Tag Archives: beezewax

INTERVIEW: BEEZEWAX

I have been a massive fan of Beezewax ever since their debut album completely blew me away as a teenager in the 90s. They played locally several times in the late 90s/early 00s and every time was incredibly special. The band recently announced a mini UK tour which kicks off in less than 2 weeks so I caught up with singer/guitarist Kenneth Ishak to discuss the tour and his memories of UK tours past. Enjoy!

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IS THIS THING ON? – I first saw you when you played the tiny cardinals cap in Canterbury and instantly fell in love. It must have been 1998, what do you remember about that first uk tour?

Kenneth Ishak – Hey, glad you were there!
Well, I think that was our second UK tour, i can remember that show bit I can’t link it to any other shows, but the first and second tour in the UK was just a big change for all of us. We didn’t have that sort of scene at home, we were compared to many bands we had never heard about- we didn’t know what emo was. We were basically 4 kids who had hung together growing up- listened to dinosaur jr, hip hop, we were definitely not part of a scene except for our norwegian label LaNuGo which was a hardcore punk label.
Yeah, in Norway people didn’t care but we had just started anyways but got to go to the UK right away to tour with Spy Vs spy, they were the greatest band and people- we became pretty good friends and influenced by them. I almost puked before our fist show, we were on after them- they were so amazing and i had never heard anything like it- i was in shock! Then we had to play. But then people sang along to our songs, i sorta understood that whatever it was we were doing, people were into it.

ITTO? – I bought ‘A dozen summits’ at that first show on cd for £3, later someone told me that you’d made a mistake with the price and I’ve felt bad ever since. Is that true?

KI – Haha, we never felt bad- we just figured, lower the price and sell more. I remember in Manchester the whole crowd got in line after we played, yeah everything really fell into place for us on those first tours.

ITTO? – The other times I saw you were all in Margate at the legendary Lido. You had a big following here, what are your memories of Margate and did you get a similar response throughout the uk?

KI – We did, nice! We know there were at least some people there who liked us- someone told me they played a couple of our songs at practise even. I have many great memories playing at the Lido- especially one show that was packed and just really loud, probably one of my favourite shows ever. Last time we played there Stian our drummer was sick, and to be honest- we were not the same band, but yeah- there was a great crowd but we did not deliver so i am glad to come back. It will be our first show in 7 years so there might be a couple of fuck ups!

ITTO? – You’re playing Margate again as part of a UK tour in May with one of the most exciting uk bands at the moment, Playlounge, how did touring with them come about?

KI – It was just our label that did a little research- seems there are people discovering our older records, people who were 4 or something then- anyways Playlounge seemed to be into our stuff, and we sure like them so we asked if we could play some shows together, and they were into it. I am sure we will be blown away!

ITTO? – Have you got anything special planned for these shows? Will you be playing songs from all of your albums?

KI – Nothing special, to be honest- I don’t know what will happen but we have had fun during rehearsals.

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ITTO? – Do you have any plans to come back again yet?

KI – Yes, this fall we hope to cover places we couldn’t get to on this little tour.

ITTO? – And finally, what is your favourite band that you’ve ever played with?

KI – Again, Spy vs Spy, we have played with plenty of bands in different countries but nothing made a bigger impact i think.

ITTO? – Thanks Kenneth!!

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Beezewax will be playing the following shows this May:

May 22nd – Margate, The Bracket

May 23rd – London, Birthday’s

May 24th – Brighton, The Hope

May 25th – Portsmouth, The Registry

Is this thing on? is putting on the Margate show, please come down if you’re in the area. Here is the link to the facebook events page for the show – https://www.facebook.com/events/1425538981029584/

Thanks for reading. Get in touch here, http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, ittoblog@gmail.com or twitter @alex_itto

 

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 8 (30-21)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

50 – Ghosts And Vodka – Sex Is Popular

49 – Transit – Footwork

48 – Jejune – Solar

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

41 – At The Drive-In – Heliotrope

40 – Owen – O, Evelyn..

39 – This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

38 – Rites Of Spring – Remainder

37 – Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

36 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Theo B

35 – The Gloria Record – Grace The Snow Is Here

34 – Saves The Day – Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots

33 – Penfold – M

32 – The Promise Ring – A Picture Postcard

31 – Mineral – If I Could

To read more about these tracks click HERE for numbers 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81, HERE for no’s 80-71, HERE for no’s 70-61, HERE for no’s 60-51, HERE for no’s 50-41, HERE for 40-31. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

30 – Sense Field – Building

 One of the shortest, if not the shortest, songs on the list, the title track from the classic album of the same name zips by without giving you time to think. Just lose yourself in one and a half minutes of superb, energetic, punky pop brilliance. The guitars at the start, the verse, the catchy chorus, Jon Bunch’s killer voice and the way the song rocks out at the end all make for one hell of a song.

