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Chat with Magda Apanowicz

So, maintaining my tradition (of a year ago *ahem*), I am officially calling in 2015 with a Canadian.

Last year it was the delightful Leah Cairns (who I will absolutely be bringing back for a chat!)…this year, Culturally Fixated  is joined by the equally fabulous and hilarious

Magda Apanowicz

Magda - Kyle xy

Andy Jenson – Kyle XY

Where to start!! There’s something about Magda that made it just *IMPOSSIBLE* for me to stay in interview mode – she’s that sort of person that I immediately started chatting to as though we were life long friends!

We discuss Christmas and her two Christmas TVM for Scifi (I refuse to call them siffy) – Snowmageddon and the 12 Disasters of Christmas.

Then we took a meander down ‘genera’ lane and chat about the appeal of Sci Fi and the huge emotions and stories that can be told. Kyle XY, Caprica, Caontinuum, Battlestar Galactica – it’s so wonderful to find an actor that loves ‘my’ shows as much as I do.

Magda - Caprica

Lacy Rand – Caprica

 

Oh, and did I mention she’s a Buffy fan. There’s a point where you can almost hear us swoon across two different continents over Spike…that is to say James Masters.

We cast a quick eye over two of her recent (released if not shot recently) films – A Reason and The Green Inferno and Magda compares the mediums of TV and film to  come round to a favourite medium for telling stories.

We briefly touch upon some of her hobbies outside of acting – including travelling and both her Canadian and Polish roots. Finally we chat about the upcoming year!

magda - continuum - gif

Kicking ass as Emily – Continuum

 

***LANGUAGE***

We swear. No two ways about it. I mean, we’ve not vulgar, heaven forfend…just passionate people with expressive vocabularies…
***SPOILERS***
We *RUIN* practically every show that we mention – especially Caprica, Continuum (up to season 3) and discuss in detail the atrocious ending of Kyle XY. Aspects of Battlestar Galactica.
[audio http://culturallyfixated.podbean.com/mf/web/hkb3wx/CultFixS04EP05-InterviewwithMagdaApanowicz.mp3]

Some of the music that we both love!

Subscribe to Culturally Fixated on iTunes!
Fancy more of our inane chatter? You’ll find us on twitter as @SteveCult and @Drneevil 
Find our previous episodes HERE
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Interview with Sandeep Parikh!

Cult Fix Season 4, Episode 4 – Interview with Sandeep Parikh

SandeepParikh

As a Christmas treat, Cult Fix (me!) was joined by the charming, multi-talented and funny Sandeep Parikh!

Unfortunately the first three minutes of the recording went completely bonkers – it sounded as though we were under water for some strange reason. Then, without any rhyme or reason, it all played beautifully. Weird!!

Sandeep and I had a great chat about all sorts of everything. It’s so delightful when you just get into a conversation flow, you know?

Particular highlights for me included discussing the art of being funny – or learning how to take comedy seriously; his favourite film (and the resultant fan boy moment).

Obviously we also chatted about his work on network TV (The Crazy Ones and Community) as well as his online performances (The Guild, Legends of Neil).

zaboo

 

We also discussed how improv has influenced his work; the balancing act of writing, directing and acting and the importance of working with and creating a community of similarly minded creative folks.

There’s also a little glimpse into what 2015 has in store both for Sandeep and Effing Funny

Say hi to Sandeep on twitter – @SandeepParikh

***LANGUAGE***

We’ve very good. Practically not offensive at all.
Nevertheless, those of an especially sensitive nature might want to brace themselves.
Subscribe to Culturally Fixated on iTunes!
Fancy more of our inane chatter? You’ll find us on twitter as @SteveCult and @Drneevil

Cult Fix 4.02 – Chat with Munich

munich logo

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Looking well dodgy

A few months ago I bumped into a few members of Leeds based electro-indie band Munich while waiting for a gig.

Naturally, we got to talking. They seemed to be pretty cool lads so I arranged to have a bit of a chat with them about their band, music and Leeds.

Obviously, it’s taken us just AGES to arrange something but finally we sat down in Cafe 164 and had a natter!

 

Meet Gareth (2nd in the photo!). Then go listen to their music!!

Hope that you enjoy!

 

Video for their single The Home

Visit their website – Munich Band

Tweet the band – @MunichLeeds

Like on Facebook – Band Munich

Hear some of their sounds – SoundCloud

And finally – Instragram

Some background on the band:

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Brainstorming

Munich was formed by six friends studying music production and music technology at Leeds Met, and the band come from all parts of the UK and Ireland.

