Indieterria meets The Howlers

Drear Readers,

As music scounts, the team at Vanadian Avenue, is always looking for new talents and exciting new music. We hunt high and low to bring artists with potential to the light and present them to our community. Sometimes we have to go to the dive bar to descover a gem, sometimes we receive an email with a great tip and in many cases, we hear from others in the business. Photoghraphers, managers, writers, bloggers, label owners – they all have their eyes opened as well and a word can spread quickly if a new talent is found.

The Howlers, a trio from London, were introduced to us by our good friends at These Bloody Thieves Records and after hearing their new single, “La Dolce Vita” we quickly understood why the label was praising them so highly. We sat down with vocalist, Adam Young to ask him about their music, background and their influences to learn more.


Adam Young (vocals and guitar)
Guus ter Braak (bassist)
Cameron Black (drums)

Official bio: Formed in May 2018, London’s Desert Rockers The Howlers have gone on to receive critical acclaim for their ferocious live performances and determination to uproot the current foundations of popular music, and are quickly emerging as one of the UK’s must see bands. Their debut single entitled “La Dolce Vita” is vailable to stream and download on all digital platforms. You can order the limited edition 7” heavy weight vinyl & “orange” casette at: https://smarturl.it/thehowlers

Clash Magazine says The Howlers have confidence of Arctic Monkeys and animalistic charms of The Cramps. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

The Howlers picture by Rob Blackham

Adam Young: The Howlers are Adam Young on vocals and guitar, Guus ter Braak on bass and Cameron Black on drums. We have coined the term “Desert Rockers” as a description of who we are.

We have to say the band is having a month that other acts can only dream about:  you signed to These Bloody Thieves Records, released a single and the video debuted though The Clash website smashed 10 000 views in less than 48 hours. The Howlers did not just take off – you sky rocketed!  Are you able to catch up with everything that has been happening around you?

Adam Young:  It has been about 4 days since we released our debut single and we’ve achieved so much with Radio 1, Radio X, Clash Magazine and others. The views our video has racked up, everything has been a bit surreal. I have to admit, it has been a bit of a struggle to keep up with everything but were lucky enough to have a team around us of amazing people who are as much part of this band as we are.

The video to “La Dolce Vita” shows you being observed while playing in an empty theatre. It has a very dystopian feel to it. It was directed by Sam Crowston (The Blinders, The Pagans S.O.H, The Surrenders). How do you remember making of the video?

Adam Young: All I remember is it being an incredibly long and exciting day. We filmed the video in Sheffield so we drove up there and then back to London in the same day in order to try get to a gig that evening. The theatre was an amazing space that Sam found but I’m still washing chalk dust off my equipment (laughing). Sam is incredible. He’s one of the best content creators out there at the moment and a great lad too. He made the day a good laugh and he works his little northern arse off so we can’t thank him enough.

Your single comes with a striking black cover with an emblem of a cowboy throwing his lasso into the air. Visual presentation of a record is often not appreciated enough. Please tell us who designed the sleeve?

Adam Young: Between Sam, ourselves and a host of illustrators, we must of created 50+ designs and nothing really hit home. We got close but no cigar so in the end, I ended up doing it. I just sat down with my laptop and taught myself everything I would need to do, to get what was in my head onto the page.

“La Dolce Vita” comes with a B side, an acoustic and haunting ballad “My Apologies”. We would love to hear the story behind this track. 

Adam Young: The track is actually a monologue of how my life was at the time. Nothing was going my way. I was struggling with my mental health, financially and I just couldn’t get a break until I met someone who changed everything. They know who they are and that’s all that matters! The song was never meant to be recorded. I finished it the day before and we were about to pack up and leave the studio and I decided to lay this track down live. And it just happened in one take. I tried to do another one and fucked it up so that’s why “My Apologies” has this raw, primal nature (laughing).

There are two distinctive releases of the single: 7 inch vinyl via Rough Trade Records and an orange limited cassette via Brutalist Records. We can’t believe you bring cassingle back!

