Indieterria meets Raptor

Hi, hello!

It is true that good AnR falls in love with a band at least once a week. After all, this is what we do – our job is to find a new talent, recognize its potential and bring it to the public/record label/press attention. We are constantly on the move. From one venue to the other, from Soundcloud to Youtube to Bandcamp. Our feelings change like a kaleidoscope. A band we saw few weeks earlier and we thought were rubbish will win our hearts at the next gig. A singer we heard today and we thought was excellent, will be deemed pale and stale next week when somebody better comes along.

Panta Rhei, a great philosopher once wrote. Everything has to flow, change and improve. In normal circumstances, we will come to see a band several times before we make up our minds. One bad gig will not cross our your chances, several good ones will only strengthen our resolution to help.  Sometimes, however, magic happens. This is what we wait for, why we roam the darkest, smallest dive – bars and open mic nights. Very, very rarely, a band will enter the stage and within 10 seconds we know we have found a gem. It happened to us with The Blinders, The Americas and Children of the State. And with Raptor.

Raptor self titled EP

The first time we saw them live, it was an electrifying feeling. Like a thunderstruck or a solid punch in the guts. Your hair stands on ends, there is a chill running up and down your spine. You gasp in an absolute awe, with your mouth open and you watch the pretty colors and listen to the most beautiful music in your life. We exaggerate a bit, but the feeling of surprise and amazement is real – this is an act you know you will be working with. Call it a sixth sense – we can spot a good material for rock and roll greatness from a long way and assess them in a matter of seconds.

And once we are in love, we do everything what’s in our power to help. In majority of cases, we invite the chosen act to sit down with us and talk about their beginnings, music, influences and plans for the future. We learn more and more about the band. We research, gather links and materials about them. We become experts. This is the only way we can help – you need to know the band like a back of your hand. Talking to Kurt and Adam Fletcher was a pure pleasure – another proof that our intuition was correct.

Ladies and gents, please welcome the masters of psychedelic rock to our humble blog.

We give you, Raptor!

Brothers Adam and Kurt Fletcher

Official bio:

Raptor are a psychedelic rock trio comprised of brothers Kurt (guitar/vox) and Adam Fletcher (drums) and Nick Osborne (bass) based in Bristol. The band formed in the quiet depths of rural Herefordshire, released their first offering simply entitled “E.P” on Friday, 13th February 2015 to critical acclaim, showcasing their fuzz driven guitar grooves and hard-hitting drums. June 2017 saw the release of Raptor’s double single “Ultraviolet/Haight Street” that has since received raving reviews from BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester, Bristol Live Magazine, Bristol 24/7 and Rock Radio UK among others. Their electric performances won them acclaim from Scott Holiday (Rival Sons) and Verden Allen (Mott The Hoople) and allowed the band to open for Robert Plant, Mick Ralphs (Bad Company) and Dr Feelgood.  In May 2018, the band signed to Don’t Tell Anyone Records (DTA1) and their new single “Dynamite (is Freedom)” was released on 31st July 2018. Raptor have currently completed writing of their full-length debut album and the record is set to be released this autumn via DTA1.

According to your biography, Raptor is a trio consisting of two brothers and a friend. You formed in 2014 in Leominster but currently reside in Bristol. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of our blog.

The sleeve to Raptor`s debut single Double A side Ultraviolet/Haigh Street

Kurt Fletcher: Hi guys! We are Raptor and the band is made up of me (guitar/vocals) and my brother Adam (drums), currently we’ve got our friend Nick Osborne on the bass.

Psychedelic rock seems to have a certain fondness for reptiles. There was T.Rex, Thin Lizzy, Tuatara and now, there is Raptor. Did you chose the name to fit right into this trend or was there any other reason to come up with it?

Adam Fletcher: I’ve never really though of that! Kurt once told me the name appeared one lunchtime in his alphabetti-spaghetti (laughing)

2015 saw the release of your 5-track extended play curiously entitled “E.P.”. To make it even more unusual, you have decided to publish it on Friday the 13th. It received very favourable reviews. Can you tell us more about it?

Kurt Fletcher: We spent a long time searching for a studio and decided to record at The Forge in Warwickshire with Tom Gittins. Tom’s place is really cool and was  haunted by a friendly ghost called Millie! She’d mysteriously move the camera that was facing Adam whilst we were recording drums on Get Down…. Spooky!

