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Interview with The Safes on their Juliana Hatfield Tribute

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Interview with The Safes on their Juliana Hatfield Tribute

Huge thanks to long term friend of liveontomorrow.co.uk and regular contributor Carlos Lopez for conducting this interview with Frankie O'Malley of The Safes:

Chicago's garage power pop multi instrumentalists and band of brothers, The Safes, have recently released a heartfelt tribute to the one and only Juliana Hatfield. A limited red coloured 7" on American Laundromat Records with covers of fan favorites 'Universal Heart-beat' and 'I See You' with accompanying vídeos for both tracks that have received the seal of approval from Juliana herself.

(CL) Juliana Hatfield has a very extensive musical career. It goes back to her start in Boston's thriving music underground scene in the mid 80's with The Blake Babies. How did you discover Juliana's music and become a fan?

(FO'M) We first heard Juliana Hatfield played on the best radio station in Chicago, WLUW, regularly when "Hey Babe" came out. We all just loved the songs and the singing so much! We’ve been fans ever since!

Were any other songs considered besides 'Universal Heart-beat' and 'I See You' for the tribute?

No, not really... I mean doing "My Sister" and "Spin the Bottle" was talked about a little after we made our decision to record the other two songs. But it was really an afterthought. So we just went with our gut picks!

Learning these songs was a challenge; Juliana Hatfield has so many gifts as a songwriter!

How did the rehearsals go learning the songs as a band before recording?

Ha! For The Safes, rehearsals for this recording session were particularly unique! We had asked Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko of Material Issue (one of our all-time favorite bands!) to be our rhythm section for this single. And working with them was such a thrill! Very easy! Very laid back and 100% professional and tons of fun! Not everyone just gets to pick a lifetime favorite and have them be into it and for it to work so well! It really was special and super fun! Ted and Mike are aces! And learning these songs was a challenge; Juliana Hatfield has so many gifts as a songwriter! The chords in "I See You", speaking for myself, I know I learned some new fingers for that one! Also she can change the melody on every verse and have the melodies improve saving the best for the last verse. This skill of hers is a super unique thing about her songs! Not everyone does this, most songwriters have a melody for the verse, one for the chorus, maybe a bridge but Juliana Hatfield has these songs where the verse melody changes every verse. It's so cool I love it! My brother Patrick writes songs like that too; I wish I could. And learning the left hand keyboard part for “Universal Heart-Beat” was very difficult!

Every bass run is just little different from the other and they are all so on the money.

Whose idea was it to work with Steve Albini who has worked with so many legendary bands like Pixies and Nirvana?

Mine! Seemed such a natural for this single and turned out to be hands down a very good call if I do say so myself!

How did the recording process go compared to your previous experiences making a record?

Um, I'd say very similar in most ways! The Safes are always prepared to knock it out of the park in the studio. No fussing about. Steve was awesome! Very professional, fast, very smart, very easy to work with. Gotta say it was one hell of an experience to record two Juliana Hatfield songs with Steve Albini and Ted & Mike. It's hard to express exactly but it was pretty magical I'll say!

American Laundromat Records have been very supportive of Juliana's recent recordings. Were you surprised at the opportunity to work with them?

I wouldn't say I was surprised because our dear friend Nicole Anguish of Daykamp Creative does a load of artwork for American Laundromat Records and got our music to the label owner, Joe Spadaro! But I was thrilled to find out that Joe liked The Safes enough to release a single of us doing a tribute to Juliana Hatfield for sure!!! Very happy about that!

Your videos for both tracks on the tribute are really fun to watch. Did the band had any input on the concepts or did you let the director surprise you with ideas?

We had zero to do with the music videos other than knowing and being lucky enough to be friends with two super-cool and mega-talented artists who both did amazing work making these videos!

Wendy Norton of Norton Videos created our “Universal Heart-Beat” video:

James William Glass created our “I See You” music video:

From what I have read Juliana really liked your takes on her songs. How did that make the band feel?

Well, we were over the moon when we heard that. Juliana Hatfield gave us such great feedback on our versions of her amazing songs! I mean, that really made me feel great I must say! And I know the rest of The Safes feel the same. Super rad! Thank you Juliana!

Besides Juliana what other bands have inspired The Safes?

So many it's impossible to list them all but here are some that come to mind Andalusian Dogs, The Breeders, Fetchin Bones, The Cramps, etc...

I know you have been touring recently. What's next for the band?

