Blog //

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 11.44.57

5 Things We’re Looking Forward to at Way Out West //

Way Out West is basically Sweden’s coolest festival. With previous line ups featuring the likes of Low, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Sonic Youth. We are very excited to be going for the first time this year not just because of all the great bands and DJs on offer but also because we’ll get to spend some time in a foreign country, hang out with some strangers and just generally do all that cool festival stuff we love doing so much. 

The festival is held in a 137 hectare park located in central Gothenburg from 7 -9 August. Gothenburg is a cultural hub and one of Scandinavia’s trendiest cities so there’s loads to explore and a great nightlife that we’re ready to get our teeth into and with the festival expanding into the city for the club orientated, multi-venue extension of the festival; Stay Out West. It looks like we’ll be able to get a good deal of the cities fine culture. So, in anticipation we’ve prepared a list of the 5 things we can’t wait to see and do when we get off the plane in Gothenburg.

Zebra Katz Glamourous Hip-Hop

Katz and his buddy Njena Reddd Foxxx have been unfairly dismissed time and time again as another dumb internet fad. Well, quite simply, they’re not. I’ma Read is a stone cold classic that holds a firm finger up to ignorance and misogyny in hip hop. Last time we saw him was in Poland and the crowd absolutely loved him. This year we’re looking forward to seeing him win over Northern Europe once again as he traverses the stage like a catwalk with more style and originality in his little fingernail than Big Sean could ever even hope to have in his whole entire body.

 

 

Exploring Gothenburg

Gothenburg has a bit of a reputation for being a stopover town for business trips, sort of like the Slough of Northern Europe. Yeah, it’s one of the business capitals of the world but don’t let that fool you; it’s not all shirts and ties. One of the city’s main attractions is the hundreds of cafes that line the streets that feed the bustling student culture that keeps the city buzzing. With great venues all around the city, world famous museums and galleries to visit we’re pretty sure we’ll be running to catch our plane before we’ve got time to pull on the suit and settle down with a spreadsheet.

 

 

The Return of Neutral Milk Hotel

We’ve been left drooling over Jeff Mangum’s lyrics ever since we heard that dude playing it in the park on his acoustic guitar when we were all much younger and more beautiful. We got enamoured again when he went and entertained crowds at occupy and then when we heard he was coming back to play a few dates with Neutral Milk Hotel this year we pretty much pawned all of our possessions to go and see him as many times as humanly possible. We can’t say it enough; the dude’s a genius and let’s face it, dude’s too fucking cool.

 

 

Watching Little Dragon, Holograms and Robyn On Their Home Turf

We’ve been in love with Little Dragon ever since the first time we saw Yukimi’s energetic band and who could help being in love with a voice like that? And with tunes that make us powerless to do anything other than dance we’re buzzed that we get to see them in their hometown of Gothenburg for Way Out West! We’re sure we’ll see the best of them as well as a ton of other awesome Swedish bands like Holograms and of course, Sweden’s princess of pop herself Robyn will be playing alongside Royksopp! What more could we ask for?

 

 

Queens Of The Stone Age

Arguably one of the greatest bands to play a festival in the history of ever, Queens of the Stone Age evoke the spirit of Hendrix or The Grateful Dead with their laid back, stoned, desert rock. We’ve often seen them embark on adventurous jams that can last the entire length of their set. To the people who cry “But we came to hear the hits!” We can only cry “Go back to bed maaaan.” Queens… onstage festival antics are a sight you really have to see to believe and we’re hoping their turn at Way Out West will be no different.

 

 

Way Out West takes place 7 – 9 August in Gothenburg, Sweden. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchase on their website.

LA-ROUTE-DU-ROCK-MAIN-660x440

5 Top Picks For La Route Du Rock //

One of the most cherished musical landmarks on the European calendar since its inception in 1991, France’s biggest independent festival La Route Du Rock is back to its beautiful setting in the 18th century Fort de Saint-Père in St. Malo, Brittany this year. Out of an ambitious, approachable yet fiercely alternative line-up, here are our top five picks.

1. Portishead (Friday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

There’s not much to say about this legendary outfit that hasn’t already been said. The Bristolian trip-hop pioneers continue to sound as innovative as ever, with live shows that combine their signature sound with potent political messages (last time we saw them a huge demonic David Cameron head appeared during Machine Gun, firing red lasers from its eyes). With Beth Gibbons’ voice sounding as piercingly emotive as ever and the band working on new material together, Portishead are absolutely not to be missed.

2. Caribou (Thursday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

The welcome return of Dan Snaith’s woozy electropop project Caribou for its sixth studio album. Our Love is packed full of Caribou’s signature hazy synths, contagious hooks, steady swells of intensity and hands-in-the-air moments. We can’t think of many better things to see in a French castle in the sunshine.

3. Ought (Wednesday, La Nouvelle Vague)

Crack has been absolutely fawning over this Montreal four piece of recent. Tense post-hardcore revivalism with Talking Heads-esque new wave influences, their bracing debut album More Than Any Other Day was released this year on Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s firmly DIY label Constellation to mass critical acclaim. Heartfelt, endearing and thrillingly chaotic, it’s a real gem. Catch Ought before they get really, really massive.

