Indieteria introduce The Festival Season

Dear artists!

Ever year, around November, applications for summer festivals are being opened and we receive a lot of questions regarding them. Where can we find them? How to look for them?  How long are they open? – are the most common questions. We work with a large group of unsigned and signed artists and we inform them about each opportunity as they arrive. But keeping an eye out and a hand on the pulse can be very hard when you are juggling daily work, music career and family life. This post has been months in the making. We were debating how to make it easier for unsigned bands to apply for festivals and in the beginning, we we were posting links on our Facebook Page.

Few days ago, Malicia had an eureka moment and we decided to gather all links into one big database and post it on our blog.

So here there are! Go crazy and apply to as many as you want – just note that they might close at any moment! Be quick, or be late!

UK Festivals (aka Domestic)

TRUCK FESTIVAL
26-28 July 2019, Oxfordshire
https://truckfestival.com/contact/band-app/

Blackthorn Music Festival
19 – 21 July 2019, Stockport
http://www.blackthornmusicfestival.co.uk/apply

Isle of Wight Festival
13-16 July 2019, Newport, Isle of Wight
New Blood competition is organised by London Based agency Hot Vox
https://hotvox.co.uk/isle-wight-festival
Application:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc9rMAhdsT6uD-hrgnglcfd3_o-h1S_DKvm_AobYfu1-Xyzqw/viewform

Boardmasters Festival
7 – 11 August 2019, Newquay
https://marcatoapp.com/forms/19-boardmasters/applytoplayboardmasters19

Electric Fields Festival
4-6 July 2019, Drumlanrig Castle, Thornhill
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfVJaaobAy_pByBQ6HOWmsKzcSXgF1AALdszfCT1aPoVLWtGA/viewform

Merthyr Rising
24- 26 May 2019, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
http://www.merthyrrising.uk/news_post/rising-rebels-2019
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeGXqGdfvR62jwEPinYyeyXPhlTQaqyEuzqsfOMzhAVufo6ag/viewform

Camden Rocks Festival
1-2 June 2019, London
https://camdenrocksfestival.com/band-submission/

Nozstock The Hidden Valley
18-21 July, Bromyard
https://applications.eventree.co.uk/apply/index/id/1164

Green Man Festival
15 – 18 August 2019, Crickhowell
Send a Soundcloud link to artists@greenman.net
Or use this link below: https://www.greenman.net/rising/

Live at Leeds – 4 May 2019, Leeds
Slam Dunk Festival – 25 May 2019, Leeds – both festivals belong to Future Sounds Group
Music Submissions: sally@futuresoundgroup.com
Live in Leeds: https://www.musicglue.com/live-at-leeds-2019/

110 Above Festival
2-4 August, Gopsall Hall Farm, Leicestershire
Artist applications: Artists@110above.com
https://www.110above.com/information

2000 Trees Festival
11 – 13 July 2019, Upcote Farm, Withington
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2000treesBandApp

Nibley Festival
5 -6 July 2019, North Nibley Cotswolds
https://nibleyfestival.co.uk/info/band-contact/

HoyFest
4 October 2019, Cardiff, Wales
https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=DQSIkWdsW0yxEjajBLZtrQAAAAAAAAAAAAZAAOQHyZtUNElLREg5S1FPRldBUTMwUEFNM05EUzNDWC4u

Hanwell Hootie
11 May 2019 London
https://www.musicglue.com/hanwell-hootie-2019/

Victorius Festival
23-25 August Southsea, Portsmouth
https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/contacts/

Cornbury Festival
5 -7 July 2019, The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire
https://www.cornburyfestival.com/contact-us
Apply to Play
Send your short clip or link to mail@cornburyfestival.com

Farm Festival
25 – 27 July 2019, Somerset
http://farmfestival.co.uk/bands-and-djs/
Send your music to  music@farmfestival.co.uk

Standon Calling
25-27 July 2019, Standon, Hertfordshire
Application will open soon:
https://standon-calling.com/get-involved/band-submissions/

Are You Listening? Festival
27 April 2019, Reading
http://areyoulistening.org.uk/tickets
Bands interested in playing at the festival, please email the organizers at dave@heavypop.co.uk and include a link to your music and a paragraph of background info.

XPO North
3-4 July 2019, Iverness, Scotland
https://xponorth.co.uk/submissions/music/

Bushstock 
15 June 2019, London, Shepherd’s Bush
https://www.bushstock.co.uk/apply-to-play

Live in Chester
4-7 July 2019, Chester
https://www.musicglue.com/chester-live-2019/apply-to-play

Black Deer Festival (Americana and Country/Blues)
21 – 23 June 2019 Eridge Park, Kent 
https://blackdeerfestival.com/news/play-at-black-deer/

Tiree Music Festival
12-14 July, Tiree Island, Scotland
https://tireemusicfestival.co.uk/artist-submissions/

BrainChild Festival
12-14 July 2019, East Sussex
Applications close on 15th of March so please hurry up!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScV0oA54dH68Ucv8t-OD4lt9LF0xAIKRLPGXgtqAy9rIyguww/viewform

The Long Road Festival
6-8 September 2019, Stanford Hall Leicestershire (Americana and Roots)
https://www.thelongroad.com/news/artist-registration-long-road-2019-now-open/

Festivals Abroad (aka Away)

If your band is looking to travel outside of the UK or move to the next level of their career, participating in an international gigs is a no brainer.  We receive a lot of questions how to book a show in the EU or even in the USA, and there is no straight answer to this question. The best way is always to hire a professional booker, but those companies can ask for 20%-30% of your earnings per gig to cover their costs. Some bands book their own shows by contacting venues or local promoters in each country and sort out their own travels and housing arrangements. This can be costly and we do not recommend sleeping in your vans. This 1980’s approach may be working in certain cases but is draining and can be destructive. With AirBnB and hotel deals easily available on your mobile phones, it is much wiser to book the tour properly. But we digress. There is also another way, maybe a bit trickier and not as successful but you can look for open applications online. There are plenty out there and they do work as many DIY artists we spoke to booked their performances this way. Some applications can be paid (around £15-20), but the amounts are tiny when compared to what can be gained. A festival slot for a price of two burgers and a soda? Bargain!