29 – Death Cab For Cutie – The Ice Is Getting Thinner

 Death Cab are one of few bands that can keep on going for years, releasing multiple albums whilst keeping the quality at a premium. Tucked away at the end of the 2008 album ‘Narrow Stairs’ is this beautiful gem of a song. ‘The ice is getting thinner’ has a special place in my heart as it’s my wifes favourite song, which is appropriate as it is amazingly beautiful just as she is (brownie points!!!). Ben Gibbard’s effortlessly lovely voice with simple yet brilliant guitars make this song a real treat.

28 – Dashboard Confessional – Turpentine Chaser

 You don’t get much more emo than Dashboard Confessional. It’s amazing how much energy that one man and his acoustic guitar can invoke in a room full of like minded people. My wife and I got to see him play at the tiny Metro Club underneath Waterstones in Oxford Street towards the end of 2002. I had heard about how the crowd would sing-a-long but it was still a shock when the crowd was united in one voice as soon as Dashboard started playing. ‘Turpentine Chaser’ is taken from his first album ‘The swiss army romance’ and is an emotionally intense example of Chris Carraba at his very best.

27 – Beezewax – The Snooze Is On

 In the latter part of the 20th century my friend Paul was asked if he’d be able to sort out a local show for a Norweigian band who would be coming to the UK shortly. He was given a copy of their debut album, ‘A dozen summits’, and from the opening chords of the first song ‘The snooze is on’ we (the whole of Margate) instantly fell in love. It is one of the most perfect slices of indie pop ever committed to tape, Paul put them on and then several times more and Beezewax became one of our scenes most loved bands. Brilliant.

26 – The Anniversary – All Things Ordinary

 The Anniversary are sometimes forgotten/written off/overlooked which is a damn shame as they made 2 very good and different albums. ‘All things ordinary’ comes from their more classic emo rock debut album ‘Designing a nervous breakdown’ and comes complete with awesome keyboards and excellent male/female duetting vocals. I saw them a few times live and I seem to remember at the 2nd show the drummer had adopted a look resembling a tennis player from the 1970’s which has to be said added to their appeal.

25 – Dismemberment Plan – What do you want me to say?

 I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I can count Dismemberment Plan as an emo band and I came to the conclusion that I don’t really care because this song is so good I would try and include it into any ‘best of’ list I was writing, even if it was a list of novety 90’s rap songs by kids who wore their clothes backwards. It is seriously good, one of the most instantly catchy choruses you’ll hear all year followed by the crazy where they keep yelling “hey!”. Amazing!!!!!

24 – The Appleseed Cast – Forever Longing The Golden Sun

One of the biggest problems you face when compiling a list of top 100 songs by yourself is choosing which songs to include and what to not, which ain’t good when you’re indecisive like I am. The problem is further exasperated when you are faced with an album as entirely brilliant as ‘Mare Vitalis’ where any of the 10 songs could make the list. I think I’ve made the right choice in ‘Forever longing the golden sun’, It’s classic Appleseed Cast, epic, beautiful and completely exhilarating.

23 – Far – Really Here

 This song subscribes to that old showbiz adage of ‘leave them wanting more’. It’s teasingly short in the fact that for 2 minutes the song builds slowly with Jonah’s sweet voice carressing your ears before launching in to the uplifting finale. As soon as ‘Really here’ ends you’re left shouting “Noooo” in a bad Darth Vader voice because you are just dying for it to continue. ‘Water and solutions’ the album ‘Really here’ is taken from is a classic which everyone should have in their collection.

22 – Pop Unknown – Half Of Ninety

 I love the way this song builds on the quiet, muted guitar riff that starts the song, gradually bringing in the drums, followed by the lead guitar melody and vocals. It has a real laid back beauty to it, the riff gets in your head and always makes me want to listen to the song again as soon it’s finished. ‘Half of ninety’ is taken from the bands first full length ‘If arsenic fails try algebra’ and Pop Unknown are one my favourite of the many brilliant Deep Elm bands.

21 – Hot Water Music – Remedy

 Hot Water Music have an extensive back catalogue of classic, brilliant albums but it’s on one of their later records that you’ll find this peach of an opening track. It’s the perfect song to blast out of your car speakers with the windows down as you pull away, makes me feel cool when I do (well, as cool as someone who drives a yellow Skoda can look). Brilliantly sung and briliantly loud as always. Still popular as ever, Hot Water Music recently sold out their upcoming show at the Old Blue Last in London in 12 minutes!! Such is the massive love for this band.

