Live + Interview – Mermaidens at The Hug and Pint

Mermaidens / Velveteen Riot / Bug, The Hug and Pint Glasgow, 23rd September 2019

Ahead of their show in Glasgow, Alan caught up with Mermaidens for a chat about their new album, influences and life on the road…

Your new album, Look Me In The Eye came out a few weeks ago on 6th September, how does it feel now that the album has been released and what’s the feedback and reception been like so far?

Gussie: It feels good! We’ve been so busy that it feels a little surreal.

The album artwork is really impressive, engaging and eye-catching.  What kind of ideas did you have in terms of creating that?

Lily: I made the image for the album artwork. I really wanted it to be this kind of genderless human, that was kind of half formed and you might look at it at different times and see different faces.  It was shot on film with multiple images of our friends’ faces overlaid.

How did James Goldsmith (audio engineer/producer) utilise your sound in the studio? Did he bring out more of your sounds and experimentation?

Abe: Yeah, he’s a really helpful collaborator of ours. We’ve worked with him for around 5 years. It’s been really good to build our relationship with him. He understands what we’re trying to do.
Gussie: This is our third album with him and we made an active decision that he would be producing it.
Lily: We wanted to challenge ourselves as a group, so we wanted to push ourselves and we also wanted him to push himself. We all agreed that would be the direction.
Gussie: It was lucky that we were able to have a lot more time and we could afford to be more experimental.

I noticed you released a special guitar pedal called the ‘Moon Cycle’. Can you tell us a bit more about the creation of the pedal?

Lily: We were recording and throwing some ideas around about some fun things we could do, as we wanted to do something special for the release of the album, so we thought we’d build a guitar pedal. In the recording of the album we were playing heaps of modulation pedals, especially with the guitar tone, so we were like, let’s make a pedal that does that.
Gussie: When we were talking about this idea, I did a quick Google looking for female pedal makers, just out of curiosity, and there’s not very many. That was an interest of ours to work with our friend who makes amps and pedals and is sort of just starting out and we wanted to give her a bit of a platform

(Further details regarding the ‘Moon Cycle’ pedal can be found here)

You’ve been touring Europe for most of the past month and you also visited earlier this year.  Are there any places or venues you’ve really enjoyed visiting on the tour so far?

Abe: Glasgow has been really cool.  We’ve also noticed there’s really good vegan food here!
Gussie: People are really friendly here as well.
Abe: We’ve also really enjoyed being in Europe as well. It feels like we get pampered here, which is quite enjoyable.
Gussie: They really like to show you their local food and local alcohol and they really want to make it a more memorable time, which is special.

When you were starting a band, did you have any particular influences?

Gussie: Lots. We have some crossovers but we have some different music tastes though, which makes for a really unique sound. I think our influences show through in our individual playing style. We definitely had a few particular artists and songs that we used as like a recording inspiration.
Lily: I guess our crossovers, especially between us, are like PJ Harvey, these like strong song writing characters, who maybe stylistically we don’t emulate, but their power really inspires us.
Abe: We like Warpaint a lot, but I think back to the point of us having different music tastes, I think when people ask us what’s our influences, I don’t think we intend to make any type of music, obviously everyone is absorbing music all the time and you’re regurgitating it in some way, we’re not trying to sound like anyone, we’re just making each react to each other.
Gussie: We got introduced to The Slits during this album. That was a really inspiring guitar and listening experience for me.

Have you got any plans for the rest of this year and on to next year?

Gussie: Yep, after the tour we’re going back to New Zealand and we’ll do a small tour to release the album. Then we’re chilling out for a bit – Christmas and stuff.
Lily: Summer holidays, we deserve a little rest and then it’s on to the festival season.
Abe: We’re playing a festival called Laneway.

Would you be quite keen to come back to the UK for festivals?

Definitely. There’s some amazing festivals over here. That’s the hope for next year…

Onto the gig…

Monday at The Hug and Pint – the title of Arab Strap’s fifth album and also the inspiration behind the name of tonight’s venue – The Hug and Pint. Coincidentally, tonight’s gig is also on a Monday.

When entering the venue, you can easily see why it’s spoken of fondly – there’s a welcoming atmosphere and the upstairs area includes a highly rated, award winning kitchen and bar, which has an exclusively vegan menu and plenty of tasty options to feast on. Heading down into the basement where the music venue is located, you’re immediately greeted with lots of posters adorning the walls of upcoming gigs around the Glasgow area, showing the vibrancy of a diverse music scene in the city.

The music begins with a recently formed band called Bug, who set the tone for a great night ahead with their songs about Goblins and other songs so fresh that the titles are still to be decided.

Next up are Velveteen Riot, who blend soft vocals with a crescendo of guitars and drums.  Highlights include a recently released single called Peaches and their fierce set closer Model Girl. They even manage to squeeze in a superb cover of Be My Baby, originally released by The Ronettes.

Mermaidens close the night with a setlist containing songs from all three of their albums. The venue may be small and intimate, but the sound is near perfect and really showcases the in-depth power of Mermaidens’ music. With Gussie Larkin on guitar/vocals, Lily West on bass/vocals, complimented by Abe Hollingsworth on drums, the songs sound excellent in a live setting and tracks from their new album, Look Me In The Eye are particular standouts such as I Might Disappear, Bastards and Millennia.

Concluding their tour with a selection of gigs around the UK and Europe for the remaining dates in September, Mermaidens will then head back to New Zealand to play Laneway Festival in Auckland on 27 January 2020. Judging from tonight’s stellar performance and their catalogue of songs released so far, it won’t be long until Mermaidens are a regular name included on major festival line-ups throughout the world.

For further details regarding Mermaidens’ music and their upcoming gigs, please visit their Bandcamp page. Their record label, Flying Nun Records, are also worth checking out for more great recommendations of music coming out from New Zealand.

Words and photos by Alan Campbell

27th September 2019

Live + Interview – Olympia at Patterns

Olympia / Ciaran Lavery, Patterns Brighton, 11th September 2019

Fast making a name for herself as a respected songwriter and performer, Olympia – aka Olivia Bartley – is back on the road touring worldwide with her new album Flamingo. I caught up with her before her show at Patterns in Brighton and, as well as chatting about the London congestion charge and the lure of the fairground rides on the pier, we talked about her love of music, playing live and creating something new…

How did it all start for you and what keeps you going in the music business?

I loved playing music, I used to download Joni Mitchell tabs off the internet and I would just play. I didn’t know guitar, I’m self-taught and I would just experiment. It was like an itch trying to play what I thought I could hear and that led me here. Now I know a little bit more and it’s like the more you know the less discovery there is so I think what drives me is I’m curious about everything, I still have that sense of discovery, like what if I try this and this and this…

So what happened was I was playing in Melbourne and a musician found one of my songs, she was quite popular and she just went on social media and said ‘what do you all think?’ and it sort of started an avalanche and here I am. What keeps me going is that I can only do it when I’m excited. I’m not in it for the money or the women!

Is social media generally a good or bad thing for you, it sounds like it helped you get started?

I do have periods when I’ll just turn all the apps off my phone. It can be great or a necessary evil but I think that you’ve got to look after your mental health so if you’re not feeling great you shouldn’t feel you have to look at it.

You’ve been out a lot already on tour this year and you’ve got more dates coming up. How do you deal with that, what are the highs and lows?

The good thing is you work so hard every day towards making it happen and those hours on stage are the most important and the most joyful, you do all of it just for that – to be playing every day, because in Australia the population’s smaller so you don’t get to play every night like you would here. It’s so great to be playing every day and I feel my fingers getting harder and my skills getting better. I do feel tired but I feel that it’s a privilege.

When you toured with Julia Jacklin you definitely picked up lots of new fans in the UK. How did that come about, did you know each other already?