The hardest part is always the beginning – musicians do not know where to go. We recommend speaking to your friends and networking with other bands, promoters or record labels. If you have nobody to help you, check the social media pages of artists that inspire you and find out where they will play that season or where they go on tour. Write down each venue, festival or event along with the dates and visit their official websites. Look for Contact, Apply, Submission or FAQ sections to find out if they offer open applications. You can also email the organisers or give them a call. Check social media for each event, applications are  also advertised on Facebook or on Twitter. Sign up for newsletters so you don’t miss deadlines or important news.

Some very useful pages that will help you to start looking:

We have made it a bit easier for you and  below you will find some of the current openings. But please hurry up, the applications stay open for short period of time and if you are late, then you will have to wait a full year to apply again.

SeaSessions Festival 
21-23 of June 2019, Donegal Ireland
Artists/Bands looking to play – bands@seasessions.com
https://seasessions.com/contact/


Rise Festival
14 – 21 December 2019, Les 2 Alps Resort, France
Contact email for artists: hello@risefestival.co.uk

Hopscotch Music Fest
5-7 September 2019 Raleigh North Carolina, US
Applications for artists:
https://podio.com/webforms/22266458/1564667

Live At Heart
4 – 7 September 2019, Orebro Sweden
Application: http://liveatheart.se/applications/

Sweden Rock (application for 2020)
Sölvesborg, Sweden
https://www.swedenrock.com/en/festival/artists/band-applications-2020

Joshua Tree Music Festival
The Joshua Tree Lake Campground, Joshua Tree, CA, US
Artists can apply for three annual festivals at the site here:
https://www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com/artists
or file application at
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1F715iwSjmCTioym1-QhYN3yGl1yMwTvzrR8Qw5m2UCw/viewform?edit_requested=true

Reeperbahn Festival
 
18-21 September 2019, Hamburg, Germany
https://www.reeperbahnfestival.com/en/info/band-application
https://www.reeperbahnfestival.com/en/reeperbahnfestival/band-application/band-application

Enjoy the links and hopefully the summer festival season will be kind to you.
Best  wishes,
R+M

Indieterria meets Happy Bones

Dear Readers,

Hey you! Iggy Cuthbert showing the way

When we started Indieterria fifteen months ago, we did not expect to be setting out on such a grand journey. And yet – here we are: spending nights editing and proof reading, interviewing musicians over Skype at 3AM while lying in bed with the lights out, talking to artists who continue to have meaningful careers while battling severe illness (Nic Evenett), watching brightest talents take on the world (nth cave). In our last chapter we profiled Junior Weeb – a band that had to grow up in the spotlight despite incredible personal tragedy.  Witnessing such stories makes us humble. We have realized that indie circuit – close and far – is full of incredible artists, who have strength, determination and their own unique voice.

Stepping outside comfort zones.

We will continue down this path with Iggy Cuthbert, known as Happy Bones. Iggy is a poet and songwriter based in Worcestershire, who has been leaving his mark on local scene in the last few years. Known for his dreamy lyrics and raw and emotional music, Iggy is an incredible person to interview.  He is fierce, open and raw. He is also shy and vulnerable and yet candidly speaks about his stage fright, death, highs and lows of being an artist in digital era. Please enjoy this interview and let`s take a walk on the wild side.

Sinking mud

Happy Bones made his mark on local scene, but for those not familiar with West Midlands indie circuit – tell us who is Iggy Cuthbert and why do you make such extraordinary music?

Happy Bones: Iggy Cuthbert is a pretentious persona I don’t really keep up with or know that well. I’m a writer and a singer, I suppose. I’ve grown to like the “folksinger” label. However, I always think of myself as a poet first. I can’t really write without a melody though, so I guess that’s why I do it. I make music because it’s the only thing that makes some sense to me. A lot of my songs jump around different topics and sometimes don’t make much sense, even to me. But that’s the way my brain seems to work. To me it’s a way of talking things out with myself, so it’s always a strange experience when I whisper my deepest, darkest secrets behind the mic (laughs). I enjoy it though.

You have been involved in organizing events and gigs for other artists as part of Boneyard Sessions. If you were to pick three  local acts that had the biggest impact on yourself – who would you recommend?

Happy Bones: I love all the bands we have put on so far, we always try and put on bands that we are excited about. Boneyard is a very selfish endeavour in that way. As for the three that are closest to my heart my first answer, perhaps the most obvious one, is nth cave. They’re my friends, I love them very much. They’re all extremely talented instrumentalists. You can tell they mean each note. Whenever I see them live, it feels like I’m discovering each of the notes all over again. Danni Timmins has a great way of delivering vocals, she makes it easy to get lost in the lyrics. Their song-writing is incredibly strong and clean, everything sounds tight, every word has a purpose. There are no clichés with that band. Hector and Fergus Brazier both work on Boneyard with me and I played some sets with Alfie Newman. I love them a lot. Following that, F. F. Ivanovski (Alfie Newman`s alter ego and solo project) is a sleepy but awakening experience. That boy sings in poetry covered in reverb. With some beautiful guitar work. Third would have to be Tom Forbes, his sets are a trip. He radiates confidence. He makes no mistakes, and if he does he works with them. He’s a real performer, his set for Boneyard Sessions really stuck with me.

In March 2017 you debuted with self titled EP. It included four tracks and was hailed as intimate and raw combination of lo-fi, folk and alternative with very strong song writing credits. You have been compared to Evan Dando, Stephen Joseph Malkmus of Pavement, Beck or even Ariel Pink. Slap Magazine called you ”a troubadour in the making”. Not a bad answer to a demo that has been written and recorded in about two weeks.

