Archive | Nemo RSS feed for this section

Onion Talking: James Cook’s Adventures in Ausland Part 2

28 Feb
© James Cook / Media Curve

© James Cook / Media Curve

If you’re a die hard fan of The Mighty Boosh or a lover of alternative music crafted with care for the details, chances are you’ve heard of James Cook. If you haven’t, then perhaps you haven’t been reading TVO properly these last five years.

With his new album out now, Cook has returned to the London music scene in recent months, and sat down to talk to TVO’s editor-in-chief Paul Holmes, about his past, present and future in a revealing two-part interview, ahead of the next round of his club night, Outsiders, on February 26th.

Part One was shared with you in mid February, and you can read the second part of our discussions below…

History tells us that the most famous of men named James Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe, mapping lands from New Zealand to Hawaii to an unprecedented level during his voyages of discovery.  There’s a sense of irony in the way his namesake – cult musician James Cook, formerly of NEMO, has traversed the globe over the past decade.

“The last ten years have been pretty crazy to be honest,” Cook tells TVO, as we continue our first in-depth catch-up since James performed at The Velvet Onion Live night almost three years ago.  “I started touring in 2004,” he continues, “when I was the guitarist in IAMX for about a year. We travelled across Europe, Russia and the USA – a rotating line-up featuring Chris Corner, Noel Fielding, Sue Denim, Dee Plume, Julian Barratt, Julia Davis and myself.  It was an amazing year, and the first time I started earning money from music.  Unfortunately,” he adds, “I couldn’t remain in IAMX because I had to concentrate on NEMO.”

© James Cook

© James Cook

NEMO were the electro-tinged indie darlings who released three albums in four years, concurrently with the televisual run of The Mighty Boosh, with which they were closely linked.  While they never cracked the mainstream in England, the band were particularly successful across Europe, taking James to Germany, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.  However, James decided to disband NEMO in 2008, and move to Berlin.

“I started touring solo,” he recalls, “with just a laptop and electric guitar. This actually enabled me to be even freer with my movements, so I continued my European travels as well as venturing further away to the Americas, visiting Uruguay, Argentina, New York and LA.  I was mostly invited to these places, or I knew people there and sought out gigs and travel. Myspace allowed NEMO to have fans all over the world, so it was a relief and a dream come true to be able to travel through music.”

All of this travel enthused his latest record, Adventures in Auslandnamed after the German word for ‘abroad’. “It can also mean ‘outside’,” Cook notes. “Or ‘otherness’.  Wanderlust is addictive. Once I had a sniff of that lifestyle, I was hooked! There was no question of me not taking every opportunity to escape the comparative confines of London, and the experiences gained from all this travel fed directly into the new album. Songs were written and recorded across several years in LA, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Prague, Berlin, Vienna, Genova and London, now I’m based here again.”

© James Cook

© James Cook

Adventures in Ausland marks James’ second full length solo album, following 2012’s Arts and Sciences and 2013’s covers EP Reverse Engineering.  With three NEMO albums and the full-length record by side-project The Dollhouse behind him, however, the album is technically his sixth complete record, and arguably his best work yet.

“The feedback has been great so far,” Cook states, “which is obviously why you continue releasing new material. The aim is to constantly improve and grow, and hopefully never repeat yourself. I think I am physically unable to repeat myself artistically. I never make the same album twice, and have never even used the same method and techniques twice. I always use new and different musicians and instruments, and the process of recording is as important as the writing stage. It’s basically a series of filters, like distilling alcohol like some sort of electro/chemical process.”

Well, quite. Indeed, the album adds brass elements to Cook’s impressive canon, The usual degree of classy strings and James’ curious ability to sound both impassioned and distant at the same time remain, but this album feels less immediate and more mature than ever before.  James’ natural influences – Lou Reed, David Bowie, Scott Walker – remain at the heart of his work, and as the years have progressed, other artists have crossed James’ path and made an enormous contribution to his style. TVO notes that there appear to be strong traces of Neil Hannon’s work across Cook’s catalogue, and James is quick to own up to an admiration for the songwriter.

