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 meets Andrew Marston

Dear readers!

We always have fun speaking to bands, singers, songwriters and artists. Discovering new music is what we love to do and we will never miss the opportunity to ask few questions and direct your attention towards a good tune or an album that is worth listening to. From time to time, however we have a special guest at our blog and today’s entry will be dedicated to a man we all know but whom nobody interviewed yet (we know it is a shocker!)

It is with the biggest of pleasures, we are able to announce that Indieterria has interviewed the man who not only came up with the name for Worcestershire music scene but who has been tirelessly working behind the stages of biggest local radio programmes, festivals and concerts – Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester and BBC Introducing! We sat down with Andrew to discuss the impact the BBC Introducing has on the UK musical map, the best songs he has ever received through the Introducing Uploader and his brand new exciting show.

Think globally, do locally  – Andrew Marston Interview

The right person for the job!

Official press release: A BBC programme, dedicated to supporting up-and-coming musicians, is to launch a second show this weekend.

 BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester, which broadcasts every Saturday from 8pm, is to double its airtime in its new timeslot on Sundays from 6pm. Since its launch in 2005, the team has been overwhelmed with the amount of musical talent coming out of Herefordshire & Worcestershire with more than 15,000 demos sent in, during the last decade, from the local area.

 Presenter Andrew Marston says: “We have such an incredible music scene right here on our doorstep – and I looked down the pile of music that I’d earmarked for broadcast and realised, if I never received a song again, I still had enough to carry me through the next decade without repeating a single track!

 “The picture, nationally, is also very similar – with 170,000 artists now registered and 500,000 songs submitted. It would take 3 years to listen to every song currently on the Uploader and the number of musicians registered now exceeds the number of people who went to Glastonbury last year.”

 Originally broadcast as the Friday Session, the programme has gone on to discover acts such as Ellie Goulding, Becky Hill and Peace. John Peel’s former manager, Clive Selwood, said: “John would have loved the programme – it would have pleased him enormously.”

 As well as the superb quality of music the programme showcases, there’s a weekly gig guide, local music news, interviews with movers and shakers, a Musicians’ Masterclass, a local history of great gigs and musical legends, coverage of our local festivals plus live sessions on the show every week.

The team has also been responsible, in recent years, for sending Leominster’s AKA George to Glastonbury, Hay-on-Wye’s Cherryshoes to T in the Park, Sœur to Reading + Leeds and flew Bromyard’s Remi Harris to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Other successes include Sam Isaac at Glastonbury and the BBC Electric Proms, Pencil Toes, Luke Leighfield, The Anomalies and Pegasus Bridge at BBC Maida Vale (and Radio 1’s Big Weekend), while securing the brother/sister duo Muchuu a support slot with Florence & The Machine and the Temper Trap alongside a spot on the BBC Radio 1 playlist. Other Radio 1 opportunities include Riscas and Lauren Wright, while FREnchfire, Georgina Upton, Kamos & Tripbuk and Scarlette Says ending up on the BBC 1Xtra playlist. Andrew also landed The Roving Crows a place on tour with Jamie Cullum, AKA George two spots on the Radio 1 playlist, as well as a place on stage at Glastonbury and Radio 2’s Live In Hyde Park.

 Andrew continues, “Every month, we record our sessions at a variety of festivals – including Hay, Wychwood, Nozstock, Lakefest, Worcester Music Festival, SXSW, T In The Park, Montreal Jazz Festival, The Great Escape, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, The Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds.

“When artists upload their music for airplay, they often don’t realise they’re being considered for these incredible opportunities.

 “With such a diverse range of music, the new show makes it really easy to plan – and sharpens the focus for our audience: ‘Is this more of a Saturday night track?’ or ‘is this more of a Sunday night track?’”

You can listen to the new show on Sunday from 6pm on 94.7FM in Hereford, 104FM in Worcester, 104.4FM in Redditch, 104.6FM in the Wyre Forest, 738AM across Worcestershire, 1584AM in Tenbury Wells, on DAB Digital Radio, Freeview channel 720 and online at bbc.co.uk/introhw. The programme will also be available via the BBC iPlayer Radio App for free download for 30 days.

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Andrew Marston at the mixing console

You are very well known in the West Midlands, but in case somebody spent the last decade on the other side of the world, please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. Who is Andrew Marston and how did you get involved with BBC Hereford & Worcester?

Andrew Marston: Hi, I’m Andrew, a 36-year-old radio presenter from Hereford who’s now spent more than half a lifetime behind the record decks and well over a decade at the helm of BBC Music Introducing. In fact, I’ve always been surrounded by music having had keyboard and piano lessons since the age of 6 and have wanted to work in radio since discovering my first cassette recorder as a toddler. Somehow I’ve managed to combine both passions in a way that I’ve not played piano in public for 2 decades and haven’t played a cassette since I was at Hereford Sixth Form College!!

