Here’s the second set of my photos of female artists, taken in widely differing venues with one thing in common; live music. It’s fair to say there were that conditions were challenging in some of the venues, but if it was easy all the time it would be no fun and photographers wouldn’t have use creativity to get killer shots. It’s just a matter of attitude. So here are the shots.

Kit Bennett (Wildflowers) @Bush Hall (14/10/16)

01-kit-bennettI saw Wildflowers a couple of times this year, once at an AMA UK showcase and once supporting Sound of the Sirens at Bush Hall and the obvious subject seems to be Siddy Bennett, centre stage and lead vocal, but we don’t like obvious do we? To one side of the stage is Siddy’s sister Kit, effortlessly cool keyboard player and if you want extra photographic wow factor, she plays accordion as well, and you don’t see that every day. I got some decent shots of Siddy but, at both gigs, I loved the photos of Kit, particularly at Bush Hall where the lighting was spot on for subject and background. As a bonus, Kit can look quite intent when she plays, but this pic caught a bit of a twinkle in her eye. See the full gallery here.

Hannah Wood (Sound of the Sirens) @Bush Hall (14/10/16)

02-hannah-woodThe very same gig. I admit it, I’m a fan and I’ll take every chance I can get to see Sound of the Sirens; my photos tend to be 40% Abbe, 40% Hannah and 20% both together. One of my fellow photographers, Richard Bolwell, likes to catch Hannah when she’s at her most animated (and very successfully too) but there’s a peaceful, serene side to Hannah that shines through when she’s totally immersed in the music and that’s what I was trying to catch here by wedging myself against a wall to try to get the right angle to frame the shot. I’m pleased to say Hannah then created the perfect image for me. See the full gallery here.

Lux Lyall of Sister Witch @The Unicorn, Camden Road (30/07/16)

03-lux-lyallOne of those gigs where anything could happen, and a bit off the beaten track for me (at least half a mile away from Camden Parkway). I’d gone along to see Anna Christina and Belle Star from Lilygun playing in David Ryder Prangley’s band, Sister Witch and I was looking forward to photographing all of them again, although I had no idea what the light would be like (not too bad, as it happens). Turns out that, despite the undoubted photogenic qualities of that trio, I had overlooked a true star. Sister Witch singer Lux Lyall has that bit of mystique and theatricality that the camera can’t resist. There were a few good shots on the night, but this one seemed to capture her cool, almost disdainful stage persona perfectly and with only a bit of colour correction at the processing stage. See the two galleries here and here.

Carina Round @The Lexington (05/08/16)

04-carina-roundYou know, of course, that all gig photographers always play by the rules and would never cheat (unless it meant getting a really cracking shot), don’t you? Well, I was puzzled when the three songs rule was applied to a gig in a room above a pub (admittedly a great live music room, but three songs?). I spent the first three songs down at the front of the stage in almost pitch darkness trying to get anything usable. I even blocked the view of someone in a wheelchair (it’s ok, I asked her and she very kindly allowed me to stand in front of her for a few seconds and we had a lovely chat). After three songs, I wasn’t really happy with anything that I’d shot, but I could see that the projection Carina was using was warming up and would create some interesting effects later. Towards the end of the set, I could see an incredible image starting to appear and, without realising how it happened, I had a camera pointing at the stage to record this. I’m saying now, I have no regrets whatsoever about not playing by the rules. Sorry Carina, but it is a stunning image, particularly with the black and white treatment. See the full gallery here.

Elisa Zoot (Black Casino and the Ghost) @Camden Roundhouse (17/02/16)

05-elisa-zootElisa’s another one of these people that I’ve photographed a few times now (and a serial offender in my photos of the year) in various venues, but this was something else. Black Casino and the Ghost had landed a support slot with Kula Shaker for a European tour and the London gig was at The Roundhouse. The photo pit was really busy and most of the pros gravitated to centre stage where the action usually happens. I sloped off to stand in front of Elisa’s keyboard on my own and waited for the band to start. Before the end of the first song, I was surrounded as everyone realised where the focal point was. Elisa’s a bit like Mollie Marriott in that it’s quite difficult to take a bad picture of her; there were probably three from this particular night that could have been in this selection, but the action and the lighting made this my favourite. See the full gallery here.