Raptor fans must have the patience of a saint, as you made them wait for nearly two years before you released any new material. Your next double single “Ultraviolet/Haigh Street” was very different than your debut. It was more aggressive, more edgy and less bluesy. Your style also evolved considerably  and we can hear obvious prog-rock inspirations such as early Genesis or  even Van Der Graaf Generator! Where were you doing during the break? Practicing, getting better and recording?

Brothers Adam and Kurt Fletcher

Kurt Fletcher: Thank you! To be honest it has all felt like a really natural progression as both before and after our EP release we were gigging hard. We were only 17 and 19 so Ad was starting college studying studio engineering and I was about to go to the BIMM Bristol Uni studying all aspects of music performance.  Because we had such a gap between recording we listened to so much different music – we made a conscious decision to really push what we were doing in the studio, Adam was getting more into production while I was getting more interested in songwriting.

Your new sound has been compared to King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, Jefferson Airplane, King Crimson with a lot of Oasis and psychedelic Arctic Monkeys thrown into the mix. Are those your influences? What type of music are you listening to at this moment?

Adam: I’ve been listening to some Queens of The Stone Age, Tame Impala, Joe Walsh(Eagles), Nirvana and a little funk like James Brown and The Meters… lost of very different genres.. all far too loud.

Kurt: I’ve blasting a lot of Frank Zappa, Uncle Acid and David Bowie. Tom Waits, Demob Happy, The Stones and Santana are favourites of ours.

Raptor received praises from the biggest names in the industry such as Scott Holiday of Rival Sons, Verden Allen of Mott The Hoople and even legendary Robert Plant. He invited you to open for him. Do you remember this gig well?

Kurt Fletcher: It’s always amazing to meet people you respect so highly and it’s an honour to play with them! Scott and Verden are good friend of ours, we’ve had some great nights out with Verden, he still parties as hard as back in the day! Go check him out playing blistering Hammond organ in the All the Young Dudes vid on YouTube.

Adam Fletcher: The Robert Plant gig was so fun! He lives relatively close to where we grew up, there were rumours all the time about Planty showing up at someone’s gig. I remember on the night half way through a drum solo turning around and seeing Robert Plant watching me through the curtains… I lost my mind. He graced the stage after us and opened with When The Levee Breaks.. it doesn’t get any better than that! I spoke to him after and he was so kind and great conversation…. what a night!

Cover of Dynamite (Is Freedom) – Raptor`s current single

Just last month, you have been signed to a proper independent label. Congratulations! How did your co-operation began?

Kurt Fletcher: Alex Andrews, who runs Don’t Tell Anyone Records (with his business partner Sam) asked us to play a show with his band Stone Cold Fiction in Bristol this April and we got on great! After meeting with Alex again we started making plans. DTA1 is an independent label and is all about helping one another out – He put out King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s record last year and released our new single ‘Dynamite (Is Freedom)’ in July this year.

You have new record deal and a brand new single “Dynamite (is Freedom) out right now. What is the song about?

Kurt Fletcher:  It’s difficult to give Dynamite (Is Freedom) a direct meaning as it was written over a period of months – soaking up different inspirations along the way. There are cynical parts to it as well as elements of dystopia, it talks about accepting the situation you are in and learning to come to terms with things.

Did you have fun recording it?

Adam Fletcher: Recording this record has been some of the most fun we’ve ever had and we are extremely pleased with what we’ve done. It was recorded at Bink Bonk with Mat Samson (Turbowolf/Kasabian) in Bristol with analogue and digital gear… We  chose to track live without a metronome to capture the sound and energy of our live show. Mat is as mental as we are which meant for a lot of sonic experimentation using a collection of vintage amplifiers, effects and audio rarities including vocal mics owned by The Beatles used on their last three albums (and the rooftop gig), guitars amps owned by Motörhead and a Reverb unit owned by Pink Floyd and used on The Wall!

If we’d like to see you live, where do we go? Do you have anything lined up?

Kurt Fletcher: We’re going on tour at the end of September with Stone Cold Fiction & Don’t Tell Anyone Records so you can catch us across the UK! Here are the dates:

Wed 26th September – London – The Lighthouse
Thur 27th September – Bradford Upon Avon
Fri 28th September – Leeds – Verve Bar
Sat 29th September – Newcastle – Little Buildings
Sun 30th September – Manchester – Wangies

What can we expect from Raptor in the next few months. Go on and surprise us!