Well I'm proud to say The Safes have maintained a very steady schedule; write songs, record songs, release music and tour in support! So continuing to do that next should always remain what’s next for The Safes until the end of time!

Thank you Frankie for your time and sharing your memories. All the best to you and The Safes.


links for the single:
Buy the 7 inch single at American Laundromat Records
Listen at Apple Music
Listen at Spotify

other The Safes links:
Bandcamp
thesafes.com
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

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Video - The Safes - Universal Heart-beat

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Video - The Safes - Universal Heart-beat

The Safes' cover now has a video.

American Laundromat Records YouTube info:

Directed by Wendy Norton of Norton Videos

"Universal Heartbeat" Performed by The Safes
Recorded by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio
Written by Juliana Hatfield
Published by Universal Music-Z Songs OBO Juliana Hatfield Music (BMI)

Visit The Safes:
http://thesafes.bandcamp.com
http://www.thesafes.com/music.html
http://www.instagram.com/thesafesmusic
http://www.facebook.com/thesafesmusic/
http://www.twitter.com/thesafesmusic

The tribute 7 inch:

https://www.alr-music.com/collections/catalog/products/the-safes-a-tribute-to-juliana-hatfield-seven-inch

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Rob Delaney Autobiography

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Rob Delaney Autobiography

robdelaneybook-2.jpg

OK so this is tenuous Juliana news. I know.

Comedian Rob Delaney's autobiography (Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.) is published today in the US. It comes out in the UK on December 12.

It begins with a single line quotation from Juliana - the finest Juliana lyric of them all. If you disagree you are wrong.

If you can't guess what it is, you can do the 'Look Inside' thing at the publishers' site and go to page 7.

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Mary Haddon - Shining On

Some sad news.

Some of you may have known fellow fan Mary Haddon.

Allison Hardin has contacted this site:

I am saddened to share the news that Mary Haddon passed away yesterday after her battle against breast cancer.

One of the biggest joys of the last year of her life was the opportunity to meet Juliana Hatfield; Mary was an avid Juliana fan and had followed her for years.

You may recall that Mary wrote a heartwarming account of her trip to Boston in Summer 2012 to see Juliana's PledgeMusic shows at the Q Division Studios. You can read the account where she mentions the moment Juliana played 'Shining On' here. (scroll to July 3, 2012)

Thoughts and best wishes to Mary's family and friends.

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Minor Feelings (Hey Babe Essay)

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Minor Feelings (Hey Babe Essay)

I used my teenage diaries as an archival source for this essay I wrote on the legacy of @julianahatfield's Hey Babe http://t.co/oLeP8ZBLg3

— Laura Fisher (@termitetree) July 1, 2013

Laura Fisher:

Hey Babe’s landscape of feelings — self-disgust, second-guessing, depression, cautious optimism — have no place in a reception model that hinged strictly on “empowerment.” If Hey Babe’s tone of general malcontent has endeared the album to alienated listeners over the past 21 years, it has also kept the album from wider recognition. This reflects our cultural preference for “vehement passions” over “minor feelings.” As theorist Sianne Ngai notes of the Western literary tradition, “something about the cultural canon itself seems to prefer higher passions and emotions — as if minor or ugly feelings were not only incapable of producing ‘major’ works, but somehow disabled the works they do drive from acquiring canonical distinction.” This explains a lot about Hatfield’s disappearance from the alternative rock narrative.

An outstanding article. Read the whole thing at The New Inquiry.

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Mary Haddon - Meeting Juliana Hatfield

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Mary Haddon - Meeting Juliana Hatfield

...and that is when I introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Mary.” She surprisingly replied “You’re Mary Sparks Haddon from South Carolina” and we made small talk. I figured she remembered me from Twitter or Pledge Music.

Juliana fan Mary Haddon has written a heartwarming account of her 'trip of a lifetime' to Boston last week at:

https://www.mylifeline.org/maryhaddon/?page=myupdates.cfm&pg=5

The entry is dated today (July 3). Worth a few moments of your time.

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Picturebox - Juliana Hatfield (2012) Video

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Picturebox - Juliana Hatfield (2012) Video

@pictureboxsongs:

It's Record Store Day, and this here video is about buying music in a record store. How about that?

Picturebox's rather lovely Juliana Hatfield song, now with added video.

It was filmed in the English city of Canterbury by the songwriter Rob Halcrow, a reader of this site. Excellent stuff. Bonus points for featuring Peanuts characters.

A reminder that you can download the song at bandcamp.