In fact, I was gigging regularly at Whitecross High School (mine – I didn’t just break in!), also touring the country with my brothers’ band – but I was being asked more and more to DJ between sets; something that ended in me landing my first residency at the Jailhouse Nightclub aged 14! Slowly, but surely, my gigging time was filled with playing CDs rather than keys – and I eventually tried to claw back some of what I’d “lost” by organising weekly band nights at the Imperial in Hereford. At the same time, I was presenting a non-music show (!!) on Hereford Hospital Radio, focussing very much on bringing news to life. I finished college on the Friday, had the worries of ‘what to do next’ for two days and went into the BBC’s Hereford office for work experience to be greeted with the words “how would you feel if we’re to train you up as a Broadcast Assistant?” I still haven’t had my training…

Outside of Dj’ing and music production, you are heavily involved in the BBC Music Introducing programme, looking for new talents. Tell us more about it.

Andrew Marston: I spent from 1999-2005 working behind-the-scenes at the BBC, including several stints on BBC Online. Back then, we were writing album reviews and gig features – very much like Vanadian Avenue and Slap Mag, but we kept saying to the boss “let’s stop talking about music – and let’s play it”. 12 months later, the boss came to us and said “I’ve got a great idea! Let’s stop talking about music – and let’s play it!” and the Friday Session was born. It made a lot of people very nervous thinking there wouldn’t be enough music to sustain a 2-hour programme every week and “is local radio the right place to be breaking new acts”. In fact, the bosses of Radio 1 came down to see how this was impacting on their audiences and some of the people in charge of local radio. I think they weren’t keen on the idea, before they arrived, but within 6 months the BBC Introducing brand was launched nationally!

In 2017 BBC Music Introducing celebrated 10 years since its conception. If you look at the official stats, nearly 130,000 bands submitted more than half a million songs. That’s nearly 3 years’ worth of music if one would like to listen to them all. How is BBC Introducing in Hereford & Worcester looking compared to other local shows? Do you know how many bands submitted their songs and how many played a live session for you?

Andrew Marston: Since we launched the uploader seven years ago, more than 10,000 songs have been uploaded from Herefordshire & Worcestershire alone. We’ve also just finished ripping all of the CDs sent into us 2005-2010 and that’s another 4,000. But – in those early days, tracks that didn’t get a spin after a couple of years were deleted from the uploader to save on server space – so I’m guessing that figure is much, much higher. In fact – I’m going to keep my eye on that! In terms of live sessions, we’ve now had more than 1,000 acts perform live on the show leading to countless opportunities. Last week, the whole Introducing family (that’s what we call it) got together at Broadcasting House in London before heading down to Maida Vale for our annual get-together. Everywhere in Britain is powering forwards, but it’s interesting to see how the poor folk in London are swamped by acts claiming to be from London when they’re not. Geographically, you have more chance of “making it” if you’re from a rural area than somewhere that’s overrun with musicians (who’ll also play for free. I lived in London for a couple of years and, despite playing 137 gigs in one year, struggled to find any paid opportunities in the capital as everyone would do it for nothing).

Andrew Marston preparing to go live

You were one of the first DJs to play Ellie Goulding, The Voice UK alumna Becky Hill, Peace and the alternative outfit This Wicked Tongue. Do you remember the artist or a band that made the biggest impression on you as part of the BBC Introducing?

Andrew Marston: Muchuu made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Sadly they’re no more, but their music was haunting, full of space and left you wanting more. Somehow it drew you in and I still go back and listen to those tracks when I want to reflect. They were one of the first acts to use the Uploader and I instantly passed it onto Huw Stephens at Radio 1, who claimed there was “something in the water” with so many artists going national from our neck of the woods. They’d go on to support Florence + The Machine and the Temper Trap at the BBC Introducing staff Christmas party (those were the days!) and turned down a slot at Glastonbury because they were going on holiday – I know, right??!

Worcester music scene is going through a real cultural renaissance at this moment. Many local acts receive fantastic reviews from the critics and you are credited with coining the name for it – “WorcesterWave”.  Do you think Worcester is going to be the next musical hotspot after Manchester, Cardiff and London?

Andrew Marston: I think we actually have a greater music scene than all of those cities. Having lived in London, everybody that claims to be from there comes from somewhere else. Sadly, these big cities are so swamped with bands (from across the region) they’re embracing the “pay to play” culture, meaning you’ve either got to sell tickets for your show or actually pay the promoter for stage time. It’s a very sad state of affairs, especially when musicians have learned their craft since a young age having music lessons at £20 per hour.  I also lived in Manchester for a while and everybody tours there, but Manchester bands rarely get the chance to play their own city because of the competitive nature. Every city has its own music scene – but often it’s cut-throat. The thing with Manchester is if you’re 15-years-old and you get bored, you go out. But if you’re 15 and living in Clifton-upon-Teme, you form a band. And when there’s nowhere to play, you organised your own gigs. This whole cottage industry, where everybody supports everybody else, is what’s getting this city noticed.