Kurt Fletcher: We’re set to release an album this September, other that that we’ll be collecting strange gear, drinking around Bristol and working on new songs!

Social media:

Website: http://www.raptorliveandloud.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raptortheband
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/raptortheband
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raptortheband
Bandcamp: https://raptortheband.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://www.soundcloud.com/raptor-the-band
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV7i9Wyx1ko
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5nkHHW45RyoYv10FmjpaRD

We are going to see Raptor play live in Manchester on the last date of their tour, so please be prepared for an massive update to this interview. There will be pictures, filmed performances and maybe a flash video-interview!

We love coming back to the Kingdom of Mancunia and we know we will have a fantastic time.

Please join us and have a good day .
Until we meet again,

R+M

Indieterria review – Guitar Music Is Dead by The Americas

“Not scared of no darkness” – The Americas “Guitar Music is Dead” review


When I look back, there is a cinematic quality to it. I can see it in my mind unfolding like a film. A girl is walking into a local venue, wrapped in her over-sized winter jacket. She`s very nervous to the point of feeling lightheaded. Yet, she is very determined. She came to this place to find bands to promote. She is about to rebuild her life from actual scratch and it’s the music business with no plan B. She will find herself some local acts to promote and it will snowball from here. It`s a Phillip Hall or Tony Wilson type of thing. You would not understand.

The bar is half full with some people talking and listening to songs played via PA system. There could have been an open mic night but it ended. The girl was late. She loiters with a glass of cola for a while and then strikes rather awkward conversation with two guys at the bar. They seem like a perfect target. And the conversation goes like this:

– Sooo, are you in a band? – she asks
– Yes – one of the boys is irritated because he has just been mistaken for his twin brother
– We are … ummm a five piece…
– And have a female singer  – interrupts the brother and they do look identical
– Would you describe yourself as a good band?

The boys stare at each other:

– Suppose so? – says the first one measuring words – But if you want to find a good band in this town there`s The Americas…

The Americas

The boy is Fergus Brazier – lead guitarist of incredibly potent indie pop/shoegaze act named nth cave. His hair is still not dyed blue, he is months away from departing to London to work at the Beeb. His brother is Hector Brazier, drummer in the same band. They recorded a session for BBC Hereford and Worcester but have no idea that it will become one of the most popular sessions for local chapter of BBC Introducing. They are unaware that in the future they will co headline Musicians Against Homelessness in Worcester collecting more funds than a similar event in Birmingham. It is also too early for their demos to end up on Steve Lamacq`s desk. It`s only winter 2016 and we have just met.

Similarly, the entire local music scene is yet nameless. It will take several more months before Andrew Marston of BBC coins the term “WorcesterWave” to describe our collective push to be recognized. But the stars are aligning. The nth cave boys just introduced me to The Americas.  I don’t know many people in town so it is hard for me to name others in the room. But it is full of people with whom I will work and whom I will call friends. Jesse River Dylan Murray is packing up his guitar – dressed in his fashionable coat, Troy Tittley of Nuns of the Tundra is out in the little garden in the back of the venue. Hanna Webb is saying good bye to her mates from Population 7 by the doors, there is a song by Soeur on the speakers…

 

The EP banner

The girl goes home quite ignorant that she accidentally stepped in to an environment that resembles Seattle in the late 80s – where local music scene is full of incredible talent and it is ready to make itself known to the country. So far the girl has just learned names of two local bands. One of them will change her considerably. She gets home and puts The Americas into Google…

It took 547 more days (I have been counting, not sure what it says about me) to finally see the band live – on 16th September 2017 during Worcester Music Festival. By then, The Americas had three singles out and they toured the country playing all the important festivals. They rounded up the year being featured by Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music during his Christmas program.

Second time I`ve seen them was on 30th March 2018 (tendency to remember life events by the gigs), they played to a sold out crowd in the same venue when I first heard their name. They were dressed in matching red suits and white shirts. They debuted some new songs and taunted an upcoming EP.

If I can conjure some more of this nonexistent film about the Worcester scene. In March 2018, I am now at the side of the stage screaming out America`s lyrics and having a very emotional time. Over the two years period The Americas found a way into my soul and into my playlists. I interviewed them for my blog, I discovered their previous  project (Holy!), I have their song on my ringtone and I march into work at a local authority to their beat. If allowed – I am harping about them (and The Blinders) to anyone who was unlucky to show interest in anything music related.  The band kind of become friends since we all live in the same town.