Happy Bones: I’ve always been writing songs and poems. I had a bit of a break after some old bands dissolved, I worked a shitty job that made me sad and I almost ruined one of my oldest friendships. So, of course, the most logical answer was to write an EP. I get distracted easily so a tight deadline worked for me in terms of keeping me motivated and inspired. Again, it was mostly therapy, and the fact that people enjoyed it made it seem some-what worthwhile. The “production” of the EP is pretty crude and simple, but I hope people listen to it with an open mind. When I counted down the days till the release most people thought I was counting down to something dark but I’m still around. I played harmonica on the EP, in hindsight that was a mistake (laughs). I tried to make the EP sound as if it’s an interview with a therapist or a doctor. I originally called it “The Grand Finale” (I think if you download the EP that’s still the title it has) because, I didn’t want to carry on with music after I released it. I was pretty demotivated at the time. I started studying literature and poetry at university, so I think I’ve come a long way in terms of maturing as an artist since that EP and I don’t really relate to it anymore, but it’s still very close to my heart. “I Surrender, I Give Up“ is probably the song that defines the whole EP well, I think? Again, I don’t really like that EP defining me as an artist anymore.

Iggy live

We absolutely love “Death Obsessed (Sketch #2)” from the EP, not only because of the fantastic lyrics. The entire composition is something like out of a secret diary of Syd Barrett.  Can you tell us more about this song?

Happy Bones: Thank you! I’m a huge fan of Syd Barret so that means a lot. “Death Obsessed” is more-or-less a true story. My mother tells me I was a different age when the swing incident mentioned in the song happened, but I chose to gloss over that. There’s still a pretty large scar on the back of my head for those that don’t believe the authenticity of it (laughs). “Death Obsessed” is about mortality and I suppose, existentialism. It’s about being stuck. It’s about the dark part of the human psyche that’s always nagging and telling you that time is running out, reminds you you’re ageing. That voice in the back of your head telling you that you don’t deserve to be happy. The song was inspired by one of my trips to the doctors trying to figure out what it is that’s making me feel blue and they said I was just a teenager. I’ve done some growing up since then and death is still on my mind. The last verse is the most important to me, I think it summarises the song perfectly. it’s about the empty effort of time endlessly pushing you forward but really, you’re going no-where. I don’t play that song as much anymore because of how close it has become to me. I don’t really like showing that side of me anymore. Being sad isn’t that original or cool anymore (laughs).

Last year you played Worcester Music Festival while also curating a scene for the festival. You seem to keep yourself occupied at all times.

Happy Bones: Playing the same shows I’m curating always makes me worried about what people might think my intentions might be. I suppose there’s stress from both sides: performance and promotion, but playing Boneyard Session shows just feels natural. Playing such gigs gives me a similar feeling I get when I’m just playing songs in my bedroom in front of my girlfriend or best friend.  I always get anxious about working with other promoters and sound engineers. On the other hand, I like stepping outside of the comfort zone of Boneyard Sessions. I want to be heard, and the only way that will happen is by forcing my music down everybody’s ears.

Happy Bones EP cover

You shared stage and collaborated with incredible amount of local artists: Alfie Newman (F.F. Idorovski), nth cave, Jesse River Dylan Murray, Ben Dallow, Luke Steele, Joe Norris, Tom Forbes, Sam Clines to name a few. Aren`t you sometimes tempted to form a band on your own?

Happy Bones: I always think about starting a band, I tend to write my songs as drafts that can easily be expanded. Myself and Hector Brazier (nth cave) are in talks but who knows what will happen? I’m used to playing on my own, but I get bored easily. I tend to write a lot and start hating my old songs. During most of my shows you’re very likely to hear a song that’s just been written the day before. Doing that would be harder with a band. I like the freedom I have as a solo performer, but I do miss my band days, I get lonely sometimes (laughs). I have a vision of creating a Woo-town supergroup made up of all the singer-songwriters I love. Big things might happen. Don’t forget about me, I still have a lot of songs in me.

You undergo a mesmerizing transition into a truly iconic performer. Where last year was a shy boy with guitar, now we see a confident Beatnik-esque young man unafraid to treat his skin as a canvas.  You  showcase some incredible inks on your socials and we have to admit, following your metamorphosis is very exciting and intimate experience. Was it a conscious decision to share this growing up process with the audience?

Happy Bones: Documenting my life was certainly not intentional. I feel like I have been doing some growing up as a person and as an artist. I still have a lot of bad days and I still shake on stage but it’s what I do and it’s all I think about. I can’t imagine working in an office, so I suppose I might as well give it all I’ve got and see what happens. There’s still a lot I have to learn, and I am learning with every set I play. As for social media, I like pretending that people care about what I do, and social media is an excellent illusion. I like sharing things and being as open and honest as I can. I want to show snippets of songs I’m working on and not worry about my voice slipping out of tune. I try to not worry about what people think of me based on my Instagram or Twitter feed. I don’t want to cultivate an image (the way so many people do) of being someone I’m not. I do really like the fact people are noticing a change. I like creating that intimate feel on stage or outside of it. I like to form connections with people and social media seems to be the way it happens today. A costume or a mask would definitely be more comfortable but what’s the point of pretending? It’s the same way as it is on stage.

Iggy Cuthbert (Happy Bones) performing live at Paradiddles, Worcester March 22

Tattoos have become another outlet, I suppose. I like the idea of art being permanently on my body. I like treating my body as a canvas, a record of my mistakes and so on. It’s more permanent than sketching but I like tattooing myself. Without meaning to sound cliché or pretentious, I do think it’s possibly the most primitive form of self-expression. I’ve given myself a couple of bad stick n’ pokes. I have a little sad face on my ankle. And some other little pieces on my legs and fingers. I like tattoos that don’t look like tattoos. I like them when they look like sketches out of a notebook. The ones you do at Uni when you’re bored. That’s kind of the way I see my songs. Just sketches that I churn out then forget about.  They all have a little part of me though.

 On March 30th 2018, you will support The Americas during an anticipated home coming show. Will we be able to hear some new material?

Happy Bones: Yes, it’s always a yes. I write songs all the time. Some of them no one will ever hear but some of them I’ll be brave enough to share. The Americas show might be the latter. I’m really excited. I’ve known the Americas for a while and they’re incredible artists. I’m  honoured to be asked to play their home-coming show I think it’s gonna be really special for everyone involved. I’ve seen Junior Weeb a couple of times, and I know they’re going to make a lot of noise that night too. It’s gonna be a party.