Gareth Keane (vocals) was born and raised in the city that the band is named after before moving to Dublin at eight. After school he struggled to find a musical outlet for the songs he recorded on his 8-track portable studio. Poor life choices left him working in an office and living in a dilapidated ghost estate on the fringes of Dublin’s northside. Like the rest of the band he moved to Leeds to meet other musicians and develop musically.
Since forming last summer they have played Live At Leeds and supported established acts such as Delays and up and coming bands such as Shy Nature and The Creases, to name a few.
The songs are about the fear of growing up and struggling to find a place in life, as well as a celebration of adolescence. Munich spend hours in damp basements with shitty amps trying to reconcile the joys of youth with the trepidation of adulthood.
Munich‘s new video for The World was released on the 10th June via their Facebook page. It was produced by Feeble Media and stars Christian Brown as a man reflecting on his life choices as he walks around Leeds.
munich 10
Their next gig is the Futuresound Music Competition on Thursday 17th July, to try and win a place to play at the Leeds/Reading festivals. Tickets are £4 and can be bought from the band directly.

Interview with Marian Call – touring in the UK soon!

This morning I had such a treat lined up for you all – we at LeedsBrowncoats were being joined by the wonderful Marian Call for a chat. 
We lined up our calendars, made our morning cuppas and sat down for a truly inspiring discussion…which I then failed to record. 
The rage. Oh the rage. 
And I realised right at a moment when we were praising tech to the skies. 
Embarrassing isn’t the word. 
 
 
Nevertheless, those of you who know me won’t be surprised that I was taking notes so I shall attempt to get the main points down here. I’m going from memory here so the speech sections are as close as I remember them! Thankfully Marian speaks in a very quotable manner. Nevertheless, any mistakes are mine and will be rectified as soon as!
Contact Marian Call on twitter – @MarianCall
Visit her official website – MarianCall.com
Details of her European and UK tour – HERE
The Lady Herself…
Warm and affable – the first impression that you have of Miss Call is that of a friend – albeit one you haven’t made yet! An astute observer with an immediately obvious wit, we were stuck into a conversation before I knew it. 
A second later, her sincerity and integrity as a musician (aw heck, as a human being!) hit. Whatever the topic, Marian spoke in an informed, passionate and eloquent manner.
So whether we were touching on the real world implications of Battlestar Galactica (“honestly, take away the space ship and that’s just actual politics”) or the ongoing appeal of the characters from Firefly – a 14 episode series (“Everyone in the US knows a Jayne”), or the political underpinnings of her home state (“Alaska is the true outer rim”) – it was a considered viewpoint.
Me: I guess the most famous Alaskan outside the US at the moment is Sarah Palin?
Marian: Who?
Me: Former Governor Palin?
Marian: Who?
Me: Tina Fay
Marian: Oh we love her.
From there to here…
Initially, Marian didn’t set out to be a folk writer. She studied classical music at Stanford, honing her song writing craft. 
At the outset of the interview, I cheekily asked whether the nerdy/geeky references were part of an organic expression or had she more cynically realised that the time was right to tap into that. That there was a market just waiting to be tapped into, comprising of those of us who loved The Guild or Doctor Horrible.
Far from being offended, she described her realization that the online world meant that she could seek out ‘her people’ – rather than blindly stabbing in the dark, reaching out and hoping for a meaningful connection as a Eureka moment. The reality was; she realised that her tribe were also actively seeking her out – even if they didn’t know it yet. 
Marian is acutely aware of how influential her background and interests are in the music that she writes. 
“There are always going to be geeky nerdy references in my music, because that’s who I am, but I also write songs that my grandmother understands and likes. That’s my goal – there are geeky easter eggs for those who’ll get them but the songs themselves… 
I want my songs to be universal, yes, I’m a self expressive artist, but for a song to stand the test of time, it needs to contain a truth that others can relate to.”
One of her mentors is Jonathan Coulton (who if I recall accurately was first lauded on podcasts) – another writer with a geeky bent.
“His songs include deeper aspects of human pathos – the songs contain a truth. Those are the sort of songs that I want to write. I want to reflect my world accurately.”
We briefly touched on the benefits of being signed with a big label. Marian acknowledges that there are disadvantages to maintaining a solo path and how she sometimes get lost in her own admin but noted:
“The support from a label, yes, there would be greater security. But I don’t know anyone on one who is given complete artistic control. I just have no interest in writing or performing without that. It’s absolutely core for me.
I have backers – there was a kick starter campaign a few years ago that received a lot of attention – and my tours are often just requests from people who like my stuff, ‘hey, why don’t you come over here?’.
But not one of them – whether they have given a lot or a little – has ever tried to influence what I write about, or how I write it. Even when people maybe aren’t so interested in what I’m currently doing – they respect the process. They are very respectful. And I think they’d know if I wasn’t being myself”
 
