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Sequoyah Tiger
Morr Music

Visit Sequoyah Tiger at Facebook and iTunes

Leila Gharib’s release features off-centered electro-pop. Her unconventional or idiosyncratic songs are melodious and sometimes dreamy or other-worldly. But the music tracks are really only part of the story. Gharib is a gifted performance artist and her self-directed videos are very much a part of the Sequoyah Tiger tableau in the sense that she really does put forth an artistic grouping of audio and visual arts. If you’re wanting to indulge or give yourself up to the avante guarde then you do not want to miss out on this release. Don’t overlook the videos as part of the artist’s creative exhibition.

Elizabeth Ziman, who performs as Elizabeth and the Catapult, is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter from New York, living and working in Brooklyn. She’s toured​ with the likes of Sara Bareilles​ and Sara Bareilles; collaborated with Esperanza Spalding, Gillian Welch, Blake Mills​ and ​Ben Folds; scored, with Paul Brill, a variety of international award-winning documentaries including Trapped, a Peabody winner; and won the 2015 Independent Music Award for Songwriting, Folk category. Her songs have been featured in national television campaigns for Google, Amazon, Sky TV, and “​So You Think You Can Dance”​. In 2014, “Like it Never Happened” her third studio album was released by 30 tigers and produced by Dan Molad, Peter Lalish and Paul Loren with string arrangements by Rob Moose. In 2015 “Like it Never happened” was nominated for best album, best song, and best video by The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards and “Someday Soon” won the award in the “Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song” category. In October, “Keepsake” was released and was HorizonVU Music’s pick of the week

HVUM: Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us! We feel like we know quite a bit about your musical history from the time of your growing up in Greenwich Village, your training as a classical pianist, and your connection with Patti Austin and other prominent musicians. We understand that Elizabeth & the Catapult came into existence in 2004, and included Danny Molad on drums and Danny Molad on guitar.

Would you fill out the history a bit? Tell us about how Elizabeth & the Catapult came to be. Was the project conceived with a special identity and sonic signature in mind?

EZ: I started writing songs throughout college and when I left school, I moved to new york with some other college buddies and we started recording our first self titled EP at home. A year or two later it caught the attention of Verve Records, and we made our first album “Taller Children”.

HVUM: “Keepsake” is your fourth album following after “Taller Children” (2009), “The Other Side of Zero” (2010) and “Like It Never Happened (2014). Is there a continuity to your music over time? Is there a thread that we can follow from your training at the Berklee College of Music through to today?

EZ: I went to Berklee College of Music for composition and film scoring, so I feel like the main thread across all of my albums is that my ear usually leans towards more cinematic arrangements, sometimes the flourishes give it a bit of a theatrical flare and I have to hold myself back, but in general I’m drawn to layers and wide variety of instrumentals.

HVUM: Thinking back over your musical training and your success at bringing together multiple genres including pop and jazz, who do you consider to be your key influencers? Did you have a certain mentor who played an exceptional role in setting out your musical roadmap?

EZ: when I was very young I was a member of the New York City Young People’s Choir which was run by a brilliant composer and teacher named Francisco Nunez who recently won the MacArthur award for his compositions. By the time I was 10 years old we were competing professionally, and I was singing solos in carnegie hall. I left the chorus by the time I was 12, and I wouldn’t make it back to playing Carnegie Hall until another 15 years later with my band. Both the experiences and Francisco’s unusual classical writing style most definitely had an influence on who I am today.

HVUM: Many of our young readers are setting out in music and frequently ask about the advantages and disadvantages of D.Y. I. vs pursuit of a label. Or maybe there is something in the middle such as what John Kellogg at Berklee refers to as Doing It With Others? What is your point of view?

EZ: As is obvious, the music business over the last five years is in a very precarious position compared to the way things have worked over the last 70 years. Yes, labels shut down, people stopped buying cd’s, and everything became virtually free through digital downloads and streams- but the music business always finds a way so even super popular successful artists decided to break away from labels, start their own, and start getting involved in Kickstarter campaigns. I myself raised money for the last two albums on pledge music, and even though I’m not signed to compass, the whole album was funded by my fans. That’s a very lucky thing- and is becoming more commonplace everyday.

HVUM: With respect to “Keepsake”, You’ve stated that the lyrical ideas came to you from lucid dreams. Would you elaborate on that a bit and relate your dream experience(s) to one of the album’s standout tracks “Underwater”?

EZ: Ha. Yes, I had a terrible flu a couple winters ago when I was moving into a new house and started having fever dreams, so as my dreams got stranger I began writing everything down for posterity. There were a lot of nostalgic dreams, and I coupled those with old diary entrees I found when moving- it was as if I was filling in my life backwards through my dreams. And with that was the birth of “Keepsake”.

HVUM: Let’s take time out for a look and listen to “Underwater”, the second track on “Keepsake”.

