn up on time for their audience. The Flute Loops’ also rely heavily on “samples” from pop music, which in turns inspires my character to sample some of the most famous riffs and licks – from the classical genre…! I had a chance to spend a month composing the soundtrack at the Lookout Arts Quarry (in Washington) this spring: the resulting indie rock songs explore the nature of space-time, and are embedded with traces of Ravel, Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven – among others.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets?
Devon: Flute Loops is a rock opera about quantum physics where anything that can happen does… Only suitable for patrons who like live music, strong female characters, and – this is important: who have a sense of humour. Another useful prerequisite would be a small degree of curiosity about the universe. We’ll warp space-time, and transcend all 4 dimensions…and sometimes the spirit of Stephen Hawking even swings by.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Devon More?
Devon: After spending 5 months on the road this year, I’m looking forward to a creative and productive autumn back home in East Van. I miss my Hang Lucy bandmates! We will be hitting local stages. I have a brain full of new story and song ideas to bring to fruition, along with an exciting season at Way Off-Broadway Wednesday.


FLUTELOOPS

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EDMONTON

Fri Aug 17 @ 8:30pm
Sat Aug 18 @ 12:15pm
Tues Aug 21 @ 2:30pm
Wed Aug 22 @ 6:00pm
Thurs Aug 23 @ 11:30pm
Sun Aug 26 @ 4:00pm
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VANCOUVER

Sat Sept 8 @ 6:15pm
Mon Sept 10 @ 8:15p
Tues Sept 11 @ 7:45pm
Thurs Sept 13 @ 5:00pm
Sat Sept 15 @ noon
Sun Sept 16 @ 8:15pm
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www.devonmoremusic.com

An Interview with Joanna Wallfisch

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Combining an incredible thirst for adventure & a superengelic voice, The Mumble were honour’d to grab a wee blether with Joanna Wallfisch…


Hello Joanna, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Joanna: I am from South London, live in Los Angeles, via New York & Paris, & as we speak I am in Edinburgh.

When did you first develop a love music?
Joanna: In the womb. I was born into a family of classical musicians. My mother is a violinist. But I fell in love with jazz when I was 11, with Ella Fitzgerald.

Can you tell us about your training?
Joanna: Well, like I mentioned, I grew up in a household of professional musicians, and after my undergrad in fine art I did a masters degree in jazz vocals. then I moved to NYC where I spent six years learning from the very best musicians in the world.

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Who inspires you musically?
Joanna: Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Beethoven, Moira Smiley, Joni Mitchell, Eva Cassidy, Carmen McCrae, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Laura Mvula, Sam Amidon, Bjork, The Beetles, the list goes on…

What do you like to do when you’re not being, well, musical?
Joanna: I love to swim and hike and be out in nature adventuring.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Joanna: Ella Fitzgerald, Henry VII, Junk Tabei. I would cook – smoked salmon with horseradish on toast, then a roast veggie risotto, then pavlova with passion fruit and raspberries.

You are bringing The Great Song Cycle Song Cycle to this year’s Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Joanna: It is a show based on my experiences cycling down the west coast of America solo. I tel the story through song and spoken word, create soundscapes with my voice, melodica and other instruments – a bit like a film score to set the scenes, and take the audience on a journey through the meditation of the road, adventure, beauties, strange things and people and more.

What are the key ingredients to the show’s style?
Joanna: Storytelling, intricate vocal harmonies, folk and jazz, playfulness.

What was the craziest thing that happened on your journey, & has it found its way into the show?
Joanna: All the crazy is in the show!!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in an Edinburgh street, what would you say?
Joanna: Do you like music and adventure? Come to see The Great Song Cycle, half price tickets if you have a flier?!!


The Great Song Cycle Song Cycle

13-18 – 12:05 @ Surgeon’s Hall, Theatre 2. The Space UK

20-25 – 20:35 @ Triplex Studio, The Space UK

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www.joannawallfisch.com

An Interview with Norman Maclean

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When it comes to Skiffle, Norman Maclean is the man, & he’s just about to bring his band to the Fringe…


Hello Norman, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Norman: Well now – I married the loveliest girl in the world 35 years ago and she gave me 2 lovely sons, though I did have a small input. We now live in Haddington, about 20 miles from Edinburgh. But I was born in a funny place called Australia (Sydney) about 100 years ago – my father had been sent there by the British government for some reason!

When did you first develop a love of music?
Norman: I came to the UK in 1960 and have always liked skiffle.

What instruments do you play?
Norman: I’m really a drummer but as you can’t really play drums on yer own, I took up guitar and now play it badly and sing badly. I formed the Soft Shoe Skiffle Band in 2000, and we’ve done the Fringe and other gigs since. There is Captain banjo – who plays that and mandolin v well and has been with me for over 10 years, and also a big double bass player (well he’s actually quite small but the bass is huge) and he’s been with me for over 12 years and also an elec guitarist, and a washboard player. I’ve wanted to do a Fringe show on my own for years as I play in a lot of care homes and day centres myself.