Thanks for reading again, its getting close to the end now. Again, let me know what you think either here or on Twitter (@alex_itto). The next part will go up soon. Cheers x

The Spotify playlist has been updated, click below for the link

Emo 100 (100-21)

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 4 (70-61)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

To read more about these tracks click HERE for no’s 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81 and HERE for no’s 80-71. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

 Track one from their first album ‘Silver Sweepstakes’, Knapsack create a sound so warm it feels like summer. Released in 1995 and sounding like it was from no other time period, ‘Cellophane’ is packed with charm and dirty guitars full of feedback. The chorus is full on lo-fi/emo/grunge magic, I could easily listen to it all day. Knapsack went on to release 2 more albums, after they broke up singer/guitarist Blair Shehan formed the Jealous Sound.

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

 For me this is the best track from their best album. ‘Dionysus Burning’ is taken from Elliott’s debut full length ‘U.S. Songs’ and highlights Chris Higdon’s beautiful voice at it’s most glorious. Switching from the brooding/slow building verse into a killer guitar riff and beyond. Great band.

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

 Forming from the ashes of the legendary band The Van Pelt, The Lapse released the stonkingly good album ‘The Betrayal!’ in 1998. At the end of a record full of art rock emo weirdness and some of the best indie guitar playing your likely to hear lies ‘We must move backwards to progress’ and boy does this song get in your head. I defy you to listen to it without then repeating “WE MUST MOVE BACKWARDS TO PROGRESS” non stop to anyone and everyone you see. If you have read my blog before then you are probably aware of the time I had a small altercation with the singer Chris Leo, if you haven’t then click HERE to read it.

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

 The members of Owls have, in various guises, can take full responsibilty for inventing and then re-inventing emo as we know it and influencing too many bands to name in the process. From the full on brilliance of Cap’n Jazz to the more abstract and interesting Joan Of Arc and onto the more straightforward and mature Owls, nothing these people have done has been less than genius. ‘Everyone is my friend’ is an uptempo, summery, toe tapping song of absolute joy!!

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

 When I was standing patiently waiting for Pianos Become The Teeth to come on stage last year in Margate, little did I know I was about to be blown away by another band altogether. Suis La Lune were a completely unexpected and completely welcome surprise. They can sublimely shift from the twinkly beautiful to the powerfully loud in a matter of seconds. They were recently added to the Topshelf Records roster so expect big things from these beautiful gents with a penchant for a good moustache.

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

 Taken from the ‘Poised to break’ album, I discovered this song on the Crank! records sampler ‘Stay tuned for the holidays’ and fell in love with the first listen. It is (nearly) 3 minutes of pop perfection, it makes me wanna smile, dance, do all sorts of crazy fun stuff all at once. Fantastically good.

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

 Any song from ‘The Echo and the Light’ could have easily been included in this list such is the quality of the record, but that would have been unfair to the other bands so I made a decision to just use my favourite, ‘Hiccups’. When the song reaches the part where it slows down and introduces the multiple vocals in the background it is blissfull, the song then bulds back up before fading out into a post rock dream. Wonderful!!!

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

 Without releasing a proper full length album Vitreous Humor still made their mark on ’emo’ history. They did release an EP, a couple of 7 inches and a posthumous compilation album called ‘Posthumous’, which ‘Sharin’ Stone’ is taken from. It’s a curious mix of a discordant bass riff on the verse which builds into a rocking, guitar driven chorus. And they were on Crank! which is shorthand for “they’re awesome”

62 – Beezewax – Dead end kids

 It seems sad now but I remember how excited I was when I got my first mobile phone that had the compose feature which allowed you to create your own ringtone. It doesn’t seem very much now, but, in the day it was a deal breaker. The first ringtone I ever programmed in to mine was the main riff from ‘Dead end kids’ by Norways finest, Beezewax, it sounded great and gave me immense pleasure. If you’ve heard the song then you’ll know why, it is pure indiemo pop at its greatest and this isn’t even their best song.

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

If 1991 was the year that punk broke, then 2002 was the year that emo broke. I’m basing this on by the fact the Reading festival that year was an emo boy’s dream come true and has to be one of the best weekends of my life. But I will always regret one thing, I forgot to go and see Death Cab For Cutie. They were first on in the NME tent on the sunday and I just plain forgot to go and see them. At the time I was ok about it but now the album they were touring at the time ‘The Photo Album’ is one of my favourite records. I kick myself to think I could have been standing mere feet away from Ben Gibbard et all playing this gorgeous song on a sunny sunday afternoon. Oh well, nevermind, I can still listen to the song and pretend I was there, and it’s a pretty damn good song.

Again, thanks for reading. I’m loving all the comments and the fact people are sharing this list is blowing my mind. Big cheers all round. Next 10 songs to be posted very soon x

UPDATE!! The next part (60-51) can be viewed HERE

I’ve updated the spotify playlist as best I can, click the link below for that.