High Fives? Is it that time already? Another year gone, loads of gigs attended and some pretty good pics, if I say so myself. Looking through this year’s galleries, it’s really obvious that it I have to claim two entries for the feature again, one for male artists, one for female; well, they do it at the Oscars, why shouldn’t MusicRiot do it as well. So, in no particular order, here we go. Click on any of the thumbnail images to expand the photo.

Southside Johnny @The Picturedrome, Holmfirth April 2016

05) JohnnyThis is dedication to the cause. I’ve been a fan of Southside for a long time. Only two gigs in the UK in 2016, and one of those on the day I flew back from Thailand. That was never going to happen, so I went for the next best thing, the following day in Yorkshire. Jet-lagged and bone tired, I drove 250 miles to the gig and then the same distance back home but in a snowstorm. No photo pit at the gig and (very unusually) some very uncooperative punters (and I’m very polite, before you ask). So, not the best position, but I was pretty chuffed with this attempt at giving Southside a blue rinse. See the full gallery here.


Crispian Mills (Kula Shaker) @The Roundhouse February 2016

03) Crispian MillsIn February of this year, I discovered that Riot Squad favourites Black Casino and the Ghost were supporting Kula Shaker on a European tour that included a gig at The roundhouse in Chalk Farm, a venue I’ve never visited; before you could say ‘Photo pass’, I was there, in a very busy photo pit which was actually very civilised (no dailies represented obviously). The stage lighting was up to eleven during Kula Shaker’s set creating some really contrasty situations which were crying out for black and white treatment. This is one of those. See the full gallery here.


John Fairhurst @The Borderline October 2016

01-john-fairhurstIt was a lovely surprise to discover that John was supporting The Eskies in London on their tour to promote their first album. I’d seen John before at Rich Mix in Shoreditch with his electric band, but this gig was a solo stint with a resonator and stompbox. Electric or acoustic, it really doesn’t matter, he’s equally convincing either way, and well worth seeing. Having photographed John before, I was looking out for facial expressions and watching his hands. This time the hands won. Having a chat later, I discovered that John and The Eskies (also very good) were old friends from a time when they used to busk in Dublin. See the full gallery here.

David Ryder Prangley (Sister Witch) @ The Unicorn, Camden July 2016

10) DavidSister Witch is an alt-London supergroup featuring DRP, Lux Lyall and Lilygun members Anna Christina and Belle Star, so this was a great night to meet up with some musicians I hadn’t seen for a while. It’s fair to say that each member of the band is worth photographing in their own right, but the honours on the night went to David, strutting his stuff with a six-string instead of a bass and looking every inch the underground legend that he is. This is someone that doesn’t need to play a part; he is a rock star. See the full gallery here.


Gareth John of Stone Foundation @Under the Bridge, Chelsea May 2016

07) Gareth JohnIt’s sometimes a huge advantage as a photographer if you know the songs well. I love Stone Foundation and I’d go to Chelsea to see them, even if I’m normally with Elvis Costello on that one. It’s a bit of a hike home from Chelsea, so I’m normally poised at the bottom of the stairs at UTB, waiting for the dying notes of the encore before I peg it over to Fulham Broadway to jump on the Tube. As the second encore started, trumpet player Gareth John and keyboard player Ian Arnold emerged from backstage and I knew that they were about to play “Old Partners, New Dances”, a smoky (and very short) jazz instrumental and Gareth would take centre stage, playing a flugelhorn, which somehow makes it even more romantic. I just managed to get a camera and lens assembled as the song started and was rewarded with this. As my Dad used to say ’Never take your eye off the ball’. See the full gallery here.

Somewhat Damaged ScrollerAnother Saturday, another venue to tick off the list. The Unicorn on Camden Road seems incongruous in this area; you think it should maybe be a mile down the road with all the vibey places in Camden Town. But maybe it works because of the distance. Anyway, the reason for this excursion from the well-travelled path is to check out a pub that’s daring to put on live music six nights a week; tonight’s offering was the “Somewhat Damaged” night offering four very different live sets. It wasn’t packed to the rafters, but it was reasonably busy, with an enthusiastic audience.

