FAULT Weekly Playlist: TOTEM

It’s always great to see more diversity in the music industry and TOTEM one of the artists cropping up that’s challenging perceptions. TOTEM is an Indian-American man who weaves smart political and social commentary into slick pop production. Proving that pop music doesn’t have to be thoughtless 4-on-the-floor beats, his skill of turning astute cultural criticism into catchy earworms is bringing him surprising success.

TOTEM is currently working on his EP, which will be out this summer, but before that we asked him to put together some of his current favorite songs. Take a listen below.

Calvin Harris – Heatstroke

“I love this new new disco feel that Calvin Harris is doing. This and Slide have been on repeat. Pharrell’s pre-chorus is so unexpected but feels so good. I loved Jamie XX’s last album and this is as close as we have come in pop music.”

Kodak Black – Tunnel Vision

“The hook is an earworm and that detuned sample in the background reminds me of a song from Lauryn Hill’s “Unplugged” album. You gotta listen to this under the influence in a dark room.”

Future – Mask Off

“I read something in the New York Times magazine about this song a couple weeks ago and it made me appreciate this song a lot more. I had no idea about Future’s personal transformation. Also, the recorder sample.”

Julia Michaels – Issues

“It’s great to see songwriters win as artists, and Julia Michaels deserves to win. She and Justin Tranter have been writing exclusively hits for over a year, and this one is no different.”

Vice feat. Jon Bellion – Obsession

“Jon Bellion is one of my favorite songwriters and vocalists. This is such a feel good tune.”

mansionz – Wicked

“I hate the shtick, but this song is really good.”

Drake – Blem

“My favorite song off the new Drake playlist. I really envy his melodic simplicity.”

KAYTRANADA – Got it Good

“I was really late on KAYTRANADA, but this is the song that got me. Nice to hear Craig David’s voice too. His kind of pop R&B is what the world is missing right now.”

Frank Ocean – Chanel

“I’m always amazed how many really dynamic melodies Frank Ocean can fit into one song. This one sounds so fresh but classic.”

Zedd and Alessia Cara – Stay

“Zedd is a musical genius. The drop in this song has so many elements I love— space, harmonies, vocoders. Simplicity at it’s most impactful.”

Wireless Festival reminds London why it’s a must visit!

 

London’s premier day festival returned to Finsbury Park over the weekend of 8-10 July 2016, with a stellar line up to accompany some stellar weather. Headliners across the weekend included Calvin Harris, The 1975, Chase and Status, Future, Sigma and Boy Better Know, with FAULT Magazine attending the first two days.

A former FAULT cover star, and firm favourite in the office, Miguel graced the main stage on Friday and didn’t disappoint. With his incredible and distinctive voice, Miguel performed with a real energy as he lapped up the crowd’s excitement. With a mix of songs from his latest studio album Wildheart as well as his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream, those who basked in the London sunshine were treated to one of R&B’s elite talents hard at work. Miguel took time to address the recent police violence in the USA, with an emotional address for an end to violence. In addition to being an incredible talent, it was touching to see Miguel tearing up while he bared his emotions.

Making their Wireless debut, the 1975 were the chief support act to Calvin Harris and showed why they are one of the hottest bands in the world. With their new album (deep breath) I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it topping both the UK Album Chart and the USA Billboard 200, this was a chance for a lucky crowd to see a band soaring to the top. And they more than delivered. With their ability to deliver instantly catchy songs, the crowd sang along to hits such as ‘Girls’ and ‘The Sound’. Chief support act this year, don’t bet against The 1975 headlining Wireless very soon.

By now it was time for the headline act, and they don’t get much bigger than Calvin Harris. The world’s highest paid DJ (and for good reason) was the main event and was introduced by undisputed A-list star Will Smith. An endless run of hits followed including ‘I Need Your Love’, ‘Summer’, ‘We Found Love’ and this year’s summer anthem ‘This Is What You Came For’. Accompanied by an incredible light show, coinciding with the setting of the sun, it made for a perfect end to day one of the festival.

Day two, and an amazing day at Wireless on Friday only strengthened our desire to get back there for more of the same.

One of the hottest hip hop artists in the world, Future, graced the main stage and whipped the Saturday crowd into a frenzy with his highly respected flow and lyrics. Hits such as ‘Where Ya At’, ‘Wicked’, ‘Jumpman’ and ‘F*ck Up Some Commas’, Future satisfied his huge UK fan base with a lively and passionate performance.

We then headed over to the Pepsi Max Arena to see Sigma perform a live DJ set, with stunning results. The impressive tented area made for an intimate atmosphere, with thousands revelling in the drum and bass tones of the English duo. With the sun still shining, the crowd partied hard to a great atmosphere, and showed how Sigma have deserved the acclaim they’ve received after years in the shadows.

Saturday closed with legends of the drum and bass scene, Chase & Status. Having been on this rodeo throughout their career, the duo had no problem entertaining the crowd, calling up Tempa T and George The Poet to supplement their set. Closing with ‘Blind Faith’, it turned out our faith in Chase & Status’ headline set was fully justified.

We loved the diversity of the line-up, with Wireless Festival attracting a broad spectrum of artists and with that, people attending the festival. An incredible weekend came to a close for us, just wishing we could have made Sunday as well.

Until next year!

 

Words: Kelvin Lyster

Kehlani Slays at TAPE London

 

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Launched in September 2015, Tape has quickly become London’s hottest club with the likes of Justin Bieber, Future, Jess Glynne and Trey Songz choosing it as the place to hang out. With the venue also including its very own purpose-built recording studio, it’s clear why it’s becoming a favourite with musicians. Exclusive clubs in London are often incredibly tiny with tables taking up 99% of the space. At Tape, there’s plenty of room for people to get up and have a good time.

