Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pheaturing Andy Richards From Uniform Motion

Welcome to a Wednesday entry of the Phile, kids. Look, good against remotes is one thing, good against the living, that’s something else. Here on the Phile for the month of May as you know it's Star Wars Month. Are you sick of it yet? Don't worry, only one more week to go. There'll be more Star Wars stuff coming up on the Phile in a minute, but first, let's see what else is going on.  Al Gore has a new girlfriend. Apparently, it's getting pretty serious. He's already been over to bore her parents. Gore and his girlfriend were spotted taking long walks on the beach, measuring how much the sea is rising.  President Obama gave the commencement speech at Barnard College the other day. He told graduates their future is bright unless they want jobs.  A 1920 Babe Ruth uniform sold at a sports memorabilia auction for $4 million. As a matter of fact, this is the uniform he was wearing when he was first dating Betty White.   Did you see the season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice"? Arsenio Hall is the new champion. One day you're hosting a late-night talk show and the next day you're getting coffee for Donald Trump.  That Facebook guy, Mark Zuckerberg, got married over the weekend. His company goes public, and he's now worth $100 billion. Then he gets married. He may not be as smart as we thought. Facebook is worth $100 billion. Today it was friended by Greece. If you don't know, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in his Harvard dorm room and in eight years built it into the most popular waste of time the world has ever seen. Six ago I created the Phile and it's the second most waste of time the world has ever seen. Facebook has lost so much money that founder Mark Zuckerberg has been named an honorary board member of JPMorgan.  Congratulations to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The city of San Francisco has named a street after her today. It's called Botox Avenue. Two new studies have found that people who snore have a higher risk of cancer. Although in most cases, the spouse will smother them with the pillow long before the cancer takes them.  Bad news for CNN. They just had their lowest rating in 15 years. Their ratings are so low that today Jesse Jackson turned them down for an interview.  DC Comics has announced that one of their super heroes may be gay. I've got my money on Dog Groomer Man.  Republicans are trying to raise money, so Mitt Romney's checking under his couch cushions.  So, you know I love inspirational posters, right? I saw this Star Wars themed one and don't necessary agree what it says, but thought it was cool. Check it out.

Okay, I agree with the holy shit part, but not the arousing part. An Asian chick with Mickey Mouse ears does nothing for me.  So, I was thinking the other day, what would Star Wars be like in Quentin Tarantino made the movies. And then I saw this...

All month I have been showing you Star Wars products that you might not know exist but are out there.   It seems like Lucas never turns down any license deal. Of course, to eat all of your delicious intergalactic delicacies, you'll need to pick up the right eating utensils for the job and these lightsaber chopsticks are just the ticket.

Okay, it's time to talk about another movie...

Once upon a time there was a battleship named Battleship. Battleship was full of loud and well stocked with stupid and his favorite thing to do all day was exploding. Some half-human/half-lizardy aliens came along and said, "Hey Battleship, we are going to invade the ocean and probably enslave the human race." Battleship didn't like this idea and so he started exploding the androphibians with the help of the U.S. Navy. Then they made a movie about the historical incident, starring Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Liam Neeson and Rihanna.  Michael Bay probably should have directed the movie but he was busy making another one about loud, stupid, exploding space-robot-cars, so Peter Berg made it instead and that's why it's not quite as loud, stupid or exploding. And when I say "not quite" that doesn't mean that it isn't plenty of those things, just like it should be, but that Bay's genetic code is made of that stuff so in a perfect world he'd be the go-to guy and his version probably would have given you an aneurysm.  Kitsch is the good-at-heart-yet-wild-and-troubled main Navy guy in charge of battling the space lizardmen because he has to prove he's got courage, heart and humility. In fact, it could be argued that his movie brother, Skarsgard, engineers the invasion just to wake up his wayward sibling and set him on the right life path. Evidence: The answer to Skarsgard's scolding question, "Who do I call to teach you some humility?" is obviously space and its many furious, human-like reptiles, because almost immediately after that exchange the invasion kicks in. If you think it's a coincidence then clearly you've never paid close enough attention to the plot of the song "The Christmas Shoes," in which God sends a poverty-stricken child to a shoe store to buy a new pair of pumps for his dying mother in order to teach the song's jerk narrator the true meaning of Christmas. This kind of thing happens all the time. Anyway, the movie is the perfect distillation of monsters with ambiguous intentions, digital re-interpretation of board game iconography, AC/DC, cowardly nerds, Top Gun volleyball, chicken burritos, VFW nostalgia, Liam Neeson slumming in between other slumming jobs he takes on [Fill In The Blank] Of The Titans movies, people repeatedly yelling variations of the answerless question, "WHAT IS THAT THING?!" and Coke Zero. It's a multi-layer cake frosted with Rihanna pointing big guns at giant space ships and letting off all her rounds while screaming "AUUUUGGGHHH!"  You want this. From 1 to 10, it gets a 9, and I might be it when it comes out.

