Wyrd Question Daze – Melinda Bronstein

Hey, I’m Melinda, an artist living in Margate. I make music / photos / weird films and generally dabble in all sorts of stuff. My approach is intuitive and always led by the moment, following an unknown thread. I prefer to plan nothing. My first solo album ‘In Reverse’ came out this autumn, I am extremely chuffed. I loved putting the tape design together, we used the X-ray from when I shattered my wrist a year ago… I felt it would represent the openness of my record and these tracks… revealing my insides to the world!

https://melindabronstein.bandcamp.com/album/in-reverse
https://www.instagram.com/melinda_bronstein/

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I came from a strange confusion via London and I head towards a new unknown here in Margate, my only goal to be myself. For the first time I’m really focusing on taking myself seriously as an artist, moving out of the city has enabled this and now everything is starting to fall into place.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

I’ve been absorbed by photography recently, realising that I’m approaching it in the same way I make music; in the moment and following what I’m drawn to. I get a lot of pleasure finding the beautiful stark shape of a shadow falling on a pile of rubbish. I also have a new studio space out of the house now, which means I can really focus…or perhaps have no excuses!

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

I’m so bad at choosing a favourite anything! I love cackling tearful laughter / seeing a photo appear in front of me – with or without a camera / the smell of lavender / serendipity / change / a good charity shop rummage!

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

As a child I dreamt my school was floating in the ocean and there were giant whales and elephants frollicking around. My memory of this is from very high in the sky looking down. More recently I dream of day-to-day scenarios, things that strangely make me feel more grounded.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

Many! When there is that eerie feeling of deja vu or a serendipitous thing happens, it feels like everything is alright with the world, then I know I’m on the right track. It brings a sense of calm. But I weirdly cannot for the life of me remember an example of this!

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

This is a lovely question. My work is very much affected by all the elements that each moment holds, including the sense of place. A wonderful artist Barbara Steveni, who I worked with for many years, coined the phrase “Context is Half the Work”. This has always stuck with me, and can relate to absolutely any situation. I’d like to think I am channeling all the contexts that surround me, internally and externally, and allowing that moment to speak.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

I have been so touched by all the very kind folks that have taken time to really listen to my album as a full piece of work, and delved into articulating how they see it. It has helped me immensely to understand what it is that I am actually doing, and to know that it can be truly felt by others. I thank you!

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

Anecdotes and jokes are absolutely my worst skill, but in real life I am apparently quite funny. A tub of margarine walks into a bar…?!

Wyrd Question Daze : Phil Dodds

Hey – Phil Dodds from Waxing Crescent Records – thank you for having me! I live in the North East of England with my girlfriend Jasmine, two daughters Chloe and Evie and the newest addition to the family, my son Isaac. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I’ve been collecting vinyl since 2003. I share my collection over on the labels Instagram page (waxing_crescent_records) which is where I got the inspiration to start the label. I started Waxing Crescent Records in May 2021 and so far the support has been incredible and the music I’ve been sent has been unreal. You can find all releases to date here: https://waxingcrescentrecords.bandcamp.com

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I guess I came from a simpler time and I’m going into a time of uncertainty. But I think the key is to live in the moment and have fun as much as possible. 

What preoccupies your mind these days?

My mind is generally occupied by having fun with the family, running the label and doing my day job; I’m a Quality Engineer at an Aerospace company. 

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

Taste – rum
Touch – kinetic sand
Sound – the letterbox
Sight – the postman driving into the street
Smell – old books 

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

I often dream about old school friends who I haven’t seen for over 20 years, I googled this and here’s a meaning behind it: “Believe it or not but these ‘old friends’ or ‘classmates’ are usually masked by our past experiences, feelings or memories that might be resurfacing in your life at the present moment”. Interesting. 

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

I’ve been to see a spiritualist which was an incredible experience and also went for a reiki session. I had a visit from my Grandad who passed 15 years ago during the spiritualist session which was amazing. 

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

If I’ve had a couple rum and cokes and find myself on the dance floor with Jasmine, I feel free. Going to the coast with the family and grabbing an ice cream and playing in the arcades feels pretty perfect to me. It doesn’t take much for me to feel settled and comfortable, thankfully. 