And while we are asking about the new stuff – when do you think we will see the follow up to Happy Bones EP?

Happy Bones: Yes! I don’t know when, but I’m in talks with Alex Knight, he recorded some wonderful artists: Chip Langley, Tyler Massey among others. I get bored easily though and I can never decide what to record. I always change my mind about what I want to sound like. One day soon there will be a new EP, maybe an album, maybe a collection of poems? Or maybe all three. I don’t know. I’m certainly not done yet. I have a lot of ideas and not too much time.

Lost in music

Over the last twelve months, you have been a recording and performing artist, you organized shows, promoted and booked other musicians. What`s the state of the indie scene in your opinion?  Is it all cut throat – dog eat dog world out there or have you seen reasons to be optimistic?

Happy Bones: The music scene in Worcester is wonderful and it’s scary and it’s intimidating and inspiring. It’s all the things you say and none of them at all. I wrote a song that I often dedicate to the indie scene titled “I hate being one of your kind” because Worcester and “the scene” are both easy places to get stuck in, I worry about that sometimes. I don’t want to get stuck. But I made some wonderful friends and we all have to help each-other out, that’s the whole motivation behind Boneyard Sessions for example. We all want to do this. I try and stay optimistic, it feels good to be a part of something. Something that’s definitely breathing. It’s a real honour to be able to have some (however small) impact on it. Worcester birthed The Americas, Junior Weeb, Tom Forbes, Ben Dallow, nth cave, Alfie Newman, Luke Steele, Joe Norris, Jesse River Dylan Murray, amongst many, many, many others. They are some of the most interest artists I’ve had the pleasure to watch and share the stage with. Worcester definitely has something to say. I don’t know what it is yet, but I hope we’re loud enough to say it.

Poster for upcoming gig with The Americas

Iggy Cuthbert will play Marrs Bar in Worcester with Junior Weeb and The Americas on March 30th. Its gonna be carnage and a sold out home show – we are warning you. So grab your tickets before they are gone.

https://www.facebook.com/events/266397940564769/
http://www.wegottickets.com/event/429992

In the meantime, you can visit Happy Bones online and listen to some quality music:

https://www.facebook.com/iggyhappybones/
https://twitter.com/iggster_69
https://soundcloud.com/iggyc
https://happybones.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/iggycuthbert/

That`s all for this episode of Indieterria. We will see you soon -ish,

Mal& Rita

****Update: 01/04/2018****

What can we say? The gig at Marrs Bar went by in a flash. We have been running around taking pictures,  videos, making sure we had some images from the green room. We also had enormous pleasure to see Iggy Cuthbert on a proper stage. When Happy Bones started, the room was still filling in – but he had a perfect combination of almost religious silence and a cheering crowd. Each song was performed to a focused audience and ended with an applause and calls for encores. In return Iggy spoke about his tunes, the stories behind them and debuted a new song “Bruised Knees” (we are hoping this is the right title) about a funeral of a young, anonymous girl. It must have been first time that we actually seen a person in Marrs Bar tear up when listening to a song. Iggy promised us tunes to cry to and he delivered.

Happy Bones performing at Marrs Bar

Powerful voice and dark lyrics.

Happy Bones is powerful on stage armed with just a guitar, his voice and his lyrics. He is coming out of the shadow of his collaborators and friends – nth cave at incredible rate and is firmly standing on his own as a writer and performer.

His new material is as dark as previously but the melodies come up front and you find yourself humming the chorus lines long after the song is finished.  We won`t lie – “Bruised Knees” caught us off guard with its intense and existential theme contrasting with a sophisticated pop melody. That is a formula that made The Smith legendary. Iggy is obviously learning from the best.

Vanadian Avenue agrees that everyone should see Iggy live.

Up close and personal – Iggy leave an impression on the audience

The coming months will be very interesting to observe as nth cave also enter studio and we may have a “battle of friends” on the Worcester scene.

If you missed the gig, here`s a video since we have now a YouTube channel!

And some extra photos from the green room.

Iggy Cuthbert (aka Happy Bones) backstage at the green room Marrs Bar 30.03.2018

Against the wall – Iggy Cuthbert

Iggy at the back of Marrs Bar.

Regards,
Mal+Rita

****Update 20/04/2018****

Worcestershire favourite indie poet has dropped a new single, so we did a review!

Happy Bones – “Just The Same”

Cover of Just The Same single – released on 16th April 2018

There is something captivating about Happy Bones (alter ego of Worcestershire based poet and  resident decadent – Iggy Cuthbert): messy hair, strange glasses, beanies and shirts, mysterious  tattoos, ethereal vocals and grim lyrics.

He changes like a chameleon. One day, he is a Harry Potter of indie circuit – a kind of rebellious prodigy, then you see him live and he creates this semi acoustic and mesmerizing show only to shake you back to your senses using all sorts of sonic effects that would make Ash Bowie of Polvo jealous.

There is also an aura of defiance in whatever Iggy Cuthbert is doing. He could have easily cast himself as a traditional folk singer and fill coffee houses and clubs in a large city with a buzzing university campus. Instead, he lives in a market town in West Midlands and sings to small but dedicated audiences. He could provide his listeners with produced to perfection poetic songs, yet he releases homemade demos and subscribes to the ethics of lo-fi movement: scratches, background noise, disregard to quality et all.

Even his name is contradictory – Happy and Bones. Iggy Cuthbert obviously found a formula to keep all those opposites together and merge them into one coherent artistic and musical persona, but don’t expect him to reveal the ingredients.

Iggy Cuthberg performing at Firefly, Worcester 22.02.2018

And why should he? He seems to find enjoyment in confusing his audience and keep them on their toes.

Expecting a single release in a regular way with sponsored ads, competitions, likes and shares? Not here, not this artist.

In a fashion that reminds of antics of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, Iggy posted series of  Instagram stories showing him smoking heavily, looking like he was about to suffer a nervous breakdown and counting days to something. Could have been new material, could have been a walk to the bridge. Fans could  guess.

