Spotify Who We Be paving the way for live music experiences

The music landscape has evolved at a rate of knots over the past few years, with giants such as Spotify and Apple playing a huge part. The boom of subscription services has meant the giants are looking for ways to grab people’s attention, and develop loyalty to their brand. And with that, Spotify have taken a big step in the right direction with their Who We Be live show, hosted at the famous Alexandra Palace in London.

The event at Ally Pally brought together some of the world’s biggest hip-hop, grime and R&B acts, with huge names including Tory Lanez, Craig David and French Montana as part of their Who We Be live show.

The show saw some of the UK’s top talents putting on a treat for their fans, including performances from Ghetts, Lethal Bizzle and Raye.

A personal highlight of the show for me was the appearance of FAULT Magazine #28 cover star Tory Lanez. He performed his biggest songs, with a real energy and verve. Before he was done, there was time for a spot of crowd surfing across the front rows.

Craig David showed why he’s well worth headlining, continuing his remarkable comeback to put on a great performance. He cycled through a few of his classics (7 Days, Fill Me In) alongside some of his new songs, as well as a cover of Robyn’s Show Me Love.

Ending the night was hip-hop heavyweight French Montana. Eagerly anticipated, he played some of his biggest hits such as Unforgettable and No Stylist, and was even able to call upon Stefflon Don and Krept & Konan to help close the show and make it a truly unforgettable night.

The youthful audience were delirious, seeing their favourite acts performing back-to-back-to-back and so on. No waiting around for 30 minutes between acts like you get at some music events. Each act coming up pretty swiftly after the other; as if you’ve streaming it through your earphones, with music being played continuously. It helped add to the live event aspect of what Spotify are trying to achieve, and showed they’re serious about giving people what they want. All their favourite acts delivering their favourite songs for them.

We’d love to see Spotify extend this format out to other playlists they have on their service. And if the Who We Be live shows are anything to go by, they’ll be making the right call.

FAULT Magazine Photoshoot and Interview with Miya Folick

Miya Folick X FAULT Magazine

Photographer: Tae Alvon
Creative Director & Stylist: Edith Walker Millwood
MUA: Charmanique Thompson 
Assistant: Leslie
Photographed in DUO London

Jumper – Norse Projects

Miya Folick’s debut album ‘Premonitions’ might have gone down a storm thanks to Miya’s incredible skills as a songwriter and powerhouse vocals. The artist wasted no time to celebrate, however, instead emarking on an extensive tour in support of Pale Waves and Sunflower Bean, with dates across the United States and Europe. As a natural hard-worker, touring isn’t a chore for Miya, instead it gives her a sense of purpose and brings structure to an otherwise manic and unpredictable working schedule.

We sat down with Miya Folick in London’s Duo for a photoshoot and interview to find out more about her process and plans for 2019.

 

‘Leave The Party’ is such a great feel good “dance like no one is watching” at home track, what was the inspiration behind it?

Miya Folick: I think it’s really exciting to move to a city like Los Angeles and become enamored with late nights and loud music and the excitement of meeting people and experiencing new things.  But, eventually, some of that wears off and you realize getting up early for your morning run is a lot more satisfying.

 

Can you tell us a bit about ‘Thingamajig’, the backstory of the song, the title and what headspace you were in while writing it?

Miya Folick: Thingamajig came from my subconscious.  In many ways, the day we wrote that song was a day just like any other.  I wasn’t feeling particularly sad or apologetic on the surface, but it must have been bubbling underneath.

Jumper – Norse Projects | Skirt – Topshop | Socks – Artist Own | Shoes – Artist Own

What’s the overriding emotion you felt in the lead up to the album’s release?

Miya Folick: I felt like I was ready to tour and make more music. I feel proud of myself and my team.

Top – Mango | Skirt – Topshop | Belt – Stylist Own | Sneakers – Mango

Your album is co-produced with Justin Raisen – how did you first start working together?

Miya Folick: We met on the recommendation of several different people and it just clicked. His wife jokes that their two-year-old was actually the one who convinced me to make the record with Justin.  James is very very cute, but it was actually because Justin is just a really exciting creative force.

Miya Folick FAULT Magazine

Suit – Topshop | Shirt – Scotch & Soda | Socks – Artist Own | Boots – Mango

You’ll be ending the year with a European tour- what’s your favourite part about hitting the road?

Miya Folick: Playing a show every night. Tour gives you a strong sense of purpose everyday. I have a more regular schedule on the road than at home. I run every morning before the rest of the band gets up, listen to podcasts in the van on the way to the next city, soundcheck, eat too much broccoli, show, dinner, hang with the guys.  It’s fantastic.

 

What do you have planned for 2019?