4. Fat White Family (Thursday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

Turning heads for their distressing onstage presence and the way they seem to radiate filth, Fat White Family have earned their reputation as the most horrible band to stumble out of an East London squat in recent years. Their recurring sound of dirty, chaotic, psychedelic-infused country and blues unfurls into a glorious mess in their infamous live shows. A highlight, for sure.

5. Angel Olsen (Thursday, Le Fort de Saint-Père)

It has been a big year for Angel Olsen. Originally discovered singing alongside Bonnie Prince Billy, the St. Louis songwriter turned heads with her stunning album Burn Your Fire For No Witness, that kindles a fierce, playful intensity between its starkly intimate ballads. The disarming tenderness of her voice coupled with some dry onstage humour make for a must do at the festival.

 

La Route du Rock takes place 13 – 16 August in Saint Malo, Brittany. Enter our competition to win a chance of wining x2 VIP tickets and transport. Alternatively you can purchase a festival package – including festival ticket, ferry, transfers and camping pitch – from here for £149.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.59.55

MediaSpank 43: Fuck the man, save the empire //

YouTube’s launching a premium music ser- vice. It makes sense for the world’s biggest streaming site to try and ape the success of subscription offerings, but it’s unfortunate Google’s going to do so by strong-arming independent record labels like Domino and XL into taking shitty deals.

The problem affects musicians Crack loves, from FKA twigs, Julia Holter and How To Dress Well to household names like The xx and Arctic Monkeys.

Yet independent labels are being offered terms that put them on the back foot; sign up to a deal that’s less favourable than that offered to majors or your music will be blocked and you’ll lose the audience altogether.

Music Pass will show content advert free. YouTube could have chosen to play the songs from labels that didn’t sign-up without the new features, but allowing free streams of tracks while not offering them on the paid service would erode its value. And it still doesn’t feel the need to negotiate contracts the American Association of Independent Music describe as “highly unfavourable, and in many cases, unworkable”.

It threatens to undermine the already low royalty rates paid to musicians. One clause highlighted in analysis of a contract leaked under the headline ‘F*&K It: Here’s the Entire YouTube Contract for Indies…’ says there’s potential for larger labels to take lower rates in exchange for advances. Indies would then have to accept the lower per-stream rates without benefitting from the upfront payment.

Another clause forces them to include entire back catalogues of music and videos, removing the option to provide exclusivity to other platforms. And, if they don’t take part, blocked songs could appear in user-submitted content, leaving the company playing whack a track when copyrighted content’s posted by well-intentioned fans, while YouTube continues to make revenue on the unsanctioned posts.

The situation reminds me of an Oatmeal cartoon called The State of the Music Industry. It charts the evolution from record labels that sat between fans and musicians screaming “Halt! You must pay!” to different generations of online services that are taking over and democratising the gatekeeper role.

The How it is Now panel shows services like YouTube, Spotify and others moving into this position; YouTube was part of the solution, one of various different services which allowed musicians to take advantage of digital distribution.

Instead, effectively forcing companies to accept these terms and conditions is drag- ging the company backwards. YouTube’s using its market share to become a digital version of the same kind of monopolistic gatekeeper that dictates its terms to the market regardless of what fans and musicians want.

The company has a habit of using its dominance to draw exorbitant profits from copyrighted work, “parasitic” behaviour that led post-mask-reveal Scooby Doo villain Rupert Murdoch to brand it as a “content kleptomaniac”.

Maybe the Dirty Digger was right?

It continues to scan millions of books and list content online without permission, to the outcry of the publishing world. In the end Google won there too, after a prolonged lawsuit that redefined the concept of fair use.

It might seem hopeless, but the internet does a great job of providing options. We have the potential to vote with our wal- lets, with our clicks, to force Google to treat content creators fairly. And the court of public opinion does impact a company that’s trying to maintain its ‘cool’ while taking over the world, as long as we make a fuss.

The final panel in The Oatmeal’s cartoon is titled Where it Needs To Go From Here and shows the musician talking directly to the fan, evoking a kind of Bandcamp-style model. Hopefully we can push the industry further and further towards that point to support the music we love, not take a step backward.

- – - – - – - – - – -

Words: Christopher Goodfellow

mediaspank.net

@MediaSpank 

Illustration: Lee Nutland

Dekmantel Festival - 23 augustus 2013 - Amsterdamse Bos / De Fot

5 Picks For Dekmantel Festival //

Dekmantel has built on their carefully constructed three day event to become one of the world’s premier festivals for electronic music. A small festival with big, big names, the superlatively banging festival is back to the lush surroudings of Amsterdam Bos (Amsterdam Forest) with another stunning line-up this August. Here are some of our top picks.