You have an eye to spot future stars. Many artists championed by you frequently receive national coverage. The list is very impressive: The Americas performed on Georgie Tonight, a prime-time show across the whole of BBC Local Radio, Soeur recorded live session at the legendary Maida Vale studios, Nuns of the Tundra reached second place in nationwide “Battle of the Bands” competition sponsored by Firestone, Tazmin Barnes’ EP “Powerful” debuted at number 11 at iTunes Pop charts, nth cave and Thousand Mountain were played by Steve Lamacq while Population:7 and Chavy Chase Stole My Wife were noticed by Tom Robinson. What qualities are the most important for future success? Song writing, catchy melodies or stage presence?

BBC Introducing

Andrew Marston: The song is always key. It doesn’t matter how good your biog is, who you’ve toured with, where you’ve played and how good you are at playing guitar, the 3-minute song is the thing that will get you everywhere. In fact, it’s your best advert. In commercial radio, a 30 second commercial could cost you £150. A 3-minute song is effectively £900 worth of airtime. If you were recording speech – you’d tell people to download your music, advertise your shows, sell some merch and ask them to friend you on Facebook. So make sure your demo isn’t a demo – it’s the polished product.

As a presenter, if you get too involved with a band, it definitely impacts your decision making. I’ve seen many bands who’ve blown me away, jumping all over the stage, but I’ve listened back on iPlayer and they’ve failed to jump out of the speakers. I will score every track based on the first listen – as that’s exactly how the audience will hear it. There’s no such thing as a “grower” unfortunately – that’s a phrase coined for bands that have had so much money invested in them, they’ve got no choice but to champion that track. First impressions count.

Rumour has it that there is a brand new Sunday radio show being prepared? Can you please tell us more?

Andrew Marston: Exactly that! We have so much music coming in that we want to play, 2 hours a week just isn’t enough. In fact, it’s a really simple thing to do – the gig guide still exists, we still want to cover the same number of festivals, enjoy live sessions – but the canvas is now twice as big. The thing we’re accused of, most of all, is using a too-bigger paint brush. At one end of the spectrum, there’s tonnes of classical musicians and folk artists in the Malvern Hills; at the other end of the spectrum, Kidderminster produces the heaviest of death/screamo metal and Bromsgrove unearths a lot of dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass. The balancing act is to aim to the programme at everyone – otherwise you risk broadcasting the X-Factor to only the people who queued up to be on the X-Factor! Being blunt, musicians provide the raw material for the show – it’s my job to then expose it to as wider audience as possible, so I have to be careful not to make the show sound like a fanzine. That job just got a little simpler; I can now ask “is this more Saturday night or more Sunday night”. So Saturdays will be a lot louder, a lot more raucous with a real edge. Whereas Sundays will be a lot more accessible, focussing a lot more on those acoustic/soulful/folk/jazz/blues/country styles with “candlelit” stripped-back studio sessions. I’m hoping there’ll be a fair bit of crossover, meaning audiences will feed between both programmes – but the idea is you’ll definitely have your favourite, all, of course, available for 30 days to download and listen via the BBC iPlayer Radio app!

What advice would you give to the kids who are just starting out and would like to send their music to BBC Music Introducing for consideration?

BBC Hereford and Worcester: Guitars and great tunes!

Andrew Marston: Here’s my top three…

  1. Always disappoint your audience!! Keep your music short. Your favourite song will never be long enough; loop play is the greatest compliment. If they hear it on the radio and want to hear more, they’ll have to go out and buy it! If you play a gig, don’t give them an encore. If they want more, they’ll have to come to another show! Take pictures of every gig – especially the audience having fun – and host them online afterwards. People will be disappointed they missed out and will come to your next show. If you’re on the door, don’t let every Tom, Dick and Harry in! An exclusive audience will grow punters; letting in those who don’t particularly care will distract your die-hards. Remember that time you couldn’t get into your favourite nightclub because your mate was wearing trainers? You didn’t particularly want to go in – but the moment the bouncer said no, you were desperate to be in there!
  2. Properly release your music. Set a release date. My best music I’ll save for a “rainy day”. I’m hoping it’ll never rain. But that means I might not play it for 5 years! Setting a release date ensures everyone is across your track on that particular date. Nobody likes to back the last horse in the race, so if everyone else is championing your music on that date – others will follow. Make big events even bigger. I remember booking Remi Harris for the Montreal Jazz Festival a couple of years ago and just as I was ending the phone-call, he said “oh – did you hear I have a new album?” If I didn’t know, nor would any of his potential audience. I told him to stop being a fool and to release it at the festival! Forevermore you can say “I launched my debut album at the biggest gig of my life”. The festival will be happy you saved such a special moment for their event – and, with any luck, will also do your promo for you! Whenever Remi rings up a venue, he can now say “and here’s a copy of my album I officially released at the Montreal Jazz Festival”.
  3. Write music you believe in. You’ll be amazed how many people I interview who write rock music who go out every Friday and Saturday night and listen to dance/RnB then wonder why nobody comes to their gigs. Take a look around and see what people are genuinely listening to. If you’re really into electronica, you’ll probably write better electronica than trying to form a band with people who don’t really share your passion. The most common reason bands split is because of “musical differences”. If you wouldn’t be happy to drive around town with your windows wound down and your track blaring out, you’re possibly not being true to yourself – and if you’re not 100% behind what you’re writing, what chance does anyone else have?

