Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of Failure: Creeping Forward

Failure’s new album, The Heart Is A Monster, is an unexpected surprise. After a two-decade absence and a parade of band/side projects, guitarist/vocalist Ken Andrews, bassist/vocalist Greg Edwards and drummer Kellii Scott reconvened to follow up 1996’s critically acclaimed and commercially ignored Fantastic Planet. Monster sounds contemporarily fresh, and yet still feels like a logical next step 19 years after its predecessor. Failure will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on them.

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Scott: I, over the course, of the last few years have really taken inspiration from bands that use the drums as a simple hypnotic hook to hold you in a constant state of ease. There are many bands like this, Radiohead, Portishead but my favorite is Blonde Redhead. Weird, they all end with head, I’ll have to look into whether there is any significance.  I digress. I always fight with the line between being boring and serving the greater good of a song and the bands/drummers of this ilk have propelled me forward in resolving this inner argument. To hold the listener in a dreamy, unaltered state of rhythm and movement is not only graceful but shows a seldom heard ability of restraint and reverence to the mood of its audience. Leaving the space between notes empty is much more difficult than filling it. I suppose this can be said about life as well. Again, I digress.

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From The Desk Of Failure: Absence

Failure’s new album, The Heart Is A Monster, is an unexpected surprise. After a two-decade absence and a parade of band/side projects, guitarist/vocalist Ken Andrews, bassist/vocalist Greg Edwards and drummer Kellii Scott reconvened to follow up 1996’s critically acclaimed and commercially ignored Fantastic Planet. Monster sounds contemporarily fresh, and yet still feels like a logical next step 19 years after its predecessor. Failure will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on them.

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Edwards: Think about how far away from surface consciousness we all go while we’re driving. Hurtling through space in that heavy death-trap machinery, and we completely disengage dimensions away with ease. Suddenly, you come back to yourself and it’s shocking to think how unconscious complex behaviors and operations can be. I notice this when I’m reading books to my daughter at bedtime. I will float away without realizing it and start thinking about a song I’m working on or health insurance.  Meanwhile, my voice churns on reading the book to her, varying the cadence, doing a bad Ren whenever dialogue needs anger or annoyance. And I can almost perch mindfully on the divide and watch these two disconnected activities spool out.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master And Margarita”

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: I couldn’t do this and not feature my favourite book. It’s a perfect mix of satire and psychedelica; a book way before it’s time. It was written at the height of Stalin’s terror, an incredibly brave move. Anything featuring talking cats and Satan is OK with me. It also inspired “Sympathy For The Devil.” It’s set during the Stalin terror, and it’s about the devil coming to Moscow with his henchmen and just totally fucking up the city for a few days and then disappearing again. I’m a big Rolling Stones fan, so this book inspired one of my favorite songs. The first time I read it, I was just not sure if I got it. I couldn’t really find the satire in it. But after repeated readings, I got into it. It’s kind of amazing; I think it was written in the mid-to-late 1930s, and it’s just an absolute trip. It’s inspiring in so many ways, and 30 years ahead of its time.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Salvador Dali

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: Of all the surrealists I love, he comes out top. I love the hyper reality of his work. He makes his images almost photographic in their quality despite the impossibility of the images. He’s not like a huge inspiration to my life or anything like that, but I want to get a couple of prints for my house. It’d be good to see that stuff every day. He’s a very unique painter. I think I might have read a biography on him. To be honest, I don’t remember a single thing about it. I love reading, but books don’t really stay in my head that well. It’s kind of like the way I feel about the Pixies. To me, The Pixies were always this band that felt completely faceless, because their videos are just complete crap. I got into them and got obsessed with them but I never read any interviews, so it was purely about the music. It’s kind of the same with Dali. I just love his imagery, and it’s as simple as that.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Thirteen Seven

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: This is a band I joined last year after our sound engineer suggested I give them a try. They’ve been going for a few years but had trouble finding a regular drummer. I’d say they were a little more riffy than Ash but still with a good melodic sensibility. We’re slowly working up to finishing the debut album. It’s great for me to have a musically outlet during Ash downtime. As the album started taking shape, it became really, really fun. We don’t tour as much as we used to, we used to be on the road for 10 or 11 months a year. But these days, with having kids and stuff, we have little pockets of touring. We’ve actually been really busy this year, but with Tim doing the solo record, it kept me drumming over the past year while I was at home. I can bust out all of my vintage kits with those guys. We ended up recording the first album with our sound engineer out in this old dilapidated farmhouse. We haven’t quite finished it yet—it’s taken over a year to do; we recorded an Ash album in the mean time. But this is what I do for a living, so I should do it as much as possible. They’re very good guys; they’re into conspiracy theories and weirdness and it’s quite entertaining to be around. I guess everyone who wants to be in a band is a little bit crazy.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Queens Of The Stone Age’s “…Like Clockwork”

