The good thing about having an archive that’s 10 years’ deep is that, when you’re not pressing ever onwards looking for the next new thing, you can take the time to enjoy it properly. Hundreds of articles, thousands of images, tens of thousands of words and dozens of videos and amazing bits of audio are squirrelled away in various corners of our website, which covers about 9o per cent of the Bido Lito! archive which stretches back to May 2010. The rest is scattered over various digital platforms – YouTube, Soundcloud, Mixcloud; but, perhaps more importantly, it’s the memories that are attached to each one that fill in the gaps to give you a more complete picture.
We’ve been back through various hard drives and scoured our back issues to pick out some highlights from the Bido vaults. This first batch of selections focuses on various Spring goings on, forcing us to cast our minds back to what issues were occupying our minds in Aprils gone by. So, pour yourself a nice cuppa and join us for a leisurely stroll through some pink history.
Illustration by Alex Wynne
BILL RYDER-JONES MEETS LUDOVICO EINAUDI
An absolute gem of an interview between two musical heavyweights, which we still find amazing that it happened in the first place. Bill was thrilled at the idea of interviewing one of his heroes, and took himself to interview Signor Einaudi at a show in Manchester. The resulting interview from our April 2013 issue offers an insight into the minds of musicians, who always seem fascinated by each other’s processes.
For some reason, we never interviewed Bill around the release of his own album that year, the incredible A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart. So this is as close as we got to hearing him talk about the creative process behind it; but, what this discussion does illuminate is some of Bill’s approach to his 2011 orchestral work If…, over which the two maestros find common ground.
The interview is elevated by Bill’s frequent clarifications and quips, best summarised by this exchange:
Photo by Andrew Ellis
LOVED ONES: Wild Palms for the Bido Lito! Podcast
Recorded in October 2011 (OK, sorry to break the spring theme so early!), this song was put down as the first live session of the original incarnation of the Bido Lito! Podcast. Loved Ones joined us in Elevator Studios on Cheapside for a chat and a live session, where they performed two tracks that would eventually end up on their 2013 album The Merry Monarch. You can listen to both tracks on the full podcast (we apologise for our amateurish broadcasting between the incredible music and the fascinating chat with Roger Hill!); but we feel that this version of Wild Palms deserves closer attention. The song is a delicately brooding piece, led by Ben Shooter’s gorgeous piano work, and underpinned with some deft-touch rhythm that allows Nik Glover’s vocal to explore the peaks and troughs of emotion. The seven-minute version that closes out The Merrry Monarch is a slower-paced exploration of atmosphere, of hold and release; but there’s something about this live version that causes the emotions to well up inside.
Photo by Khalil Musa
KANKOURAN: Obscenic Sessions (Rivers)
The stars of our April 2012 cover, Kankouran, were unheard of at the start of that year, but rose to prominence in a very short space of time when the track Rivers was selected for the trailer to the new season of Skins. The song’s driving, yearning heart – featuring vocals by Evelyn Burke (Clean Cut Kid) – captured a mood, and helped them beat All We Are to that month’s front cover at the last minute (it’s OK – All We Are had two more front covers in the next three years). Though short-lived, Kankouran was the launchpad for Tarek Musa to achieve success with Spring King and The Bodyboarders (both with Peter Darlington), and as a producer with The Big Moon, Neon Waltz and Hey Charlie, among others.
This video was filmed with Kankouran in an old school hall, and was part of a series we ran in partnership with Obscenic. The Obscenic Sessions were produced by Joe Wills and Jack Whiteley, two very talented individuals whose work in production and music videos is pretty exemplary. This version of Rivers sticks true to the original’s freewheeling feel and serves as the perfect jolt of adrenalin.
Gered Mankowitz © Bowstir Ltd. 2013
GLAM!: BEHIND THE LENS WITH GERED MANKOWITZ
Gered Mankowitz is responsible for some of the most enduring images in rock and pop music. The shots of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Kate Bush and Elton John that you have imprinted on your brain are almost certainly those shot by mankowitz.
A year after delivering a keynote address at Sound City festival, Gered spoke to Craig G Pennington about the social and cultural context of the glam scene that he became so central to. The conversation came prior to a major exhibition at Tate Liverpool – Glam! The Performance Of Style – that looked into the world of the extravagant pop style that exploded across Britain during the years 1971-75. The exhibition featured Gered’s famous portrait of Suzi Quatro, which he thought to be indicative of the movement’s mix of styles and empowerment.
Illustration by Becky Currie
RECORD STORE DAY
A regular feature of our April magazine is an update on International Record Store Day, an event that has blossomed into a sprawling global celebration that not only drives traffic to record stores, but serves as a Hallmark Holiday for the music industry. Tonnes of units of vinyl records, new and old, are shifted each year, and the annual event can rightly claim to be a major driving force in the steady increase of vinyl sales. In 2020, talk of the ‘vinyl revival’ is considered old hat, as the format is now firmly ensconced in the establishment, with all manner of colours and weights of vinyl copies factored in to release campaigns from the tiddly to the gargantuan.