What does Norman Maclean like to do when he’s not making music?
Norman: When not playing music – I love skiing, windsurfing and fishing (trout and salmon). In fact I started and ran a ski shop in Edinburgh for about 25 years, and we had a windsurfing school at Cramond on the Forth for a few years – it really made no money but was very good fun.

You have been an integral member of the Soft Shoe Skiffle Band for for nearly 20 years – & youre playing at the Fringe this year. What songs have you got for us?
Norman: Some popular folk and pop from the 50’s to the 80’s songs are ‘My old Man’s a Dustman, Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight, Nobody’s Child, It Doesn’t Matter Any More (a great Buddy Holly song), Michael Row the Boat’ and many more.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Norman Maclean?
Norman: Since I’ve more or less stopped real work – business seminars on several subjects – the rest of 2018 will be taken up with some band gigs, and also I’m writing a book (more later); and much the most important thing is our Labrador got cancer a few years ago and we had to put him to sleep, and our sons gave us a new one last Christmas, and it is a real commitment. A lovely puppy needs a lot of training and attention, and he is only 8 months old, but we all love him to bits. I might train him up to take him into nursing homes and care centres, as a dog is great to show.


Soft Shoe Skiffle Band

Edinburgh Academy,
Henderson Row

Thurs 16th & Fri 17th August (19.00)

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Zach & Viggo and Thumpasaurus: Where Does the Love Go?

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Underbelly Cowgate

Aug 14-26 (21.20)


Welcome to the collaboration of the year. Welcome to the stunning fusion of youth & chemistry that is award-winning Zach Zucker & Viggo Venn; teaming up with LA-based, intergalactic dance force, Sun-Ra-inspired, Thumpasaurus. There is a story; set in a world taken over by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. A Frankenstinian doctor has created an anonymous worker for the company, played by Zach Zucker as the Pinnochio hero of the show. There is music; Thumpasaurus are just, like, ridiculously good, They look like a bunch of D&D kids, whose foot-stomping free-form jazz accompanies the action & whose bass player must have been born with a full size one in his hands, under some pool table in Santa Fe. There is dancing; of the Torrance Community Dance Group sort. There is clownerie, like Gaulier on ketamine, & above all there is laughter, lots of it. ‘That was like the Saturday Night Live sketches, but better,’ said my American wife, who should know.

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Last year we met this amazing funk band in LA called Thumpasaurus and convinced them to come out to Edinburgh. They had a killer run and afterwards their singer Lucas wrote a 20 minute opera called Where Does The Love Go. We decided to team up and built it out to an hour-long collaborative show that is going to be very serious and artistic. Zach & Viggo

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Where Does The Love Go? is an infinitely memorable show, very much of its time, an early record of humanity losing its soul to convenience. The stage on which it is set is simply ensembling with talent; Zach & Viggo are superbly accomplished performers while the band were, as I’ve said, exceptional. But there is more, for into the mix came the supercilious, carnival-barking character of Jeff Bezos, played by an actor I didn’t quite catch the name of, but actually outshone everyone else. Lets just call him MR X for now, & I feel the show should be renamed Mr X, Zach & Viggo & Thumpasaurus! By the way, I am still singing the operatic theme tune as I write this, such an ear worm it is! A truly remarkable hour!

Damo

Valerie

Summerhall
Aug 1-27 (21:15)


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The Summerhall was formerly a veterinarian college, & I’ve always found it pretty cool how their old lecture rooms are converted into performance spaces during the Fringe. Thus, when I found myself immersed in the curious comblending of kick-ass music & genetic science that is Valerie by New Zealand company, The Last Tapes, it was a perfectly serendipitous occasion. We are presented with a trio of enigmatic performers, whose ethereal stage presence beam’d into the room as if they were General Zod, Ursa & Non from Superman II. The soundscape is provided by Robin Kelly on cunningly-played keyboards, Tom Broome on splatterdash drums – a song called White Knuckle Trees was especially lucid – & the incomparable vocal talents of Cherie Moore up front. ‘Lovely as the wail of a Dingo‘ are her opening lines, & there is indeed something primal in her voice.

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Cherie Moore & Robin Kelly

Between songs, we have musically silent narrations from Kelly & Patti Smith style recitations from Moore over avant garde jamming from the boys. The chief ribbon of the piece is Kelly’s exploration of the mental health of his family tree, revealed to us at one point on the naked back of Moore, whose own place in the sheme as Kelly’s partner was pointed out by her as with some delight.

