Indieterria – Year in review

Hello!

It is nearly December and we cannot believe how quickly this year has gone! The past 11 months were super busy but many things were accomplished. Worcester music scene is growing stronger and stronger by the day and we thought it would be fun to prepare a short review.

We have taken 9 of the most popular musical acts from our faithful city, we looked through their official websites and posts on social media pages to find out what they have been up to and what they have achieved. The results? We can describe them only with one word  – breathtaking. If somebody would told us that 2017 will be so productive and so kind to our local musicians, we would have never believed them.

Please read our report below and we hope you will feel as proud as we feel right now.

There is also another reason why we decided to do this  review.

You have probably heard by now that BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester was asked to put forward one artist from our county to go to famous music business trade and conference SXSW in Austin, Texas next year.

There is a whole discussion on BBC H&W page, so we decided to make it easier for you and point out what leading artists from Worcestershire accomplished in recent times. Now its up to you dear readers to decide who may go to America in 2018. Read on and let your voice be heard.

You can see the entire discussion here:

 

HVMM

1. HVMM (hard rock/alternative)

– Signed to Independent Label Alliance (US based label)
– Released EP “Talk To Me Like I`m Dead”
– Release of debut EP followed by a sold out gig at Marrs Bar and a release party at Rise (Independent Record Store)
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester
– Their single “Lacerate” has been played nationally on BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq), Kerrang Radio (Alex Baker), Radio X (John Kennedy), Amazing Radio and multiple smaller radio stations in the UK and US.
– Band continues to record in Spain and London with legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Headlined a sold out show in London (Seabright Arms) as part of Hackney Wonderland
– Portal TeamRock.com named HVMM their “Band of the Week”, large features in Classic Rock, Gig Sluts and other large music portals online.
– Band tours nationally
– Released videos to “Lacerate”, “Going Postal” and “Beggars and Thieves”

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/wearehvmm
You can visit band`s page here: https://www.wearehvmm.com/

If you think HVMM deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Nuns of the Tundra

2. Nuns of the Tundra (indie /psychedelic rock)

– Unsigned act
– Released self titled EP
– Successful EP launch at Marr’s Bar in Worcester supporting Soeur (sold out)
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Their singles “Robot Love” and “Float away” were championed by Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester. “Mind`s Eye” has been streamed over  000 on Spotify
– Band continues to record locally at Funky Bunker in Malvern with producer Scott Mahoney
– Named as one of leading acts from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Strong touring presence locally (Bristol, Birmingham, Evesham) .Their performance at at BBC Introducing stage at Lakeview Festival at Eastnor Castle received very positive reviews (“they blew the tent poles off”)
– The band were featured in several articles in Malvern Gazette, Worcester News and Worcester Observer. Overblown Magazine called Nuns of the Tundra “the saviours of mainstream rock”
– The band is currently is in the finals of the third edition of the “Battle of the Bands” organized by Firestone. You can vote for them here: http://battleofthebands.firestone.eu/
– Released 4 singles : “Robot Love”, Mind’s eye”, “Float away” and “Dead in the desert”. Animated video to “Float away” made in co-operation with London based art company YESMAN was accepted into several international short film festivals including the prestigious  NYC Indie Film Festival

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/nunsofthetundra
You can visit band`s page here:  http://nunsofthetundra.com/

If you think Nuns of the Tundra deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Population:7

 

3. Population:7 (rap/funk/neo-soul)

– Unsigned collective and one of the largest in the country (currently 9 members)
– Released three independent albums “Dead city” (featuring Tina Maynard and Anya Pulver of Soeur on vocals), “WHYP7” and “Fiero”
– Their concert at Worcester Music Festival was named best live performance by the audience. They also supported ska legends The Toasters.
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Debuted on BBC 6 Music (Tom Robinson`s MixTape). Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester described them as Incredible live performers. Fun, energetic and have the crowd enjoying themselves as much as the band!”
– The Collective is working on a project entitled “Lowlight” with possible theatrical release.
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– The band is constantly touring locally (Bristol, Birmingham, string of local festivals such as Under The Hill FestDubs In the Middle and Mello Festival).
– Described as one of the best bangers from the Midlands by Birmingham rapper Lady Sanity in Dummy Magazine
– They supported Benji and Hibbz at sold out concert in Birmingham
– Released several videos to singles such as “I say”, “Blindspot” and “Swag” with thousands views on YouTube

