Black Country Disco, Part 2 (with Tom Aspaul)
Hi i'm aj marks meghan suss. I think she's the impostor because i'm aj marks. I vented she's megan sola ginko and this is among i mean american idiots abroad so as we said before you're listening to american it's abroad on this podcast. We discover what makes us uniquely american by analyzing the differences and similarities between the us and a uk with a super cool guest each episode. So i moved from the us specifically the boston area to the uk specifically liverpool england. In two thousand sixteen. Meghan you did something similar to new. I did do something similar so hi. my name is megan. I'm a jam. And i too much information. I'm from san jose. California and i moved from the bay area to liverpool england about six ago and this year i relocated to manchester so this is part. Two of our black country disco episode. So you don't need to listen to part one to understand part too but if he liked part to you can always listen to part one for anyone who didn't listen to part one black country disco. Is the name of our guests debut album. Their new album just came out and in the first episode we covered black country and in the second episode we're covering the disco episodes all about the differences and similarities between the us and the uk in terms of music. Our guest has worked with everyone from luna george two grades to snake hips. Celeste and mek even kylie minogue covered one of his songs for her album. So we thought who would be a better authority than singer. Songwriter extraordinaire tom. Ask paul thome tom when you were growing up as a young brit. Did you find that there were like specific songs that went with your childhood or whatever that like you don't here in america or things like that because i find out to be one of the biggest differences is stall on. I think it depends what area you grew up. In because in certain periods the to music industries kind of came together and then. They drifted so like in the sixties. I'm not that old. When my mom was growing up there was the british invasion and overseen in america you had the beatles and the rolling stones dusty springfield and the charts. Were exactly the same and we have the supremes and jimi hendrix. I think he was very synchronized. And then i think he drifted apart in the seventy s a beer and then it came together in the eighties. And you know you. Guys have george michael and out john and queen and duran duran and all the eurythmics and all of that but then in the ninety s things drifted again except maybe the spice girls so we have lots of bands that you wouldn't know like steps. Oh my god yeah we do not know. They are coy connick. Okay so this is a trip advisor from. I called freddie texan. My wife and i visited liverpool for our thirtieth wedding anniversary from texas. Our evening was ruined when a man dressed in a baby called my wife and young slut because she'd never heard of the band steps so one star. I think that's what the point you're trying to make. Cats he does. I can just imagine this guy. A nappy young slots. What kind of music is steps. I actually don't know anything by steps. It's pop like it's the most like clean. There's no curse words it's all it's all very. It's like abba on speed albion speed. Oh god it was a mixed vocal group. It's still is there still releasing music and it's Two guys three girls. Most of them have incredible. Voices they are great singers a may they were called steps because initially all their songs had dance routine and it used to come in the cd. You'd have a little booklet. I would tell you how to dance. Retain i doubt def i hit was called five six seven eight and it was a country inspired song. It's very dumpty five. Six seven eight you by steps that so on the nose like line dancing and then they kind of evolve to do europap dancy kind of stuff. It's very european sounding. Yeah but they just did not translate to the usa burr. This is such an amazing fun. Fact steps supported britney spears on her american tour no way y. Yeah i think they tried to break america in america state unbroken. Yeah but anyway. So steps may be very typical british pop. But it's not pop. What is britpop brit. Pop is normally abound and normally inspired by music from the sixties and seventies for me. My way of explaining is everyone in the brit pop band. Their parents were into like throwing stones and the kinks and then they kind of regurgitated there and then also slightly influenced by like in the nineties. There was the rave scene dance. Music was quite big thing in the element as well but to me is the closest would be like old truck or indie rock in america. Maybe and it's always. It's always a band. it's always instrumentation. What bands would be examples of brett pop. So the big Away and blah those does your textbook brit pop and they were the most successful and they also were successful in the united states especially on college radio in the ninety s album. Sold align america's while so everyone of a certain age will notice on wonderwall in the united states. I'm sure yeah. It's weird because i'd never heard of oasis before moving here but