We’ve been in a relationship for nearly 10 years, so I’d say our working relationship is beautiful, and complex, and has a depth of understanding and empathy that can only come with that much shared experience
Read the full interview

The ultimate pondering convoked by Valerie is the question of nature-nurture; its connection to the mental health & familial inheritance – does nature really load the gun & nature pull the trigger? As an audience member I often found myself lost in moments of most thoughtful awakenings – this show attracts & fulfills the mind, & also makes one’s feet beat to the tune.

Reviewer: Damo

Photography: Andi Crown 

An Interview With Aletia Upstairs

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Aletia Upstairs has been waiting for the Fringe to warm up to her satisfaction before she makes her deliciously grand entrance this weekend…


Hello Aletia, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Aletia: Hello Mumble! I am from Cape Town and I’ve lived in London for 11 years.

You are currently in the 4th year of your PHD – can you tell us about it?
Aletia: My PhD is close to its end now. It’s entitled ‘An Imaginative Exploration and Performative Manifestation of the Richard Demarco archive’. For this reason, over the last four years, I’ve spent a lot of time at the Demarco European Art Foundation at Summerhall and a lot of time with Richard.

As a performer, what are the key ingredients to your style?
Aletia: Vintage songs, cabaret songs, jazz and singing song-writing. One could say acting through song with visual engagement and audience participation.

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Last Fringe your ‘The Artist as Explorer’ went down really well – how did you find the experience?
Aletia: ‘The Artist as Explorer’ was a collaboration with Richard Demarco about his legacy. I wanted to create a piece about his legacy as it was my final practice for my PhD I am doing on his archive. My favourite part of the practice was using his words as lyrics for my songs. The fact that we got a five-star review for that was certainly based on Demarco’s involvement. The songs from ‘The Artist as Explorer’ have now been recorded and will be released as an EP by the end of this year.

What have you got for us this year?
Aletia: ‘A Queer Love of Dix’ which will be on at The Planet Bar, at 6pm on the 11-14th and 19th. It’s a brand-spanking-new show that I created over the last four months since Kevin Short (Shortcut Productions) asked me to part of his new Ed Fringe venture this year. The title was his idea. It’s a catchy one for the Fringe. Set in the world of expressionist painter Otto Dix, (Julia Berber – Anita Berber’s fictional sister) sings Weimar cabaret songs and relates the Weimar period to contemporary events. I’m also doing another show, called ‘Bilbao is not in Spain’, a collaboration with Doctor Woof, on the 15th to 18th at the Planet Bar, also at 6pm. This cabaret show is about living life as the authentic you.

How did ‘A Queer Love of Dix’ come about?
Aletia: The starting point for this show was a call-out from a London venue, with very specific criteria to create a show about Cabaret and the Weimar Republic, focusing on Jewish Composers, which I applied for, but it didn’t get selected. Kevin Short from Shortcut Productions, who was my venue captain when I did ‘Mata Hari’ at the Fringe in 2013, contacted me and asked if I wanted to be part of his Fringe Season at the Planet Bar. I actually said no at first! I had performed at the Fringe four times and enough is enough! Or is it? I told Kevin that I had written a very vague proposal based on the criteria supplied by the London venue and I already knew most of the songs. This kind of show is something that I had wanted to do for a very long time as it really fits my performance style, so he managed to talk me into it. He’s been a friend since we met at the Fringe. That’s one of the amazing things about the Fringe — you make great friends. The difficult part was writing the text which had to relate the events of the period of the Weimar Republic to contemporary events…and the character. Because this was such a last minute decision, the poster image is a Dix painting rather than an image of me. It was a new process for me – starting to work from the poster image backwards. Am I going to be her – Anita Berber? How am I going to work with this image and give it a reason for being there? Another challenge was the German accent. I studied German for this show. It helped me with the pronunciation, understanding the German lyrics and of course, the accent, but I also had to study the accent separately.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in an Edinburgh street, what would you say?
Aletia: If you want to hear good singing and wonderful music, find out how the Weimar Republic relates to our world today and sing along – in a German accent – to some classic cabaret songs, come see it!


A Queer Love Of Dix

Planet Bar

Aug 11-14, 19 (18.00)

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www.aletiaupstairs.com

An Interview with Mike Marlin

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Mike Marlin & his superb Melomaniacs will soon be in Edinburgh. The Mumble are VERY excited…


Hello Mike, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Mike: I am from London and still live there, but I did spend 12 years living near Kilmarnock in Scotland and I am married to a Scot.