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/population-7
You can visit band`s page here:  https://population7.bandcamp.com/

If you think Population:7 deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know her
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/16037890596850

The Americas

4. The Americas (rock`n`roll)

– Unsigned act
– Released demo (“Tenth Day of May”), 2 digital singles (“Something`s Gonna Happen”, “Hot Minute”)
– Played to the full house at Worcester Music Festival, sell out every home coming gig
– They recently recorded session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester, they have featured on BBC Introducing West Midlands
– Their music received airplay from national radio stations such as Radio X (Gordon Smart), BBC Hereford and Worcester, Free Radio and many independent online radio stations
– The Americas just finished recording their debut EP
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– They are the only band from Worcestershire on the famous This Feeling circuit. Headlined sold out show at The Finsbury in London. The Americas supported The Twang (sold out show at O2 Academy Birmingham), Broken Witt Rebels, Bluetones, Blaenavon and Trampolene
– They played some of the most important festivals in the country: Beyond The Tracks, Reading, Y Not, Tramlines, Isle of Wright
– Online magazine Gigslutz awarded them the title of the Best Newcomers and described them as “Infectious, frenetic, cool. One to watch”. Their concert was named “the week’s best gig” by the New Musical Express. The Line of Best Fit championed them by saying they “revitalize rock`n`roll”. The Americas received positive reviews from Mikey Johnns of This Feeling, Hall or Nothing music promoter Caffy St. Luce
– Band tours nationally. They performed at the BBC Amplify conference in London
– The Americas released video to single “Hot Minute” 

You can listen to the artist here: https://soundcloud.com/theamericasyeah
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/theamericasyeah/

If you think The Americas deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

nth cave

5. nth cave (shoegaze/dreampop)

– Unsigned but tipped as the most promising band from Worcester
– Double A single demo released (Bass/Pop Party Princess)
– The band played to a full house for Worcester Music Festival, Worcester Pride and  took part in Musicians Against Homelessness charity fundraiser
– Recorded session for BBC Introducing BBC Hereford & Worcester
– Debuted  by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music with a rave review (“band to watch out for”)
– The band prepares to enter the studio in January
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– nth cave begin to gain ground outside the county with concerts in Birmingham (02 Academy 2) and Liverpool (Club Babe).
– SLAP Magazine described them as “young, fearless and immensely talented”.  They have been heavily championed by BBC Hereford and Worcester
– Members of the band are known for broad interests in music and broadcasting. Fergus (guitar) has been awarded BBC apprenticeship, while Hector (drums) and Alfie (bass) participate in Boneyard Promotions, organizing concerts and open mic nights in Worcester and Hereford.
– nth cave released video for their single “Bass” 

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/nthcave
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/nthcave/

If you think nth cave deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

The Humdrum Express

6. The Humdrum Express /Ian Passey (singer/songwriter)

– Unsigned and self releasing artist
– Ian has a long career which spans over thirteen releases (album and EPs), the newest being a stand-alone single “E-Petition” released in November 2017
– The Humdrum Express has recently taken part in Musicians Against Homelessness charity fundraiser in Worcester, curated folk stage at Worcester Music Festival and played a sold out show at the Ross Theatre in Kiddeminster.
– During his career Ian has been featured numerous times on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester and BBC West Midlands
– His six last singles have been in regular rotation on BBC 6 Music and other national stations. In total over 30 different shows across a variety of stations.
– Ian is currently preparing to record his new album
– “E-Petition” single went viral in October 2017, with articles about the zombie themed video appearing across local media – Stourbridge News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle and local radio stations (Severnvalley Radio)
– The Humdrum Express shared stages with many great artists such as performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff), Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), The Membranes
– The Kidderminster Shuttle describe Ian Passey as an artist “known for his fast-paced lyrical style who mixes social commentary with familiar cultural references, surreal characters and subtle puns”
– The Humdrum Express has a series of videos under his belt. The latest – is “E-Petition”

