Marquis of Vaudeville’s Musical Menagerie

It’s true that I’m not as involved in the Dallas Steampunk scene as I once was. Distance and time makes it difficult to stay as connected as I once was. But, rest assured, I still keep my fingers on the pulse of that scene and love telling you about events in the greater Texas area that are likely to appeal to my readers in the area.

The Marquis of Vaudeville is pulling together another show at the Curtain Club. Many of you may have attended their last show there, A Clockwork Wonderland, in January. It was so overwhelmingly successful that I have no doubt that at least all who attended the Clockwork Wonderland will be looking forward to this new show.

The Marquis’ latest event, the Musical Menagerie, is schedule to take place on August 20, 2011. Doors will open at 8:30, and welcomes anyone over the age of 17 to join them for a night of music and mystery. There is a $10 cover, and it is $12 dollars for anyone under 21.You can learn more and RSVP at their Facebook event.

While I fear I will not be able to join the Marquis for this event, I do know that it will be a night to remember for all those who do attend. If you happen to be in the greater DFW area, I highly recommend that you circle the 20th, and consider yourself as booked for the evening!

Abney Park’s Off the Grid

Everyone’s favorite airship pirates are at it again, this time with an acoustic album in the works. Abney Park has been busy recording for Off the Grid: Abney Park Unplugged, and their poised to release the new album in the next few months.

This acoustic album will feature thirteen songs, three of which have never been released. Here’s the track list as it currently stands:

  1. The Wrong Side
  2. Bad Things Coming
  3. Evil Man
  4. The Apocalypse
  5. Space Cowboy
  6. Aether Shanties
  7. Off The Grid
  8. Daddies Side Car
  9. I’ve Been Wrong Before
  10. Fight Or Flight
  11. My Life
  12. Stigmata Martyr
  13. Neither One Lets Go

Personally, I’m really excited about this album. I loved their acoustic rendition of The Wrong Side that got posted to YouTube last year and have been hoping they’d do something like this ever since. And since so few people actually get to hear an acoustic Abney Park set, I have a feeling this is definitely going to be something worth adding to your music collection. As I hear more about about this album and when it might be released,  I’ll be sure to let you know!

Proto-Steampunk Short Fiction

There’s been something of an influx of Victorian era fiction on oi9 as of late, and I figured I’d let my readers who are also history and literature buffs know about their posting. These are not technically Steampunk works. Steampunk itself is a modern movement that takes elements of the Victorian world and transposes it in today’s world. These two works, however, were written during the Victorian time itself and dreams of what technology might do for humanity in the future. For Steampunk today, looking at science fiction during the Victorian period is akin to retracing your family tree: the connection is distant, but ultimately you’re somehow related to these people.

The first is entitled The Steam Arm and is purportedly the first cyborg horror story to enter into fiction. This ballad tells the story of a young man who loses his arm in a war and gets it replaced with a mechanical, steam driven appendage. Dripping with metaphor and commentary about the Victorian world, The Steam Arm expresses abounding discontent with the increasing influence of technology of humanity. You can read the ballad here.

The second piece is a poem by Edward S. Ellis entitled Darius Green and tells the story of young Mr. Green and his flying contraption. Flight would eventually become a huge theme in the Steampunk subculture, with airships and various other flying machines becoming quintessentially Steampunk. You can read the poem here.

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.