HVUM: You give attribution for the video to Meredith Adelaide. Tell us about that collaboration and connecting the composition and lyrics to the video production?

EZ: Meredith is incredibly talented, I feel so lucky to have found her. She’s somewhat of an Instagram sensation, so I found her self-portraits online and just fell in love with her photography. Her style is incredibly raw, and somehow both vulnerable and strong at the same time- just super honest. She did a great job of capturing the chaos and joy that is New York City! It was a delight to shoot with her.

HVUM: Imagine that Elizabeth Ziman is a book. What would be the title? Why?

EZ: well my intials are EZ, so maybe “EZ DOES IT” ?

HVUM: Finally, what is on the horizon for you and your work? Any tours ahead?

EZ: Hopefully tons and tons of touring this year! We’re going to Nashville this month, an east coast run in December and then hopefully out to the west coast in January. There will be plenty of running around ahead!

Elizabeth, thanks again for interviewing with us. We wish you continued success and we hope to see you in Paris very soon!

Visit Elizabeth & the Catapult at Facebook and iTunes

Emily Zuzik

Visit Emily Zuzik at Facebook and iTunes

Emily Zuzik first appeared on HorizonVU’s pages in 2011. We’ve been privileged to follow her work since then – The Wild Joys of Living (2011), Detours (2014) and Angelenos (2016). She consistently shows her willingness to cut across all kinds of music including folk, pop, electronica and pop-rock. Amongst her many projects she has collaborated with notables including Moby (Destroyed, 2011) and Tim Lefebvre (Angelenos, 2016).

Emily’s most recent release, “Tender” is a three track collaboration with Geoff Pearlman (recognized composer, singer, guitarist, producer and engineer). The title track is a soulful song, which is on the lighter, pop side of soul. The vocal works well in the mix from Geoff Pearlman (lead guitars, bass, autoharp), Michael Blumstein (keys), Alex Budman (horns) and George Sluppick (drums). The second track, “Ernst Kirchner” (German expressionist painter and printmaker known to be motivated by fears about humanity’s place in the modern world, its lost feelings of spirituality and authenticity) draws somewhat on sensual Teutonism for the vocal, but the blend of Zuzik’s vocals with Gerald Menke’s pedal steel and Tim Lefebvre’s bass gives the song it’s own place. The final song, “Winter In California” is up tempo contemporary country pop-rock, which will likely get you tapping your feet. “Tender” offers three very different recordings each of which is exceptionally performed. In addition to the recorded performances, clearly, Pearlman deserves a thumbs up for mixing and mastering. In part because of its diversity, this is a recording that you can shuffle the tracks on repeat and stay well-connected. Enjoy!

Sally Morgan

Sally Morgan

Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Sally has helped her clients heal vocal damage, expand vocal range, land a Broadway show, record their own music and tour internationally without vocal fatigue or strain.

The way you sing is a direct result of how you think about singing. When someone yells, “Watch out!” your body tenses When you think, “Watch out! Here comes the high note!” same response Muscles tense to hold the voice-not let it go! Singer Training Video


Darlene Shrugg
Darlene Shrugg
Upset the Rhythm

Visit Darlene Shrugg at Upset the Rhythm and iTunes

Darlene Shrugg brings together Maximilian Turnbull (Slim Twig), Meg Remy (U.S. Girls), Simone TB (Fake Palms), Carlyn Bezic (Ice Cream), and Amanda Crist (Ice Cream). The band isn’t really all that well known. You won’t find them promoting on social media and their live performances are on again, off again, Nevertheless, if it’s hard rock that suits you, this is the album for you. You might start your day with Darlene Shrugg. From the opening track “Inherit the Wind” through to “Freedom Comes in a Plastic Card” you’ll get the adrenaline rush blasting you into the day ahead. There is a softer, beneath the waves track “Strawberry Milk” which will cool you down a bit four tracks into the journey. This is assertive, cocksure rock. There’s plenty of gain, so crank up the volume and go!

Elizabeth & the Catapult

Visit Elizabeth & the Catapult at Facebook and Compass Records

New Yorker Elizabeth Ziman’s (Elizabeth & the Catapult) “Keepsake”, produced by Dan Molad and featuring collaborations with Richard Swift, is our Pick of the Week for three reasons. First, in the big scheme of things, thinking about pop music and a continuum from great pop (Carole King) to undistinguished pop (no names, please), “Keepsake” clearly falls toward the upper end. Second, Elizabeth Ziman’s controlled vocals deserve recognition from the outset. The vocals stand out among singer-songwriters. Further, Ziman’s classical training shines through and her mastery of piano plays a big part in making this album a success (“Magic Chaser”, “Mea Culpa”). Third, technically, the album deserves kudos for the fact that form is consistently well-matched to melody. Dan Molad deserves credit for his role in the production process. This is an album you’ll be able to enjoy, and enjoy again.

