We hope you had a nice and relaxing Easter break. Here at Vanadian Avenue we are unable to rest or sit still (one of our biggest flaws!) and we had to find something music related to do. And there was plenty to things to be done! We have set up a Youtube channel, edited hundreds of pictures, did a nice small social media campaign and even had some time to eat a bit of chocolate. Talk about very productive long weekend!
From now on, you will be able to see videos of the performances we attend. So far, we have fantastic clips from Iggy Cuthbert (aka Happy Bones), mighty The Americas and the indie sweethearts, Junior Weeb! Soon we will add other great bands from the WorcesterWave scene: Nuns of the Tundra, Thousand Mountain, Dead Dads Club and many more. Please be on the look-out for the best new and unsigned bands from West midlands.
You can visit our channel at:
One day we are hoping to feature on our YouTube channel the band interviewed in this blog. They are named Karkosa and you will be hearing about them often in the coming months.
Since Karkosa is very popular in Korea, you can read translated version of this blog here:
We met Karkosa at Indiecon conference in London at the beginning of the year. They made a great impression on us and we are very happy that we were able to sit down with Karkosa’s lead singer Michael Warnock for a short chat. Those guys are one of the nicest and the hardest working people we have met! There were so many things to discuss: their unusual name, being nominated for an indie award and even winning fans on the other side of the globe. Karkosa’s on their way to greater things and we will be keeping our fingers crossed for them to get there as soon as possible.
Big in Birmingham
Official bio: British Indie rock band Karkosa was formed in Birmingham in 2014 by brothers Michael and Jack Warnock. After recruiting Tom Rushton on lead guitar, Ryan Trott on bass and Will Clews on keyboard, the band wrote and recorded a batch of songs and published them online. Their melodic, propulsive rock sound is heavily inspired by Catfish and the Bottlemen, Royal Blood and The Amazons. The Devil’s Greatest Trick – band’s inaugural release arrived in 2016 and was followed by singles Monarchy, Sheffield and Where the River Flows in 2017.
Michael Warnock (vocals/ rhythm guitar)
Tom Rushton (lead guitar)
Jack Warnock (drums)
Ryan Trott (bass)
Will Clews (keyboard)
Your biography mentions that Karkosa formed about 4 years ago in Birmingham. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria and tell us a bit more about your beginnings.
Michael Warnock: I think my brother Jack (drums) and I started the band a little earlier than that, about 5 years ago. Our first gig was at our dad’s 40th birthday party. The line-up has changed quite a bit since then. I met Tom Rushton (lead guitar) and Will Clews (keyboard) at BOA College where we studied music together. The last member of the band to join was Ryan Trott (bass) who went to school with Jack. In our own words, we are an indie rock band with influences from The Amazons, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Royal Blood.
Karkosa is a very unusual name for a band, yet strangely it is easily memorable. We are very curious where it comes from. Our best bet would be you are named after the fictional city from a short story entitled “An Inhabitant of Carcosa” by American writer Ambrose Bierce. Are we correct?
Michael Warnock: (laughing) Yes, you are correct! The name Carcosa is also featured in a book called “The King in Yellow” by Robert W. Chambers. It is documented as being a fictional “ancient and mysterious city”. It was actually my dad’s idea to use that name. We changed out all the C’s for K’s to get Karkosa. Which we liked and it was unique.
Your new single entitled “Lonley Kid” is a very interesting composition. It also comes with minimalistic and very striking cover designed by artist Amber Le Grys. Can you tell us more about this song?
Michael Warnock: We started writing “Lonely Kid” back in July 2017. It reflects how I felt at the time when most of my friends had left college or had their relationships to deal with. I was fine being on my own. I also wanted to create something that broke the stereotype of songs with word “lonely” in the title, being sad. I think the song’s spirit was captured quite nicely by the artwork which Amber made. As you said, it is simple, yet effective which is different to our previous artwork. The song’s climax was inspired by the bridge of “Ain’t it fun” by Paramore.
March was a very busy month for you. You headlined a hometown gig at the O2 Institute in Birmingham on 17th of March being supported by North Parade and Elliot Sturman. Then you travelled to London to play at Camden’s Dublin Castle. Was that your first time playing in the capitol?