The 17th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Joey Spiotto and this is another of his pieces.

Joey will be a guest on the Phile this Sunday.

Today's guest is the creator of an illustrated indie-folk band combining music with visual arts who will be playing at Espace Bonnefoy inToulouse, France. Their new album "One Frame Per Second" is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile from Uniform Motion... Andy Richards.

Me: Hello, Andy, welcome to the Phile. So, how are you?

Andy: Hi, Jason. Not too bad thanks. How are you?

Me: Not bad either. Kinda tired, but that's okay. So, the other half of Uniform Motion is French, right? Are you French as well?

Andy: No, this half is half English, half Irish, and wholly British.

Me: That's good. I already interviewed a French musician last week. So, Andy, I wanted to interview you because at first I thought you were just a typical band, playing the kind of music I like, and then I REALLY wanted to interview when I saw your band is very original. You are the music part and your partner Renauad Forestie does something different. Explain to the readers what I am on about.

Andy: I won't hold it against you mate! That would a little self deprecating, wouldn't it? That being said, I've been living in France for quite some time now, and I sometimes get the impression that I'm not really that British anymore. But I wouldn't go as far as saying that I've turned into a frog! I hate all that kissing they do, and cheese makes me vomit rather violently! And is it me, or have the Brits become more Italian over the last few years anyway? Seems to me there's a lot more public displays of emotion going on than there used to be. What happened to the stiff upper lip!? Anyway, I'm glad you like what we do, and to answer the last part of your question, well, Renaud is an illustrator and he projects his drawings in realtime to a video screen using one of those magic graphics tablets. So you get to see the creative process of an illustrator while I serenade you with the sweet strumming of a classical guitar.

Me: Do you ever think while you are on stage, look at me, not at the screen?

Andy: No, but sometimes I think "stop looking at me, look at the screen!"

Me: Who gets the most groupies, the musician or graphic artist?

Andy: I'm legally obliged to give him all of mine so he gets them all. He'd probably get them all anyway though!

Me: How did you two meet? Renaud doesn't do anything musical, right? I take it with a name like Renaud Forestie he is French.

Andy: We work for the same company. He most certainly is French. He shrugs his shoulders a lot, says 'quoi' and eats cheese on garlic bread for breakfast every other day.

Me: Do you guys ever argue about ideas or the direction Uniform Motion is going?

Andy: Only when we're on tour and we forget the Sat Nav. As for the artistic direction and the ideas, no, not at all.

Me: Who came up with the name and what does it mean?

Andy: I came up with the name. I didn't know it at the time, but it is actually a term used in physics. When I came up with it, I wanted it to mean roughly the same thing, but from a more philosophical point of view. It is the idea that you move through life in a straight line and the only reason you change is because you bump into things, or people, or they bump into you. I liked the sound of it too.

Me: Apart from releasing music, which I purchased off from iTunes, more on that in a minute, you guys had a webs how of some sort, is that right?

Andy: Well, thanks for buying our music! Yes, we released our first album as a webshow before it ended up on iTunes. Every couple of weeks, we released a new studio song, a live video recording and an interactive comicbook that you could read through while listening to the music. It was a lot of work, a lot of stress getting it all ready in time, but it was really fun to do as well. It was kind of silly for a debut album though!

