Indiaterria meets As Mamas

Ahoy!

Welcome back to Indieterria, dear readers. We hope you had a fantastic bank holiday weekend. The weather was great and we finally caught some sunshine after being constantly hidden away in the office (during the day) or lurking in the dark venues and dive bars (at nights) looking for the next big thing on the English music scene. Trying not to become vampires, on Saturday we went to Cardiff to see Manic Street Preachers at the MotoArena and it was a dream come true! After 25 years we finally had a chance to see Manics perform live in their home town! The gig was sold out, over 7 000 people sang their hearts out and we met a dear friend Rebecca (aka Crossfire) whom we’ve known for more than 20 years. It was the first time we have seen each other in person. In short – it was a beautiful day and you can expect a large report later on.

Now, we are back to business and we are more than ecstatic to introduce you to a trio that had been on our rock and roll radar for over a year now. They started as a duo, recorder their first EP at the back of a classic caravan and blew our minds with perfect mixture of psychedelia, classic rock and huge dosage of blues. They are growing better and better and the release of their second EP only prove that they are already outgrowing the small West Midland scene.

The golden era of rock and roll is coming back and with bands such as The Lizards, TSAhe Americas, Raptor and Insomnichord, we might be looking at the second revival of the British psychedelic rock! We have sat down with our today’s guests, As Mamas to discuss their very unusual name (we HAVE NOT seen that coming!), musical influences from both sides of the pond and the changes to their sound brought by a new band member.

Ladies and gents…We give you:

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As Mamas still as duo

As Mamas
Harrison Baird-Whitman (guitar, vocals and harmonica)
Joe Devine (drums and percussion)
Jacob Coley (bass) 

As Mamas is the grooviest name we have on Worcester scene. It brings the swinging 60’s to mind and all the classic, ground-breaking bands like the Mamas and the Papas. Where does your name come from?

As Mamas: (laughing) It is a funny story. When we first started, we wanted to be called “The Tits”. There was just the two of us and we thought the line “Who doesn’t love a pair of tits” would get us far. We then realised, we probably wouldn’t get too far with a name or line like that so we threw “The Tits” into a translator and randomly chose Portuguese. Now we’re “The Breasts”.

You recently incorporated Jacob Coley on bass. What abilities does he bring to the table?

As Mamas: The guy is a little fucking genius! When we first practiced with him, we thought maybe we’d have to go through some chords or long practice with him but Jacob just picked up all our songs like that! It’s also a completely different feel for the band and for Joe (Mr. Drums) who’d never played with a bassist before. Having that lo sound to ride with! Jacob is not only a bassist but is also producing the new tracks we’ve recorded. He is showing us things we have never seen or heard of before. We love him!

Psychodelic picture of the band as a trio

You have been compared to early Black Keys but there is so much more happening in your music. Syd Barrett, Caravan, 13th Floor Elevators, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Funkadelic, Jefferson Airplane, and even Grateful Dead could be named as possible influences. Do you agree?

As Mamas: Thank you! We get compared to the Black Keys frequently which is understandable but we take inspiration from all those bands mentioned. We’ve been listening to the 13th Floor Elevators a lot over the past few months so some of our new material has pinches of them in. We all have different tastes but those bands and artists have certainly influenced Harrison. He digs the Grateful Dead and the entire psychedelic movement they were a part of along with bands such as The Acid Tests and The Merry Pranksters. Their music is what dreams are made of!

To date you have recorded two EP’s (“As Mamas” from 2016 and “Parte Dois” released in March 2018). We know it is like asking to compare your children but what are the strong and the weak points of both releases?

