Vienna Ditto & The May (Nigel Firth)
Can you describe your musical style in 3 words?
Spooky music. Damn!
Has lockdown varied the music you’re choosing to listen to or create?
Ooh well personally I've been hitting the old 78s pretty hard since getting a record deck for my birthday in May. So- Lots by Les Paul and Mary Ford, particularly Caravan and How High the Moon which have awesome tape experiments that wowed the crowds when the Beatles did them over 15 years later.
Mystery St. by Eddie Calvert (The Man with the Golden Trumpet). I've considered calling myself Nigel Firth (The Man with the Golden Trumpet) as it sounds so badass. I'll just say I've left the trumpet at home or something. Interestingly this one has a theremin on it which is kind of crazy.
T'ain't No Sin (to Dance Around in your Bones) by the Brooklyn Broadcasters, which looks and sounds like it might be very nearly 100 years old and contains the wonderfully macabre refrain "So ain't no sin/To slip off your Skin/And dance around in your bones." Jesus.
What do you most miss about gigging?
Not much TBH. Getting to visit new places. I do love going to small gigs.
What’s your favourite Reading music venue & why?
The Butler was magic on occasion and used to feel fairly lawless. I loved its cramped intimacy. The Rising Sun was our spiritual home as Vienna Ditto and we recorded right next door at the wonderful Silver Street Studios. I love both. The Rising Sun feels like the building's alive, you know the noises it makes, like when you go up the stairs?
Name another local act or two that we should check out
I'm in Oxford these days and don't get down to Reading so much but Ever Hazel are fantastic and I feel like The Keep Cats are rising stars.
What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve ever played?
There have been a few memorable ones and a few I can't remember at all! I did a roly poly off the stage at Charlbury Riverside Festival and cut my head open, so had to play the rest of the set with blood pouring down my face- I reckon that looked totes rock 'n' roll- although I've watched the video of my roly poly and it really wasn't.
If you could support any band past or present who would it be?
Thirteenth Floor Elevators when they were at their peak would've been good, although it was a brief peak. I guess that's what happens when you take LSD every gig.
What are you working on at present?
Well we've an animated video for Dose of the Salts from our second album which may see the light of day- there's a wonderful man in Australia who is rotoscoping every frame by hand, that's at least 15 frames for every second of a three-and-a-half minute video, so it's taking a while. I'm currently working on a remix of Bruno Muerte's Fibonacci and The May's debut album. I'll let you guess what month that's out.
Catch Vienna Ditto live at South Street Arts Centre 12th March 2021 for the launch of the new album 'Flat Earth'.
New releases for The May are 'The Be EP' & 'Hell EP'. Awesome video content can be found on Vienna Ditto's YouTube channel.
Photo by Wildblanket Photography