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Thursday, July 17, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing My Little Owl Records

Musician, indie label co-founder and wise blogger. Plus super-friendly & nice, talkative and extremely charming. Today we have the pleasure to count with Vinnie Ransome answering our questionnaire. We can assure you that approaching, collaborating with her and preparing this post ranks among the most pleasant experiences this humble blogger has had. These Go to 11!

Vinnie Ransome, The Mini Skips

Vinnie & Markie: screaming pop
Vinnie hails from Sheffield although now she has relocated to Bristol, and is half of The Mini Skips, a lovely duo of charming and (darkly) witty folky indiepop. Along with her matte Markie they debuted in the autumn of 2012 with single Advice for New Lovers via Nottingham’s House Vs Home records, followed with the 7” 'Evil / Shy', one of the best tunes of 2013 on the label she co-founded, My Little Owl, where our dear Jeremy ‘The Very Most’ Jensen released his mind-blowing latest EP ‘Things Too Obvious to Sing'. Want more? She is also the runner of Antipopdean blog, where she haunts and discovers the best music from Australia and New Zealand. Already in love with her? Yes, that’s easy to understand. Here we go! 

Casual wear in the 80s...
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
It was Adam and The Ants 'Prince Charming' LP in 1981. I had the gatefold blue tacked to the bedroom wall right next to my bed until I left home. The posters around it changed over the years but Adam Ant stayed put.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
I’ve got two answers to this as I’m not sure which one counts as the first. I went to see Morrissey at the Colston Hall in Bristol in 1990ish which was the first big concert I’d gone to by myself. But a year or so after that I went see my A level history teacher, Mr Law , play bass with his DIY indiepop band at the Mauritania, also in Bristol. I’ve been desperately trying to remember the name of his band and it’s completely escaped me...But anyway I loved it, loads more than the Morrissey concert, and that was the gig that made me want to play in bands and got me into fanzines and DIY gigs.The last gig I went to was to see a garage band from Denmark called The Youth which was completely awesome and tomorrow I’m going to see Hallie and the Annies, Frozy and The Nervy Betters in Bath. 

The Mini Skips, 12 points!
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Ok, well I’m going to cheat a bit with this one as my guilty pleasure isn’t really a song or a band but an entire genre. People who know me well will know that I absolutely love the Eurovision Song Contest ...I know we shouldn’t; musically, politically, and probably morally it’s against everything I believe in, and yet I love it! I would truly love to write a song for Europe, in fact, some of the Mini Skips back catalogue are my rejects.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)

I’m definitely more attached to songs than the physical records, maybe that’s a funny thing for someone who runs a label to feel, but it’s true. So I’m actually going to say the physical record which is most precious to me is the Adam and the Ants LP because it’s always been there as well as some compilation tapes and CDs I’ve been made over the years which pointed me towards the Aussie indiepop I love particularly. 

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Oh goodness, it depends on the mood I’m in I think. Of course it’s going to be some Lucksmiths lyrics but which ones? Ok.. subject to me changing my mind in about ten minutes my favourite lyrics are :
There was no need for a note
It couldn’t have been clearer
The absent dufflecoat
The clothes across the bed
They spelled it out instead
'The Winter Proper', Spring a Leak

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
I’d like to meet The Zebras properly. I am gutted that I’ve twice been in the same place as them and didn’t go up and say hi and be unashamedly star struck. There is a background story to this though because I was lucky enough to see them play a show with Three Month Sunset when I was  in Melbourne a few years back and I did actually pluck up the courage to go over. I walked across the room to say hi, tell them I am a massive fan, that their songs inspire me and make me dance, that I’d travelled all the way from the UK... What actually happened was that I tripped over a very poorly signposted step and fell into the drummer... I’d like to live that moment again, without the step.
Up, 'Eux Autres' charming music.
Bottom, still figuring out what to say

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Can I have two answers to this please?! Sensible answer ... My favourite artwork is from Eux Autres 2012 'Sun is Sunk' LP. It’s proper classy. Secondly... I’ve recently been helping out in a charity record shop and every week I sneak photos of the most amazingly kitsch artwork, mainly from the 1960s. A few weeks back we found this. I have never seen anything so indescribable. 

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Books for me, no question. The best book I’ve read recently is 'Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls' by Alissa Nutting. I love films too, mainly European cinema, if you’ve not seen any Emile Kusturica I’d recommend any of his films, for the soundtracks alone. But I personally do prefer a book.

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
I find this really hard to answer, and I’ve gone all shy! I think the answer is probably 'The Foghorn Song' which we now play as The Mini Skips. It took me less than ten minutes to write the lyrics and music, which is unusual for me, songs tend to take a really long time to develop but this kind of wrote itself. People who write songs I think are brilliant have told me they like 'The Foghorn Song'; Markie, Pete Green, Val from Robberie, Pete Bee, Jeremy ‘The Very Most’ Jensen and others too. That makes me very, very proud.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
I’d never use it on its own to describe the music I love because it really doesn’t mean ‘independent’ or small label or DIY to most people. That’s not a bad thing, I love that language evolves like this so quickly, but I do cringe a bit when someone describes the music I like as ‘indie’.To me the ‘indie’ in ‘indiepop’ means just that the primary motivation behind the songs probably wasn’t huge commercial acclaim and success and that it probably wasn’t produced in a huge high budget setting with session musicians flown in from thousands of miles away. People make their music sound very perfect on a shoestring, and did so even before the technology improved.

My Little Owl Records logo:
indiepop gets cute
11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years My Little Owl Records would love to still be releasing 7” singles , we are going to release the first MLO LP this autumn too so maybe by then we’ll be up the 10th LP,  50th single and 20th live show? I’d like to develop the Antipopdean blog more, that started as a twitter ‘song a day’ blog promoting brilliant Aussie and Kiwipop to the rest of the world but we are getting asked to do loads of reviews now and have the word press blog too. I love all the stuff I’m getting sent, especially from young DIY artists in Dunedin, what a great city for pop music! Finally, I know I’ve said this loads of times before but the most important thing to me is that I will still be playing. It’s so important to me that women keep performing and don’t feel the pressure to stop as we get older, I’ll be almost 50 then but I absolutely don’t want to stop. Someone a few years ago said it was great that I am ‘giving it one last go’ at being in band with The Mini Skips ...I’m not really sure what they meant, but sorry, while I’m still loving it, you’re stuck with me playing my Eurovision rejects!

Zillion thanks Vinnie!

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