On 16th April a new song appeared on Happy Bones` Soundcloud and Bandcamp entitled “Just The Same”. Illustrated by a simple graphics with flowers in a vase, it featured Iggy Cuthbert on guitar and vocals, Alfie Newman on guitar and Hector Brasier on drums.  Alfie and Hector belong to  incredibly popular in Worcester dream pop/shoegaze outfit nth cave and this is the closest collaboration yet between nth cave and Happy Bones.

Bringing together nostalgic lyric with mid tempo lo-fi dark folk composition, hypnotic drums and loops echoing in the background, Iggy Cuthbert once again delivered a single that escapes all forms of description. Full of strange effects yet easily memorable, evocative and haunting, radio friendly and yet meeting all the requirements of a niche circuit that prides itself in being alternative.

Even trying to review the song, makes you feel like a dork.

Happy Bones is definitely placing himself in the same league as Pinning for Sunshine,  Lowpines or  Joshua Burnside. Yet  I keep  on hearing small nodes to Grant Lee Buffalo or Evan Dando and it catches me off guard time and time again. For 3 minutes folky song, “Just The Same” has so many layers, it makes your jaw drop.

There is one regret here though. It really begs for a better mix. If only to fully appreciate all the small sound bits that happen in the background. I know it goes against the indie ethos but damn it.

It has so much potential.

“Just The Same” can be purchased from Iggy Cuthbert`s official shops at:

https://soundcloud.com/iggyc/just-the-same
https://happybones.bandcamp.com/track/just-the-same

Do yourself a present and get your copy of the single.

Mal+Rita

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.

————————

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 meets Nic Evennett

Nic Evennett – A Song to a Siren

 

Nic is also a skilled photographer doing all her publicity shots herself.

Welcome to the new chapter of Indieterria, where we profile artists on the unsigned/independent circuit that bring something new to the audiences. We want to introduce you to incredible artist, poet, photographer and composer based in Kent – Nic Evennett.

Nic not only records and mixes her own compositions, staying true to DIY ethics of the genre. She also built quite an impressive profile as a studio based artist. She is not touring, not playing the popularity games on social media. And yet appears on national radio and enjoys a wide network of collaborators. She is passionate and driven. Talking to her was a privilege. Please read on.

***

You have the most unconventional biography we have ever seen. It reads: “I bash the piano and stuff”. We were expecting few home-made demos but found a whole catalogue of songs, an established artist who have been on national radio and comparisons to Kate Bush. Not exactly just piano bashing! Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria?

Nic Evennett: Well, firstly, thank you so much for interviewing me! I’m all flustery and excited! It’s a real honour, and it’s my very first proper interview.

I remember Tom Robinson saying something about the “I bash the piano and stuff”, commenting that is was self-deprecating, and I think self-deprecation sums me up quite well! Your question is one that always makes me (pauses) clam up, somewhat. I find talking about me incredibly hard. I doubt that’s uncommon. It’s much easier for me to just quote what somebody else has said about me. But I’ll have a go here: I am Nic, a singer-songwriter from Kent, United Kingdom. I’ve been bashing the piano since I was 7, studied music for a while, had a long break, and then really only turned to song-writing about five years ago, or so. I also love photography, being out in nature, listening to Buddhist talks,  meditations, and eating cake, in no particular order. There. I did it. (laughs)

Nic Evennett through her own lens

Your song “Outside” debuted in January 2017 on BBC Introducing Kent  to very favourable reviews.  Listeners described it as “outstanding” and “mesmerising”, while BBC staff was also visibly impressed. Not a bad start of the year. Did you expect such reactions?

Nic Evennett: No, not at all, and certainly not for that particular song. It was a lovely surprise, and I am so grateful to Abbie McCarthy at BBC Introducing Kent for including me in that show. It’s funny. Many of my songs are kind of dredged up from some depths – something that needs exploration, then gets twisted and turned into music and poetry, trying to find some resolution, and then splattered out into song. And I come out the other side thinking, whooof, I needed to get that stuff out of my head. “Outside” didn’t work that way, which is very rare for me. I just liked the riff! And I think it was the riff that got me a foot in the door. I think my music generally tends to be more meandering, more spacious, and that doesn’t always lend itself well to radio play. But this one is a bit livelier. And yet, I reckon it’s probably in my own bottom three! Funny how it works.

“Outside” also found itself on the rotation at the Channel Radio and Strange Fruit Radio. Your next offering – “Hurry” – went even further and was voted “Song of the Week” at the Strange Fruit at the recommendations from listeners.  We know it was a digital release but we will still call it a beautifully crafted ballad. Any inspiration behind that song?

Nic Evennett: “Hurry” is much, much more from the heart. Like all my songs, well, bar “Outside”, they really are little windows into my heart and mind. And as somebody who loves words, loves playing with and manipulating language, and somebody who in many ways is quite private, my lyrics tend to be deliberately ambiguous. I suppose it’s a little safety net for me in some ways – only those who truly, truly listen can see through the windows. But also I love the idea that the songs can be whatever you want them to be about. Once they are out in the world, I really don’t see them as my songs any more. They just float about for people to borrow and use and sink into when they need to. So some people have questioned the lyrics to “Hurry” – mainly asking what in the world does it all mean. Which is a good question that I’m not sure I have the answer to! I think it’s about somebody reaching a point where they want somebody else to intervene; take away bad memories, tough stories. “Hurry” has a funny time signature too, which is meant to depict waves rolling in and out. The sea features quite a lot in my songs. Or rather, nature does. Sea, rivers, the moon, the seasons, the sky, trees. I can’t think of a song that doesn’t mention nature, actually.

Collages created by Nic often include poetry or lines from her lyrics.

You have been featured several times on national radio BBC 6 Music (singles “Somehow” and “Where We Are The Forest”) and by Tom Robinson himself. Now this is not just mere luck. It is quite hard to get through all the vetting for the “MixTape Show”. You did it more than once.