© James Cook

© James Cook

“It’s hard to disguise formative influences,” he notes, “and the first two Divine Comedy records were definitely a big influence on me, and it took me a while to shake the influence off! I initially discovered them whilst living in Paris and was blown away by something that seemed to me to come from another universe. I then investigated Scott Walker and Jacques Brel as a result of listening to them, so I owe Mr Hannon quite a debt!

The mention of Brel draws conversation to an intriguing aspect of Adventures in Ausland: Cook’s voice has often been compared to Marc Almond, and the album features a new interpretation of Brel’s magnificent Jacky, which was infamously given a camp disco makeover in the early 90s. James was aware that this could draw closer comparisons to Almond’s work, but his love for the original song overrode any reservations he had. It was time, he suggests, to finally do it justice.

“Brel was one of the 20th century’s greatest songwriters,” James explains. “People like Scott Walker brought his amazing songs to an English speaking pop audience in a way he could never have done himself. However, as a university student of politics and French, I became obsessed with how badly his songs are actually translated into English. Most of them totally miss the point, or just simply don’t make much sense, and it is perhaps impossible for anyone who doesn’t speak French to understand that.”

“They’re very satirical songs,” he continues. “Very personal, very dark and very funny, so doing a proper translation is really no mean feat. I had always dreamt of doing my own modern translations of his song. Scott Walker’s version of Jacky was my main reference, but so was Momus 1986 version, Nicky.”

“People have been saying I sound like Marc Almond for years,” he sighs. “I’ve never really been a fan. I think that first Soft Cell record is great, but I think it’s more that we had a similar music and cultural upbringing. We definitely share similar tastes and influences in our music, so that’s probably where it comes from. But Marc Almond’s version of Jacky is pretty crap and pointless really, so I decided to pluck up the guts to go for my own version. It’s a very personal song, so you have to make it about yourself – which is why my version is called Jamie, after my childhood name. Then you have to have the appropriate cultural references, and requisite irony, correctly translated and updated. When I sing it live, I update the words to fit current situations. That’s how it should be done.”

© James Cook

© James Cook

We’re suddenly touching on ground that has come up in the Cook’s work previously: a sense of frustration about the abandonment of art and discovery, hand in hand with the rise of technology and the era of disposability. It is something TVO is only too acutely aware of, and James shares our frustration and apprehension about the way society is headed.

“Without sounding too depressing,” he explains, “I genuinely feel we are in some sort of cultural nadir right now. Technology should be allowing us to create more and more insanely mindblowing art, but all we seem to be doing as a collective community is tweeting nonsense, and posting up pics of ourselves, our food and our pets. The idea that we have all the information known to man inside our pockets, is something that would have been inconceivable even fifteen years ago.  Somehow that potential access has frozen us in fear, mediocrity and narcisism.”

“Music has been devalued to virtually nothing,” Cook continues. “Disposable, vacuous art permeates popular culture. Narrative creativity seems to be anachronistic. Attention spans are at an all time low. Our technology is controlling us right now, rather than the other way round. Let’s hope we snap out of this dystopian Orwellian nightmare and take control of our lives and collective destiny!”

TVO proposes that one way independent artists are trying to do exactly that, is by abandoning traditional release structures, and turning to pledge culture to release their work via fundraisers and special releases. Could the future for James involve making albums through this method?

“I am open to it,” he suggests, considering the angles. “I’ll try anything and everything I can with my future releases. I’m currently working on three new albums, and must find new ways for people to experience them. Unfortunately, I have a small fanbase, and am not really very good at self-promotion or asking for money when it comes to my own music. Those Kickstarter type situations seem unappealing to me, somehow, but I’m looking into them.”

There’s an interesting honesty about Cook. He is perhaps, his own worst critic, yet acts also as his own personal champion. Proud of his achievements, but keen to downplay his abilities, there’s a sense of an artist who still has so much left to give and an awful lot more to say. As conversation moves briefly onto science fiction, and Cook and TVO share a mutual moment of Doctor Who admiration, he teases about a treatment he is working on for an animated time-travel detective spy thriller. There’s a sense that he has so much more to give, and TVO could listen to him talk about his plans for hours. Sadly, it is time for James to disappear into the early dusk of a Winter’s day. Before he goes, however, TVO suggests that, in an ideal world, Cook would be utilising his delicious string arrangements, cryptic lyrics and silky smooth vocals on the next James Bond theme. “Oh, god, yeah! That would be another dream come true,” he beams. “But I guess I’ll have to join the queue for that one!”

