The first quarterly issue will be released by the end of the week. Here is just a little taste of what you’ll see: our lovely model Kitana Cross poses next to an El Camino while holding a PBR. Photo by George Swar
I was working on the Halloween issue of the magazine. Above is just a little taste of what you’ll see. This will be our last monthly issue, but fear not, loyal reader. It won’t be our last issue. We like doing this too much to stop now. However, our schedule is going to change. Beginning in January (it will be here before you know it), we will switch to a quarterly schedule. You’ll still get the same great content, just less frequently.
Another change that is coming to Incognito is that we’re going to be getting a lot more stuff on video and posting it here at Incognito HQ.
Here’s the thing, loyal reader. You know we value your input. So I ask you, what changes would you like to see come to Incognito…the blog or the magazine? Feel free to let us know.
I announced recently that changes are coming to Incognito. One of those changes is that we’re going to start putting together and releasing compilations. The compilations will be available here and on iTunes. For more details or to submit your song for an upcoming compilation, hit us up.
Don’t worry, loyal reader. We are still going to bring you the same great content as we always have: two music features, a model feature, reviews of albums, beers, and movies. None of that is changing. However, instead of publishing each issue on Issuu.com, we are going to make the PDF available for download right here on Incognito HQ. Yes, that means we will no longer make the magazine available for free, but we will include some things in the magazine (giveaways, contests, etc.) that you won’t find here on the blog. This is where we need your help, loyal reader. Please answer these two questions in a comment to this post.
What would you be willing to pay for each issue of Incognito?
What would you like to see us include in the magazine so you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth?
Matt Groopie is a Canadian artist in both King Beez and Matt Groopie and The Bandits. He discusses both bands (click the picture to visit Matt’s site), some tips for touring, and the six albums he would replace first if his music collection were ever wiped out.
This album contains some of the greatest guitar riffs ever, as well as some strange lyrics and themes. It’s interesting and entertaining as well as down right scary. A definite nugget worth finding.
3. Flying Burrito Brothers – Anthology
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
I’m really interested in film and am actually in pre-production for a documentary I’m doing about the Toronto Surf Scene. I run a podcast on indieroundtable.com which is also fun and rewarding as I get to hear lots of great music. I am deeply into environmental and human rights issues and I have a twitter for that at @TomorrowTodayCa . I do a lot of charity events and lately have been working with the Lupus foundation. Also, I always wanted to manage the Toronto Blue Jays.
Follow Matt on Twitter (@mattgroopie)
You’ve read and enjoyed her drink columns and band interviews. Today I want you to join me in wishing a happy birthday to our writer, model, and all-around delightful human: Carin Merritt. Leave your birthday wishes for her in a comment.
Loyal reader, last week we published our first interview here on the blog (after having a lot of them in the magazine). You responded so well to it that I thought we should make this a weekly thing. So here it is. I hope you like this one as much as you liked the interview with Brian Tracey.
Astrakan Project is a band currently living in Istanbul. The songs are performed in Breton, a Celtic language from western France. This, and the instrumentation, gives the band a sound you’re not likely to find elsewhere. By email, Simone Alves discussed the Breton language, the band’s unique sound, and the perfect setting for listening to Astrakan Project.
Your website describes your sound as “world music from beyond our world.” Explain that to me.
Our music is originally from Brittany, the western part of France, where still some people speak the original language. Beyond our world is a world that is there, but that you can’t see, in Celtic mythology, the borders between the unseen and our world are not so difficult to cross.
Beyond our world also in our mind refers to the fact that by singing these very old lyrics, we connect in a way to all the generations that have been singing them for centuries until they came to us. Not all of them are old, but some link us back to the Middle Ages.
Sadly enough it also refers to the fact that our language, Breton, is so endangered that only a few people still speak it, mostly very old people. It is taught in a few schools, but not widely. In a way we’re not sure that our world, our culture, our language will survive more that a couple of decades.
You live in Istanbul and sing in Breton. How did you arrive at this particular style?
Breton people (and Portuguese, I also have Portuguese origins) are very well known to be great travelers, and to sail all around the world. There are loads of good reasons that made us settle for a couple of years in Istanbul, and since we are musicians, we keep on playing music. But of course, we also started to use local instruments, local rhythms that could fit sometime, to develop improvisations… We never really wanted to mix or blend both styles… it just happened!
The interesting thing about perception is that although in western countries people would definitely describe our music as having some Oriental taste, in Turkey, in Lebanon or Greece where we played, they don’t feel it that way at all: for them it is not Oriental.
What do you think is the perfect setting for listening to Astrakan Project?
In the dark! Or driving in desert areas, in the middle of nowhere. Just be ready to forget about the place you are.
If you were going to record an album in a different style, what would it be? Why?
Yann would definitely like to play drums in a metal band, or in a rock band. Or violin for Irish music. I would like some days to record lullabies from all over the world, but my secret dream would be to sing British pop, but I know it will only stay as a dream: you really have to be British to sing like that!
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
Impossible! We both have side jobs (at the moment Yann is a full-time math and physics teacher) to be able to keep a certain freedom that allows us to create. We both left our “careers” aside to have more time to make music. It’s kind of a one-way choice. Even for a very limited audience, we would keep on making music, maybe in different ways, maybe only recording, maybe only for very small venues, maybe even only trying and mixing sounds at home, but there is no way we could live without it.
