Music March 3, 2008 By Iphgenia Baal

florence Florence and the machineflorence title2 Florence and the machine

When Florence Welch first walked onstage she had the sweetest rag-doll style, keeping time with a wiggle of her hips. The 20-year-old immediately whipped London’s Working Men’s Clubs crowds into frenzies, even coaxing reluctant A&R types out of their dark corners and onto dance floors. “I had always hung out with bands,” she begins. “I could never do anything, play guitar or drums or even really sing, but I was very accustomed to that old rock and roll formula.” Her first venture into the spotlight was in 2005 at the final show by Camberwell’s ragamuffin blues boys, Ludes. Girlfriend of the keyboard player, “Flo” was encouraged onstage to sing backups. “I was sure I couldn’t sing, so when I got up there, because I was so nervous I kept yelling and drowning out anything else…I promised never to sing in public again.” However, the initial whirring of The Machine was in motion.

Music September 28, 2007 By John Dickie
manu Manu Chao
Illustration By Peter Karpick

manu title Manu Chao

Over the years, there have been countless random sightings of Manu Chao around the world. Someone saw him playing football in a village in El Salvador, or riding a bike in Serbia, or buying fruit at a market in Mexico City. Many claim to have seen him strolling the streets of the Barrio Gótico in Barcelona, where he allegedly has a small apartment. It seems that Manu, one of the biggest-selling artists in the history of European music, both highly recognizable and a complete chameleon, might appear anywhere, at any time. For Manu Chao, it’s all the same. One World.
     During this last summer, there were confirmed sightings in North America, where his official schedule took him on a month-and-a-half-long tour with his band, Radio Bemba. And there he was, backstage at the Prospect Park bandshell in Brooklyn. On a balmy afternoon just hours before the evening’s show, Manu’s short, compact frame saunters casually around, barefooted, topless, in calf-length shorts and a flatcap. His arms dangled freely at his sides, moving to the rhythm of his loose body. It’s with a rascal’s glee and impatience that he begs the engineers to crank up the volume during the soundcheck. “More, more, more,” he mouths, pumping his arm, finger pointing up to the sky. Indeed, talking to him, a childlike energy comes across: a curiosity, a wonder.

Music September 13, 2007 By Timothy Gunatilaka
image kyp Kyp Malone
Photography By Alexander Berg

title kyp Kyp Malone

In 2006, TV on the Radio’s Return to Cookie Mountain topped countless critics’ year-end lists with its rock ‘n’ soul meditations on the ecological and political disasters of the day. Anchoring the NYC quintet’s mishmash of frenzied drones, fractured rhythms, artful noise, sinister yet beautiful a cappella, and just plain punk is the ghostly falsetto of singer-guitarist Kyp Malone (usually in harmony with co-vocalist Tunde Adebimpe’s smoldering tenor). Dark ditties notwithstanding, the 33-year-old Malone seems less a rabble-rousing radical and more a concerned Brooklyn daddy. Hanging at home a month before hitting the summer European festival circuit, the bushy bearded musician (and former Jehovah’s Witness) spoke to PLANET° about murky modern times, the candidacy of Barack Obama, and finding the ideal ingredients for fish tacos for his six-year-old daughter Isabelle.

Do you consider yourself a family man? I’m a family man because I have a family. It’s not something that I spent my life expecting to be. But having Isabelle is the best thing that ever happened. What’s a normal day for Isabelle and you? Today, we went grocery shopping. Lots of fresh vegetables, cabbage, onions, salsa. Tilapia for fish tacos. I don’t know. Whatever my daughter wants. [Talking to his daughter] Isabelle, what do you like to do? [A child’s voice answers, “Ask questions.”] She likes to ask questions. She’s really into ancient Egypt now.