Monthly Archives: July 2013

Interview: David Bussell

© David Bussell

© David Bussell

With a new online sketch series currently under way, TVO thought it was time we hooked up with a man with several connections to Onion Land – Mr David Bussell – to talk about the glorious nonsense that is, Hunka Wunda.

Bussell first fell onto our radar a few years ago when, alongside IT Crowd veteran Matthew Stott he made a pilot show, Missing Scene, featuring Alice Lowe and Kevin Eldon.  Despite – or perhaps because of – it being as mad as a box of frogs and utterly charming, the show was not commissioned, and it was some time before it quietly leaked online.

David, who also has The Best Website In The World ™, later cropped up in Nicky Lianos‘ delightful short Dead Happy alongside Alice Lowe and Tom Meeten, and we’ve kept a watchful eye on his activities ever since.  A master of online humour, Bussell’s work is often to be found going viral, and now his sketch series Hunka Wunda, produced with regular collaborator Matthew Stott, is getting a lot of attention.  Rightly so, we reckon, because it’s brilliant.

After a short meeting recently, we realised David is a frightfully busy man of late, and together we elected to conduct an email interview.  We figured this could end with glorious results, or could see us crash into the sun like confused space-moths, but it was worth a shot.  Here are the results.

Hi David!  First off, For those who don’t know, what *is* Hunka Wunda?  And how did it come about?

Hi, Paul.  Hunka Wunda is a series of web sketches co-produced by myself, David Bussell and Matthew Stott.  We started putting a new episode out every fortnight back in June, and we plan to keep going at least until the end of the year.  We’ve worked together previously on a couple of sketch show pilots, Missing Scene and Overactive Solutions, and decided rather than putting it all out there in one go that we’d portion the material out over several months this time.

I suppose a benefit of splitting it up is that you have more potential to go viral.  You seem very ‘up’ on the way the internet can work well for comedy…

Well yes, that’s certainly what we’re hoping for. With a pilot episode you either get a pass or a commission, but with a long-running series like this there’s an opportunity to create one-off sketches that really prove themselves with an audience, which can only help sell the package as a whole. Another thing we’re interested in is not being too hard on ourselves about giving Hunka Wunda a particular (and I feel the bile rising in my throat as I say it) “USP”. With Missing Scene and Overactive Solutions we created very specific frameworks to hang our sketches off of, whereas we’re looking to define Hunka Wunda by tone and sensibility alone. That and sticking Mark Davison in as many sketches as possible because he’s bloody brilliant.

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Review: The Creepshow – Sinners And Saints

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY MUSIC NEWS.

The Creepshow - Sinners & Saints - This time last year, when everyone on the planet had finally gotten sick and tired of Somebody That I Used To Know, the incredibly catchy Gotye chart-topper had one last sting in its tail, when the runaway success of an eccentric cover version on YouTube caused Canadian psychobilly veterans The Creepshow a bit of a headache.

Their frontwoman, Sarah Blackwood – who herself had replaced her sister Jen several years previously – had guested with viral sensations Walk Off The Earth on a cover version which, to date, has garnered more than 150 million views. With a tour of Europe and North America looming, the success of the video saw Blackwood invited out on tour with Walk Off The Earth too, and when dates collided, well… that part is obvious.

Drafted in at the very last minute for a string of live dates, new vocalist Kenda managed to gel with the band with surprisingly naturalistic results, spearheading some high energy live shows across the UK before heading back to North America to work on their fourth album.

The first single from that project is Sinners & Saints, and it wisely offers more of the same carefree fun as usual. Frenetic drumming, matched by Sickboy’s thunderous double bass support Kenda’s sultry, throaty vocals as the gents provide their regular deep, blokey-bloke harmonies. Mid-way through, the guitars give way so that The Reverend’s retro-tastic, Little Shop Of Horrors style organ can shine, and by now the song’s vocal hook is embedded in your brain.

The more stripped back Hello Joe backs up the single, with the drums having more scope to breathe, and the distorted vocals once again proving Kenda can more than hold her own against the Blackwood sisters. The results are catchy and energetic, and if they’re any indicator of the rest of the album, we could be in for the band’s best work yet.

Sinners And Saints is out now on digital download and 7″ vinyl.

Review: The Duckworth Lewis Method – Sticky Wickets

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY MUSIC NEWS.

The Duckworth Lewis Method - Sticky Wickets - There’s something gloriously archaic about The Duckworth Lewis Method. It’s not that they’re writing songs about cricket, which remains the bastion of traditional Englishness in spite of the increasingly ‘rock-n-roll’ nature of its superstars now England is finally winning stuff again.

No, it’s that they sound like a timewarp to the 1970s, fusing modern production techniques with a sound closer in style to 10cc or ELO than your average rock band of the digital age. Theirs is a musical style which is crying out to be savoured with the gentle crackle and hum of a well loved vinyl album, and with their new long player, chances are you’d have bashed the corners of the sleeve from taking it off the shelf a bit too often.

As with their first, self titled record, the cricket theme feels more like a hook upon which to look at the world as it is today, with lead single It’s Just Not Cricket typifying that by referencing bankers bonuses and the fall of Lance Armstrong. Similarly, whimsical ballad The Umpire uses the forlorn nature of a down-and-out cricket official to summarise how we all feel with our nine-to-fives on occasion, and the results – along with the cheeky 10cc reference at its climax – are a standout. Yes, the boys love the beautiful game, and for fans of cricket, there are references galore, but these never stand in the way of making good, inventive music which stands on its own two feet.

Across the album, the two contrasting styles of Duckworth and Lewis – as Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh affectionately dub themselves here – fuse together with charming effect. Divine Comedy head honcho Hannon’s baroque balladeering and jaunty rag-time is blended with the symphonic art rock that Walsh brings to his other project, Pugwash.

Each musician takes it in turns to sing across the album, and when their voices meet, the results are as smooth and summery as a honey sandwich and a glass of orange juice atop rolling hills. There’s something enveloping in the combination, and perhaps nothing this summer will urge you to turn up the volume, stop what you’re doing and just drift away in the same manner as Sticky Wickets.

Factor in guest appearances from the likes of Matt BerryStephen Fry and Danielle Radcliffe, and some excursions into Art Of Noise-esque pastiche and sprinklings of electro and funk, sitting side by side with jaunty pub singalongs, surf guitar solos and everything you loved about their first record, and The Duckworth Lewis Method have scored a Sixer. Marvelous.

Sticky Wickets is out now. You can see the video for It’s Just Not Cricket below.