You can listen to the artist here: https://soundcloud.com/thehumdrumexpress
You can visit artist`s page here:  https://www.thehumdrumexpress.com/

If you think The Humdrum Express deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Soeur

7. Soeur (alternative/noise)

– Unsigned band (but for how long?)
– Released debut EP “What separates us” and singles “No Fire”, “Left Living” and the title track “What separates us”
– Soeur shows usually sells out quickly as it happened in Worcester, Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, Leeds and Sheffield
– They have been featured on BBC Introducing twice: BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester and BBC Introducing In the West. Their single “No fire” was championed by Andrew Marston and Huw Stephens
– Received impressive amount of airplay on local and national radio stations: BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Bristol, Free Radio Birmingham, Radio X, BBC Radio 1 (Rock Show with Daniel P Carter), BBC6 Music and many more
– They recorded their debut session at the legendary BBC Maida Vale studios in London in September. It was broadcasted live on Radio 1 along with the band’s interview
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Soeur played at Reading Festival, Leeds Festival and headlined two sold out shows in London – Named as “one of the best unsigned acts” by Radio 1, “unforgettable” by BBC Introducing and “kick-ass attitude, catchy tunes and filthy riffs” by popular online magazine Tab the Feed
– Their single “No fire” was added to official Spotify playlist called “Rocked – the best new rock songs from the UK”
– Released videos to “Pass out”, “No fire” and “Left Living”

You can listen to the band here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVcb7WVDBjUwEcj0hVR4Fig
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.soeursoeursoeur.com

If you think Soeur deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Thousand Mountain

8.Thousand Mountain (match rock/instrumental)

– Unsigned band
–  Released self titled demo and currently are working on their first EP
– Thousand Mountain performed at Worcester Music Festival, The Sunflower Lounge and The Flapper in Birmingham and headlined Musicians Against Homelessness concert at Marr’s Bar in Worcester in support of Crisis
– They supported American spoken word legends The Listener, Press to Meco, Rubio and Sleepmakeswaves among others
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester
– Their single “Falling” was played on Birmingham Radio, BBC Hereford and Worcester and received national airplay on BBC 6 Music Recommends with Steve Lamacq
– “Falling” was also available to listen online nationally on BBC iPlayer for the period of 2 months
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– The band was featured in several others articles form Worcester News, Worcester Observer and Slap Magazine
– They were interviewed by national Free Radio during prime time broadcast slot (driving home news)
– Thousand Mountain are working with the biggest concert promoters in Worcestershire and Birmingham and constantly touring
– Live videos to “Kraken”, “Open Doors” and “Falling” are available on their  Youtube channel

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/thousand-mountain
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/ThousandMountain/

If you think Thousand Mountain deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Lost Tiger

9. Lost Tiger to the Wild (indie/alternative rock)

– Unsigned duo but  under the care of prestigious Coalition Talent agency
– Released debut single in November 2017
– Duo played a string of successful home town gigs at Marrs Bar, to full house
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Band has been championed by Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford & Worcester
– Lost Tiger are currently recording
– They  supported Tinie Tempah at the Coventry University Summer Ball and X Factor finalists, Jack    and Joel. Only weeks after at the Teesside University Ball, Lost Tiger opened for Wheatus, Karen Harding, Fuse ODG and Pendulum
– Headlined the Birmingham Christmas Market for Free Radio
– The band enjoys a phenomenal social media presence – having over  11.000 followers on Instagram
– Released videos to their debut single “Come Out With Me”

You can listen to the band here: https://www.youtube.com/losttiger
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/LostTigerBand/

If you think Lost Tiger deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Keep your fingers crossed for your favourite artists and let The BBC Introducing Herefor and Worcester know who would you like to see on the other side of The Pond!

See you soon,
Rita and Malicia D.

**** Update 16/12/2017****

The waiting and anticipation is over. BBC Hereford and Worcestershire had made their decision to put forward one local act before the broadcaster`s panel that decides who will play at BBC Stage at SXSW – the world`s biggest music business trade show.

And that local band is White Feather Collective.