The WorcesterWave is in full swing – local artists have been on BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC West Midlands, Black Country Radio, Radio Brum, XS Manchester, BBC Radio 1 (including a Maida Vale session for Soeur), 6 Music, Radio X, Amazing Radio and festivals around the country. Local press (Worcester News, Malvern Gazette, Hereford Times), big rock magazines (Louder Than War, Kerrang, NME), independent zines (Leather + Denim, Some Might Say) have featured artists from the scene.  It becomes the norm to see local bands regularly gigging in London, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, opening festival stages and even being considered for labels. If a movie about us is ever going to be made – there surely will be a scene of Fergus (with his now trademark blue hair) pitching local acts to some indie labels at a music fair in London for an hour and forty –five minutes. Or The Americas singing their hearts out at The Lexington while opening for The Blinders…

Our combined efforts, support from Beeb and DJs such as Andrew Marston, Steve Lamacq, John Kennedy, Daniel P Carter, Huw Stephens, Mary Ann Hobbs, Lauren Laverne or Tom Robinson and simple luck pushed WorcesterWave further than anyone of us would dream. But one thing remains certain: The Americas seem to be ahead of everyone. They set trends and go places like they have found a crystal ball and can see the future. Whatever they do today, the scene will try out tomorrow.

And here we get to the meritum of this longish essay – the debut EP from The Americas aptly entitled “Guitar Music Is Dead”.

Signed copy of Guitar Music Is Dead

On September 7th 2018 The Americas debuted a six track EP – their first offering to the world. Recorded at a secret studio located in Oxfordshire countryside, “Guitar Music Is Dead” has been mixed and produced by Mike Hill and the band, using tape instead of digital technology. It gives the record unique, old fashioned feeling – something that you don’t hear on other indie releases. However this is not nostalgia for the golden era of rock and roll. The EP feels very modern, both in sound and output. It just has that “thin mercury sound” that Bob Dylan spoke about – for a lack of better definition.

Analogue approach brings forward the beauty of The Americas that could have been overlooked before – that of honesty, that comes from hearts and experiences of the members.  The band does not shy away from hard topics on the record: loneliness in “Come on Out”, political and economical mess of the world  in “American Morning” or drug use in “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”. But everything is delivered with a dose of sadness and poetry, rather than a blunt force. The Americas look at the world and  see what surrounds us and react to it in their own ways. They do get angry in “Bad News” that seems to be directed at people in music industry (or any industry where you work and struggle) but also deliver a beautifully crafted song about getting away in “Backyard Love Song” and a love song in form of “Rosanna”. This is my personal favourite. If I may dedicate few lines of text to it.

Front Cover of the EP, Photo by Holly Elizabeth Beson-Tams (band`s official photographer)
https://www.facebook.com/DenimnLeatherMagazine

“Rosanna” closes the record with a bang and a wonderful jam at the end of the track. But it is the lyrics that won me over.  Perhaps I am wrong, but this is not an ordinary love song. This is a “love beyond the grave” type of a story – where two people have each other for ever, no matter what.  “Rosanna” is a possessive, us vs. the world, Bonnie and Clyde, True Romance kind of a feeling. The one that each of us dreamed of but very few will ever experience.  And then there is this passage “I am not scared of no darkness, as long as I’ve got you here in my heart”.  For a whole list of personal reasons that should not go into the review  – this line got to me and became some sort of a mantra in times of trouble. It is nearly a protective spell, and I don’t believe in magic. I do however believe in power of music and “Rosanna” is one hell of a powerful statement.

The EP also brings in a new element to band`s repertoire. For the first time, both Harry Payne and Aaron Whittaker share vocal duties.  Aaron takes leads on “American Morning” and “Backyard Love Song” – both compositions he authored. While Harry Payne`s vocals are expressive and at times cutting like knives (last minute of “I Don’t Wanna Go Home will leave you with deep emotional scars), Aaron vocals are soothing and gentle. Harry and Aaron complement each other, when one sings leads, the other does backing parts and it works like magic. I have yet to find an indie record that has this sort of chemistry and fellowship between band members.

Back Cover of the EP, Photo by Holly Elizabeth Beson-Tams (band`s official photographer) https://www.facebook.com/DenimnLeatherMagazine

That partnership is very much visible on stage when The Americas play live. They instinctively know what the other person will do, where the music goes, what songs follows. Off stage, they sit together like a family unit rather than a bunch of mates.  I have seen other acts being fiercely jealous of the unity in The Americas. Come to think of it, “Guitar Music Is Dead” would not be such an exemplary record if it wasn’t for the brotherhood shared between Harry, Alex and  Aaron.