I hadn’t met her before, we have mutual friends and they kept saying ‘you’ll love each other’ and she’s great. It felt like Julia was really generous in spirit and it was so wonderful of her to take me on tour with her.

You’ve been to Brighton before – do you get to see much of the places you play while you’re there?

I’m lucky because I’ve been to Brighton a few times, it started with The Great Escape. Brighton’s very like Melbourne and I always feel instantly at ease here. Tomorrow we head to Paris then Amsterdam, Berlin, then Reeperbahn Festival before we do an Australian tour.

How different are the crowds at festivals from gigs?

It’s so different. It’s great to have an audience who probably would never have heard you before, it’s so varied, what I love about festivals is summer and the openness, especially where there’s one stage where people come and sit and they’re often just music lovers open to new things.

When you’re writing is it always from experience or drawn from things you see?

There’s a great quote ‘Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the only reason I do it is because I’ve done it before and I know that I’ve done it’. My writing is things I’ve collected from the world, usually a metaphor or visual metaphor… I saw this picture of red honey from Utah, so what had happened was this beekeeper thought ‘I’ll just save money and feed my bees sugar’ and he got candy canes because bees love sugar and it ruined the honey and every bee in Utah. We have such an effect on each other as people that you sort of shape each other, if you’re with someone long enough you can become a bit of each other and I thought about that and it became the song Honey but it’s more about humans than bees.

Lastly, you recently did an industry workshop giving advice to new and emerging artists – is there a definitive piece of advice?

I loved doing it, I have a lot of young artists contact me and my main thing is ‘Get ready to work’. We’re all different but I can just say for me I need to write 9-5, don’t wait for inspiration, it’s not a burden, if you feel good or feel bad just write through it because it’s not just your craft, it’s also getting better at the skills of writing… read books that no-one’s reading, listen to bands no-one’s talking about…

Great advice and if you haven’t heard Olympia yet, definitely take on board the bit about listening to new things. The gig later that night was one of the most enjoyable I’ve been to in a while…

Opening up the evening, newly local Ciaran Lavery proved that one man and his guitar is all that’s needed to hold the attention of the crowd. With a cluster of beautifully written songs and chats about his childhood, the set felt like an intimate gathering of friends, and kudos must go to the listeners for just listening and not providing the usual humdrum of background conversation that infects so many gigs, particularly support slots. With a feel of Leonard Cohen in a seaside town, Ciaran will be one to look out for on the Brighton circuit.

Heading straight into a set filled with hypnotic psych pop tunes, Olympia drew the audience deeper into an already happy and relaxed atmosphere. Mixing tracks old and new, her hints to the nostalgia of music past are clear to hear but take on a new twist that brings things bang up to date. With inter-song tales of sharks in the bath and intriguing all hours visits received by a neighbour, the ambient mood continued as the band worked their way between two different setlists for added surprise (to them as much as us), an end of set cover of Rock n Roll Suicide an added bonus.

The songs on Flamingo get better with each listen. From the New York new wave feel of Star City to the quieter tones of Nervous Riders and a personal favourite in Shoot to Forget (think Yeah Yeah Yeahs fused with Alvvays), the album is a grower and a welcome addition to any record collection. The Australian scene has thrown out some really cool and competent musicians over the past few years with the aforementioned Julia Jacklin, Nice Biscuit and King Gizzard (not forgetting their Lizard Wizard) to name but a few – undoubtedly Olympia has joined the list of artists ensuring that it remains very firmly highlighted on the map of new music you should ignore at your peril.  

For more from Olympia and Ciaran Lavery just follow the links here

Words and photos by Siobhan

13th September 2019

 

Interview – Dog of Man

Brighton’s Dog of Man have something special going on with their upcoming album and you can all get involved by doing much more than just streaming the tracks… find out more about the interactive release and the band behind it here…

You’ve been described as ‘great gritty DIY’ (Citizen Fish), ‘accordion driven acid punk’ (Viva Magazine) and ‘dream headliners for an end of the world party‘ (Brighton Source) – how would you describe your music and each other?

I would describe our music as a mishmash of punk rock and psychedelia with gypsy influences. Comes with the territory of an accordion. We come from a variety of musical backgrounds and influences, bluegrass, klezmer, breakcore and punk rock so the result is the freak out music that we make. We wanted to steer rock music away from the slow melodic towards the exciting and hectic.

Brighton’s a continuous hub of activity and creativity – where are your favourite places to go around the city?

Love to go to the Bee’s Mouth for a pint and chat with Superhans, or pop over to The Albert for a good show. During the day, Marwood cafe doth provide. Inevitably we all end up at the nudist beach anyway.

You’re part way through the process of putting out an interactive album Dogmatic Manual – how does that work and where did the concept come from?

The concept came from the fighting fantasy novels like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in which you choose where to go for the next part of the story (turn to page x to go left). This concept was recently revitalised by Charlie Brooker’s Bandersnatch. The album works like this: each week a song comes out with a video on Facebook. Embedded within the video is a poll with two options. Whatever the majority of people choose decides what the next song (and video) will be and the definitive track listing of the album which will be available at our launch party and online after the 7 weeks are up.

What’s the reaction been like to the tracks you’ve shared so far and are things going the way you expected?

Great! More and more people are getting involved with the polls and the views are getting more traction every week. We have been getting well over a thousand views on the release days and we expect that number to keep rising with each weekly submission.

The videos accompanying the songs have a great old home movie feel to them but have clearly been shot with a lot more skills than the average old home movie maker – who’s behind the camera and the ideas?

There’s a variety of talent behind the lens. Opiate – the first release was shot by James Van Vliet. This shoot involved a crew of 4 people, with incredible costume and design by Laura Byrom and her enthusiastic team. It was a high concept piece of work which involved a lot of planning and preparation and we were very pleased with the end result.

We have also utilised the gonzo skills of Babak Roshan, who is a veteran photographer and world traveller with years of experience behind a camera capturing ad hoc footage in any kind of environment. All videos aside from Opiate are edited by the accordion player Mike and the concepts for the videos are created by the band collectively to suit the theme of the song with essentially zero budget.

And what can we expect from your upcoming live dates and album launch?

Expect a raucous show! You’ve probably never seen an electric accordion psych punk band and the performances are always packed with frenetic energy. We are an excitable bunch, which is why it’s an honour to play alongside Town of Cats and Buffos Wake who know how to get the party moving!

Pending live dates:

19th July – London, The Finsbury
8th August – London, Dublin Castle
16th August – Brighton, The Hope & Ruin (album launch)

Check out the tracks released so far and have your say in future weeks on the Dog of Man Facebook page – you can also find them on Instagram and Twitter

12th July 2019

Interview – Grapefruit

Hailing from Kent and bringing atmospheric indie tunes to the table, five piece Grapefruit release their enchanting new single into the world today. Get to know the band and take a listen to Soak below…

Give us a quick introduction to Grapefruit…

Grapefruit are a five piece band from all over Kent – we’re a bit of a clumsy mish-mash of old friends and strangers meeting online. Grace (guitar) and Angela (vocals) started Grapefruit a little while after finishing school and then met James (drums) through a desperate online search. Ollie (bass) was James’ best mate who came along to our first ever gig and joined us straight after that. We played like that for a year or so before Lew (guitar), a childhood friend of Ollie’s, came to see us audition for Pride in a drag bar and he’s been with us ever since.

It’s hard to describe what we aim for except to see what happens when we all come together with our vastly different music tastes to create music that isn’t what we are all used to hearing. Debating the value of country music can be helpful for creative flow it turns out.

Tell us about your new single Soak

Soak is the perfecting of the very first thing we started playing when Lew came along to his first practice with us. He instantly clicked with us and we love the music we are making with him now.

The song is about the feeling of dissociating, we live in a world that is so overwhelmingly chaotic and cluttered that you can lose yourself as life rushes past. The song is loud, intense and relentless, which is like the experiencing of dissociating sometimes.

