Interview with Scott Batty Front man of Umbilical Chords
CM: Hello Scott. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, when did you first get into making music?
SB: I was born in Manchester(Wythenshawe hospital, to be exact). Addresses have since included Salford, Chorlton, London and Edinburgh.
Then I moved to Paris. I had a band here for a fair few years, and that taught me a hell of a lot about the working processes that go into creating music. At the last gig we did, when I decided to stop the band, a Parisian fellow, Le Hibou (which means “The Owl” in French), came up to me and said he wanted to work with me. So in January 2011 we banged our heads together and got stuck in. We've since played numerous gigs, from Prague to Vienna, but not Manchester yet.
CM: What prompted you to move to Paris?
SB: Because I felt I needed to test myself. To scare and inspire myself. So I packed up my poems and paintings and went for it. I knew very clearly what I was potentially leaving behind (roots/family/friends, etc), but I was clueless about what I was stepping into. So I've learned on the job for the past 15 years.
CM: The Umbilical Chords sound like no other group we’ve ever heard what’s the blue print for how you guys write and record?
SB: The first thing is what we both offer, as two completely different characters. My background is the north/music/painting and poetry. Le Hibou is from Paris, and cut his teeth in the Industrial, dark music scene.
I conjure up the melodies and the lyrics, Hibou adds his own vision, and then we take it to the next level, and (on a good day) we realize we've got another potent song in the bag. We've never consciously crafted a 'sound'...we crack on, and the work creates itself. People have described it as 'minimal, cold psychedelia, dark folk mixed with visionary poetry'. Instinct is our thing. These exorcisms, or abrasive laments, just uppercut your brain, and off we go.
The drummer from SWANS, Thor Harris says, “The Umbilical Chords? They're great...and twisted.” Sounds good to me.
CM: Do you have an album and singles out or any thing coming out that people can buy?
SB: We still have our 1st demo (5 songs, 5 euro, 2011) for sale. But we are putting the finishing touches to our first official EP's. One will be acoustic-based, and the other electric. As for the mood, well, here are a few lyrics from 'Lone Kimono':
“And the masks? They wore faces.”
“And the moles on my back taste like peppercorns.”
We are currently in contact with a couple of labels, so please watch this space (fingers crossed!).
Here's our web page in case anyone is interested in contacting us:
CM: Name some of the musicians, poets, authors, anyone in the arts really that’s inspired you the most?
SB: Joy Division. Basho. The beat poets. The Doors. Antonin Artaud. TheJam.Mark Rothko. Too many to mention.
CM: Your artwork is very interesting can you tell us a little bit about how you came to creating visual artwork and again, any inspirations?
SB: I did a 'Foundation art course' for 9 months in Ordsall (Salford), and one day a few of us squeezed into a Mini and we went to see a Rothko exhibition at the Tate gallery in Liverpool. It knocked me sideways. From that day, it was art, and all who sailed in her! I got into a private art school down in London, but left after 3 months and I've been self-trained ever since. In the early days I was into Bacon, Basquiat and the German expressionists. For the past 15 I have been a full-time painter/poet/musician, and label my work 'Chic primitive'.
CM: If you had to name 5 bands or solo artist’s that you think have made music that to you is beyond special, who would they be?
SB: Arthur Russell. Late Scott Walker. Nico. Durutti Column. The Umbilical Chords.
CM: Thanks for your time Scott, we hope to see you live in Manchester soon.
So a couple of weeks ago Joe [@jrawly], Antony [@popquizant] and myself [@bluejovanka] all went to the 2014 Sci-Fi Weekender and had a thoroughly brilliant time!
There was so much going on that I thought it would be easier to post the pics rather than list all the activities [I'm lazy that way!]
If anyone would like to go next year, please look at the website:
A film by Wade Radford & Jason Impey
Wade Radford is NOT your average LGBT filmmaker.
His work is challenging, engaging and always controversial.
Wade, who wrote and starred in ‘Sex Lies & Depravity’ and the gritty prison drama ‘Boys Behind Bars’ is back with his finest work to date.
‘Twink’ tells the story of ‘Quinn’ a former porn star finding it hard to come to terms with his self and the industry he sees as having exploited him. It’s presented in Documentary style with ‘Quinn’ being the topic of a filmmaker’s curious interest in this former porn stars life.
‘Quinn’ appears not to be looking after himself as he tells the filmmaker how his life had descended into a living hell.
Is ‘Quinn’ his own worst enemy? It’s a question put to him in a variety of ways throughout the movie.
Whilst I won’t spoil the movie for those wanting to see it, what I will say is this, ‘Twink’ explores some of the darkest depths of human nature and the reflection we see is an ugly one. Are porn stars damaged people? Are they all this way? The film is raw and unapologetic and for that it deserves considerable merit.
Wade Radford is one of the UK’s most exciting new acting/writing talents and his natural charisma allows him to put across a portrayal of a washed up porn star, as equally disturbing as it is addictive.
If you’re aware of Wade’s previous work then ‘Twink’ will not surprise you but it will delight you, if you’re new to his work this is a great place to start.
To keep an eye on the releases and screenings please check out the films Facebook page at
Review By Andrew Barclay
Firstly I would like to apologise for neglecting my blogs for so long recently. I'm going to try and update this as often as I can...
