New Frenchy and the Punk Music Video

Frenchy and the Punk (formerly the Gypsy Nomads) have released a new music video, and they want you to see it! This video is of the song House of Cards from the Happy Madness album, and the video is really well produced, so watch it below!

For just two people, Samantha and Scott sure do make a lot of amazing noise. It’s one of the many awesome things about these two very talented musicians.

If you liked the song House of Cards, you can purchase the album Happy Madness from Frenchy and the Punk’s store. While you’re there, be sure the check out the rest of their website, and then connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Steampunk in Seattle: The Seattle Steampunk Soiree

Attention all Seattle Steampunks, the time is nearly here for your favorite airship pirates to perform in your hometown. Abney Park is performing tomorrow at Studio Seven in Sodo and it goes without saying that the show is going to be awesome. It’s been a few months since their last local show, and their sheer draw and popularity within the Steampunk community makes this a must attend for Steampunks within driving distance.

Making this performance particularly unique is the presence of guest artists: Josh Goering, the guitar player from the album From Dreams Or Angels:

There’s even a brass section for this show!

In addition to all that, Seattle Arial Arts will be doing stunts above the crowd, and opening for Abney Park is a Great Depression era swing band. If you’re very lucky, the band may play some new material tomorrow, too.

Tickets are 15 dollars for anyone over the age of 18. The specially priced tickets for anyone under 18 have sold out, but there should be some left at the door for 5 dollars. If you happen to need tickets for people over 18 you can pick up your tickets here. I highly recommend that you do so, as Abney Park’s  performances often sells out, and you’d hate to miss out on this show.

To RSVP for this event on Facebook, click here. I’ll be at this show myself, and hope to see many of you there!

Airship Pirates and the Wrath Of Fate

The crew of the H.M.S. Ophelia has been hard at work creating a wealth of new goodies for their fans. In addition to plans for both an acoustic and electric album in the works, there’s also a tabletop RPG and a novel planned for the near future.

The tabletop RPG is entitled Airship Pirates and is set in the post-apocalyptic Steampunk world that Abney Park lives in. If you enjoy the alternative reality that Abney Park’s songs have created for you, you are sure to enjoy reading about the expanded vision of this world.

Airship Pirates is in its last week of production before being sent off to the presses, so its likely that you’ll be able to pick up your own copy and start kick off your own campaign soon enough!

Also due out soon is the Abney Park novel, The Wrath of Fate, which takes the snippets of narrative found in each Abney Park song and cobbles them together to form the overarching narrative of the band. The novel is expected to be released some time in August, and would be a great compliment to the RPG.

As soon as I hear about release dates and methods for acquisition on either of these new books, I’ll be sure to let you know here.

An Interview with the Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven is a Steampunk band heralding from Sweden and creates unique music that is hard to pin down by a particular audio genre. Their sound blends the timeless sounds of European fold music with cabaret in a manner that is sure to appeal to Steampunks across the board. Last year, they released their first album, The Broken Hearted Show, and are hard at work on their second.

Can everyone in the band please introduce themselves? Please tell me a bit about yourselves and your musical backgrounds.
Fredrik Anjou – Vocals, guitar and songwriter: Started playing guitar and writing songs at the age of 14 inspired by Nirvana. Over the years I have had several bands and played grunge, punk, metal, pop and other various genres. My main focus in all of those bands were always to try and write good songs and to find a suiting sound for those songs. After a few years without a band and concentrating on literature and philosophy studies at the university The Magnificent Seven started to develop as a band and have since then been my main priority. I love writing songs for all the skilled musicians in The Magnificent Seven to perform. I’m truly blessed to have such a great band.
Fredrik Andersson – Viola and mandolin: Hi, I’m the viola-player Fredrik of The Magnificent Seven! I’ve been playing the violin since early age, raised in the Swedish folk music tradition of my hometown Leksand in the heart of folk-Sweden. I am now a classically trained violin/viola teacher with pupils from age 6-20. I’ve always enjoyed playing different styles of music witch has led to me continuously playing everything from symphony orchestras to reggae, from singer-songwriter to metal. No matter what I’m playing I always bring my heart in to it and give it 100%. There’s nothing better than standing on stage playing your heart out!
Stefan Stenberg – Double bass: I am a freelance musician who lives in Stockholm and I play everything from jazz to rock and different kinds of folk-music. During the past decade there has been considerable focus on playing jazz, but I’ve mostly listened to different kinds of rock. I’m new as a member of TM7 and It’s a band with wonderful musicians and we play a kind of music I’ve been wanting to play for years.
Nils Marcus Persson – Piano and organ: The following can be said about Nils Marcus Persson. I grew up in family that listened to a lot to music. I remember Sundays when I sat and turned my dads vinyl records and dreamed myself into the world where “I was Jim Morrison”. Started playing the piano to later play the guitar just to once again play the piano and discovered it’s the best. Then I studied music at high school and university. Played in a lot of different bands and genres through the years. Have a special liking for odd music.
Ulrika Mohlin – Accordion, musical saw and backing vocals: I became a member of the Magnificent Seven three years ago when Fredrik Anjou found me on myspace and asked me to compose a duet with him. At that time I had just moved to Örebro and was also new on my own musical project “Mohlavyr”. Fredriks invitation was therefore a good challenge and start for me to get to know other musicians in the town. Neither could I say no to the experience of collaborating with an artist like Fredrik. So I brought my accordion and after a couple of meetings we finished the song “The Rope”. Since then I’ve been joining the band on accordion, backing vocals and musical saw.
Krister Persson – Drums and percussion: Drummer from the woods who had to start playing the drums when he moved to the city where there were no logs he could beat up with his bare hands. Headbanger – turned jazz-freak – turned folk musician… Which has led him to the point when he’s now happily beating up logs again… Albeit in a more civilized fashion.
Marcus Måttgård – Guitars: Started playing guitar at the age of 13 inspired by Slash. Have played everything from heavy metal to jazz music during the years, and nowadays I play mostly country music. Started playing with TM7 about a year ago. Currently working on my own material a lot inspired by country guitar giants such as Brent Mason, Brad Paisley and Albert Lee. When I´m not working as a music teacher or play with TM7 I do freelance jobs wherever people need twang!

