Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Artist to watch....Melody Nelson

Melody Nelson is more than the name of a teenage nymphet riding on a bicycle as derived from 1971 Serge Gainsbourg concept album Histoire de Melody Nelson it's also the name of one of best acts in the London underground. Meet Aidan Connell and his band...

Kaos Blac: Tell me about your self and your band.

Aidan Connell: Aidan Connell is a 26 year old singer/guitarist/producer who has established a resume, which has enabled him to share the stage and collaborate with Seasick Steve, the newly reformed Mazzy Star, Peter Doherty, Damo Suzuki (Can) and Razorlight. Leaving a broken home in the suburbs for London to work various jobs including modelling with Kate Moss in a Revlon commercial and appearing in various publications including Esquire magazine.

- Melody Nelson

Having experimented with various line-ups Melody Nelson were formed when Aidan met 22 year old former child actor Peter Jones (Drums) and and guitar collector Peter Bloom, whilst constructing his own recording studio complex in East London the now well known Goldmine studios. Melody Nelson have played throughout the UK and have toured in France, Italy and Scandinavia.

Kaos Blac: Speaking more about your upbringing I know your of mixed background, Caribbean and Irish, and we're of the same generation, what do you feel about the past uprising in London in relation to how people of certain backgrounds are treated in London.

Aidan: Well I grew in a very middle class suburb of London 'Wokingham' which is predominantly white. I first lived in a rough 'council house' or project with my mother and then I was raised by my grandmother and mother who are both white at my grandmother's house. Colour was never mentioned in the household and I did'nt really get it when I used to get called names at school to be honest it was'nt until about 10 or 11 it all clicked what they were actually saying. This made me lose alot of confidence in my early teens which is when I started getting into music, which was escapism from small town bigotry. There was maybe one or 2 black or mixed raced kids in the entire town.

This town accomadates very wealthy middle class folks alongside very poor council estates or projects on the edge of town. The trouble is in middle class suburbs in the UK race is not mentioned in public but many comments are made behind closed doors. For instance I never dated a girl in my home town, no way people would go crazy!!! The white people who consider themselves to be prosperous or wealthy are unfortunately not well educated and the very poor whites are either very happy to mix or completely anti any other race. I am one of a few kids from my High school who has a University degree.

Alot of these white people of the older generation in the UK are completely cut from other races or culture and never often even have an oppurtunity to intergrate, this is encouarged by the government with constant cuts in welfare and the rasising of tuition fee for universities to 9000 pound almost $14,500 a year. For instance if you're a someone living in the projects how you gonna afford that? As alot of people living in these projects are first or second generation imigrants. Communities that live side by side are not informed or educated about each other. Unfortunately so much tension has been created in UK society because it's never been said or put on the table. I've been arrested by the police for going about my own business 3 times and of course never charged, the experience is the same for most black kids. So if you are a black kid living in goverment housing with no future prospects, constantly harrassed by the police, what are you gonna do cause havoc right?

This by no means excuses mindless violence but we seem to be going through what the States went through in '68. Alot of civil unrest and Black folks are demanding equal standing in UK society. Whether people want to hear it or not Black people are not considered equal in Uk society in their own eyes and under the breathe of Oxbridge lads who still hold the idealism of the british empire dear. Just look at what happened to Kelis in the UK the other day,  Kelis slams 'racist' britain in post bestival twitter rant, sounds way too familiar. Anyway it's still unusual to play in a Rock'n' Roll band if you're black, well in the UK anyway I think the only big one was Bloc Party, (seen above)
at least in the US you have Afropunk, ect and Hottie and the Blowfish hahaha.

Kaos Blac: True. I feel however both of our countries are a long way from a post racial consciousnesses. Growing up in New York city, which is more liberal than most states (even New York state), I have been privileged to an extent to not to face such overt racism. As a artist in the public eye do you feel that your position can be used to make a change in public opinion through your music and bridge a gap in the racial divide?

Aidan:Yes definately, as a musician you can use your position to influence people opinions towards society in a positive way change people's common perceptions maybe, this does'nt mean you have to be overtly political, but I think a black man/woman playing Rock music is a political statement. As much as I love them the Stones and Beatles played blues tracks without always crediting the authors of some of these tracks and also they did'nt go out of their way to make sure some of these blues chaps got paid. Maybe it's time to take something back. What Jay-Z is doing business wise in Hip-Hpop could easily be done in other genres.

Kaos Blac: Now bringing things closer to home, what are you currently working on? Any new melodies from Melody Nelson? I know you guys play out often but whats happening behind all that in studio?

Aidan: I put things on hold for a while with the Melody Nelson to build a recording and rehearsal studio been producing a few bands building up a nice array on vintage gear. It's called Goldmine based in Bethnal Green East London just down from shoreditch which is like our version on Williamsburg. I've also starting to bring in other producers to collaborate with on stuff ie David Roback (Mazzy Star) who've Ive already mentioned his group are back together so he's full of ideas they're gonna have a BIG record this year. Also a chap called Bruno Wizard he basically formed the first UK punk band The Rejects in '76 and went onto to form The Homosexuals a a great lyriscist and inspiring character. We've also started giving Kids in the community and people with leaning difficulties to access to studio to enable them to have an experience of working with music and hopefully inspire them. I still wanna find a really great UK female MC to produce a slamming track for. With the Melody Nelson I really wanted to get a new plan together so I got some new musicians, one guy Peter is a really great drummer and has inspired some great new tracks. We have a new record from Melody Nelson it will be finished in a few weeks, we hope to get it out in Feb 2012. The record is very raw with alot of crazy rhythms maybe like a Bluesy Bad Brains. We've recently been playing a few shows and seeing how the new tracks go down, which has been really great. Really wanna get out to you guys in the states it's strange every show we play in LDN there is someone from the US headbanging at the front ha.

Well I head banged to Melody Nelson for some time and I want to share some check out some Aiden and the bands track below.

  Basement Sessions by Melodynelson

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