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The Art of Longevity

English, Music, 9 seasons, 60 episodes, 2 days 4 hours
The Guardian: “Making a hit record is tough, but maintaining success is another skill entirely. Music industry executive Keith Jopling explores how bands have kept the creative flame alive in this incisive series”.
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The Art of Longevity Season 6, Episode 4: Rumer

Rumer’s arrival struck a similar chord to that of Norah Jones some six years earlier i.e. refreshingly out of time. Those singles Slow, Aretha and their host album Seasons of My Soul arrived so fully formed although (as with Norah Jones) Rumer was another case of ‘overnight success 10 years in the making’.“It was planes, trains and automobiles, that was my journey to getting a record deal and in those days you had to have a record deal. I couldn’t imagine doing a self-release – I didn’t have the knowhow, team or energy. But getting a record deal seemed to be as likely as winning the lottery. I was just a girl working three jobs and trying to survive”. This went on for years and years – almost a decade – of doing low-key circuits, song-writing between jobs and with very little hope of ever getting a music career off the ground - even with that voice. After all, we don’t live in a world where talent rises naturally to the top. Then all of a sud
22/12/202255 minutes 12 seconds
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The Art of Longevity Season 6, Episode 2: Blancmange

In this episode, Fenner Pearson chats to Neil Arthur about his writing process and how he works on the Blancmange albums, with Benge acting as his foil and producer, and his collaborations with Fader and Near Future. Arthur touches on the number of ideas “buzzing and fizzing” around his head that has led to him recording sixteen albums in eight years. This in turn provides an interesting insight into the whole process of releasing an album in 2022 compared with 1982!Perhaps what comes across most clearly is Arthur’s creative energy, from the studio where he records and develops his ideas, through the time spent working with Benge in the latter’s studio, right up to his enduring enjoyment of playing live, including his current tour where he performs with the enthusiasm and energy of someone who obviously relishes performing their music to an audience. And there is no sense that Neil is slowing down: he is in the process of mixing complete
27/11/202241 minutes 22 seconds
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The Art of Longevity Season 4, Episode 5: Calexico, with Joey Burns

We spoke to Joey Burns on the eve of Calexico's recent European shows in Brussels and London. Calexico play bigger venues in Europe than they do on their home turf, despite inventing a sound that conveys that land so evocatively. Indeed, it was music journalist Fred Mills who captured the band’s sound so perfectly with just two words: “desert noir”.  What a cool subgenre to have invented. Since most music writers lazily throw in all the various tex mex music flavours in describing Calexico’s sound, Joey is happy to clarify:“We are connected more with mariachi and cumbia than say tex mex or tejano or norteño which has a different connection to a different tradition. For the most part we are mariachi, cumbia. I’ve never felt like I’ve mastered anything, but I’m lucky enough to play with some of those that have”. Calexico is touring as a septet, with Burns and partner/drummer John Convertino accompanied by Sergio Mendoza, MARIACHI LUZ DE LUNA, upright bass v
25/05/202255 minutes 16 seconds
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The Art of Longevity Season 3, Episode 7: Steve Mason

Steve Mason first made his name as one quarter (and the frontman of) the Beta Band, one of the most critically lauded acts of the late 1990s. They mixed disparate genres like hip-hop, folk, dub, house, psychedelia to create something beautifully cohesive and arresting. Their tastes were so eclectic and their desire to make music so compelling that they ended up with something that took the DNA of the past and spun it into something wholly new. In that regard, there was a creative parallel with Super Furry Animals. Their first three EPs in 1997 and 1998 set out their musical agenda “to put a nuclear bomb under britpop” so convincingly that they were always going to struggle to meet the ludicrously raised expectations around them. When Eamonn Forde sat down with Steve for The Art of Longevity, Mason explained that the band’s self-titled debut album in 1999 was rushed and they spent their interviews ‘promoting it’ by saying how much they disliked it! The use of ‘Dry The R
12/03/202258 minutes 10 seconds
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The Art of Longevity Season 3, Episode 5: Sea Power, with Yan

In a warm and whimsical conversation with Yan (Scott Wilkinson) of Sea Power, I learned to appreciate just what this unique band has achieved. With the recent name change, I might suggest the band wears its status as National Treasure with a certain irony. But over the course of two decades the band has made a batch of fine songs, really solid albums, award winning soundtracks and plays sold out, highly renowned live shows. Sea Power  also had some hits in the early days but the band&apos;s true supporters are its core fan base, who buy all their records and see them live repeatedly, religiously you might say. Those fans, and the band&apos;s creative momentum, have pushed Sea Power to get better and better. 2017’s album Let The Dancers Inherit The Party was a fine record, with across the board four star reviews. Yan: “It did okay, not as well as some people might think. It didn’t do an Ed Sheeran or anything like that”. </e
24/02/202241 minutes 42 seconds
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The Art of Longevity Season 3, Episode 4: Tears For Fears

From the earliest beginnings of 1983’s The Hurting to the band’s huge 1985 LP Songs From The Big Chair, Tears For Fears songs captured sadness, ambition, pain - confessional levels of emotional honesty. All this conveyed with the magic touch of songwriters who were also not afraid to get weird. But as the 80s music scene spun out of control so did Tears For Fears, famously making one of the longest, most tortuous and expensive albums in history in The Seeds Of Love. The aim was flawlessness but the result was a flawed masterpiece, an album that literally exhausted the band (at least as a duo) until a reformation 15 years later. When they came back in 2004 with Everyone Loves a Happy Ending. Roland Orzabal describes that record as “Seeds Of Love’s little brother…it was lighter but the songs lacked the emotional honesty”. But now Tears For Fears are back. In this streaming age of always-on music, when most artists are terrified to take a month off, let al
18/02/202243 minutes 51 seconds
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The Art of Longevity Season 2, Episode 4: Los Lobos

When I sat down with Steve Berlin, the Los Lobos sax player and de facto spokesperson, I was a little more than intrigued. To most people around the world - outside of North America anyways - Los Lobos remain the La Bamba band. How wrong we are.There is a very common thread with the artists we’ve had on the show - and with longevity - every one of the artists (except so far, Laura Veirs and Maximo Park) had a very big song: James, Turin Brakes, Gary Numan, KT Tunstall…But Los Lobos is the most extreme example of a longevity outfit with a big song - the band had no other hits at all. Taking nothing away from La Bamba - a fine record and a justified number one in ten countries back in 1987. But stop right there. Try Googling, as I did, “Los Lobos, greatest American rock band” and there are more than a few articles examining that hypothesis, for good reasons. Built around the soulful songs of drummer Louis Perez and lead vocal and guitar player David Hidal
17/09/20211 hour 28 seconds
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The Fantasy Setlist: Bob Dylan

In our first podcast - yep that’s right - we’ve done a podcast (well everyone else has, so why not us!) lifelong Dylan fan, and long term TSS collaborator, David Freer, guides us through some of Dylan’s mystery, while adding something of his own. Support the showGet more related content at:
07/08/201930 minutes 50 seconds