i had heard wonderwall not like the recording but i had heard play it on their acoustic guitar beach. Trying to think of other great i think after blur oasis and radiohead swayed and placebo quite pumping gas but no actually placebo world to themselves. See we don't know. At least i don't know any of these bands already. I do now but so fascinating to me because it is such an established genre juno pole. Yes but i can't think of any of their songs. I only know these names now from living here for so long i would say that the uk hey is so group heavy especially the top groups but even like bands and stuff whereas the us much more like focused on solo careers and even like all the solo artists in the uk. All but like a lot of them just come from groups so you have like sheryl and robbie williams and george mayo and all the one direction members even like sia was popular here from zero seven. I mean the only one i can think of is like elton john. But you're right george. Michael was in Annie lennox's who's in your you're right. There's a lot of no one starts and the like i'm this person. Listen to my music. Either they come from groups or they come from reality tv if they don't they were in the school which was a school. Which is where. Amy winehouse went to school adele. Did i think jessie j yeah come. From daily is kind of related to the reality thing i think her first break was an x factor advert cash for x factor on to promote the new series. And it was a video of her when she was very young like fifteen sixteen and she was just singing in her garden and then all these people like their heads over the fence to see who singing. And it's because it's her and it's like have you got the x factor 'nother show in the advert not the show. And then i think she was signed possibly off the back of that. I'm not entirely sure. I could be wrong. But she is an anomaly though. These not because of the reality tv that she became assessments. Yeah took a long time as well for her to really get going to release so many songs before. New rules was a big hit which which is so weird to think about in the uk that sherry had like a handful of top ten hits in the uk before new rules and then yeah new rules head and then once new role was dying out in the uk and the rest of europe then it started to climb the charts in the us. But that happened with adele. I think that happened with me. Why not. I think he always happens with british artists crossing over. There's always like member. Natasha bedingfield yeah so as her brother. Daniel bed obviously daniel day. Nobody field another popular interest. Yeah you'll know one of his song to get through this. Oh that was a joke. I thought he was an actor. Way really got get through this this make gonna make you just. I love him. I love him. He does she know that song and then they kind of like it. Sounds like they're making it up on the spot because the titles innocent. I gotta get through. This i getting. That's like what they do on like even like haven't you heard our biggest single boys. Don't cry boys. Don't cry and the whole thing. I the reason i bought up. Natasha bedingfield is because there was like a nearly two years lay between her own written. And i think it was because it was the theme song for the hills. It was huge. When i was a middle school. Oh my god whereas here it was kind of a moderate hit. It was like you know must have over the states. Similar to leona lewis bleeding. Love was popular in america about a year. After was in the uk really. Yeah yeah yeah. Oh it's fascinating. Because when i was in high school i had a music blog and nice. I went to go right. Classic and i went to go interview. you may at six when they were doing i like. Us tour like the either the first or second and they were the opening act and it was in the mid sized venue tour of america. But when i was looking them up i knew nothing about them and then i just saw all these music videos and i was like oh shit these are like big budget and like all of these fans and stuff and i was so confused because it was my first real life experience of seeing a band being really big in their home country and trying to make it over in my country watching the process was really fascinating was the opposite for me so like i would go to the usa. And i would see a show where someone's being interviewed. And it's like a massive star in the u. k. I think he might have been cheryl cole. And she's like was at one point huge in the uk and her being interviewed in the usa about the new x factor and and treated as her debut. You know what i mean like. She's like fresh fresh phase and it's like guys now. She's been cheese been around. There's a sound here in europe. That just does not fly with americans for some reason. That goes both ways. Because my two favorite artists of all time jonah jackson on mariah carey and both of them are like in an america. Incredibly successful like mariah has duck twenty number one records She's the biggest selling female artists. An jonah has maybe ten or twelve number one records and all her albums you know. Have like six top five hits. She's just incredibly huge massive