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The crowd was the perfect blend of people having a great time, without any of the posterity familiar with the exclusive clubs in London. They turned out in their numbers (on a chilly night!) to see Kehlani, the 2016 Grammy nominated singer from Oakland, California. Kehlani has seen her stock rise with her nominated mixtape You Should Be Here, and is already making huge waves in North America with her sold out tour. Set to be featured on Zayn Malik’s debut album, there’s no doubt the future is very bright for Kehlani.

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She decided to treat the crowd to a live performance of some of her hits, including ‘Did I’. Kehlani wasn’t finished treating everyone though as she brought on WSTRN, the west London group, to perform her remix of their anthem ‘In2’. The crowd was electric for the songs, with an excellent sound system making it feel like an intimate private gig. The energy of Kehlani was clear, and went down well with the crowd. Kehlani even took the time to take photos with some of her fans, happy to meet those who came out to see her.

 

 

As proof of how hot Tape is right now, probably the hottest star in the world Justin Bieber returned to Tape to hang out before his BRITS performance the next night. With Justin Bieber tweeting ‘any club in London saying I’m coming tonight to perform. Not true’; the fact is that there was only one place he wanted to chill out before the BRITS in London. Sorry the rest of London, that was Tape.

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In under 6 months, Tape has become the hottest club in London. With an incredible spot right in the heart of Central London and a host of world class artists continuing to head down, there’s no wonder Tape has already become the most exciting place to visit in London. The only downside to Tape is that it makes every other club seem average. We’ll definitely be back, no doubt in the company of another great crowd, with the odd superstar in attendance.

 

Words: Kevin Lyster

FAULT Future: Flo Morrissey

 

Flo Morrissey is a chanteuse who sits somewhere between a Lana Del Rey penchant for romantic nostalgia, the bohemian power of Florence & the Machine, the whispered and mystical vocals of early Björk, and the effortless charm of Jane Birkin or Stevie Nicks.

At only 20, her sound and lyrics are incredibly well-honed, born of influences her contemporaries haven’t heard of and a detachment from pop culture that has made her incredibly unique both to listen to, and to look at.

Having just released her debut single ‘Pages of Gold‘, and just finished her first tour in the UK supporting The Staves, we sat down with Flo to talk cinematic sounds, the world around the artist, and the power of not always saying yes…

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

How are you finding the tour so far?

I’m loving it – it’s my first one so it was quite daunting to start with, doing something new every night for people who haven’t necessarily come to see you! But it’s great to be playing with The Staves because the audience is there to really listen.

In terms of your biggest performances so far – SXSW, Green Man, etc. – it seems like you are really selective when it comes where to play. Is that the case?

Yeah, it’s just the way my path has gone. I think it’s down to the Internet- I started putting up my demos at 14 and never really did shows in pubs or clubs like other acts. I was just lucky that my manager found me online. I think people say yes to too many things nowadays, and it takes away the special nature of actually doing a show.

Is the live aspect something you enjoy, or is it something you find daunting?

I enjoy it more and more because I’m still new to it – but you never know how you’re going to feel after a show. One thing could change and you wish you had done it differently. But I want to perform more and I’m excited to do more shows. It’s just hard in the beginning! When I go on the road, I’ll hopefully have a multi-instrumentalist to play with me so it will be a little less daunting and lonely.

Beyond the live show, is sharing the actual music something that makes you feel vulnerable?

I don’t really think about it until after, when I realise how weird it can be to speak about the songs. I’d rather people had their own interpretation of it. It’s nice to think that someone else might get something from it as well.

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

The individualism of your music and vision is clearly close to your heart. As you grow as an artist- being signed and managed and touring in the UK and beyond- is it harder to retain that sense of self?

I picked my label because they completely let me do what I want to, and I don’t have to compromise. People have this idea of the music industry as this place where you always have to say yes, but you really don’t. I still do my own Facebook and Instagram, and I wouldn’t want that to ever change.

How did you start writing music?

I started putting stuff on Myspace when I was about 14. I used to sing more classical music at school, but I started playing guitar and it was just more fun! So I made my own recordings, and my own videos, and put covers online. I was this 15 year-old girl acting as my own manager, sending my music out to blogs and it just felt really natural.

In that vein of being your own manager, it seems that your vision is really all-encompassing? Is it important to you that all the elements are cohesive in that way?

I think it is really important to have a kind of world around the artist, but then you can’t think about it in that way. I just try to be natural about it.

How do you see yourself going forward? Pages of Gold, (the upcoming single), marks a shift towards a much bigger sound.

I am really open to experimentation and a lot of the songs on the album have big string sections. I’d love to bring a live band on tour because a lot of the songs are quite cinematic and I’m glad it went that way. It could have been a real folk record but I always wanted to have this more cinematic sound.

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

How was the process of recording your album in LA over the summer?

It was quite lonely at time because LA is just such a huge place. It was the longest I’ve ever been away from home but my manager lives there which was great, and I get along so well with Noah, the producer.

You are quite a quintessentially British artist- what do you see as the differences between making music in the US and the UK?

It was quite inspiring to be there because they won’t say no- they had this kind of “you go girl!” mentality (laughs) and it was actually really good for me! They strive for a lot and it’s so easy, and English, to be self-deprecating but it helped in music terms to have that empowerment on hand.

Do you feel the music industry has been really supportive so far?

I’ve been so lucky but I try not to think about it too much! I sometimes feel like my music is maybe not that accessible, especially with just me and a guitar because it’s so vulnerable and raw. It won’t appeal to everyone but I strangely like that. Usually the best things are the ones that have flaws.

On that note, what is your FAULT?

I worry too much!

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

Flo Morrissey (2015), by Kurtiss Lloyd

https://www.facebook.com/FloMorrissey

All photographs by Kurtiss Lloyd