Monday, 20 April 2015

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Will soon be updated regularly.

Blurred Lines - News

R’n’B musicians Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have been ordered to pay over $7million to the family of the late soul artist Marvin Gaye, after ruling that their Grammy nominated hit single ‘Blurred Lines’ copied one of Gaye’s tracks.

The family of Marvin Gaye, who died in 1984, have been awarded $7.3m (£4.8m) in damages, after the court ruled that there were too many similarities between ‘Blurred Lines’ and Gaye’s 1977 hit ‘Got to Give It Up’.

After his death, Gaye left the copyright to his music to his three children, Frankie, Nona, and Marvin. Along with the Gaye family lawyer Richard Busch, they have recently tried to stop all distribution of ‘Blurred Lines’ until an agreement about how the royalties will be shared in the future was met. Busch said that “We'll be asking the court to enter an injunction prohibiting the further sale and distribution of Blurred Lines unless and until we can reach an agreement with those guys on the other side about how future monies that are received will be shared.” 

Marvin Gaye’s wife Janis spoke of the trial, claiming that it was a very emotional time leading to the verdict being read, claiming that her “heart started pounding”, but that she ‘still had faith that the verdict was going to go [her] way”.

Gaye family lawyer Busch called Williams and Thicke liars, before accusing them of outright copying ‘Got to Give It Up’. Williams has admitted that he grew up listening to the music of Gaye, and has acknowledged that there is a likeness between the two songs - but maintains that he simply drew influence when he wrote the song, stating that he was trying “to channel that late 70’s feeling”, and denied copying the hit. Thicke stated he had minimal input into the writing of the song.

Thicke and Williams are thought to have earned around $5m (£3m) each from the hit, which was the highest earning song of 2013.

The duo’s lawyer, Howard E King, was extremely unhappy with the decision. “While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today”, he said, before adding that the decision “sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward”, and that it would have a “chilling effect on musicians who were trying to pay homage to another artist’s sound”.

King said that he and his clients are “reviewing the decision and considering [their] options”. It is thought that Williams and Robin Thicke will appeal against the verdict. 

Blurred Lines - Opinion

Earlier this week R’n’B stars Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered by a jury to pay over $7m to the family of Marvin Gaye, after it was ruled that their single ‘Blurred Lines’ was a copy of Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up’. 

Having listened to both songs one after the other, I can admit that there are similarities between the two. However, to me it seems ridiculous to say that it was a blatant copy. Marvin Gaye and Pharrell Williams aren’t the only two people to have used a similar groove and drum beat - which is where the similarities between the two songs in question ends. Pharrell has made no secret of the fact that he grew up listening to Marvin Gaye, and there are plenty of videos online of him admitting that he took influence from ‘Got to Give It Up’. Pharrell has produced plenty of chart topping songs over the years, and since ‘Blurred Lines’ was released he has produced more - ‘Happy’ is permanently on the radio somewhere - so it’s not like he even needs to plagiarise to create a hit.

Pop artists in the charts today will take influence from artists they grew up listening to, and may want to pay homage to the music that inspires them. But when does it become plagiarism? Bruno Mars’ recent hit ‘Uptown Funk’ has a similar drum groove and guitar part to countless Funk classics, but to suggest that it has copied any song is ludicrous - this style of playing is a key characteristic in the genre. Plenty of other music in the charts now is heavily influenced from old music as well - Meghan Trainor’s singles are essentially Doo-Wop classics repackaged for the modern listener - but it’s hardly plagiarism. 

It baffles me how ‘Blurred Lines’ has been deemed a rip-off, when the similarities are only minor, yet over the years there have been genuine copies in the charts that have just been allowed to happen. The introduction to One Direction’s ‘Best Song Ever’ is undeniably the exact same intro as The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’, and the intro to One Direction’s ‘Live While Were Young’ is completely interchangeable with The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’, down to the muted guitar strums. 