As Mamas: Harrison would say that say the first EP doesn’t hold much in terms of strong points but we’re always critical of what we’ve done. Although, we will always dig the tracks and what kind of music we were doing then! The recordings and production on the first EP is sort of shabby but that was when we did everything out of the caravan in Harrison’s back garden. Saying that though, we still play the first track and still get the same joy out of playing it but it could be simply down to Jacob joining us (laughing). It’s hard to compare the two releases. “Parte Dois” is more mature. We had grown musically and gotten better at our instruments and song writing. The sound of it is definitely “bigger”. It just came with learning more about production. We now know more of what to add, and what not to add. Putting a bit of organ here and a bit of percussion there, you know.

And more traditional picture of the band performing at Paradiddles in Worcester, March 2018

Second EP “Parte Dois” is heavily inspired by American delta blues (Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddly) and garage rock of 60’s and 70’s (The Standells, The Kinks, the Sonics) but it has a modern twist to it. Reviewers hear a lot of traditional psychodelia mixed with a bit of Arctic Monkeys, The Peace and Night Beats.  Who else was thrown into your own inspirational melting pot?

As Mamas: We think the first EP was more inspired by the blues! Harrison was listening to a lot of reggae and rocksteady when he was writing the songs for “Parte Dois”. It comes through particularly well on “Idle Eyes” for sure. “Foolish Vibrations” was meant to be a real slow reggae track but thankfully Joe made it what it was. Night Beats were a big influence and still are. Other bands that inspired that were The Doors, always The Doors. Then the Growlers, Modern Lovers and several others. Again, we are all different but we’re usually on the same page and listening to the same stuff!

We absolutely love the single “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted”. It is one of your fan favourites and recently was chosen as a song of the week by BOAC Internet radio. Surely it is not about falling asleep on the floor after a party with the corridor lights on (or is it)?

As Mamas: (laughing loud) “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted” is always rad to play live. Good one to get in the groove to. It can be about whatever people want but Harrison is pretty sure he wrote it about letting your mind run away with drugs and going a bit insane. We got quite a few songs about going mad!

Elegantly psychodelic

As Mamas are constantly on the go performing in Worcester (Paradiddles, The FireFly, The Marr’s Bar), Bristol, Birmingham (selling out Sunflower Longue) and London (Amersham Arms, Reverberation Psych Fest) among others. You have played as a part of This Feeling circuit. Tell us about your favourite show? Where was it and with whom you have shared the stage?

As Mamas:  We gotta say our favourite show was one we played recently with Rhino and the Ranters at the Night Owl in Birmingham. The venue is just perfect, real cool atmosphere and a sort of 60s feel to it. Plus everyone who works there seems to really dig what they’re doing. Then Rhino and the Ranters are one of the best live bands we’ve had the pleasure of seeing, always fun with them. And in the future, we will play Bristol for the first time on the 12th of May at Mr Wolf’s along with Arno and DJ Hiphoppapotamus.

Last year (April 21st 2017) you were invited to play at the Booth Hall in Hereford along with Raptor and New Revival. How do you remember the performance? 

As Mamas: We are honest, we were probably a few drinks in! Our memories are pretty terrible but we remember we played this groovy little blues jam. And it’s always sweet to play with Raptor. They’ve been with us since the beginning really.

Imagine you can put your song on a soundtrack to any movie. Which film do you choose and what scene it illustrates?

As Mamas playing live

As Mamas: Shit, that’s a hard one! We have always pictured our song “Midnight Floor” being over a bar fight or some real gory Tarantino scene. So either a bar fight scene in “Roadhouse” or that scene in “Django Unchained” where Django’s getting all geared up to take on Monsieur Candy’s house.

As Mamas have been incredibly hard this year and we see no signs of you stopping. Where can we see you playing live next? What are your plans for the next few months?

As Mamas: Yeah we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! Gigs, gigs, gigs – this is what it’s all about. We play live next at the Firefly in Worcester with Elephant Peel supporting Thee MVPs which is sick! That’s gonna be a crazy good show. Plans for the next few months are probably gig more and finish off recording what we think will be our album. We’ve also got some plans to collaborate with another band and release a split single but we haven’t asked them yet and it’s still very much just blue prints but you watch this space!