We have decided to add the band to the best of 2017 as they are very accomplished artists and  we will soon interview them as part of our Indieterria project. White Feather Collective were very surprised to learn that BBC H&W considered them for an overseas trip. This is what they have to say:

Each year BBC Introducing takes a handful of British artists to SXSW in Austin, Texas. Each act is performing live as part of BBC Stage. Previous year included artists such The Big Moon, Idles and Shame – you can say the champions league of indie circuit. Idles debut album “Brutalism” is a record of the year, Shame are recognized as one of the most influential new bands in the country, while The Big Moon were nominated to Mercury Prize.

Only the best among indie artists are taken to America and The White Feather Collective face a tough competition from other entitled acts from all across the country. But don’t think they don’t stand a chance. Because they do! We compiled a short note of what they have accomplished and it is a safe bet to say they are making a mark on Worcester music scene. Please send kudos and keep your fingers crossed for yet another alumni of WorcesterWave (yes, this is a real name for our scene. Thank you Andrew Marston!)

 

White Feather Collective

The White Feather Collective (psychodelia/surf-rock/folk)

– Not yet signed
– Released five track debut EP “Universal Harmony” and a stand-alone digital single “Doorman”
– Their song “Come On and Get Down” was used by French company WIKO Mobile in their international campaign on TV and radio
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing and were put forward to the panel that chooses the BBC Music Introducing South By South West (SXSW) showcase line-up.
– The band played at The Orchard Venue in Ledbury, West Fest, Mello Fest, Lakefest, Nozstock to universal acclaim
– Headlined sold out shows in their home town of Malvern, London (The Water Rats in Kings Cross and The Monarch in Camden), Bristol (Mr Wolf’s) and in Scotland
– Their YouTube channel received more than 200,000 individual views, with “Come On and Get Down” being viewed more than 80,000 times and “Crossroad Shootout” more than 34,000 times separately
– The band’s vocalist and guitar player, Will Turner wrote music for Grand Designs, The One Show, BBC News and Santander Bank
– Band tours nationally
– Released videos to “Come On and Get Down”, “Crossroad Shootout”, “The Inside” and “You Got The Time”

White Feather Collective – the future is looking bright

You can visit White Feather Collective on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewhitefeathercollective/

Listen to the band here: https://thewhitefeathercollective.bandcamp.com/
or you can visit band`s page here: http://www.thewhitefeathercollective.com/

Alternatively, see their videos via their official YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMn_Umrhabb1wzGfRNRVlpw

We will keep this post updated when the BBC panel makes a final decision regarding the SXSW alumni 2017.

xxx
Mal and Rita

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Indieterria Reviews: Mudlark

Hello!

It is a common knowledge that Wales has a strong connection to music. From Ivor Novello, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones to Budgie, Funeral for a Friend, Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia, Welsh music has always been a step ahead of everybody else, setting new trends and refining musical tastes for decades.

The money might be in London, but the talent is definitively hidden among the valleys and it’s our pleasure to introduce our readers to the best of new acts that Vanadian Avenue has the privilege to discover.

Come Clean /Swansong cover by Robert Paterson

Our today’s guests, Mudlark hail from the beautiful town of Caerphilly. At the beginning, it is worth mentioning that their name is quite original and what’s even more important, it fits them like a glove. In the 18th and 19th century England (especially in the capitol) people scavenging through the river mud in search of valuable items to sell were called either mud searchers or mud lurkers. Usually they belonged to the city’s poorest residents, yet they enjoyed a great deal of  independence, respect among other dwellers and could keep all their earnings to themselves. Nowadays, the term is attributed to treasure hunters, amateur archaeologists and even metal-detectors looking for World Word II souvenirs. When we say the name fits the band well, we mean the listener has to literary “dig” through many layers and intricately constructed melodies to discover and appreciate the true value of their music. Multidimensional and complex creations are Mudlark’s trademarks.

The quintet was formed over two years ago and on the 5th of November 2017, they released their new double track single entitled “Come clean/Swansong”. You may remember them from their September release of an instrumental track “Ruth” that received very warm reviews from independent music websites and online zines. A well made, silent-cinema inspired video (known as “Frankenstein’s Ruth”) also helped to raise the band’s profile. We can promise you that the new release is as good as the previous one and shows that Mudlark are in incredibly great musical shape.

