Interview
Words: Matteo Bordone





Continuing our content swap with the leading Italian culture/music site Kalporz, the Monolith Cocktail is excited to be hosting Matteo Bordone‘s recent interview with the Canadian mask wearing alternative country artist Orville Peck.



Matteo Bordone: Tell me about the writing of Pony: in previous interviews you stated that the texts are self-referential. When and how did you decide to write these songs?

Orville Peck: They are songs about my life experiences. People I’ve met, places I’ve been. I wanted to make a classic country album, which is exactly that – a collection of stories.

 

MB: The sounds of your record range from shoegaze to the most classic country: if you had to explain your music through fundamental artists/groups, what would they be and why?

OP: I am of course influenced by the outlaw country musicians like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard. I combine that classic sound with a few more contemporary sounds or production feelings but to me that is just the natural evolution for country. Country has always evolved and changed and incorporated different sounds and instruments as it grew.

 

MB: The night is a recurring temporal element in your songs. What role did the night play in the writing of Pony?

OP: I guess a lot of what I do is in the night. It’s definitely easier to be yourself in the night.

 

MB: The masks you wear helped to create the aura of mystery that characterizes your character. What is your relationship with these?

(no answer/silence – ed)

 

MB: In a short time your project has seen its fanbase grow, to the point that some of your fans have tattooed lyrics from your songs. How do you manage your relationship with your fans and this sudden wave of popularity?

OP: I think it’s really special. My fans include everything from alternative culture, LGBTQ, older country fans. It’s a really broad spectrum. I think they all connect with it for the same reasons that I do – because everything I sing about is universal. These are struggles and instances that everybody has gone through.




Interview: Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea




Beauty Stab are Dan Shea and Buddy Preston, two former members of the, highly tipped at one time, Goth rock industrial folk band Vukovar, who left to share their love of post punk, disco and 60s/70s/80s pop to the world. Their current three track EP has been one of this year’s musical highlights a stunning release bringing back the much missed and much needed glamour, heartbreak and bedsit seediness to the pop world.


Why did you leave Vukovar? 

Buddy: For the love of music and art, we needed a change of scenery. For a while, I fell out of love with producing music and was finding myself feeling so emotionally detached from it. Upon leaving Vukovar, I initially didn’t want to do music anymore and concentrated instead on other artistic ventures for a while. But music is where the heart is.

Dan: I’ve no desire to dwell on that or air dirty laundry. All that needs to be said is that I did.

 

What made you form Beauty Stab? 

B: The need to carry on pursuing making art and music with a close friend. I know that anything Dan writes is genius and I hope he thinks that my contributions do them some justice. Whilst in Vukovar, I wanted to record Dan’s rejected songs because I always saw something in them in a way I knew I could make them work.

D: The current landscape musically is devoid of sex and danger. Our society is moving backwards at a frightening rate. Even though we are at present operating on a very small scale, I really want to one day be to some confused queer kid living in the middle of nowhere what Marc Almond or David Bowie was in years past (or John Balance from Coil was to me). I am queer in both senses – I am gay but more crucially I am fucking Weird. Our homos should not be homogenised. We are not milk, although Harvey was. Queer is not just about sexuality – I’ve been lucky enough to know straight people with very queer sensibilities and cursed enough to know gay people who are cripplingly pedestrian. There are others doing this at the moment – SOPHIE would be one that’d spring to mind, she made my favourite singles of 2018 (It’s ‘Okay to Cry’ which is a beautiful song and ‘Ponyboy’ which is just sheer filth).

But no one is doing it in the field we operate in. It’s full of hopelessly glamour-less people with beards who make the right noises and have the right political opinions but they’re making sexless facsimiles of records made by people who, shock horror, listened to stuff by people who didn’t look and sound exactly like them. Or maybe they are but I’m not meeting them. If you’re out there please get in touch with me through the obligatory Beauty Stab social media because lord knows I need a friend. If you’re not already doing it, put some makeup on however badly, wear some nice patterns and poke at a synth ineptly and I would love to share a bill with you. I’m into the idea that left-wing politics doesn’t have to be austere and devoid of joy. Bronski Beat strike a chord with me far more than some dullard with an acoustic guitar telling me what I already know in a way I don’t want to hear.