Adam Young (laughing): Nothing’s sexier than rewinding cassette though, is there? In all seriousness, we wanted it to be a bit nostalgic and a bit different.

You will be touring relentlessly in support of “La Dolce Vita” around the country. Where can we see you live?

Band picture courtesy of Rob Blackham

Adam Young: Here, there and everywhere! We are playing the length of the country, going back to some of our favorite cities. We are really looking forward to Hull, Liverpool, Sheffield, London as well as the other cities like Manchester, Southampton, Brighton & Nottingham. Those places have always shown us so much support. People in northern cities are some of the kindest we have met so we are looking forward to playing all the dates really.

You have built a reputation as a live band – your shows are wild, unpredictable and fierce.  It would not be an exaggeration to call you one of UK`s must see bands. How do you prepare before the show? Do you have any pre stage rituals or do you prefer to go with the flow?

Adam Young: We do actually. Guus gets shitfaced drunk (god knows how he manages to play) and Cam has his little moment of calm. He warms up and stretches like our very own little Ghandi. I basically act like King Kong banging on my chest getting all pumped up. To be fair, when I start doing that right before we go on, usually one of the boys takes the opportunity to clip me one, giving me a cheeky whack. Bastards!

The Howlers are no strangers to receiving backing from industry heavy weights. BBC Introducing called you “loud and ferocious”, while Jack Saunders of BBC 1 described you as band that is “here to make a difference”.  It must have been a proud moment for you to hear your music on the flag ship program on the Beeb.

The vinyl promo of “La Dolce Vita”

The cover of the single

Adam Young: It was a surreal moment! You know, every band wants to hear their tunes on Radio 1, that’s a given, but to actually achieve it is another animal entirely. We were like excited little school boys. We can’t thank Jack and the BBC enough, as well as John Kennedy for playing us on Radio X. They are all worthy of a few beers in our books.

There is a saying in the music industry that manager is make or break of the band. But having a right label is also critical. Please tell us about your relationship with These Bloody Thieves? You are label mates to some of the best new acts on indie circuit, including another London band that we admire – False Heads.

Adam Young: These Bloody Thieves have been amazing with us! Rob Hirst, the owner, has a heart of gold and he knows we love him. We had a lot of interest in the early days of the band but Rob was the first person we met and spoke with that wore his heart on his sleeve. He gives everything and allows us to be creative in our own way. The first time he saw us, we played the same night as Arctic Monkeys in Sheffield. The venue was dead as a result but Rob stood front and centre. He’s like another father figure alongside our manager Mike. We couldn’t ask for a better bunch of lads to work with. I know our label mates like The C33’s, Feral Family & False Heads all appreciate his hard work. Someone get the man a drink!

In a recent interview with The Line of Best Fit you described “La Dolce Vita” as a song that is about being yourself no matter what. You also spoke about being ridiculed and ostracized for trying to find your own way. If you had a chance to speak to those who did not believe in you in the past – what would you want to tell them?

The casette promo of the single

Adam Young: I wouldn’t want to tell them anything to be honest. I bumped into someone in the pub recently and whilst asking me what I was up to, they turned round to me and said: “You should be thanking me really then, for bullying you at school”! What do you say to that? Guess that sums up my home town very well. There’s an old saying round here that goes “strong in arm, thick in head”. I never understood the meaning until that moment I stood in a ropey boozer with a second rate pint…finally all clicked! (laughing)

Last (in) famous question. We have some tough competition for the next PM recently. If you were able to govern the country for one day – what would you do? What policies would be important to you?

Adam Young: That’s a good question. I really wouldn’t want to govern to be honest. Inevitably, whoever comes to power, never lives up to what they promise. As a working class member of society, I’d say leveling the playing field a bit would be a good place to start. There’s no need for corporate bigwigs to get million pound bonuses when there are queues at the dole office and we have teachers and doctors using food banks. I guess I would go full Robin Hood. Green leggings and all!


