FFM: International Ambassadors


The best gift of 2017 so far arrived a few weeks ago when Katy Perry treated us to her first new song since her huge 2013 album Prism. KP didn’t let us down with ‘Chained To The Rhythm’ – a glorious pop number with surprisingly deep undercurrents about the state of society. The video, released last week, explores these themes further in a way only Katy knows how; with outlandish outfits and candyfloss.

Keep scrolling to see our favourite moments from the video.

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

The first shot we see when the video begins is of a super futuristic looking theme park, almost like something we used to build on Rollercoaster Tycoon back in the day! Looks fun, right? Well there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye…

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

Welcome to Oblivia, the theme park of the future! Or is it of the now? That’s for you to decide. Katy Perry looks her usual stunning-self dressed all in white with pink hair, whilst everyone around her looks bland and samey…except for that guy wearing some sort of diving helmet. You okay hun?!

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

We love how the video seems to focus on the way society is obsessed with social media and everyone just wants to do the exact same thing to fit in. Suddenly, ‘Chained To The Rhythm’ takes on a whole new meaning!

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

Katy made no secret of the fact she was a Hilary Clinton supporter during the last US election and we can’t help feeling that a few of the rides’ names are a (not so) subtle dig at a certain Mr Trump and the way things seems to be heading. Burn!

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

As Katy rides a great big roller coaster called Love Me, complete with emojis and love hearts (another reference to the world’s obsession with social media and needing verification), we can’t help but laugh at some of the faces she pulls! We can’t decide whether she’s scared of the ride, the future of our society or this guy’s outrageous shirt. Maybe all three.

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

This ride looks seriously terrifying though, it literally flies right off the track! We’d rather stick with the dodgems, thanks very much.

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

These theme park visitors may look happy but we’re pretty sure they’re dead inside, all walking and dancing in time with each other. It’s just not right! If you look closely enough, you’ll also spot the ‘1984’ George Orwell reference on the timer! Very clever.

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

After all those crazy rides, a nice relaxing trip to the cinema is just what Katy needs! However it’s not quite as fun as she hoped when she realises everyone in there seems to be hypnotised by the screen except her. Will this dystopian nightmare ever end? If only there was someone around to save her…

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

Oh look! Skip Marley‘s here to save the day on a giant TV screen, hooray! His verse in the song sounds even more poignant with the accompanying video, with lyrics such as “Up In Your High Place, Liars…They Stumbling And Fumbling And We’re About To Riot, They Woke Up The Lions.” It’s almost enough to make you want to quit social media and go live in the woods (please don’t unfollow us though…)

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Source: Vevo

Reasons to love Katy Perry: she can present a powerful and important message with her music whilst still looking absolutely flawless. Hashtag brows on point. All hail Queen Katy!


Hands up if you remember a time when films had a theme tune! I’m talking Ghostbusters, Weird Science and Men in Black. This was a time when the theme song was already topping the charts weeks before anyone had even seen the accompanying movie. What on Earth happened to the days of old when you could see the film, wear the t-shirt and sing the theme tune while eating from a popcorn box with the lead actor on it? It seems that only James Bond movies have continued this grand tradition, but they would never consider having the main star record the song like most Will Smith films from the 90s.

It is time to bring back the music people!Recently Warner Bros have released Kong: Skull Island. This is the kind of popcorn movie fodder that a marketing agency adore. Big stars, big concept and a well-known franchise. But why hasn’t anyone thought of asking one of the latest chart-topping stars today like Drake or Sean Paul to cover Sisqo’s ‘Thong Song’ but changing the thong to well, Kong! “Let Me Hear You Say – Kong, Kong, Kong, Kong, Kong Kong”. Now that is a song that needs to be recorded and would surely lead to thousands downloading the official soundtrack!

It was quite a surprise for fans of Ghostbusters to have their favourite film remade with a cast of female actors. Twitter was ablaze with fury at replacing their male heroes with stars of Bridesmaids and Saturday Night Live. If only Rhianna had covered Ray Parker Jr’s classic tune. Imagine the online rage, especially if she had eclipsed the original. An opportunity wasted.