Musicians, you all have stories to tell. We have two music features in every issue of the magazine, but a) We’re on hiatus from new issues until August and b) our issues are booked through October. So, we want to give more of you the chance to tell your stories in the form of a brief questionnaire that we will publish weekly (probably Thursday) here at Incognito HQ. If you’re interested, send a message to incognitomusicmag at gmail dot com.
This interview was originally scheduled for our St. Patrick’s Day issue. Due to the death of singer Ray Kelly, the interview was postponed. Now we are taking a brief hiatus from publishing new issues, and I frankly didn’t want to wait until later this year to publish it because it’s such a good interview. Without any further ado, I give you the interview with Brian Tracey by our our very own Carin Merritt (send or address all kudos to her for this fine interview).
Describe The Mickey Finns in a nutshell.
In a nutshell…well, I guess right now we’re a band that’s missing our friend, singer, and guitarist. We lost Ray Kelly just a couple of months ago and the pain has not really begun to heal yet. It’s gonna take a long time, but we’re happy with the great music and great memories that he left to us. Now before Ray passed away, we were a band that was looking forward to the future. We’ve had a bunch of great reviews for our newest album Prayers and Idle Chatter and were itching to get out on the road to play our songs throughout the country. And while we’re not ready just yet, we still plan on doing that.
What does it mean to you when someone calls you “one of the best Celtic rock bands in the world”?
It’s really a great honor. We grew up listening to what we considered the best Irish music – The Dubliners, The Pogues, The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, The Wolfe Tones. The list could go on for ages. We were lucky to have met and played with most of them at some point and now we’re happy that we’ve had a part in shaping some of the sound of the new Celtic rock. We’re always striving to be the best we can be and hopefully people will like what we’re doing. So far, that’s been the case and we’ve been blessed with that honor.
What are your goals as a group for the year 2013?
Well, the goals for 2013 have changed since the beginning of the year. I guess right now are goals are to continue forward with the band and with the music and to honor Ray Kelly. It’s been tough to bounce back from our loss, but we will do our best to continue to make music. It’s just what we do. We’re planning on having a benefit for Ray’s children soon, so we’re gonna be be concentrating on that. And we’ll have to eventually look for a new singer, which will be very tough. But like I said, making music is what we do best and we need to continue to do it…as hard as it may be sometimes.
Where does the inspiration for your sound and lyrics come from?
Our influences are wide and varied. We have a fair bit of traditional music on our records and in our live shows and that mostly comes from our fiddler, Matt Mancuso, one of the absolute BEST traditional fiddlers on the scene. The rest of the sound is all of us thrown together. We all love Irish ballads and old school outlaw country. I think our sound is a bit of The Pogues, Steve Earle, Kila, Solas, The Dubliners, and Hayes Carll all thrown together.
The lyrics…well, I guess it differs from song to song. It’s a bit of our experiences on the road, in life, and a bit of theft as well! But only a small bit…and only the good parts. And whiskey…a lot of inspiration comes from whiskey!
You are allowed to perform only at one bar in New York for the rest of your career, where will it be and why?
It’s gotta be Paddy Reilly’s. It’s been our home base for years…from our early days in The Prodigals through our whole career as The Mickey Finns. It’s the best place to hear live Irish music and has been for years. Steve Duggan has been a tireless promoter of Irish music and it’s still the best place to play. Plus they serve a mean pint of Guinness!
What is everyone’s drink of choice:
five minutes before going on stage? Shot of whiskey.
to cure a hangover? bloody Mary
to celebrate? Shots and pints all across the board!
to make that cross-eyed, toothless girl that’s been eyeing you all night appear pretty enough to take home? whiskey…and lots of it!
Can you tell we love our whiskey? Half our songs are about it as well!
Tell us one of your favorite stories about Ray.
I’d say this would be the hardest question. Ray has always been a talented carpenter when not making music. Some years back he made a chest for our speaker cables and mics. It was dubbed “the box of death” because it weighed a ton and had sharp little corners that would always cut you. We were playing with The Prodigals at the time and Harrison Ford, yes, THE Harrison Ford, was at our show. And he gave Ray a hand carrying the box of death into the pub. And the two of them had a nice chat about being carpenters (Mr. Ford used to be a carpenter, too). It is such a Ray thing…he could literally talk to anyone about anything. He was the the best frontman in the world, but had zero frontman ego. And it wouldn’t have mattered if it was Harrison Ford or some guy off the street…he treated everyone with respect. But he was pretty chuffed to be hanging out with Harrison Ford! And there are a TON of stories like that.
What is your favorite quote that represents The Mickey Finns?
A quote about us? I have no idea! But a quote that I like…”I have taken more good from alcohol than alcohol has taken from me” from Winston Churchill. Not that we condone drinking…
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Me personally? I’ve had so many different jobs over the years, but never enjoyed a single one besides being a musician. I did study to be a teacher, so maybe that. Or maybe I’d just be an itinerant. That always seemed like a pretty good way to go about your day! For now, I’m gonna stick with the music.