Miya Folick: Hopefully touring a lot for this record! Making a couple more music videos. Putting out a couple more singles.  I don’t know! Maybe i’ll be in a movie.  I want to get into acting again.

Puffer: Topshop

What is your FAULT?

Miya Folick: I am impatient.

FAULT Magazine photoshoot and interview with Joel Baker

 

This week saw the release of Joel Baker’s ‘Winter Dreams’ EP, a brutally honest but wonderful example of the storytelling through music that we’ve come to expect from Joel over the course of his career. Also included on the EP is a cover of Phil Collins’ ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, completely reimagined in Joel’s own style so wonderfully you could be forgiven in thinking it was a completely original track.

We met up with Joel to discuss his career thus far, and plans for the future in this FAULT Online photoshoot and interview.

 

You have a really unique voice, how did you develop your style?

It was a tone thing which over the years I’ve learnt to develop and use correctly. The singing bit it still the newest thing for me and that’s where I’m trying to grow and learn how to perfect.

 

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Ryan Adams, Leaf, I really like and a lot of Pheobe Bridges. There’s also a lot of HipHop, Chance The Rapper, Common and anything lyrical.

 

What’s your writing process like, are you structured with set times for working or are you an artist who’s always writing anywhere and everywhere?

I try and do a bit of both, I try and have that bit of structure. I like to do writing sessions, where you need to write a song in a day because that adds structure and it forces it out a little bit because I think sometimes just waiting for it to happen isn’t the best. But in saying that I like to have my songwriting antennas on at all time because it usually happens in conversation. I will be talking to somebody and say something weird or whatever and take a mental note of it and then use that so all those random thoughts and notes I wrote down and when it comes to actually produce the song I have a lot to work with.

Is it weird that people are coming to see you?

Today is strange, it’s a gig that has come from outside of my friendship group. it’ll be great to see the people who have come to see me who listen to my music every day and just want to experience me playing live.

 

Is it weird knowing that your song means something different?

that’s the best part. When you write something that someone else loves is so special. Especially when people say “we love it and keep it on repeat” it resonates so much because that’s exactly how I listen and experience music.

 

What’s your favourite on the road story?

I’ve got to be careful what I say Hah! One of my favourite characters I’ve met on the road was in Berlin I met someone called Yesper Monk. He turned up to meet us with this really heavy guitar and a typewriter, leather jack and pack of cigarettes. He looked like something out of the 40’s he’s by far the craziest guy I’ve ever met and I saw him last week and I’ve not seen him in ages and the first thing he tells me is “things are about to get crazy because I’ve just taken an ecstasy pill”. I love him, he’s an amazing artist and so inspirational for me.

What’s been your worse show?

When I first started I was just playing a dingy venue and I didn’t really want to do it. Also, no one was actually there so it was basically just the acts watching each other perform and it was the most horrendous show. It was a club venue atop the stage too so you’re playing a slow emotional song to party music above you.

 

Are you a studio body or do you prefer the stage?

It depends on the setting I’d say but for the most part, I enjoy the studio because I have control of the setup, my comforts etc. That being said, there are those shows where the stars align, the sounds amazing and the crowd is great and there have only been a few of those perfect shows but it’s just amazing to experience.

 

What is your FAULT?

I’m very guilty of comparing myself to people and it’s horrendous. The good things don’t seem as good and the bad things just sound a horrible way to live life.

 

LISTEN TO/SHARE ‘WINTER DREAMS’ EP HERE

WATCH/SHARE NEW TRACK ‘RUPI KAUR’ HERE

Kandace Springs at Southbank Centre for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

Kandace Springs

Kandace Springs

Sounds the trumpets! The EFG London Jazz Festival has officially begun, and, this Saturday, we headed to the Southbank Centre to see Kandace Springs perform her soulful tracks to a packed-out audience.

The 10-day celebration hopes to provide audiences with a mixture of renowned artists and emerging stars from the world of Jazz. The popular event will see artists such as Camilla George, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra bring jazz to the forefront of London culture this winter. Kicking things off, Kandace Springs channelled her inner Dusty Springfield for a wonderful end to the first week. However, we were also treated to opening act AJ Brown and his Elton John-esqe piano renditions.

You wouldn’t be the only one to mistake Yorkshire-born AJ Brown for an American cruise ship performer. His upbeat, popular performances had strong Burt Bacharach influences (who he’s actually performed with), and his charismatic charm had the audience tapping their feet. His powerful voice carried around the newly refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, performing his own tracks as well as many of his idols, including Luther Vandross. Closing his set with a ballad version of Latch by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, AJ Brown revealed his vocal talents, hitting all the high notes with ease. Although, it may have not been the jazz I was expecting (the style of Michael Buble with the reach of Tom Jones), he definitely got the audience alert and ready for the next act – Kandace Springs.