There’s a fair amount of festival activity around Kent (By the Sea and Folkestone Psych Fest spring to mind), has it been a supportive environment for you growing as a band?

Maidstone’s been a bit of a hub for us; it’s Ange and Grace’s hometown and we’ve played Maidstone Fringe Fest a couple of times. Just this year we’ve been picking up a bit locally; we played the Fringe Festival and Hope Festival this year and we’ll also be playing the Faversham Beer and Music Festival in July. It’s exciting to get this support.

What’s been your favourite live show or venue that you’ve played to date?

Get in Her Ears are an incredible collective who promote women and femme people in music; we played for them at Notting Hill Arts Club and really enjoyed it. It was already a nostalgic place for us because it was one of our first ever gig venues back when the band had just started with three members, so it was really cool to come back with more members and more music and more experience, plus to play alongside other really talented female fronted bands. We also found out that night that our new single (Black and Blue) had gotten played by BBC Introducing!! We spent a lot of the night enjoying the really good vibes and dancing.

There seems to be a flurry of articles questioning whether streaming is killing or saving the music industry – what’s been your experience?

It’s a hard question. On the one hand, you could say streaming is killing the industry – 1,000 plays equates to no money for the artist whereas 1,000 single sales would’ve been £990 before. It’s somewhat harder to get somewhere and make a living making music. On the other hand, it is allowing small bands/artists to take control of their own music. Maybe it’s changed the music industry as opposed to killed it and it’s all about adapting to the times.

And what are you planning and hoping for during the rest of 2019?

We are writing and recording and releasing all year. It’s been really good to focus on new music and we’re trying to pick up the pace and spread the Grapefruit vibe.

You can listen to Soak now and keep up with the latest news from Grapefruit here

Header Photo © Jon Mo, B/W photo © fillm

28th June 2019

 

Interview – Outer Spaces

From the heart of Baltimore, a city with music running through its veins, Cara Beth Satalino brings a new album from her indie-pop project Outer Spaces, drawing vocal comparisons with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Soccer Mommy. A collection of tracks full of clear melodies and reflective lyrics, the result is a cathartic and emollient body of work. We spoke to Cara Beth to find out more about the inspiration for her songs and the eclectic set of artists she listened to in the process of writing and recording.

Your new album Gazing Globe is out on 28th June – how long has it been in the making and who’s been involved?

It’s been quite a long process actually. I started writing some of these songs about three years ago. In 2017 I took a little break from playing shows to finish writing and I demo-ed everything myself at home before going into the studio, so I had a very good idea where I wanted things to go. I recorded the record at Tempo House in Baltimore, working with Chester Gwazda and Jared Paolini in March of 2018. My good friend and former band-mate Rob Dowler played drums on all of the tracks and Chester played the bass and keys.

In the process of making the album, you said that you were reflecting on a period where you were ‘obsessed with finding music from the past that has a cult following now, but never really ‘caught on’ at the time it was released, either because it was ahead of its time or simply because no-one had really heard it’. Which artists did you have in mind that you’d recommend?

One of my favourite albums is East and West by Anna Domino. It’s incredible, and so innovative. I listen to it weekly. Linda Perhacs’ record Parallelograms is another favourite. Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Vivien Goldman. It seemed to me that there were so many women making amazing music and going largely unnoticed. I also fell in love with the music of Francis Bebey, Ernie Graham and The Cleaners from Venus.

Tell us some more about Gazing Globe and what we can expect.

When I wrote a lot of the songs on Gazing Globe I was doing some exploration of my inner self, starting a daily meditation practice. A few of the songs reference another person, who is most likely myself. The title track came to me more like a vision. I liked the image of a gazing globe on a moonlit night. In the song, the character is compelled to explore the garden after dark, in a sleepy haze, further disoriented by the distorted reflection of themselves and their surroundings. They are looking for this person whose reflection they see, but it’s really just them all along. It’s kind of a metaphor for the trap of self-improvement. Basically, Gazing Globe is a record about learning to soften to yourself and really love yourself.

 

How does it differ from your past work and what’s influenced this?

People have told me since I was young that my songs were ‘sad’, which I’ve always hated. As if there are two feelings: happy and sad. What a boring and limiting way to experience the world. I think on my last two records I was trying to make the ‘sad’ songs more peppy, more upbeat, more poppy. With this record I was trying to get outside the box with my songwriting and guitar style. On Paper Flowers that meant letting go and deliberately choosing a very simplistic chord progression, losing that sense of ‘structure’ completely. On songs like I Slowly Close my Eyes I was really trying to make this windy guitar part that kind of pulls you along gently, but doesn’t feel complicated. I was just getting into meditation and I was trying to express my experience of it through music.

What’s your local music scene like in Baltimore at the moment?

After a bit of a slump, it seems like it’s really starting to come back. A few of my favourites have or are about to release new music this year. I’m especially into Abdu Ali’s new record. Baltimore is home to so many amazing artists so it’s nice to feel like the music scene is thriving again.

And what’s next for Outer Spaces?

I’ve already started writing for a new record, though I haven’t made my mind up yet about how it will sound. I’ve been working on stripping things down and doing more solo performances, so I’d imagine it will be a bit more sparse, but time will tell. In the meantime, we’ll be hitting the road and touring a bunch this summer.

Gazing Globe is released on 28th June via Western Vinyl; for a taste of what’s to come you can listen to latest single Album for Ghosts here and follow Outer Spaces for updates on future releases and live dates.

Header photo © Chester Gwazda

7th June 2019

Interview – Diving Station

Ever feel that things are spinning by too quickly and you’d like to just stop, contemplate and enjoy the moment? Then you’ll appreciate not just the sentiment behind Diving Station’s new single Film but also its soothing, multi-layered mix of emotive vocals, melodies and atmosphere. George and Sean tell us how it all came about, what’s coming next and give a shout out to some other great artists, venues and people who’ve helped them along the way…

Introduce us to Diving Station – who’s involved and how did you get together as a band?

George: Hello! We’re a band made up of Anna McLuckie on clàrsach and vocals, Sean Rogan on guitar, George Burrage on bass and Barney Kimberley on drums and vocals. We came up with the term ‘harp-driven dream pop’ and it seems to have stuck for now! Each member is originally from a different corner of the UK (Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading and the Isle of Man) but we all met whilst studying music in Manchester, bonding over similar influences such as Bon Iver, Radiohead and Bombay Bicycle Club. From then we started writing songs, doing gigs around Manchester and here we are 4 years later!

Your latest single Film has just been released – what’s it about and what’s the reaction to it been like so far?

Sean: Film is a story of struggle and frustration in a world that moves so fast we’ve no time to reflect on and deal with our own thoughts. The reaction to it has been wonderful, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support, especially from the likes of BBC 6 Music and Introducing, it means a lot! This is the quickest turnaround between writing and recording we’ve ever had, so it’s exciting that some of our fans that have watched us live haven’t even heard it yet, but they seem to like it so far!

You’re based in Manchester, much lauded for its music – what’s going on there currently that we should know about?

George: Manchester International Festival is happening again next month. The line-up of music and art is incredible so I’d encourage anyone to attend. Sounds From The Other City Festival in Salford is also fantastic, as well as Dot to Dot and Manchester Jazz Festival, all of which took place in May. There’s always so much music to see from a ridiculous amount of good venues like Band on the Wall, Gorilla, YES, Eagle Inn, Fuel Cafe, Deaf Institute, Dulcimer, Albert Hall and many more. Through studying together, we’ve met some great bands like Paige Kennedy, Cosmo Calling, HAZY, Sylvette, Darcie and Porij.

You’ve toured across the UK – any special venues or standout memories?

George: We recently played a gig in Leeds at the lovely Hyde Park Book Club. Our friends Heir organised the night, colourfully exhibiting local artists around the venue, and we were on the bill with Caro. They’re an exciting band and we were lucky enough to have them support us at our EP launch earlier that month.