Courtney Barnett/ Kurt Vile
Lotta Sea Lice

Visit Courtney Barnett at Facebook and iTunes

Australian singer, songwriter meets up with American singer, songwriter and the outcome is really darn good. Perhaps a bit surprising given stylistic differences; Barnett’s sometimes weird, rambling spoken-word style and Vile’s blend of rock, folk, new wave, and country-pop. The duo does come into alignment, but it seems as though Vile is the dominating influence, i.e., Courtney drifts closer to Kurt’s sonic signature than vice versa (take “Over Everything”, for example). There is some foot tapping to do through “Continental Breakfast” and “Blue Cheese”. This is a nice autumn release; maybe find the groove by thinking bright-colored leaves on sunny New England day. Even if you’re not into one artist or the other, or both, open up and give it a listen.

[Traduction française ci-dessous]


For the first time, the International Songwriters’ Retreat will take place in Merlimont, France, from the 16th to the 21st of April, 2018.The retreat will take place in beautiful woodland, and in walking distance of the Golden Merlimont beaches. Add to this the fully furnished lodges, bar, and super restaurant, and it’s the ideal setting for singer/songwriters in which to create great music!

The retreat is run by the two well-established artists, Eva Hillered and Annika Fehling from Sweden, on request from the production team behind the artist services company, HorizonVU Music.

“We are so excited to start this in France together with HorizonVU Music.” Annika Fehling says.

“We have heard so many times how a retreat can have a revolutionary effect on musicians’ lives, and so it was for us too, when we started. It’s nothing magical or strange. We have a clear structure around our work, and when you add that frame to a group of creative and talented artists, then anything can happen!”

“In addition to the amazing songs that are always created on the retreats, they have an enormous impact on people’s lives and careers. They help songwriters to develop and to find new ways to reach out with their music in the world.” says Eva Hillered. “It’s easy to lose hope in an industry that’s so narrow and competitive. Here amazing new opportunities are presented through people’s cooperation, experience and networking.”

Tony Taylor says: “When I first heard about Annika’s and Eva’s retreats, I was intrigued. ”Their mission to create a place for community, inspiration and support amongst dedicated songwriters fits in well with HorizonVU’s beliefs, and although our company specializes in assisting female artists, we are only too happy to support all genders via the Merlimont International Songwriters’ Retreat!”

HorizonVU Music celebrates the independent music community by providing a broad range of business services to female emerging musicians in the global world of popular music. The event will be marketed and promoted internationally.

Eva Hillered is a Grammy nominated Swedish artist with 10 released CDs, touring in Europe and USA with her music. She is the author of the bestselling book about songwriting “Lathund för låtskrivare”, which has been called “the Swedish Songwriting Bible” in the Swedish press.

Annika Fehling is a world-touring Swedish singer songwriter with currently 12 CDs released. She has participated in the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest, produces the Visbyfestival and Living Room Concert Series in Gotland, and writes music for theatre and exhibitions as well.


The total cost to participants is 750€. Fill in the information below and send a 100€ non-refundable deposit to secure you place at the retreat to:

International Songwriters Retreat’s PayPal account: . If you have any problems with this E-mail ( Eva and Annika)

We will send a confirmation as soon as we receive your registration fee (part of the payment of the retreat – but not refundable)

The information should contain this info:

Year of birth:

Tell us with a couple of lines your experience of songwriting

The form should be sent to either or

HorizonVU Music – Atelier !

Les Auteurs-Compositeurs-Interprètes du monde se rassembleront à Merlimont !

Pour la première fois, un atelier internationale pour les auteurs-compositeurs aura lieu à Merlimont (France) du 16 au 21 avril 2018.

L’atelier se déroulera dans une région boisée à quelques pas des plages magnifiques de Merlimont. Ajoutez à cela les chalets entièrement meublés, le bar et le superbe restaurant, et c’est le cadre idéal pour les chanteurs/compositeurs dans lequel créer de la bonne musique!

L’atelier est dirigé par les deux artistes bien établis, Eva Hillered et Annika Fehling de Suède, à la demande de l’équipe de production de la société de services aux artistes HorizonVU Music.”Nous sommes très heureux de commencer en France avec HorizonVU Music.” déclare Annika Fehling.
”Nous avons entendu tant de fois comment un atelier pour les auteurs-compositeurs peut avoir un effet révolutionnaire sur la vie des musiciens, et c’était aussi le cas pour nous, quand nous avons commencé. Ce n’est pas de la magie ou étrange. Nous avons une structure claire autour de notre travail et quand vous ajoutez ce cadre à un groupe d’artistes créatifs et talentueux, alors tout peut arriver!”

”En plus des chansons étonnantes qui sont toujours créés dans les ateliers, ils ont un impact énorme sur la vie et la carrière des gens. Ils aident les auteurs-compositeurs à développer et à trouver de nouvelles façons d’atteindre le monde avec leur musique.” dit Eva Hillered. ”Il est facile de perdre espoir dans une industrie si étroite et compétitive. Cette nouvelle opportunité exceptionnelle est présentée grâce à la coopération, à l’expérience et au travail en réseau des gens.”