Kandace Springs performing at the Southbank Centre for EFG London Jazz Festival 2018

The late and great Prince once said that Kandace Springs ‘has a voice that could melt snow’, and he wasn’t wrong. Captivating from start to finish, the wonderful Kandace Springs from Nashville, Tennessee performed an amazing set of meaningful and beautiful songs. Alongside the two-piece band, comprising the double bass and the drums, Kandace brought new tracks, her favourite songs and anecdotes of growing up with her father (also a jazz musician), Scat Springs, to the stage.

Kandace’s voice sounds like an old soul, despite her young age. Her husky, dulcet tones are mesmerising and send you into another world. Her range, however, was outstanding and she made sure she performed tracks to showcase her vocal repertoire. Performing songs by Dusty Springfield, Nina Simone and many other talented jazz musicians, Springs also performed her new single Fix me, which was an amalgamation of R&B, pop, jazz and classical genres – Chopin is one of her most-loved composers. Springs’ music was full of classical inspiration, merging well with her love of jazz. A welcoming and upbeat concert, by the end I felt like I knew the singer well. Kandace Springs is one to watch.

 

To book tickets to other shows in the EFG London Jazz Festival, head to efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

Jack Rowan Exclusive Photoshoot and Interview for FAULT Magazine

 

PHOTOGRAPHY ELLIOTT MORGAN

STYLING KRISHAN PARMAR

GROOMING LAUREN GRIFFIN @LONDON STYLE AGENCY

 

JACK ROWAN is a young actor with an already-enviable track record. Fresh from a BAFTA nomination for his first lead role, the ‘Peaky Blinders’ favourite has moved quickly and seamlessly onto the silver screen in Simon Amstell’s Benjamin. Currently filming the TV adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts + Crosses’ in South Africa, we caught up with the young star to discuss his career thus far.

 

You received a BAFTA nomination for your first lead role (in ‘Born to Kill’) – an incredible achievement. Do you feel any additional pressure now to continue go for those sorts of awards or does it just inspire you to try and win them in future?

I went in to ‘Born To Kill’ with no expectations, which made the award nominations even more special to me. If I can go into every job with that same outlook then I won’t feel pressure as such, just a drive to do the best performance I possibly can. That way, if it leads to awards or not, I’ll never be disappointed.

I read that you filmed last Summer for Simon Amstell’s debut feature film, Benjamin, which is scheduled for release later this year. Was it tough to transition from some pretty dark, drama-driven roles to a comedic one?

It definitely was a challenge but it was one I was incredibly eager to take on. I want to look back in the future at a diverse body of work and say that I gave all genres a go and tried as many roles/characters as possible – as long as I see something in each one. It’s scary being on set and having to trust your natural instincts to try and evoke laughter, yet, I enjoyed every second of the experience.

There’s a widely-held perception that the film’s pretty heavily autobiographical. Was it tough to work on something with a director so personally invested in a project?

I’m sure that could be the case with some projects but Simon Amstell’s definitely an exception to that. He created an environment on set which was so positive and as an actor I felt completely free to do whatever came natural to me. That being said, Simon kept control of his message and was always there to give articulate and clear direction whenever he felt it was necessary.

 

You’ve got a lot of well-publicised interests outside of acting. Do you appreciate the fact that you can control – to some extent! – what fans and the general public know about you (through social media, interviews etc)? Or do you worry about public intrusion into your private life becoming too invasive?

I wouldn’t say it’s a worry at this current stage because I’m relatively early on in my career. Although, I do value privacy in my personal life and going forward it’s something I aim to keep. The less people know about me, the easier it is for someone to believe in the characters I play.

 

Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua – who’d win?

I’m going to have to stay on the fence with this one, because as a fan of the sport, they’re two boxers I’d like to meet. I don’t want to be in either ones bad books! So how’s about we go with a draw?!

 

Who’s had the greatest impact on your career so far?

Without a doubt its the whole ‘Born To Kill’ team. That project will forever have a place in my heart. Not only did it make me believe in my own ability, but it led to an agent in the states, multiple award nominations and posters all over the underground. All these things combined have opened so many more doors and I can’t wait for what the future holds.

Do you have a dream role? If so: what is it and why?

I wouldn’t say there’s a specific role that I see as being ‘The One.’ But as I said earlier, I’d love to take on characters in all genres of film, tv and theatre. For me, dream roles are apparent when they arrive. For example, ‘Born to Kill’ was one, and hopefully there’ll be many more.