James Cook returns with Outsiders on 26th March. His new album, Adventures in Ausland is available now via Bandcamp

Onion Talking: James Cook’s Adventures in Ausland Part 1

18 Feb
© James Cook / Media Curve

© James Cook / Media Curve

If you’re a die hard fan of The Mighty Boosh or a lover of alternative music crafted with care for the details, chances are you’ve heard of James Cook. If you haven’t, then perhaps you haven’t been reading TVO properly these last five years.

With his new album out now, Cook has returned to the London music scene in recent months, and sat down to talk to TVO’s editor-in-chief Paul Holmes, about his past, present and future in a revealing two-part interview, ahead of the next round of his club night, Outsiders, on February 26th. The initial results are below…

The story of any cultural movement that shaped the course of an entire industry is always fascinating to hear.  Some stories, however, have yet to be told in any real detail, such as the birth and subsequent explosion of the new wave of alternative comedy and music that existed in tandem at the turn of the millennium, focused primarily in the heart of North London.

One major player in all of this was James Cook – former frontman of cult favourites NEMO, collaborator of Chris Corner and regular guest star with The Mighty Boosh.  For the last six years, Berlin has been Cook’s base, and thanks to large amount of travel, he knows his ‘way around’ LA, Montevideo and Prague, too. But London will always be his real home. 

© James Cook / Media Curve

© James Cook / Media Curve

“This year has definitely felt like some sort of homecoming,” he tells TVO as he strolls the cold streets of a capital knee-deep into Winter. “It feels like home, really. I was born and grew up in Luton and Dunstable, but London was somehow embedded in my subconscious. It was the teenage dream for a musician and songwriter, to head into the Big Smoke!”

Now following a period of several years spent living abroad, Cook has returned to London to make it his permanent home once more, and has already begun finding his feet again with a new regular live night in the works.

Indeed, as TVO caught up with Cook, he was filled with enthusiasm for the opening night of Outsiders – his alternative pop cabaret at Aces & 8’s in Tufnell Park. “The room was completely full,” James exclaims, full of joy. “The audience was great and the night was fun and exciting – for the band as well as the crowd. It was a lovely way to begin the live side of things again.”

Outsiders features Cook hosting a night of, in his terms: “music and nonsense, with a bit of classic pop dj-ing from yours truly”. It’s also an opportunity to see his ever expanding live band, plus special guests every month. Fifteen years after NEMO began their career as part of legendary club night, The System, there’s a sense that his journey has come full circle.

© James Cook

© James Cook

A whole decade has passed since those heady days, when NEMO ran The System as an electro/indie club night of their own.  “It was unheard of back then,” James states.  “The scene blossomed. Robots in Disguise, Chris Corner and Sneaker Pimps… who later became IAMX, The Mighty Boosh, Imogen Heap, Graham Coxon… they were all regulars.”

“We all used to hang out together as friends,” he continues.  “We’d go to each others events, get drunk together, perform, collaborate, and guest in each other’s shows. I remember once performing a song onstage at the Hen & Chickens with The Mighty Boosh, and Julian Barratt pretending to ‘fancy’ me after seeing me perform. He tried to snog me!” He bursts out laughing, and adds: “Much to Noel’s annoyance!”

Cook subsequently shared a flat in Angel with Barratt and violinist Anne Marie Kirby, with whom he still works to this day. “That was between 2003 and 2007,” explains James.  “So it coincided with my touring with IAMX, NEMO’s rise to infamy, and the writing and filming of all three series of The Mighty Boosh.  They kept calling me in for some weird and wonderful cameo…” He adopts an impression: “James Nemo? Are you available to come to shooting 8am tomorrow morning with the Boosh? Today you will be a blue alien nomad. Can you play this Oud?”