With 2020’s event shifted back to 20th June, away from its usual April slot, the party looks like it’s only on hold for now. But, how have attitudes changed over the years? We’ve given lots of coverage to the various activities and impact associated to Record Store Day in the pages of Bido Lito!, which chart the changing way in which we’ve come to view RSD as time has passed and habits have changed.
Our first encounter with Record Store Day came in 2011, with John Still‘s article arguing that RSD’s balancing of the interests of its major label backers and the independent record stores was mutually beneficial. “Major labels can supply access to their biggest artists who will draw more mainstream attention to the cause (R.E.M. and The Rolling Stones have limited pressings featured this year). In turn this allows the label and artist to be involved at a grassroots level, something which generally evades stadium rock outfits.” 3Beat’s Jemmy also chimes in to the debate positively – “It’s great that a day like this exists, everything’s gone so digital these days it’s nice to still get acknowledged” – commenting on the fact that there’s still a religious element to collecting something physical, that has more tangibility than a download.
By 2012, conversation was still focused on the vinyl resurgence (2011 saw a 44 per cent increase on vinyl sales compared to the year before), with The Music Consortium taking up the conversation. Having taken over the Hairy Records store at the top of Bold Street, The Music Consortium were busy preparing to open their new Vinyl Emporium, citing the influx of under-25s through the doors looking for record players as a sign that the trend was only going to continue upwards. And this trend did continue, with 2013 seeing a further 33 per cent rise on 2012’s sales, with some major releases powering the surge. In an Editorial penned in April 2014, Christopher Torpey wrote about the satisfaction that comes with building a collection of records over a period of time, and the stories they can pass on that mp3 libraries and playlists will never touch.
By 2016, things weren’t quite as harmonious on the RSD front, with more dissenting voices expressing their opinions on the problems that the event’s apparent success was wreaking on the wider sector. Carl Emery of Dig Vinyl wrote a Final Say column explaining why the independent shop wouldn’t be participating in official Record Store Day activities that year – “for a small independent shop to organise and manage the RSD ordering process is tantamount to planning the D-day landings. The time and financial commitment are virtually impossible to meet” – despite expressing an admiration for what Record Store Day has achieved. And, as part of a series of content looking at the independents involved in the RSD machinery (the indie shops and labels), we heard from both sides of the divide in a Record Store Day 2016 feature. Laura Kennedy of Manchester institution Piccadilly Records spoke warmly of the queues, the in-store DJs and performances, the limited edition posters and scores of new “vinyls” fans that had become signatures of RSD in Piccadilly, even though she admitted that the very words ‘Record Store Day’ “fill us with both dread and excitement” at the level of work involved. Taking a different tack, Nathaniel Cramp of storied indie label Sonic Cathedral spoke about the impact that RSD has on the indie labels and artists, as the scores of re-issues, unnecessary major label catalogue releases and Alan Partridge picture discs clog up the whole supply chain for the smaller artists. His idea, Record Store Day Is Dying, with Howling Owl, was a lightning rod for the frustrations the smaller indies had with RSD, who were resolutely refusing to engage with their concerns. “After spending the last year visiting a number of record shops all over the UK,” Cramp writes, “it was apparent they also agreed with our basic point that RSD is a great idea, but that the organisers really need to take on board people’s criticisms and concerns. After all, who actually needs every Bruce Springsteen album on vinyl. Again. All on one day.”
We also took the opportunity to focus on Merseyside’s independent record stores, the retailers that keep the flag flying all year round and provide a haven for the serial hunters and crate-diggers. Keith Ainsworth picked up his camera and traversed the region documenting them in this fascinating Everyday Is Record Store Day gallery. See if you can spot your favourite among them.
We got in on the Record Store Day act ourselves, releasing a gorgeous pink cassette in 2012 alongside Liverpool independent label Payper Tiger Records. Game Theory was a limited edition compilation featuring some of the cream of the crop at the time (Clinic, Bill Ryder-Jones, Forest Swords and Outfit among them), with screen printed artwork. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one of the 100 copies, you will also have received a voucher to be redeemed at one of the city’s independent record stores. You may even have read about it being described as a “beautiful little package” by Craig Pennington on the BBC website.
And on Record Store Day itself, 21st April 2012, we threw a party at MelloMello to celebrate the release – and what a stormer it was. Death At Sea, The Wild Eyes and Owls* joined us for a show that has Mello heaving and ensured that those pink cassettes became much-sought-after gems.
Game Theory – tracklist
Kankouran – Rivers (feat. Evelyn Burke)
Outfit – Every Night I Dress Up As You
All We Are – Sooner Or Later
Stealing Sheep – Genevieve
Tsar Bomba – Ghosts
Forest Swords – Hjurt (Alternate 4-track mix)
Mugstar – Serra (Recorded for the Bido Lito! Podcast)
Clinic – The Warmth Of The Sun (demo)
Vasco Da Gama – Them Teeth
Death At Sea – Selfless
The Loud – He’s Killed A Swan
The Wild Eyes – Too Much
Beach Skulls – The Brooklyn Jive
Owls* – Lost And Lookin’ (Written by J.W. Alexander / Lowell Jordan – Abkco Music Ltd. 1963)
Bill Ryder-Jones – The Flowers #3 (Lotus)