Mudlark picture by Rhys Morgan

Now let’s sink our teeth into the two new compositions. The first one track “Come Clean” is the shorter of the two, standing at only 2 minutes and three seconds. It starts with a longish atmospheric interlude but blossoms into a dynamic and structured sonic landscape at the end of the first minute. The band lists New York hard-core legends Minor Threat as one of their influences and the heavy, gritty guitars and distorted amplifiers are there but “Come Clean” masterfully covers them with haunting harmonies that reminds us of the classic Tool or maybe even more accurately, The Perfect Circle. Luke Powell’s powerful set of lungs shatter the poetic lyrics into shreds but somehow it goes perfectly well with the music. Our only complaint is that the track is a bit too short, yet it is a matter of individual taste. In our opinion, additional 20-30 seconds would allow the song to develop a bit better and keep its natural flow. It is not a big flaw, rather leave  the reviewer wanting more, which is a great thing.

Another great shot by Rhys Morgan

Second song entitled “Swansong” is much longer at 5 minutes and 13 seconds. Again slow beginning, with nearly spoken word vocals, mid tempo that gradually evolves into dramatic and vibrant finish. It is very hard to put it into a single genre – there is a bit of hard-core, a bit of progressive rock, mixture of clean and  growl vocals. If we could say, Swancong is something of a Faith No More, meets Fear Factory (Burton C Bell type vocals) with The Streets and a fellow Welsh metallers, Taint thrown into the concoction. Both songs were solidly mixed and produced. In short this is a professionally prepared demo from a band that`s on a good way to great things.

The double single comes with beautiful photographs taken by Alexandru Olteanu and cover art made by Robert Paterson.

Final mark: Highly recommended!

Promotional photography by Alexandru Olteanu

Mudlark
Luke Powell (vocals)
Wesley McCarthy (lead guitar)
Benjamin Morgan (rhythm guitar)
Nick Giles (bass)
Jack Williams (drums)

Hometown: Caerphilly

Bio: Lifelong friends from the Welsh valleys who write melancholic, poetic and dark oddities.

“Swansong/Come clean” two track single
Release date: 05/07/2017

Written and performed by Mudlark

Engineered by Rhys Morgan – https://twitter.com/rhysdrums
Produced by James Minas – https://twitter.com/minassound
Artwork by Robert Paterson  – https://www.facebook.com/robertpatersonart/
Photography by Alexandru Olteanu  – https://www.facebook.com/not.nanu
Video by Stone Letter Media  – https://www.facebook.com/stonelettermedia/

Second picture by Alexandru Olteanu

You can find more about Mudlark online:

Booking and interview requests:  mudlarkmail@gmail.com
Bandcamp:
https://mudlarkuk.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/mudlarkuk
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/mudlarkuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mudlarkuk
Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKwB_UXUDEVppX7dUrbNE2w

Swansong video:

Frankenstein’s Ruth video:

If you’d like to have your music featured on Indieterria, please send links to your Soundcooud or Bandcamp pages 3 or 4 pictures and a bio to rdabrowicz at yahoo dot com. Please note that Vanadian Avenue do not accept mp3 or zipped files. Also, please give us a week or two to listen to your music and write the review!

Thank you and see you shortly.
Rita and Malicia

———Update 2018/04/14————

Canvas EP cover

After several months of being relatively quiet, our favourite Caerphilly based hard rockers, Mudlark returns with a new digital EP  entitled “Canvas”. We are extremely pleased to announce that “Canvas” is even better than “Come clean/Swansong”. We sincerely loved their  previous EP and we thought that recording something even better will be hard to beat. We admit, we were wrong!

Instead of four tracks, “Canvas” offers only two new songs: an epic 11-minute long “Stare at the Sun” and nearly five-minuter “Death Lessons”. As before, all songs were written by Mudlark and produced by Rhys Morgan.

The first track “Stare at the Sun” opens with a prolonged beginning with heavy, distorted guitars and melancholic vibes that would make Paradise Lost turn green with envy. Luke Powell’s monotonic, almost spoken-word monologue reminds us of  Johan Edlund of Tiamat (circa “Wildhoney”era) that quickly turns into a scream and then morphs into a crystal clear singing. The music is again layered and each layer seems to represent a different genre. You can find progressive rock, metal, heavy metal, college rock, math rock and psychodelic music. All in one yet perfectly mixed into what we can only call a classic Mudlark sound.