So, first up was a solo set from Adam Lightspeed playing acoustic versions of some new songs and some from his band Starscream’s debut album. It was a valiant attempt, but the album versions lean heavily on big productions and the songs weren’t the same in the stripped-down format. Full marks for effort; it can be a lonely place on stage solo when the room’s nowhere near full. The album “Sexploitation” is definitely worth a listen though.

Next up, Loose Joints were from the badlands of south-east Essex, mashing up funky rhythms with riff-driven rockers and generally getting the audience off their seats on their feet. They even threw in their own take on the James Bond theme. Great tunes, inventive arrangements and loads of fun. I’m sure I’ll be seeing Loose Joints again.

So, what about Sister Witch? The songs are the work of David Ryder Prangley and Lux Lyall, guitarist and singer respectively and they were joined on stage by Belle Star and Anna Christina (drums and bass) from Lilygun and another two guitarists to create a very seventies-style line-up; three guitars, indeed. There’s more than a nod to seventies iconography as well, with DRP’s low-slung guitar and the routine of sharing Lux’s vocal mic à la Bowie and Ronson. And the glam references don’t stop there, some of the riffs could be T Rex at their noisiest and they’re interspersed some classic Stones-style interwoven guitars. And that’s before we get on to the studied ennui of Lux, sitting down to read a Zelda Fitzgerald biography mid-song. A bit theatrical maybe, but it’s all part of the show, and she really can sing, so it’s not just a distraction; it never harmed Bowie or the New York Dolls to introduce a bit of performance art. On a crowded stage there was always something interesting to watch; no way you’re going to ignore Sister Witch. Style yes: substance definitely.

As for Black Sixteen, well, not for me really. Two guitars, bass and drums knocking out muscular riffs and a singer who didn’t quite have the voice to compete. Maybe not helped by the minimal soundcheck, but they just weren’t doing it for me. Nice venue, but one little whinge on behalf of the photographers. Red stage lighting; just say no.

Have a look at some of the photos from the gig here and here.

Well, we’re coming towards the end of the first MusicRiot High Fives season and we’ve got one last guest contribution.  If you’ve visited MusicRiot at all in the last 6 months, then you might have noticed a few pieces featuring Lilygun; ok, I admit it, you couldn’t miss them if you tried.  The reason why we’ve featured Lilygun so much is really simple; we think they’re a great band.  The album’s great (it’s in my High Five), they’re stunning live and they are a great bunch of people to have a beer with.  And they were happy to share their favourite five albums of the year with us; so here they are, in no particular order.

“MMXII” – Killing JokeProduct Details

“MMXII” is Killing Joke’s fifteenth studio album since the band’s formation in the late 70s, following on from their 2010 release “Absolute Dissent” and sees the original line-up back in action again.  The album is characterised by end-of-days and environmental themes and has been positively reviewed across a wide spectrum of the music press.  “Rapture”, a song about the Killing Joke live experience was available earlier this year as a free download and “In Cythera “ was released as the lead single from the album.

“Choice of Weapon” – The CultProduct Details

The Cult haven’t been around quite as long as Killing Joke, although both bands are usually labelled as post-punk, although they moved in different directions after breaking through with The Cult filling a more mainstream niche.  After claiming in July 2009 that The Cult would never make another album, founder member Ian Astbury announced in January 2011 that the band would be recording a new album.   The lead single from the album “For the Animals” was released in March 2012 via a stream on the Rolling Stone website.

“Lonerism” – Tame ImpalaProduct Details

If you’ve been on another planet for the last six months you might not have heard of Tame Impala; we won’t accept any other excuses.  There’s a very good reason why this album has been all over the NME and 6 Music and everywhere else that celebrates contemporary music; it’s very, very good.  This is the second album (following “Innerspeaker” in 2010) from the  Australian group led by Kevin Parker.  The track “Apocalypse Dreams” was the first single from the album and is the first song to be co-written with band member Jay Watson.

“Bag of Bones” – EuropeProduct Details

I suppose it’s appropriate that in this supposedly apocalyptic year we should have an album released by band responsible for “The Final Countdown”.  This is another band which originated in the late 70s and “Bag of Bones” is the ninth album in a career which began with “Europe” in 1983.  It’s great to see that the album is available in CD and vinyl formats as well as the obligatory download.  If you have any doubts about the credibility of the album, you might be interested to know that there’s a guest appearance from the legendary Joe Bonamassa on the title track.