Nic Evennett:  I think that Tom is just blimming lovely and kind! In fact, that was a lovely surprise too because neither “Somehow” nor “Where We Are The Forest” got short-listed! It was picked by a few people, but not enough, and I felt thoroughly deflated. But I think Tom ultimately decides what he wants to broadcast and added me both times, which was so lovely of him. It’s people like him that truly help the likes of me. I think there are two strong divisions in music – those who will push hard at the self-publicity bit and have a lot of confidence in what they do, and then folk like me, where none of that comes naturally or comfortably at all. I worry that the folk in the latter never get heard, never get found. There is a difference between being confident and wanting to be heard. An artistic voice can be so, so important for people who lack confidence, self-esteem, or who just struggle generally. So having a platform where you can submit songs and they are judged in their own right, without the need for self-promotion or long-winded bios, is essential. And wonderful. The Fresh Net team do a superb job. Love ’em.

You have about sixteen songs on your Bandcamp and Soundcloud profiles and they are produced and recorded to highest quality. Moreover, we see that certain songs are mixed by other artists. Are they really home recordings or have you invested in professional studio?

Nic Evennett:  Well, that made me beam! Know why? Mixing is the bane of my life! I never feel I get it right. Or I think I have got it right, and find it’s completely wrong. My ‘studio’ is the spare bedroom and I share it with drying laundry, stuff that should be in other rooms that I haven’t got round to putting away, and the dog. In most recordings you can hear the birds in the tree outside. Most songs have had a few dozen takes after bikes decide to whiz up and down the road, or somebody has slammed a front door, or somebody has yelled at somebody else, and then there is much quiet swearing from me and we go again. I tell myself that there is something…lovely and organic in home recordings, which in truth I think there is, but that only seems to apply to everybody else but me. I really love listening to songs with other sounds going on in the background. I love listening to songs where the mix isn’t perfect and there is a rawness to it. But if a bird has tweeted out of place, or I have made a vocal tick somewhere, I am very hard on myself about it all. So to hear that is wonderful. I shall try not to give myself such a hard time from now on.

Besides your solo compositions, you are involved many collaborations, two main projects being Return To Mountain (with Steve Gleason) and Silent Reasons (with Frank Cable).  Would you like to tell us more about them?

Nic Evennett:  Ah, I love working with Steve and Frank. I suppose they are two I work more regularly with and I feel a deep musical connection with. They are both gorgeous souls all round, and that is important to me. I have done work with quite a few folk, though. Robert Pabst, from Cinematic Dance Music, is a genius and did a super Bond-style remix of my song “Hold On”. We have done other projects together that I have loved working on. And I also work with a chap called UNJAY, who is big on his Future Bass – a genre so far from what I do and yet I find so interesting to do the vocals for. Not to mention other fabulous musicians I have been honoured to work with. I am very lucky to have these folk encouraging me and inspiring me.

Your back catalogue is available on US based streaming platform Pandora. The service describes you to their subscribers as “delicate mystery, warm and lustrous, yet fragile and crystalline – a bewitching blend of Kate Bush and Linda Perhacs, surrounded by dolorous, reverb-drenched piano and woven into broken-hearted balladry”.  This is the very first time we have seen an indie artist being compared to Kate Bush and we have to wholeheartedly agree. Are you able to  tell us how well are you received on Pandora?

Nic Evennett: Being compared to Kate Bush is just crazy, isn’t it? I can’t get my head around that one. Kate is in a league of one. She truly is an astounding musician, poet, artist, woman. So my name in the same sentence as hers makes me feel both thrilled and baffled. And maybe even a bit scared. And Andee Conners from Pandora, was the very first person to write a review on me and for that I love him to bits. What an amazing first review. It’s something I read when I am feeling anxious about my music…so I read it a lot. I’m so grateful to Andee for that. As for how I am received, I have no idea! We can’t get Pandora in the UK and nor can I access any listening figures or anything. Actually, I quite like it that way. It is a little mystery. I have no idea when or if my music is being played.

It is quite hard to describe your music. There are piano based ballads, but also loops, possible samples, elements that remind us of trip -hop. If you were to give yourself a label, what genre would you subscribe to?

Nic Evennett:  It is hard, isn’t it?! I never know where to stick myself, category-wise. Something might jump out at you as trip-hop in style, and then a choir will burst into life (well, just me really, layered up a hundred times) and throw you off the scent. It throws me too! The term ‘alternative’ gets used a lot by folk who have no real home and who travel between genres, so I tend to opt for that one. ‘Odd’ is another one. Or ‘a bit mixed up’. Any of those could apply to me (laughs).

Recently you spoke about limitations imposed on artists due to health reasons. You said: “Folk with chronic conditions need to be heard in more ways than one. I often feel sidelined for not being able to give a gig list or tour dates. I can’t be alone.”  We would like you to elaborate a bit more on the topic, because we think there are still many people in the music industry who do not know how to handle artists with chronic conditions or disabilities.

Nic Evennett:  This is a BIG one for me. Personally I have two main conditions that sort of take over my world quite a lot. One is PMDD, which is a devastating condition that few have heard about. Basically, think PMS multiplied infinitely! The second is Fibromyalgia. And other than that, bipolar and other mental health stuff. What a combo! All ‘invisible’ conditions, so like many out there, you’d never know it if you met me. But these things, and mental illnesses like depression or  anxiety are so isolating for many. You may not feel able to leave the house, you may not be even able to get out of bed. So musically, just standing up and recording is an issue for me. My voice is temperamental and reflects how bad things are. Gigging and touring is certainly out the window. I have no doubt I am one of a vast amount of people who love making music, love singing, love playing but hate performing! I am not a performer. And I think in this day and age we shouldn’t need to be. I think it can silence people with, say, mental health illnesses who think that in order to be successful they must be a certain way. They must be the ‘whole package’. Well, personally, this package is dented! It’s rattling around with smashed pieces inside and the paper is all torn! But I still want a voice. I still want to share my songs. I still want to connect to people through music. And I really want others to feel the same, because it just so happens that some of the most beautiful, most moving, truest music I have heard has come from people who struggle in this way; people who have hardly any followers on Soundcloud, say, or few listens. How they use their experiences to create is astounding. We need so, so much more of that out in the world.