1. Three Chairs (Saturday, RBMA presents the woods)

The legendary DJ compound of Detroit luminaries Moodymann, Theo Parrish, Rick Wilhite and Marcellus Pittmann (who officially became the fourth member in 2002 after sporadically contributing to production) are known to run through milestones of Motor City’s rich house heritage throughout their mammoth 9 hour sets, traversing freaky acid jazz, soulful grooves and offbeat 4am jams. If you’re looking for an education in the raw, jazz flecked sounds of Detroit, they don’t come more knowledgeable than these guys.

2. DJ Harvey (Friday, Warsteiner stage)

A rare set from the disco edit aficionado is always a real treat; when Crack recently caught him in London we were lost in hours of sumptuous vocal disco and endlessly deep, deep cuts. While he is more commonly recognised as disco’s prodigal son, his new Wildest Dreams moniker showcases his vocals with a psychy, sleazy instrumentally led edge to his music. Steeped in charisma, DJ Harvey is truly in another league. Not to be missed.

3. Joey Anderson (Saturday, XLR8R stage)

Joey Anderson released one of the years most anticipated debuts via Dekmantel back in April. It followed the New York narrative that Anderson has perhaps lazily been lumped in with over the past few years; deep, dusty and wildly unpredictable. It also cemented the New Jersey producer as creator of some of the most hypnotic and fulfilling sounds committed to record this year. Expect sweat, immediacy and unexpected details.

4. Robert Hood (Sunday, RA stage)

As Detroit pioneer and co-founder of Underground Resistance alongside Mike Banks and Jeff Mills, Robert Hood helped change the face of Detroit techno over the 90s. In his recent interview with Resident Advisor, Hood showed himself to be as continually pioneering, as well as a sound, spiritual, and seriously charismatic guy. Live by the gospel of Robert Hood.

5. Young Marco (Sunday, RBMA stage)

Amsterdam’s Young Marco has been slowly building a reputation for connecting the dots between Balearic, new age and melodic house music. His subtle excursions were first released by Rush Hour (for whom he worked as A&R), which showcased his deep, tumbling melodies and intricate percussion work. As a DJ Young Marco reveals his eclectic tastes, keeping in mind the delicate musicality and oddball mentality of his own work.

Dekmantel Festival takes place 1-3 August in Amsterdam Bos. Limited tickets are still available here.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 17.31.50

5 Picks for Lovebox 2014 //

This weekend sees the return of East London’s finest weekender. Lovebox Festival is taking place at Victoria Park from Friday through till Sunday and – having just sold out – it looks set to continue it’s reign as a leading force in eclectic curation, colourful attire and unadulterated good vibes.

We are hosting a stage alongside krankbrother on Saturday featuring performances from Adam Beyer, Scuba and The Martinez Brothers. But to get you even more excited, we’ve compiled our top 5 picks for the weekend to give you a better idea of the fun that could be had if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket.

1. Nas performing Illmatic in full (Saturday, Main Stage)

Having just celebrated it’s 20th birthday, Nas’ seminal ’94 LP still sounds as fresh today as it did two decades ago. As a UK festival exclusive, this will be a rare chance to see a timeless record played out in full to a crowd who appreciate it’s legacy.

2. Adam Beyer (Saturday, Crack Magazine and krankbrother Stage)

Having established himself as a heavyweight in the Swedish techno scene, Beyer now has 15 years of experience in his craft and his name has become inextricably linked to cutting edge techno music. His sets are masterclasses in careful selection and bypassing all trends effortlessly. We couldn’t recommend a quick trip to the Crack stage strongly enough for this one.

5. The Horrors (Saturday, Noisey Presents)

When we interviewed Badwan and co a month or so again, they were in a typically bullish mood. Having spent years expanding their worldview and solidifying their status as one of the country’s most enduring rock bands. Their latest LP Luminous saw them take inspiration from a range of genres and stretch their sound even further. Their live show is just as sprawling and experimental as you’d expect from a band who continue to grow apace.

4. Moderat (Friday, FACT presents The Hydra)

To put it bluntly, Moderat are one of our favourite live acts on the planet. The cocktail of Modeselektor’s airtight production and Apparat’s dreamy melodies creates one of the most distinctive and hypnotic sounds in contemporary dance music. Not to be missed.

 

5. Woodkid (Saturday, Noisey Presents)

The Grammy-nominated multidisciplinary creative output of Woodkid is second to none. His releases like Iron and Run Boy Run arrived with inimitable visual accompaniments and a cinematic aesthetic that could only come from a true visionary. Someone with this much attention to detail would never allow a show to be subpar. 

Find out more about Lovebox here

logo with date

5 Things We’re Looking Forward To At Truck Festival //

Like any long-running festival, Truck has hit its share of roadblocks in the 17 years it’s existed. What’s impressive is that, despite significant switch-ups in management, this modest music gathering in rural Oxfordshire has never strayed far from its original format. Put simply, it’s a brilliant, unpretentious party on a farm.

Held in the village of Steventon every July, Truckers return year after year for the same things: losing their shit to riotous punk rock shows in a cow barn before slumping out on the grass with local cider and a rotary club burger, listening to an impressively varied roster of bands they may or may not have heard of.