You can follow the band on their socials:
https://www.thehowlers.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/thehowlersuk
https://www.facebook.com/thehowlersuk/
https://www.instagram.com/thehowlersuk/

Articles:
https://www.clashmusic.com/videos/the-howlers-share-electrifying-new-single-la-dolce-vita
https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/new-music/discovery/the-howlers-la-dolce-vita
https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/the-howlers/the-howlers-la-dolce-vita/7-inch-plus
https://www.rgm.press/2019/06/13/the-howlers-la-dolce-vita/
http://northern-exposure.co/introducing-the-howlers/
https://gotothetop.co.uk/the-howlers-fiery-desert-rock-debut-la-dolce-vita-brings-an-uplifting-message-about-self-identity/

“La Dolce Vita” is out now on 28th of June and the band will be on tour with shows in Sheffield (Cafe Totem) on June 21st, Liverpool (Jacaranda Records) on June 22nd, their home town (London) at the Macbeth on June 28th, Southhampton (The Heartbreakers) on June 29th and Brighton (Hope and Ruin) on June  30th. July will see them play in Hull, Manchester, Notthingham, Tramlines Festival and many others, so visit their websites for more details.

The summer is very busy for the lads so catch them on the road. We give them a full seal of A&R approval and 4 stars of of 5 (and that’s unheard of). Nah, only kidding! It’s full 5 stars and a hug!

Till next time,
R+M

Indieterria Review – “Magic” by Hot Minute

Dear Readers, 

June is all about reviewing new singles and discovering new artists. We start in Greater Manchester and will slowly move towards different scenes across the county.

We wanted to hear about the music from the artists directly, so we made an open call to musicians in the area. The response was amazing and we are thrilled to be presenting these mini reviews to you.

Hot Minute were the first to get in touch with their music. This all female pop group has been together for only couple of months but their chemistry is undeniable. All three girls are studying and living in Manchester and their first single called “Magic” turned a lot of heads and had many feet tapping.

Hot Minute logo

They call themselves a “synth-pop outfit” and this is a very fitting description. “Magic” is a perfect marriage of the 80’s bubblegum pop a la Bananarama, Alphaville, Sandra and Tiffany with crisp, modern production. There are obvious references to K-Pop/J-pop in their sound and promotional aesthetics. Brilliantly neon pictures taken by Rhian Melvin have a strong dystopian and futuristic feeling to them, a cross between Nar Shaddaa and Los Angeles out of “The Blade Runner”.  The beat of the song is fast, the groove is right and the lyrics are easy to remember – by the second chorus you’ll catch yourself dancing around the kitchen singing along. And this is exactly what you’d expect from a good pop song. It has all the right proportions, it stucks with you for hours and you can listen to it on repeat for three days straight without getting bored.

What’s the most important, the girls can play and sing well. In the last decade, pop music relied more on looks and autotuning than singing abilities and it is  refreshing to see that the talent is being brought back to the mainstream. The harmonies in “Magic” are just magical. Believe us, the song is simply irresistible. In short – this is a proper pop banger. You will fall in love with this track, just like we did. In the first 10 seconds. And if you don’t, then we are sorry to say, but there is no hope for you.

The trio photographed by Rhian Melvin at Jimmy’s in Manchester (or maybe in some dive cantina on the Smugler’s Moon?)

Intrigued by their sound, we asked Hot Minute a few questions and this is what they had to say:

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. Where are you based and who is in the band? 

Hot Minute: Hey! We’re Hot Minute, Manchester’s newest all female synth pop trio comprised of Keely Hutchinson on vocals, Courtney Williams on synths and Bella Casson on guitar.

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve (festivals, radio plays, meeting your musical heroes, EPs, albums released)?

Hot Minute: This is our debut single release as Hot Minute and for us it couldn’t have gone better! We’ve been playlisted by YouTube Music and had an abundance of really lovely blog coverage and some radio play.

“Magic” front cover. Magic is strong with this one…

What inspires you? What artist or genre had the biggest influence on you?

Hot Minute: Our inspirations are women in the industry, Japan and K-Pop. In terms of bands, we love CHVRCHES, Muna, The Midnight, Depeche Mode and The Human League.