But most importantly – have fun! If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you’ve probably forgotten the reason you got into music in the first place. If you become the best at what you do, the money will somehow find its way to you. But just remember it’s not always this cartoon version of “write a song, get signed, achieve #1 then headline Wembley”. There’s money to made in writing theme tunes, being a session musician, writing for video games, weddings, playing the piano in hotel receptions, writing for other people and one of the most lucrative “revenue streams” is writing lift music! But that’s just page one of an ocean of opportunity. Remember, I learned piano and I now host a show on the BBC. So music can open all sorts of opportunities – just make sure you grab them with both hands and never let go!

BBC Introducing:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d72q
https://twitter.com/bbcintroducing
https://en-gb.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/

Andrew Marston is very active on social media and you can find him on many different platforms:
http://www.djandrewmarston.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Marston
https://twitter.com/DJAndrewMarston
https://www.facebook.com/djandrewmarston
https://www.mixcloud.com/djandrewmarston/
https://www.youtube.com/user/DJAndrewMarston
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/dj-andrew-marston/id983733498

Vanadian Avenue would like to thank you to Andrew and the crew of BBC Inroducing in Hereford and Worcester for their time, hard work and answering the questions.

Keep on doing the good job!

Please come back soon as Indieterria is meeting a really cool band next week and we will be back shortly with another interview for your enjoyment!

Bye for now,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Indieterria meets Dharma Bums

Howdy!

Welcome back to another edition of Indieterria, where we discover new and exciting music. After speaking to the wonderful Nic Evennett two weeks ago and receiving many nice comments regarding the interview (including a praise from the legendary musician and radio DJ, Tim Robinson himself!), today we will introduce you to a 4 piece outfit from Worcestershire that plays rock and blues better than the cowboys from the American West.

Dharma Bums are incredibly nice folks and it was a privilege to talk to them. If blues, country and a jazz fusion is your thing, you cannot miss them! Please read on.

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Welcome to the Wild, Wild West Midlands

 

Dharma Bums at the Abbey Road Studios in London

Inspiration works in mysterious ways. Sometimes you are not even interested in making music and you end up forming a genre defining band with your school mates or friends living on the same street. Or you could be a professional musician, for years struggling to find same minded people to play with.  Luckily for us, all members of Dharma Bums were in the right place, at the right time and clicked together immediately. Their instant communication, understanding of one another and simple joy of working together can be heard in their every song. It was a pure pleasure to listen to their EP entitled “Nothing to lose blues”. Vanadian Avenue took The Bums leading outlaw, Kevin Wrench to the nearest saloon to discuss their previous musical experiences, love for blues and their new material over a bottle of finest whisky and a game of cards.

Kevin Wrench – Vocals/Guitar
Dave Shuter – Lead Guitar/Harmonica
Jon Green – Bass
Thomas Paine – Percussion

Your biography mentions that Dharma Bums were formed in 2015 yet all the members have been active on Worcestershire music scene for years and were involved in several different projects before. Tell us how did the band start and introduce all the members to our readers.

Kevin Wrench: Dave Shuter (lead guitar/harmonica) and myself initially started playing together early in 2015. Dave’s wife lived just up the road from where I grew up and after chatting to her on Facebook one evening, Dave and me got together and instantly hit it off. We shared an appreciation for blues and in particular, Robert Johnson. Dave had never met anyone, who was as keen on Robert Johnson as he was before the two of us met. Dave & his wife performed in a function band together for a number of years but they hadn’t gigged for quite some time when we first met. Dave’s patience has really helped me improve my own playing. He’s one of the most easy going  and nicest guys I know.

I’ve been interested in making music for years but could never quite find the right outlet to pursue it. I’ve never been a particularly confident performer and as a child, I was painfully shy. It has taken a number of years  and a bit of effort forcing myself out of my comfort zone in order to get to the point where I feel happy performing or sharing my music with anyone.  Some time ago I had guitar lessons  and played on and off for years but never really considered writing songs myself. I had some singing lessons around 2009 and did ABRSM Grade 5. The popularity of Michael Buble at the time coupled with my grandfather’s influence. He was a big admirer of Frank Sinatra and led me to collaborate with a couple of local pianists. Together, we performed mainly swing/jazz covers at local restaurants.