Indeed, Cook’s cameos on the show are numerous. He was one of the Ape of Death’s bodyguard mandrills, a Mod Wolf, a mutant postman, magical shaman, dying hipster, a blue tennis player (The Blue McEnroe, no less), and perhaps most delightfully, Kevin Rowland, searching for the New Sound.  His biggest role in the show, came as a blue-faced nomadic minstrel, slave to Rich Fulcher’s Blue King Alan, who is composes a song about Vince Noir being ‘The Chosen One’.

© Baby Cow Productions

© Baby Cow Productions

“We seriously wrote that song together five minutes before we shot that scene,” James reveals.  “Shooting the Boosh was a bit like that. There was always room for people to put themselves into the role, add lines and improvise. That was the reason for so much laughter and hilarity on set. They were truly magical times.”

It is perhaps hard to believe that it’s now over seven years since the third series aired, and almost eight since the Boosh team were making new episodes – a fact that Cook is all too acutely aware of.  “It still feels very recent,” he tells TVO, “but everyone involved has been so creative and busy that it also feels like forever.  So much amazing material has gone out into the world from that little scene of comedians and musicians.”

“I was so glad when TVO came along,” he adds passionately, “to help join the dots for people. In the early days I felt like I was the one constantly talking about the collective hive mind we had. That family feel. We used to go on holiday together, make short films…” He trails off as a near-forgotten memory rises to the surface.  “We made a legendary silent horror film which we shot in France.  It was called ‘La Rose D’Envie’, and featured Julian Barratt, Chris Corner, Sue Denim and myself. Never even released!”

© Baby Cow Productions

© Baby Cow Productions

The creative family has widened, remoulded and become increasingly fluid in recent years, yet at its core will always be two inter-connected groups – that of Ealing Live (a comedy troupe featuring Alice Lowe, Richard Glover, Oram & Meeten, Katy Brand, Simon Farnaby and many, many others), and the Boosh/IAMX collective across the city.

“When you started to write about it in TVO,” James enthuses, “I was relieved that someone else had noticed the connections and references. It means it has been initially documented and recognised, but the full story can and should be fleshed out properly one day.”

“There was so much creative overlap,” he continues, “between the comedy shows, music nights, albums and tv programmes. The energy was bursting out of North London at the time. A lot of it is captured within the art, but there are so many little notes and stories…” He pauses for a moment, then adds with determination: “I would love to write some sort of memoir about it one day!”

James Cook returns with Outsiders on 26th February. His new album, Adventures in Ausland is available now via Bandcamp. Part Two of this interview will follow next week.

Cook Gets Indie Minded

30 Jun

James Cook has been interviewed about his new album Adventures in Ausland by indie music website Indie Minded.

© Hudebniknihovna

In the interview, he talks about how he has evolved as a musician since becoming a solo artist, which are his favourite tracks on the new album, and what music he like to listen to when he’s not creating it himself.

Of his latest musical direction he says: “I think I have managed to completely distance myself from my previous work in NEMO now. ‘Arts & Sciences’ was somehow a hybrid of the electronics and pop sensibilities of my old band, NEMO, and the work i did with Anne Marie Kirby on ‘The Dollhouse’. This new album a step away from that into a new, hitherto uncharted, musical universe for me. They are still basically pop songs, but the tone, arrangements and concepts definitely come from a more lyrical approach.”

To read the interview in full visit Indie Minded here.

Adventures in Ausland is released on 31st July. For regular updates and Cook-flavoured news follow James on twitter.

Four Days Left For In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

4 Jan

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It can’t have escaped your attention that, with all this review of the year gubbins, TVO has been relatively silent on the news front. Given the relative silence of a new year, we decided to temporarily suspend normal service at TVO Towers until tomorrow, when we’ll return to our usual ways of bringing you all the news, reviews, interviews and fun stuffs that we can muster from the realm of Onion Land.

You can see our four part review of the year below if you’ve hopped straight to our home page, or individually by clicking on the words one, two, three and four in this sentence.