I know it’s also an ABC reference but Beauty Stab is a powerful combination of words. A shard of luxury you don’t actually have to be able to afford because we’re there, you’re here, it’s now and this is the only time we have. In my current crop headed state, Buddy’s the Beauty and I’m the Stab. Bad news from a pretty mouth.

 

 

What are your influences?

B: Life experiences, tales of old, people we appreciate. Musically, whatever we’re listening to at that moment. We’re creating mixtape style playlists for various streaming media to let people know what we love right now, and maybe we can enlighten some people.

 

Dan: Quote Clothes – “girl group hymns and jackboot disco”.

Different movements really. Musically, all the people listed in England’s Hidden Reverse with Coil being the best. We like lots of Italo disco and Chicago house and Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Prince, etc. Those people were emulating. We’re also massive, massive fans of Rowland S Howard and pretty much anything he touched. Then there’s all the obvious Bowie, Iggy, Roxy, Lou Reed. Then there’s girl group records and by default anyone who has the sense to plagiarise them.

Then we’re also influenced by how shit everything is, and also the ethos that riot grrrl bands and people like Crass had even if the artwork and the ideas are invariably more interesting than the music which is a bit sonically conservative and paint by numbers.

 

 

You worked with many established artists with Vukovar, have you any plans to collaborate with any with Beauty Stab? Or are going to rely on your own talent?

B: We’ve played with some people that have really inspired us as artists; so to call those friends now is incredible. I wouldn’t want to rely on those with an already established fan base, we wouldn’t say no to the right people, of course.

D: That’s a bit of a pointed question isn’t it? We’ll see what happens. There are people I’d love to work with but whether it was as Beauty Stab or part of their project or something else entirely is another consideration. We’ve both got a very definite vision and aesthetic for what we’re doing and that may morph over time but anyone who we did work with would have to fulfil two criteria.

 

  1. If we can do it, we do it. If we can’t then we’ll bring them in.

 

  1. This ship has no passengers. I only want to work with people who have ideas of their own and can contribute to the creative process: not a glorified plug in we’re scripting or trading on the value of the name of. An example of someone I’d love to work with would be Karl Blake. I keep asking him. He’s not released a record in decades. Mick Harvey plays on about half of my record collection but that’s never going to happen. We’re obviously going to collaborate with the Mekano Set because they’re our friends.

 

 

Are you going to stay as a two-piece or have you any plans to expand the line up?

B: We plan on having quite an interchangeable line up depending on what type of gigs we’re attending. For now, we’re using all sorts of machines, synths and tapes to help us get the live sound we want. But in the future, we would love to play our songs with a full band.

D: I’m open to ideas.

 

 Any gigs planned? Plans for the near future?

D: Our live setup is mostly composed of broken equipment, also utilising drums and sequenced bass tracks played off a tape recorder a la OMD. As such there are no dates to announce – we are in talks with several different venues and I’m looking forward to making everyone of any gender in the audience pregnant solely through the means of my voice and dancing. If that doesn’t work Buddy is categorically the best looking man in the world so there’s always that. I can only imagine that even blind and deaf people could develop a crush on him.





The recently released Beauty Stab EP, O Eden, can be downloaded from all usual outlets or from Metal Postcard Records bandcamp.


Words: Brian Shea


Kalporz interviews Stella Donnelly 




As we announced earlier this week the Monolith Cocktail and Italian publication Kalporz will be sharing and exchanging reviews, interviews and articles. The inaugural post from our Italian penpals is an insightful interview with the Australian musician Stella Donnelly, who’s debut album Beware Of The Dogs is being re-released this month ahead of a second LP later in the year.





Stella Donnelly is a revelation, a lightning bolt in the clear sky and her second album, coming in a few months for Secretly Canadian is already one of the most anticipated works of this season.

Due to her incredible frankness and disruption in her lyrics, we chose to interview her to get us to talk about the genesis of “Beware of the dogs”.

The image that came out is that of a record born in a universe extremely homemade and personal, but that manages to be very suitable to photographing reality, even in its darkest and most violent part.