For those who’d rather be in the know, here are a few of the acts likely to stand out in hazy memories of this year’s festival, which takes place 18-19 July.

 

Blood Red Shoes

Returning year after year with big riffs and vicious vocals, Blood Red Shoes are true Truck veterans. Head to the Barn on Friday for their blues-fueled onslaught.

- – - – - – - – - -

The Dreaming Spires

Americana from the Bennett brothers, a.k.a. the local blokes who set up this festival. They’ll be at the Saloon on Saturday, a stage bursting with other local acts competing to become your favourite discovery of the weekend.

- – - – - – - – - -

Los Campesinos!

Cardiff’s shouty pop gang are guaranteed to inject some aggro kinetic energy into the evening when they headline the Market stage on Saturday.

- – - – - – - – - -

Swim Deep

These B-town scenesters do the echoey indie thing well. Weather permitting, it’s bound to sound pretty sweet from either side of Truck’s massive main stage on Saturday.

- – - – - – - – - -

Andrew W.K.

PARTY HARD! PARTY HARD! PARTY HARD! PARTY HARD! etc. Why would you even thinking about missing this? Get in that smelly shed (also known as The Barn stage) on Saturday and earn your right to festival, slacker.


- – - – - – - – - -

truckfestival.com

parquetincourt3b

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before //

“The prairie yankee does the dance of the redskin/to the songs of the Yanglse and he doesn’t even know it”, howls Chris Leo on The Van Pelt’s track His Steppe Is My Prairie. What he’s getting at is this: sometimes it’s possible to completely rip on something without even realising. The Van Pelt – as I’m sure you’ll be aware with your vast knowledge of obscure 90s post hardcore – were never really guilty of plagiarism because Chris Leo is some kind of God among men. He even won that most prestigious of indie rock awards; Charlotte Church’s official seal of approval.

The thing is though, whether the goon-faced angel of shite wants to claim she’s heard of him or not, he’s got a point. Sometimes it is possible to unwittingly steal an idea from the collective consciousness, infact 96% of this article is a direct rip off of the kind of mind numbingly trite crap that gets posted on stupid websites like Buzzfeed. Of course, there are certain rules that prevent artists from running around, mindlessly catapulting lawsuits at each other like they’re obese Americans who’ve suddenly decided it’s Ronald McDonald’s fault they can no longer fit into their car. Adorno once wrote that all music is plagiarism but let’s face it, he probably never heard that Elastica tune that sounds exactly like Wire; there’s homage, there’s a knowing, respectful nod and there’s good old fashioned “I can’t be fucked to write my own song because I’m a lazy piss ant.” Here’s five of the worst examples that have somehow managed to slip through the gates in the last couple of years.

MORRISSEY VS. PARQUET COURTS

Parquet Courts’ Yr No Stoner is one of the standout tracks from their incredibly solid debut album Light Up Gold. The track itself stands out, in no small part, due to it’s fabulous intro. An instantly recognisable riff that just reeks of laid back New York cool, lazy street punk daze and errm middle aged men from Salford? Yeah. That’s right. Morrissey wrote it first you bunch of jagbags. Moz might be a bit of a plug (although personally I like his frank approach to making the public feel really, really awkward) but he certainly doesn’t deserve to have his riff pinched by a bunch of faux cowboys based in fancy pants, bagel loving, Brooklyn. Shame on you Parquet Courts, shame on you indeed, oh and by the way, checked shirts? In 2014? Really?

GIN BLOSSOMS VS. ACTIVE CHILD

I believe it was Confucius who once said; “You can’t just whack a synth on it and change the lyrics you fucking clart.” You might remember Active Child, because he was a person making vaguely alternative music under a name which included two words during a time when merely having a name containing two words meant instant critical acclaim and a place in Pitchfork‘s albums of the year list. What everyone failed to notice, however, was that his biggest hit When Your Love Is Safe was also a complete and utter rip off of Gin Blossoms song. A fucking Gin Blossoms song. I mean, fuck, if you’re gonna be a leech, at least be a leech with good taste.

TOTO VS. LIGHTNING DUST

This is a strange one, because Diamond by Lightning Dust is actually, technically speaking the best song ever written. Well, maybe. It’s in the top 100,000 anyway. Africa by Toto, however, isn’t. Yeah, your mates might find it fun to put it on at a party and let loose, but secretly everyone knows it’s overindulgent crap that somehow found it’s way from bargain bins and onto shitty compilations before becoming caught up in a whirlwind of ironic power ballad appreciation. It’s still shite though, and so are Journey and so are Europe and so are Boston. Anyway, just listen to the first few bars of the these two songs by side and tell me Lightning Dust weren’t watching a Time Life dad rock advert when they sat down to pen Diamond. To be fair though, the fact that Toto are accepted as a valid musical proposition is more of a crime than that will ever be.

THE EAGLES VS. HAIM

We’ll ignore the fact for a minute that Haim are inherently shite and have in their own way already gotten past security merely by being widely praised by people who are supposed to be responsible for helping young people develop taste. This is probably the most blatant rip off on this list. It’s painful to listen to these ‘innocent’ girls having a stab at rewriting a song by one of the most famous bands in the world. Nice try, if you think that lakes of Tresemme and admittedly brilliant use of GHDs product range make you impervious to being called out as a bunch of absolute tune burglars. You’re wrong. Bunch of absolute tune burglars.

SONIC YOUTH VS. SLOWCOACHES

We can forgive Slowcoaches for wanting to emulate Sonic Youth’s classic grunge pop anthem Teenage Riot (Skip to 1:20 on Teenage Riot). It’s a fucking brilliant song. In fact, if I’d never heard it on MTV2 when I was stoned after school that one time I probably wouldn’t have picked up that t-shirt from Urban Outfitters eight years later. I might have even saved me from pretending I’d like totally heard other Sonic Youth songs whilst talking to people at house parties before scuttling off to the toilet to “find my mate.” Unfortunately, I can’t deny the fact that Slowcoaches have in fact totally snagged their riff, no matter if they did make another pretty awesome pop grunge anthem out of it. They’re a pretty new band, so I’ll just say this for now: don’t do it again. Kids these days eh?

So that’s it musicians, you have been warned. Whether you’re a new band posting your tracks to SoundCloud, or a bunch of sisters who’ve somehow managed to blag the wider music press by pulling funny faces on stage; it’s never a good idea to steal other people’s music, because some pedantic twat will always notice. You might even be called out in a blog and four people might read it and then you’ll see. Then you’ll see.

- – - – - – - – - – -

Words: Billy Black.

@Billybillyblack

chic

SONAR 2014 BLOG – SATURDAY //

Last day of Sonar. There’s a slightly strung-out feel to Barcelona. Or perhaps I’m just projecting my own strung-outness onto others around me. Now might be an appropriate time to quote Hunter S. Thompson. Or, perhaps it would be, had I ever read him (or was cynical enough to quote anyway and pretend I had).

We made it to Sonar by Day early afternoon, stocked up on beers, and waited for DJ Harvey to start. As soon as he started playing, the whole atmosphere lifted and we begun to enjoy ourselves again, as if revitalised by sheer gonzo-italo alone. It was like taking in a herby elixir of voodoo-spiced funk draft, concocted by a aviatored, Jesus-looking beatnik. I’m afraid we couldn’t name any of the tracks he played, except Tom Moulton’s mix of I Don’t Know Why by the Brand New Heavies towards the end, so we’ll have to leave it to the beards on djhistory to train-spot.

That closed the Day, so we headed out for some more food before eventually reaching the Night. Chic completely stole the show, with Nile Rodgers charming the flip flops off everyone. Chic Cheer, a personal favourite, got the crowd singing Faith Evans, albeit haphazardly.

We spent a long time and quite a lot of time and money on the dodgems. Before the rain, UNER was playing a Diynamic and No 19 heavy set at SonarCar, which (oddly enough) provided a great soundtrack. Daphni and James Holden held it down for the more esoteric Sonar goers, the latter not really managing to shake off a slightly precocious air of IDM-ness. Shortly thereafter the heavens opened, and Tiga was left looking disgruntled as rain parted the crowd at SonarPub, like a grumpy accidental Moses at the Red Sea, with dense crowds taking contested shelter under the venue’s enormous awnings.

We then struggled home. On the way, an enterprising Barcelonan relieved me of both phone and wallet. We heard of many similar incidents. While annoyed at spending most of the following days in and out of police stations, we would rather the Catalonian authorities spent more resources alleviating their citizens’ dire economic straits, or even reducing the inequality, that precipitate such acts, and less on the racist criminalisation of the “Romanians” they seek to blame; desperados neoliberal capitalism neither wants nor needs. It didn’t ruin Sonar for us, it won’t ruin Barcelona, and there’s evidence to show increasingly draconian punishments are not working anyway.

A full review will follow, but for now, we would like to thanks the organisers of Sonar for being such good hosts, and the city of Barcelona for housing a festival of far more highs than lows.

- – - – - – - – - – -

Words: Robert Bates

Photography: Nacho G Riaza

Crack magazine seinfeld today

Jason Richards: The man behind @Seinfeld2000 //

Seinfeld is the greatest TV show of all time, according to a TV Guide list last year. It was the show about nothing that became everything. It meant a lot to a lot of people and when it ended in 1998 people were kind of sad. Later came @SeinfeldTodaya Twitter feed posing hypothetical story lines that would play out in a modern day episode of Seinfeld. The account was co-run by a BuzzFeed employee who mustered up a huge fanbase in 24 hours and got people all excited through micro-plotlines about everyones favourite Manhattan foursome. 