There are other cases in recent memory not unlike the ‘Blurred Lines’ case. Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ is strikingly similar to Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’. Lady Gaga has herself even admitted that one of her biggest influences in music is Madonna, and that is all that’s been said about it - and rightly so. Pharrell has too been open about his love for Marvin Gaye, so why has his case been deemed plagiarism, rather than just an artist taking influence from the artists that inspire them?

I’ve read interviews with Marvin Gaye’s children in relation to the court case, and to me it seems that they are just greedy people, trying to milk this case for all that it’s worth. Nona Gaye, Marvin’s only daughter, claimed that she “Felt free.. free from Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke's chains and what they tried to keep from us and the lies that were told.” I feel for Pharrell and Robin - these claims are absurd and it is clear to me that they have decided to honour a musician they felt inspired by, and have been made to suffer because of the greed of his children. Reports are circulating that they are to target Pharrell’s summer hit ‘Happy’ next - is the $7million they’ve already won not enough?

I am on Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s lawyer’s side for this one - after the verdict was given, he said that it “sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward”, which is absolutely true. Now that this case has been ruled as plagiarism, over the next few years more and more similar cases will crop up. Soon, the 12-bar blues won’t even be safe, and most modern rock and pop music will be labelled as ripped-off. If it carries on this path, the next generation of musicians might be too scared to pay tribute to their favourite artists, in fear of a lawsuit. I worry for the future of the industry if this is the way that it’s heading.

I believe the case of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams is a turning point in the music industry - the ears of all the families of deceased music stars from past years probably pricked up upon hearing this verdict, and i’m sure this will be the first of many  plagiarism cases. Very little music is truly original these days, and many popular artists are clearly influenced from older music - which is totally fine - but I fear that newer artists creativity will be stunted, and they will no longer feel safe to honour their idols. Where exactly is the boundary between showing appreciation to your influences and outright stealing their sound? I guess the lines are blurred.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Interview - Quentin's Basement

Leeds is a city known for it’s music scene - there is a vast array of music venues across the city, from little jazz clubs and indie bars, to the brand new First Direct arena. As well as there being hundreds of local bands that frequently play across Leeds, the city has produced many big-name artists over the years, including indie rockers The Pigeon Detectives and The Kaiser Chiefs. Another local band on the same path as these bands are Quentin’s Basement. The indie-rock four piece burst onto the scene in 2010, and have been making a name for themselves across the county ever since, including endorsement from fellow Yorkshireman Matt Bowman of the Pigeon Detectives, as well as both headline and support slots at the city’s most loved and now defunct rock venue, The Cockpit.

Quentin’s Basement are no strangers to the Leeds music scene. “I reckon since we started, we’ve played between 150 and 200 gigs.. I’d say we’ve played in maybe thirty venues, ranging from places that hold about fifty people, to the O2 Academy in Leeds”, Quentin’s Basement’s drummer Tom Hawran tells me. Having formed five years ago, they’ve already got a massive amount of shows under their belt, with plenty of stories to tell, both good and bad. “We supported bands like The View, The Strypes and General Fiasco.. but we played the O2 Academy which was a much bigger crowd, and we even played before the match at the Bradford Bulls stadium to thousands of people! There was probably about seven or eight thousand people there.. the nerves were kicking in beforehand, but luckily it all went well and was a good laugh!

Not all gigs go as smoothly as that though - most bands have a disaster story to tell, and Quentin’s Basement are no different. Hawran tells of one gig that didn’t quite go to plan at Oporto. “Soundcheck went well, and we were ready to play, but as soon as we hit the first note, Ollie’s fuse went on his amp, and my cymbal was loose and falling over.. it was pretty annoying, but you just have to get on with it!

Quentin’s Basement play Oporto once again next week, to promote their first new single in close to a year ‘Remiges’, which will be available to buy on CD at the gig on 22nd of April. (Let’s hope it goes better than last time..) Also on the CD will be another new track, ‘Fluoxetine’, as well as a range of new merchandise. Hawran hints that we could be hearing the Leeds indie-rockers moving in a new musical direction, away from their current sound. “I think we’ve got a slight bit heavier since this time last year. I think it’s down to Callum, who writes the songs.. He’s a fan of Drenge and similar bands like that, and I think it really reflects in our music.”  Anyone who has heard Drenge’s music will know that their signature noisy, grungy, punk sound is a whole world away from that of Quentin’s Basement, so it’s interesting to see what the new songs will sound like.