And I have to mention something about Alex Bradshaw`s drumming. The legend has it that he was “stolen” by Aaron and Harry from his mother group and was convinced to join The Americas instead. I`m not particularly sure this is what really happened but Alex`s input in the band is crucial for the sound. He hits the tubes like there is no tomorrow in “Bad News”, only to bring delicate textures of “American Morning” next and contributes groove to the phenomenal jam at the end of “Rosanna”.  How many times you get to listen to a record and say – yep, the drummer is the right one for the band. The chemistry between Aaron and Harry is kept in perfect balance by Alex and there is no doubt about it.

“Guitar Music is Dead” is a great EP, lasting about 30 minutes and it’s one of two records of the year for me, alongside with “Columbia” from The Blinders. What is a small disappointment to me, unlike “Columbia”, “Guitar Music Is Dead” doesn’t fully capture how the band sound when playing live. You still need to see The Americas on stage to fully understand their powerful mix of Americana, soul, gospel and classic rock. The EP is an excellent record but The Americas are capable of so much more than the format could handle.

If you can get yourself a copy of the EP, do so. It will be exciting for me to see where the band will go from here. And perhaps for the entire WorcesterWave scene as well.

 

Cover of Come On Out – first single to promote the EP.

***

It was very hard to write this review. Took me about a week.  I wrote at home, in a hotel at 3AM when on a trip to Manchester, on buses and in bed. I reviewed “Columbia” in about 5 hours from start to finish and required four revisions. The Americas took about thirty. This record hits so close to home that I had to take chunks of text out not to make it too personal. Morrissey once said that we should never forget the records that saved our lives. “Guitar Music Is Dead” did just that. On at least three occasions this year.

Alex, Harry and Aaron – thank you.

***

Cover of “American Morning” – second single off the EP

“Guitar Music Is Dead” was released on 7th September 2018.

TRACKLIST:

1. Come On Out
2. American Morning
3. Bad News
4. Backyard Love Song
5. I Don`t Wanna Go Home
6. Rosanna

Order:

https://theamericasyeah.bigcartel.com/product/guitar-music-is-dead-cd-pre-order

Cover of “Rosanna” – third and final single to promote the EP

Interview with the band:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/indieterria-meets-the-americas/

You can follow The Americas using the links below:

http://www.theamericasyeah.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theamericasyeah/
https://soundcloud.com/theamericasyeah
https://twitter.com/theamericasyeah
https://www.instagram.com/theamericasyeah/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QxPYzki5ME5mHztKXbEir?si=AC1ZwAdZSUemXwrCC3u3TQ
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/guitar-music-is-dead-ep/1422754052

Or listen online:

The EP has been promoted by three singles that were released throughout the summer. You can find them on band`s YouTube channel with respective lyrics.

Reviews:

Please do not take just my word for granted how good The Americas` EP is. Here is a whole bunch of other reviews (and this is just a small fragment of what`s out there) if you cannot make up your mind if you shall get your own copy of “Guitar Music Is Dead”:

Gigslutz:  „Every track varies from the last, showing the incredible talent and individual sound the band is bringing to the table, and this just the start of what The Americas are capable of”

http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/ep-americas-guitar-music-dead-2/

This Feeling track of the day: “Anthemic, groove laden guitar music you can dance to – and no one’s doing it better right now”.

http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/feeling-track-day-americas-come/

Oddscene (French online magazine):  “The Englishmen of “The Americas” start a brand new chapter with their first EP that will see the light of day in September”.

https://oddsceneblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/the-americas-on-veut-creer-quelque-chose-qui-soit-hors-du-temps/

Words For Music: “EP packs a whole load of guitar in one place. The ring of the classic bluesy vocals are complemented by rock and country guitars while hats are surely tipped towards indie music, making you really question the Midland origin of the band”.

https://wordsformusic.blog/2018/09/08/ep-review-the-americas-guitar-music-is-dead/

The review was followed by Q&A by the magazine:

https://wordsformusic.blog/2018/09/04/interview-the-americas-answer-10-questions/

Counteract:  The Americas are ensuring guitar music is in rude health”.

http://counteract.co/interview/interview-the-americas-come-on-out-for-new-single/