Kramer was torrenting, Elaine reviewed a restaurant on Yelp, Newman ruined Game of Thrones for Jerry. Off the bat, it’s quite good fun. The scenarios aren’t worlds away from the narratives that would’ve existed in the ‘90s, but after a while it becomes clear this is just a guy sat at a laptop who has taken it upon himself to continue the story of Seinfeld. This realisation came quick for Jason Richards, the man responsible for @Seinfeld2000, and this where the comedy gets complicated. The version Richards created last year is a parody of a parody; in the postmodern tradition of @dril and @Horse_ebooks, Dolan and Doge, Richards plays a crazed Seinfeld fan maniacally churning out slightly misjudged and gravely misspelt ideas for episodes under the mission statement: “What if Sienfeld still on TV?”

We phoned up Toronto-based writer Richards to get some insight into the account, which has recently been extended into a chaotic video game based on the famous Seinfeld episode The Junior Mint – Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig provided a soundtrack. When launching the game, @Seinfeld2000 added, “this game is hand’s down the gretest video game ever creted becase it alow you to pretend your in one of the most clasic epsodes of Senfeld… Can the ppl who made Call Of Duty 4 promise you that? No. They simply canot.”

Who are you?

I’m a creative professional working in Canada. Fairly regular lifestyle but I have this Twitter – this strange Twitter project that I’m doing.

This sounds pathetic, but how long does it take you put a tweet together?

It depends: with photoshop, it depends on how elaborate. There was one with the cast having moved to Brooklyn and everybody was accessorised with these quote-un-quote ‘hipster’ details. Larry David was wearing a Yeezus tour shirt.

What was it about @SeinfeldToday that made you want to parody it?

A few things; I got really sick of it really quickly. I thought it was funny at first then got really tired of it and it became something I couldn’t avoid. I just unfollowed it but then I would see it retweeted multiple times a day. As for why I didn’t find it funny anymore, it wasn’t really in the voice of the show. So this idea came about to mock the fact that if someone can presume to pick up where the show left off in a parody form, then anyone can do that. Even a crazy person, someone with not very good judgement, could also take it upon themselves.

Is that why everything is misspelt?

That’s a bit of it for sure. It’s also the idea of it being a mocking voice, like when children on a playground are making fun of each other. And also just to really distinguish it from what it’s making fun of – the absurdity of some of the ideas and how stupid it all is. I try not to give that much biographical detail because I feel like everyone has their version of what this voice is.

 

Was it intentionally a fairly obscure, ‘hipster’ joke?

There are a lot of references that aren’t mainstream references. There are jokes about things that would appeal to a “hipster” demographic. I’m actually using air quotes while saying the word hipster! The spelling makes it very inaccessible. I just think it’s a very acquired taste.

Has the account ever reached anyone from the original Seinfeld team?

There have been some very minor brushes but I’ve never met any of them directly. A few months ago I did this reedit of the Susan plot line from season 7 in to Arcade Fire’s Here Comes The Night Time music video. Somebody tweeted it at Jason Alexander and he retweeted it. The only other thing was a couple of weeks ago we did this Seinfeld Emoji thing and Jessica Seinfeld, Jerry’s wife, was really into it. That was kind of cool. Jerry Seinfeld has been asked about it in like a Reddit AMA and acknowledged it, but I don’t think anybody from their team is in a big rush to acknowledge this strange remix Twitter thing.

ARCADE FIRE – HERE COMES THE NIGHT TIME from Seinfeld2000 on Vimeo.

How did the work with Ezra Koenig come about?

Pippin Barr is this really creative guy and a video game designer. Very talented and very, very smart. We were working together on the video game and the question came up of soundtracking it. Ezra had already followed the account and there’d been some interaction. I was able to send him a direct message asking if he’d be interested in contributing something, thinking there was a 1% chance that he would even reply. To my great surprise he really came through and really raised the creative value. That’s another great thing about this account, it allows me to collaborate with all these super talented people.

Do you see yourself as part of a wider scene of comics?

Not particularly. That wasn’t the intention going in. I didn’t think this thing would sustain past a few days, I just wanted to vent about something that was a minor interference for a day or two. I have noticed since then and since getting more immersed in Twitter’s creative side that there is a shared sensibility. It’s a tone that I enjoy, it corresponds with my sense of humour.

Would you describe it as ‘meta’?

What I’m doing? Definitely. One of my favourite threads of Seinfeld2000 is telling people about the purpose of the account without actually fulfilling that purpose, i.e. just informing people that this account imagines what Seinfeld would be like if it was still on television. A tweet that adds zero value, a giant empty calorie of a tweet. It serves no purpose. If you talk about ‘meta’ then that’s the most meta part of it. Also just the constant repetition and the hammering this thing over and over. It’s amazing to me that a lot of people haven’t unfollowed.

Seinfeld was famously the show about nothing. Is that why Seinfeld2000 works?

Seinfeld was pretty unique. It was a strange show in itself; so many dark moments, the occasional surreal twist, things that would never happen in real life. Something about my format works really well with the sensibility of that show which I’m not sure would work with more traditional shows. Within the venn diagram of shows that are classic and universally loved but also a little bit twisted and weird, Seinfeld fits right in there.

Do you think that writers try too hard to shoehorn in current references?