In 2013, I was approached by a producer friend about writing some songs for a solo project. Unfortunately, that project never quite came to fruition although I may re-record the four songs I wrote at some point in the not too distant future. Essentially, that meeting was the spark that ignited my passion for song writing. I also appeared in a couple of musical shows at the Rose Theatre in Kidderminster; that was where I met our percussionist Thomas “Tom” Paine. Two years later, while volunteering at The Civic Hall in Stourport, I organised a monthly music night called ‘Live Local’ which featured a variety of local artists. As well as being a rewarding experience, it also ended up being a massive inspiration as I was bowled over by the amount of talent in the local area and that ultimately inspired me to seek out some musicians to start a band myself.

Walking down the Abbey Road

Our drummer Tom has been a member of two local amateur dramatics groups for a number of years. In fact Tom`s whole family are members of both Kidderminster Operatic & Dramatic Society (KODS) and Carpet Trades Musical Theatre Company (CTMTC). Tom plays a variety of instruments and joined us around November 2015. He had never played the cajón before he joined us and slowly but surely, we’ve discovered more & more things that Tom can play which has greatly added to our overall sound. Only last year he was bought a banjo as a present and learnt several songs on it already. Tom grew up in a family where performing is second nature. He is a very gifted  and versatile musician.

Out of all of us, our bass player Jon Green has had the most experience in terms of being in bands, he’s played in several different bands since the age of 14, ranging from Rock to Crust Core Punk. A couple of the bands Jon has been involved in previously have been signed to record contracts. Jon is also a multi instrumentalist who plays the bodhrán and recently started learning the violin to bring something a bit different to our sound. Jon has performed all over the UK including London and even toured in the US. Jon’s daughter Ellisha Green is an extremely talented singer/songwriter and Ellie has also performed with the youth section of KODS, which is how Tom and I met Jon as he was often involved helping out backstage.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by this point we combine a variety of very different backgrounds but we all share a passion for making music.

Right at the end of 2017, Dan Mathew joined us on percussion. Dan is also the drummer for The Bug Club who are another great local band and already he is proving to be a tremendous asset to our line-up. He has given the new songs we’re currently working on a much more dynamic sound.

“The Dharma Bums” is the title of the 1958 beat generation classic novel written by Jack Kerouac. It is also the name of an American garage band that influenced many pre-grunge groups in Seattle including Nirvana, Hole and Green River. What inspired you to take on that name as well? How are you going to distinguish yourselves from your American counterparts?

Kevin Wrench: That would be down to me. “The Dharma Bums” is one of my favourite novels and I’ve loved Kerouac’s work for years. He was a pivotal figure in the Beat Generation of the 1950’s counter culture which was very much a forerunner to the psychedelic 1960’s. It influenced some of my favourite artists including The Doors and The Beatles. My partner and I travelled quite a bit in our early 20’s and on our travels we visited Morocco and stayed in Jack Kerouac’s room in Tangier. Jack and Alan Ginsberg stayed there for a couple of years writing. In fact, I popped the question to my partner Sarah in Jack’s room when we arrived there!

After I chose the name, I realized that quite a few bands had used it. I did do a bit of research before picking it, but must admit, I didn’t realise that the other Dharma Bums had reached such a wide audience. I’m sure though if they truly are “Dharma Bums” they won’t have any issues with us using the name too and our sound is very, very different to theirs.

 You have just released a video to your song “Ballad of El Chivato“. It was directed by twice award nominated film maker Nick J. Townsend of Weak13 and shot in Bewdley. Can you tell us more about working with Nick and the story behind the song’s lyrics.

Kevin Wrench:  Working with Nick has been an absolute pleasure. He’s a lovely genuine guy who’s passionate, full of creativity, enthusiasm and he’s been on the local music scene for as long as I can remember. Not only did he produce a fantastic music video for us, but he’s also been incredibly supportive and has been very generous with his wisdom and experience which has been invaluable. I wrote “Ballad of El Chivato” while on holiday in Tenby with my partner and our daughter. It was raining one day so we were limited as to what we could do. We stayed in the caravan and I wrote a song. I’d been reading a book called “To Hell On A Fast Horse” by Mark Lee Gardner which is about the American West Outlaw Billy The Kid. I’ve read many books about the Old West, particularly about Billy The Kid and I’ve always loved songs that tell a story so that’s exactly what I tried to do with this song.

Dharma Bums use a mixture of blues, jazz, country and rock and rock to create their unique sound. Slap Magazine described your music as “cool” while Ryan’s Gig Guide called it “unique and vintage”. What is the audience reaction? Do they like it?