In comparison to “Stare at the Sun”, second track, “Death Lessons” is composed with much more simplicity. It has a gothic feel to it and is much more heavier which we liked a lot. It starts slowly, builds up quickly and finishes with crazy guitars, galloping drums and heavy bass line. Mudlark prepared a black and white video to this song which you can watch it below:

We truly hope that the departure of  Nick Giles (bass), will not mean the end of the band. Mudlark has a lot of potential and very unique style that is hard to find among  post-britpop and alternative rock outfits that dominate the indie circuit.

We keep our fingers crossed and hopefully we will have the pleasure to review further releases from them.

You can purchase/and listen to Canvas online:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1swXNojvoh5fv8YQvKR9CF?si=MiRtRcLpQmarOWUBX9Qzbg
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/id/1366468517
Bandcamp: https://mudlarkuk.bandcamp.com/album/canvas
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mudlarkuk/sets/canvas
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Mudlark_Canvas?id=Bokd5hokn76xetdrxsd5qq22jhi
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Canvas-MudLark/dp/B07BVPFDCD/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1523700515&sr=1-1-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=canvas+mudlark
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRMy-NderSk

 

Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz

Indieterria meets Population:7

Hey, hey!

Time does fly quickly when you are having a good time and recently we have been having the time of our lives (yes, Baby is not sitting in the corner anymore!). We have been to countless gigs, several parties, open mic nights and even to a Halloween extravaganza, but this is a tale for another day 🙂

Today, we would like to introduce you to one of the best neo soul musical collectives from The Midlands. They are called Population:7 and they are very popular among  faithful city residents. You should see their gig at Marrs’ Bar during Worcester Music Festival, it was so packed that Rita got a panic attack (she is claustrophobic), yet people still wanted to get in and were queuing outside! Something like that has not happened since the early 90’s according to the owners and we truly believe them.

Ladies and Gents, let us introduce you to a group that can make old Worcester City dance like the stars on BBC1 on Saturday night 🙂

—————————————————————

Population: 7 

Haydn Rogers: Vocals
Rachael Medhurst: Vocals
Sam Ruane: Vocals
Rob King: Guitar/Synth/Vocals
Pete Mann: Guitar/Vocals
Rob Taylor: Bass/Synth
Jon Kasch: Sax
Hannah Webb: Sax/Flute/Clarinet
Carl Browne: Drums

Population:7 official logo

Being in a band these days is certainly not a walk in the park, yet the technology available can make musicians’ lives so much easier.  The least experienced group will sound pretty good in the studio even if minimal production is applied. Reconstructing that decent sound on stage is another keg of beer whatsoever. In the spotlight, lack of skills or sloppy presence can send the unlucky ones straight into rock and roll oblivion. Don’t be alarmed, Population: 7 are fantastic on the record and in concert. To be honest, they are one of the few bands that can make you dance and jump right from the start. Talking to them is a pleasure as well. We met with Haydn Rogers to discuss their three records, linguistics and the dynamics of working in a musical collective.

There is no doubt that Population:7 is a fantastic name for a band. It’s short, easy to remember and carries a certain element of mystery. Can it be linked to the current population of Earth (7 billions people) or does it mean something completely different?

Haydn Rogers : Finally! Someone gets our name right! Yes, it is a reference to there being 7 Billion people on our planet (currently its 7,571,613,961, but it changes every second). I think we were having a conversation about Desmond Morris (a prolific scientist and writer) and exponential population growth and it all went from there. You would not believe how many people come up to us at shows and say something like: “What’s with the name? There’s like 9 of you and your name has a 7 in it!” Maybe it’s because of groups like SClub7 that people just assume its’s how many members you have!

Group picture

You are so far the biggest group we had a pleasure to host on our blog.  Would you be so kind to introduce all 9 members of your collective? Don’t worry, we like long answers!