“Born Villain” – Marilyn MansonProduct Details

This is the first album since Manson ended his deal with Interscope and is released on his own Hell,etc. label.  As always, the album polarises critical opinion but if you’re already a fan, you’ll love it.  If not, then there’s still a chance; it’s an interesting concept (whether villains are born or created by society and whether villains are more interesting than heroes) which is worth exploring.  The singles released so far are “No Reflection” and “Slo-Mo-Tion”.

Thanks to Belle and Anna-Christina for your sharing  your choices with us and many thanks to all of our contributors for helping to put this piece together.  Have a great Christmas everyone.

OK, I apologise in advance; this isn’t just a Lilygun review although, if you want me to cut to the chase, they were great and even better than the first time I saw them a few weeks ago.  The gig at “Upstairs at the Garage” on Sunday night highlighted issues with today’s music scene that we all need to think about.  But I’ll tell you about the gig before I get on my soapbox.

The four bands on the bill all have female singers but that’s just about all they have in common.  The first two bands, Cryogenica and Riot in Paradise, didn’t really do anything that I loved instantly but they got a good audience response, so fair play to them.  Your Army livened things up a bit with some good songs and energetic playing and powerful lead vocals.  Their set moved the night up a gear towards Lilygun’s headline slot.

I know this is a Lilygun live review, but I’m not actually going to say too much about the show.  I’ve reviewed the album and interviewed Anna-Christina and if you’ve read those, then you’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s going on.  The band are dynamic, well-rehearsed and on top of their game.  The set is basically the songs from the album and when the band play this well, they’re a force of nature.  The line-up is a bit of a surprise tonight (if any Lilygun line-up is ever a surprise) because Aaron John has taken over lead guitar duties while David Ryder Prangley plays bass and Belle Star (of course) is drumming.  The personnel change certainly doesn’t have any negative effect on the band; if anything, they’re a tighter more focussed unit because all of them have already been involved at some stage in the band’s history.

It’s difficult to pick out any highlights because the band was on fire, the songs were great and there was a bit of an edge to the performance as well.  You can see “Sunlight Dream”, “Conversations” and “Diamonds” here but my personal favourite was “Scum”, the song which disses all the haters, with an even more personal edge tonight (especially when Anna-Christina made a point of asking Aaron to introduce it).

 So why wasn’t the venue absolutely packed out?  Four bands to see at a pretty good price; even on a Sunday night, I was shocked at the low turnout.  When Lilygun play bigger gigs, they always go down well so why isn’t that audience turning up to a smaller show?

It certainly isn’t because of a lack of commitment on the band’s part.  I’ve met Anna-Christina a few times and I’ve never met anyone more passionate about and committed to their music and getting people to listen to it.  Maybe it’s London, maybe it’s the recession, maybe everyone’s staying in to watch Downton Abbey.  Let’s get real everyone; if we don’t go to these gigs, they won’t happen.

OK, rant over; back to Lilygun.  They have a great set of songs with a wonderful sense of dynamics, they’re playing really well as a unit and Anna-Christina is an incredibly charismatic leader.  They’ve done the album now and they’re ready to take on the world.  All it needs is one little spark and the whole thing will lift off.  One synch opportunity, one radio play in the right place or one well-placed support slot is all they need to launch them; they’re ready.

On a warm August night in downtown Norbiton, I met up with Anna-Christina and Belle from Lilygun to talk about the release of their debut album.  As you can see below, it went in quite a few other directions as well.

Allan Exciting times for the band.  How does it feel now that the album’s only a few weeks away from release?

Anna-Christina It feels really exciting.

Belle A relief.

Anna-Christina A relief as well.  Even though it’s coming out in a few weeks, it’s still in the middle of everything somehow.  There’s still so much admin going on and organising the cover.  It’s probably really late to be faffing about with the cover, but we are.

Belle It happens like that sometimes.

Anna-Christina   I don’t think we’ve really appreciated it yet.  Maybe once, we get the actual CD and seeit..

Belle We haven’t actually seen the finished product yet.  It’s just mock-ups of the sleeve and things like that.  It’s been a long time coming.