Michael Warnock: Our headline gig was great as it was not only a rare occasion of us playing last but it was also the first time we got to play with our new bass drum logo and Karkosa banner which was really cool! We also sold the biggest amount of tickets for a gig ever! Overall, we had a lot of fun and the audience seemed to love it! Our Camden gig was a lot more exciting for me as it was something we hadn’t done before. Not only were we performing in a new location, but we were also performing to a new crowd. The surprising part was the fact that people started enjoying themselves, even stating that we should have been on last! Either way, it was a great weekend and we look forward to going back there again!
Radio DJ Steve Kelly had this to say about you: “Quite a few of my fellow presenters loved their song named ‘Sheffield’. No exaggeration, but the guitar work on it is up there with ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles, which is my favourite track ever. I think ’Sheffield’ is probably the best track we’ve had on the station and I’ll be giving you regular airtime”. This is no ordinary praise, being compared to one of the most beloved songs in the history of rock music.
Michael Warnock: We are very lucky to have a contact such as Steve as he has constantly gave us a lot of support, ever since we first got in touch with him! We did our first radio interview with him and it was real pleasure to meet him in person at our headline gig. He came all the way from Blackpool to see us! We look forward to seeing him again in May, and it’s nice to see his incredible dedication to the band!
The list of recognitions is not over yet: BBC Introducing West Midlands played your three consequently released singles (“Monarchy”, “Sheffield” and “Where the River Flows”) with the last track becoming a song of the week in July 2017. You also had a very successful national tour that saw you playing in Leeds, Edinburgh, Bath, Plymouth and selling out several dates including at legendary Sunflower Lounge. Hard work is finally paying off, isn’t it?
Michael Warnock: It certainly does. We view a lot of this stuff as “climbing the ladder”. Getting played on BBC Introducing was pretty cool, however we found that getting played on some of the smaller radio stations was even more enjoyable. The presenters always had more to say about our music! Playing at The Sunflower Lounge is also a lot of fun as we’ve had fans moshing to our music and there’s always a bigger buzz when you’re closer to the audience.
We have to ask you about your collaboration with award winning producer Gavin Monaghan (Editors, Jaws, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene). His recent work with The Sherlocks brought him universal acclaim. Did you travel to his famous studio (Magic Garden) in Wolverhampton? How many songs were recorded and when can we listen to them?
Michael Warnock: Recording with Gavin was pretty exciting based on his recognition. We were working at his Magic Garden Studios which was filled with lots of cool memorabilia! We only recorded one song, “Where the River Flows” however we hope to work with Gavin again!
2018 looks like a breakthrough year for you guys. With huge interest from local press and sold out shows, Karkosa’s future is looking particularly bright. What do you have in store for your loyal fans in the coming months? Any gigs or new singles we need to be on the lookout for?
Michael Warnock: This year has been awesome and it’s only April! So far, we’ve still got a lot of great gigs lined up and we were also nominated for best indie/alternative band at the Birmingham Music Awards! We are currently winning the HotVox vote to play at the Isle of Wight festival, mainly due to our music going viral in South Korea. We look forward to seeing what else comes our way this year and it would be a dream come true for all of us to play a major festival!
You can vote for us at this link:
Now this is something we don’t hear very often! West Midlands band going viral on the other side of the world! Do you have any idea what made you popular in Korea?
Michael Warnock: (laughing) To be honest we are not exactly sure! We try to engage with anyone that takes time to follow us on social media. At first, it was just a few followers, then literally over a couple of days we were replying to over a thousand followers from South Korea, mainly on Instagram and Twitter. They have been sharing links to our music and have helped us with this vote for Isle of Wight festival. We’re now hoping to play out there at some point!
You can follow Karkosa on social media:
And here are some additional useful links:
We will be watching Karkosa in the next months to see how our favourite Birmingham quintet is doing.
For now, you can also support them by casting your vote at The Birmingham Music Awards’ Rising Star/One to Watch 2018. The vote will end on 24th of April!
Till we meet again,
Rita and Malicia