Tony Taylor dit: ”Quand j’ai entendu parler des ateliers d’Annika et d’Eva, j’ai été intrigué. Leur mission est de créer un lieu de communauté, d’inspiration et de soutien parmi les auteurs-compositeurs dévoués, tout en respectant les croyances d’HorizonVU. Bien que notre entreprise soit spécialisée dans l’aide aux artistes féminins, nous sommes très heureux de soutenir aussi les artistes masculins avec l’atelier des auteurs-compositeurs à Merlimont.”

HorizonVU Music célèbre la communauté musicale indépendante en offrant une vaste gamme de services aux femmes émergentes dans le monde de la musique populaire. L’événement sera commercialisé et promu internationalement.

Eva Hillered est une artiste suédoise nommée aux Grammy avec 10 CD sortis, tournée en Europe et aux USA avec sa musique. Elle est l’auteur du livre à succès sur l’écriture de chansons «Lathund för låtskrivare», qui a été appelé «la Bible suédoise des auteurs-compositeurs» dans la presse suédoise.

Annika Fehling est une auteure-compositrice-interprète de renommée mondiale avec 12 disques actuellement en production. Elle a participé au Concours Suédois de l’Eurovision de la Chanson, produit le Visbyfestival et le Living Room Concert Series à Gotland, et écrit de la musique pour le théâtre et les expositions.


L’atelier comprend les activités suivantes:

Cercles de chansons:

Les participants se réunissent en cercle et jouent des chansons les uns pour les autres, préalablement écrits ou co-écrits pendant le cours.

Co-écrit assigné:

Avec l’aide des préférences des partcipants, les leaders associent les auteurs-compositeurs à des paires de compositeurs, et la majeure partie de la journée est consacrée à l’écriture ensemble, qui comprend des exercices d’écriture de chansons. Le matériel est ensuite joué dans les cercles de chansons, et des commentaires sur les chansons seront offerts.

Préchauffage du corps et de la voix:

Eva Hillered dirigera un réchauffement du corps et de la voix tous les jours.

Cercle du matin:

Annika Fehling mène un cercle de bienvenue quotidien.

Concert de l’atelier:

Un concert aura lieu à la fin de la semaine!

Le Prix

Le coût pour les participants est de 750 Euros.

Early Bird: 50 Euros de réduction avant le 15 janvier 2018.

Nous pouvons également organiser un plan de paiement si cela est nécessaire pour rendre votre présence possible.

Ce prix comprend:

Salle de bain et douche, WC, Cuisine avec micro-ondes, Cafetière, Réfrigérateur, Cuisinière, Tables et chaises, Couverts, Assiettes, Serviettes, Téléphone. Wifi est également disponible dans le bar, et il y a un service de blanchisserie.
Un petit-déjeuner buffet et un dîner de trois plats (avec du vin) sont servis tous les jours au restaurant Club Vacanciel.


1. Allez sur la page d’accueil HorizonVU Music

2. Remplissez le formulaire.

3. Réservez votre place à l’atelier en payant 100 Euros d’acompte (non remboursable).

Pour plus d’informations et de questions – Contactez-nous!

Annika Fehling – (Questions sur l’atelier)

Eva Hillered – (Questions sur l’atelier)

Tony Taylor – (Questions sur l’emplacement et le voyage)

The World
First World Record
Upset the Rhythm

Visit The World at Upset The Rhythm and iTunes

Lots of good recordings out there this week, but in the end the HorizonVU pick goes to The Word for their release “First World Record” on Upset the Rhythm. This album is juiced up post-punk. If you can imagine X-Ray Spex minus Poly Styrene with some Slits here and there and some LiLiPUT combined with a signature wicked sax duo – you’re pretty much there. The Oakland-based band features Amber Sermeno on bass and vocals, Elyse Schrock on drums and vocals, guitarist Andy Jordan, Alexa Pantalone on bongos and Stanley Martinez on sax. Pantalone and Martinez are the saxophonists contributing in a big way to the band’s sonic signature. The album takes off with “Hot Shopper” which streaks by in under two minutes, but you’ll enjoy boppin’ along. “Chet Baker”and “Namaste” really deliver what it seems fair to say is the band’s sound. The album closes out with “I Fell in Love With a Slumlord” a melodic in sort of scratchy way accompanied by a heavy dose of sax. This is the kind of album that makes one want to see the live show. It just screams fun! Read more about this band and follow the tour schedule at Brooklyn Vegan.