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: I can’t get enough of this album even after a year. It’s an amazing piece of work. The way it builds into the final two tracks is amazing. It floors me every time. It’s one of those rare records that leave me at a loss as to what else to put on next. I got into Queens Of The Stone Age around the time Rated R came out—when my favorite drummer asked to join the band. I remember the first time hearing Songs For The Death thinking the drums sounded weird—just very unusual drums. I think they recorded the drums and cymbals separately on that album. It was just bizarre, and it took me a few listens to get into. That’s just the style of it; it didn’t bother me. I think with the two albums after that, there’re some good songs on them, but I think they were in a slightly weird place after Nick Oliveri left. I think it took a little while to adjust. I think …Like Clockwork is just their absolute masterpiece. It’s a bit more chilled out than Songs For The Deaf, but there’s a heaviness to it musically and lyrically—they go places with this album that they never have before and it works. And obviously Dave Grohl is back in, I think on most of the tracks on that record. It’s become my favorite album. I got to see them two summers ago at a festival in Portugal. We share an agent in the U.K. Josh Homme is one of the few people I find intimidating to talk to. I’m probably more relaxed talking to Dave Grohl or the guys from U2 than him. He just has this presence about him. He’s cool, but you just think that at any second he could punch you in the face. He’s an awesome guy and a great songwriter. Every time I listen to it, I put it on and think, “What the hell am I gonna put on after this?” I think last time I put on Physical Graffiti by Led Zepplin and was just like, “Nah, not cutting it.”

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From The Desk Of Ash: Instagram

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: Of all the social networks, this is the most pleasant I find. I’ve yet to have someone fall out with me over a picture. I wouldn’t consider myself to be much of a photographer, but I do enjoy Instagramming. It helps remind me the world can be a beautiful place. It’s great for keeping in touch with my kids on tour and seeing what they’re up to. Having access to a decent camera these days is great. I like the creativity of it, I’m not sure whether the results are great or not. I try to have fun with it and develop a certain style. I just take a photograph and then filter the fuck out of it, try to make most things kind of look like a painting. Most artists try to make their paintings look like photographs, and I’m kinda doing the opposite, I guess. On Facebook, a lot of times, people get into arguments. Same with Twitter. But I find that Instagram is probably the most creative of the social networks and the most nice and friendly. People get addicted to social media and it can cause a lot of tension. I’ve had friends that have been in fights on Facebook and stuff; even marriages can be affected. Instagram is just the polar opposite of that—and I’ve got my parents on there so it’s good. My Instagram is @onionrick.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Step Counter

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: This has become my favourite app in the last couple of weeks. It’s got me walking in circles at airports to get my average up. It also keeps me out of the bar or buying crap at duty free. I got this new iPhone a couple of weeks ago and it was preloaded with this Health app. I’m just now realizing how many of these things I’m obsessed with. Maybe I’m trying to replace heavy drinking. I think I read about a year ago that you’re supposed to take a certain amount of steps every day, like 10,000. And so every once in a while I walk somewhere, I check my app. I end up being this weird guy who walks up and down the airport while everybody else is just sitting there having a coffee or a beer. It’s good to try and keep healthy because we’re not as young as we once were. I’ve got two kids to run after now, so keeping a certain level of health is pretty good. The step counter helps me do that.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Raleigh Ogre

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: It was kind of daunting to get back on a bike for the first time since I was 15, but I’m just in love with it. I live in the edge of Edinburgh and I can be in the countryside in about 30 seconds. It’s great being able to get away even for a few minutes to clear my head. When our kids were born, we had this group for expectant parents and I made this friend with whom I became close. Unfortunately, him and his partner split up last year—but he got back into cycling as a sort of therapy to get him through a tough few months. He talked me into getting a bike. It was kind of a revolution—I try and keep my fitness levels up but sometimes it’s just pretty bad. Last year, when I got the bike, it was just kind of amazing, it was the first time I’d ridden a bike since I joined this band. It gives me a chance to kind of appreciate the countryside where I live. It’s something I’ve gotten used to, just getting out and about and exploring places. Edinburgh is just a great city for cycling.

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From The Desk Of Ash: Alan Partridge

Ash is back after eight years with sixth album KABLAMMO! (Edel/earMusic). The Northern Ireland trio—vocalist/guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray—will be on tour supporting the LP in the U.K. starting later this month. Ash will also be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

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McMurray: The greatest creation by the comic genius that is Steve Coogan. This has been a tour-bus favourite for years. It’s got to the point at time that conversation is based around Partridgisms for weeks on tour. It helps keep me sane in tour. He seems to be quite an insane individual. We went to the premiere of the movie 24 Hour Party People, which he was in. We were on tour in New York at the time and it just happened to line up, and we actually got to meet Steve Coogan. He had been my comedy hero for years at that point. You can tell when talking to him that the Alan Partridge character that he does is actually pretty close to his personality, just heightened to a big extent. It’s exciting to meet this guy and wonder, “Where does the character begin and where does the real Steve Coogan end?” And there seems to be a very blurry line, like before Alice Cooper became Alice Cooper. He sort of changed his entire personality, and I think the same kind of thing happened with Coogan. He’s just a very interesting man. He had a series called I Am Alan Partridge; it was his second series actually. It was presented like a documentary of his life. The guy loses his job because he shot somebody on his chat show live on TV, and then his wife leaves and he’s living in this shitty motel and trying to sort his life out. I think we were in the studio recording or demoing the Nu-Clear Sounds album, and from that point we were just absolutely obsessed. We would just watch it over and over on our tour bus and everybody knew pretty much every line from the series.

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