To round off this period of reflection, we felt it prudent to remind you on this one final evening of indulgence that there’s just four days left to download our 100% FREE Six-Track musical EP, featuring some of the finest musical names in Onion Land.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 includes the official release of ZaNg‘s epic Yogiebogiebox – the alt-rock brainchild of Paul Kaye & Adie Hardy, which features actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It also packs the first release of Waen Shepherd‘s festive ditty, Little Old Nick in character as Beach Boys esque alter-ego Colin Watson, and the debut of James Cook‘s sensational cover of XTC’s Making Plans For Nigel.

And, like all gifts that keep on giving, there’s a preview of Stephen Evans‘ forthcoming one-man comedy show via his track Walking, made in collaboration with Rob Halcrow – and a rare chance to hear a new track from Dead Dog In Black Bag which pays homage to one of the biggest influences, Prince.  Lastly, but by no means least, the EP is the only place you can pick up a digital copy of Baloo My Boy sung by Richard Glover on the soundtrack to A Field In England, which was previously only available on limited edition vinyl.

You can hear the full thing above, or alternatively DOWNLOAD IT OVER YONDER.  But hurry, because just like our first EP this time last year, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a very happy new year to you all. We love ya.

For full details on the tracklisting, click to read more…  Continue reading

FREE DOWNLOAD: In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

25 Dec

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It’s that time of the year again. The big fat bloke has been, and given you all lots of lovely jubbly presents, with hopefully a few TVO related goodies amongst them!

As our friends, naturally, we had to provide you with a gift or some variety, and given the runaway success of last year’s festive EP, we’ve managed to bring together another collection of great tracks from our musical members absolutely free for a limited time only.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 features six tracks to download completely free between now and January 8th, including some rather special exclusives, which you can also hear below.

Just visit our Soundcloud page to get the EP, featuring the likes of James Cook, DeadDogInBlackBagStephen EvansRichard Glover Paul Kaye and Waen Shepherd.  But hurry, because just like last year’s effort, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a most merry of holiday seasons to you all. We love ya.

TRACKLISTING

© Paul Kaye

© Paul Kaye

Yogiebogiebox – ZaNg

Comedy legend Paul Kaye has provided us with the world exclusive download of Yogiebogiebox, the first effort from ZaNg: his musical project with Adie Hardy, featuring actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It’s a hard-hitting slice of alt-rock madness, and we’ve been grooving to the demo all year, so it’s great to finally be able to share a finished version with you all.

© James Cook

© James Cook

Making Plans For Nigel – JAMES COOK

You may know him from his time fronting electropop wonders Nemo, or from his numerous appearances in The Mighty Boosh, but in recent years, James Cook has branched out into an increasingly healthy solo career.  Ahead of his second studio album proper, he’ll be releasing a selection of covers across two EP releases early next year, and this gorgeous reworking of an XTC classic is amongst them.

© Stephen Evans

© Stephen Evans

Walking – STEPHEN EVANS feat. ROB HALCROW

Former Hyperdrive star Stephen Evans is no stranger to the live circuit, having performed as part of Dutch Elm Conservatoire (alongside Rufus Jones & Dan Skinner), and more recently alongside regular collaborator Colin Hoult.  As he prepares a solo live show of his own, he’s very kindly offered us this rough mix of a track he’s written for inclusion in the show.  Recorded with the aid of musician Rob Halcrow, the singalong chorus features “quite a few anonymous comedy performers singing their hearts out” towards the end.

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

Prince Lives In My Garden – DEAD DOG IN BLACK BAG

We love Dead Dog. And Dead Dog really love Prince.  Things have been awfully quiet on the Black Bag front of late, as the electropop filthsters take a well earned break whilst Suzy Evelyn-Hall celebrates motherhood for the first time, but her partner in crime Holly Jane Shears (of Circulus fame) has very kindly sent us this recording of a live fan favourite.

© Rook Films

© Rook Films

Baloo My Boy [Excerpt from ‘A Field In England’] – RICHARD GLOVER

Anyone who has seen Ben Wheatley‘s glorious A Field In England will have fallen in love with Richard Glover‘s kind-hearted simpleton peasant, known only as Friend.  This track from the soundtrack in which Friend sings a jaunty ditty receives its digital première here, having previously only been available on a limited edition vinyl release earlier this year, thanks to the good folk at Rook Films.