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

I’ve been inspired by the electronic music scene I’ve now found myself a part of. I was inspired enough to start my own label and be in a position to share music. It’s a truly wonderful thing. A few labels I would encourage anyone to check include:
https://thirdkindrecords.bandcamp.com
https://woodfordhalse.bandcamp.com
https://bricolageglasgow.bandcamp.com
https://soundtrackingthevoid.bandcamp.com
https://disintegrationstate.bandcamp.com/artists
https://anticipatingnowhere.bandcamp.com

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

What do you call a man with a number plate on his head? Reg.

– – –

The artwork for Waxing Crescent releases is by Eidolon. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram. Some examples of her work are below.

Wyrd Question Daze : Giorgos Tabakis

My name is Giorgos Tabakis and I am a guitarist from Athens Greece. I enjoy composing and recording music for solo guitar and for small or larger groups. I have collaborated with many artists (dancers, directors, film makers, photographers, painters) in various projects and I am grateful for all these artistic experiences, which lead to the release of 8 albums in the last 6 years.

My 2020 album Dual Nature for duo with the German clarinetist Rebecca Trescher won the Global Music Awards Silver Medal 2020, it was on the best jazz on Bandcamp list (June 2020) and it was very well received by journalists and media!


My new work ‘hEre nOw theN’ for solo 8 string guitar was released on October 18, 2021 and I am very happy and proud for the outcome and for the feedback I’m getting from a lot of people! If you wish to check more stuff for me and my work, here are some links:

www.giorgostabakis.com
Facebook
Bandcamp
YouTube channel
More info about me 

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I come from a small town called Nafpaktos in central Greece and for the past 13 years or so, I’ve lived in Athens. When I was young I didn’t know of my musical future and I was dreaming about being an astronaut, a footballer, a fireman and many other things that children usually dream of. I had an early passion (or pathos in Greek) for the guitar and I started to play at the age of nine. I didn’t study much but I was playing a lot of songs and melodies I liked at the time. Guitar became a personal inner friend and eventually an extension of myself through the years.

From that time to the present, a lot of things have changed. Especially with music, the continuing work, study, practice, goals etc are easily burying the innocence and sensitivity that lead me to the guitar and music in the first place. I am currently in a state of revisiting and remembering my childhood emotions and motivation, trying to embrace as many of it’s aspects as I possibly can! In a sense, my work ‘hEre nOw theN’ has to do everything with that because the guitar and music in general for me – both my younger and older self – has to do with the freedom of emotion, the freedom to feel the world around me in a completely personal view and outside of boundaries and labels.

So, this is where I’m going – or returning to!

What preoccupies your mind these days?

I’m thinking a lot of the current situation globally and I am wondering what the next day will be like. Are we going to return to our “normal” life like nothing happened? Will something different emerge as a new view of our present and future? Will democratic rights, freedom of speech and expression be the same as before? better than before? worse than before? What does art and music stand for in a situation like this and is it really vital to our society? I’m sure that it is, but how is relevant to everyone’s daily life including my own, and in what way? These are some of the things that my mind struggles with often, not to get a clear answer but more as a source of inspiration and a personal reminder.

On another matter, I am obsessed with any news about advanced physics, space exploration, studies about A.I., distant galaxies, stars, blacks holes and everything in between! I read daily about all the breakthroughs of science in all directions! I’ve been enjoying that very much for years, ever since I was a child actually. The first time I heard in school that the universe is infinite – whatever that means – I was blown away!!!! I remember going to bed and thinking over and over about these matters! I don’t have any scientific background, I just need to be constantly informed about the path of mankind to the unknown through science! This preoccupies my mind also very often! I could say it’s my hobby, perhaps my only hobby! 

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

A cold beer in the summer, my wife’s hand while taking a walk, the sound of burning wood in our fireplace in the winter, the sky after the rain, the smell of the tobacco I used to smoke!

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

The truth is that I don’t remember many of my dreams… But I can tell you that a nightmare of mine is that perhaps some day I will not be able to compose any more… Brrrrrr…. Freakish!!!!

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

I have a great memory of a solo concert in the Anglican church of Athens. At one point I felt that I was not longer the one who was playing! I felt that I was pulled off of my body and went a little back and above the person who – at the time and beyond – was performing with the guitar. I didn’t have any control over the guitarist (who was at the same time me and not me) and I was just looking my body from different angles and aspects while listening to the music that was produced second by second, as I was just a listener or an audience participant.