You can follow As Mamas online by clicking on their plethora of social media sites:

Probably our favourite picture!

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/asmamas
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asmamasband
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/asmamasband
Bandcamp: https://asmamas.bandcamp.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asmamasband/

As usually, if you’d like to be featured on Indieterria, please send us a message and we will be listening to your music.
Any genre is welcomed – from rave to black metal, from A to Z – we are open minded and we are not afraid to discover new lands!

Email us at rdabrowicaz at yahoo dot com and see the magic happen 🙂

Till we meet again,
R+M

Indieterria celebrates Independent Music Week 2018

Dear Readers,

Between January 29th and February 4th 2018 we celebrate Independent Venue Week. This national campaign was set up five years ago to shine a light on local music venues, cultural hubs, parish halls and arts centers that give prominence to young and upcoming bands on the indie circuit.

Worcester had participated in the scheme since last year and 2018 is no different.  There will be plenty of gigs at our local independent music venue – Marrs Bar. To celebrate a whole week of music delights, new bands and DIY ethos we took few figures from our scene on the side and asked them questions.

 Welcome to Indieterria IVW18 special.

 

 James Willis
(The Marrs’ Bar manager)

Marr’s Bar logo

You have some high profile gigs scheduled this year, involving leading local talent. Can you tell us in brief what can we expect from Independent Venue Week 2018 in Worcester?

James Willis:  We have 3 shows booked for Independent Music Week this year. The first gig is HVMM, The Soviets, Juniper Nights and Malvern newcomers Dead Dads Club. It will take place on Thursday, February 1st. On Friday, 2nd of February we have Gaz Brookfield and The Company of Thieves. Gaz is a great friend of the Marr’s Bar, we always love having Gaz performing on our stage. He first came to us while supporting Nick Harper and now nearly sells the place out. On Sunday, February 4th, we have a great concert by the best bands of the Worcestershire scene: Soeur, Nuns of The Tundra, Navajo Ace, Esteban and As Mamas. It is a collaboration between two great local promoters, The Task In Hand and Surprise Attacks. These guys love putting things on that try to push the musical boundaries a bit. All info on the mentioned shows can be found at http://www.marrsbar.co.uk

Marrs Bar has been participating in IVW before. How did the initiative change over the years?

James Willis:  This is our second year participating, but I love how Independent Music Week continue to push awareness all over the country and advertise how important grass roots music venues are.

After losing so many iconic venues, the music community is pushing back – Agent of Change gets a second reading in Parliament and Music Venue Trust (MVT) is set up. Do you think such measures will have a lasting effect on safety and well-being of music venues

James Willis: It sounds like it! It already has started saving music venues from closing due to complaints, but venues are also closing due to decreasing numbers of visitors and less money being spent at the bar. It is very important we keep going to see live music and keep drinking! (laughs)

Marrs Bar is itself going through a lot of changes. Can you give us any details about it?

James Willis: We cannot reveal anything yet at this moment but watch this space!

From where you stand – what can be done to help music venues and local scene in Worcestershire?

 James Willis:  The more venues Worcester has that are willing to put on live music, and the more locals we have that get involved and put shows on, the stronger the music scene will be.

James was also interviewed by BBC Hereford and Worcester on 3rd of February 2018 regarding the campaign and this is what he had to say:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0VOWhjrRYq5

If you would like to learn more about the venue please read below:

General Info:
The Marrs Bar

Technical Info:
The Marrs Bar Tech Spec 

 

Christian Burton
(promoter, Surprise Attacks)

Surprise Attacks logo

As a promoter, what is the best thing about having an independent venue in town?

Christian Burton: Local independent venues support local music, which is essential for any city’s music scene. Whether it’s live music, DJ sets or open mic nights there is something on pretty much every night of the week. The independent venues in Worcester recognize that variety is vitally important and this can only encourage both the established and the new bands and artists.