Northern Exposure:  “The Americas are a British guitar band trying to make it pay in the 21st century. Taking influences from 70’s Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and American pop-culture.They put on their suits, strap up their boots and take their rock and roll gospel to anyone who’ll listen”.

http://northern-exposure.co/the-americas-announce-three-new-singles/

North Exposure:  “These indie rockers cause quite a ruckus when playing and have taken that riot on tour with a slurry of festival appearances last year which were all well received”.

http://northern-exposure.co/daily-exposed-the-americas-come-on-out/

We Close Tonight: “If you can find me a trio of blokes from Birmingham who are better at making Americana music than The Americas, I’ll buy you a pint of something bitter.”

https://weclosetonight.com/2018/08/08/the-americas-rosanna/

One Great Song:  “From indie infused country guitar to melodic piano and bluesy vocals, the trio’s debut EP is shaping up to be a refreshing offering of proper guitar music with a nostalgic twist”.

https://www.onegreat-song.com/single-post/2018/07/30/The-Americas—American-Morning

One Great Song:  “Heavenly melodies meet with bluesy, soothing vocals  to create a classic rock n roll edge”

https://www.onegreat-song.com/single-post/2018/06/04/The-Americas—Come-On-Out

One Great Song: “Nobody else is producing a sound quite like theirs right now, and the Guitar Music Is Dead EP is all the evidence you need of that. Traditional but quirky, nostalgic and powerful; The Americas are proving that guitar music is in fact thriving”.

https://www.onegreat-song.com/single-post/2018/09/13/The-Americas—Guitar-Music-Is-Dead

Indie Central Music: „The Americas have just released six-track EP ‘Guitar Music Is Dead’, and prove in 29 minutes of 60’s-flavoured rock’n’roll that they are one of the new wave of UK bands making sure guitar music is very much alive”. (also user rating for the band is stated at 8.2 out of 10)

http://indiecentralmusic.com/moder-age-music-song-of-the-week/

Reyt Good Magazine:  “With their reputation and fanbase rapidly growing across the independent scene, the band look to be a definite hit this summer”.

https://www.rgm.press/review-the-americas-come-on-out/

Popped Music: “Once again the guys have smashed it and given us a summer anthem that we can listen to all day, every day. “ (about “American Morning”)

https://poppedmusic.co.uk/2018/08/09/just-listen-the-americas-american-morning/

Popped Music: “Have been a big fan of The Americas since seeing them gracing the stages at some small venues and then smashing their set at Isle of Wight Festival (…) Judging from this release, the EP, “Guitar Music is Dead”, is something to look forward to”. (about “Come On Out”)

https://poppedmusic.co.uk/2018/06/03/just-listen-the-americas-come-on-out/

Indie For Bunnies
(Italian Indie Blog): “For lovers of that sound of the ’70s but also for those looking for a half hour of great music: do not waste your time and listen to it, guitar music will never die.”

http://www.indieforbunnies.com/2018/09/15/ep-the-americas-guitar-music-is-dead/

Denim+ Leather: “Beautifully refreshing in a sea of indie rock and their songs truly mean something”.

http://denimnleather.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-americas-come-on-out-single-review.html

Indie Radar added “Bad News” to their playlist showcasing the most important guitar bands in the UK

On 7th September 2018prestigious service Indie radar added “Bad News” to their Spotify playlist

Till the next time.

Malicia

“Everyone can enjoy the sun on their face. It’s a basic privilege even the plants have.”

Indieterria meets Inwards

Dear readers!

Oh, it was a very frustrating beginning of the month! The WordPress went down, their SSL broke and our publishing schedule got delayed by a week and a half. Luckily, Rita is a miracle worker, found the right script, implemented it and voila – we are back in action. But it took a long time and we do apologize for the technical issues. They were outside of our control!

So, in span of just several days, you can enjoy two brand new blogs. The first one is our view/review/official waffling post about The Blinders (you can read it Here) and the other is a brand new interview with the electronic music prodigy, Inwards.

Inwards in another dimension (or maybe just on the stage!)

Of course, we don’t have to tell you that Inwards (aka Kristian Shelley) is the pride and joy of Worcestershire and we are extremely proud of his achievements. And there is a lot to be proud about! His music receives praise after praise and super favourable reviews from journalists, media and radio stations. Kris is going places and he is going to the top at an impressive speed. Before you blink, he will be there at the top of the charts with Burial, Aphex Twin and Chemical Brothers.