‘Peaky Blinders’ season 5 is scheduled for 2019. If plot wasn’t an issue (ie: if your character were to stay alive and integral to the plot indefinitely), how long could you see yourself working on any one series?

If the journey of the character was right and it made sense in the bigger picture of my career, I can’t see why I wouldn’t stay in any one series.

What else are you working on later this year/next – acting-related or otherwise?

I have a few things lined up including a project later this year, but as it stands I’m unable to share any specific details. However, I can say I’m excited to embark on another controversial piece playing a complex character at its core.

Premiere: Saint Clair unveils live video for ‘I’ll Stay’

Saint Clair x FAULT Magazine

Saint Clair - FAULT Magazine

Photography: Navarro Aydemir
Location: Feliks Topolski studio in Waterloo, London
Special Thanks: Bar Topolski

Saint Clair – less beatifically known as Emma Topolski – is a London-based singer-songwriter whose influences range from James Blake, The Internet and Frank Ocean to Amy Winehouse and her ”two main musical giants” Stevie Wonder and The Beatles.

Her latest release, ‘I’ll Stay’, is striking in its grandeur, reflective of Emma’s penchant for writing ”big and dark” compositions that crest to near-operatic peaks before plunging to rolling, emotional depths.

While she isn’t ”fiddling with her Nord”, Emma can be found playing bass for CHILDCARE, synths for FAULT Issue 11 star Ghostpoet, or giving gawping journalists impromptu tours of her grandfather’s old studio and gallery space near Waterloo.

Watch the brand new, live video for ‘I’ll Stay’ below:

 

 

FAULT: Let’s start off with the name. You’ve mentioned previously that you go by ‘Saint Clair’ as a solo artist because that’s your mother’s maiden name. So is it pronounced ‘Sinclair’ or…?

Saint Clair: Well it’s Scottish, so it’s actually pronounced: [unintelligible noise]

Err…OK…could you spell that?!

Saint Clair: Sure – JK…

Ah, I see what you did there!

Saint Clair: Busted! It is Scottish, though. My mum’s family is from a small town in the far North called Wick. Sinclair is the name of the local bay and it’s also my brother’s middle name; not to mention the family tartan…

So it IS pronounced Sinclair, then?

Saint Clair: Well, it started off like that. But then I thought that was a bit surname-y and perhaps a little macho (everyone just thinks of the footballers called Sinclair) so probably a little confusing! So I had a bit of a rethink. I’m bilingual in French and I started thinking that it’d be lovely to translate some of my songs into French, and definitely to do some gigs in France. I was French educated and all my cultural references are French, so ‘Sinclair’ became ‘Saint Clair’ – very ‘phonétique‘, as the French would say!

I guess I saw it as a nice way to marry those two influences in my life – my own French cultural upbringing and my mum’s Scottish ancestry. Although my Dad was Polish and I’m not sure how they would pronounce it in Poland…however they want, I guess!

Saint Clair - FAULT Magazine

You’re a career musician and have been for many years. What was the turning point for you when you decided to start releasing your own stuff?

Saint Clair: Yeah, I’ve been a professional musician for 10 years. I started out as a jazz singer and used to do a lot of corporate events. You know the drill: big boss gets a promotion and wants to make his function look fancy by hiring a jazz trio. I was doing a lot of that, but also just casual jamming and gigs with other musicians that you meet on the scene in London. We used to play 4, 5 times a week.

Your network expands so much by doing that stuff – but much more on the creative side of things. You’re not really industry-aware at that sort of stage: you’re just making a living and meeting people. That then evolved naturally for me into songwriting. People would come up to me after a gig and say things like, ”oh, I love your voice, do you have any original music that you’re working on?”

That’s when I really started to write – to find a sound and an identity. I started working with a friend of mine, Ben, who’s a great guitarist. We started writing a lot together. The whole first EP is with him, as is ‘Human Touch’ off the second EP. That was really my starting point in terms of understanding who I was as a songwriter.

Did you have that epiphany moment when you just thought, ”I get it: this is what I’m about and this is the sort of music I really want to do”?

Saint Clair: Yeah, I did. When I wrote the song that ended up being my first single – in hindsight, analysing what we’d done, it drew from all the elements that I wanted to have in there. It wasn’t intentional but it created a great template for me in terms of what I wanted my music to be about: it had electronic elements and programmed drums, but also real guitars and loads of vocal harmonies…and plenty of weird chords…

‘Weird chords’? Is that a technical term…?

Saint Clair: Yep, very technical term! But, yeah, in essence my music is very hooky, succinct… I always want to soar. I want the chorus to come and grab you by the balls… In a sense, it’s a very traditional approach to songwriting. It’s very accessible and it should be: it’s pop music in its lyricism and its melody. And then there’s all this other weird shit going on…

Saint Clair - FAULT Magazine

You’re a singer, obviously, but what instruments do you play?