Me: What was it called and how many episodes did you make? Are you planning on making any more?

Andy: It was called Uniform Motion Pictures and we made 9 episodes. No plans to do it again for the moment.

Me: Okay, I purchased all three Uniform Motion's CD's off from iTunes. "Pictures" and "Life"and the latest one, "One Frame Per Seconds". How do you compare the three?

Andy: Thank you again! The first one was a lot more painful to make. I took some demos to a professional recording studio with the intention of getting some drums recorded. Then, the drummer left the project rather abruptly (a long story) but the lovely folks at CDM Studio in Toulouse took a shine to me and took me under their wing. They found a drummer for me and helped get things going. So I re-recorded parts of the demos in the studio, and kept some other parts and we ended up with a rather messy set of songs. I must have made 20 different versions of each song. It took forever to finish it. That was part of the reason for doing the webshow. It provided us with a deadline and ensured we would actually finish one song! Unfortunately, CDM Studio burned to the ground a few months after we released the "Pictures" album, which was a nightmare for them by the way, so I decided to do the other album's at home and produce them myself. It took a lot less time to record, mix and master and was a lot more spontaneous I suppose. Less conceptual as well. I don't really know how to compare them as albums though. To me, it's just number 1, number 2 and number 3 chronologically with two different ways of producing them. Although I think I was in a better place mentally when I wrote the second one. The new record sound's a little different. I've put 2 extra strings on my guitar so I have the full 6 now, which is a strange feeling after playing on 4 strings for so many years. And I've been playing the songs a lot, rehearsing them with a new member of the band, a drummer, who can also play a bunch of other instruments (while he's drumming, he's a genius, yes!).

Me: I like the covers of the albums, Andy. I am guessing Renaud did the artwork, am I right?

Andy: Yes, but I made tea while he designed them so I think I deserve all the credit.

Me: Are you guys working on anything new?

Andy: We certainly are. A top secret project that I'm not going to disclose for the moment.  We'll release the top secret stuff at the same time! Aside from that, Renaud's working on all sorts of stuff. You can keep up to date with all of that on his blog I have a side project called The Konami Bonfire. We have about 5/6 songs and we've been rehearsing regularly for the past few months. It's an anti-folk band with guitars, synths and drums. I'm also producing a friend of mine called Trevor O'Neill (remember that name!). We should have his debut EP ready in a month or so.

Me: You guys have a song on "Rock Band", right? How did the creators of "Rock Band" discover your music?

Andy: Yes, "Roll Over" is available on "Rock Band". The creators of "Rock Band" opened up the platform to allow people to submit their songs, and sell them via Rock Band Network. So potentially, just about anyone can get their song on "Rock Band" now I think. We found out about it really early thanks to our friends from No-Source, a US-based netlabel. They asked us if we would interested in being on Rock Band and they took care of everything. They were in the beta program, so we were in the first 100 tracks released via RBN. I haven't has a chance to play it yet though!

Me: You must be excited to be featured in a video game. One of my dad's songs, "Slow Ride" was in "Guitar Hero 3", so I know how thrilling that is. It's gonna help sales of your music, Andy, that's for sure. Have you ever played "Rock Band"? I am guessing Renaud has.

Andy: Yes, we're really chuffed to have the song on "Rock Band"! It's been on there for a while now (more than 6 months I think) but I haven't seen an increase in any sales really.

Me: Have you guys ever been to the States to play? If not, is that something that could be possible in the future?

Andy: No, we haven't. We would love to but it's not on the cards for the moment. Touring is expensive.

Me: Andy, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I like what you guys do, and hope you keep it up. Is there anything you wanna plug?

Andy: Thanks for having us, Jason.,,,

Me: Thanks, Andy, for being here. Come back to the Phile again soon, please. and tell Renauad I said hello.

Andy: Will do. See ya.

Okay, that about does it. I need to finish up so I can watch the season finale of "American Idol". Thanks to Andy for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Sunday with artist Joey Spiotto and then on Monday it's Alumni Robert A. Medeiros from The Clarences and next Wednesday musician Jimbo Mathus. And coming up real soon the 500th entry with Dion! Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. May the phorce be with you.

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