Talking to Kris is a rare pleasure. He is entertaining, kind and very pleasing to interview. He is curious about the world, culture and popular heritage. We sat down with him after his session for BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester and grilled him about his equipment, music and having his music played on the national radio.

Official bio:  Inwards is the alias of Kristian Shelley, a multi-instrumentalist and music programmer from Worcestershire, UK. His work exists in the experimental domain and draws influence from the far borders of dance music, using modular synths with acoustic and electronic sources to create a nostalgic and colourful sonic palette.  Crackling with the freedom and spontaneity that characterises his studio productions, Inwards live performances vary from one environment to the next, taking on organic forms through the manipulation of his electronic instruments. Gaining a reputation for his absorbing shows, which are often complemented by live visuals, he has played alongside the likes of Lapalux, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers), Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and Ulrich Schnauss, and at festivals including The Great Escape and Brighton Digital Festival. Signing to Small Pond in 2017 after capturing attention with a series of DIY releases, Inwards invites you into a dark yet playful and psychedelic world of sound on his debut album.

According to your bio, Inwards is a moniker of producer, multi-instrumentalist and music programmer – Kristian Shelley. We are intrigued. Can you introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria?

Inwards: Hello readers of Indieterria! I’m Kris and I play instruments and use computers to make music.

Inwards is very poetic term. It describes someone “orientated towards the inside” or something “existing within the mind, soul or spirit, often not expressed”. It can also be applied to a person that is private or even shy. This is not a name that was chosen accidentally, isn’t it?

Inwards:  No, it is not an accident. The music I make is an introspective experience for me so I arrived at the name “Inwards” and it felt right. I stuck with it.

Before becoming a DJ, you played in several alternative and funk outfits. Is working on your own much harder than being part of a group? Do you feel more comfortable relying only on yourself on stage?

Diesel album cover

Inwards:  Working on your own can be a very freeing experience. It also makes you question whether what you are doing is a good vibe because you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off. Being on stage alone is much more daunting than with a band but I like it. At this moment, I’m looking forward to a new project I have started with some musicians friends this year. I really miss playing in a band and miss the band vibrations!

It is not always possible to meet your musical heroes, but you were lucky to speak with Aphex Twin (aka Richard D James) at Bangface Festival in Cornwall in 2012, right at the beginning of your career. Are you still in touch? If so, did he say anything about your newest compositions?

Inwards:  This was just before I had started making electronic music and the whole festival was very inspirational! We didn’t exchanged details but I was lucky enough to bump into him again last year at a small festival in Cornwall and we had a good chat about modulars and living in the countryside. I don’t know if he has listened to any of my stuff, but it would be great to give him something back for his early support!

You have performed alongside Lapalux, Forest Swords, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers), Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and Ulrich Schnauss (of Tangerine Dream) and at festivals including The Great Escape and Brighton Digital Festival. If you could share the stage with just one artist or a band, who would you choose?

Inwards: (laughing) Slayer! It has to be them!

On 19th of January 2018 you released double single entitled “Amsterdam”/“Computertalsk”. In one interview you mentioned that both tracks are based on your personal experiences.  Can you tell us what events from your life inspired each song?

Amsterdam/Computertalsk double single cover

Inwards: Well, the first track “Amsterdam” kind of gives me that feeling of freedom you get when travelling. It is mixed with undertones of wanting to return home and chill. “Computertalsk” represents a different feeling, the one of trying to make the computer to express itself. It is like giving the machine a voice so it can tell you what’s going on. For me, this tune is like the computer is learning to talk because it’s got something really emotionally potent it needs to tell you. I really like making the machines feel like they have a personality and trying to give them a voice and this was me exploring these possibilities.

You are the only Worcestershire based artist who has been championed by so many DJ across BBC 6 Music: Mary Ann Hobbs, Don Letts, Stuart Maconie, Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Steve Lamacq and Tom Ravenscroft. Your single “When she flashes her smile on me” was named a Song of the Week. That’s a complete take-over of national radio station! What`s your secret?

Inwards: (laughing) I don’t really know how to answer this question. I don’t think there are any secrets to making music! Just do what feels right for you.

We have seen the equipment you use to create your music during your session for BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester in Pershore. It looks very impressive and very complicated. We are sure that outside of music, it is also capable of answering phone calls and making a cuppa. Help us out and tells us what are all those cables, wires and boxes?