For those fans who prefer Quentin’s Basement’s older, laddish indie rock sound however, there’s still something for you. Also available to buy at the Oporto show is another CD, featuring an alternative recording of their single ‘Good Books’ (which Hawran admits is probably better than the original), and a few demo’s of previously unrecorded songs only ever heard at live shows, including ‘Wish I Did’ and ‘You’d be a Fool’.

Quentin’s Basement are definitely the kind of band you want to see in concert. From the minute they step on stage they have the room in the palm of their hands, bantering with the audience before launching into a set packed with plenty of anthemic songs. As lively as their tracks seem on CD, they are nothing compared to the live performances. Hawran’s energetic rhythms along with frontman Callum Talbot’s roaring vocals, Ollie Grubb’s sleek guitar riffage and Martyn Alderman’s groovy bass lines always promise a real knee’s up.

For anyone unsure about their show next week, Hawran promises a great night. “We’ve been away from the Leeds music scene for a while now, working on our set and getting some new tunes together! We’ve got new songs, new CDs and new t-shirts.. it’s gonna be a top night.. and what else is there better to do on a Wednesday night anyway?!” He has a point. There’s not much better to do on a weeknight then have a few drinks and a dance at one of the cities best venues, listening to one of Yorkshire’s hottest bands, so why not get yourselves down to what is sure to be a brilliant night. Tickets are available from the band themselves, who are contactable on their Facebook page.

The future looks bright for Quentin’s Basement. Tickets are flying for the single release show, and their music will soon be available on music streaming services Spotify and iTunes. Hawran also mentions possible plans for a tour of the country in the coming year, as well as there being “a few exciting things in the pipeline”. Exactly what this means is unclear - a new album, another show, or something even bigger - but it certainly suggests that the band have a very exciting future.

Twitter: @Quentbasement
Instagram: @quentinsbasement

Thursday, 6 June 2013

New Music: 19/05/13 - Ska/Punk/Dub Special!

Got some new music that I'd like to share! This post is gonna be dedicated to three great bands who take a lot of influence from Ska, Dub and Punk.

The Beaus
The Beaus are a band I've talked about before. I saw them supporting The Skints at Doncaster Leopard in August last year and they were pretty good. They've got some new music out now!

Everything is Nothing

First is 'Everything is Nothing'. It's the first in a series of songs - theyre planning on releasing one every month till November.  I love this song, its taken over 'In the Red Corner' as my favourite song by them. I love the guitar sound that is ever present in their music - the heavy reverb adds a real eerie feel to the music. Its a proper atmospheric tune, and i've listened to it plenty of times over the past few weeks. They've released another single this month, called 'Laughter and Bang.'

Laughter and Bang

This is a well catchy song - it isn't my favourite, but the repeated chorus line of 'I can't find that place without you' sticks in your head. The organ sound is good too, paired with the relentless hip-hop inspired drums and The Beaus signature reverberated guitar sound, this song is one that you will definitely listen to over and over again. I'm looking forward to the next single in this series because so far, they've been brilliant. They are without a doubt my favourite band from my hometown of Doncaster!


15th July - The Cockpit, Leeds (Tickets available here.)

I first came across Outl4w only a couple of weeks ago. The Skints played 2 shows in leeds - one at Slam Dunk festival, then a late show on the outskirts of leeds in a clup called Musiquarium (you can find my review for this show here.) Outl4w were one of the many bands that supported them, and were probably my favourite band of the night. They've been going for about 10 years which is mental seen as they're only a year or so older than me. Started gigging in 2004 when they were about 10. Their early stuff is a bit different to their most recent EP - sounding similar to bands like Green Day and The Ramones.

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

That's one of their earlier tracks, as you can tell by the video + the sound of the singers voice. If you scour youtube there's plenty of other songs from when they were younger. Since then they've changed style quite a bit - they took a break for a couple of years, the guitarist learnt trumpet and they've obviously been listening to a lot more ska punk as their style is much more alike to this.