Are You Listening? is a great charity festival in Reading. We were on early but there was a big crowd that seemed passionate about finding new music throughout the day. We also had some downtime and managed to sneak in a country walk which always helps.

What’s the hardest thing about trying to make your name in the music business and what or who has helped you on your way?

Sean: I think the hardest thing is simply making yourself heard by those that can help you move forward. To reflect on what we said about our latest single, the world moves so fast that we can release a song, get a super enthusiastic response from our audience, then feel like we don’t even exist a month later. Staying on people’s radars is tricky, and I think someone that’s helped us a lot with staying in people’s heads is our artist, Amrit Randhawa. The aesthetic he’s created across our recent releases is so distinctive, and he taught us a lot about building a visual world around our music, something which we’d probably have left behind.

George: Brighter Sound’s mentoring programme has given me so much invaluable advice on the music business from industry professionals and musicians I admire. Ryan Paul and the BBC Introducing in Manchester team have also been incredibly supportive since our last EP Feather Mouth was released.

And what are you up to for the rest of the year?

Sean: Festival season is just kicking in and we’re super excited to be off to Glastonbury to perform on the Toad Hall stage, as well as Bluedot, Tramlines Fringe and EskFest. After that, we’ll be releasing another single, along with a headline gig at YES in Manchester and a short UK tour surrounding it. Outside of that we’re still writing away, and forever trying to catch up with recording the backlog of songs we’d love to share with the world!

Listen to Film now and follow Diving Station here

Photos © Oliver Pringle
Film artwork by Amrit Randhawa

5th June 2019

Ban Summers – Music, Fibromyalgia & Me

Being a recording artist and playing live can be testing at the best of times. Add to this a diagnosis of chronic illness and many people would be inclined to call a halt to the whole thing. But by approaching the process with a different perspective, musician Edward Perry is far from quitting his much loved musical career, producing tracks and performing live as Ban Summers. Recent singles No Better and It’s On You pit lyrics written about being ill in modern Britain against a relaxing, soulful, lo-fi backdrop and have caught the attention of BBC Music Introducing (Solent) amongst others.

We spoke to him about living and making music with fibromyalgia, a condition described by Fibromyalgia Action UK as ‘… a chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue. The pain tends to be felt as diffuse aching or burning, often described as head to toe… The fatigue ranges from feeling tired to the exhaustion of a flu-like illness. It may come and go and people can suddenly feel drained of all energy – as if someone just pulled the plug’.

You’ve been a musician for some time, how did you get started?

I had been interested in music for a while but, when I was about 14, I heard Lightspeed Champion’s album that Dev Hynes recorded in a day, which was before his proper debut album, just something he put up to download on his blog and I loved it so much. It made me think that if he can do that in a day, maybe if I pick up a guitar, I could do something almost half as good over a year. It’s now about 12 years on and I’m still learning how to make an album. So I went with my Mum to Lidl and got a £30 nylon stringed acoustic guitar. I think Mum wanted to test out whether I was going to stick to guitar before having to shell out for a proper one. But I learnt a couple of songs and chords and moved on to my Squire Strat that I still play now. I wasn’t any good at learning other people’s songs though, so soon moved onto writing my own really bad songs. I was 15 when I played my first gig as The Boy I Used To Be (and I eventually got to support Lightspeed Champion at Wedgewood Rooms) and then that ended up after a lot of gigs and festivals becoming a full band with Max, Callum and Andy as Show Home for a short while.

When did you find out about the fibromyalgia; what was your reaction?

Well, I’ve been ill since my teens in different ways, ME and mental health the bulk of it, so I was kind of prepped for it when the diagnosis came. A family member also has fibromyalgia, so it wasn’t unknown to me, but was a new thing to be experiencing personally and that took time to understand what was happening. I still don’t totally understand it now and new symptoms pop up regularly, so understanding it is an ongoing process for me. I think it was a bit disappointing as I had previously had a few good years of health and my ME was in remission, so it flipped my life upside down still, for sure. It took a long time to start building myself back up. Then band stuff took a back seat and I really lost interest in music for a while because I was frustrated and jealous of not being able to take part.

How does it affect you day to day?

I am tired, like all of the time. I’m not sure if I can remember a time where I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t uncomfortable in some way. The joint and muscle pain is bad across my back, legs and hands, it affects my concentration and muddles my brain, plus lights and noise can be an issue which isn’t a great recipe for a budding musician. On top of that, all the medication makes me feel worse too with other side effects, but I’ll stop moaning for now!

So how have you adapted things in terms of making music?

Well, I’ve had to reshape my expectations of myself in my general life and I had to reach that acceptance in my musical life too. At the moment, my hands swell up after I’ve played guitar, so I’ve moved onto using a launchpad and using samples of my songs to play them live in a way that is hopefully more accessible to me but is still true to what a live show is. So now I just make music whenever I’m able and over time I’ve amassed a lot of songs so I can just work at my own pace and then these songs get deconstructed to play at gigs. Plus I don’t have any money at all, so it’s all recorded at home on basic and cheap equipment that I’ve collected over the years in the simplest way it could be done, finishing it on the laptop, bouncing it down to an MP3 and uploading to Soundcloud and Spotify. It’s the most DIY way you could probably be, though admittedly not unusual these days recording and releasing music from your bedroom, but that suits me because though I have no money and this makes no money, I’m not really spending out on it either. It’s the cheapest and most soul enriching thing I can do and, despite the pain and fatigue it causes, it does help me be a happier and more fulfilled person.

Tell us some more about your new tracks It’s On You and No Better…

It’s On You is about privilege and how that may shape your world view or blind you from seeing privilege in process. People can get defensive about it and think that inviting diversity is limiting their opportunities or discriminating against them, but it isn’t. There is more than enough room for everyone and we should be seeking more diversity everywhere, because we miss out on those important voices otherwise.

No Better was written not long after the Brexit referendum and was a way of me getting my frustration out at the state we were in, with people lying and profiteering, but also acknowledging the rise in my generation’s passion to be heard. It’s like venting my thoughts in the first half but also builds to a more hopeful ending.

Hopes and plans for the rest of 2019?

I am going to be releasing as much music as possible this year, with maybe an album coming later in the year (so surprise if you’ve read this far, that secret is just for you). I’ve been silent for too long and I have a lot to say and music to share. I’m also going to be playing a few gigs here and there and really just trying to get as many people listening as possible.

Follow Ban Summers and listen to No Better and It’s On You here

Next live date is at The House of Rapture, Portsmouth, on 2nd April with Penelope Isles and Barbudo 

You can access more information and support with fibromyalgia on the Fibromyalgia Action UK website

20th March 2019

Interview – Tugboat Captain

Released into the world today, Tugboat Captains’s new single Be Strong, Smoke Less offers words of wisdom alongside a welcome serving of sun-drenched jangle pop. Its opening refrain is instantly relatable in a time where expectations are high and we all need to make some space for reality (Be strong, smoke less, maybe you’ll feel less depressed – I‘ve tried but I need something to relax my mind). It’s a track that will stay in your head long after listening and offers enough intrigue to make the London quartet’s upcoming tour dates look a very attractive proposition. Say hello to the band and read on for the story behind the song, service station etiquette and more…

Hey there, say hello and tell us who’s involved in Tugboat Captain…

Hello! Tugboat Captain has had a number of members over the last year or so since we formed and has always been made up of family and friends. At the moment we’re a four piece with Josh on bass, Buddy on keys and bassoon, Georgia on drums and myself (Sox) on guitar. We’ve stripped back the touring line-up a bit so we’re a bit more streamlined and also a bit more like The Beatles. We also all sing!

Your new single Be Strong, Smoke Less is out today – what’s it all about?

