you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

17 October 2018

WTSH airs TONIGHT on DKFM! 10pm ET.

WTSH kicks off in a few minutes! Non-stop sonic slaying with tunes provided by The KVB, Echo Ladies, colourway, Misty Coast, Miserable, Hollow Sunshine, Haiku Garden, Lightfoils, Dead Vibrations, Velveteen + MORE!

Stream it live
10pm ET/9pm CT/7pm PT or via the app!!

INTERVIEW: Raffaella and Marcus of etti/etta.

etti/etta is the Italy-based dream pop duo Raffaella (vocals/bass) and Marcus (guitar/synth/omnichord). Amid all of the wonderful records we’ve heard this year, etti/etta’s Old Friends stands out from the crowd as a particularly skillfully executed album with gorgeous soundscapes and intricate textures that are easy to get lost in.

The album, which came out in August, features a satisfying mix of well-written songs blending  shoegaze, noise pop, and post-punk to create their unique and distinctive sound. The band's love of warm, dense, lo-fi textures is the common thread that pulls the collection of songs together seamlessly as they cross and defy genre labels. It’s truly a gorgeous work and easily one of the best efforts of 2018. Enjoy getting to know more about Raffaella and Marcus in the following interview and definitely check out etti/etta’s Bandcamp page if you’re new to the band.

How and when was the band formed?

Marcus: We met back in 2012, and we started sharing a lot of music we liked, and it turned out we were also both doing our own different musical things at the time.  I come from a background of a lot of small bands and just writing my own songs.  Raffaella comes from a very musical family and has been performing and singing since she was very little.  I showed Raffaella some of my songs and she liked them, so we started working on a couple demos.  That was the beginning of our first EP, No? Yes.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?

Marcus: We just released Old Friends, our first full-length LP.  We did it all ourselves, so It took a pretty long time, but it’s out in the world now, and we’re both really proud of it.  Now we’re just starting to look into some more live shows to support the new record.  We’re also both working on new music all the time, so it’s possible we might start to work on something new, soon (we hope).

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?

Raffaella: We don’t really like to identify with one genre, but if we had to name some, maybe post-punk, new wave. I feel that desire to be representative of one genre can be a kind of limit to creativity and inspiration because music takes so many forms. We do what we like. We listen to so many different kinds of music, that’s probably why we find categorization so hard.

Marcus: I don’t think we feel like we’re necessarily a part of a specific scene, but it’s always really cool to see who likes our music.  We’ve been really fortunate to receive a lot of support from DKFM, and many friends, and bands within that community and different shoegaze scenes - they’ve all been a huge support for us.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?

Raffaella: Lately, we discovered the band Corasandel from the UK.
Marcus: And check out our Toronto friends Vox Somnia.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

Raffaella: Marcus’ guitar first, and now synths are the most important thing for etti/etta. I think the sound is the product of personal research of Marcus, which does not mean necessarily searching for the coolest piece of gear that allows you to recreate a sound but experimenting and finding new sounds you like.
Marcus: I think the most important part of our sound is Raffaella.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?

Raffaella: We start with a sound, or an idea for the whole song. What comes after varies depending on the feeling and the inspiration we have from the sound. We like to work together developing our ideas based on the initial sound. There isn’t a defined process for every song.

Marcus: Use whatever you’ve got.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

Raffaella: I love vinyl, I find it is probably the best format for listening to music for the quality and the warmth of the sound. When you put on a vinyl, music is there somehow physically too, and the whole process is just more beautiful, sounds are more immersive. I obviously can’t deny that most of the times I listen to mp3 or digital formats.  I grew up listening to cassettes, so I have a soft spot for that, too. The cassette sound still makes sense to me, the sound still remains interesting, more than CDs. I like physical formats for music, that’s for sure.

Marcus: I grew up with all three, and I like them all for different reasons.  Any physical medium of music will enjoy some kind of nostalgia, given time, but I’ve always really loved cassettes.  Whatever the format, I think physical copies are important because they allow people to form different kinds of relationships with their music.