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Picturebox - Juliana Hatfield (2012)

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Picturebox - Juliana Hatfield (2012)

UK based pop group Picturebox have this week released a new song titled Juliana Hatfield.

Picturebox:

This is about the thrill of hearing something great on the radio for the first time, trying to find out who it's by and get hold of it in the pre-Internet days. Also saying how great it is when someone you like keeps making great music after such a long time!

Gotta be loving the picture of the cassette.

You can listen to the song below and download (with optional contribution) at bandcamp.

<a href="http://picturebox.bandcamp.com/track/juliana-hatfield">Juliana Hatfield by Picturebox</a>

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Luscious Jackson Cite Juliana As Influence For Pledge Drive

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Luscious Jackson Cite Juliana As Influence For Pledge Drive

Luscious Jackson are returning with a PledgeMusic project.

In an interview with Rolling Stone where you can hear their first new song in a decade, singer / bassist Jill Cunniff cites the success of Juliana's There's Always Another Girl project as an inspiration.

Cunniff:

Juliana Hatfield was really great, and she was sort of our generation and she did a pledge drive and did really well with it. She was really active with it and did a lot of updating and that's what we're going to do.

UPDATE

The LJ PledgeMusic page is now live.

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Official Forum Closes, Let's Go Back To The Future

The official messageboard at julianahatfield.com is no more. The site admin, Stacee, has confirmed to me that there are no plans for it to return, advising that "Juliana was ready to pull the plug."

Its demise will come as no surprise to members, given that the forum has been 'hidden' for the last year, closed to potential new members and with an admin who candidly admitted her heart wasn't in it any more.

I'd like to thank Stacee for running it while she did, including its previous incarnation as the Some Girls board. Its closure together with its forewarned but still abrupt nature is however a big disappointment. It will be missed.

Although never a high traffic forum, it was the most active community for Juliana's fans. It was the natural home for fan discussion, for the diehards and particularly for newer and 'casual' fans where it would be the first and probably only place they would look for it. Juliana is now a rarity amongst artists in not having a forum on her website.

This is the main reason I've never put a forum on liveontomorrow.co.uk and why at least in the immediate future, I don't have any plans to do so now. I don't think the official one can be replaced.

I hope I'm wrong. As many of us no doubt know, there is nevertheless a messageboard / mailing list hosted on Yahoo called This is the Sound. This board pre-dates the official forum and has its origins in Juliana fan sites that came and went before this one. It was THE place to go for info and discussion and although quieter in recent years has never gone away.

A Yahoo Group may seem a bit ancient in the age of TwitFace social media but this should be preserved. It is after all Juliana fan heritage!

Hopefully enough fans will migrate there now. Although I didn't contribute much on the official one I'll endeavour to contribute now at This Is The Sound, and I'd encourage everyone else to. I'll be putting a more prominent link to it on this site. Hopefully it can take off again and allay my pessimism that the community will wither away over time; inevitable if Juliana's output becomes more sporadic and low profile.

If you have any other thoughts on how best to keep the Juliana fan community active, please leave them in the comments here or indeed at This is the Sound.

Update

on 2011-06-30 11:03 by Craig

A year on and this post still gets Google hits.

Hello there!

Inevitably This Is The Sound hasn't really generated the same levels of discussion as the old board. I still wish, forlornly, that it will come back.

Update

on 2010-06-30 20:33 by Craig

There's been a noticeable spike in traffic to this site over the last week via Google search referrals for 'juliana hatfield message board', rather underlining my opinion that the board was highly valued by a lot of us.  A real shame it's gone.  

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On The Radar - Marina and The Diamonds

In her self-deprecating (or just realistic) way Juliana has mentioned her relative musical anonymity in recent interviews.  Her withdrawal from touring and promotion inevitably pushes her further under the mainstream radar, something she appears comfortable about.  It’s therefore good to see her music continues to be appreciated by contemporary artists. 

24 year old British singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis, aka Marina and the Diamonds is a current darling of the music press, and a fan too.  

She namechecked Juliana in an interview carried by we7 earlier this year: 

“I love artists who are true to themselves and don't follow a particular pattern with trends, what's "in" etc. I love artists who aren't scared to do something new. PJ Harvey, Daniel Johnston, Metric, The Distillers, Juliana Hatfield, Madonna...”

In a widely syndicated article by Bang Showbiz this month, Marina said:

"I think I will have a Juliana Hatfield or PJ Harvey moment one day, where I'll just record in my bedroom with an electric guitar and it'll sell two copies.”

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