 
On the Songs… 
Marian has released five albums – excluding those songs that exist online and as part of her Song of the Month project. Got to Fly (my first experience of Marian’s work) included a plethora of references from Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. Nowadays, Marian struggles to find time to read or watch TV, so has been seeking out inspiration in unexpected ways.
“I’ve been taking on some fan recommendations recently. So I’ve written a song about Doctor Who. Now, I didn’t grow up with any of those shows, so I really was new to the whole thing. And I realised that I had to watch it to get any sort of sense about it. That’s been so interesting – having to learn about something new to appropriately honour the request”
A little later, when we began chatting about her home state, Marian reflected that she felt that my question about including geek references could have easily been about her geography also. (“I’m a total geography nerd. I love maps and I have a project for next year that going to be all about maps and the geography in my songs”).
It’s clear that her place in the world has played a significant role in her view of the world.
Certainly she speaks longingly of her home. Indeed she has promised herself that next year she will travel a little less and aims to spend at least three consecutive months in the one place. Again, she seemed completely sincere … but with a new album coming out, a new tour being put in place and greater levels of engagement with her fan base (or backers as Marian views them) coming from all over the world; this last seemed a little more like wishful thinking! 
Her latest album will be released in December and its very inception has been a bit of a surprise to those around her. 
“This is a very personal album. It’s acoustic – just me and a guitar. After the huge Something Fierce – a double album with a full band which was very bombastic; I wanted to create something different.
For me, this album is like my journal being made available to my backers. In fact, every song on it will have a hand written version or draft in my journal. It’s personal.
I’ve written it on tour – which is obviously insane – and recorded it as and when. One of the songs – well I was playing and staying with a host family. I had just met these people and they were putting me up and I had to excuse myself. ‘Sorry, do you mind if I go lock myself into your kids bedroom – I just have to get this song written and recorded NOW’ That was a difference experience! And the host family were totally cool with it.”
Social Networking and The Postcard Tour
Currently Marian is touring Europe and will be visiting the UK this month – performing in Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bath and London. While the London shows are all booked up; there are still spaces available oop narth and Marian would LOVE to see YOU there.
(It’s actually how we met online – Marian was delighted to find the LeedsBrowncoats group as she sometimes struggles to let people know where she’s touring. We need a signal. Like the Bat-signal. Someway to communicate to all Browncoats without having to rely on computer literacy!)
An avid user of social networking, Marian speaks about her friends online and the social networks that helped her get started with a sincere affection that can’t be faked. She is also vocal about the changes that she likes and those she doesn’t. We touched on the NSA revelations recently (“It’s SF. It’s actually what these books and Firefly and the like have been saying for years. The Alliance WISHES it had this level of monitoring”) and the sort of online landscape that we as participants want around us.
When I joked that I looked forward to the apocalypse as my whole life I’ve heard that the geek will inherit the earth, she immediately quipped that we have the best tech guys…but we need to get more farmers onboard too!
On this tour, Marian has come up with a novel way to engage with her fan base. At every location that she plays, Marian will pick up a handful of local postcards. These are filled out at the concert by attendees – sometimes there are song lyrics, a little note, a message to a stranger or a quick sketch.
Marian then takes these to the next location and passes them onto a new audience.
While this was initially envisioned as an ‘analogue twitter’ the project has swelled. People are posting in cards from all over the world, sharing their experiences even when not able to physically attend. Marian has had postcards from as far afield as Japan and Brazil – places where she has no plans to tour … yet.
“On the one hand, I love social networking. I feel at home online. On the other, I wanted to do something that embraced my physical being – it’s so important to be able to pull back to myself.
You know when you’re online, talking with a bunch of people and you leave feeling so free, so accepted and so connected. Then other days, you do the same thing but you feel flat, empty and isolated.
This generation and the next, we have to learn how to approach the Internet. How to find a balance between our online connectivity and being in the real world and connecting with people who are in the same room.
So much of online interactions now have descending to click bait. Like the rollout of enforced image viewing on Twitter. With their IPO, I feel like my house has been sold above me. This and the rollout is so obviously being implemented as a sales tool – it isn’t how I want to engage – I don’t want to be viewed as a unit to some corporation. It makes Twitter like every other social network.
Ultimately, it’s about choice. Our choices. We need to decide how we want to interact online and off.”
That engagement online has taken on many new and exciting dimensions. In 2010, Marian went on the 49/50 tour – one where she was determined to perform in every state – starting from her home in Alaska. Joking about the difficulties of finding venues in smaller states; the reality becomes clear – there is a growing grassroots movement for music and musicians that are accessible, entertaining and operate within a creative honesty and integrity often missing in larger or more famous acts. 
With the emergence of network free television; music acts that are in total control of their output and crowd sourcing – we – the viewing public – have a greater say in who and how we support. Marian is on the vanguard – a pioneer who is charting out this new territory. And first and foremost, she is one of us.
One can’t help but feel that (especially given her love of geography) the map making is in safe hands.


Contact Marian Call on twitter – @MarianCall

Visit her official website – MarianCall.com
Details of her European and UK tour – HERE
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