It’s all about the music – and we want to hear about your new single. Is there a story behind the song, where and how was it written?

Hot Minute: Magic is about taking the negative and turning it into a positive. The message of the song isn’t exactly a happy one but the tone and feel of the song is very upbeat. We started this band based off the mutual prejudices we’d experienced separately, taking those negative experiences and making them into something we could use to benefit us and we mimicked that in our first single to get that point across. It’s not the cards you’re dealt it’s how you play them.

Are you touring? Where can we see you playing live?

Hot Minute: We aren’t touring currently, but we have a gig in September with Section 25 in Blackburn!

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Hot Minute: You can hit us up on our email itshotminute@gmail.com and you can also find us on our socials:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/itshotminute?
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itshotminute/

Imagine you can record an album with any artist, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Hot Minute: This one took a lot of thinking, but we eventually came to the collective decision of Daft Punk and we’d probably go for Alucard Studios. That was a tough one!

 

Or read more hot reviews for “Magic” online:
http://indietronica.org/2019/05/30/hot-minute-magic/
https://anerdyperspective.com/2019/06/05/hot-minute-magic-debut-single-review/
https://thegirlsattherockshow.com/listen-to-hot-minutes-new-single-magic/
https://reverbium.com/2019/05/29/manchester-synth-pop-band-hot-minute-release-new-single-magic/

The trio is probably the first ever pop band that we have reviewd on Indieterria. They are worth every blog post and every review, as we think the girls have not only talent but a huge potential to become something special. Given proper opportunities, they could turn into international stars in a very short period of time! We will be following their progress closely and if any pop music scout is looking for a new discovery, then here they are.

They might be called Hot Minute, but hopefully they will stick around for a long, long time.

M+R

P.S. A big thank you to Pete Eastwood who told us first about the group and who made this interview possible!

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

Indieterria meets Mutant-Thoughts

Hello, hello!

It’s the middle of the month and Indieterria is now back with another cool band you just have to know. Usually people like us here at Vanadian Avenue (professionally known as Artist and Repertoire or A&R’s for short) are sailing the vast waters of the world wide web in search of another talent to bring it to the surface for your enjoyment. It is a hard, ungrateful task at times but once a truly talented band or a musician is found, a long and successful career can begin.

Mutant-Thoughts logo

Sometimes we don’t have to search at all, the bands approach us themselves and all we can do is to sit, listen and admire as they are excellent at their craft. Our latest guest, Mutant-Thoughts found us on social media and we had to invite them to Indieterria as they are truly unique band!

Official Bio: Mutant-Thoughts is an experimental synth-rock band formed by Han Luis Cera (vocals and synths), Joshua Lennox-Hilton (bass and backing vocals) and Tom Pearmain (drums). Their unique sound combines traditional rock music with electronic sounds, eerie vibes and beautiful melodies. Mutant-Thoughts’ live shows are a spectacle that cannot be missed – it is equally energetic and emotional, filled with odd time signatures, crazy electric signals, heavy bass lines, eclectic vocal harmonies and to the listener’s surprise, no guitars. Using synths, drum machines and other special effects, Mutant-Thoughts is able to transform their surroundings into a completely new, detailed musical reality. The band released their first album in 2016. Their latest EP entitled “Is This Me?” was released in September 2017.

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Mutant-Thoughts

Han Luis Cera (vocals and synths),
Joshua Lennox-Hilton (bass and backing vocals)
Tom Pearmain (drums)

We are sure all music journalists can wholeheartedly agree that looking for a new, interesting band to write about can be tricky. Among millions of self released singles, YouTube videos and EP’s filled with repetitions or (in worst case scenarios) bad cover versions, discovering a true gem sometimes feels like mission impossible. Yet the hours spent listening to home-made demos are rewarded when you come across a band that captivates you with their music within seconds. We all know that feeling: the music starts, you close your eyes and a beautiful sound landscape unravels its mysteries to you through lyrics, tempo changes and fuzzed guitars. Good things do come to those who wait and we are really lucky to discover Bristol based trio that calls themselves Mutant-Thoughts. Vanadian Avenue sat down with their lead singer, Han Luis Cera to discuss their beginnings, unusual name and growing up in Latin America.