– Hi, Stella. In the last year you have experienced a huge leap, you have finally

reached a much wider and international audience. How are you experiencing

this change? When such a thing happens, how do the priorities of an artist

change?

I’m taking every day as it comes and constantly pinching myself that I get to travel the world, meet amazing people and eat amazing food! My priorities haven’t changed, to me music is first and foremost about the writing, no matter how many people do or don’t hear that writing, it has to be honest and authentic to me.

– How has your approach to work changed since your first EP?

Other than having the resources to playing with a band, there hasn’t been any changes to how I write and do my work. In fact it’s even more important to me that I work with integrity and awareness of others around me in everything I do.

– You wrote and recorded the album ( if I’m not mistaken ) near home. How

does your city influence your work? Would you like to work in a foreign studio

in the future or do you need your local?

It was so nice to be able to record at home, the things that I was writing about felt so real because I was surrounded by the place where those experiences had or were currently taking place. It was magical. I would be open to recording somewhere far away in the future but for the purpose of this record, it was perfect to stay in Fremantle.

-What song in the record makes you think a lot about your city? Why?

The song Lunch is about the strange feeling when you’re trying to adjust your body to being away from home and then readjusting again when I return. I shot and edited the music video for this song myself because it really is such a personal and ‘home’ song for me.

– What signal do you see behind the choice of some festivals, such as

Primavera Sound, to completely fill the gender gap?

I think it’s amazing that massive festivals are stepping up their game when it comes to gender diversity, it has to be done now so that in the future it can be something we don’t even have to think about.

– Which song on the record did you write with the most anger and urgency?

Why?

Beware of the Dogs was written very quickly and I recorded it the next day.

– Important themes such as violence and discrimination, how do you prefer to

deal with them? How is the music changing from this point of view in these

years?

I deal with them by opening up a conversation in the songs, providing my point of view and hoping that people can learn from it. Music like this changes depending on what is happening in the world, when our governments don’t do anything about it, people need to find a way to speak out.

– What is the social responsibility of an artist today?

There are so many artists who live such different lives. My own personal social responsibility is to use my platform to help others but it cannot be expected of all artists to do the same, art would become very one-dimensional.

– You are very explicit in your lyrics. Which artist do you admire for their

sincerity in telling their stories?

I admire Billy Bragg, Janelle Monae, Courtney Barnett, Jenny Hval, Julia Jacklin, Solange.

-I read in an interview that you like very much to read. What readings have

accompanied you in writing the record?

I was reading Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado

Flights by Olga Torkarczuk

Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval

and Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

– One project that fascinated me last year was definitely BoyGenius Would

you like to do, sooner or later, such a project? Do you already have some

artists with whom you often feel like collaborating?

There are so many artists I would collaborate with in heartbeat but I don’t want to say them in case the read this and laugh at me!!!!

– Stella, Im very afraid of dogs. How do you overcome this fear? (and fears in

general?)

There are so many people that should not own dogs so I understand your fear but my experience with dogs is that they just need love and care! I have a fear of flying that I overcome by getting on lots of planes all the time! Maybe find a sweet dog and spend some time with it!





Kalporz writes about music, with his own musical vision, since 2000.

Kalporz is a careful observer of news, trends, emerging scenes, but without chasing the dominant taste: he is in search of “beautiful things”. He hopes to publish articles well written and carefully, in an original way, without filters and, of course, independently.

The editorial project is under the Creative Commons regime (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IT) and in 2018 it was voted as the best Italian music site by the Meeting of Independent Labels (MEI) and Musicletter (https://www.musicletter.it/index.php/2018/08/27/kalporz-e-reverendo-lys-vincono-la-targa-mei-musicletter-2018-premio-speciale-a-umbria-jazz-come-miglior-festival-musicale-italiano/).

The Kalporz family is composed of the founder Luca Vecchi, the editors Paolo Bardelli,Monica Mazzoli, Piero Merola, Enrico Stradi, Matteo Mannocci, Gianluigi Marsibilio, and about twenty other collaborators, as well as three photographers.

The collaborators are from all parts of Italy, even if the main base of Kalporz is between Reggio Emilia, a town near the “famous” Canossa, the Adriatic Sea and Florence.