Kevin Wrench:  Audiences tend to respond really well to our music. We’ve picked up some lovely supporters (feel reluctant to say fans) who really seem to appreciate the blend of influences we draw on. As we’re still building our repertoire of original material, we tend to play a mixture of covers and originals at our gigs at the moment, covering artists as diverse as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Hank Williams, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Prince or The Soggy Bottom Boys. We’re writing more and more original songs though, so over time we will increase the number of originals we play and most likely not play as many covers. As I’m sure many other bands will testify, you’re never going to please everyone. There’s been one or two gigs where people drunkenly shout “play Summer of 69” or “play some Bon Jovi” not that there’s anything wrong with these songs/artists but they’re just not to our taste; but for the most part we get a great reaction wherever we play.

“Ballad of El Chivato” is promoting your latest EP entitled “Nothing to Lose Blues” released in July 2017. The 5 track EP was recorded in Stourport and mastered in London at the famous Abbey Road Studios. It must have been quite an experience to work with Sean Magee a Grammy winning mastering engineer of The Beatles, Rush, Deep Purple and Public Image Ltd.

Nothing to Lose Blues cover

Kevin Wrench: Since we started gigging, every penny the band has earned has gone into an old biscuit tin and has been accumulated to pay for recording, mastering, producing a video and paying for our CDs to be printed. We feel it’s better to create memories like visiting the legendary Abbey Road Studios, rather than taking a quarter share of gig money and then having to contribute towards these costs anyway after we’ve spent the money. Obviously, visiting Abbey Road wasn’t cheap, but it was paid for entirely out of the kitty and is an experience that none of us will ever forget. All four of us stayed together in London as well as our time in the studio, we had a great time.

“Nothing To Lose Blues” features a wide array of local musicians including George Alan on trumpet, Chris Yates on piano and Matt Worley on banjo. The EP cover was also designed by an established contemporary artist, Craig Simmons. For a debut record, the guest list is simply impressive. Was it hard to bring so many creative minds to the same project?

Kevin Wrench: When I first thought about starting a band, I always imagined the line-up being flexible and being able to work as a collective melting pot of various creative minds able to operate across a variety of genres. This was a very romantic notion for an amateur band and I’ve since come to realise that it’s important to have a strong bond amongst the core members of a band. That’s not to say that we can’t invite other local musicians to make guest appearances  and I think our next record will be very similar in that respect. I met a lot of musicians while organizing ‘Live Local’ at The Civic in Stourport and I made a lot of friends in the local music/artistic community. I’ve become quite cheeky and not afraid to ask others to be involved. We never tell people what we want them to play, we invite them to play because we know that they will bring something of themselves to our recordings. We were blessed on this first recording to get George, Matt and Chris on board, they are all extremely talented guys and we hope they will be involved on our next project. We also hope to invite several other local musicians to be involved. Craig Simmons is an incredibly talented local artist  and luckily for us, he is friends with Tom. We think he did an awesome job on our artwork  and we very much hope to be able to work with him again on our next release.

Rumour has it that you are beginning to work on a new material. We heard that you have wrote a protest song called ” Sell Your soul”. Would you like to elaborate?

Kevin Wrench: (laughing) I don’t wish to give too much away just yet but yes this is true. Like many people, I’m a little concerned by the emergence of certain “leaders” in the last couple of years and wanted to write something that communicated this concern that I know I’m not alone in feeling. We’ve already discussed with Nick Townsend about a possible video for “Sell Your Soul” and we’re quite keen to get it out in the public domain as soon as we can. I know some people don’t like it when musicians incorporate their political opinions into their music but I think it’s difficult not to sometimes as it effects us all  and our opinions are just as valid as anyone else’s. We’ve also got a couple of bluesy numbers  and a pirate shanty inspired folk song which will appear on our next record.

Dharma Buns performing

Dharma Bums has just been confirmed to perform at WolvesFest in Wolverhampton on 16-17th of June 2018. Where else can we see you playing live? Any coming up shows to look out for?

Kevin Wrench:  Our calendar is filling up quite nicely at the moment with new dates being added regularly. We’ve not pursued too many gigs in this early part of the year as we wanted to focus on writing new material and also we wanted to give our new percussionist Dan chance to settle in. We’re playing at The Swan in Stourport on 1st March and at the Cock & Magpie on 14th April. We’re currently arranging dates with many of the venues we’ve played at over the last couple of years, so if people wish to keep up to date they could check out our Facebook page  at http://www.facebook.com/dharmabumsuk.

And finally, a question that has to appear on every interview: where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?

Kevin Wrench: Wow, that’s a big question! I see us being maybe 2/3 albums further along with a lot more of an established fan base and maybe even having travelled to America to possibly have used a studio over there for mastering and with a bit of luck picked up a few gigs while we were there. I’d also like to have done a couple of mini tours in the UK, maybe also in Ireland and I’d like to have gigged in London. I’d also like to think we would’ve had a bit more airplay which seems to be the most difficult thing to acquire, particularly if you fall outside of the mainstream musical spectrum. The ultimate aim would be able to give up the day job  and focus full time on music. I don’t think any of us are naive enough to believe we’ll achieve fame and fortune but there are plenty of musicians out there who are not household names but still manage to make a good living from their music.