Inwards: I will try to make it easy! So, the main box with the wires is a modular synthesizer. It is basically a synthesizer that you can choose what component parts are inside it. Basically, you can make it your own instrument. The other stuff is a mixer, drum machine and a Delay Pedal which I use alongside the modular and my computer to create the vibes. I wish it could make drinks but not quite there yet (laughing). Would be cool to make a phone module that could randomly call people in a contacts list and then use the audio from the call in the system. Or a prank call module with customizable soundbank for all your favourite prank calls. If you are a modular synth developer and reading this, you’re welcome!

Tell us about your relationship with your label – Small Pond

Kristian at work

Inwards: I met the Small Pond crew through living in Brighton. I remember going to a great party at their studio on Castle Street. I think it was the opening evening of the studio that the Small Pond team had been building for 2 years. I met most of their employees that evening, although I didn’t back then think I would be working so closely with them in the future! Samuel Organ asked me in late 2016 if I would be interested in working on a release with them and if I had any music that I would consider submitting. I put everything I made that I thought was decent enough and sent them a file with about 60 tracks in it. It was quite nerve racking experience really. It felt like sending of all this precious stuff that I wasn’t even sure was any good anymore because I had listened to it so much. I think they were a bit taken back by the number of tracks included! Obviously, they couldn’t make a 60-track album (or could we?). It took some time for us to work out the best combinations of tunes but we got there in the end. The album turned out to be a belter and I’m super proud of it. Yeah in short, the relationship is ace, I had a great time so far working with the whole team and I look forward to future projects with them.

Your music is classified as general electronic /dance but we hear so many elements and inspirations: from Aphex Twin, Ian Pooley, The Orb, Orbital, Future Sound of London, 808 State, Sven Vath to Atticus Ross. At times you cross into territory inhabited by Boards of Canada, Unkle, Bjork and all the way to Radiophonic Workshop. You seem to be familiar with incredible amount of popular music, how do you retain your own distinctive identity?

Inwards:  I think the identity of music comes from chasing a sound or vibe that makes you feel a certain way. For me, it’s like there are massive spaces in music. Almost like big gaps or territories that haven’t been discovered yet. Making music is my way of bridging these gaps and getting to these sonic landscapes that I feel are missing from my current musical world. I think this is perhaps where musical identity comes from. When you are trying to chase an idea or feeling that exists only in your mind and you try to make it into something tangible. It has your own stamp on it.

Your debut offering via Small Pond – “Diesel” was released on 27th April 2018. How did you approach working on that album? Did you enter the studio with prepared material or preferred to compose there and then?

Inwards:  My approach varies to each song individually. Each track is like an experiment where I am exploring music possibilities within a framework of equipment that I set up in different ways each time. When I experiment, I am chasing a vibe or sound that makes me feel in a certain way. Sometimes I can be making music and listening to the same cycle for an hour and not realize it because I am totally sucked in. Some tunes are made in a methodical sequenced way on the computer and others may be coming straight out of the hardware live or a combination of the two methods. I didn’t sit down and said to myself: “Right, I’m going to make a 13-track album this month”.  Every time I make music, I just do it in certain moment. Only afterwards I try and fuse tracks together to make larger works.

Last question – where can we see/hear you next? What`s in your calendar for coming months?

Inwards: I have a live show in London coming up at the Pickle Factory on the 16th of August with my visual bro Irie Pixel. We have been working on a live AV show that I am excited to perform. I’m very excited that the show will take place at the Pickle Factory as they have really good club system. Also, I have a show coming up in Bristol soon and some other very cool things to announce but can’t quite tell you about them yet! You will have to watch and see!

You can follow Inwards on social medias:

Label: Small Pond
Contact: Rosie James
Website: https://smallpondrec.co.uk/
Bandcamp: https://smallpond.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inwardsuk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/inwards_
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inwards_92/
Bandcamp: https://smallpond.bandcamp.com/album/diesel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/inwardsuk
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/542nHHjo4wRmP3AbeJWkse?si=I3pj6B1DSyqchOJ45fV8uw

On 29th April 2018, Inwards visited his home town of Pershore to record BBC Introducing session. We have been there and made some recordings and videos on the day. It is only fair to share some of our materials with you.

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You can also see our videos on Youtube (yes, we have our own channel with a lot of goodies here)

Well, that’s all folks for today, but stay tuned and we will be back shortly with even more news, reviews and interviews!

Please stay beautiful!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz