Unity Day Fundraiser - Sapphic Traffic @ Red Eric on Sat 25th June
Miranda Versus The CrokMiranda and John - aka Miranda Versus The Crok
For some people, the acoustic scene is an update of the traditional folk club, complete with hushed reverence for the music.
But for acoustic duo Miranda Versus The Crok, they find that they’re increasingly seen as too noisy for the acoustic set.
A rambunctious attitude and energetic stage performance sets them apart from the usual band of troubadours.
Their raucous outlook has led them to gigs with punks and heavy metal bands.
The band formed two years ago when buskers Miranda Arieh and John McDonough bumped into each other in town - apparently John had strayed onto Miranda’s patch.
They struck up a conversation and discovered they were attuned musically and after some rudimentary jamming became a duo.
BBC Leeds met up with Miranda and John to find out where they think they fit in….if they want to fit in at all!
"We started out playing mainly specialist acoustic gigs at places like The Grove, but found that some fans of acoustic music expect it to be fragile and brittle whereas we’re a lot more robust."
"There’s a physicality to our music, as we use anything to create percussive sounds to add to the guitars and voices. It can be slapping the instruments, stomping our feet or whatever. It creates not just a rhythm but a whirl of energy around us."
"For some reason that seems to offend the more purist acoustic fans who think we’re a bit too ‘full on’."
"Consequently we’ve ended up on some strange bills with other bands that initially seem a world away from what we’re doing, but oddly it all seems to work out ok, whether we’re playing with punks, metallers or whatever."
"Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right venue for what we do. A lot of promoters are either confused or just assume because we play acoustic music, that we should be in the corner of some wine bar."
"Gigs with heavy metal bands and punk outfits at least give us access to a whole new crowd, who may be surprised at what we actually sound like as opposed to what they’ve surmised from the available information."
"So, we’ve found it more to our advantage to promote our own gigs by getting bands that we like from the anti-folk scene like Thomas Truax and putting them on at venues like the Brudenell Social Club."
'It works out well a lot of the time when you're first starting out, to support someone who is already well established.”Miranda Versus The Crok in a live situation
"However we always get a good reception and get asked back from these sort of gigs but it’s where you go from there. Do you go down the old-fashioned route of trying to get a record deal or rely on the promotional aspects of social networking sites."
"The music biz is still alive despite reports of its death and they can still be useful in improving your career prospects. We do rely strongly on the promotional aspects of social networking sites like MySpace and we drive and plug the band a lot on these, though we still know that we cant do the full job a record label can do for bands.”
"We’re at a bit of a crossroads at the moment as our manager is about to emigrate, so we’re wondering what the next step will be. There’s no great master plan - we just want as many people as possible to hear what we do."
"There’s no real money to be had from record sales anymore unless you’re right at the top - it’s live performance that pays the bills for musicians these days, but luckily we love performing and we like to play regularly anyway, it’s what we do."
"Having said that we do want to document what we do, so we’ve put out a couple of EPs and there’s an album due for release sometime in 2010."
"Luckily a limited amount of money for recording has meant everything sounds very immediate as we haven’t the opportunity to go over and over everything."
"But that’s a good thing, as we’re such perfectionists, we’d never get out of the studio otherwise. We need that guiding hand - that voice that says a piece is finished."
"The only thing we really need to do is tell people that John isn’t the Crok! Everyone assumes that he is, but the Crok is actually my alter ego" says Miranda. "Everyone should have one."
Leeds is a flurry of DIY activity right now, we’re making stuff & doing things & having all sorts of ideas & feelings!
Check out some of the stuff you can do this month:
Thursday 4th November - Cloth Cat Fundraiser at The Cardigan Arms
featuring FANNY DIWANKO, MonMon & The Rogue Hearts.
Sat 6th November:
LUU Femsoc Zine Making Workshop at The Peanut Gallery
(downstairs in the Leeds University Union)
12 noon - 4pm
£2 suggested donation
Sat 6th November:
300% RIOT GRRILL at The Chemic
with Stella Zine, Amity, Ste McCabe, open mic for women, vegan curry & more!
Entry - donation
COME EARLY FOR FOOD & OPEN MIC!
Sat 13th November:
Leeds Zine Fayre & Footprint’s 10th Birthday at Leeds University Union
& after party at the Common Place.
Robot Unicorn Attax at Joseph’s Well
featuring Tiny Tin Lady, Fanny DiWanko & Christella featuring the Caution Girls.
