2013 Artist Survey: Black Hearted Brother | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 15th, 2020  

2013 Artist Survey: Black Hearted Brother

Nick Holton and Mark Van Hoen on the Most Daring Place They've Had Sex, If God Exists, Oddest Fan Gifts, and the Most Overrated Musician of All Time

Feb 14, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


For Under the Radar's 11th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the important issues of the last year, as well as some quirkier subjects. Check out our next print issue and digital issue for surveys from My Morning Jacket, Foals, Amanda Palmer, Local Natives, Wild Nothing, These New Puritans, Lanterns on the Lake, Xiu Xiu, and Summer Camp.

Here are answers from England's Black Hearted Brother, the project of Nick Holton, Mark Van Hoen (Locust, Scala, Seefeel), and Neil Halstead (Slowdive, Mojave 3). Black Hearted Brother's debut album, Stars Are Our Home, is out now on Slumberland.

Top 10 Albums of 2013

1. The Flaming Lips: The Terror
2. Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest  
3. Earl Sweatshirt: Doris
4. M.I.A.: Matangi
5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: II
6. Younghusband: Dromes
7. Youth Lagoon: Wondrous Bughouse
8. The Mantles: Long Enough to Leave
9. Diane Coffee: My Friend Fish
10. Foxygen: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

What was the highlight of 2013, either for you personally or for the band?

Mark Van Hoen: The highlight for the band had to be the release of our debut, it was a long time coming. The challenge is now to get a new record done within a year!

What was the low point of 2013 for you?

Nick Holton: Most likely the same as the last few which is the fact that we still are not doing anything significant about global warming and matters are getting increasingly worse. Oh, and that Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe were still presenting Glastonbury on U.K. TV.

What are your hopes and plans for 2014?

Mark: Our plan for 2014 is to make a lot more music, and to get Black Hearted Brother on the road.

What are your thoughts on the passing of Lou Reed? Did his music influence you at all and in what way?

Mark: Lou Reed was a huge influence on us both directly and via our other heroes who he influenced. In many ways he and the VU were the definition of independent/alternative music.

What are your thoughts on the U.S. government shutdown and the debt ceiling debate?

Mark: The U.S. government shutdown is fundamentally undemocratic. A statement by the GOP which denies the fact that President Obama was elected by the people of the USA. All involved should be thrown out of office and new representatives should be voted in.

What are your thoughts on Obamacare, now that it's being implemented?

Mark: It's a noble idea badly implemented, in part by the President, but ultimately will be derailed by Republicans who in turn manifest the shame that many Americans are not mature and civilized enough to believe in universal healthcare as a human rightinstead claiming it to be "liberal."

What is your opinion on the extensive government spying on the world's Internet/phone usage? Is Edward Snowden a patriot or traitor?

Mark: The NSA spying is the latest example in a worsening chain of events that the USA continues to actwithout any fear of repercussionsin its own interest globally. Edward Snowden is neither a traitor or patriot, but someone who has rightfully exposed this practice.

What are your thoughts on music streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio? Are they good or bad for musicians?

Mark: Music streaming like Spotify and Rdio are in some ways good. It seems to be better than downloading for free, but the royalties are quite pathetic, almost pointless. Add to that that Spotify itself is making a loss despite higher revenues, so something is very wrong. Perhaps subscriptions need to be higher as well as royalties, but then people would probably go back to downloading for free.

Who was the first person to break your heart? Whose heart did you first break?

Nick: Think I was already broken when I came into that game but I am sure my wife could do that. Whose heart did I break? It is a terrible thing to do so why then would one mention names to strangers?

What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?

Nick: I didn't have many because I made it my job to be invisible at school. I was really good at it but sadly because of this super power not much else other than tennis-ball football.

Do bad reviews bother you and which negative review has affected you the most?

Nick: As we have all been friends so long we have lived through all our reviews together (probably we care more than the one receiving the review). I have to say the worst review was from Melody Maker for a Slowdive EP in which the journalist attacked Rachel Goswell as a person and that was it. Then the following week they published another review giving the same EP "Single of the Week." That was pretty weird, hurtful to anyone who just wants to read about music without all these journalistic egos attached, and I imagine not too nice for Rachel at the time.

What moment in history do you most wish you could've witnessed in person?

Nick: Quite like to have met my wife when she was a little girlmaybe seen her performance of "Flashdance" in her front room. Otherwise just hang out with Archimedes of Syracuse while he was inventing or building his massive ship grabbers or his star clocks.

What is your favorite word and why?

Mark: "Harthacnut!" Because it's just such a good word, and a great name for a son, and that's what his father King Cnut called him. Harthacnut was the best name ever for an English/Danish king. Even though he had a better name than his dad, he wasn't a very good king and lost most of his dad's gains.
 
What was the first R-rated (17+) movie you remember seeing and how old were you?

Mark: At age 14 I saw The Exorcistrated X (over 18) in the U.K. at the time. It was terrifying! I can't even watch it now.

Where's the most daring place you've ever had sex?

Nick: Eurostar.

Name one thing you do that's not socially acceptable.

Nick: Grow huge beards with livestock and pencils in it and stuff.

What's the oddest gift that you've ever received from a fan?

Nick: A large letter box sculpted from fish guts.

What's the biggest scam in the music industry today?

Nick: There may be a few things to wag fingers at, but at the grassroots level, gig promotion for small venues seems like something to sort out. We have seen so much of it in the U.K., especially near London, where a promoter doesn't look after the band, pay them, turn up or even really care who is booked in the first place. It is here where your local or starter bands should be really taken care ofgive them or find them an audience and the rest takes care of itself. If you are the promoter and you don't care, how are the punters going to? We even know that the BBC supports some of these charlatansshame on them. People filming gigs with their phones: yes or no? If no, what's the best way to prevent it?

Mark: People should most definitely not film gigs with their phones or anything else. Some kind of huge electro-magnetic device that creates an interference pattern should be implemented to render any recordings useless.
 
Who is the most overrated band or musician of all time and why?

Mark: Elton John is the most overrated musician of all time. It's astounding that he is so popular. He is not any more worthy than having one or two minor hit records. He sounds like a pub singer, has a terrible image and appalling taste in musical arrangements, and his piano playing is both horrific and traumatizing.
 
What event in your life do you feel the most guilt over?

Nick: Never learning to play a musical instrument (but only sometimes).

Which science fiction or fantasy world would you most like to visit and why?

Nick: The future in Woody [Allen]'s Sleeperalways fancied trying out the Orb and the Orgasmatron.

Which movie would you most like a sequel to be made to?

Nick: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Mebe nice to go back to that world and see what became of Agent Cooper, Annie, Chris Isaak, and David Bowie.
 
What was your greatest triumph as a child?

Mark: Winning onejust onegame in the school soccer league. We really were the worst school team. I was the goal keeper! So winning just one game felt great.

If God exists, what are you most mad at him about and what are you most thankful to him for?

Mark: I can't even answer this as a hypothetical question, because I find it sad to think there are so many in the world who still believe in this childlike notion that there is a man or being in the sky that made everything and controls everything. Honestly, it may have worked as an explanation centuries ago, but the whole human race is held back by this simplistic belief in ghost stories.

What is the weirdest/most inappropriate question you've ever been asked by a journalist (not including any ones in this survey)?

Nick: How many naked clogged-dog dancers does it take to plate a fish supper?

Do you have any other thoughts about the current state of the world or the state of the music industry?

Nick: Yes to both, but mainly the world. We all need to think more and look at ourselves on that one.

www.blackheartedbrother.com



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