Healthy Junkies is an explosive London-based rock – punk rock band. On the music scene since 2009, the heart of Healthy Junkies is Phil Honey-Jones (guitar, keys, drums, backing vocals) and Nina Courson (vocals). Dave Whitmore is on bass and Tony Alda is on drums. Yes, you’ll hear shades of influence from Sex Pistols, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Iggy and the Stooges, but don’t be too quick to pigeon hole Healthy Junkies. You’re likely to recognize influences of Bowie, Sonic Youth, as well as some reggae and blues. There’s a lot going on in the music and each of Healthy Junkies’ studio recordings (Trash My Love, 2010; Sick Note, 2012; The Lost Refuge, 2013; Box of Chaos, 2015; The Absinthe Session, 2017) will give rise to different impressions – which means buying all of them to really get into the band. And not to forget live performance. You’ll find that the lead, the rhythm, and that special something – the wild card – is all there in great musical and physical abundance!

HVUM: Thanks, Phil and Nina for your time and willingness to join us on HorizonVU. We read from the band’s bio sketch that Healthy Junkies is the outcome of an evolution that goes back to Soho’s Punk and collaboration between the two of you. Will you tell us your story and maybe fill in the spaces with high points between the first meet-up and today?

HJ: After we initially met, we spent about a year together not really connecting musically at all. We both had separate bands, Nina’s was called Altercation, a grunge band and mine Hiroshamour, a psychedelic rock band. In terms of writing we were on different planes altogether. Then one day we decided to write a song for Nina’s friend Lucy on her birthday. Lucy had not been well at all and the song was something we felt we could do for her at least. This song is called “Glam sister” and it is on our first album, “Sick Note”. We still play it live sometimes.. After breaking the seal as it were of our writing partnership, other songs naturally followed, we recorded demo versions at home and then one day we were offered a gig by a promoter in Brighton for a festival there. We agreed to the gig then of course had to get together a band pretty sharpish. We found Steve Nightmare, who was a tall, goth like guy with whom we had recently become acquainted, he showed an immediate interest in playing drums, then my bass player from Hiroshamour took on the job as bass player for us. The gig was a disaster, running so late that we only played 5 minutes before the festival was shut down. The promoter ran off with the money, the only band I believe that got paid was Goldblade, Jon Robb telling us at the time that they ‘always’ get paid . I believe him.

So we had a band. And we just played anywhere that would have us, mostly in London at random gig nights, squat parties, even the side of window on scaffolding at a protest to an imminent squat closure. Until we played a show at a venue called Bridgehouse 2 in Canning town. The venue is no longer there but at the time it was smack bang in the middle of an industrial wasteland. We didn’t really expect anyone turn up, in fact one of the bands on the bill didn’t. But there was a female fronted band called Gun Dogs on the bill, they were from Birmingham and brought with them a bunch of fans, who came down on the train especially. That was an eye opener in itself because in London its pretty hard to get people to travel from North to South or South to North as they always claim its too far. Also at this gig was a man called Steve Iles. He liked what we did, chatted to Nina and then introduced us to a whole world of gigs up ‘North’ . Steve is from Manchester and he pretty much knows all the female fronted band in the UK and even in Europe, the Americas and Australia. This man supports bands 6 nights a week. It is his calling and its because of him and other such fanatics that an underground live music scene exists at all.

So Steve booked us countless gigs all over the UK, some were better than others but at least we were doing it, out on the road, getting more confident, writing songs as we went. I suppose the result of all these gigs on the ‘punk’ circuit was getting invited to play firstly Nice and Sleazy festival in Morecambe, then the mighty Rebellion festival in Blackpool where we headlined the new band stage, at the time it only ran for one day, the Thursday. Now it runs for all 4 of the days as the festival continues to expand. We met loads of bands and punks and skin heads and alternative people during these gigs and at the festival all the time appreciating our being included in this burgeoning scene. After recording our first 2 albums we split with the other 2 band members. As anyone who has been in bands knows, 2 or years in each other’s pockets, internal pressure, external pressure, people wanting different things, dramas all can contribute to a break up in a band. So we found ourselves on the way to Bristol in a car at 6 PM on a Friday with no drummer and no bass player. It was to support the amazing UK Subs, not an opportunity that we were about to let slip away. As luck would have it, a good friend and former drummer of the Lords of the New Church, Danny Fury, had seen us the night before and offered his help if we ever needed it. I’m not sure he quite expected to be learning our songs in the car on the way to a gig the following night though. But that is what he did. We had also called a bass player up, a guy called Peter Lock who had told Nina that he had learned some of our songs from YouTube videos, we took a gamble on doing this but actually the gig was amazing, felt so freeing and like we had done it against all odds. We got on very well with Subs and have played with them a few times since, Charlie is always very supportive of us and loves Nina. So we had a temporary new line-up which has chopped and changed a bit over the last 3 or 4 years but we managed to record a 3rd album which was released on Manchester label STP Records as was the second album. Now we are ready to record the 4th album with drummer Tony Alda who has toiled with us on drums for 3 years now and the wonderfully crazy Dave Whitmore on bass who we found just over a year ago. Many gigs have been played, in the UK and a couple of tours of France.

The last tour of France was with UK band Neon Animal and we took loads of footage filming the bands live and behind the scenes. This we have edited into a documentary which we will release soon for those who may be interested in what its like for an underground band to be on tour abroad nowadays. Recently ( the Beginning of July ) we hosted a 3 day festival at a pub called the Unicorn where we have been hosting a monthly free night for bands and a DJ. It’s called Punk’n’Roll Rendezvous . Part of the premise of this night is to always have at least one band playing on the bill from outside London,. we often get a return invite to play in their towns later as a kind of return the favour thing which has worked very well. Another feature of these nights is that the bands all support each other and do not just go home after they have played. This shows a real sense of community spirit which is seriously lacking in some circles.

Well I’ve been as brief as I can, in filling in the gaps for several years, but one thing I can tell you is that its been a gas. Had loads of fun, met loads of people and would like to continue doing so health permitting. Very important if you are a Healthy Junky.

HVUM: Great! A couple things really stand out and I hope some of our younger followers get the message. First, when you’re starting out you play, play, play. Don’t try to cherry pick venues. Second, keep us in the loop on your documentary, this should be a HorizonVU feature. You mention changes in band members over the past years; particularly bass players and drummers. Now that David Whitmore (bass) and Tony Alda (drums) have joined, has Healthy Junkies stabilized?

HJ: I mentioned the changeable line-up that we’ve been subject to. Its like this. People come and people go. Life can be like that. Stability is something we definitely like but people have their own agendas, commitments financially and timewise. Nina and I write 99 percent of the material and do pretty much all the driving, organising, funding, make most of the decisions, decide what direction we want to go in often simply depending on which way the wind is blowing so its really not suprising that people either want to abandon ship or get pushed into the ocean by a slight slip of the hand on occasions. The reality of being in band with very limited support network is a hard, cruel fact of our lives. Its just the way it is.
All we can hope to do is capture the essence of whoever we are playing with at any given time, guide it so it brings out the best in all of us, make sparks and hope we don’t get burned too much doing it.

HVUM: Generally, what do you think is the toughest challenge to keeping a band together? Most rock bands have a life expectancy of…a week? How do you approach managing a band?

HJ: Well, it seems I am determined to answer each question in advance of the question itself. Keeping a band together? It may be that we are not the most qualified to answer this, as our line-ups have only ever lasted a max of 3 years. However, there are some very obvious strategies that can be employed for the continuation of a group. Now despite the fact that I’ve already mentioned that Nina and I basically call the shots, we are all about fairness, justice, equality and consider all members to be as relevant as the next. Our most recent bass player Dave, for example, wrote a tune that we play live often and its called Theft. We all love this tune, it will be on the next album, it’s a stand out live track. We actively encourage contributions from other members. Its important to feel as a band member that you are as relevant as the next member and that Healthy Junkies is your band too. Getting on with each other helps too, something that you can’t force of course. Splitting the money , what there is of it anyway, is important and of course trusting each other.

HVUM: How did you get to Healthy Junkies for the band’s name? Is there any kind of a topical aspiration you have in mind for the band?

HJ:The name Healthy Junkies usually comes up in interviews. When Nina came up with it way back before we even had a band, it was a joke. I have been drinking Kamboocha tea for many years now, I make it at home. Nina calls it my magic potion. However at the time I was probably smoking too much pot as well so she came up with ‘Healthy Junky’ ..

We are not Junkies in the heroin sense though, and I think anyone that knows us realises this. In the early days of the band we got a lot of criticism from people about our name, they said things like ‘You’re glamourizing drug use’ or I lost a friend because of heroin. Well, guess what? I’ve lost several friends due to drug misuse too. What I do believe in is personal choice though and I am looking forward to the day that we follow California and lets face it we always follow the U.S. , in the legalisation of that plant that grows wild, that admittedly has been manipulated my mankind to produce varying stains of marijuana fit for various purpose. But what hasn’t been manipulated by man? The strongest joint I ever smoked was a gift from someone who knew Richie Sambora, who in case you don’t know is the guitarist in Bon Jovi. Anyway Richie sent me this gift by way of a friend and when I smoked a tiny amount I literally felt like I had lost my sync with time. I had to take a Valium or two and for a while felt like I had entered into the sphere of madness and would never return. This was an outdoor grown straight forward weed and it beat in strength any hybrid skunk whatever plant I have ever had since. And bare in mind this was in 1993. So that really completely destroys the current argument that the strength of marijuana available today is more dangerous somehow than the shit the likes of Jack Karouac smoked on the road way back when.

So having lumbered ourselves with this shall we say non pc non commercial name, various discussions have been born and had along the way about the pharmaceutical industry for example. Where doctors are quite happy to take the easy way out and prescribe the likes of Prozac, or whatever its current counterpart is, and of course aniobiotics, pumped into our food, water and each other. Its no wonder that the bacteria is becoming resistant and fighting back. Healthy Junkies is an oxymoron. It has a ring to it, the punks seem to quite like the name, and our next album will be by ‘Healthy Junkies’ .

HVUM: Listening to your music, it seems straightforward to pick up on threads of rebellion, anger – perhaps isolation (“Resistance”, “Trash My Love”, “I Don’t Give A Damn”, “I Can’t Stand Anyone”). Standing back a bit and taking a broad-brush assessment, how do you characterize your music?

HJ: Yes, there are definitely certain themes that crop up lyrically in our songs. Nina is quite the activist, feminist, revolutionary leader for sure. I said earlier that we are passionate about certain things like equality, standing up for yourself, fighting for your rights and now more than ever we can see how the corporates have taken over the world. You only need to travel ,though London to see the amount construction sites that are simply crushing and squeezing any alternative life that may still be left in the city. Venues closing left right and centre, fewer opportunities for up and coming bands to learn their trade and make their way forward. The main music industry of course has become generic, bland , un adventurous and processed for fast food music to the masses. So yes we have plenty to rebel against and much to resist and sometimes we do feel so much despair that we simply shout ‘ I don’t give a damn’ because no matter what we do or say it seems that this disintegration into oblivion seems inevitable, the city has been sucked dry, people cannot endure this infinitely and there is a huge price to pay. This country has a wonderful history of music, art, literature and culture and its been strangled, devalued and cast aside like an unwanted Christmas present.

We basically write about what we feel like writing about at the time. Sometimes Nina leads the way and sometimes I do; it depends on the song and maybe who is the more inspired at any given moment. Most of the lyrics are written between us though which we both find stimulating. There is nothing more thrilling than riding on the crest wave of an idea and seeing it sprout wings and fly before your very eyes. Not always knowing where its headed or whether the thread of the song will ever return gives me goose bumps, and it’s when the theme of an idea does come back at you like a boomerang and hits you right between the eyes, its like ‘Yeees’.. that means something to mean I hope it will mean as much to someone else who hears it.

HVUM: Is there a song in your catalogue that stands up especially well?

HJ: There are certain songs that stick out for us. “Copycat” was our first single, it got a bit of attention at the time and continues to be a winner live. Certain songs have been favourites for a while like Manifesto and then not played so much, maybe we over played them. But when you do go back to an almost forgot song that you once played all the time, its like seeing on old friend again after along break. You simply pick up from where you left off. Witches of lust off the second album is great song to play live as is If you talk to her its over which has expanded live into a psychedelic epic. Someone mentioned the Doors as an influence that they had heard in that song, that’s fair enough, we love the Doors.

HVUM: Let’s have a look and listen to that first single, “Copycat”.

Off the third album “I don’t give a damn” is ferocious in its way and I love to play “Just a fool” which does always make it onto the set but I thing is one of our best songs. As far as listening to the recordings go, I am still moved very much my some of the more moody, atmospheric tunes like “Shine a line” from the second album and Captive from the third album. I would like to do more of that kind of moody, atmospheric song.
We also released an EP recently called “The Absinthe Sessions”, which is basically a set of what we call B sides that we never thought would see the light of day. All recorded at home and pressed up simply because we needed something else to sell on a French tour. I am still very fond of that EP and it represents DIY in its purest form.

HVUM: Yeah, “I don’t give a damn” is one of our favorites. Let’s check it out.

HVUM: What drives you? What is the source, or sources, of inspiration?

HJ: Well I’ve done it again . Answered a question before its been answered !
Everything we see, hear, experience, dream about, long for, suffer the loss of, the dramas we ignite between us, the fights, the making up, the past, the future, now , London, the world, the main stream, the music industry, being on the road, personal therapy, madness, living your dream, no future, better days ahead…Its all there in the songs…

HVUM: Getting more personal, Nina and Phil, what are your music backgrounds? Formal training? Self-taught? Keep in mind that we have a lot of young readers that are really interested in knowing the path taken by performing musicians such as yourselves.

HJ: My mother was a classical concert pianist, she had 6 kids of which I was the second last to be born. She got divorced and brought us up herself, teaching piano every day and every night. She taught until the day she died. So naturally when I so much as looked at a cello at the age of 6. She had me in lessons and then orchestras at school. Now while I love the sound of a cell played well I could never get it to sound as good as I’d have liked . I picked up a guitar at 10 years, then an electric guitar at the age of 12, taught myself and never really looked back. In terms of rock music, I was given or somehow it came into my possession, a card board box full of 45s from artists from the 60s and 70s. Bands like The Kinks, The Who, The Amen Corner, The Beatles , T.Rex, The Stones, Marvin Gaye, The Troggs… I had a cheap plastic record player in my bed room and I would listen and love these tunes when I was very young.

Nina had a similar experience with her parents who still are to this day huge fans of Rock music, the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Bowie and Bob Dylan were played during her childhood. Her father was the singer in a psychedelic rock band called Metamorphosis, their biggest claim to fame was supporting Can at a festival in France.. Nina is self-taught as a singer although she has had some lessons since we met which she says have given her confidence especially with her breathing.
So you can see its in the blood..