As a local promoter for the last 5 years, keeping it DIY, believing in local acts and taking risks in bringing touring bands to Worcester has been key to putting on varied genres. We often put on music which is fairly experimental or leftfield too, and having the support of the independent venues is really important. The venues support the local scene as much as the locals support the venues. That’s the ideal existence for any town!

I think in the last couple of years this two – way support has really come to life with the existing promoters building loyal followers and new promoters being inspired to start up too. This is a great thing for Worcester especially as the student population is growing, and also great for existing and new bands.

New bands need the support of the promoters, who are able to take a chance and put them on because they have the support of the venues, who in turn provide that environment for the crowds and bands alike. So for us as promoters it’s all about community and creating a social hub and everyone seems to be doing the right thing in creating a vibrant and growing scene.

So many venues have closed down in recent years but with the introduction of Music Venue Trust and Agent of Change, the music community is fighting back. What in your opinion, will be the outcome of this struggle?

Christian Burton: It’s a worrying time. The Agent Of Change principle seems just common sense and it’s frustrating that it doesn’t already exist in UK law. I know that in Australia it’s being put into practice to positive effect.

I think the struggle will always be one of money versus culture, with residential or commercial developers obviously wanting to maximize profit. So the cost of proper soundproofing is left up to venues, which is logical if the venue is the new development next to existing offices or residential buildings!

It makes perfect sense that if homes are built next to or near to an existing venue, the developers should be responsible for the soundproofing. Unfortunately the struggle between money and the arts is a long standing battle.

The outcome? Well I’m hopeful that Agent of Change will be introduced into UK law and the importance of live music is realized to be an essential component of the UK’s culture.

Last year Cardiff nearly lost their famous Womanby Street (a street full of clubs and music venues), now they are UK`s very first City of Music. Worcester is not far away from Cardiff, has its own music festival, periodicals, lively scene. What could be done for Worcester to be properly put in on the music map?

I think Worcester is on the way to greatness with its scene and a great music festival, but it’s main downfall in my opinion is the lack of support of local venues and promoters from the University. It’s very hard to get promotional material within campuses : posters, flyers etc.

There is a huge student population in Worcester. Music scenes in other cities really jump on the opportunities to promote to the students, and have the support of Universities when doing so. It’s certainly something we will be addressing as local promoters.

Aaron Whittaker
(The Americas)

The Americas

You played for Indie Venue Week in London at The Rocksteady on 24th January 2018 How does the America see the campaign for independent venues?

Aaron Whittaker: The 21st century is an endless battle against irresponsible developers building here, there and everywhere. We’ve seen so many beautiful and historic venues forced to close their doors over the last few years because of this.

Independent venues need to be celebrated and cherished and the importance of this week-long festival that shines the spotlight on these magic little places can’t really be overstated.If you care about music then you have to pay attention to and support the spawning ground for its future.

 

Troy Tittley
(Nuns of the Tundra)

Nuns of the Tundra

What do you think about the Independent Venue Week campaign?

 Troy Tittley: I think Independent Venue Week is an important reminder of how crucial these venues are to both musicians and audiences. Most people will have their first proper gigs in these places and it is where you learn to hone your craft. You are surrounded by like minded people, creative minds and people passionate about the arts.

I’ve made a lot of meaningful connections in local independent venues, and without them networking would be way harder. I’ve also witnessed some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen in the Marrs Bar which is a stone’s throw from my house. I remember seeing the Subways there when I was a teenager, more recently Creeper, and I have the privilege of supporting Soeur there as well.

If people aren’t into clubbing or getting wrecked, these venues are a great place to spend a night out even if you don’t know who’s playing.

IVW18 with Soeur & Friends

Worcester will close IVW18 with a concert of mighty Soeur, Nunes of The Tundra, Navajo Ace, Esteban and As Mamas at the Marrs Bar on February 4th 2018.

Now what are you waiting for. Put your dancing shoes on, we are off to the mosh pit.

Mal+Rita