Be Strong, Smoke Less is a song about some advice that I frequently get given to me by my Mum. The song explores that feeling of trying to be the best person you can be but not doing it necessarily for yourself. We’ve been playing this track out on the road for nearly a year now and it really feels like I should have quit smoking by now.

Off the back of this, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I would say the advice to be strong and smoke less is pretty strong advice to be given but I haven’t given it much heed so perhaps not the best? A wise man once told me not to slag off other bands on the internet in case you run into them at a service station. I think that’s something to live by.

You’re touring across the UK – how difficult is it to arrange and finance a tour independently?

The organisational side of it can be pretty tough as it just requires liaising with an enormous number of people who are scattered across the UK and like us have the same DIY ethos. This tour took us about two months to get fully booked and organised so it’s a pretty time-consuming task. This is the biggest tour we’ve ever attempted and we’re pretty scared about our health. Most of the tour is sleeping on friends’ floors (sofas if we’re really lucky) and eating meal deals so we can be financially ship shape. As it gets closer and closer I do feel like we’ve made a grave error and we may not make it back to London alive.

Which other artists will you be listening to as you make your way round the country?

We have a playlist of van classics that we always seem to have on and always seems to get us through long journeys between cities – this mainly includes children’s TV themes, Van Halen and Chris De Burgh. If we’re not listening to that I guess we usually listen to lots of our mates’ music. We’re lucky enough to know loads of people in great bands putting out great music. At the moment we’re all on a bit of a mad Enjoyable Listens’ rush – we met them doing a show in Milton Keynes and we’ve been best pals since, they’re even joining us on a couple of our tour dates so go check ‘em out. Other than that, it’s probably just going to be Wilco.

And what’s the dream (awake or asleep)?

Matching Flying-V instruments for the whole band (Flying-V acoustic, Flying-V double bass, Flying-V keytar, somebody needs to figure out how to make a drum-kit Flying-V).

Follow Tugboat Captain for updates on future releases and tour information

You can listen to/purchase Be Strong, Smoke Less here 

Tour dates below

March

28th – Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
29th – Manchester, 78 Sackville Street
30th – Staithes, The Captain Cook Inn
31st – Sunderland, Pop Recs
31st – Newcastle, Little Buildings

April

1st – York, The Crescent
2nd – Glasgow, The Glad Cafe
3rd – Liverpool, The Jacaranda Club
6th – Bristol, Hy-Brasil Music Club
7th – Plymouth, The Junction
8th – Falmouth, Killigrew Inn
9th – Truro, Prime
10th – Brighton, The Green Door Store
11th – Bournemouth, Sixty Million Postcards
12th – Ipswich, The Smokehouse
13th – London, The Victoria
19th – Cardiff, Wales Goes Pop
20th – London, Nunfest

Photo via Tugboat Captain

15th March 2019

Preview – The Great Escape

The Great Escape, Brighton, 9th – 11th May 2019

Widely acknowledged as the biggest UK festival platform for breakthrough musicians, The Great Escape returns in May for its annual party in Brighton. Scheduling over 400 artists playing across town in more than 30 venues is no mean feat and TGE includes a multitude of great music across different genres, bringing bands and singers from far and wide to perform. With the first 200+ acts now announced, we picked 5 of the best who we think you should look out for. Get to know Cocaine Piss, Nice Biscuit, Pip Blom, Sick Joy and Weird Milk below, then go and add them all to your must see list…

Cocaine Piss (Belgium)

For anyone who doesn’t know the band, give us a quick intro…

We are Cocaine Piss, we’re cute, we might be weird and we play loud. 

Over the last few years you’ve played hundreds of gigs and festivals across Europe – any notable memories from the UK?

A lot! One of the best festivals we played was Raw Power Festival in London last year. We had a lot of fun playing, and we discovered a lot of great acts there. I think we also found out about Buckfast on that tour, which was a great adventure. Also found a set of false teeth in front of a venue in Liverpool, it made our day.

You’re part of the Toutpartout Showcase at this year’s Great Escape – how did that come about?

We’ve been collaborating with Toutpartout for about 2 years now, and we are very fucking happy to be invited to play at the showcase. The lineup is beautiful, it’s going to be a perfect day.

What can people expect if they come to your set?

They can expect dancing, laughing, feeling like we’re all sharing a beautiful and intense moment together. Also a lot of swearing, and sadly, very little elegance.

And what else are Cocaine Piss up to this year?

We are releasing our new album Passionate and Tragic on April 5th. From then, we’ll be intensively touring for a few months. Come and see us – we have more shows in the UK in early May!

Facebook  Bandcamp

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Nice Biscuit (Australia)

For anyone who hasn’t heard or seen you can you introduce the band…

Hello. We’re Nice Biscuit. We’re a six piece from Brisbane and we play garage psych with a little bit of pop thrown in the mix.

What’s your local music scene like?

The Brisbane music scene is really good and quite tight knit. Because we’re one of the smaller cities everyone’s really supportive of each other’s bands. There’s some really good bands doing some interesting stuff here at the moment and a lot of good quality mid-sized venues to support all the bands. Any given weekend you’d be able to head out and see a good show.

Your album Digital Mountain came out last year. Tell us a bit about it and what’s the reaction to it been like?

Digital Mountain was a bit of a while in the making. It was a long process of writing and recording and then often scrapping those songs in favour of new ones, so it was nice to finally get a bunch of songs that made something cohesive and be able to put that out. It’s just a collection of the best songs we’d written from the 12 months before its release. The reaction to it was good. People seemed to like it and come to the shows and respond positively which is always encouraging.

You’re over in the UK for The Great Escape in May, how did that come about – have you been to Brighton before?

We had some bookers in the UK reach out to us about coming over and playing at The Great Escape and we’d never played overseas before so we thought we’d jump on it. Some of us have been to the UK before, I’m not too sure about Brighton. We’ve never in any musical capacity so it’s pretty exciting to get to travel far away from Australia and get to play music as well.

Plans and hopes for the rest of the year?

I think we’d just like to write and play as much as possible. We’ve started working on new music so ideally we’d like to get another album finished as soon as possible and then move on to some new stuff again. We get quite restless playing the same songs for too long and like to change it up as much as we can. We all like playing live so we’d like to try and play to as many new people in as many new cities as we can. I suppose just play as much music as possible.

Facebook  Soundcloud

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Pip Blom (The Netherlands)

For anyone just discovering you can you give us a quick insight into who you are and where you’re from?

We are Pip Blom, that is my name and the name of the band. My brother, Tender Blom, also plays in the band. He plays guitar and sings, just like me. Then there is Gini Camron who plays the drums and Darek Mercks who plays bass. We all live in Amsterdam.

You seem to be constantly touring – is this hard to maintain and are there any stand out tour memories?

Touring is fun but hard at the same time. When we are at home, doing the jobs that make us a living, we can’t wait to be on the road again. But if we are away too long we miss our loved ones and the peace and quiet of our private bedrooms. Playing in front of enthusiastic audiences makes up for a lot of things though. And we have an app in which we mark all the special places on the road – great shops or petrol stations!

What’s the best thing about playing at festivals?

Playing at festivals can be hard, ‘cause half of the audience doesn’t necessarily come to see you, but trying to conquer those crowds is fun when it all works out. Also, at festivals, you get to meet other bands. Sometimes the bands you know and love, like Sports Team, Personal Trainer or Canshaker Pi.

What should we expect from your set?

An uptempo set full of energy and fun. And maybe some new songs from our upcoming debut Boat which will be released on May 31st.

And what’s on the horizon for the rest of the year?

SXSW, lots of playing in the UK and the rest of Europe, some Dutch festivals and some more club shows in the fall. And maybe going back to the USA…

Facebook  Bandcamp

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Sick Joy (UK)

Can you give us a quick band intro…

Hello, welcome. Sit down, grab a sherry. Indulge. Everything is fleeting. We do songs. If you like lazy musical stereotypes, chances are you’ll liken us to Nirvana.