HVUM: Nina, tells us about your journey from Paris to London. How did that happen? We’d really interested in knowing what attracted you London as far as music is concerned.

HJ: I was kind of obsessed with London since the age of 14 when I saw the song ‘Do you really want to hurt me’ by Culture club on a music program in the 90’s and became really intrigued by the eccentricity of Boy George. It then later got me into new wave then punk and finally grunge which is when I really started my own band after seeing Kurt Cobain play Reading Festival on TV.

There wasn’t much of a grunge or punk scene in Paris by the time I was 19 and that’s when I decided to move to London. Lots of my heroes and inspirations were from England and it just seemed like the only thing to do. I also always loved the fact that there were artists like David Bowie, Mark Bolan and the Sex Pistols who had such an outrageous look and you only seemed to get that in England. That aspect alone attracted me. The idea that you could be who you wanted to be and wear what you want.

It’s always been a bit more macho in France. It’s more rare to see a man wearing make-up. I’ve been growing up all these years thinking about living in London and learning the language thanks to a lot of Internet friends who lived in England and America. It seemed to me like there was more of a scene in the U.K. than in Paris and a lot more venues to play too as an underground band. And I was right. Since I’ve been in the UK I haven’t stopped touring.
It just feels more possible to be an underground musician in London than it is in France. More opportunities. Although now lots of venues are closing and things are changing compare to the time I arrived but that’s another story.

HVUM: That’s really interesting. Thanks for your honest view of the Paris scene. You are so right (I can’t help but say it) we find the Paris scene is so not-a-scene for indie rock. If you want to play anywhere but your own basement you pay the venue up front – and that sucks. Okay, moving on, you have an affinity with punk and post-punk. Going back to the 70s and punk as we knew it (Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, The Slits) how do you view the evolution and the relevance of punk today? Is it still about creativity exploding with hard-edged anti-authoritarian views on society or stripping away b.s. from everyday life? What do you think?

HJ: We actually think that punk is as relevant today as it was in the late seventies. People feeling disillusioned, with no future, doing minimum wage jobs and never being able to move beyond that.

Of course nothing is shocking nowadays ( to quote Jane’s Addiction ) or is it ? People are maybe a little too afraid to say what they think nowadays it seems for fear of being prayed upon by the social media police. Judged or simply trolled. The punk rock of today, other than some of the original bands that are still going like The Damned, The UK Subs and Sham 69, is the punk that is thriving in the Underground scene. That is where its at. And yes singing and shouting about what’s happening in the world today, what they see and how they feel is still as important…

HVUM: In your view, where are we with the music scene today? Where do you think we’re heading? Your outlook for independent music? Is there any kind of vision?

HJ: Well, the pop music of today seems to have reached a point of generic-ness previously unrivalled. I occasionally still tune into radio one or Capital radio just to see what is being played and I am usually disappointed. I hear people say all the time, ‘it has to change’ , something good must come out of all this zombie nation fast fodder, producers dominant stage that we are currently in and have been for some time. Once again I turn to the Underground music scene where you can find many great bands who are not manufactured and express how they feel in the most genuine way. Not simply thinking about what they think the public want to hear or what they will buy, these bands keep playing shows against all odds, financially and otherwise so I cannot say enough times… Support the Underground bands at the smaller gigs otherwise they are in danger of becoming extinct…

HVUM: Amen. Does the band have a plan? What’s next?

HJ: Yes we do… We have a bunch of dates in the UK and Europe to see us through this year and into next. We are currently refining, learning, jamming a bunch of new songs and getting ready to record them for our next album. We intend to be in the studio no later November/ early December. That is our priority. Also the plans for visiting the USA have been stepped up, this is a major thing for us because we are DIY and we don’t have a big label behind us so the costing, the logistics, accommodation, transport and finding of the gigs is all down to us. So be it, at least we don’t have to answer to anyone except ourselves and the people that come to our gigs.

HVUM: Finally, and just for the fun of it, describe Healthy Junkies as a painting? What’s that look like?

HJ: Well, I would say one of Jackson Pollock’s pieces. Paint splattered everywhere randomly that after a while starts to make some kind of sense. Or maybe that’s just inside our heads. Perhaps Healthy Junkies is a multi headed series of shadows is the form of tormented human heads straining to push their way through some kind of plasma layer that is being stretched but seems unable to be broken…I can almost hear the stifled screams…Ok maybe that’s a bit dark, but we are very much about acknowledging the darker side of human nature rather than using energy to hide it or deny it.
I really think a visual image of Healthy Junkies would change on a daily basis depending on our mood.

Nina and Phil, again, thanks so much for sharing your story and your honest opinions. It’s always great to talk with musicians that put it all out there for people that follow us. I really hope that you’ll give us the word net time your in Paris. We promise to be there!

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