and then in the uk giants never had a number one single in the uk and Only had two. So it's like the difference is because they. I think john sound in particular was so american and very r&b also like chad that like minneapolis sound so specific to america and particularly black americans. You know that dot audience just isn't here in the uk which is interesting though because there was northern soul. Here yeah so. There was like a a movement basically for those who aren't aware when motown was really big it basically came over here and was a huge hit in the north of england and kind of movement called northern soul. That's i believe that's a pretty good summary. What happened was like very obscure records. We would import them over here and they were even records. That didn't do amazingly well in the usa. They would just saw because there was an explosion of music coming up detroit and all around there there was just all this great music coming from america and an actually all happened a little bit after so like i think people here rediscovered it and of the working class. People just became obsessed within this whole movement and my mom was actually a big fan of northern soul. And the like the epicenter of it was a town. Called wigan again shutout wagons. Wait in where she. Now people would take speed. They would stay up all night. And this is like the early seventies late sixties and they would just lose their minds to this music and it was a came from like black america. It's interesting to me how there'll be. You know the actually jan all of them how. There's like different levels of fame artists in different countries. But i feel like we're kind of entering a place now where that's starting to blend again. We're starting to kind of trade back and forth again you know you have dua lipa and you have lewis capaldi clean. Manda del ed sheeran's in the classic ones. Yeah the park going over. Even james blake carly ella mae. Yes she's more popular in the us because she does r&b. That's why it's so strange though because she's still pretty like quintessentially british. I'd say yeah. Maybe that's just me because i feel like a sound is yes. It's still. yeah definitely a british sound. Kind of like a mahalia. She's from birmingham. I love my haley. I shot my halio but it's interesting that the new british invasion is kind of happening. And that's because of spotify and streaming and the power of radio is weakening so people in charge of stations no longer dictate what people listen to people. Seek out music confined music themselves and it's so easy to click on a playlist. That's actually a list of hits our big in germany. But you'd listen to and you you'd know most of it and think there is. There is still a local music scene. Here like with grime with grimes massive in the uk. And yeah. I'm really glad that is because a needs to be something local that is popping off because it's like with the black country accent like when it goes it goes and that's it and it's everything if everything becomes homogenized is going to be very boring and let's take a short break. What do you think about that. Megan i love breaks good. It settled last episode. I got to play my favorite song off a black country. Disco so aj. Why don't you play your favorite song. Okay i will. I think traces was the first song i heard of the album. And that's kind of what got me into it but close to me. That's what really like poked me. You know that that was when i was like i need to pay attention to thomas ball. So let's play close to me by thomas ball me me me. I'm supposed to be supposed to be supposed to be born. Dan pohl when i was then rule to. That's all you need to know you've written with a lot of really like modern present still active artists and stuff. You know like many k and grades all these people that i'm like really big fans of and like because you've been so deeply involved i would love to ask you. What do you think is the like main difference. I suppose that you've noticed in sort of modern british versus american music. One that comes to mind is the way it's written. I think in the usa. When i've written in america in america feels like it's more of a conveyor belt and like more people will be involved and you'll probably do than one session day that does happen in the uk as well but for me. That feels a bit more like the pop. Music in america is more like a factory. You know people will just come in a hawk and then leave whereas are from. My experience in the uk is less like when you're writing four in american artist or four british arts. It's so different. But when you're writing with an american artist or with a british artists or mix. There's a different vibe there as well. Yeah i think that's just down to like cultural thing. I think americans tend to be more open about their innermost feelings emotions and that's so true. Soul place to their advantage in terms of songwriting. Because when you walk into a room having no manny one you're expected to write a song about off-break. Whoever as a british person off me personally is quite hard to open up straight away to someone. You don't know an americans. I