You played your first Brighton gig back in 2016 with other local favourites Demob Happy and Tigercub – how was that as a debut show and what’s changed for you since then?

As far as I can remember it was good. Since then Brexit was born and Trump became president. But I swear it’s got nothing to do with us. We’re actually on tour with Demob Happy right now so there’s a little serendipity.

Who else on the local scene would you recommend?

Projector, Murmur, Tigercub, Demob Happy. Many.

How does it feel to be on the Great Escape line-up for 2019?

The last two I’ve worked behind a bar for it and that’s fucking awful, so it’s gonna be fun to be drinking the beers instead of pouring them and cleaning up the sick.

And what’s in the pipeline for Sick Joy?

New record, more touring. Survival, both literally and financially. The plight of all bands trying to live.

Facebook  Soundcloud

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Weird Milk (UK)

Introduce us to Weird Milk…

Weird Milk is a band created by Zach, Charlie and Alex a few years ago… man, it feels like an age away. We all come from the countryside outside the wannabe city of Milton Keynes and left the farmyards to write music together in London.

You’ve played with some great bands over the past year (Pip Blom, Thyla, Sports Team to name a few) – any live shows that have stood out?

The most recent shows have stood out a lot because we’ve acquired the irreplaceable talent of Blue (Joe) on the keys, and the sound has got much more oomph/pizzazz.

You were part of the Alternative Escape line-up in 2018 – how was that and did you see much of the rest of the festival?

That was a great show! I can’t remember the name of the pub but it was nice and cosy. We stayed there all day and all night! Really excited to come back.

Why should people come and catch your set this year?

For the chance to leave any anxieties and sorrows at the doors and have fun. There are some nice loving words as well as more serious (attempts of) thought provoking messages. But it’s got good balance to it. We think. Be the judge and come!

And what else should we be looking out for from Weird Milk in 2019?

We will be releasing at least two singles! So if you get curious, do listen, we feel that they’re worth your time. Whoever YOU are. Hey YOU.

Facebook  Soundcloud

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The Great Escape runs from 9th – 11th May in multiple venues across Brighton. You can see the full list of acts confirmed so far here.

Photos reproduced with artists’ permission
(Cocaine Piss © Thierry Tönnes, Nice Biscuit © Jeff Andersen Jnr, Weird Milk © Timothy Casten)

4th March 2019

Made in Greece – Inner Ear Records

Discovering an independent label with an impressive roster of artists is always going to make you sit up and pay attention. Not that Inner Ear Records are new – they’ve been around since 2007 and have spent that time building the label’s reputation by working with a plethora of new and innovative artists in their native Greece. Based in the carnival city of Patras, Inner Ear have a pool full of talent with some really exciting releases on their books.

From psych to dance and experimental pop, there are so many artists worth checking out so do take a look through their portfolio at your leisure. In the meantime, it’s been a huge pleasure to speak to four of their acts – Bazooka, Daphne and The Fuzz, Goodbye Bedouin and Vagina Lips, all highly recommended listening. Get to know them here and find yourselves some great new music in the process…

Bazooka

Give us a quick band intro – who are Bazooka?

Bazooka is a 4 piece band, at sometimes 5 in the past. We are originally from Volos, a small coastal town in the centre of the Greek peninsula. We formed in 2008 and relocated to Athens in 2009. Since then we are playing around Europe and Greece and we have also toured the US. We are playing a mix of punk and post punk with a lot of 60s’ influences. We have two albums on the US label Slovenly Recordings. The first one is a self titled LP released in 2013 and the second one is the Useless Generation LP released in 2016 that marked our transition from singing in English to singing in Greek.

Your new album Zero Hits was released in January – how long did it take to put together and how did it feel hearing the end result?

In November 2017 we worked for the first time with Inner Ear Records releasing the Zougla EP. After that release our manager and dear friend, Penny Liaromati, said that it was the time for a new LP. The plan was from January till May 2018 to write new songs and then go into the studio in June to record the new album. We did the recording sessions  in Electric Highway Studio in the north suburbs of Athens, with the sound engineer being our drummer John Vulgaris and the second engineer being John Damianos. We did all the live takes in almost 2 weeks. We recorded one or two songs every day. When we were done with the live recordings we started overdubbing where it was needed and then we added synths, percussion, some wind instruments here and there and of course the vocals. The whole recording process took us 3 weeks. It was the first time that we used such a long time. Usually we do everything in 1 week. This time the whole process  of recording and being in the studio felt really good and creative!

You’ve toured Europe many times already – any plans for dates outside Greece in the near future?

We are booking a European tour for April 2019. Countries included are Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and The Balkans. We are going to post the schedule on our Facebook and Instagram pages soon.

Best or worst experiences playing live?

One of the best shows was playing at The Shacklewell Arms in London in 2016. We were touring England as part of our European tour and it was the second show in London in a week. We saw all the people that came a few days ago to our first show coming again and it was really moving and the crowd was amazing. Many good shows in France also. French people know how to throw a party. Worst experience was playing in a squat in Leiden, Netherlands in 2011 on our first tour ever. The people were great but we played in a really tiny rehearsal space where it smelled of rat shit because the guys next door were keeping some rats for pets and all the smell from the ventilation system was coming inside this tiny room. It was a nightmare to say the least.

And what’s in the pipeline for the rest of 2019?

For now we are going to promote our new album Zero Hits by playing a lot in Greece and touring Europe. It’s really exciting playing all these new songs live!

Facebook  Instagram
Listen to/buy music from Bazooka

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Daphne and The Fuzz

Introduce us to Daphne and The Fuzz – who’s involved?

Daphne and the Fuzz is the dream pop project of Daphne Lz, a singer, songwriter and videographer from Athens, Greece. We released our debut self-titled album in 2016 and 2AM in 2018, both with Inner Ear Records. The band consists of Orestes Benekas (keys, synths), Giannis Rallis (guitars), Vasilis Nissopoulos (bass and also the producer of 2AM) and Dimitris Doumouliakas (drums).

Your album 2am came out in October – tell us a a bit about it and what the reaction to it has been like…

There was a concept before the recordings that we were going to make an uptempo album. We were inspired by the French electronic scene as well as psychedelic pop/rock bands that turned to dance beats such as Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and MGMT. We have received a mixed reaction to 2AM so far. There are those who liked our debut album a lot – which had a more vintage pop aesthetic – and don’t think that the new genre we tried to approach fits us that well. And there are those who really seem to like the straight-forwardness and extroversion of our new album. I believe that what truly builds a band’s character is above all the songwriting and, as I really enjoy experimenting with new things all the time, I can promise that what’s coming next for Daphne and the Fuzz will sound a bit different as well.

What’s your local music scene like?

Athens’ indie music scene has been rising in the past years. There are so many new talented musicians in such a relatively small city. Even though each project sounds unique there is a continuous interaction between them, and we can’t talk yet about the scene having a ‘settled’ sound because it is still evolving. From dream pop to psychedelic rock, to stoner and electro, it’s definitely indie and self-made, subconsciously inspired by the economical crisis, the political changes and the explosion of technological advances of the past years that formed us and made us take life in our own hands without stopping dreaming. I’m really proud being part of it, but at the same time, the audience, even though supportive, doesn’t seem big enough to bring the local scene outside our country’s borders.

What’s been on your favourite albums list over the last year or so?

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II & Multi-Love, St. Vincent – Masseduction, MGMT – Little Dark Age, Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Gorillaz – The Now Now, Justice – Woman

I also made a Spotify list with our influences and the songs we were listening during the recordings of 2AM – you can listen to it here.

And what are your hopes and plans for the next year?

I am currently working on a new live set – you could call it a one woman show. I think it contributes to our latest album’s sound and it will be more versatile for touring. So my plans for now are to organise my first European tour while I also want to start working on my new ideas.

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Listen to/buy music from Daphne and The Fuzz

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Goodbye Bedouin

Can you introduce the band and describe your music in a sentence?

The name of our band is Goodbye Bedouin and, although we will always have doubts about it, we like to say that we play psych garage music.

Tell us about your debut single Submarine/ Youth

Submarine/Youth is the product of our early rehearsals in the studio. In a sense, these two songs embody the drive and the lust that brought us together in the first place. We had a very good experience working with Manolis Aggelakis (producer), Sakis Bastas (sound engineer), and everyone from Inner Ear Records for its production, and we are really happy that the single is out.

What brought you together as a band – did you already know each other before you formed?

Most of us we were friends before forming the band, so that was in itself a very good reason to get together and see how it would go. Composing and playing music with friends can be interestingly (or exhaustingly) tricky at times, yet it almost always delivers a sense of genuineness and, I guess, substance to the process of making and performing songs. Also, we all shared a very similar desire to adopt a music style that would sound direct and rough, oscillating between garage, rock’n’roll and psych pop.

If you could tour with any 2 other bands/artists what would be your ideal line up?

I think we would all agree on The Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain. But at the same time, I guess an ideal line up could likewise consist of two bands/artists that are not famous. You always have more fun with non-famous people I think.

And what’s next for GoodbyeBedouin?

Working on an album or an EP and performing live at interesting places!

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Listen to/buy music from Goodbye Bedouin

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Vagina Lips

Tell us about the person behind Vagina Lips…

I’m Jimmy Polioudis and I live in Thessaloniki, Greece. I’m 37 years old and I like 80s’ teen movies, vegetarian food, smoking and buying records. The project Vagina Lips was created almost 4 summers away and for the last 3 years I’ve been creating music and playing live shows all by myself. I have released five full albums and four mini albums.

Your album Generation Y dropped in December – who else worked on it who deserves a mention and how did it feel seeing and hearing the end product?

The other person who worked with me not only on Generation Y but on every release I’ve done so far is Konstantinos Iosifidis (leader of the band Psychedelic Trips To Death). When I first heard the end product I didn’t know how to feel. This is something characteristic about me. Most of the time I don’t know how to feel.

Which other artists have you been listening to or seen live lately?

IDLES, Heavy Lungs, Shame, Fontaines DC, Choir Boy, These New Puritans, Young Fathers

Message to the world?

Respect what you don’t understand.

And what are your aspirations for the coming year?

Many live shows out of Greece if that’s possible, to get big, be happy and to get a cat.

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Independent record labels are vital in supporting and encouraging new artists; if you like what you’ve seen and heard here you can listen to more of Inner Ear Records’ acts by visiting their website and checking out their Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube pages. 

Promo photos via Inner Ear Records
(Bazooka © Sarah, Daphne and The Fuzz © Mariza Kapsabeli, Vagina Lips © Leah Miza)
19th February 2019

Interview – Jerry Williams

Portsmouth’s Jerry Williams is not just making waves in her seaside home town. With music industry interest on an international scale, things are looking more than promising for the singer songwriter dubbed ‘the singer you’ll be obsessed with in 2019’ by Top Shop’s fashion and culture blog. Following the recent release of her latest single David at the Bar, Jerry is setting out on tour and has much more in the offing. We had a quick catch up to find out what’s going on…

There seems to be so much happening for you right now! What did 2018 bring that you never expected?

Three record deals! In Germany, USA and Canada. It’s so crazy and so exciting. I love the three labels I’m working with and they totally get me. They love my music and stories which is amazing so I’m looking forward to working with them with everything coming up. It was a busy year.

Your latest single David at the Bar was written about someone you met – can you tell us a little more?

It’s about a man called David who I met in a bar, haha. Honestly, simple as that. The song is so true to what happened. I got speaking to him at the bar about life and I told him I’m a singer songwriter. He went on to say that he’s an alcoholic, ruined his life, he’s got a baby on the way and he’s really scared about it. He said if I wrote a song about him, he’d give up drink. So the next day, I wrote this song like I said I would and I haven’t seen him since. He just completely vanished. I hope he hears it, even if we don’t meet again.

You mentioned your overseas record deals – there’s some big ones outside Europe with Royal Mountain Records in Canada and Big Picnic Records in the US – how did they come about?

It was all pretty quick to be honest. My music just naturally reached the USA. With Royal Mountain Records, they came on board after they saw me supporting Finn Wolfhard’s band Calpurnia in Europe. They were like, yep yep, we wanna work with you, we love you. I was so overwhelmed but I’m sosososososo excited. They’re home to some of my favourite artists like Alvvays. I love Big Picnic. They’re proper music lovers, just like my German label Ferryhouse. They’re great people.

You’re just about to head out on tour – is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to visiting?

All of them, but Manchester will be great. The show has already sold out at Jimmy’s which is such a cool venue with neon signs everywhere and trippy wallpaper. But I can’t wait for every city and to meet everyone there.

Wild Front are supporting on the UK leg of the tour, are you involved in choosing your support acts?

Yes! I absolutely love Wild Front and am so honoured they’ll be playing with us on tour. Just watching them every night is gonna be perfect. Jeph are supporting in Southampton at The Joiners too. Their song Hey Baby was my top played on Spotify this year…SO GOOD!!! FLOWVERS supporting in London are great too.

And what’s in the pipeline for 2019?

I’m recording an album for autumn release which is super exciting. I can’t wait for people to hear what I’ve been working on. It’s more edgy and indie and I’ve got so many new stories. That’s the next thing…

Jerry’s headline tour starts on Saturday with dates in Germany before she heads back to the UK:

Jan 19th – Mucke Bei Die Firsche, Hamburg
Jan 20th – Kantine Am Berghain, Berlin
Jan 21st – Milla, Munich
Jan 23rd – Blue Shell, Cologne
Jan 24th – Nachtleben, Frankfurt
Jan 26th – Kasbah, Coventry
Jan 28th – Jimmys, Manchester
Jan 30th – Camden Assembly, London
Jan 31st – The Joiners, Southampton
Feb 1st – Tunbridge Wells Forum

You can keep up to speed with the latest news from Jerry Williams and listen to David at the Bar here

Photos via Lucid Online PR

17th January 2019

Interview – Softer Still

Surrey’s Softer Still have combined their musical talents and influences to create an album filled with laid back tracks packed with hazy guitars and reflective escapism.

We asked them how it all came together and what’s next on the horizon…

Your debut album Nuances has just been released – how would you describe it to someone who’s never heard you before?

Lyrically it’s an exploration of the deepest aspects of connection between two people, at times melancholy and others optimistic, with stylistic nods to the very best of 80’s and 90’s guitar / synth music with a few interesting twists.

Musically this album is the expression of everything that’s influenced us for as long as we’ve been listening to music. We were never trying to create anything specific, there wasn’t a goal in mind or a particular sound or style we were trying to create, we simply felt we had a perspective we wanted to express and, of course, were hoping it would be a perspective potential listeners would find meaningful and connect with.

How long did it take to put together and who else was involved who deserves a mention?

Time permitting we could have finished this album a lot sooner but, as is often the case for an unsigned band self recording and producing their debut album, it took a while – around one year for the newest tracks. We included some of our best tracks from our previous EPs but, at the time of writing and recording these, we weren’t working with the single goal of creating an album.

The one person who without a doubt deserves a mention is our manager Chris, he’s always believed in us since day one, it’s difficult to express how important this is for overly self reflective and self critical musicians. Also a crucial part of the way we’ve ended up writing our music is the fact that we do it in our own studio, at our own pace. When we started we didn’t think we were good enough to record and produce everything ourselves but Chris always encouraged us to stick with that. Now the album is complete, it’s clear to see that we wouldn’t have been able to articulate our vision as clearly as we might have had we been burdened with the financial and time constraints that come with recording in a conventional studio.

How do you decide which tracks become singles – is it something you all agree on?