A part of me was continuously surprised by this ongoing experience and had a feeling of uncertainty due to the lack of control, even a slight emotion of stress or fear about where this situation might lead to. It was quickly balanced by another part of me that was feeling secure and confident, as this state wasn’t an alien state for me. It had happened before, not on this level, but it wasn’t the first time. It lasted for several seconds, for a whole improvised part. I wouldn’t consider it as an unsettling experience – it had that tendency in the first seconds but soon the “secure feeling” prevailed. Fortunately, it was live recorded and it’s on my new ‘hEre nOw theN’ album, in the 9th track called ‘Transition’, after the middle part, just before you listen to the “percussion” type of effects and lasted to the end of it.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

Excellent question, I’m not sure how can I answer it in a logical way… I have experienced multiple times several “feelings” and “sensations” in places I visit for the first time. I don’t have any images or sights for that place, so my senses are making contact with a completely unknown space. They work nonstop trying to – short of – mapping the place, the people in it, the “vibe of the walls” as I say, even things like the temperature and all kinds of information in order to have a more specific view.

This affects the way I feel dramatically. In some places (concert venues, bars, music scenes) I have felt loosed, relaxed and with a great joy for people and life but in others I have felt miserable, uncomfortable and I can’t wait to get out of there. All of the above effects a great deal the way I express myself, the way I feel, the way I talk and engaging/dealing with people, the way I perform. It’s incredible how all that affects also the body in so many ways. Through the years I learned to trust these senses because they can view something that my logical side cannot.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

Unfortunately, recently we had some big disasters here in Greece … Great fires at late summer and floods in early Autumn, just a few days ago. Very difficult for everyone… I saw a post by a reporter on Facebook with two photos and a comment. In the photos, the common thing in both situations was that a lot of people were trying to help each other. In both photos they were holding hands, creating a unique image like in a bizarre dance or something (in Greece it’s a common thing that many people dance holding hands)… and the comment said “Burning or drowning, together we stand.” Strange, amazing images! “Heavy,” dark and at the same time sensitive, powerful, inspiring!

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke 

Two guitarists meet in a cafe and one says: “I bought your last CD, it was great!!!” And the other replies: “Oh, so that was you!”

Wyrd Question Daze : Patrick Aston

I’m Patrick Aston and also Dark Leaves.

Dark Leaves is a solo project creating alternative folk songs of the land and sea where I live, on the West Cornwall coast.

I’m married to Sharon who’s an incredible photographer. We have 2 grown up children; our son is working in the music business, having just finished a degree in Music Business last year, and our daughter is at Uni doing a medical degree.

My music is earthy and atmospheric but also quite dark and on the alternative side of folk. I combine acoustic guitar playing with electronic and drone influenced soundscapes and hypnotic beats to make Dark Leaves.

I played guitar in a goth band in the late 80s / early 90s and in 1995 I wrote an ambient techno album recorded under the name of ‘Paranonia’, and released through the Nova Zembla label, which was a sub label of KK Records of Belgium. I was massively into UFOs at the time so there are some samples from a few films…”I saw the moon come down last night, I saw it touch the ground” – I’d welcome any thoughts on what film that’s from as I’ve forgotten…maybe ‘Fire In The Sky’ https://paranonia.bandcamp.com/releases

Through the goth and my brief venture into electronic music, I’ve always maintained a passion for acoustic guitars and the starker sounds of folk. It’s a combination of these things coming together that makes Dark Leaves, although more heavily weighted towards psych/indie folk.

My song writing inspiration comes primarily from being here at home in Cornwall. The sense of place I feel here is above all else and created by many memories, feelings, and emotive bonds. The folklore of Cornwall’s seas, woods, moors, hills and pagan seasonal festivals is an endless source.

Another source of inspiration comes from the wonderful ‘Hookland’ twitter account. There are 2 songs on my new album that are 100% inspired by Hookland; ‘The King Tide’ and ‘The Queen of Owls’. The very lovely David Southwell (Pah! He would say), who discovered Hookland, co-wrote the lyrics of ‘The King Tide’ with me, via a fantastic poem he sent. Hookland is really the only reason I have Twitter. Hookland is always close by, just an altered memory away. It’s just around the corner of the lane or just over the hedge when I’m out walking the dogs at night. It’s in the fields, in the powerlines, in the cliffs and under the sea…https://twitter.com/HooklandGuide

I record at home with a very basic set up and try to keep it as simple as possible. I don’t stress too much about the technical side of things because my knowledge isn’t great. I can usually achieve what I want by hook or by crook. I love the recording space I have in the house. It complements the vibe I try to create and provides me with exactly what I need.