Dharma Buns review from Ryan Gigs Guide

Dharma Bums can be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dharmabumsuk/
Bandcamp: https://dharmabumsuk.bandcamp.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkOHwhVl706lJQxVJB0fLcA
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Ex1lCGaJ20okS35pfwa2O

Articles about the band:
http://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/15888601.Kidderminster_band_brings_a_touch_of_the_wild_west_to_district
http://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/news/local/15888670.Stourbridge_film_maker_brings_wild_west_to_Bewdley
http://www.kidderminstershuttle.co.uk/news/15369035.Kidderminster_band_to_release_debut_EP_next_month/

You can purchase their music here:
CDBABY:
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dharmabums12
Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-to-Lose-Blues/dp/B0742979NT
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/nothing-to-lose-blues-ep/1261253519
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If you think we have missed some excellent tune, a future rock star or a band that is worth listening to, please kindly let Vanadian Avenue know and we will be more than happy to feature them on our blog. We are constantly on the lookout for independent artists and we will always help in any way we can. We do receive a lot of requests so please give us some time to properly listen to your music and read through attached links. It sometimes can take a week or more but if we like what you have sent us, it will definitely be featured on Indieterria.

We do specialize in rock and alternative music, but we appreciate all genres, from A(bba) to Z(ZTop)  so please don’t be discouraged! All requests should be sent to rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and contain links to Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Youtube videos. We do accept mp3’s but please limit them to 2 or 3 only – choose the best ones that represent you and your musical style. We will also need 3 or 4 pictures (good resolution is essential as they will be used to illustrate the interview or a review) and a bio. You know, the bare minimum needed to show the world how good you are. Vanadian Avenue undertakes a thorough research and we try to present each featured artist in a professional way. Interested? Drop us a line!

Thank you and Indieterria is always pleased to hear from you!

Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

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

Indieterria meets The White Feather Collective

Hey everybody!

Welcome to 2018! We would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year and we hope it will be better than the last one. This year is going to be a very important one for our Worcester Music Scene and of course Vanadian Avenue crew will be keeping our eyes and ears open for anything music related. Please add us on Facebook if you haven’t done so yet to stay in touch with the latest information!

We would like to kick off 2018 in style with the first interview of the year. Ladies and gents, we give you the excellent White Feather Collective!

***

Believe it or not, there must be definitely something in the famous Malvern spring water. After the success of fellow Malvern rockers Nuns of the Tundra at the national Firestone Battle of Bands competition and incredible releases from Dead Dads Club (they are playing Marr’s Bar with HVMM this February), here comes The White Feather Collective, swinging rock and roll quartet that has a major chance to represent England at the famous SXSW Conference & Festivals in San Antonio. We sat down with WFC to discuss their new material, previous accomplishments and sneaking into Glastonbury Festival.

 White Feather Collective are:

William Turner (vocals/guitar),
Christopher Reynolds (drums),
Josh Lambe (vocals),
Roo Macphee (bass/organ)

 

White Feather Collective – picture from the bands archive

White Feather Collective logo

You are immensely popular in West Midlands. But just in case somebody spent the last few years living under a rock. Who are The White Feather Collective?

White Feather Collective: We guess, the easiest way to describe us would be we are a four-piece rock band from Malvern. The boarder definition would be who we are is what we aim for. We want to change some part of this world through music to make creative escapism as popular as it was. We want a big scene of groovy people loving all day and night, not just to escape the current state of things but as a means to change it. It sounds daft like a hippy dream, but it is so much more. The world is run by liars you’ll never meet and we want some power shift where what we say it counts and we see the efforts of our strain. Music is just one way of getting us on the same page and talking about that.

BBC Hereford & Worcester put you forward to the panel that chooses the BBC Music Introducing South By South West (SXSW) showcase line-up. Potentially, you could play at the biggest music conference in the world in Austin, Texas. Previous alumni of the BBC stage include among others The Big Moon and Idles. The first were nominated for Mercury Prize, the other recorded album of the year. No pressure, right?

White Feather Collective: No pressure at all! The fact we’ve been nominated encourages us to continue on the path we’re on. We just have to dream bigger and continue to put more loving energy into everything we do. The overall goal is to share good music with people and keep on riding that high.

The band formed in 2014. One year later, you had about twenty recorded songs and one of them “Come On and Get Down” was used by French company WIKO Mobile in their international campaign. Can you tell us how did that collaboration come to be?

White Feather Collective: They found us on Bandcamp. It was an early demo EP we nearly didn’t put on. Looking back, it was a good job we did! The coolest part of that was the video they made to go with it and the fact it was blasting out in huge stadiums!

The White Feather Collective – photo by Duncan Graves

White Feather Collective scored some prestigious gigs: The Water Rats in Kings Cross and The Monarch in Camden. And they were sold out shows. You also regularly perform in Scotland. How does the audience across the country react to your music?