We’re democratic in our decisions as a band, so it always comes to a group vote. We’re all more or less on the same page creatively which means the votes on decisions like this are almost always unanimous. Honestly though with the last few singles we released, it was very much hand to mouth – as soon as we’d written something new it was time to release a single, so that’s what went out.

What’s on your favourite albums of 2018 list?

We’re a little behind, I guess we’re still working our way through the decades, there’s just so much good music to get through! One notable mention from 2018 would be The Daysleepers – Creation. Other mentions in terms of albums that influenced this album (sorry 2018, we’ll get to you soon) would be Choir Boy – Passive With Desire, Celebrine – Happy Tears, Espen Kraft – Those Days, ‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry, Joni Mitchell – Dog Eat Dog and Icehouse – Measure for Measure.

You have some live dates coming up – what’s the best and worst thing about touring/playing live?

The best thing is the sense of completion it brings to a very long process. Specifically though it’s getting to meet fans and hearing that the work we did meant something to them. It’s one thing to see the plays going up on streaming but something else to feel someone’s reaction in person.

I wouldn’t say there’s any one ‘worst’ thing, just a whole lot of little inconveniences that are necessary to get on to the stage with everything in its right place. Musicians are notoriously disorganised and putting on a gig that goes smoothly requires a lot of organisation leading up to and on the day of a show. But in all seriousness none of that stuff matters, it’s all a part of the build up to the show, almost like a ritual. It’s a great feeling when you pull it all off and get up on stage and everything is in its right place. It’s an honour and a privilege to be on stage and share our creation with the world. The hard work makes the reward just that little bit sweeter.

Plans and aspirations for Softer Still for 2019?

We want to focus on playing shows. We’re hungry to share the album with audiences in a live setting again and, after spending so long on the album, the itch to get back out on the road is strong! Hopefully the album will be well received and we’ll get some opportunities to support artists we love whose audiences we feel would enjoy our music, such as Drab Majesty, Ice Choir, Lost Children, Moscow Club and Chain Wallet, to name just a few.

You can catch Softer Still on the following UK dates, starting tonight so don’t hang around – remaining tickets available here

21st Nov – The Horn, St Albans
22nd Nov – Sebright Arms, London
29th Nov – The Crofters Rights, Bristol
1st Dec – Think Tank Underground, Newcastle upon Tyne
26th Jan – The Soundhouse, Leicester

Stay updated with what’s happening for Softer Still over the coming months

Listen to / purchase Nuances on multiple platforms now

Photos via Lucid Online PR

21st November 2018

Interview – Sonic Jesus

Formed in Italy in 2012, Sonic Jesus achieved early critical acclaim through recordings with Fuzz Club Records, a split single with The Black Angels and sharing stages with the likes of Damo Suzuki and Singapore Sling. Due for release on 30th November, new album Memories offers a perspective on the story so far and presents a collection of subtly psych-laden tracks full of experiment and atmosphere. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tiziano Veronese told us how the album evolved and hinted at things to come…

Your new album Memories is due for release at the end of November – how long has it taken to put together and what can everyone expect?

Memories is an album of demo songs collected between 2010 and 2015, it has been 5 years of writing that led to 45 demos of which only 14 were taken into consideration.

It is a real collection of rarities which show the real truth behind the creation of a song. There is nothing more beautiful than to make people know, especially to fans, what’s been the leading path in building the sound of Sonic Jesus.

Each song contains some of the most important moments in my life where I explored sonorities, elaborating all the joints between instruments I was playing for the first time. I was really looking at something totally new to me, looking for my own sound.

Tell us about your lead single from the album – The Klas

I wrote The Klas the very same day my red Farfisa was delivered. Drums, bass guitar, organ, all the other guitars and of course the voice, all that you hear was played by me. I’m a loner, I’ve never asked anyone to help me dealing with the composition and recording. I rely a lot on other musicians to play my music live and trust them to bring out the best version of it on stage.

Which other artists have you been listening to or seen live lately?

Lately I attended the concerts of Ennio Morricone, Devendra Banhart and Timber Timbre, who are all artists I dig. I actually listen to many different kinds of music, especially folk and electronic.

You’re setting out to play across Europe shortly – is there a difference in how crowds react to you in different countries?

Yes, there is a big difference, such as the way the stage is set and the connection that arises with the audience. Generally speaking the small-medium venues are the ones that excite me more as people are closer to you and you can really get the warmest vibes. It is very important for me to get out of the studio and look at how the people react while listening to my songs… I get their emotions and sometimes it’s such a thrill, food for the soul.

What do you do when you’re not making music?

Apart from music, I practise Tai-Chi, a discipline that is fundamental to get body and mind synchronised. I read and often I escape from the city by taking long walks in the woods or very isolated mountain places. I love being alone.

And what are your plans and hopes for 2019?

I moved to Sheffield a few months ago and since I arrived I immediately started writing. Some of this music will flow into Sonic Jesus’ new album, that’s for sure, but I can’t hide that another project is on its way… can’t say more!

Sonic Jesus will be playing live at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 30th November and at Manchester’s Night and Day Cafe on 2nd December prior to a string of European dates. You can listen to The Klas now  and pre-order Memories on vinyl here.

Photos via Cabin Fever Collective PR

12th November 2018

Interview – LibraLibra

Fresh from causing a stir at Dials Festival and the release of their new single, LibraLibra are shaping up to be one of the most intriguing new bands around. Vocalist Beth gave us an insight into what makes them tick…

Everyone loved your set at Dials Festival – how was the day for you?

I absolutely loved the day and it was for a cause very close to my heart (raising money for Solent Mind) – I was so excited to see lots of people come and see us as we were first on, it was pouring with rain and we are still so new so I was expecting to be playing to no-one, haha – so that got us buzzing and then we got to fully enjoy ourselves for the rest of the day and see some of our fav new bands and friends play – Penelope Isles, Lice, Thyla & Tigercub particularly smashed it.

Best/worst experience playing live?

Haha, honestly I couldn’t pinpoint because I’ve had so many good times and so many bad times – but the bad ones make you good (I hope!)… what I mean is I will always remember the bad ones and with that I will do my best to learn from them! They get you good at problem solving on demand as during a performance you haven’t got time to dwell and acknowledge the mistake; you just need to keep going and instantly rectify. I always aim to learn from my mistakes, even though they can sting hard at the time.

When a performance is at its best, it is when I fully let go, when I’m not thinking, I’m just being.

Tell us about your new single Skin and Bone…

This song is definitely my younger self screaming through, kind of like a ghost from my past – I don’t know if mine was particularly normal, maybe it was and people just really don’t talk about how dark things can get. I’m still trying to come to terms with my past but writing and singing is what helps me cope with it, they help me bizarrely understand feelings I couldn’t understand before. Skin and Bone is definitely harping back to a lot of frustration and confusion revolving around growing up.

Which other artists are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve been sessioning Sunns’ latest album Felt – I can’t recommend it enough. IDLES’ new album is pure fire. They’ve been around for a while now but I’ve been getting into Lilacs & Champagne – their self-titled album is on the list. Snapped Ankles are killing it too.

What’s happening for LibraLibra over the next few months?

Lots of exciting things are brewing! We have a few shows lined up in November:

9th Nov we are supporting Projector at The Haunt in Brighton
13th Nov we have just been announced to support Psychic TV at Heaven in London – this is a huge honour for us!
16th Nov we are in Manchester for Off The Record
29th Nov we are collaborating with one of Rachel Maclean’s pieces at the Zabludowicz Collection in London

On top of that, we are writing, recording and making more videos!

Last one, if you could have anyone cover one of your songs who would you choose?

Cher, please cover one of our songs…

Find out more about LibraLibra and watch the video for Skin and Bone right now…you won’t be disappointed

Promo photo via Stunt Girl Management, live photos from Dials Festival by Siobhan

25th October 2018