How was the Magnificent Seven created? How did you choose your name?
The Magnificent Seven was created and named at the same time and it was when I started to collect some songs that I had written on my old acoustic guitar, nicknamed ”Seven” because it wears the number seven on its body and I always have had a thing for the number seven. After a while I felt the urge to play these songs with a band and that’s when The Magnificent Seven was created. The first demo was released under the name Seven though. So, the real reason behind the name is just my fascination for the number seven but it also rings a bell with some things we like, like the movie, the song by The Clash and also the cemeteries in London.
And even though one can say that The Magnificent Seven was created back then I like to think that we’re recreating ourselves everyday and with every member that has come on board.

Tell me more about your debut album, The Broken Hearted Show.
The material on “The Broken Hearted Show” consists of both old and new songs. The old ones in new versions and some brand new songs that we wrote just before we recorded the album. “The Last Waltz” is the oldest one on the album and “The Killer” and “The Stand-Up Tragedian” the most recent ones. We recorded the album with producer Christian Gabel at Studio Cobra in Stockholm and I think he really added a lot to our sound so we’re really satisfied with his work on the album. Then Martin Irigoyen from Vernian Process mastered the album. I also think the material on the album says a lot about the variety of songs and styles that we have, we always let the songs themselves decide how they sound the best and never try and put a definite sound upon our songs. We like to try and bring out the essence of the song in the sound.

How do you describe your music to people who have never experienced it before?
As I said about our album, there’s a big variety in our sound and the style of our songs so it’s always hard to describe our music in words but I like to think that we have a ”timeless” sound. If I would try to put words to it I would say; Swedish melancholia inspired by cabaret and european folk music. All with a touch of gothic and horror elements.

What is the Steampunk scene like in Sweden?
Well, it’s a quite small scene. There’s some activities, there’s a couple of artists, writers and some LARP events but when it comes to music there’s not so many bands around, at least not that I know of. I know that there’s a lot of people that think Steampunk is very interesting but a scene has yet to be born in Sweden and hopefully we can be a part of creating an interest and a scene for Steampunk in Sweden.

Steampunk art is often expressed through a maker ethic. How DIY is the Magnificent Seven?
The Magnificent Seven is very DIY and we do almost everything ourselves although we like to collaborate with people we like and people who share the same ideas as us, but we always like to have control over what we do. We like what we do and if there’s people out there that also like what we do and can help us out, that’s a good thing.

What is your favorite tale of Magnificent Seven misadventure?
I don’t know if I would call it a misadventure but a very strange gig was when we performed with The Burning Hell in Gothenburg in front of a crowd existing of seven people and seven dogs. It was the first time our crowd was equally divided, 50% humans, 50% animals. It was a great gig though, with two great live bands doing what they love the most. Performing live!

Are there any upcoming events in the near future you’d like to mention?
We’re planning for the rest of 2011 right now and there’s one event that we’re really looking forward, but I have to keep quiet about exactly what it is for now. All I can say is that our fans in Sweden will get the chance to see us perform live at venue that suits us perfect and at an event that is perfect for our music. Now that I’ve mentioned it I hope everyone will stay tuned for more news about this event.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Nothing more except that we feel honored to be interviewed by Trial By Steam and we really like the support we get from North America. I hope we can make it over the pond someday and do a tour in North America, hopefully very soon especially since the Steampunk scene seems to be so alive and exciting at your end of the world.

To learn more about the Magnificent Seven, check out their website, Facebook, and MySpace pages.

Thoughts on Steampunk Music by Painless Parker

Steampunk music is an especially hard thing to pin down. There are so many different bands with a variety of different sounds and themes which makes wrapping up Steampunk music into a conveniently wrapped parcel that defies debate or exclusion next to impossible.