Saint Clair: I write mainly on keys. I was playing synths for Ghostpoet for a while. I also play bass for a band called CHILDCARE, who I’ve just been on tour with. We’re also putting out an album in the new year.

What’s the next step for Saint Clair then? You’ve just released the new video, of course, so will you be focusing more on recording or gigging in the near future?

Saint Clair: I’ve recorded the next 5 singles and my sister Tamsin and I have made videos to go with them that are all loosely interlinked. They’re much more abstract than the stuff I’ve done before – all of my videos have been very narrative-driven whereas these are a lot more surreal. They’re a portrait of loss and grief from different vantage points.

The focus so far has been on making the music and finding a coherence within a body of work. Everything is so one-off and track-based nowadays that I wanted to make this more like a mini-album.

What was the inspiration for these new releases?

Saint Clair: After my last EP went out, I found myself reflecting on my archive and realising that a lot of the songs I’ve made were written at different stages of grieving the loss of my Dad. To have that as a through-line – to look back on my head-space during that time…it was almost like having a series of diary entries detailing my reactions in different moments.

Saint Clair - FAULT Magazine

How long ago was that?

Saint Clair: Three and a half years now. At the time, you’re so in the throes of it that you don’t really realise what you’re thinking or feeling. Writing becomes a bit of an outlet: something that you do when you feel the need to do so or, at other times, not at all. All those songs that I wrote during that time became a sort of mini-story for me. I spoke to my sister about it and we thought that maybe we could come up with some treatments that would reflect how we both felt (and feel) as an accompanying visual component. My sister’s an actress and the videos ended up sort of like a short film, I guess.

It’s difficult and there’s a lot of trepidation that comes with doing something like that. You know that a lot of your output has been affected by this massive personal loss, and you want to express that but, at the same time, you worry about it coming across like you’re promoting yourself through a particular narrative. Like you’re looking back on something and saying, ‘oh, look – this fits!’ But, actually, it didn’t come from that place at all. It was very organic. Me and my sister are inseparable and it just felt like a really beautiful way to honour what both of us – and our whole family – were going through at that time.

You’re not signed at the moment – what happens if someone comes along with an offer tomorrow?

Saint Clair: I’ve set up my own label for my releases – Dearly Beloved. The logo for the label is actually an old sketch by my Granddad, Feliks Topolski, that I found while trawling through his old work. After basically drowning in his art for most of my life, it struck me that this image was something that I’d never seen before. I just thought that incorporating it into what I was doing would be a really lovely way to introduce that part of who I am.

For now, it just made sense to get a move on. I didn’t want to wait for any additional infrastructure. I just thought: ‘the music’s here, I’m proud of it, I’d like to put it out.’ So that’s what I’ve been doing with Dearly Beloved.

Saint Clair - FAULT Magazine

Saint Clair in front of work by her Grandfather, Feliks Topolski

 

Speaking of your heritage, and I know it’s a completely different medium, but do you feel any pressure attached to your grandfather’s name and accomplishments as an artist?

Saint Clair: Not at all. I think it’s an amazing thing to be able to carry on that artistic legacy. He’s left such an incredible gift to his whole family – something that’s tangible in the work he left behind but also in the ideology of what he was all about: not precious or pretentious, really accessible and open to whoever wanted to be a part of what he wanted to share.

I’m more of a fan than anything else, I suppose. My relationship with him doesn’t really form a huge part of my identity – I was only three when he died. His work is more something that I want to champion. I don’t think it’s been given the platform that it deserves at this stage, so using his artwork or my label seemed like a fitting tribute, as well as a natural thing to do.

Who’s underrated at the moment?

Saint Clair: CHILDCARE! The lead singer [Ed Cares] is a brilliant songwriter – absolutely brilliant.

What’s your FAULT?

Saint Clair: I’m very opinionated. I can get pretty belligerent when I disagree with someone else’s point of view!

 

Saint Clair - FAULT Magazine

~

Follow Saint Clair on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify

MAALS watches: Focus interview with founder Andy Sealey

 

MAALS Watches: Andy’s earlier guest post described how he and his brother Bruno set out to start a design-led, affordable watch brand.

Here, FAULT Focus interviews the brand’s co-founder to see what it takes to start a fashion accessory business:

 

MAALs watches co-founder Andrew Sealey

MAALs watches co-founder Andy Sealey

FAULT: What was your primary inspiration for starting MAALS Watches?
MAALs watches co-founder Andy Sealey: We were looking around for new watches and found that the majority of the watches on sale today have the same look, with a few exceptions. Bruno has backed a couple of design-led watches on Kickstarter in the past and we thought, “if they can do it, why can’t we?” This whole journey so far has been both scary and exciting, but I know if we didn’t go for it then we’d be forever wondering. Plus creating the brand and watch has been good fun.