04 October 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Zombie Girlfriend | Wind + INTERVIEW with Benedek Szabó.

ALBUM REVIEW: Zombie GirlfriendWind

Hungarian project Zombie Girlfriend describes their sound as “dream punk”, which is a perfectly concise way to define the band’s whimsical, reverb-laden brand of garage pop. Benedek Szabó is the mastermind and songwriter behind the project, with László Sallai, Eszter Kádár and Dávid Korándi joining him in the studio and for live performances. The band’s new LP, Wind, comes after a 5-year hiatus that originally began as an indefinite hiatus; because of this, the album is dear to the band’s heart—Benedek’s in particular—and is a shining representation of their victorious perseverance.

The 8 songs on Wind prove that Zombie Girlfriend has not only returned, but triumphantly so. The album kicks off with “Echo Echo”, a soaring jangle-pop affair that manages to capture a sense of suspended euphoria in less than 2 minutes. I live for suspended euphoria, so my only problem with “Echo Echo” is that it’s too damn short! However, the song does serve as a pitch-perfect preamble for what’s to come.

The next track, “Bubblegum”, is a psychedelic pop confection meant to be enjoyed with the windows down on a warm, sunny day. Utterly anthemic. The album then switches gears as it moves into the driving motorik of “Don’t Fall in Love”, mesmerizing the listener with hallucinogenic washes of guitar and a punchy, punk-like vocal delivery. It's the sonic equivalent of revving a motorcycle engine and gleefully speeding off, leaving everything and everyone in the dust as you hit the open road.

The title track marks the album's halfway point and continues to carve out an adrenaline-fueled path with head-bobbing drum work and sweet vocal melodies awash in blissful reverb. The effervescent “Electric Wedding” is probably my favorite song on the album, its low-key surf-rock vibe shot through with threads of acidic, controlled guitar noise. The underlying tension in the song is extremely interesting—a pop song underscored by a live wire. “The Only Boy on the Planet” is a close second-favorite; the fizzy-sweet jangle pop melodies and psychedelic flourishes are catchy as hell, bringing to mind the pure pop simplicity of Magnetic Fields filtered through the distorted lens of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The hazy closer, “The Small Rain”, brims with reverb-drenched guitar and dreamy vocals that slowly fade out, gently releasing the listener from Zombie Girlfriend's kaleidoscopic, sunny, psych-tinged world back into reality. Naturally, I started the record over immediately and did it all again; one spin just isn’t enough and reality is overrated. Amber

INTERVIEW: Benedek Szabó of Zombie Girlfriend

How and when was the band formed?
I recorded the first Zombie Girlfriend LP in a children’s library during the lonely winter days of 2010. I was still living in my hometown at the time. I moved to Budapest shortly after that and formed a band because I wanted to play live. Back then there was a minor resurgence of bedroom pop in Hungary, called ‘the lo-fi boom’ and Zombie Girlfriend more or less fit into that scene.  Our live sound was always a bit helter-skelter—we couldn’t really capture the feel of the recordings. We had a great time, released some stuff but it didn’t last too long; in 2013 the band went on an indefinite hiatus. We haven’t stopped playing music, but it was only in 2016 that we started playing together again with a slightly different lineup. That was the first time the band sounded like I wanted it to sound.  So—long story short—Zombie Girlfriend is actually a really old band. Gosh! 

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (any new releases, tour, etc.)?
Our new LP Wind is the first thing the band released in five years and the first ever Zombie Girlfriend album recorded with live drums. It’s funny because our drummer Eszter has been with us since 2011 but we never had the time or money to go to a studio before, so I used programmed drums instead. I think it really shows. We went on a brief European tour in February and we’re planning to do the same next year. Maybe it will be a little easier to book gigs with a new record in tow. Actually, I feel this might be a better time for this kind of music than back before our hiatus.  So I’m definitely not planning to wait 5 years before our next LP.

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
I started to call our music dream punk because it often merges the simplicity of punk with the sonic aesthetic of dream pop. Dream pop and shoegaze are still painfully absent from the Hungarian music scene; most young bands tend to play 60s throwback psychedelic rock or Horrors-esque stuff (and a few of them are truly great) but it’s really hard to find anyone who could belong to the same scene as us—if there was such a scene to begin with. Genres and scenes can be really important when you try to define yourself and reach out to other people, but I think one shouldn’t stress about them too much.