© Waen Shepherd

© Waen Shepherd

Little Old Nick – COLIN WATSON & THE EARLY BIRDS

Another comedy veteran offering us a world exclusive is Waen Shepherd, who has sent us a track by his Beach Boys inspired alter-ego Colin Watson, entitled Little Old Nick.  This festive ditty offers a rather twisted view on the traditional festive number, and we’re sure will become a staple of alternative Xmas playlists for years to come.

Onion Talking: Noblesse Oblige – It’s An Affair Of The Heart

24 May

With a new album out today, The Velvet Onion took the chance to welcome Noblesse Oblige onto the TVO roster. In order to give you, the peelers, a proper introduction we exchanged a few words with the band to discuss the new release and to find out a bit more about who they were.

© Thomas Peter

Valerie Renay and Sebastian Lee Philipp are the duo known as Noblesse Oblige and they came to our attention through their collaborations with familiar TVO names Chris Corner, IAMX and James Cook. Renay and Philipp formed the band after having met at a masked ball in London in 2004 and two years later they released their debut album Privilege Entails Responsibility. The album generated a lot of buzz on the international club scene and cemented the musical success of the band. Noblesse Oblige made the move from London to Berlin in 2007 and began working on their second album In Exile, a move which signalled a change from electro-indie music to chanson pop.

The duo is constantly evolving and their fourth album Affair Of The Heart marks the end of the voodoo inspired area of Malady (2010) and welcomes a Noblesse Oblige that breathes electropop and modern 80s energy. With Affair Of The Heart, the ties between TVO familiars and the band strengthened as the album was recorded at Chris Corner’s Berlin studio Turmwerk and the duo enlisted the IAMX frontman to direct the first single Runaway.

Today the album is officially released and The Velvet Onion had a chitchat with Noblesse Oblige to celebrate the occasion.

Hello and welcome to TVO! For our readers who don’t know much about you, could you describe Noblesse Oblige in one sentence?

Sebastian: We’re a French/German, black/white, hot/cold duo that likes electronic music and red wine.

When you initially met in London in 2004, was it infatuation at first sight or what made you get together and decide to form Noblesse Oblige?

Valerie: I was looking for a musician while Sebastian was already making music with a singer. We instantly ‘clicked’ and started working on songs together. We then had our first gig, went on tour with the Dresden Dolls and got signed by UK label HorseGlue that released our first single the following year. It all happened very fast!

Noblesse Oblige is of course French for “nobility obliges” but how did you decide on that name?

V: I used to do a party called Aristocracy in a London gallery and when the gallery closed Noblesse Oblige was going to be the name of the next soiree… I never found a venue but instead I found Sebastian who instantly liked the name! Continue reading

Runaway With Noblesse Oblige

3 Apr

Electropop duo Noblesse Oblige have unleashed their latest music video, and it’s directed by none other than Chris Corner.

The IAMX star is no stranger to the other side of the camera, having previously directed videos for James Cook, who lent a helping hand to the making of this super-shiny production, which perfectly complements the Human League meets Timo Maas vibe of the track.

You can see the video below.

More Cook

16 Mar

© James Cook

With his European live dates winding down with a final gig in Prague yesterday, James Cook has been busy grabbing a few column inches.

He has just been interviewed by Czech magazine, Protisedi. In the interview, James talks about his myriad of current projects, his time playing with IAMX and Nemo, and the inspiration behind his music. Of his professional relationship with Chris Corner he says, “Chris is one of my best friends, he is a musical and artistic visionary. It was a life changing experience being in IAMX, it opened my musical world and I have never looked back.”

To read the interview in full and to find out precisely what percentage of James’ music comes from his dreams click here.

Cook also features in a podcast from the Estuary Radio Edges Review Show earlier this month. Click on this to have a listen.

The Velvet Onion: The Extreme Racists…

29 Jun

Today marks the one month anniversary of our evening of music, comedy and downright madness at TVO Live! So what better way to celebrate the night than to give all of you a taste of what went down in our first trailer!

Take a look below at the first snippets of footage from our film of the whole shebang, and we’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone that made it to the event; the superb comics and musicians that took to the Vandella’s stage, of course to James Wren and Bob Pipe for being amazing support, to Michael Henry Bull, Michael Glynn and Jon Burgess our fantastic camera team, and also extra thanks to Waen Shepherd for letting us use his brilliant track for our trailer.