Can you tell us about some of the unique features of the brand?
MAALs watches: We’re a family owned start-up designer and producer and when setting up we agreed that we wanted to be in the affordable area of the market rather than going high-end – that market is already well served – because the affordable market is where we personally sit in when it comes to our own collections. Our collections are paid for through saving and impulse chance finds and we figured there are a lot people like us that want something away from the norm, that looks good, can be a bit of a talking point, but won’t cost a fortune.

We created the design of our first watch, Jump Over The Moon (JOTM), by looking at our own collections and seeing what was missing, in this case a moonphase, and setting out creating something we love to have in our own collections. There are loads of gaps in our collections for instance, we’re missing retrogrades, perpetual calendars, LEDs, something really extravagant like a tourbillon and lots of others. JOTM is just the first in a planned family series of three, so we have plenty of scope when it comes to designs.

MAALs watches

You were both avid timepiece collectors before you launched MAALS but did you have to learn a lot more about the craft of watch-making when you started designing?
MAALs watches: Bruno knows more about mechanicals than I do to be honest, he’s much more into the intricacies than I am. For Jump Over The Moon, the design came first then we worried about how it would work! Not the most efficient way of doing things but it meant we had some absolutely wild ideas. Some were just too complicated, but have elements we can take and use in future designs, but the process of just designing whatever was in our heads was great. For the next watch in the series we’re going to choose the function first so that’s set, then free design again.

What/who were the main influences behind Jump Over the Moon – if any?
MAALs watches: 70’s jump hour watches such as those from Damas and Lasser, have had an influence for sure, their use of softer rounded edges rather than the more current sharper edged look has been pulled through into our design, as well as the domed dial and screen. The red of the Italian sports cars was the influence for the red second hand on the brushed steel version, and a mirror frame from an interior designer friend on mine gave us the idea for the sunburst dials.

You decided to work with British artist Okse for the distinctive casebacks on Jump Over The Moon. What drew you to his work, in particular?
MAALs watches: He was at an art gallery exhibition that I was attending, showing some of his comic and super hero artwork, I really wanted his Batman piece, we got talking and went from there. His artwork is excellent and fun which appealed. We wanted the back of the watch to be as eye catching and interesting as the front and bring of a ‘wow factor’ to the back of the watch and Okse delivered in spades.

We’ve agreed that we want him to create new caseback artwork for next two watches in the series too. No idea what he’ll create yet, whatever he does make though it’ll be based on the name we give to the watch.

Is there anything that you think is of particular importance to a beautiful, functional timepiece that a lot of watch designers don’t consider/don’t include in their final products?
MAALs watches: Not sure, really – I’m by no means an expert. Anyone that designs/makes watches or anything does it because they find it fun and enjoy it (well I hope they do anyway), so I hope designers remember to put something of that ‘personality’ for want of a better word in to their designs. Mr Jones is an example of a brand that just seems to be having the time of their lives making crazy timepieces and good on them.

MAALs watches

It’s early days yet but what has been the greatest success story for MAALS so far?
MAALs watches: That’s easy, the reaction to the design when we showed it for the first time and the independent reviews we’ve had so far without a doubt. Sending something you’ve spent time, money, heart and soul in to designing and making, to publications that review watches day-in-day out, is probably the most nerve wracking thing we’ve done so far. We knew they’d rate us on what they had in hand and we could only hope they liked it, if they didn’t then there’d be little to nothing we could do about it and it would’ve been a serious blow to our credibility and our confidence to be honest. Thankfully the reviews have been positive and hopefully it’ll give people confidence in us, our brand and what we’ve created.

And what’s been the greatest challenge that you’ve faced to date?
MAALs watches: Making a design that actually worked. Think kid in a sweet shop and that was us on our first go. Hardened ceramics, precious and semi-precious metals, tourbillon movements looked amazing, but they all spectacularly failed our own and the ODM’s [Ed: original design manufacturer’s] affordability feasibility test, so we stopped, took stock and went back to the start.

MAALs watches

What are you currently working on?
MAALs watches: At the moment we’re concentrating on the launch of Jump Over The Moon on Indiegogo, as that’ll provide the funding and springboard we need to create more watches and push on. We’ve also got advanced designs for a ladies version, carrying over all the same design elements and movement of the current models with the case, dial, second hand, strap and even the mins and hours discs colours being discussed. We’ve set up a small focus group of women to advise us on the design.