Haydn Rogers: Currently, there are roughly 9 of us. I say roughly because we have members that come and play with us for a season or jam with us from time to time. On vocals we have Sam Ruane (alias Ruane), Rachael Medhurst and me (alias Phantom). On the guitars, we have Pete Mann (alias Swagadon), Rob King (he also plays synthesizer) and Rob Taylor who plays bass guitar. Carl Browne is our drummer but this summer he was replaced by Ben Pemberton as Carl was away. Also, there is Hannah Webb who plays alto saxophone, clarinet and flute. We’ve played with loads of other great players that we hope to play with again in the future.

Other bands are struggling to recruit members, yet you managed to gather quite a crowd. How did you all meet? Have you started out as a regular 3 or 4 piece band and kept adding new instruments or vocalists or have you just got together one day and decided to make music?

Haydn Rogers (laughing): We all met in a submarine, just off the coast of Puerto Rica. The Cubans had taken a top secret super weapon that would endanger all of the Eastern Sea on board. So, naturally we were in a nuclear stand off until we started playing this groove in the mess hall (witch for some reason was full of instruments). It was so righteous that we played it over the sub space radio and the Cubans heard it and immediately de-armed themselves and opened the peace negotiations. After that, we decided to form a fusion band instead of a top secret black ops division of MI6.

Or….

I met Sam Ruane few years back when I was playing with Rob King in a band called This Wicked Tongue. We were just chilling in the living room when Sam told us he was a rapper which really impressed us. After little collaboration with Sam’s band TWT, we decided to “do some hip-hop”. At that point we all gathered around a totally out dated lamp-shade iMac (absolute classic computer) and we would make beats with whatever we could get our hands on. At the same time, Pete Mann AKA Swagadon (a mysterious blues/rock/math demon) started writing with us and playing guitar, adding a whole new dimension of insane riffs and enigmatic dance routines. Slowey, we started working with other artists as well. Members of TWT and another group named Mansize were always involved with playing parts and jamming. Two girls, Tina Maynard and Anya Pulver did some fantastic vocals on our first album “Dead City”. When both bands broke up, half of their members moved to Bristol, the other half stayed in Worcester and we formed Population: 7. We wanted it to be a live act and not just a living room/studio project. The first incarnation included Sam, myself, Rob Taylor, Rob King, Pete Mann and Rachael Medhurst, who joined shortly after our first album was released. We needed a drummer, so we sent a couple of our songs to Carl Browne, our mutual friend. It was just few days before our first gig and he nailed everything without rehearsal. We asked him to join us and he said “Indeed shall!” The last person to join was Hannah Webb. She brought a new element to our music with the saxophone, clarinet and flute, giving us a funkier/jazzier sound. We also played with two other amazing sax players along the way – John Kasch (the blues wizard of sax, incredible player) and Katie Ind (amazing jazz multi instrumentalist).

The band in action at Mello Festival

You easily blend jazz, hip-hop, soul, R’n’B and funk into a powerful cocktail of rhythm and irresistible melodies. In your opinion, does Population: 7 sound fits any particular genre or are you happy to keep your fingers in many pies?

Haydn Rogers:  Thank you! I think we initially intended Population: 7 to be a live hip-hop group but through all of our different influences and ideas of what that should be, we ended up with something very different. Our music is an expression of our love for playing, jamming and creating, we get into a room and it just happens. The creative process is organic that way, more intuitive than conscious. The influences from other genres are intrinsically a part of us so when we play they manifest through us and form our fusion of sounds. We can be put into genres or a single genre but that is more for the listener to decide, we are too close to what we are doing to truly know. Also we’re happy to keep exploring music; it is always an adventure and a voyage of discovery

You have impressed Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester so much that he described you as one of the best neo-soul acts in the country. After seeing you live he wrote:“What an incredible live performance. Fun, energetic and have the crowd enjoying themselves as much as the band!” It’s hard to disagree with his words as you nearly brought the entire Marrs Bar down during Worcester Music Festival on Saturday 16th of September. It was packed tight.

Giging at Marrs Bar in Worcester

Haydn Rogers:  We are very thankful to Andrew and the BBC Hereford and Worcester for playing our music and having us on at Lake Fest last year! We put a lot of effort into making sure our live shows are full of energy and it’s great to know that people appreciate that when we play. The Marrs Bar concert organized by The Task in Hand was a really enjoyable night for us and the crowd was amazing! This makes it easier for us to perform and have a great time doing it. It was a packed night and the atmosphere was intense. To capture that energy, we decided to film part of the show to make a video for our song “Swag” which will be out soon! We loved the other bands playing that night with us as well: Hoggs Bison, Theo, To The Wall, Esteban and Rosebud – check all of these out if you haven’t already!