Well Twitter is all about talking about what’s happening right now and SeinfeldToday was capitalising on that by weaving these things into plot lines, so I was doing hyperbole on that. Completely sending up the idea that if Seinfeld was on today, the writers would be on the pulse of the 24 hour news cycle. There’s something funny to me about overthinking that idea. It’s a little bit perverse and its now come full circle and reached a level of hypocrisy where I’m just doing that.

Theres that season of Curb Your Enthusiasm where there is a Seinfeld reunion and theres a storyline about George Costanza and the iToilet

Yes! I’d love to reference that, but I feel like the Seinfeld reunion wasn’t enough of a universal thing, it kind of came and went a little bit and not everyone loved it.

Where else do you want to take @Seinfeld2000 and this tone of comedy?

I have a couple of things on the go that are very different and totally unrelated – they are in a human being’s voice. I try not to talk about stuff in case things don’t come to light. It’s a good question and it’s something I think about too. One thing I always thought before doing the parody account was just Twitter in general. You have a Twitter account and it’s like having a pet – something you have to feed on a continuous basis. Where does it end? I’ve thought about slowly trying to evolve the account and making it more of an overt characterisation where you really get a sense for who this person is.

So in your head you’ve got this unhinged character who sits at their phone fantastising about Seinfeld?

[Laughs] It’s unformed. It’s fluid, like water. As soon as I start to put boundaries like nationality or age, appearance, gender; somehow it starts to bring it down for me. I’m really in to specificity and I’m very detailed in a creative sense but I want to keep it a mystery to me. I like it to be opened-ended and amorphous and mysterious.

Thanks for talking to us. We cant tell you why we’re so entertained but we are.

You and me both. Thanks for being interested.

- – - – - – - – - -

Words: Duncan Harrison

twitter.com/Seinfeld2000

10456015_10152880162049045_4508901951966985073_n

SONAR 2014 BLOG – FRIDAY //

After our relaxed Thursday, we went hell for leather on Friday. If there’s a tangible drop in the quality of these posts, apologies. My brain throbs with each and every increase in Celsius and my mouth feels like a cat pissed then died in it. 

We had a slightly delayed start and got the Sonar by Day site around 3, where we were confronted with this guy:

this guy

Leather bicep band? Leather waitcoat? Necklace in the shape of a cannabis leaf? Blonde highlights? Purple sunglasses? Along with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s punky half-brother here, half of Barcelona seemed to be out in force for Friday’s Sonar by Day. The massive five areas all seemed full. Bonobo came on after 7 to massive cheers, and he and the band put out a solid if unadventurous set. We sloped off to the Welcome Bar to get some beer and vegetate in front of the air-con, where we saw this guy:

that guy

This is more like it. Higher-waisted than Cowell and all the more player for it.

A while later and Theo Parrish swaggered onto the Sonar Village stage. A few tracks in and Stevie Wonder’s Another Star lifted us all from our weary legs and propelled the crowd to uninhibited, dad-dance frenzy. Unfortunately there were some technical problems half way through, Theo got pissed and shouted at the tech guys, and the vibe didn’t quite recover.

That closed Sonar by Day, so we hopped on the Sonar Bus for Sonar by Night. We wandered around the various venues for a while and saw most of Caribou, all of Todd Terje, a bit of 2ManyDJs and a bit of Loco Dice. Todd played it pretty safe, a live set of mostly his tracks with a nice Bee Gees edit in there, before he rather peremptorily laid down Inspector Norse. 2ManyDJs were as predictable as ever but nonetheless extremely enjoyable – although MGMT’s Kids was a 2007-era track too far for us, and we finished our evening/morning with Loco Dice pounding out SonarClub.

Onto Saturday, where a couple of Crack cover stars are must-sees: DJ Harvey, as well as Nile Rodgers plays a peak time set at Sonar by Night – further dispatch to follow. Let’s hope I can still string sentences together.

- – - – - – - – -

sonar.es

Words: Robert Batres

Photography: Ariel Martini

mediaspank042

MediaSpank 42: Working Class Hero //

We need a working class hero. A politician who can drink a pint, wax lyrical about society and galvanise a movement that has a sense of righteous injustice. Maybe even smoke a fag, while looking comfortable around regular folk. When I say ‘we’, I mean the political left, which hopefully includes you, Dear Reader.

This side of the political spectrum is languishing on the edge of irrelevance and there’s no one to pull us away from the yawning abyss. If the Tories win next year, following UKIP’s European success, it’ll sum up everything that’s wrong with left- leaning politics’ inability to capture the public imagination. 

The country’s spent four years staggering through the worst economic catastrophe of our lifetime. Dole queues spiralled, food banks ran low. For a few weeks in the summer of 2011 people openly looted and set fires to our cities. Why was the argument for state support and limiting inequality ignored? Why didn’t the workers’ champion rise up on a tidal wave of public support? Labour should be trouncing the Tories, not waning under the challenge of a marginal anti-EU party.