Blackpool to Leeds

That's their most recent single, and you can tell how their sound has developed when you compare those 2 tracks. I much prefer their more recent stuff - the horn lines are well catchy.The section in this song at around 2:50 is awesome too - like a lot of ska-punk its great to have a bit of a dance to. It's much more akin to bands such as Rancid and Operation Ivy. I've just bought their Flipside EP and that has 4 great tracks on, plus you can get a free download from their website.


No upcoming gigs.

Counting Coins
I only came across this band this past week, and i've only heard 2 songs at the moment, but I'm loving em so far. Another band I follow on facebook which play similar music (Breadchasers) posted a link to this band. I'd never heard of them but thought that itd be my kinda thing so i gave it a listen, and i wasn't disappointed. They describe themselves as 'Ska-Punk-Gypsy-HipHop From Hull'. Listen to this if you wanna find out what that sounds like..

Blue on Blue

This is their most recent single, and the song that I heard first. The music is brilliant - catchy, lively, bouncy, energetic, with some great instrumental solos, like all good ska-punk. I also love the vocals - the verses are half-rapped, half sung, one verse later on is impressively rapped at twice the speed of the other verse. The chorus is infectious aswell. Counting Coins are a great band, and I can't wait for their upcoming EP so i can hear more music from them. Here's an older song of theirs.

What gives you the Right


8th June - London Summer Sizzler - @ - Cargo
27th June - Lancaster - @ - Lancaster University
28th June - Leeds - @ Santiagos
29th June - London - @ - The Worlds End (Finsbury Park)
19th July - Sheffield - @ - Tramline Festival (@ The Bowery)
3rd August - Hull - @ - Humber Street Sesh
8th August - Blackpool- @ - Rebellion Punk Music Festival
9th August - Boomtown Fair - @ - Chinatown Stage
10th August - Boomtown Fair @ Chai Wallah Stage
14th August - Hull - @ -The New Adelphi Club -with The Dead Pets
16th August - Sunk Island - @ - SunkFest
18th August - Withernsea - @ Summertime Special
23-25th August (TBC) - York -@ - Galtres Festival
12th October - Norwich - @ Venue tbc

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

LIVE: The Skints + Support, Leeds Musiquarium, 25/05/13

After months of anticipation, I finally got to saw The Skints live again. This was the fourth time i've seen them, and it's probably my favourite. It's not my favourite set of theirs, or my favourite gig performance-wise (not that they weren't amazing) but the atmosphere at this gig was like no other. I've got a few videos of the night but you can barely see anything - im mainly posting them so you can hear! It was at a venue in Leeds called Musiquarium - it was quite a way out of the city centre, but it was a really cool place. You stepped through a little doorway and there was an outside area, with some wall art, fairy lights all over the ceiling, and a few sofas. When we arrived we chilled here with a pint, it was really relaxed and their was a few people from the support bands hanging around.

After we'd chilled out there for a bit, we went inside ready for the first bands. It was really warm which I thought was pretty normal for a gig but it got a lot worse. There was a bit of a delay - a lot of the gear had stopped working because it was so hot. We met the singer from Outl4w in the crowd aswell. He was a nice lad, we chatted to him for a few minutes.

The first band were Midnight Landing - a ska band who were a lot better than i expected. I'd only gone to the gig to see The Skints and Outl4w - I hadn't really listened to any of the other support bands. But these guys were really good, and we met them afterwards and talked to them for ages, they were really sound guys.

I'm pretty sure there was another band just after these, although I have no pics/videos of them, and can't remember what they were called - oooops. Outl4w played next, and they were sick. (I've written a bit of a post about them but I haven't actually posted it to the blog yet - I will in the next few days, it's got a few of their tunes on). Had a good old jump around to them, was screaming like a madman (I was a bit drunk at this point). They only played a short set, but they did all my favourites - Blackpool to Leeds, Thank Fuck for Randall and Ball and Chain.

After Outl4w, a band called Extra Curricular played. Again, a band i'd never heard of, but wow. Very, very good band. They sounded absolutely amazing, with live horns, and a great singer who really knew how to work the crowd. They weren't really the same as any other band there, but they were still very well recieved. They were Funk/Soul Jazz Blues? I have no idea haha. They had an AMAZING song that everyone there was singing called Last Day, which is ridiculously catchy and since the gig I've listened to it about 20 times. The dudes voice is just unreal. I didn't manage to get it in video, but I do have another video to post.

The crowd really started to build up by now. And it was getting really, really hot. The walls were all padded, which i guess was for soundproofing reasons, but it acted as an insulator too so it was like an oven in there - it got hotter and hotter all night. You can tell in those last pictures - Extra Curricular's singer was drenched in sweat! It only got worse through the night aswell. You can see in this picture that I was sweating buckets.

The Skints were almost an hour late on stage, through no fault of their own - the gear was breaking in the heat! But they took to the stage around 2:15am and they were incredible. As always. They've always sounded amazing every time i've seen them, and this time they didn't disappoint. They played a slightly shorter set than normal (and they didn't play the new single which I was gutted about) but it was still great. I even managed to snatch a setlist at the end which Josh signed.

 'Rise Up'
'Ratatat/No No No' 

'Culture Vulture'

Again, you can see how warm it was. I think they planned on playing for longer but they literally couldnt carry on with the heat. Afterwards I chugged lots of free ice cold water that the bar were leaving out, cos i was actually struggling to breathe. My lungs were killing, it was awful. We went outside afterwards and were lucky enough to have a chat with Josh for a bit! Then later on when they were loading their stuff into the van we got to talk to Jamie and Marci.

So thats about it. Great gig by one of my favourite bands, and I can't wait to see them again soon! Could be a year or so now :( But it'll be worth the wait!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

New Music: The Skints

It's been a while since the skints released any new studio recordings! They've given us a few acoustic sessions which always sound amazing (Kiss from a Rose and Passin' Me By have been on repeat none stop recently) but it's been a long time since there's been a proper song released.

Their new song is called 'Out My Mind' and quite frankly, it's brilliant. It has big summery vibes - i'm certainly gonna be blasting this one out loud while i sit in the sun with a beer this summer! It's mainly sung by the guitarist Josh, and it's a similar sound to the song 'Lay You Down' from their album Part and Parcel. The video's great too - I had a massive smile on my face at the end when Marci, Jamie and John show up clapping and singing the 'ba-da Ba Ba' hook! It's a real feel good song and I know any fans of The Skints will love it, and I doubt even people who haven't heard The Skints will be able to stop singing and skanking to this one. You can buy it on iTunes on the 27th May, but you can pre-order it now! I have done, it's only 99p for an amazing feel-good song that you wont stop playing this summer! They'll be sure to be playing it on their UK tour too, so get tickets to that, they're always outstanding live! I give you, The Skints - Out My Mind!

Pre-order on iTunes!

LCM Year One is Over!

The past month or so has been hectic! So much coursework to do - I've not had time to update here but it wasn't just laziness! My bad.

So my first year at Uni is over. Mental. I feel like i've only been here a few months. Time's gone too quick, its crazy to think im a third of the way through Uni already. It's dawned on me that I've wasted a lot of time this year, and I could have used the time a lot better and got a lot more done. I mean, i've still done quite a bit of music, but not nearly as much as i could have. I live in a city with an amazing music scene but i've still not started any bands or got any gigs or anything, which is what i really wanted to do! I now have close to 4 months with not a lot to do, so im going to make sure i get a decent bit of music made. A quick recap of what I've recorded or helped with recording this year..


This was the first bit of coursework I did! I took an old piece that i'd done months ago, and took all the MIDI files and put them into logic, and did a lot of work on it. I extended it, added new parts, used better samples, mixed it all better. It sounds a hell of a lot better than the original.