This is for Danni Dan’s birthday y’all!
face up & sing: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=126237270768049
Sun 28th November:
An Extraordinary Tea Party at The Common Place
Jumble sale & tea stall & featuring Madam Laycock & Her Dabeno Pleasures, Fanny DiWanko & Love Of The Brave
to raise funds for SARSVL &n Horton Women’s Holiday Centre.
Mon 29th November:
The Outspoken Showcase at Hyde Park Picture House
1pm - 4pm
This is a unique event showcasing the beauty of D-I-Y in action. The jam packed programme is designed to motivate and inspire us to ‘make stuff happen’ in our local communities. With food, sine distro, etc.
If I’ve forgotten anything, please let me know!
Of course one of the best things about November is that we all get our snuggly clothes on!
KEEP WARM YOU LOT, hope to see you this week.
Hey gang, hope you’re all well? Here are some things to put in your brains/diarios.
Fanny DiWanko have a gig on Friday at Santiago, it’s our friend Woody’s birthday & some other awesome peeps are playing, like Ukulele Bitchslap, Paper Tiger, & Falling Cats.
Speaking of which, did you know that cats who fall less than 5 floors are usually ok, and cats that fall over 9 floors are usually ok, but if they fall 5-9 floors they’re often badly injured or killed? It’s true! Check out Radiolab podcast for some knowledge y’all!
Anyway, the thing on Friday starts at 8, and I think Fanny time is 9pm. I hope to see ya.
the next Riot Grrill is on Sat 9th Oct & features CHRISTELLA & the CAUTION girls. Can you remember Caution Collective??? DID YOU SEE THEM? Ok, imagine that AND a FENDER RHODES. Are you ready for that? YOU’RE NOT EVEN READY! I’m not sure I’m even ready for how truly awesome this will be. We have some time to prepare though so I’m sure we can do it team.
Hopefully some exciting open mic-age in the works too so don’t be tardy. YO IF YOU WANT TO PLAY A SET, BE AT LA CHEMIC FROM 8! Or before!
I’M CEREAL YOU GUYS.
Ooh & mythical one-horned DJ Fuzzy Jones is playing some super smooth soul music, and hosting a personal disco. Bring a 7” record & you can play it yourself, or she’ll play it for you. Let’s unearth some gems peeps, dig into your past, present or future! Viva La Vinyl!
Yo if you’re more into those new fangled compact discs or cassette tapes, you won’t be left out - just follow these simple instructions for better living:
1. MAKE A MIX
2. BRING IT
3. SWAP IT
It’s anonymous, so don’t worry about people finding out about your Justin Beiber thing.
Have you been playing ROBOT UNICORN ATTACK?
Do it. Tell us your best scores.
The last thing:
there are only a couple of days left to tell us why you should be the woman that we sponsor to learn how to be a kickass sound engineer.
Eek-a-mouse it’s gonna be so hard to choose just one person! Here are the details:
+ You must me over 18
+ You must be able to get to Red Eric Studio, Leeds, every Wednesday evening from 13th October - 1st December 2010.
+ You must send your NAME, D.O.B, and a paragraph explaining why you should get the place to one of the following email addresses.
That’s all folks! Besos!
Woohoo, it’s just over a week until the next Riot Grrill with O’Hooley & Tidow!
Some facts about them:
1. They rock some badass suits
2. They sometimes set pianos on fire
3. Belinda O’Hooley used to be in the Mercury award nominated Unthanks
4. Their music is heartbreakingly devastatingly rad
5. They are 100% approved by the Financial Times
Are you gonna come? Are you gonna play? (Open mic-ists get down for 8 to sign up) ARE YOU GONNA MAKE US A MIXTAPE???
We do this thing called a mixtape exchange, here’s the grill:
Make a mix (CD, tape, whatevs), put it in the HOUSE OF DANCING, take one out, EVERYONE WINS.
We’re very excited about this one peeps, so bring your ears & hearts & mixtapes & we’ll see you on the 11th.
This all grrl band Ani DiFranco tribute act are literally the closest we are gonna get unless we book the Sapphic legend herself. If you haven’t seen them yet, where have you been? Fanny DiWanko are exceptionally fun, hugely talented and not to be missed!”- Sapphic Traffic
Fanny DiWanko are Feline Groovy regulars, and have a gig this Friday at TJs as part of the Woodhouse Culture Festival.
Middleman & Hoover Dams are also playing & it’s gonna be ace.
Your support would mean the world ya big freaks xx