White Feather Collective: The audience seem to react very similarly everywhere we go. They are all very warm and welcoming and tell us they dig our sound. Of course, it all depends on what night you’re put on in these places, really. For example, a Wednesday night in central London can be a bit hit and miss whereas the same night in a country pub could turn crazy. It’s all about the vibes, man. But still we find it’s the best way to try out new tracks and see what people respond to. We see it as a work in progress and some songs get left for recordings and others are better to be performed live.

April 2016 saw you recording a session for BBC Introducing at the Phoenix Theatre in Ross-on-Wye. You were partnered with another group tipped for national success – nth cave. Do you have any recollections from that session?

White Feather Collective: Honestly not much (laughter)! We’d come from a gig up north the night before so we were all quite hung-over and tired. We do remember singing Roy Orbison with Andrew Marston quite a lot though and that felt nice!

In October 2016 you released your five track debut EP “Universal Harmony” and then followed by a stand-alone digital single “Doorman” in November of the same year. We tried to find one bad review of either and we simply couldn’t. Very unusual, but it seems nothing is ordinary about White Feather Collective.

White Feather Collective: No, you will not be able to find anything ordinary about us. We’re all very unusual! (laughing)

William Turner (vocals,guitar) – photo by Duncan Graves

This summer you spent mostly playing festivals (The Orchard Venue in Ledbury, West Fest, Mello Fest, Lakefest, Nozstock) with few performances in Wales (Cardiff, Monmouth) and one in Bristol (Mr Wolf`s). Is any new material coming or are you just taking things easy?

White Feather Collective: Yes, we were lucky enough to play some great festivals. Some down in Cornwall and Glastonbury which our singer, Josh actually had to sneak into (sorry Mr. Eavis!) He was there for about ten days and we had to pull him away. We don’t think he ever wanted to leave! And yes again, there’s always new material we’re working on. At the moment we are just getting funds together to get into the studio to record  new songs.

The band started out as a quintet but recently you are down to four members. Can you tell us who departed the Collective?

White Feather Collective: We have always been a 4 piece  band but we have percussionists, keys players and singers join us for certain things, that’s why we call it the collective. Our longest serving percussionist is a friend named Robby Rotten. He’s a real dude and often joins us when he’s not riding his motorbike through Africa!

The sound of White Feather Collective has been described as psychodelic surf rock with influences stretching from The Rolling Stones and Animals to Beach Boys, Donovan, Crazy World of Arthur Brown or even Captain Beefheart. How would you describe your own music and influences?

White Feather Collective: Yes, these are some pretty big names. We all have so many influences but we all love the iconic sounding records of the sixties and the people who make BIG songs that are still so popular like The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Velvet Underground.

Roo Macphee (bass) – photo by Duncan Graves

You prefer to have a complete control of your art: writing, filming, recording, designing and producing all the aspects of your musical presence. That is a very unique approach in the era when bands employ entire armies of collaborators.

White Feather Collective: It’s a story of two halves, really.  We’re poor but we’re also creative people and truly enjoy doing it (laughter). We would love the opportunity and want to collaborate with other artists but financially it’s not viable. Naturally, we all work in the creative industry, whether it’s recording music, film making or photography. This has helped us enormously.

You have substantial following online for an unsigned band. “Come On and Get Down” has been viewed over 80 K times on Youtube while “Crossroad Shootout” has over 34 K hits. Your songs on Reverberation have been listened by thousands of visitors. We are sure you already receive proposals from the labels.  Ever thought of jumping ships and getting signed?

White Feather Collective: We’ve only received an offer once but unfortunately it wasn’t right for us at the time. It’s an incredibly important decision for a band and one that will set our direction for time to come. We’re very open to the idea and would love to sign if the right opportunity arose with the right label, but for now we’ll continue to do what we enjoy.

In the element – The White Feather Collective photographed by Duncan Graves

Any plans for the future, maybe except for the world domination?

White Feather Collective:  Nah just continue making things, living the best we can and keep trying to meet Robert Plant! (laughing again)

On Saturday, January 6th, 2017 BBC Hereford & Worcester aired a short interview with The White Feather Collective and gave this very blog a shout out. You can here the 5 minute segment on the band and our interview  right here:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0aXrHgwHmuI

or listen online http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05rfp94

Come on SXSW – you know you want a band from Worcester play at one of your events. Or two or seven bands from Worcester, we can ship you some incredible artists!

You can follow The White Feather Collective here:

Official Page: http://www.thewhitefeathercollective.com/
Facebook:
  https://www.facebook.com/thewhitefeathercollective/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TWFCollective
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMn_Umrhabb1wzGfRNRVlpw
Bandcamp: https://thewhitefeathercollective.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewhitefeathercollective/

***

Please come back again as  we have a fantastic interview almost ready that will be published soon!
Have a great week and keep the 2018 safe and sound!

Best regards
Rita and Malicia

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