For the next in MPT’s review of 2013, we turn to Edinburgh’s Wozniak and specifically guitarist/principal noisemonger Simon Cuthbert-Kerr. Simon offers not only the longest piece so far (and a picture!) but one section which made me laugh out loud!
Your Own Music
Your own musical highlight of the year?
If it’s ok, I’m going to say the whole thing. This is Wozniak’s first year of doing stuff in public. We’ve only been together as a four-piece since about October 2012, so from our first gig in May 2013 through to releasing our first single in November, it’s all been pretty cool.
Favourite performance of the year?
I really enjoyed our single launch on 1 November. There was a great crowd, a great atmosphere, two great support bands (hello, We Came From The North and Vladimir) and I think we played alright, even if one or two of the songs were played a touch fast thanks to the adrenaline!
What’s the one thing that went wrong in 2013 you’d like to fix?
Well now, we were super-excited to be playing with Taffy, a Japanese band who had just finished touring the UK in support of the Wedding Present, and who were doing a couple of dates before they went home. We were assured that it would be fine to use their drum kit, and it probably would have been if their van hadn’t broken down (twice!) on the journey from York to Edinburgh, with no-one at the venue in possession of their number. After much nail biting and trying to think of alternatives, they finally showed up a couple of hours after the gig was meant to start, on the back of an AA truck. The moral is this: never rely on anyone else to provide gear for a gig!
It all ended pretty well, though: when they arrived everyone (and I mean everyone – band members, audience members, bar staff) piled out of the venue to help them get their gear inside and set up, and we managed to make the gig a success, even if some of the sets ended up being a bit truncated. Still, never rely on anyone else to provide gear for a gig. Seriously.
What you gonna be doing next year?
Well, we’ve started work on our new EP, which we’re hoping will be out in May or thereabouts. We’re starting 2014 with a very cool gig at the Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh, playing with Inuit and Sonic Hearts Foundation on 1 February, so we’re looking forward to that. We’re also playing at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh on 8 February supporting Echo Arcadia, and we’re really pleased to have been asked to do that.
Hopefully we’ll get a few more gigs lined up, and it would be very cool to spread our wings a bit and play some new places.
3 songs or LPs you’ve listened to the most in 2013?
Undoubtedly, the two songs I’ve listened to most this year are ‘Where Are We Now?’ by David Bowie, which sent me back to his late 70s and early 80s albums, and ‘Remurdered’ by Mogwai, which I think shares a certain aesthetic with that period of Bowie So look out for some new Wozniak material blatantly styled after that kind of thing! I also really liked Toe Cutter by Thee Oh Sees.
Best gig attended?
Inevitably, it’s Mogwai – playing the Dougie Paul Memorial Concert in Edinburgh in August. I wasn’t too keen on some of the traditional and folk music which preceded Mogwai, although that was obviously part of the point, but then Mogwai came on and were just sublime. It had actually been a few years since I had seen them, so it was great to get a chance to see them in a relatively small venue, and we made it a Wozniak night out, so that was fun.
I also liked a small gig I saw in Brooklyn in the summer, which was a Thurston Moore free noise trio, featuring Thurston, a drummer and a trumpeter. The noise was fabulous, and I was standing right in front of Thurston and then I met him afterwards, like the sad fanboy I am!
An honourable mention also to the NAKED single launch, which was such a fully realised event that I was completely blown away.
Biggest surprise of 2013?
The return of My Bloody Valentine. You go to bed one night, and when you wake up there’s a new album, and it’s even pretty good (maybe not record of the year though…).
Biggest letdown of 2013?
The weather at Primavera. It’s Barcelona in late May and early June – it should be sunny and hot, not grey and whipped by an icy wind. It better be back to normal in 2014…
Who should we be looking out for in 2014?
Some good bands which will hopefully do interesting things in 2014 are Blessa, Carbon Tigers and As Elephants Are, although I don’t really have a good handle on very new bands. I do like Black Hearted Brother, who feature Neil Halstead, who was in Slowdive, and they should expect to receive a lot of emails from me begging for a support slot. I have also heard of this band called Mogwai, who are apparently releasing an album in 2014…
Anything and Everything
Event of 2013
I can’t really think of many good events in 2013, at least not ones of particular significance beyond my own interests, although I’m sure I’m missing something. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but Thatcher’s death was quite something – I really was starting to believe that she would never go. I know it’s not nice to cheer when someone dies, but she really seemed to be a vicious and callous individual with no redeeming features, who condemned large parts of the UK, entire communities and generations of families to misery and irrelevance. Her death doesn’t change things, but at least she’s finally gone.
Also, I’ve just remembered something good – Andy Murray won Wimbledon!
Hero of 2013
Edward Snowden seemed to value the truth more than his own personal safety, and that seems quite heroic.
Lowpoint of 2013
In an effort to steer clear of important things, I’m going to say Johnny Marr singing Smiths songs. There’s just something not right about that.
Villain of 2013
There are many politicians I want to mention, but I think one that most right-minded people can agree on – not just as a politician, but as a human being – is George Osborne. What a chuntering, bilious oaf. It was, however, one of the brightest moments of the year when he cried at Thatcher’s funeral, and this image was on my computer screen at work for several weeks afterwards. When I need to go to my ‘happy place’, this is what I think of.
Favourite book of 2013
The Morrissey autobiography was pretty good, and seemed like a fair representation of the man – contrary, willful, self-regarding, witty, spiteful and very conscious of his image. The bit where he saw a ghost was weird though, wasn’t it?
Favourite film of 2013
I didn’t see a lot new films in 2013, but I loved Shane Meadow’s Made of Stone documentary. I’m not a massive fan of the Stone Roses, but the film really captured the excitement, and had some brilliant footage from the band’s rehearsal room. The scene where fans turned up to get wristbands for the warm up show was fantastic.
Something to look forward to in 2014?
I’m looking forward to the World Cup. That’s a bit prosaic isn’t it, but anyone who wants to swap Panini stickers with me in the summer can get me through the Wozniak Facebook page. (Maybe George Osborne will cry again – fingers crossed!)