Half the songs on my first album were recorded on just an iPad using Garage Band. Since then, I’ve invested in a really good microphone, Logic Pro and a MacBook. I use minimal effects on the guitars. There’s no soundproofing in my room so if you listen to the space in the quiter tracks you can hear all sorts going in the background, mostly the birds in the garden

I have a new single out that was released on 1st Oct 21 called ‘The Edge of the Light’. It was conceived on Rinsey Cliffs, in West Cornwall, while watching the sun set & the moon rise behind me. I’m honoured to have had the haunting and beautiful backing vocals sung on the track by a wonderful musician and artist called Mari Randle, magically weaving her way through the song. https://www.instagram.com/marirandle/

You can listen to my new single on all the streaming platforms and my Bandcamp site as well as my previous album ‘Grey Stone In The Wood’ and ep ‘Forest Flowing’/ https://campsite.bio/darkleaves

I’m blessed to have the wonderful art of Afsoon Shahriari for my new single and album cover.

Angela Annesley, a fantastic Cornish artist, allowed me to use her gorgeous woodcut print ‘Heart of Oak’ for the cover of my ep; ‘Forest Flowing’. My new album is called ‘Laid under leaf, under branches’. I’m really looking forward to sharing these new songs that have been recorded in the last 18 months or so. It has just been released on Ramble Records 


Where did you come from and where are you going?

I come from Cornwall and I’m home again now with my wife, after being away for a very long time. I’ve kind of arrived where I want to be. I have a day job and I’m heading towards something that I hope means I can spend less time on that a lot more time on music and the beach!

What preoccupies your mind these days?

My work and family life take up a lot of my brain, and because it’s not a very big brain, what space that’s left has to go on music…whether its listening or creating. I’m working hard to get the balance much, much better! The new album has taken far too long to create. Actual productive music time is precious.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell.

Taste – red wine

Touch – I bought an old Simon & Patrick acoustic guitar for £40 on ebay which was such a bargain. That’s always great to pick up… they’re hand made in Canada and great value guitars

Sound – the rookery in the big fir trees in our garden and the owls calling into the night

Sight – rough seas during storms in the harbour at Porthleven and watching from the cliffs

Smell – Pasties

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

My most vivid and memorable dreams, that have stuck with me, are remembered more as feelings than images. They were reoccurring dreams I had when I was young and were about feeling claustrophobic or really small against massive dark shapes…really hard to explain and quite unsettling, but yeah those ones…

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

Yes. The first time I had some healing. Through a guided meditation, I was asked to imagine the colour green, which is a healing colour for the heart chakra. I thought I’d put myself above a huge green field to get a good eyeful because my crowded mind finds it tricky to meditate. I lost a few moments and when I came to, my heart was pounding out of my chest, my eyelids were involuntarily fluttering and the person doing the healing is asking me to come back…it was proof to me that spirituality is a thing, and that there’s another level, although I can’t say it was totally pleasant experience.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

We live in West Cornwall, about a mile from the sea, as the crow flies. Cornwall is my home. It’s a very special place. There’s a big artist and music community here with lots of extremely talented and lovely people who draw on the magic that’s all around: in the raging sea, the beaches, the hedges, in the massive skies and in the cliffs and headlands…the music I’m writing right now is inspired by all of those things.

It’s a very slow paced lifestyle here and that makes room for creativity. I’ve also been working from home since the covid outbreak last year, and will remain working home. It suits me very well combined with the lifestyle, and has been a massive positive influence on my state of mind and creativity. I’m now able to better fit work around life, rather than the other way around.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

We love being out in the winter storms on the cliffs and beaches. Storm Ciara hit Cornwall in Feb 2020. I took my field recorder to Porthleven to record the sound of the wind and waves in the harbour. I also recorded the sound of the  timber baulks in the harbour gate banging to the rhythm of the storm. The recording inspired a Hookland themed track on my new album called ‘The King Tide’. In Hookland The King-Under-the-Sea sends the king tide and he claims all that it touches as his own. Only the payment of a tythe can keep him at bay…The sound of the storm making the baulks rattle and bang in the gate became the drums for the track.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke.

I sat next to Robert Plant, in a little coffee shop, with about 10 other people, watching a small gig. He was constantly passing me Indian nibbles to eat.