Economic strife tends to push voters to the extremes. Whatever you say about Nigel The Curious Frog and his purple-furred fox party’s raid on Westminster’s hen house last month, it pales in comparison to far-right parties on the rise elsewhere in Europe. That said, protest movements have shown you can capitalise with left-leaning policies too, whether it’s Beppe Grillo in Italy or Syriza in Greece.

The first problem is Ed Miliband. The Times recently published a “knives out” article about the Labour leader in which a top party figure says: “The narrative around Ed Miliband, because it’s the truth, is that he looks weird, sounds weird, is weird.”

That’s fundamentally unfair (sure we all take the piss out of politicians, but I’m not quoting unnamed sources on the front page of a national newspaper). That said, there’s something wrong with the low expectations we have of a leader who’s become the Ben Affleck of the New Labour Trilogy.

Compare this to the confounding success of UKIP. Farage laments non-English speak- ing pupils by misusing statistics about second languages which include his own children. He’s not racist, but … shares a bed with a German and is uncomfortable living next to Romanians – and he expects you to understand the innate differences between the two. And so on and so on. There’s no need to detail the rank hypocrisy endemic in his politics – the point is, it stinks.

The interesting question is; if the platform is weak, his arguments full of holes and he’s been running this shtick for a decade, why is it the party’s started to get serious traction now? And why is he leading the political upheaval?

Part of the reason is he’s done an amazing job of sounding like normal person. Or at least he sounds very different from what the main parties have to offer (even though he has a very similar background). The nice Lib Dem lady at the start of the BBC’s local election night coverage admitted it almost immediately; the main parties have been sanitised by the time they spend in Westminster, people don’t like them.

UKIP’s success is in part a reaction to England’s changing demographic. It’s about fear of different cultures, fear of job losses and an untrusted political elite. This is a powerful and simple message to rally around.

The left needs to do something similar, except we can highlight genuine issues of inequality and low wages, instead of creating a political scapegoat out of foreigners and fostering intolerance.

We need to have a leader that sounds different too, that sounds angry and righteous. Russell Brand gave us a glimmer of this with his hairspray politics, but we need more than that. We need a working class hero in the sense that John Lennon eulogised; one that hasn’t been processed into the political class. It’s too late for Miliband to achieve everything that’s possible for the left right now.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Words: Christopher Goodfellow

mediaspank.net

@MediaSpank

Illustration: Lee Nutland 

10177343_10152875371734045_5362213125769343976_n

SONAR 2014 BLOG: THURSDAY //

Ushered in, we cooly stride into Sonar’s Press Accreditation area. Everything is magnificently well-signposted and there are lots of attractive Spanish people being nice to me. A short while longer, and I’m sitting down for my press card’s photo. I am making the same joke I always do when people trip up on the name of this magazine (“everyone loves Crack!”), to general bemusement, when the woman opposite takes my photo. 

I am stuck with this gazing-into-the-middle-distance mugshot around my neck for the rest of the festival. I am this magazine’s representative at Sonar, probably Europe’s most prestigious music and media festival, and on my press card I look like a gormless idiot wearing an orange tee vaguely reminiscent of prisoners’ jumpsuits.

Screen shot 2014-06-13 at 14.14.07

There is no time to mourn my rapidly depreciating personal brand; beers at the Welcome Bar. Estrella are €2 and the floor is a pleasing kind of soft green astroturf. There are lots of people here with serious-looking Macbooks. We are in the Sonar+D part of the festival, a huge round of talks, events and shows based around the festival’s commitment to innovation & technology. There are lots of programmers, not to mention a few venture capitalist-types looking for the Next Big (profit-making) Thing. A frenetic mood sits heavy over the otherwise docile, drone-like tappers of keyboards and flickers of iProducts.

We move off to explore. There’s the AppCafe, where you can play on new apps for mobile devices (Monument Valley was great, like a platform game designed by Escher and Studio Ghibli); MarketLab, which has (mainly) physical products for you to see; and SonarCinema, which is self-explanatory. At the same time, talks and workshops go on round the various venues. A highlight for us was the fascinating round table on how the role of the electronic musician has changed over the past couple of decades, with Simon Reynolds (music journalist; he of Hardcore Continuum fame), Simon Rigg (founder of Phonica), Simon Williams (musician) and Philip Sherburne (music journalist).

With all this going on, we didn’t actually spend that much time at Sonar by Day, the music part of the festival. James Murphy & 2ManyDJs we plying their Despacio project all day long, and it so bloody good we didn’t really bother seeing anyone else, except Chris & Cosey, who seemed to have an entire synthesiser warehouse on stage with them. Richie Hawtin/Plastikman closed out the day in imperious throbbing light-show style.

We eased ourselves gently into Sonar, then, knowing that two more days and nights lay ahead. Crack favourite Theo Parrish is playing this evening and we have the first night of Sonar by Night. Expect our next dispatch to be slightly more jaded, but no less enthused for what has already proved to be an extremely slick exposition of what culture (broadly defined) and technology means today.

- – - – - – - – - -

Words: Robert Bates

Photography: Sonar

Back to top