Relatiiv interview + BPM Pod album release

Relatiiv interview + BPM Pod album release

September 22, 2019

One year. Doesn’t seem possible, right? But that is how long BPM Pod has been running – just me, my guests, and this crappy 300-euro Packard Bell laptop pumping out episodes every two weeks. I did not think we would last a year. Yet here we are.

And while I am certainly content with the limited success of BPM Pod so far, the fact I have proved to myself that I can do this only gives me more drive for the future. There will certainly be more promotional stuff from BPM Pod in the next year, as I aim to get to at least 1,000 listeners per episode, up from the average 100 listeners today.

This week, we have a special episode then as we release the first BPM Pod Acoustic Album (called ‘Stripped Sessions’; more on this in a minute), and we talk to some of the most aware, self-reflective and honest guests we have heard on BPM Pod.

Relatiiv: A journey to vulnerability

This balance between contentment and ambition is a feeling shared by my guests this week – the wonderful Laura and Markus from the hip-hop funk-electronic duo, Relatiiv.

In all professions, there are people with some kind of act. We all act at times. But real power lies in breaking down your act, removing the mask, and being yourself. It’s this openness and transparency that Laura and Markus really have nailed. And being content and open does not mean a lack of drive.

“The fact that we are content does not mean that we do not have goals. In fact, because you are detached from your ego, you approach music with a much more free mindset,” says Laura. “It is about keeping your mind in balance and enjoying the moment and what you do.”

Drawing inspiration from artists including Tom Misch, Mahalia, FKJ and Jordan Rakei – all the way through to Fredrik Chopin, no less – Laura and Markus have developed a downtempo beat common ground with love, laughter and longing at its core. It’s pretty mesmerizing stuff all in all from Relatiiv, and it’s doubtlessly one of the best episodes of BPM Pod. A great way to mark the one-year anniversary indeed.

To find out more about Relatiiv, go to SoundCloud, Spotify or Facebook.

BPM Pod: Stripped Sessions release

Most episodes end with an acoustic version of an original song from the artist in that episode – it’s become pretty standard stuff here on BPM Pod.

But what if all of those songs were recorded and released in one package?

Well that’s exactly what I’ve done with BPM Pod: Stripped Sessions. Free to download from Bandcamp, I’ve compiled some of your favourite tracks from across the episodes.

Sure, the sound is not always amazing (I am recording live with two mics only) but you get at least a taste of the magic I experience first-hand at the end of each episode.

So go to Bandcamp and check it out and, as always, do spread the love far and wide.

Full track listing:

  • Manono – I Want You
  • Chris Winhardt – Spookghetti Western
  • Ben Osborn – The Only Thing
  • Promis – Will I Get A Chance To Sing My Songs One Day (Before I’m Dead)
  • Otari – Escapade
  • Maria Mørk – Let Me Float
  • Blake Farha – For All The Good It’s Done Me
  • Adamore – Dreamer, Believer
  • Molly’s Peck – You Should Know
  • Lisa Akuah – Bubbles
  • Iadora Johnson – Improv jam session
  • SCARS – Scars of Life
  • Ohad Leev Roage – I Got It All
  • Ella Fuchs – Berlin
  • Heavy Heavy – High Rise Vultures

Listen to the album by clicking here, or by going through the player below.

Lauren Piper (Vowels) interview + song battles discussion

Lauren Piper (Vowels) interview + song battles discussion

August 26, 2019

Way back when, I critiqued music (I still do, I guess). I cannot recall the name of this one band I gave a negative review of, but I remember what I said: 'This is so depressing that I slit my wrists and am now bleeding out all over my desk. Seek help.'

Look, I am not proud of that line at all. It's not witty or clever, and I can see that it is not a helpful criticism. But I am pretty sure I did not deserve the hatred I received in an online forum after the review was published. Someone said they would kill me, someone said my family were going to die, someone told me to actually slit my wrists for real. It was pretty brutal.

Yet despite this, being a music critic taught me a lot of things. One: it improved my writing. Two: it is easy to become a music snob.

These are two lessons Lauren Piper learned too. Trawling through releases from amateur bands, all the way through to Lily Allen, and the brilliant 'Honky Tonk Bedonkadonk', Lauren soon developed a good musical bullshit meter.

Yet despite the tsunami of mediocrity coming her way, Lauren never lost faith. Now, with influences from The Pixies, Velvet Underground and more, Lauren fronts the musical project AEIOU (which is actually pronounced 'Vowels').

AEIOU - it's pronounced Vowels
For Lauren, the term 'musical project' is probably the most accurate, given that the lineup of Vowels changes all the time. But there is one constant to Vowels - the power of Lauren's vulnerable, stripped-back songs.

Armed with a range of pedals and effects, Lauren/Vowels put on some powerful, hard-hitting performances of songs that run a fine line between artsy and plain weird. It's wonderful.