The last question is traditionally reserved for future plans. What can we expect from Nic Evennett in the coming months?

Nic Evennett:  Ooo, like any question about the future, I say ‘who knows?’! I have some plans of eventually getting a little EP together, but money is tight, obviously, so I need to find ways of doing this on a budget. Certainly more songs, and I’ve thrown my music into various competitions out there. I would LOVE to have a song used in TV or film. I think music and drama can be such a magical partnership, so I am trying to find ways of doing that at the moment. If anybody out there knows how, please come chat to me! But I am very much a ‘in the moment’ person, so I just live hour by hour, day by day. That way magical things can happen that you just weren’t expecting!

Through her own lens #2

 

Nic Evennett can be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicevennettmusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicEvennett
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/wingless-night
Bandcamp: https://nicevennett.bandcamp.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiCT_99Cy3p1w0RMCuv1SBA

Return to Mountain ( collaboration with Steve Gleason)

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/returntomountain
Soundclick: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=540680 (Steve`s page)

Silent Reasons (collaboration with Frank Cable)

https://soundcloud.com/silentreasons
https://soundcloud.com/orionstarband (Frank`s page)

We would like to thank Tom Robinson of 6 Music for introducing us to Nic`s music.  And big kudos to Nic who was patient with us for publishing this interview.  We are hoping to make quite a few updates to this interview in the coming months.

Until the next time.

Mal+Rita

*** Update 01/02/2018***

We are following up our awesome (and highly popular!) interview with Nic! After we wrapped the talk, we still had some questions. We wanted to know what the artists will release this year. And boy, we were lucky. After a bit of nagging, Nic  revealed that her new digital single will be called “Ribbons” and you can listen to it online!

Nic Evennett: There are two versions of this track – this one includes the birds outside Nic’s house.

During our post interview exchange, we also learned that Nic is an advocate for mental health and well-being.  In September 2016,  she released an experimental EP “Three” from which half of proceeds go to charity Mind. The EP includes seven compositions, all recoded during the same week. It was basically a challenge: one song a day while stepping outside comfort zone and using  instruments and arrangements that Nic not used before.

Nic Evennett:  The EP is free to download on Bandcamp, though people can give money if they like and 50% goes to the charity Mind. Might be worth a mention. In fact all my music is free to download, in truth, but we won’t mention that! (giggle)

Three EP cover

You can access the EP from the link below:

https://nicevennett.bandcamp.com/album/three

Nic you are the very definition of awesomeness and a proper legend!

Mal+Rita

*** Update 03/02/2018***

Bone and Thirst EP cover

We knew there was something in the air, when we followed up our interview with Nic. She mentioned EPs and singles. We should have seen it coming really! The hard life of a music writer – you try to nail everything, have the artist in a box, fully explained and  leaving no mystery uncovered. And then this happens – a brand new EP! Dropped in the middle of the night! Ah!

Artists are such incredible beings – they constantly reinvent themselves, they are masters of creativity and no matter how hard you try to figure them out, they are two steps ahead of you. And we love them for it, to be honest.  They keep us on our toes.

We can picture Nic Evennett smiling like mythical Sphinx when she dropped her new EP – “Bone and Thirst” at 4:00 am yesterday.

But we will admit -we are very lucky. We got our interview just at the right time. We won`t complain.

So what can you expect from “Bone and Thirst”? Three songs:  the title track, lead single “Ribbon” and a brand new composition – “Jagged Boy”, incredible poetic lyrics and  two digital photographs.  Nice package.

“Bone and Thirst” is the most experimental of the tree tracks – it blend trip hop and electronica with  mesmerizing vocals, it is full of loops, samples and strange noises in the background that create quite a dark and nervous atmosphere. Nic is shining in this track, her voice just flows and overwhelms you. This composition reminds us a bit of Sarah McLachlan or Paula Cole – it is very cinematic, neurotic and mysterious.

Ribbon digital single cover

On the other hand – “Ribbon” is completely opposite. Nic sings nearly a-cappella accompanied just by a piano and chirping birds. You read it right. There are birds singing in the background though out the track and this is used like accompanying instrument to the piano. What a strangely beautiful duet! Vocals are stripped but in the lead, providing a focal point of the composition. We`d think “Bone and Thirst” would make the lead single, with all the production that went into the track, but choosing  “Ribbon” Nic Evennett proved to be very brave, experimental and adventurous artist.

“Jagged Boy” continues with the acoustic feeling. But there is something gospel about it. It feels almost religious, like it was recorded in a cathedral instead of a studio. Nic`s voice is at times multiplied, creating a choir effect. The lyrics is unsettling and mysterious, a lamentation even. If this song won’t give you goose-bumps, please consult a GP. You may be deaf. In both ears.

The EP can be bought from Nic’s Bandcamp page and half of the proceeds will go to Mind charity.

https://nicevennett.bandcamp.com/album/bone-and-thirst

You know what to do, dear readers. Go and get yourself a copy of the EP.

A comment from Tom Robinson!

Also, thank you Tom Robinson for your feedback. We are blushing. It is a great honour as we consider ourselves fans of your music and we have always held your lyrics and writings in high esteem. Much power to you too Sir!

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!

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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/

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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 meets The Humdrum Express

Dear Readers,

We continue  our series of interviews with musicians we think shape music scenes and sonic landscapes around us this year.  They don`t have to be spring chickens leading revolutions and tearing roofs off the venues. They can be experienced artists, wiser in their business ways and accompanied by a trusty guitar. And they are still relevant, on point and powerful in their expression. Today, we present you Ian Passey, who is the force behind The Humdrum Express. Ian will be one of the artists that will rock Worcester for Musicians Against Homelessness.  Read on, dear friends. This is as we say: banger of an interview and an artist you have to know.

A thousand things to worry about

An esteemed artist, Ian Passey, has built a solid fan base in the West Midlands under his moniker, The Humdrum Express. Championed by BB6 Music and sharing stages with the rock and roll greatest, Ian is returning to his home turf this September to support Worcester Music Festival and play a charitable show for the national campaign, Musicians Against Homelessness. We have met Ian to discuss his many achievements, stardom and new music he is currently working on.