Lots and Lots of Bedroom Recordings

Lots of bored nights in with my flatmate resulted in these. 5 songs recorded for Tom, 1 recorded with Tom and his mate for his LCM Audition (which he passed), and then 3 songs with me on guitar and Tom singing. Probably a lot more of these to come.

Crimestoppers Dub

I recorded this for the Crimestoppers assignment at LCM - this is the first of 2 pieces. This is one of my favourite pieces i've produced this year - It sounds great and I'm really wanting to make some reggae/dub kinda music soon. Its one of the projects that im hoping to start over the next 4 months.


This was the second piece i produced for the Crimestoppers assignment. This came from an idea I had when listening to a song The Prodigy did with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. I had this little guitar riff in Logic on a distorted guitar with a wah pedal, and some drums, and that developed into this.


This is a more recent one that I haven't shared on this blog yet! I had to create a 4 minute piece of music and write a 2000 word essay about it (and transcribe it!) This is what I made. I wanted to do music for a certain purpose so I had more i could write about in the essay. My dad suggested doing music for a David Attenborough programme which gave me the idea to use African instruments, however this is what came. It isnt actually for a nature programme, it just kinda.. tells a kind of story. There's a theme representing a herd of gazelle at the beginning which is repeated in a minor key later to show that something has happened to the herd, theres another theme to represent a predator.. it's all explained much better in the essay!


One of my studio assignments was to record a cover of a song as a group, and it had to fit into a certain category. Then we all had to do an individual remix. It had to:
Only use the original vocal track.
Use Found Sound Drums (the version i've posted doesnt use these).
Use a synth that we have made from scratch.
Write and Record 2 original instrumental parts.

I did another reggae style remix which I think turned out pretty well! It was pretty hard to do cos the acapella tempo fluctuates from 150 bpm to 160bpm. It sounds pretty good though, I think. I never recorded 2 instrumental parts, which I could lose marks on. But there is different instrumental lines on this so they could count, i'm not sure. For the Found Sound Drums, which I didn't use on this version as it sounds better with the proper kit, I used quite a few weird things around my room. The Hi-Hat was just me ripping up a takeaway menu, then I added a bit of noise, and a lot of reverb. The Snare was me hitting the bottom of a metal bucket, layered up with me hitting a bottle of salt. I added lots of reverb and delay onto to bucket sound so as to create the typical dub sound. The kick was me slamming a cardboard box over my knee, layered up with me punching myself in the stomach. I EQ'd these and raised the low ends so it was thumpier. One thing I didn't do which i didnt think of till after, was pitch shifting the sounds so they were lower. Still, it sounded ok.

So, that's pretty much all the music i've made in my first year at Uni. Expect some more coming over the next few months as I have a lot of free time! I've just bought a melodica, so I'm hoping to use that for a couple of acoustic recordings. I'm also gonna go acoustic guitar hunting this week, so I can record some much better songs. I'm also finally gonna get my electric guitar fixed and get it restrung so I can record some reggae vibes with that! Hoping to do some kind of Skints covers!

Thanks for reading - I'll be posting more regular again from now!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

New Music: 3 New Covers..

Me and Tom had a couple of beers tonight and rather than do the usual sit on FIFA/COD all night routine, we set up the mic and recorded a few songs together!

Where is my Mind? - Pixies

This song randomly popped into my head in a dream last night, so this was the first song i suggested. It translates quite well to an acoustic performance I reckon. I do a couple of the backing vox, but its mainly just me playing guitar and Tom singing.

Marigold - Nirvana

This is one of my favourite Nirvana tracks - has that typical Nirvana sound. It was the only Nirvana track written and sung by Dave Grohl. I really like this one, my favourite one of the night.

Can't Stop - Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Ok, this one didn't go great. My fingers were killing from playing the acoustic all night and we were both knackered, so rather than do another take we just went with this one. there's a couple of mistakes and at the end we just completely messed up, but yeah. We wanted to do a Chilli's track, and we thought this one would sound pretty good if we came up with an acoustic version.

I'm glad I've finally got a bit of recording done - might do this a bit more regularly, I enjoyed doing it a lot!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Blue Monday

30 years since the release of this classic song by New Order.