Emo 100 (100-61)

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Not so dead and now operational, is there anyone left?

Well, would you believe?, the rumours were true.

This week 2 bands have announced their much anticipated returns, At the drive-in and Refused are both back and will both be playing this years Coachella Festival, California in April.

Both bands had been rumoured to reform in some capacity for a long time, mainly because people were so desperate for them to. There has been a big trend for bands to reform over the last few years, all with varying levels success, you could say that it’s been done to death but if you asked anyone with an interest in post hardcore what band would you still love to see come back you could bet good money on them saying either of these bands. In many people’s eyes, At the drive-in and Refused had both finished before their time and had left everyone wanting more.

‘Relationship of command’ broke At the drive-in big, but also broke them up. Just as soon as everyone knew who they were, they were no more. Refused, on the other hand, have been far more successful since they ended than they were when they were together, ‘The shape of punk to come’ is now the stuff of legend. It’s these reasons that people have been so keen for them to reform, When you fall in love with a band post their existence it’s hard to accept the fact that you weren’t there when it all happened. Getting them to reform and then getting to see them play isn’t the same as seeing them first time round, but it is the next best thing.

So will this signal the end of the trend for old bands to reform? We’ve tolerated it for some time and we’ve now got the ones we all wanted. Or will this trigger a whole new wave of comebacks? Are there anymore bands left to come back?

Here are five bands I would still love to see reform for my own selfish reasons:

5. Sleater-Kinney

The first time I saw Sleater-Kinney was in London in 1998. They were, of course, awesome but the gig was somewhat ruined by Jarvis Cocker! We watched from the balcony and he was stood next to us with, what can only be described as, a bunch of twats in suits, who all spent the gig talking as loudly as they could. The more he ignored the gig the more annoyed I got, the more the ‘suits’ emitted smug laughter the more furious I got. Of course, I did nothing about this, apart from the odd evil glare that I directed in their general area.

I saw them again a few years later, at Koko in Camden, just after they had released ‘The Woods’. They were incredibly loud, indescribably loud. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, they were completely on fire that night. I would so love to see them play again, Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band aren’t enough for me, they need to all be in the same band again.

4. Q and Not U

Q and Not U were a very special band. Equally as good when they were punking it up as when they were funking it out (if they are actual things). Every album was different, yet they always completely fitted with being on Dischord, they were constanly evolving and seeing the amount of different instruments they played when we saw them live was a joy. The music press seems to liken a lot of bands to Q and Not U these days, it would be so good for the originators to come back and show how it’s done.

3. Beezewax

Beezewax have got to be the quintessential indie emo pop band. Each album had songs on that could compete with any other songs ever written as some of the best slices of pop perfection that you could find. And they felt like our band. I don’t know how many times they ended up playing in Margate/Canterbury but it seemed so many they may as well have been a local band instead of from Norway. Everyone in our scene had a soft spot for them. I don’t know what happened to Beezewax in the end but would love them to come visit us again. One listen to ‘The snooze is on’ or ‘Dead end kids’ and I could be instantly in a good mood that will last for the rest of the day.

2. Smart Went Crazy

Does anyone else still listen or ever listen to Smart Went Crazy? Their 2nd album, ‘Con Art’, was one of the albums that I listened to most when I was at college in the late 90’s. It’s so interesting, they sounded like no other DC band, or like any other band for that matter. More experimental than your average post hardcore band they included lo-fi musical interludes in between songs and brilliant use of cello throughout the record. Can’t resist some good cello use. All of which was surrounded by brilliant song after brilliant song, the epic 2 part ‘DC will do that to you’ sounds just as good today as it ever did. They showed so much promise but broke up not long after the release of ‘Con art’, the Dischord site states “internal disintegration’ as the reason. A damn shame.

1. Mineral

Mineral, it has to be Mineral!!

This band, on top of any other, is the band I would absolutely love to reform. The ultimate emo band for any self confessed emo boy/girl. ‘End serenading’ is perfect, it’s faultless. It would be heaven to see them play live, I can just imagine standing there with a few hundred other 30 somethings, tears streaming down our faces, our arms out like a scarecrow singing in unison.

Mineral have achieved an almost myth like status. They are the actual stuff of legend. The penultimate song from their second album, ‘&serenading’ could well be my favourite song of all time. It certainly has the best ending of any song, EVER. When the 2nd chorus finishes and the build up starts with the layered vocals, singing about the “sound of the driving snow, that drives me home to you”, it sends chills down my spine. Breathtaking. They were a genre defining band. If they ever decide to give it another go I would cross heaven and earth to be there front row, centre.

Who would you like to see make an overdue comeback? Or is there any band that should definitely never reform?

Let me know, and as always: cheers guys x

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