Allan It’s a bit strange because I got the link for the review and burned it to a CD, but it’s not the same as having the cover in your hand is it?

Anna-Christina No, it’s not really.

Allan And is the online release at the same time, September 10th?

Belle It might be 2 weeks later; you got us there.

Allan Was Lilygun something that you always wanted to do?

Anna-Christina Yeah.  Basically this band’s been going for a long time.  This line-up’s really new but the band’s been going for many years and it’s had a lot of changes, been through a lot of down times, a lot of personal health stuff has come in the way. So in some ways this album, the amount of success it has or doesn’t have, it’s almost like success in just having that album alone.  It feels like that is victory in itself because so much bad stuff has happened and it seemed like it wouldn’t ever happen, that album.

Belle Anna, it’s a milestone, I would say.  Would that be right?

Anna-Christina Definitely, yeah, without a doubt.

Belle She’s been through the mill a bit with band members leaving and whatever.

Allan So, from when you were young, was this what you wanted to do?

Anna-Christina Yeah, it’s weird because I started playing piano first and I started off writing songs like The Carpenters.  I was a big fan of Karen Carpenter which probably explains why I sing low a lot of the time because really I’m actually a top soprano and I’ve forced myself to sing low for years.

Belle I didn’t know that.

Anna-Christina So I wrote songs like that and as I got more dark and depressed and sinister and started getting annoyed with situations and people, the songs got heavier and heavier and before I knew it I was writing rock songs but it wasn’t a conscious decision, now I’m going to write rock songs, it was just a natural progression.  Then, yeah, I started playing guitar and it went on from there.

Allan So we sort of touched on this already, when did Lilygun start to take shape?

Anna-Christina I think it took shape when Aaron John, this amazing artist, came in and started playing guitar with us and that was around 2008 when he played on a demo.  He was the first guitarist that really formed the sound that you hear today.  All the weird sound effects and tinkly little bits and bits of magic, we kind of wrote them together and that’s when I think it became more than just rock it went down a different avenue, slightly more of an alternative, edgier kind of thing; more imagination was going into it.  So I’d say around 2008 when Belle started playing with us as well.

Belle Yeah, it’s about that time isn’t it.

Allan  I said in the review that it kind of reminded me of Skunk Anansie, what they were doing in the early ‘90s with a powerful female lead vocals and a really good technical guitarist doing interesting stuff with the songs as well.

Belle Yeah, well spotted.

Anna-Christina It’s very guitar-driven isn’t it?  There’s a lot of interesting guitars, more so than maybe other rock bands that just keep it grungy and straight down the line rock’n’roll kind of thing.  There’s other aspects going on which is why I think it’s got that Goth tinge to it as well.  I think you can hear the Cure influences here and there, the delay sounds and the sweet melodies that come from them as well.

Belle But it’s not obvious, is it?

Anna-Christina No, it’s very subtle.

Allan I think the strummed, clean Telecaster gives it that sound as well.

Anna-Christina/Belle. Yeah

Allan How have you dealt with the challenges of getting your music noticed?  It’s a different business these days, isn’t it?

Anna-Christina We’ve just been in our own little world up till now.  This is the first time we’ve been this exposed really, isn’t it?

Belle Yeah, it is.  It’s just been a question of forming the music really and getting all the bits in the right places.  It’s only been relatively recently that we’ve had a fair number of gigs close together.  It used to be a bit sporadic..

Anna-Christina While we were switching the line-up…

Belle While we were switching the line-up, fiddling around with all sorts of stuff.  It’s only been the last year really if that it’s been more consistent gig-wise and there’s been a bit of a foot on the accelerator going on.

Anna-Christina More of a plan…

Allan You can see it coming together now.  I check out the website and you can see the new stuff going on there.

Anna-Christina There’s a lot going on actually. It’s surprising; it’s almost like every week there’s loads of news and new stuff and we’re getting loads of interviews now and people are starting to take notice and that’s fantastic.

Belle There’s a little story developing, isn’t there?

Anna-Christina It almost feels like there’s a little buzz.  People saying:  “What’s this band called?  They’re alright.  How long have they been going for? ”

Allan Do you think that the way the music business has gone over the last 10 years, with no more 5-album deals or anything like that, no more huge advances, do you think the fact that that helps you to bypass the retailers has helped you or hindered you?