To read more about TVO Live you can take a look at our previous recap of the evening complete with photos from the night!

“It’s Behind You!” A Look Back At What Went On In 2011

31 Dec

2011 was The Velvet Onion’s second year in operation, and whaddya know – it turned out to be quite an eventful one! If you’ve joined us more recently, or if you’ve lost a few brain cells over the festive period and can’t remember much before December, here’s Part 1 of our review of 2011 to bring you up to speed on the TVO events of the year:

January

© Channel 4

The year started by looking backwards, with The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year sadly not quite taking retro to its logical conclusion, but reuniting Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade nonetheless. TVO were also feeling reflective, as we considered our first birthday! We interviewed James Pilkington, the director of early Boosh-starring short Sweet, about his latest feature.

On the live front Paul Foot & Colin Hoult were busy announcing send-offs for their 2010 Edinburgh shows, and Kim Noble was taking his hit show Kim Noble Must Die to New York City.

For Noel & Julian, however, this was a period of new adventures – and the pair couldn’t have chosen more varied career paths if they tried. Noel’s appearance on Comic Relief’s supporting talent show Let’s Dance was announced, and while Boosh fandom debated exactly what he’d perform, Julian’s acting chops were about to be stretched as he began work on Treasure Island and was announced as the one of the lead roles in Government Inspector at The Young Vic.

February

© The Velvet Onion

February began on a sad note, with the passing of much loved actress Margaret John. Best known for her roles in Gavin & Stacey, Run Fatboy Run and Doctor Who, she was forever immortalised in Booshdom by her apperance as the wicked Nanatoo in the Nanageddon episode of The Mighty Boosh. She was 84.

On a more positive note, IAMX unleashed the first fruits of their latest album, and DeadDogInBlackBag returned to the London stage with a one-off gig, with TVO on hand to document proceedings. And whilst Matt Berry unleashed an x-rated iPhone app, the careers of his TVO cohorts couldn’t be more different – as a whole bevvy of names cropped up on CBBC throughout the month.

In other news this month, Chris Morris became a BAFTA winner, although champions of the passing-fad, the NME, decided Noel Fielding and Never Mind The Buzzcocks didn’t deserve an award this year. The world of mainstream rnb seemed to disagree – in one of the weirdest stories we’ve come across for TVO, cyber-singer T-Pain sang an interpolation of the Boosh track Electroboy for Benny Benassi’s dancefloor hit, ‘Electroman‘. Somehow, it just about worked…

© BBC

TVO took the time to speak to the fabulous Colin Hoult as he brought his 2010 Edinburgh Show, Enemy Of The World, to the Soho Theatre for a final hurrah, and we also interviewed Diva Zappa ahead of her exhibition at Maison Bertaux.

But February’s big interview came from Fielding himself – as we celebrated his appearance on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief with a two part interview about the show, and his career past, present and future. As Kate Bush, Noel whizzed around with startling precision to Wuthering Heights, sending fangirls across the land a-flutter – and he made it through to the final the following month..

Continue reading

Travelling Cook

14 Sep

© James Cook

The day creeps close as James Cook’s debut solo album Arts & Sciences becomes available on October 1st for hard copies.

Along with this Cook has also announced the progress of the coming video for End Of The Summer, which he will be making with the one and only Chris Corner & Janine Gezang of IAMX fame. More information on this as it comes our way and you can also keep your eyes peeled on James’ official website and Twitter for more info.

Fans in Prague can also enjoy his musical styling’s as he is due to visit on 20th September, then he plans to make the journey to Vienna on September 21st! More information on Prague can be found here and Vienna right here.

You can still download a digital copy of Arts & Sciences over here along with Nemo’s entire back catalogue. Then after you’ve done that, you should also have a look over when we got to meet-up with James during one of his trips to London!

Onion Talking: James Cook

17 Mar

© Chris Corner

Here at TVO, we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Nemo, who, like many, we discovered via their frontman’s appearances in The Mighty Boosh.  After producing three albums with the electro rock outfit, and crafting another project: The Dollhouse with violinest Anne Marie Kirby, the mighty James Cook has spread his wings and is flying solo.

