Author Topic: Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview  (Read 208 times)

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Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview
« on: June 19, 2020, 02:41:49 PM »
The new track, released today: "The Wild In The Streets"
https://www.dragcity.com/news/2020-06-18-wild-in-the-streets?fbclid=IwAR2TG6WSgjZCKgu-7D73w-VYd3WuDw_GMRSvcTNJ05j-dOsenRLPe4NUQUE

http://famishedcandiru.blogspot.com/2020/06/a-look-back-in-time-high-llamas-market.html
O'Hagan talks about one of my favourite old songs of his - "Market Traders" from "Santa Barbara"
(was originally published in French - check the byline for the link to the original in French - let me know if you find any typos)

It's a long article, but here are some highlights:

Quote
In a documentary, Ray Davies explained that, for all the songs which he had composed, he was looking for an unknown classical air which his big sister had played at the piano when he was 13 years old. And the poignant thing about this story is that his sister had died of a cardiac arrest that very day. Is this your approach? Is there a search for something which you use to escape, artistically?

That's a very moving story and I would say that for certain songs you effectively try to attain a sort state of of nirvana - it's a sensation of elevation. There are all kinds of art that access something ineffable, which one is searching for in the act of doing it.

In "Market Traders" and in the majority of your songs besides, there is a certain nostalgic or melancholic mood. Where does that come from?

I think that sadness and beauty go hand in hand. There are lots of preconceptions in pop music. We very often used to associate pop with youth and vigour, which really makes me laugh. It is quite interesting, writing a sad or introspective pop song - perhaps nostalgic too - in which you inject a certain kind of happiness. It's a kind of happy sadness and you get to something that's real. There are many wonderful songs that seem to strike that balance - for example John Cale or Brian Wilson. Also in folk music. Lots of people need a little nostalgia. It is a ingredient of many films too.

If I rightly recall, when I wrote it I was looking to write a song in the style of John Cale. I was a huge fan of everything he had ever done. But at the same time, I was thinking of a kind of song that would be good for FM radio: a nice little ditty that would grow on you with the synths and everything else. I wanted it to sound very American but with a slightly bizarre set of lyrics - very clich├ęd lyrics reminiscent of that kind of love song: "we're gonna make it to the stars!" So I thought up a story of a guy who's just going about one day and starts having all these funny ideas come to him in broad daylight. So all in all, it's a song about a kind of person who likes to go cycling! These are the moods I really enjoy creating, which are pretty "jazzy" and aren't my typical style, but in which I'm searching for a sound which makes you think of East-Coast jazz.

It's the French artist Louis Philippe who introduced Bossa Nova to me. One day, he had me listen to Milton Nascimento and - wow - I discovered this fascinating music! It completely obsessed me. I began to follow the BBC program "World of Thomas Patton" who covered the genre. I discovered that these artists had been in turn influenced by the golden years of 60s and 70s music! When I was younger I had heard Sergio Mendes talk about Tom Jobim and Frank Sinatra's Bossa Nova standards which one heard of so little. The day I discovered Jorge Ben, Joyce, Elis Regina, Chico Buarque, Joao Gilberto, Ivan Lins and many others... The list is infinite. It's like a source that never dries - I set myself to study and listen to them on a loop. Then, I started to play nylon-stringed guitars exclusively. I absorbed and assimilated these influences and made them a little part of myself.

What inspired the lyrics to "Market Traders"?

A little town North of London called "Hitchim". I had been there while I was a child. It was a Saturday, the market day, and the sun was shining bright and the day was full of colour. When I think of the day, I realize that it was really another time - the world before we had experienced so many great changes like what happened after September the 11th and all the other more recent political upheavals.

Re: Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 03:08:53 PM »
I think he meant Hitchin, not Hitchim. I live there!

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 03:12:46 PM »
His last album, Radum Calls, Radum Calls was only released last October. Up there with his best. Must be going through a purple patch

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Re: Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2020, 03:12:59 PM »
I think he meant Hitchin, not Hitchim. I live there!

Oh, that's a coincidence! Do you know/like the song? You live in a piece of musical history now.

Yeah it was a French guy who wrote it so it was a mishearing. The google maps picture I added to the text shows me searching for "Hitchim" and getting "Hitchin". Didn't notice that until now.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 03:32:32 PM »
Bought the track. Lovely stuff. A hint of Frank Ocean about it.

Neomod

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Re: Sean O'Hagan / High Llamas new single and interview
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2020, 04:38:26 PM »
Sean's take on the 'new' direction.

Quote
As much as I have enjoyed the musical landscape that I have explored for 30 years, I want to creep beyond it. I can still drop the chords as I always have but I am enamored the 2020 RnB experience and here I have found new tools to put records together.

It's still unmistakably him isn't it with some processed vocals. So dipping a toe rather than going all [insert contemporary RnB artist here].

This is lovely but I did expect him to say "That'll do pig" at the end[1].

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUX1j-Famtk
 1. I'm inferring he's morphing into James Cromwell

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