BBC describes you as “One man, a few instruments and a thousand things to worry about”. Who exactly is Ian Passey?

Ian Passey:  I’m a singer/songwriter based in Kidderminster. I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember, firstly as a member of various bands (Smedley, Jackpot, Swagger). After a bit of a break, I decided to do my own thing, initially bedroom recordings, before taking the plunge back into gigging. Ten years later, I’m still here – writing and performing with as much enthusiasm as I’ve ever had. I suppose the “thousand things to worry about” tag came from the underdog slant of the lyrics, attempting to fear the worst in a humorous way. Either that or it’s a good guess!

The Humdrum Express is your solo project. You write your own music, produce your albums and play all instruments – you are a one man band. Do you prefer to work alone?

Ian Passey:  Although that was the case a few years ago, in more recent times, I’ve really enjoyed working with other people. My last couple of albums and most recent EP has been produced by Mick Lown. Not only is he fun to work with, but also has a great knack of suggesting ideas and instrumentation to suit a particular song. It’s a refreshing way to work which helps to prevent getting stuck in a rut. As far as videos go, I’ve been teaming up with Nick J. Townsend pretty regularly. Again, he’s someone I really enjoy working with to help expand on some of my ideas. I love to get as many people involved as possible with the videos and I’m always amazed by how many love being a part of them. I’ve also got several musician friends, who have enhanced some of the recordings for which I’m extremely grateful. Long may these collaborations continue! I’m always on the lookout for new ones if anyone’s interested…

Ian Passey performing – photo by Arthur Passey

It is hard to categorize your music. Some journalists put you into spoken word or singer/songwriter category; others consider you to be a prime example of what experimental music should sound like. How do you feel about the constant need of squeezing artist into existing genres? Is there any style that could comfortably describe what you are doing or do you avoid being labelled at all?

Ian Passey:  The need for genres is something that has bugged me for years! I always put lyrics ahead of any particular musical style and I’m quite happy to change it when the need arises. I love the spoken word style as much as the classic verse/chorus/middle eight structures. It all about getting the maximum impact from a phrase, I suppose.

Your lyrics, an important part of your music, are complex and straightforward. They’ve earned you a reputation of a “bespectacled observationist, casting a cynical eye over exasperating times”. Where do you look for inspiration?

Ian Passey:   I don’t really look anywhere for it, but always seem to stumble across something. That being said, this is proving to be my leanest year, writing wise, for some time. Perhaps I should start looking?! Like most artists, I work better when there’s a deadline looming so maybe I should start thinking about album number six…

The Humdrum Express album “(Failed Escapes from the) Clones Town Blues” received great reviews from leading music journalists such as Steve Lamacq. Your newest release “The Day My Career Died” has been championed on BB6 Music. Has the exposure helped you to advance your career outside of West Midlands?

Ian Passey:   It’s been fantastic in so many ways. Being pitched alongside artists I admire has helped improve and focus my writing. The thought of being found out as an impostor drives me on to write stuff worthy of the airplay! The knock-on effect is obviously the new people all over the world who suddenly have access to your music.

You have shared stages with many legends: 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) and Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) to name just a few. If you could choose another person to perform with, who would that be?

Ian Passey:  Tricky question! Billy Childish would be nice as it would mean he was back playing live again. I did three dates with John Cooper Clarke around 2010 and I’d love the opportunity again, although the venues he’s packing out these days are much bigger than back then. I was due to support the Sleaford Mods a couple of years ago until the promoter in Leamington opted for a more local act instead. That would have been great, but it wasn’t to be.

You are probably the only person from Kidderminster to ever play at Glastonbury festival. How do you remember this experience?

Ian Passey:  Hazily! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one from Kidderminster either! It was hardly the Pyramid stage but it was great fun. I seem to recall the act on before me end with a cover of “Take on me” by A-ha which the crowd lapped up. I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d end my own set in similar fashion… by tearing through “Gather in the mushrooms” by Benny Hill! Unless my memory is playing tricks, I received a standing ovation!

We have to ask you – was “Worcester Woman (Forgate Me Not)” written about a real person linked to the city or is it licentia poetica?

Ian Passey:  I’ve always viewed that one as a bit of general daftness! It’s a fictional tale that attempts to mix romance with political terminology. It doesn’t get played too often but I’m tempted to give it an airing on 22nd September, particularly as The Marr’s Bar gets a mention.

The Humdrum Express has many faithful supporters on the local scene. You have played Worcester Music Festival several times, always coming back by popular demand. This year you will also support Crisis charity by performing at Musicians Against Homelessness event on 22nd of September. You will appear on the acoustic stage.

Ian Passey:  I’ve been lucky enough to play at every Worcester Music Festival apart from the very first one. As it happens,  I’m not playing this time but will be promoting an evening as I have done for the past three years. My event will take place at The Firefly on the Sunday, featuring several of my favourite grass roots discoveries.

What are your plans for the autumn? Any upcoming tours?

Ian Passey:   I’ve got some great gigs on the horizon… I’m playing my biggest headline show to date at The Rose Theatre in Kidderminster on 7th October (tickets available from their website!) It’s a near 200 capacity all seater venue and, without giving too much away, will be much more than the usual gig format. I’ve also got dates with the likes of CUD, Mark Morriss and Half Man Half Biscuit to look forward to, so it should be a fun few months. I’m releasing a brand new single early in November with an accompanying video, so I’m pretty busy until the end of the year.

You can follow Ian and The Humdrum Express

www.thehumdrumexpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheHumdrumExpress/
https://soundcloud.com/thehumdrumexpress

Musicians Against Homelessness charity concert will take place on September 22nd 2017 at Marrs Bar

If you want to see Ian Passey play Musicians Against Homelessness concert, tickets are a £5 and can be bought from the links below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/413506
http://www.marrsbar.co.uk/events/musicians-against-homelessness-2/
https://www.facebook.com/events/106395143421500

To find out more about MAH visit Musicians Against Homelessness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/