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Green with envy
GREEN MAN FESTIVAL has come a long a bit since its debut way back in 2003. Just 300 people over one night taking in Jamie Yorkston would never have guessed that it would end up being one of the key favourites on the festival circuit. Now presiding in the greenery of Glanusk Park covering three days (17th-19th August) it boasts a quality rarely seen by some of older, and dare we say it, jaded festivals. It has thrown up artists over the years such as Joanna Newsom, Battles, Calexico, The National, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver and Jarvis Cocker. The festival organisers have never been afraid of mixing it up and gracing more leftfield electronic acts with more conventional heavyweights of folk and rock. This year it could be argued is their most ambitious line up yet with the stellar VAN MORRISON headlining. We also have FEIST playing from her recent album Metals (which converted us into fans) as well as MOGWAI. However the band that could just steal the gold medal of the festival is the one and only DEXYS - go Kevin Rowland!
A few of Liverpool’s own bands are also on show this year, nestling very neatly in to the Green Man line-up. The constantly-growing momentum of all girl trio STEALING SHEEP sees them make yet another festival appearance this summer, as well as flautist LAURA J MARTIN. Featured in Issue 20 of Bido Lito! (and on this month's Bido Podcast), the Maghull born Martin will find her style a perfect fit for Green Man this year, and rumours of a collaboration with Stealing Sheep should make both sets must-see parts of the programme. Mick Chrysalid caught up with Laura, who has been around the festival circuit, to ask her the ins and outs of what she’s been up to.
Bido Lito!: Summer season is here again Laura, where have you been and where are you going?
Laura J Martin: I have been gigging around the UK and Iceland and am off to Croatia this week. I have been and will be playing some top-notch festivals - Green Man, No Direction Home, Moseley Folk, Soundwave, Reykjavik Music Mess to name but a few. After summer I'm going to put UK dates to rest until the next release but I am planning on doing a few dates in Paris in the autumn, with possibly other European dates to follow.
BL!: I see you have been working with Mike Lindsay of Tunng over in Iceland. Exciting, how did that come about?
LJM: We met at a fancy dress party at Geoff Dolman's house on new years eve. We were arguing who was better: Bowie or Bolan, then moved on to drunkenly trying to name all the singing drummers. It was a DJ theme this party, I went as Jackie Brambles and Mike went as Dave Lee Travis. Working together naturally followed.
BL!: I believe the result will be an EP. Why an EP so suddenly after an album release earlier in the year [The Hangman Tree on Static Caravan]?
LJM: Despite being released this year, I wrote a lot of the material for The Hangman Tree album quite a while ago now, and am in fact currently finishing off the second album. It was fun to do a collaboration and have someone else produce it. I like it when there's always a new project in the pipeline.
BL!: Who came out on top in the Bolan v Bowie debate? I reckon Bowie wins on penalties, just. I have a fondness for Bolan though.
LJM: For me personally always Bowie, such an influential genius.
BL!: Which direction do you see the second album going in? Any conscious developments like Bowie would do or do you see what comes out almost naturally without second guessing?
LJM: Well, no conscious alter-ego developments as yet, I'm hoping to create something warm and hearty with some fire - a Baxters Spicy tomato soup.
BL!: Is it a case of you already being past what you have to tour and promote? By the time a lot of artists have done a piece they are onto the next thing. Is there any frustration in this?
LJM: The time it takes to release an album can be a little frustrating. I get concerned about repeating things on tour, I like to try and add new songs into my set after a certain amount of time.
BL!: Have you ever been to Green Man before? We're going so we'll see you there.
LJM: Yes, I've been three times and performed there twice, it is my favourite festival I have to say. I'm Looking forward to seeing you there this year!
BL!: Any favourite festivals/gigs so far? Plus any emerging talent that you've spotted or anyone thats blown you away?
LJM: Well I've mentioned Green Man already, No Direction Home was the dog's whatsits, and I always love performing at The Brudenell Social Club (Leeds) and The Union Chapel (London). I always have time for CocoRosie - I hope to catch them in their upcoming tour, and Euros Childs is a governor.
Green Man Festival takes place at Glanusk Park, North Wales on 17th, 18th and 19th August. Full line-up and ticketing details can be found at greenman.net.
You can also listen to Laura J Martin's exclusive session for the monthly Bido Lito! Podcast here.
Main image by Mike Brits