The best thing about blogging is that you can get things off your chest and watching the news today has made me want to get behind my laptop and have a good RANT.
Two stories on have really angered me today:
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signs anti-gay bill
Arizona passes law allowing shopkeepers to refuse to serve gay people
It is 2014 isn't it? I find it very hard to believe that this sort of behaviour still goes on. I don't get it at all. Both "laws" use religion as the reasoning behind them, particularly Christianity.
To me, using Christianity as a reason to discrminate is painfully ironoc as it should be based around the teachings of Jesus who famously said :
"You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV)
I rarely use The Bible to strengthen my arguments but the "good book" is interpreted in many different ways and that is the major problem. People choose what they want to believe and will find whatever quote they need in there to back up thier prejudices.
Anyway, that's what I think. Don't even get me started on Russia...
First of all, sorry this list is so late in the year, but 2013 was one of the better years in film. I did consider a top five list, but there were too many to choose from and doing a top twenty list may have been rather excessive!
Before the good stuff though, I thought I'd choose the three worst films. Like the worst songs of the year, these were not hard decisions!
3. Man of Steel
I have serious issue with this film but not because it's a bad film. It was just incredibly disappointing. The original Richard Donner movie is a work of art, it had bags of humour and chemistry between the leads. None of this was here, it was just way too serious and dull. Here's hoping that the planned sequal is a big improvement.
2. Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus
I don't like slating indie films because they don't have the budget and production values that larger studios can offer, but this film just gave me a headache. I mean, seriously, what the hell was going on???
1. The Big Wedding
This film has Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton. What could go wrong? Everything it seems! The whole cast just seemed to be embarrased about being involved - apart from De Niro who was overracting so much I though he was going to do "jazz hands" towards the "hilarious" finale.
Ok, that was the bad ones. Let's turn things around now and look at the best:
10. Despicable Me 2
Absolutely hilarious! That's all I have to say, just go and watch this film and laugh your lungs out.
9. Anchorman 2
The sequal to the original had a lot to live up to and, while it wasn't as sharp or satirical as the first one, there are plenty of laughs and inspired cameos to make this film a huge pleasure to watch.
8. The Heat
Another great comedy film. 2013 was definitely the year of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy is always brilliant. Not only was this film funny, it also had a good story. I really hope they all team up again for a sequal or three.
7. Sunshine On Leith
Dexter Fletcher directing a musical based on songs by The Proclaimers? Not the most obvious idea for a movie but it works excellently. The cast are wonderful, the scenery of Edinburgh is just beautiful and the songs work faultlessly. There's really only one word to best describe this film - JOYOUS.
6. About Time
If any film was going to be divisive I never expected it to be this one. The film was slated by a lot of people and I really do not understand why. It's truly captivating, delightful and enchanting. Just ignore the "sci fi" element to the film and just enjoy the beautiful love story. If you don't believe me though, this is what Joe [@jrawly] thought:
5. Pacific Rim
This film was brought to you by the same studio that brought you Man Of Steel and has everything that should have been in the Superman movie. It was funny, had characters you end up caring about and some eye popping 3D effects. A sequal is being planned. With any luck there will be a lot of mileage in this franchise.
4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Cineworld really hammered the advertising of this film to the point of me almost not wanting to see it. Thankfully though Joe and I saw the film at a "secret preview" and it ended up being the nicest surprise of the year. Visually stunning with a lovely heart to it. Beautiful.
Most of the time when films are hyped up to the level Gravity has been over the last few months, it means that the film will ultimately be a huge disappointment (Man of Steel). However, Gravity completely lives up to all the hype and, thanks to the stunning sounds and visual effects, is more than just a movie - it's a fully immersive experience. Sandra Bullock is outstanding in the lead role, especially when you consider the actual "gravity" of the task she has been given as an actress. I saw the film at Cinewords "D Box" (http://www.d-box.com/) and it honesty incredible.
2. Saving Mr Banks
A Disney film about the origins of another Disney film doesn't sound that interesting, but Saving Mr Banks was sheer bliss thanks to a brilliant performance by Emma Thompson. I really think this was some of the best acting I have ever seen by a single person. As well as this Tom Hanks makes you believe he is Walt Disney. Seeing the story behind the book adds another level to the Mary Poppins movie. If I was in charge, I would just hand every Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA to Emma Thomson now and not bother with any other nominees.
Since the release of Toy Story 3, Pixar have had a few misfires and seem to be obsessed sequals and prequals. During this time, Disney's own animation studios have been going from strength to strength with The Princess and The Frog, Tangled, Wreck it Ralph and now Frozen - one of the best movies ever to have the Disney name on it.
Based on the classic Snow Queen, the film follows the relationship of two sisters, one with rather dangerous powers. During the film we hear some amazing songs written by some of the team behind the brilliant Avenue Q and some very impressive animation. When these two things work together well is during the "Let It Go" sequence and the whole thing is dazzling.
The studio was very clever advertising the film throughout the year while at the same time not giving much away about it. It obviously worked for them as Frozen is already the most successful Disney cinema release of all time. An accolade that is fully deserved.
So they are my choices, do you agree? Have your say in the comments section.