What are your plans to expand the line? Where do you go from here?
MAALs watches: After the ladies version it’s on with the next watch in the series which will be a new design, with elements from JOTM so it’s part of the family. We’ve got it down to a choice of 3 movements, but I’m not going to give any spoilers away I’m afraid, you’ll just have to keep an eye on us to see what comes next!

MAALs watches

For more information on MAALS, visit their website:

MAALS.co.uk

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Lily Allen cover shoot with FAULT Magazine: FAULTs and all

Lily Allen X FAULT Magazine

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover
Photography: David Yeo
Fashion Editor: Rachel Holland
Hair: Jake Gallagher
Make-up: Georgina Ahmed
Nail Technician: Diana Drummond
Set Designer: Andrew Macgregor
Fashion Assistants: Ana Cirnu And Lupe Baeyens

 

Words: Miles Holder & Elly Watson 

 

FAULT: So obviously No Shame is amazing, congratulations! How’s the reaction been so far?
Lily Allen: The only reaction I’ve really seen is live from fans, and that’s been really amazing. I guess the other thing is reviews which have been on the whole really good. Couple of bad ones, but it is what it is…

 

It’s been four years since Sheezus and you’ve previously said you made “a record for a record company”, how did you approach No Shame differently?
Lily Allen: Well I don’t know if I’d made it for the record company, but I made it for the market. When I first started making music I didn’t think I was going to be a pop star. To be honest, I thought I’d be like Jamie T support act. Then when ‘Smile’ came out and whatever happened… It was beyond all my expectations. I don’t even know if it was really what I wanted, but it happened like that. Because it was successful it’s like you’re trying to repeat that cycle and I think that became wrong in whatever way, and that’s what culminated in Sheezus. I had to reevaluate what it was that I was doing, what it was that I liked and what it was that my fans liked about the first albums when it was going right, and not really thinking about the commercial aspect of things. Because those things aren’t really in an artists control now anyway, it’s all to do with algorithms and streaming figures.

 

Releasing a song at the right time and all of that?
Lily Allen: Not even that! I think it’s all to do with marketing. If you’re not a priority then it’s not going to happen like that and I knew that it was no longer a priority so I was like “Well, what are you doing this for then?” If it’s not to be a pop star it’s got to be for the other reasons, so it was going back to the other reasons.

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover
And how was it going back to those previous reasons?
Lily Allen: A relief, I think. Just having the freedom to do whatever it was I wanted and reconnecting. I think it was interesting as well that the first and second albums were very truthful and honest, but from a different perspective. I was a lot younger and I didn’t have any responsibilities – it was all about drugs and sex and the good sides of that. No Shame is the other side.

 

What made you want to explore those other sides in No Shame?
Lily Allen: Just because I was in it! That’s where I was. I’ve always written about my lived experiences and what it is I’m going through. In the first album it was all about going out and London and boys because that’s what I was! I was 19 and that’s what I was seeing. On this album I was really lonely and very isolated from my friends and my peer group, even from members of my family. I suppose maybe because I was writing a book alongside the album I became quite introspective and started thinking about myself and what’s happened more. I spent a lot of time on Twitter and seeing what other people think about the world, but it was the first time I sort of explored myself outside of therapy.

 

What made you want to write a book?
Lily Allen: Money!

 

Fair.
Lily Allen: Money and running out of it! Not seeing many avenues to make it anymore. And also, aside from that slightly facetious answer, I actually don’t have a very good memory, I get really bored of repeating myself and I think that this period, the last four years at least, have been not only really important formative years for myself but for my children as well. And they’re going to ask questions about what happened with Mummy and Daddy and I’m not going to want to go over it. Also it’ll not be accurate in 10 years time when I’m retelling the story. Lots of parents have that difficulty but most parents’ children don’t have the Daily Mail online as their point of reference to find out the truth about what happened and I just don’t want them to think that that’s what it is. So it’s my way of explaining that… and getting paid, yay!

 

And what’s the book called?
Lily Allen: My Thoughts Exactly.

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover

 

How about No Shame? Where did that name come from?
Lily Allen: It was called The Fourth Wall for ages because it did feel like that moment in House of Cards where Kevin Spaces turns to the camera and starts talking to the audience and saying that everything else that came before was a bit of an act really – which is true to a certain extent, but it’s slightly exaggerated. But my manager said “imagine if you’re on Graham Norton and you’re having to explain this, that makes you sound really pretentious.” Then one day I came up with No Shame and he was like “you can explain this better.” And I guess it’s just being a woman in music and being tabloid fodder for such a long period of my twenties, everything kind of came with a side dish of guilt and shame and humiliation, but it was all kind of written for me. No-one ever said “are you really embarrassed by this?” or “aren’t you really upset by this?”, it was just “she’s upset, she’s embarrassed, she’s a failure.” So I think it was me addressing all of those things that I do on the record but putting up a bit of an armour really, just saying I’m not ashamed. That’s how we move forward from these things that lots of people go through, but maybe not a lot of us talk about because we feel ashamed.