Bring back movie themes

Source: Promo

Most of the big summer blockbusters at the moment have been super-hero related, and maybe Marvel Studios and Warner Bros feel they don’t need to cheapen their franchise by having anyone re-record the cheesy cartoon themes. Though the Sam Raimi directed Spiderman trilogy tended to have rock bands record a song inspired by the movie: Nickelback’s Chad Kroger & Josey Scott’s ‘Hero’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘Signal Fire’. But alas the new reboot will probably choose not to recordJustin Bieber’s a capella version of the 60’s much loved Spiderman theme. The 90’s Batman series were famous for their successful song tie-ins : U2’s ‘Hold Me Kiss Me Thrill Me’ and The Smashing Pumpkins’ The End Is The Beginning  Is The End’ are two of the greatest singles of the era, but they were tenuously linked to the films. Could Batman V Superman not have had a track inspired by the rivalry? Maybe Limp Bizkit V Korn, with a video filmed on top of a burning skyscraper and a bagpipes solo? It would have been at least more entertaining than most of the film.

Something has to change and film studios need to get their act together and start getting music and film working together to make a brighter future. There may be an Ellie Goulding track written for the 50 Shades Of Grey soundtrack, but this is just one song rare example. There are just so many opportunities being missed. OK, not every movie song was a winner, Paul McCartney should probably have stayed clear of Spies Like Us and Vanilla Ice should never mix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with rapping. But let us remember the good times and here are the 5 great movie songs for your enjoyment.

Queen – ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’

No one can sing a ballad as well as Freddie. From the 80’s cult classic Highlander directed by Russell Mulcahy, who was more famous for his extravagant music videos at the time. The soundtrack by Queen was better than the actual film, which is pretty much what happened when the same band chose to record the soundtrack for Flash Gordon. Basically if you want your film to be eclipsed by the music, don’t bloody hire Queen.

Duran Duran -‘View To A Kill’

From the James Bond film of the same name, Duran Duran recorded this at the height of their eighties’ glory. They were so high on their ability and fame they could just ask the producers if they could record the next Bond theme and it would happen. Though as their fame faltered they had to put up with recording the theme tune to The Saint starring Val Kilmer, which is quite a coincidence as Roger Moore played The Saint and James Bond. And speaking of coincidences, fact fans, is that Russell Mulcahy also directed this video before moving on to making Highlander. How interesting!

Simon & Garfunkel- ‘Mrs Robinson’

Simon and Garfunkel penned this beauty decades before the term ‘milf’ was conceived and at a time when it was a rarity for a pop band to record a film soundtrack. The song has been covered to death by the likes The Lemonheads, Garth Brooks and Busted, but the original still rings true as a film classic.

The Psychedelic Furs – ‘Pretty In Pink’

One of the rare times when the song came before the film, Pretty In Pink appeared on The Psychedelic Furs’ 1981 album Talk, Talk, Talk and Writer/Director John Hughes used the tracks inspiration for the 1986 hit teen movie. The band re-recorded the single and it went on to be their first top 20 UK hit single. Another example of the song being greater than the film.

Eminem- ‘Lose Yourself’

Quite possibly his greatest track to date. It was written for the movie 8 Mile and is based on a young man in Detroit trying to make it as a white hip-hop artist and won the rapper an Oscar for best original song. Eminem wrote the track during breaks in between filming and is now on various gym playlists around the world, just after the theme from Rocky.

What will be the next great movie theme? Sadly to date there isn’t any news that the Gorillaz are going to be collaborating with the remaining members of The Monkees to perform the theme tune to the upcoming Planet Of The Apes movie, but we can still hope.

FFM Featured Artist: Euphonium player Algirdas Matonis

Visiting and subscribing to Algirdas’ Youtube channel is an absolute must for euphonium players and brass players in general. His insights into brass playing and presentation are inspiring and highly entertaining.

Originally from Lithuania, Algirdas Matonis started playing euphonium at the age of eight. In 2000 he entered his first ever competition which was ‘Juozas Pakalnis Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Solo Competition’ held in Lithuania. At only 9 years old Algirdas managed to win the 8 – 13 age group. This was the beginning of his active participation in various music events. Algirdas continued to enter and win solo competitions throughout his teenage years. 2009 was his last year as a teen competitor. He was offered to perform as a soloist with the Lithuanian Military Band at the ‘International Band and Orchestra Championships’ held in Lithuania where he received the best solo player award and performed at the prestigious ‘Siemens’ arena in front of over 5000 people at the Gala event.
In 2010 Algirdas Matonis decided that he wanted to pursue the life of a professional euphonium player. He entered the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he studied under the guidance of the legendary euphonium pioneer Steven Mead. In 2014 he got his Bachelor degree and was awarded with entry scholarship for his Master’s degree studies.
During his study years at the RNCM he kept actively performing as a soloist. Algirdas was invited to perform as a guest artist at the biggest low brass festival in the world, ITEC, in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 Algirdas won the ‘Fodens’ open solo competition in UK and received a Besson prize award. As a part of prize he was invited to perform as a guest soloist with the only full-time professional brass band in the world, the River City Brass Band in Pittsburgh. In 2014 Algirdas did a concert tour with the band, which led to a scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a move to the U.S.A. a year later.