For a lot of people, this makes it really difficult to talk about Steampunk music. Some even insist that there is no such thing as “Steampunk Music.” I am not of that persuasion; in fact, I cannot conceive of Steampunk in its current form without music.

Contributing to the larger debate on Steampunk music as a whole is an interesting article by Painless Parker entitled, “Thoughts on Steampunk Music.” Here’s a short selection from the article:

There are many fundamental questions to ask when searching for an intrinsically steampunk sound: who is producing music? How is it being distributed and consumed? How do musical tastes differ between classes, nationalities, trades, and so forth? Is music being used to unite people? To divide them? What is considered high art, what is considered popular vulgarity? How are different traditions interacting? What instruments are being used? How are they evolving?

Read the whole article here.

Steampunk Opera: Queen Victoria’s Floating Garden of Secrets

After the success of Eli August and the Davenport Sister’s efforts to get their project “The Victorian Dead” funded through Kickstarter, I’m very happy to present another opportunity to support the Steampunk arts.

Inventing Earth in Boston, MA is asking for your support in the creation of a Steampunk Opera entitled Queen Victoria’s Floating Garden of Secrets. Here’s a synopsis of the plot:

Set on the HMS Annelid (a discovery ship in the spirit of Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle intermarried with Jules Verne’s Nautilus) this operetta surfs late 19th-century science, history, and geography in a spirited and salacious romp on the high seas worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan.

In this alternate future, the American Colonies have seen the error their ways and reunited with their Fair Queen. All of creation is “subject” to inquiry. The opera takes place during a Inspection by the Queen on the Annelid’s return from a Homeric and triumphant exploration of far-flung corners of the map, now loaded down with newly discovered, exotic specimens.

Pirate lasses mutiny, womenfolk can’t keep their petticoats down, contraptions impressively malfunction, and frank discussions of anatomy are all in a day’s work while in service to Her Majesty the Queen.

This opera is well on its way to being fully supported, but is standing to benefit greatly should it reach it’s goal through Kickstarter. James von Hegner of the The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition has offered a 1-to-1 matching grant for any amount they raise between three and five thousand dollars.  So, there’s a good chance that, should you contribute, James von Hegner will double your gift.

Check out all the details here!

Chap Hop Wars

There has been much talk of the eventual show-down between Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymer and Professor Elemental. As of this post, I’ve yet to hear anything more about the possibility of a show-down between these two, which is unfortunate because it’s sure to be epic.

In the mean time, we have to imagine what a show-down of such magnitude would be from the material we have of the two artists.  of YouTube posted this video meshing the two artists works into a epic 12 minute face off which can only be a preview for what will transpire some day between them. Give it a listen! It’s excellent.

If you find yourself unfamiliar with the rivalry between Mr. B and Professor Elemental, you may find this article, In ‘Chap-Hop,’ Gentlemen Rappers Bust Rhymes About Tea, Cricket , from the Wall-Street Journal of all places, to be particularly enlightening.

Glory Instrumental Demo

It had been a while since I heard anything from one of my favorite Steampunk bands, The Clockwork Dolls. Their last album, Dramatis Personae, was released in 2009 and while they have been busy playing shows and touring, there hasn’t been a lot in the way of new material to come out of the duo in some time.

Until recently.

Today, I present for your attention their “Glory Instrumental Demo” which I am all kinds of excited about. This track takes many of the elements that I enjoyed off Dramatis Personae and brings it back for another excellent piece. It’s a long listen, but definitely worth it. Check it out here:

Awesome! Hopefully this is the beginning of many more epic tracks to come.

The Théâtrophone

Today’s is the last post, for at least a few days, of Victorian history and tech likely to be of interest to Steampunks. You can blame my history major on the recent rash of historically focused posts. I find this sort of thing fascinating and very pertinent to my interest in Steampunk, so there.

Back in the day, there was a creation called the Théâtrophone that allowed its subscribers to listen to theater and opera performances via their telephones. The Théâtrophone evolved from a Clément Ader invention, which was first demonstrated in 1881, in Paris. And to think that all this time, I thought that listening to music on our phones was something of a modern development.

A recent article on the Scientific American blog entitled In 1892 Live Music Was Just a Phone Call Away by Mary Karmelek explains the origins and functionality of the Théâtrophone.

What is Steampunk Music?

When people begin to explore Steampunk as more than just an aesthetic, defining what is and isn’t Steampunk can be something to a challenge. Steampunk is proud of its determination to allow its participants to make of the subculture what they individually will.

But that same resistance to a hard definition makes it hard for newcomers to determine what is and isn’t considered Steampunk by the community at large. Steampunk music is particularly elusive, as there are may artists who have been accepted by the Steampunk community who don’t directly label themselves as “Steampunk Musicians.”

One such artist is Veronique Chevalier who recently wrote an article entitled What is Steampunk Music? that seeks to introduce people new to the Steampunk community to the rich tapestry of artists that make up the sound of a subculture.

Her article and recommendations are definitely worth your attention, so be sure to check it out at her blog.