Velveteer Paulyne, caught up with James in anticipation of the release of his debut solo album, Arts & Sciences.  This is her story:

James Cook is a man who puts every fibre of heart and soul into his music, without question.  Currently resides in Berlin, as he has for the last three years, I had to ask about his perception of London and how it reflects his music. As we sat in Convent Garden his response was accentuated by constant interruption in one of the most intense area’s in London:

Continue reading

Cook Rules Britannia

12 Jan

©James Cook/GoAhead

Berlin-based James Cook will be treading on British tarmac again this week for a rare solo gig in the heart of Camden.  James will be performing along with Trash Money at the Dublin Castle in Camden tomorrow night.

His performances in London are few and far between to say the least, so if you can make it we say pick up your tickets and head to this homely venue to see the great Cook at his best!

Editors note: The gig is in fact this Friday 14th January, not tomorrow night. Apologies for the error.

The Velvet Onion 2011 Calendar

30 Dec

© Paul Holmes / The Velvet Onion

The Velvet Onion is proud to bring you its own 2011 calendar!

In lieu of an official Boosh calendar on sale this year, we decided it’d be a great idea to offer up an alternative to that rubbish one your nan got you, and make a fully fledged 12-month calendar for you to download, print off and stick on your wall.

As such, we’ve recruited some of the greatest names in Booshdom, alongside some truly wonderful photographers, and their kind contributions and a lot of hard work have culminated in what we’re hoping is one of our proudest achievements.  We’ve even left you a little space to write down your own notes & birthdays… no stone has been left unturned!

We would like to thank ALL of the artists we feature in front of and behind the camera, and anyone else who has helped make this happen.  These people had to put up with our editor in chief hounding them for photographs until they relented and blessed us with some beautiful imagery to present to you.  So, in alphabetical order rather than order of preference, please love and worship the following:

Paulyne Antoniou, Julian Barratt, Matt Berry, Dave Brown, Zöé Caldwell, Angel Ceballos, Dan Clark, James Cook, Chris Corner, Jimmy Crippen, Sue Denim, Antony Elvin, Suzy Evelyn-Hall, Andrea Fröhner, Rich Fulcher, Andy Hollingworth, Colin Hoult, Kerie Leisch, Alice Lowe, David McNeill, Ben Meadows, Kim Noble, Steve Oram, Dee Plume, Holly-Jane Shears, Gareth Tunley, Sam Ward and Tiger Aspect Television.

Please please let us know what you think of the calendar.  If you print it out and stick it up – why not take a photo of it and send it our way via the forum, a comment below, facebook, twitter, you name it.  If there’s enough interest, we’ll try again next year!

Happy new year to all of our peelers – we’ll see you in 2012. Stay peeled.

To download the entire calendar as png image files in one zip folder, CLICK HERE.

Alternatively, to download each page as individual jpeg files – read on… Continue reading

The Musical Styling’s Of James Cook

11 Nov

© Chris Corner/ James Cook

It seems that the Booshniverse is ever expanding, always with new or old talent to discover. Another gentleman who The Velvet Onion has yet to mention until now is James Cook a.k.a Nemo!

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Cook, he was the Front man and writer for Indie-electro band Nemo (think of a RiD/IAMX hybrid in spats).  Now residing in Berlin and about to release his debut solo album – and after witnessing a rare London gig of his whilst he was in town – it’s about time that TVO shared the magic that is James Cook with our fair readers.

If you’re wondering how he fits into the Booshdom, you can spot James in several Boosh episodes, including him being blued-up as a Nomad in The Fountain of Youth (he is also involved in the audio-commentary debate about who wrote ‘I Love The Chosen One’).

Cook largely collaborates with IAMX‘s very own Chris Corner and Nemo’s 2007 single Car Crash Eyes also features the lovely Alice Lowe in their music video.

If we’ve opened your ears to new level of musical talent and you want to know more, pop along to Cook’s official website where you can order any of his current 4 albums and also pre-order his new release ‘Arts & Sciences’.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,153 other followers