Since 2015 Algirdas has been living in Pittsburgh, where he started playing with River City Brass on regular basis as well as continuing his Master’s degree in music performance. At the moment Algirdas is an actively performing soloist with various solo recitals under his belt, having performed at venues in the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Scotland, USA and Austria. Very recently he performed an opening recital in a well-recognized festival in Lithuania called “Sugrizimai”. His performance received positive reviews from music experts and critics through multiple music magazines and public media. Algirdas’ upcoming season schedule is looking extremely busy, filled with not only solo and brass band activities but also many innovative projects which will take place in the near future.


The George Anderson Band with special guest Mary Pearce – Discount Ticket Offer!

Shakatak’s bass player George Anderson returns to the Hideaway for another evening of jazzfunk and soul, performing songs from his new album ‘Body & Soul’ with vocalists MARY PEARCE, DEBBY BRACKNELL & GEO GABRIEL and an all star band.


George Anderson

George is a solo artist in his own right, playing around the world notably in Cape Town South Africa, where his latest live CD “Cape Town To London” was recorded. George contributes to the songwriting in Shakatak having co- written their hit ‘Day By Day’ which features Grammy Award winner Al Jarreau.

He has now written and produced four critically acclaimed solo albums ‘Positivity’, ‘Expressions’, ‘Cape Town To London’ and now ‘Body & Soul’ which has gone straight in to no.21 on the Solar Radio Album Charts.

For this special night, George will be joined by Mary Pearce, Debby Bracknell and Geo Gabriel and his band to perform a mixture of new and old material, plus the music of George Duke, EWF Brothers Johnson, Crusaders, Prince and other Jazzfunksoul gems.

Definitely a ‘Night to remember’!

Line up: George Anderson – Bass, Mary Pearce – Vocs, Debby Bracknell – Vocs, Geo Gabriel – Vocs, Dave Ital – Guitar, Raffy Bushman – Piano, Dimitris Dimopoulos – Keys, Aaron Liddard – Sax, John Fisher – Drums

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal in Capitol Records Vs Vimeo Copyright Dispute

The ruling said websites are protected from liability for inadvertently hosting music recorded before 1972.

The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from record companies that want to pursue copyright infringement claims against music site Vimeo for hosting unauthorized recordings from the Beatles, Elvis Presley and other classic artists.

The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that said websites are protected from liability even for older music recorded before 1972.

The Capitol Records building in Los Angeles.

Supreme Court Asked if DMCA Safe Harbors Apply to Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

Capitol Records and other music companies sued Vimeo for violating copyright laws based on 199 videos uploaded by users. A federal judge ruled a federal “safe harbor” law did not cover pre-1972 recordings that are protected by state law.

But a New York federal appeals court overturned that ruling, saying service providers would incur heavy costs to monitor every posting or risk “crushing liabilities” under state law.

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Royal Marine Drummers & Top Secret Drum Corp – Mountbatten Festival of Music

Pink Floyd To Release Commemorative Vinyl On World Record Day

Fantastical rock heroes Pink Floyd will be releasing a previously unheard version of their classic instrumental song ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ on 12-inch on World Record Day this year.

Taking place on the 22nd of April, World Record day will commemorate the UK’s independent record shops with over 200 stores expected to be taking part. Numerous artists release special edition vinyl albums or tracks that have been made exclusively for the day. A multitude of artists also honour the day by performing in and around the stores across the nation’s cities. The track will be played at 33 1/3 RPM and will feature a free fold-out poster complete with an A6 sized postcard that will display an iconic image of the band, captured whilst the group were recording their debut single ‘Arnold Layne’.

A group notorious for their experimental musical tendencies and penchant for extremely expressive sounds, Pink Floyd have captured the hearts and imaginations of countless generations. Founded in 1965 by a group of students, the band have since explored a varied skew of sounds that has cemented their status as some of the greatest innovators of the rock movement. Each member is revered in their own right as a pioneer of their own field, in particular the iconic guitarist David Gilmour, whose tasteful and immaculate playing style has left masses of adoring fans in its wake.