Mike: You’ve supported The Stranglers on their “Black & Blue” tour. How did you get the gig & how did it all go?
Mike: I grew up in the 70s and discovered live music when I was 17. It was an exciting time. I saw bands playing in tiny venues who subsequently went on to great things – The Police, The Clash, Elvis Costello, Souixsie & The Banshees and many more. I went to University and taught myself to play the guitar. I played bass in a band and wrote songs, but I never thought I would end up as a musician or as a singer. I dropped out of University and drifted into a dull backroom job at a little broking business in London. The company bought an early desktop computer and they gave it to see what could be done with it. I automated myself out of a job and left to set up a software business. To cut a long story short, I spent the next 25 years writing code. More from necessity than any entrepreneurial drive, I started various businesses to sell the software I had written. I had some misses and some hits – and found myself running businesses rather than creating things. I was bored. In my late 40s I was living in New York and decided to sell up and move home to become a novelist. I had always written – songs, poems, novels …. and the idea of sitting quietly writing appealed to me. Through a happy series of accidents I ended up making a record instead – and getting an agent – and getting the opportunity to support the Stranglers on their UK tour in 2010. I had never sung a song to another human being in my life, but given that I’d seen the Stranglers with about 12 other people at the Hope & Anchor in 1977, I decided that I could not pass up the opportunity of a lifetime. It went well and the core Stranglers fans accepted me as a member of the Stranglers family. Which was lucky, because apparently they turn their back on support bands when they do not like them … something their manager only told me after my first gig! I have supported the Stranglers on tours all over the UK, Europe and in America. 8 years later and Dust is my 5th record, and I still do not quite believe the strange turn my life has taken.

Can you tell us about AMP Music Productions.
Mike: I started AMP as a creative venture to develop my music as a publisher and promoter. The most interesting thing about AMP is that it is a nested three letter acronym.

What does Mike Marlin like to do when he’s not being musical?
Mike: I have four kids, one wife, two cats and a technology start up. So I am pretty busy one way or the other. But what I love doing most of all is sleeping.

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Who are The Melomaniacs?
Mike: Paul Silver, Kim Murray and I have worked together for 5 years on and off. They are both jazz musicians and have busy lives gigging all over the UK and abroad. At first they were members of my backing band playing my songs, but we wrote Dust together from scratch and now it is an ever evolving creative partnership. Danny Monk is our engineer in the studio and live, so he is also very much part of the band.

This August you are bringing DUST to the Fringe, what can you tell us about it?
Mike: Dust is a film with a live soundtrack. We set the scene and then play uninterrupted for 55 minutes. Everything is played by the Melomaniac trio without backing tracks or tricks. The film is synchronised to the live performance and not the other way round, and the our sound and video engineers are as much part of the performance as the band. We used footage from our journey across America and intercut it with vintage film to follow the mood of the music from the sombre to the humorous; from the fine detail to the majestic. The screen is 10m wide and 4m high and our goal is to take the audience with us on the journey through the good and the bad lands of America.

How did the idea come about, & how long has it taken to bring to fruition?
Mike: Dust was conceived by Paul Silver, Kim Murray and myself. It emerged from a series of free wheeling Monday night jam sessions in late 2016. We found that good things happened when we made things up as we went along. Before we knew it, we had an album. We dropped the ‘Mike Marlin’ prefix from the band name to reflect the collaborative song writing approach. Dust became more of a performance piece than a studio recording project and we decided to record it on the road as a single piece of music. We booked a journey across America in summer 2017, including various stops at studios along the way, including a stint with legendary producer Sylvia Massy. It was a return to familiar territory for us – we had toured America before and somehow it felt right. I have known Jean Luc for about 25 years. He is married to a childhood friend and lives in New York where he works as a professional photographer. We had never worked together before, but when we played in new York, Jean Luc would always come along and photograph the gig. We got talking about the Melomaniacs plans for Dust and Jean Luc volunteered to come along. He has a busy schedule as a photographer but squeezed in our desert adventure between photo shoots. Meanwhile I met Lee in 2009 when we made the video for my first single. Lee has a rare combination of skills – he is both creative and superbly organised – a very unusual combination in my experience! As a result we have collaborated on several videos over the last 8 years. Like Jean Luc, Lee volunteered to come along and film the trip across America. As we travelled, we all talked about how the film, images and the music might become a single experience. We became a six piece band with a shared creative vision. We got back to the UK and spent 6 months sifting through everything we captured to distil Dust into a record, a book, a series of images and a film. It’s this single vision that we are presenting at Edinburgh for the first time on a big screen. It is exciting – and slightly daunting.

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You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show on the streets of Edinburgh, what will you go for?
Mike: Either “If I gave you a fiver would you come to a show?” or “If Pink Floyd and Leonard Cohen had a love child, it would be called Dust”.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for yourself & the band?
Mike: We have no plans. But something good usually comes along… If all else fails we will write album 6.


DUST

Assembly Rooms – Ballroom

Aug 13-26 (21.30)

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