 

Obviously a lot of us don’t have our lived plastered on the front of the Daily Mail for everyone to read but especially being a young woman, is that motto of not being ashamed something you want people to take from this?
Lily Allen: I think most of of my albums have had a double entendre thing to it – except Sheezus. It’s me saying that I’ve got no shame but Daily Mail readers will listen to it and go “oh she’s got no shame that one.”  You can make it what you want to really. But then also, so often when I’ve been experiencing really great things, like album sales and playing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or whatever, it’s like I almost don’t let myself have it. I’d be like “didn’t the band play a really great show?” or “didn’t Greg Kurstin produce a really great album?” It’s difficult I think as a woman, especially when people are being so rude about you the whole fucking time and trying to tell you that everything’s happened because of other people, we find it difficult not to feel guilty about our accomplishments in a weird way. It’s that imposter syndrome thing.

 

Like claiming the narrative for yourself and not being ashamed of it. Is that what you want people to feel when they listen to the album?
Lily Allen: I’ve come to terms with the idea now that you put something out and people will make of it what they want. That’s almost another reason why the album’s got that title, it’s like you can either hate it and think that I’ve got “no shame” or you can listen to it and be like “oh that’s good, she’s rid herself of all of that guilt and shame.”

 

And you’ve just mentioned Twitter, do you think it’s important to call out people when they’re being twats on it? Because a lot of people in the public eye get people who are mean about them online but don’t address it.
Lily Allen: I probably address 0.00001 per cent of what it is that I get. And I’ve spent a lot of time online and I think most of my peers do as well. The analogy that I tend to use now is that Twitter is the modern pub. You know? And if people would talk to me like that in real life – if someone was really drunk and lecherous and annoying, I’d probably walk away and ignore him, but if I felt what they said really crossed a line I would call them out. So that’s kind of my filter for it, I guess.

 

You also use your social media to bring up issues that are happening. Do you think it’s important for artists to do that?
Lily Allen: It depends what their goal is. If it’s to make money and get lots of brand endorsements then probably not. If what you’re striving for is something different, which I do, then yeah. I feel like you’ve got to be able to back it up, you know? And I think that’s why the tabloids and everyone hates me so much is because they can’t get me. I am a leftist, I am a socialist, I pay all my fucking tax, you know? I don’t have a company registered in the Cayman Islands and they know that. That’s why they’re so angry because they can’t… if I am being hypocritical I’ll put my hands up and say “yeah that is”, but I believe in what I say. I walk the walk and I talk the talk and that’s why they hate it so much.

 

Completely. I think you’re using the influence and followers that you have to promote important things that people need to be talking about instead of being like “oh if I bring up this issue Missguided might not give me that 10% off sample sale.” So what would you say has been the worst piece of advice you’ve gotten in the industry?
Lily Allen: Sign this record deal for £25,000 from my lawyer at the time… In all seriousness I think there’s a real issue with the legal firms that are giving advice to really young people. I signed that deal when I was 19 years old and I’m still in it. It was a five-album deal for £25,000. And I paid for the advice to sign that deal and it was not good advice.

 

FAULT Magazine Issue 29 - Lily Allen cover

 

Is there any way you can get out of it?
Lily Allen: I’m working on it but I’ve only got one more album to go. But I am very concerned for other young artists for sure.

 

Yeah, it’s terrifying. Finally, what else have you got planned. There’s a big tour at the end of the year?
Lily Allen: I don’t really make plans anymore. It’s all so unpredictable. I just kind of see where the wind takes me. I’m doing this book, which is coming out in September. There’s talk about maybe people buying the rights to it and whether to make it into either a film or TV, and then I’ll take the producer credit on that and do it through my production company so I don’t know, I might really enjoy that process and decide I don’t want to make music anymore and do something else. Or I might decide to do another album.

 

Was there ever a time in those four years between Sheezus and No Shame where you were like I’d rather just…
Lily Allen: Never that I’d rather just do something else. I did do something else when I did my clothes shop with my sister and also having babies. Also having kids is choosing to go on a different tangent. So I do have those moments but I’m completely unqualified, I left school when I was fifteen, this is the only thing I know how to do and I do really enjoy it.

 

And finally, what’s your FAULT?
Lily Allen: Brexit, apparently! I dunno, everything? It’s all my fault, blame me for it. Like what’s my inner fault? What’s wrong with me? Again, the answer is just everything. I think just write everything.

 

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