would remember being in studio and being quite taken aback. How quickly people were willing to share like these really deep things about that boyfriend. That happened this morning. You know like girlfriend that things. I wouldn't share and you do wonder like to get back to their partner like are they not worry. That's so true yes in a way. I think that works to their advantage because the end of the day. You've got a limited amount of time when you're in these studio sessions and you've got to really do it while you're on your feet the amount of sessions that i've walked into where we just sit down and we just kind of go around in and not not intentionally do this but basically just be like all right. Let's just talk about all are like ailing. Let's talk about feelings that we're feeling right now. What's our yeah like. What just go around all circle of trauma and then see who has the most interesting thing to talk about right about that exactly. There aren't enough british singers that singing their original accent. It's true well. I'm aware of the and i think that i sing with a mid atlantic accent which is somewhere in the middle and then there are quite a few people who like lily. Allen will sing in a full british accent. I always think this the only people can think of like dizzy. Rascal lily allen. Stormzy adele sometime sounds quite british lady lesser with like the. She's from birmingham. Nine hundred seventy five at sheeran. Sometime sense quite british. I think for me. it's just wanted to. Words remain british. I wouldn't ever seeing. Can't i'd always say conned in a song like betty who kind of thing where it only comes out some words it comes out and so i'm words if you took any american and ask them to speak out the way they sang they wouldn't sign american who says. Is instead of us. You know what i mean like. Yeah no one does. But it's become such an inflected word because of like selena gomez no. I totally agree. Yeah housi- like she does not like indie singing thing. Yeah yeah and everyone and i. It was so funny. I was listening to music florida this morning and i think music kind of everything folds into a category of like with british. It's like everyone puts on a voice really in and sometimes they try really hard to sound british jarring. Sometimes they try really hard to sound american. And i think that's equally as jarring and then you get people who just try and have a really individual boys and nuts when i think is a sweet spot it sometimes. It really works like early. Golding has quite unusual voice. I dunno i'd never have like a hard are like if i was singing. I really don't think. I don't know maybe i do. I didn't. I don't think many americans do that and singing. Oh this is like a random person to pick on but nicole show in your house quite british accent. When she says she's been here for somebody. Yeah but there's a song called. I hate this part and she sounds like she's from boston in that one. Because it's like. I hate this part right here. She's got like it is. It is kind of weird and so from the start. It's like she she doesn't do start. And so i think americans as guilty as being accent. There's well that wraps up this episode. So thank you so much for being on the podcastone. Thank you so much for having me. Where can people lurk you and find you online if you so wished to follow me. It's at tom. Underscore as paul and that is the same for instagram and twitter and then my website is tomas bowl dot co dot uk and my merge stories on there. If you want some much dies because they've got a really cool baby pink but country disco holiday and then spotify is again is just my name. So ha where can people lurk io and maybe slide into your dms and tell you really nice things things. As much as i would love that. I just i'm going to ask people to just not just don't follow me. Okay don't follow me at. Aj marks official on instagram twitter. Facebook any of those. Just avoid it at all costs. Okay that was marks official. Yes the official. Do not follow me. Please a meghan. what about yourself. How can people follow you. Ooh i guess to timing or she does it and pretend i asked myself goes in her voice and she goes so-so megan that was trying to boston. I'm not gonna try so anyway. Meghan what's your. What are your social. Sorry but anyway so yes. You can find me on instagram facebook twitter at. Im sola music. And i have a new song that just come out. And it's called highs and lows. You can find that anywhere that you listen to music so that spotify apple music deesor. Sorry i on us but also go stream black country disco stu it sorry screen country album. Thanks you guys. It's been an absolute pleasure so we're going to go out on another one of your song. Yes what is this one called. This is two and this one's about what effect this is the area code for wolverhampton which is an iconic anagram of nine. Oh two one into its grew as from is going to be as i produced it in my bedroom. Really i'll say can love it. So this is oh one nine by tom. Paul whoa book. You think when you go home and do people like take the piss off. Yeah sometimes you change you chain making.