Mutant-Thoughts promotional shoot #1 by  Igor Tylek Photography

We have interviewed many bands with unique names, but yours is one-of-a-kind. It could be the title of the next Marvel superhero blockbuster. Where did it come from?

Han Luis Cera: (laughing) I admit, it does sound a bit like the next Marvel/DC psycho-thriller! That’s a film I’d like to watch. The actual name came from a very dramatic break up of my previous band. The whole thing left me in a situation in which I started having thoughts I didn’t recognize as my own, hence the name, Mutant-Thoughts. I thought it would no logger be possible for me to play with a band again. I started writing songs as some sort of personal therapy. However, when I moved to Bristol, I felt a lot better, and was happy to play with others again. I found Joshua Lennox-Hilton (our bassist), and Tom Pearmain (drumer), and I’m very happy and lucky to play with these two guys.

We are interested in learning more about Mutant-Thoughts. When and how did you meet?

Han Luis Cera: I moved to Bristol in 2014 but even before then, I was already looking for musicians to collaborate with. After a while, I met Josh, as he responded to a post I wrote online looking for a bass player. Around the same time, I befriended Pablo, an Argentinian drummer that played with us for the first year; sadly he had to leave us as he moved abroad. He basically transformed all the electronic songs I have written on my own into proper rock music as no band could ever play them in their original version (laughing)! After Pablo left, we played with another drummer named Tobias for about half a year, and he left for personal reasons. Then we auditioned a few drummers. Tom was the first one we heard that day and we were so impressed, that the decision was easy. He just understood immediately what we were doing and it was very easy to get along and work with him.

Mutant-Thoughts promotional shoot #2 by Igor Tylek Photography

Han, you are Colombian native. Can you tell us about your life in Latin America.  What type of music you grew up listening to?

Han Luis Cera: I grew up in Barranquilla, a port city in Northern part of Colombia. I was exposed to lots of types of music, but mostly Latin. Barranquilla has one of the biggest carnivals in the world, so we are used to listening to a lot of music, all day and every day. It is quite interesting to live in a society where music plays such an important role in our culture. Also, Barranquilla is located on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia; our music is hugely influenced by African music, with heavy emphasis on rhythm. That is the reason why the rhythmic section is so important for Mutant-Thoughts and why we put more fluid stuff on top of it. I enjoyed growing up in Colombia. I think that Latin America has a very interesting way of dealing with problems. People seem to be happy regardless of the situation. And I think it takes a lot of courage to see life like that.

Moving to the other side of the world can be a great adventure or a traumatic experience. How do you find the life in the UK? Was it easy for you to get accustomed to a new reality or did you experience any cultural shocks?

Han Luis Cera: I lived in Amsterdam before moving to Bristol, so I had my fair share of culture shocks when I moved there! Coming to the UK was definitely a lot easier. There are a few things that I find interesting in British culture, (like wearing shorts in the middle of the winter), but I really love living here. I’ve met very interesting and talented people, and I’m doing what I love!

We can imagine that music scene in Colombia and in the UK are completely different. What do you think about the music scene in Bristol? Should we even compare those two?

Han Luis Cera: I think British people generally have great interest in live music. That helps the music scene a lot and it gives the musicians a chance to grow. There are multiple small venues and places where musicians can play and reach new listeners. We only have a handful of venues in Barranquilla where you can see a live band play. Most Colombians tend to listen to music from records or on the radio, rather than live but that means the music is everywhere, even on public transport. During the Carnival season, there are gigs everywhere though.

Your music has been likened to Pink Floyd, Faith No More and Caspian. We hear UNKLE, a bit of Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. Also, we are not the first ones to point out that when you sing, you sound like Tom Yorke or Davie Bowie from his Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars era.