On this episode, we talk about moving from Washington DC, to New York, and now to Berlin; how you can easily become a music snob; and the musical ambitions for Vowels going forward (including a bunch of collaborations).

To find out more about Lauren and the music of Vowels (AEIOU), go to Facebook or Bandcamp.

Also on the episode: song battles, good or bad?

There are a bunch of good musicians out there. So how do we find out who is best? FIGHT!

Or is that wrong? Should musicians compete in such a way? Should the idea of song battles be re-thought?

To see what musicians today think of song battles, I went back and spoke with some of the previous guests of BPM Pod: Moves Johnson, Lisa Akuah, Iadora Johnson, and Tara C Taylor.

Their answers certainly differ, and that's totally fine, as the issue of whether song battles are good or bad is a pretty complex one. But what do you think? Let me know!

About this episode:

  • We talk about the superb Sharon Van Etten, who I completely recommend you listen to. And I mentioned a black and white album which I loved - and mistakenly placed as being released in 2010 - called 'Are We There'. The best song from the album is this dreamy folk tune, 'Afraid of Nothing'. Go listen and cry. Seriously.

  • We also look at a song called 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.' It is dreadful but, if you want to ruin your day, then give it a go, purely for some of the best lyrics ever penned:

    She got it going on like Donkey Kong,
    Ooh wee, shut my mouth,
    Slap your grandma

  • Other mentions of artists in this episode include The Pixies, Velvet Underground, and someone I had never heard of called Mirah. Well I took a listen to Mirah, and I quite liked it. Here is the song that Lauren also did a cover version of, called 'Archipelago'.
  • As heard in the intro vox pop, there are a bunch of artists who has been on the podcast before. Check out Moves Johnson, Lisa Akuah, Iadora Johnson and Tara C Taylor. Thanks for your help.
  • Big thanks to Moves Johnson too for allowing me to use his song 'Skin Complexion' under the vox pop.
  • Completely unpaid promo, but thanks to Blue microphones for the new Blue Yeti Studio Pro. Brilliant service. Check out their range here.
  • And finally, we mentioned the band name AEIOU and how it reminded me of a song by Jim James (My Morning Jacket) called 'State of the Art (AEIOU)'. The studio version is solid, but the live My Morning Jacket version of AEIOU is better. Saw this live in New York in 2017 with my wife, and this blew us away. Here is the actual performance from that night. Good quality audio too.
Ohad Leev Roage

Ohad Leev Roage

August 13, 2019

Another week, another podcast. This time, we take a diverse musical journey from Jerusalem to Berlin, with singer-songwriter and guitarist, Ohad.

Also, a bunch of tracks that I have fallen in love with this week (either for the first time, or again) including Haim, The Black Keys, Angel Olson, Kacey Musgraves, and Derek and the Dominoes.

Playthrough: ‘Mythos’ by Vizard

Playthrough: ‘Mythos’ by Vizard

July 31, 2019

We have a full playthrough of the new EP 'Mythos' from the electronic music duo, Vizard. Also, we review 'Let's Rock' from The Black Keys.

Adam Sandahl interview + Emma Elisabeth ‘Pilot’ track of the week

Adam Sandahl interview + Emma Elisabeth ‘Pilot’ track of the week

July 14, 2019

We talk to Adam Sandahl about his musical journey from Sweden to Berlin, and we look at the track of the week from Emma Elisabeth.

Richard Hawley ‘Further’ review + Funkhaus visit

Richard Hawley ‘Further’ review + Funkhaus visit

June 27, 2019

We take a trip to Berlin's famous Funkhaus studio, where Ashley plays his part on a studio song from Moves Johnson. There's also a look at Richard Hawley's new album, 'Further'.

Review: ‘Western Stars’ by Bruce Springsteen

Review: ‘Western Stars’ by Bruce Springsteen

June 27, 2019

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUCE! Potential album of the year. That is all. Hear why.

Tara C. Taylor interview

Tara C. Taylor interview

June 14, 2019

Sassy, cool, determined - Tara C. Taylor brings acoustic with attitude to BPM Pod. We talk about her beginnings, her inspirations, and exchange rockstar stories.

Blake Farha + special BPM Pod announcement

Blake Farha + special BPM Pod announcement

May 27, 2019

We catch up with poet, songwriter, and comedian Blake Farha on confessional songwriting, defeating depression, and making the most of musical opportunity. Plus, a special announcement from BPM Pod relating to a new album release.

Ben Osborn + Tom Petty retrospective review

Ben Osborn + Tom Petty retrospective review

May 13, 2019

With a vast musical knowledge, a love for Leonard Cohen, and enough beautiful poetry to make your eyes water, Ben Osborn really is a talent to watch out for.

Coming just as he releases his debut album, Letters From The Border, Ben and I talk about the complexity of writing music in new ways, the power of accepting any offer that comes your way, and how songs become so much more than music and lyrics.