Anna-Christina I think in a way it’s helpful, because you can stay independent.  Financially it’s more difficult because you have to pay for everything on your own and doing an album costs a lot.  There’s a lot of other things involved that you don’t calculate when you’re preparing for it; other costs that come into it like sending out press packs and stuff like that, it does become very expensive.  Even paper and ink and envelopes and little things like that just add up.

Belle If you weren’t independent, you’d have access to all of that.

Anna-Christina  Exactly, but on the other side of the coin, you’ve got more control and you don’t have someone coming in messing up the songs and messing up our image and saying “You can’t wear that” or stuff like that.

Belle The independence thing, it’s great for control freaks.

Anna-Christina Yeah.  What are you trying to say?

Belle Well, it is…

Allan One of the earliest interviews I did for Music Riot was with an American singer who broke through in the ‘70s and he’d been through the mill with the music business and told me about being asked to deliver an album to a deadline and delivered it to the deadline, on the nose, and the label made them wait 6 months for the artwork before they would release it.  You can imagine how frustrating that is.

Anna-Christina It kind of loses energy in a way when you have to wait.  We had that with our EP; it just took so long to finish it and get it done that by the time it came out, the excitement and the energy had gone.

Belle Yeah, that’s very common for that to happen, very common.

Anna-Christina But with this album, we did take our time but I think we needed to do that because…

Belle Somehow we’ve got round it and it still feels ok.  Even though it is a while it doesn’t seem to have lost its energy for some reason, which is a bit of a miracle.

Allan I’ve heard artists talk about life-changing experiences but you really did have a horrific experience.  Can you tell me about that and how it changed your life?

Anna-Christina Yeah. Before that I was ruthlessly working as a song writer towards certain goal and it kind of knocked me off track because I was so ill afterwards: I had a brain haemorrhage and it took me a long time to recover from it even though my operation was a success (I had 2 operations and the first one didn’t work and the second one, it worked and I was very, very lucky to come out of that).  It was such a shock to experience something like that so young and to be in hospital, in intensive care, and see things that you can’t imagine and you can’t even explain to other people how awful it really is.  It’s a real reality check, something like that.  It really knocks you back down to earth and afterwards, it took me a long, long time, quite a few years actually, to get over it because I was just sick all the time.  I was trying to do Lilygun, trying to progress but my health was a real issue and it was a battle, it really was, and I also think that’s why it’s taken so long for us to get to this point.  Every time it felt like it was ready, I’d just be constantly ill, I’d have to pull us out of gigs because I couldn’t perform and I think also, I couldn’t write, I had writer’s block as well.  I couldn’t even put into words how I was feeling.

I was so emotionally just  a wreck; one minute I was high, next minute I was down.  It was such a rollercoaster of feelings and it almost felt like, I don’t know, I wasn’t a normal human being any more.  So my attitude towards Lilygun really changed because at one point it was quite dark and I thought I can’t really continue like this because it’s just too much of a battle but then on the flip side of the coin I thought “Look at me, I’m alive, I can still do it, keep going and don’t give up”.  It could have been much worse for me and after I went through the whole “Why did it happen?” phase, suddenly it was like I switched and it was like I was alive and this is so amazing and at the gigs I felt more emotional than I’d ever been before because it wasn’t just a gig for me; I’m so lucky I could get back on stage and carry on with this.  People have no idea the state you can get into; once you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing.  And maybe when you’re younger you don’t realise how precious that is but when something like that happens to you, suddenly you really, really appreciate life and you learn to enjoy every minute of it.

Which is another reason why the album took longer because we did an EP before and I did a lot of the recording of the album myself and had a lot of struggles with the EP because, as a sound engineer, I was trying to learn as I was doing it and I made a few mistakes. With the album I really wanted to learn the technical aspects of it as well; not just being the performer I wanted to engineer it and learn about drums and recording.  I was there at every single recording session to learn; when Belle was recording the drums I stayed there minute so I could absorb like a sponge all the information and experience of it.  I was learning as a sound engineer at the same time.

Allan And that’s all part of how the final thing comes together, isn’t it; understanding the technicalities?