Han Luis Cera: Some of the artists you mentioned have indeed influenced us. We all have different tastes in music and we bring them into the band. We give each other the space to experiment and grow. All of the bands that we are likened to are incredible and we can only see that as a huge compliment. I personally think we sound different to them, but if I could ever play together with any of those bands, I’d probably go into some form of a shock not being able to believe my luck!

Mutant-Thoughts promotional shoot #3 by Igor Tylek Photography

 Mutant-Thoughts use a lot of odd time signatures, tempo changes and you are not afraid to experiment with sound. It is not so common these days but reminds us the golden days of the progressive rock: early Genesis, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator. You have learnt from the best!

Han Luis Cera: To be absolutely honest, I don’t really listen to progressive Rock, apart maybe from Porcupine Tree, and Pink Floyd, (if you can call them progressive rock). I don’t really listen to music with odd time signatures that much either. I just have a fascination for rhythm, contrast and I enjoy doing the opposite of what other people are doing. I’m not trying to be interesting or cool or anything like that.

I just think that if something has been done before, there is no need for me to do it again. I’m not sure if we’re succeeding at that, but that’s the idea. I could say that my fondness for rhythm comes from Latin music. There was a lot of jazz influence in 70’s salsa. On the other hand, my fascination with sound experiment streams from feeling limited with the possibilities of keyboard based instruments. As much as I love the sound of a piano, or an organ, the synthesizer is the instrument I seem to be able to express myself most intimately with, but I do still check my parts on a piano though.

Last month, you have released your latest EP entitled “Is This Me?”. It is a beautiful piece of music, very well written and perfectly executed. We are especially fond of two songs: the title track and the atmospheric “Alone”. Can you tell us more about them?

Han Luis Cera: Thanks! I’m really happy to hear that. Well, the whole EP is about going through a rough period in life and being able to find a solution to your problems. It has some very dark moments and it has moments which are more up-lifting. The title song “Is This Me?” is about self-analysis. A question to one-self about what we are doing. Is this really what we want to do? Are we acting according to who we are or are we acting on an instinct? Are our action based on what we believe to be true at that moment or do we have the full picture of the situation? It is hard to find the answer to those questions.

I’m unable to explain just two songs without discussing the context of the other songs at the same time. They are all linked together. The second song on the EP is entitled “Chaos and Entropy” which is about going through the actual problem. It is about losing oneself and just tasting every single moment of that path.

The third composition is actually a poem. I have named it “Trying to Make Sense” which I think the title is self explanatory. Then we have “Alone”, which deals with the sense of realization that after the chaos and suffering, we are actually alone. At this stage, we have taken some distance from the world to give ourselves the chance to deal with our problems. And then we close the EP with “Adaptation” which is about changing, “mutating” into a different person that is now able to deal with the problems left in the past.

Mutant-Thoughts performing live at the Bristol’s Louisiana club – photo by Igor Tylek Photography

Mutant-Thoughts appearance on the Bristol music scene was very well received. You have played alongside new prog/math rock talents such as Last Hyena or YOUTH. When can we see you on stage next?

Han Luis Cera: At this moment, we are working hard on promoting our EP and some of the new projects. We are lucky that Bristol has a great music scene with many, very talented bands we have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with.

We will be playing in Bristol again on the 2nd of November at Mr. Wolf’s for the EP launch of “Siblings of Us” who were kind to invite us to support them. Also,  we will travel to London to play at Off The Cuff, the date is going to be confirmed soon. We are looking to add more dates before the end of the year, so please check our Facebook and the official website regularly.

You can follow Mutant-Thoughts at:

Official website: www.mutant-thoughts.com
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mutantthoughts
Bandcamp: https://mutant-thoughts.bandcamp.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mutantthoughts/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mutant_thoughts
Youtube: https://youtu.be/WTfwrTkjqaU

If you’d like to write about them, book a gig or interview the band, Mutant-Thoughts press pack will come in handy!

Interested in seeing them live? Mutant-Thoughts are real musical magicians!

Enjoy the brand new Bristol sound!
xxx
Rita and Mal.