Recently Population:7 has recorded two albums: “WHYP7” in 2016 and “Fiero” earlier this year. Despite just a year of difference between both releases, there is a massive change in your sound. “Fiero” is much more complex and adventurous. You use various singing and rapping techniques, you are not afraid to experiment with ambient and dubstep, everything seems to flow more naturally, almost with ease. We can freely use the word “mature” to describe it. You have evolved considerably as a band in a really short period of time.

Haydn Rogers: Again, thank you! A lot changed for us in that time including members and musical tastes so the music naturally moved with us. We also had time to play a lot of shows and practice hard, further discovering our sound and what P7 is and means to us. The sound will no doubt continue to change and evolve as we do as people. Music is all about people really, it’s a social thing. It is as much about our relationships and culture as it is about notes and musical structure. That is its true power – it connects people or sometimes the opposite – in our case we all agree on how it makes us feel which drives us to achieve more. We are currently bringing together the material we have been working on for the last year with a view to turn it into an album to record sometime next year.

We are intrigued by the name of the album. Tell us, what exactly is “Fiero”?

Cover of Fiero album

Haydn Rogers:  “Fiero” is an Italian word that has several meanings. I first came across it when I read “Emotions revealed: Understanding faces and feelings” by psychologist Paul Ekman. It is amazing, read it! Jane McGonigal, American game designer and author gives a good definition of fiero in her book “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World”.  She says: “Fiero is what we feel after we triumph over adversity. You know it when you feel it – and when you see it. That’s because we almost all express fiero in exactly the same way: we throw our arms over our head and yell”. We decided to use “Fiero” as the album title after having lots of problems with the titular song. There was a very tricky section in this song, that when we eventually got it right this is exactly what we felt. It also means fierce or proud and is also the name of a 1988 mid-engined Pontiac.

Two tracks included on and “Fiero” are standing out: the hypnotic “I Say” and the crowd pleasing “Blindspot” which opens the record. We’d love to hear more about those songs.

P7 at Lake Fest rocking the BBC Introducing stage

Haydn Rogers: “I Say” is a song about not feeling in control of your life but accepting that fact. It’s also a lot of fun to play and there’s a flute bit in it that Hannah came up with that completely defines that track. “Blind Spot” is one of our older songs and has changed a fair bit over the years until we recorded it for “Fiero”.  We also did a music video for it earlier this year in our friend Diff’s basement. Thanks Diff, you are a legend!

The collective is constantly on the move. You play a lot of shows at home and away. Recently you have supported Benji and Hibbz in Birmingham at a sold out concert and enchanted the audience during very successful performances at Lakeview Festival and at The Wharf in Stourport-on-Severn.  Where will your fans have to see you live next?

Haydn Rogers: We really enjoyed playing with Benji and Hibbz at the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham. They are a really talented bunch of musicians and great people too! We ended up having a freestyle jam with them and the other act, Glimmer & Wiz.  It is really refreshing playing with a band that is genuinely up for live jamming. We have a couple of shows coming up. Please come and see us on 2nd of November at the Marrs Bar supporting the Toasters and 2nd December at the George and Dragon in Belper. We’re also planning to do a Christmas Show show at the Marrs’ Bar but we are still confirming the dates.

Another group picture from the vast band’s archives

You can follow Population:7 at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/population7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/p7_population7
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/population-7
Reverb Nation: https://www.reverbnation.com/population7
Bandcamp: https://population7.bandcamp.com

 

You want to hire them for your gig? Please send all request to Population7uk@gmail.com! They will get your party started like nobody else. Trust us, we haven’t danced for years but our feet start moving on their own! It’s a dangerous thing to go to their performances. You never know, you might be off  showing your best moves on the dance floor in no time!

Have a fantastic Novermber kids and keep your eyes open. Population:7 are going to be even bigger, very, very soon.

xoxo
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz