Exposed Vocals: What does your band name mean and where did it come from?
Pandorasdiary comes from a really dark place in my life. The only place I could safely express my feelings was to an email address which was pandorasdiary. In Greek Mythology, Pandora represents darkness and light, despair and hope, this reflects my songwriting and our performance too. When we perform, we often get called "Pandora's Box" - which is kind of a running joke. In Austria, we were given a beautiful box by a carpenter called Magda - with "hope" at the bottom of the box.
Exposed Vocals: What are you working on right now?
Star Whores. I spent a lot of the last few months working with mentor, friend, bassist and producer, Felix Xfile, who runs Tigersonic Studio in London. She specializes in working with DIY musicians, and we have been recording three new songs. The one we've been having the most fun with is "Star Whores", a song about what I would wear for a Star Whores party on Star Wars Day, which is one we plan to release it. The recording process included things like "enunciate dildo", imagining choruses of slutty space warriors, dancing around the studio with an orange batik over my head to get our flutist in the headspace for her absolutely epic flute solos - think dirty surfer sound meets star wars at a hello kitty conference and your nearly there. The Star Whores video is footage from catwalk flashmobs of people dressed up like star wars characters, star whores and even a "Star Horse"! We have filmed in Munich and on 1st of May we'll be doing another one in London - would love it if other people did flashmobs in their countries We have a load of really cool gigs coming up - a house concert for Yorda Adventures - a charity providing adventures for disabled kids in South London, we've been invited to play Blue Monday's 7th Bday and we're playing at Fire in the Mountain, a boutique festival in Wales at the start of June. Also we've been invited to play the Munich Sessions, a monthly event in a venue which is half bookstore half club. The day before we're doing a living room gig in a community space, Tankstelle, in Austria on Lake Constance. They have a manual disco ball, a poster of Charles Bukowski on the wall and a swapshop in the cellar. Last time we were there, we partied till the police came to close it down. Really lovely people and great veggie curry too.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Yes, I do. But I believe mistakes make us human, and I smile, wink, comment improvise or restart if it works with the song and the atmosphere, or sometimes just glide by (smile and wave, boys). My songwriting is very experimental and the audience is part of composition and performance, and I like to test new songs on audiences, especially in house concert settings, because the audience is literally at my feet. This can end in chaos, but it is always fun for us and the audience. I have a big laugh, and have been told it is infectious, so that helps 🙂
Exposed Vocals: What genre are you playing?
Bohofolk. What does that mean? It's acoustic music, it's got that folky feeling, but is influenced by ska, blues, seventies and world music. I spent a lot of time in Indonesia, jamming at night next to the river, and their folk music plays a big part of my writing.
Exposed Vocals: What are your plans for the future??
Apart from releasing Star Whores on May the 4th? A really important project, close to my heart, is what I would love to do more of. I've been working on a track called "Game for Two" and a music video for over two years, in collaboration with filmmaker Anyalita San (Guerrilla Tactics) and musicians in London, New York and Bukit Lawang (Indonesia). The track was recorded and filmed in all three countries and features a rap section from conscious New York MC, K. Sparks, a truly inspiring musician, who constantly challenges himself for his art. We have drone footage and film from US and Indonesia - filming from motorbikes, in the jungle, on wonky bridges... and we've had a lot of obstacles and challenges with filming in the UK - but failure is not an option, and now we're aiming for release in July 2017. It's disappointing and frustrating because of the delays, but I am always open for lessons and try to see what the benefits are of taking it slow too. I believe that when the video is ready, it's going to be a calling card for future collaborations in some exotic locations with great instruments. I'd love to go to Senegal and Ghana - the music there is off the hook. They even have a musician caste there, people whose families have always played kora, or sang or played djembe. I would love to stay with one of these families, but that's another story.
Exposed Vocals: What got you involved in this in the first place?
I have always been involved in music in one way or another, but really realized how much I loved it when I went busking with 2 friends from high school. I knew then, this was the sh*T. Since then, I've always been in bands, I was in a progressive stoner metal band when I lived in Munich and we rehearsed for a year, but never performed live. I sang and ran a music cafe in the jungle in Indonesia - we mainly performed covers of 90s and 70s every Thursday and Saturday night. We drank all the profits, but everyone had a great time. For about 6 years I didn't make music much at all. I was busy being an "adult". Then in 2011, I moved back to London and rediscovered music, I started writing, and I couldn't stop - it was like I was throwing up all the words that I'd kept inside. I was happier than I'd been in a long time. I started playing solo, me and my guitar, and organised my first tour, the living room documentary (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2nzPO6jO2mNuHzxs9qhj8nNowTgiRYlq). In 2012, I met Maya Curry, an awesome flutist from California, and she started to arrange flute and backing vocals to the songs. Recently, our collective has grown further to include Aletta on washboard, Lena on trumpets/bvs and Derrick on mandolin/bass. I say collective, because it's a loose group and we rehearse and perform depending on availability and budget. I don't want to be tied down, and I don't want to tie others down.
Exposed Vocals: How do you feel about the internet in the music business?
I think it gives DIY artists like me some amazing tools. We can do everything ourselves - manage tours, reach out to other artists, promoters, bloggers on the other side of the world, publish music, make artwork, etc. I love this side of music, but it's easy to get caught up in this, and forget the core - the art form itself, and being offline, which is still the most important part - I believe we need to use the online tools to make great offline connections.
Exposed Vocals: What are your musical icons/influences?
I love the 60s/70s, esp. Janis Joplin - Joan Baez - Jefferson Aeroplane. I love anything that is fusion - and if I could DJ, I would do Electroswing (Skeewiff, Joe and the Kid and Chinese Man, and Balkan Ska (like Gypsy Hill and Al Jawala). If one of these guys did a remix of any of my songs - I would die and go to heaven. I'm heavily into playing Dangdut (Indonesian folk-pop) on acoustic instruments, anything with a kora in it like Moussa Cissokho or Sekou Kouyate. I'm obsessed with DIY bands - I also have a radio show ft. live sets from DIY musicians - some of my favourite independent bands who often play in London: Whiskey Moon Face, Sheelanigig, The Turbans, Perkelt, Balladeste, Boe Huntress...
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
I don't want to make a long list of names because I'm scared I'll forget someone - just thank you to all my friends and my family (especially my kids) who have been there and keep coming out to gigs, supporting my music through joining in flashmobs, crowdfunding, cheering on, joining in in the happy madness :).