A statement regarding the new song reads as follows:

“Written and performed by Syd Barrett, Roger Water, Richard Wright anf Nick Mason, Interstellar Overdrive is an unheard recording from 1966, running at a hefty 14 minutes 57 seconds long. The original recording was done at the Thomson studio in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on November 31, 1966, before the band were signed to EMI. A different, shorter version of the track appears on the band’s debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”.

An event that is to be held in the band’s honour- ‘The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum ‘ will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s first ever album and has been organised to run from May 13th up until October 1st. For more information on this event, please click here.

By Josh Hummerston

Interview with recent Chicago Symphony second flute audition winner Emma Gerstein

Emma Gerstein, principal flute of the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand, has recently won the second flute position in the Chicago Symphony.  We talk to Emma about her experience playing with the orchestra, her audition preparation process and ask her for general audition advice.

  • How long have you been playing with the Auckland Philharmonia? Is the experience what you expected?

I applied via an “expression of interest” last December, and I moved to Auckland to do a 5 month contract starting in February.  The audition for the tenure-track position was in April.  It’s been a joy to live in such a beautiful country, even for such a short time, and to get to play in this orchestra.  I adore my colleagues!

  • What have been some of the highlights playing with the orchestra?

Our Music Director, Giordano Bellincampi, was also new to the APO last season.  He is so wonderful at pushing the orchestra to play to the highest standard.  He expects so much of us, which makes me want to be better all the time.  When he’s on the podium, there’s a real sense that he’s listening and reacting to what’s going on, and that he loves the music.  We did a semi-staged version of Verdi’s Otello with Giordano last July, and it’s a performance I will definitely remember forever.

  • How was your audition day for the Chicago Symphony? How did it compare to other auditions you have taken?

The prelim round was in November, and I flew back to Chicago from Auckland a few days before.  I was worried about how jetlag may impact my playing. I had never traveled so far for an audition before (I had already been in NZ for 2 months before the APO audition), so I felt more pressure than usual because I had invested more.  Also, this was a job I wanted more than just about any other I’d ever gone for – for all of the obvious reasons, but additionally because I grew up in Chicago. On the day I felt the normal nervous audition feelings, only amplified by about 10.

  • How did you feel after your first round?  Did you expect to advance?

I thought I played well, but I really wasn’t sure.  Some things didn’t go according to plan, but others went well. I was hopeful but not super confident. When they announced my number I was so relieved, but then also instantly stressed again.  The finals were almost 3 months later, so I knew I’d have to keep practicing the list.

  • What are some musical factors that you believe help set musicians apart at an audition?

I was able to sit on an audition panel in the APO as a non-voting member, and it was really interesting to be on the other side of the screen.  I think many people are consumed by the technical process of playing their instrument, and they forget that they are making music.  Of course one should strive to play in tune, in time, with a nice sound, etc.  But I think what really sets someone apart is also showing musical style, phrasing, and making that unique and personal to you.  No one wants or expects to hear total perfection, and I think committee members can be more forgiving about small mistakes than I had assumed.

  • How did you prepare for the audition?  Did you follow any kind of regimen? 

I wanted to feel really comfortable with the list, which was massive, so I started about 6 weeks before the prelim. My normal audition m.o. was to procrastinate and then cram, which was occasionally successful but mostly just made me feel super stressed. I worked to maintain my fundamentals during this time – practicing exercises for articulation, vibrato, as well as scales, long tones, etc.  I listened to the pieces A LOT.  Even the ones I felt I knew well. It’s a good reminder of the context, and it helps to keep everything feeling fresh, even if you’ve played the excerpt literally thousands of times.  I also tried to take care of myself, both physically and mentally.  I cut back on coffee and alcohol, and tried to sleep enough and to get exercise.

  • What advice can you offer to those on the audition circuit?

Don’t compare yourselves to others.  I wasted so much time either validating myself or putting myself down based on how other people were doing around me.  There’s no sense focusing on this. I was very inconsistent for a long time.  I still don’t know why I did “well” in certain auditions, and not in others.  So much of this process is totally out of your control, and whether or not you advance or win does not define you as a musician or as a person.


Emma Gerstein is currently Principal Flute of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand.  In February 2017 she was appointed to the position of Second Flute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Riccardo Muti, which she will begin in September 2017.  Prior to the APO Emma was a Flute Fellow at the New World Symphony for two and a half seasons and Principal Flute of the Lexington Philharmonic for one.  She studied with Thomas Robertello at Indiana University (MM) and Robert Langevin at Manhattan School of Music (BM).   For more info go to www.emmagerstein.com