Anna-Christina Yeah definitely and also emotionally being able to tap in to the songs.  I think, after that operation, with music in general and the songs, I could tap in to the emotions easier than I could before and I think it just went crazier as well.  Now I go really crazy and it’s like, calm down.  I had to start really working out because I wasn’t fit enough to jump around on a stage like a lunatic and I realised it; I thought I’d better start getting a bit more fit.

Allan And finally what can we expect in the future?

Anna-Christina Who knows with this band?  It seems so organised but, in fact, Lilygun is one of the most crazy…there’s so much drama, there’s so many twists and turns, so many different things happen but, one thing’s for sure, it keeps going.

Belle Anything can happen.

Anna-Christina Anything can happen but it just keeps going on and as it goes on it just gets stronger and stronger. I don’t know if it’s the understanding of it or that will and passion that’s still alive and kicking, you know what I mean?

Belle I think mademoiselle has a fantastic spirit and it won’t be broken.

Anna-Christina Yeah.

Belle There you go.  Never mind who’s in the band or not in the band.

Anna-Christina It just goes on.  There’s a lot of musicians I’ve had in the band, they thought that when they left or if they weren’t there it would just stop and I don’t even know how it carries on; it just keeps going on and on like it’s just out of sheer willpower and the love of music and performing as well.

Allan Do you think the line-up’s fairly stable at the moment?

Anna-Christina Well we’re down a bass player at the moment, so we’ve got people coming in and they’re going to come in and jam with and stuff like that.

Belle It’s stable in a sort of, the table’s got 3 legs way but we’re holding it up at one end, way.

Anna-Christina But I think that’s almost become a characteristic of Lilygun now.  It’s kind of a joke with our friends and fans because they turn up asking who’s going to be playing today. It’s a nice surprise usually because different players keep it very fresh and it keeps us on our toes.

Belle Every few months there’s a different line-up.

Anna-Christina  Maybe that’s just Lilygun, maybe that’s how it’s going to be.

Belle Maybe that’s how it’s meant to be.

Anna-Christina  I’d prefer it if was really solid and stable, to be honest.  It would save me going grey quicker.

Belle You’re obviously very difficult to work with.

Allan If you can tie down all the other bits then you can go off and be creative, can’t you?

Belle This is it.  There’s a lot of faffing about and chasing around, isn’t there?

Anna-Christina There’s a lot of extra stuff that people don’t realise goes on.  It seems like it should be easy being in a rock band, doesn’t it?  You just get 4 people together that love to play their instruments, who want to play in a band.  It should be easy and yet for some reason, even after all these years I still don’t know why it’s not easy.  Me and Belle, we’re so easy to get on with.  We get on with pretty much anyone that comes in; we’re so laid-back and chilled-out.

Belle Personality is a big thing though in successful band line-ups, as I’m sure you know, and sometimes people just don’t click.  There’s no magic way to find the right people, it just happens or it doesn’t.

Anna-Christina And sometime people’s egos as well…

Belle People’s egos can get in the way, can’t they?

Anna-Christina  And that’s a shame because you should work together as a unit.  When 1 person’s great, it just makes everyone look great.  It shouldn’t be competitive.  It’s just you moving forward like the Power Rangers or something; you all put your fists in the middle and this bright light comes out.  That’s how I think it should be but, for some reason someone complains that someone else’s light’s brighter or something…I don’t know.

Allan I read an interview with a singer who had a 10-piece band (including 4 horns) at 1 time and he said that a band is never a  democracy because they can’t even go to a restaurant and decide what to eat at the same time.

Belle There’s got to be someone steering it a bit or at least 2 or 3 people steering it and 1 steering it a bit extra.

Anna-Christina  Maybe it’s easier when you form at school then because a lot of bands who formed at school seem to last longer maybe because they’ve got that core friendship.  Me and Belle, we were actually friends before Lilygun and he’s never been a band member, we’ve just got a different relationship.  He was my friend, we were down a drummer and I said can you come and play and that’s how our relationship formed really isn’t it and it’s never complicated with us.  Unfortunately , to find 4 people that are that easy-going and good at their job at the same time is surprisingly difficult.

Allan Anyway, thanks very much and good luck with the album.

Anna-Christina/Belle Thank you.

You can see pictures from the Lilygun gig which took place later that night here.