Indieterria meets Andrew Marston

Dear readers!

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

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

Think globally, do locally  – Andrew Marston Interview

The right person for the job!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Andrew Marston at the mixing console

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Marston preparing to go live

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

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

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

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

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

BBC Introducing

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

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

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

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

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

BBC Hereford and Worcester: Guitars and great tunes!

Andrew Marston: Here’s my top three…

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

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

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

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

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

Keep on doing the good job!

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

Bye for now,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

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Indieterria celebrates Independent Music Week 2018

Dear Readers,

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

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

 Welcome to Indieterria IVW18 special.

 

 James Willis
(The Marrs’ Bar manager)

Marr’s Bar logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0VOWhjrRYq5

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

General Info:
The Marrs Bar

Technical Info:
The Marrs Bar Tech Spec 

 

Christian Burton
(promoter, Surprise Attacks)

Surprise Attacks logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron Whittaker
(The Americas)

The Americas

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

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

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

 

Troy Tittley
(Nuns of the Tundra)

Nuns of the Tundra

What do you think about the Independent Venue Week campaign?

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

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

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

IVW18 with Soeur & Friends

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

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

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets The Americas

The Americas – Something is Happening

 

The Americas – it is rock and roll (and we like it)

There is definitely something really exciting happening in rock and roll at the moment. Bands such as The Blinders, The Idles or The Velvet Hands are like a breath of fresh air. Let’s not forget The Himalayas,  Shame, The Strawberries or Bang Bang Romeo: Then, there are The Americas –  A Worcester based trio quickly joining their ranks. We sat down with the band to discuss a wide range of topics from the appreciation for their music, travelling with This Feeling and performing at the BBC Music Introducing Amplify conference in London to their admiration of Big Moon and the troubles on in the US of A.

 

Harry Payne (guitar/vocals/harmonica)
Aaron Whittaker (guitar/keys/vocals)
Alexander Bradshaw (drums)


Don’t you find it a little bit ironic that the band considered being the hope of the British rock is called The Americas?

The Americas: We are not sure who exactly considers us the hope of British rock music but we guess a British band being called The Americas is always going to be a bit of a talking point! (laughter)

 The band was formed at the end of 2015 and quickly developed a large fan following. Tell us more about your beginnings.

The Americas:  It was a pretty natural thing for us. Aaron Whittaker and Harry Payne were always writing and singing songs, listening to the same records and going out to the same shows. Somewhere along the way, we decided to take it a little bit more seriously and started to jam with other musicians. We poached drummer Alex from a psych band that was doing the rounds in Birmingham at the time and immediately shut ourselves away for a year. We played a handful of one off gigs through the first half of ’16 trying to work out what on earth we were and what sort of sounds we made, but most of those early days were spent throwing ideas around and just hanging out in our little practice room.

You are the only band from Worcestershire that has been included in the famous, This Feeling circuit, a music company that includes band management, a record label, and a series of national live shows. It is run by Mikey Jonns and hosts the biggest names in rock: Kasabian, The Rifles, Noel Fielding, and Noel Gallagher. What does a local band just starting out have to do to be added to their roster?

The Americas: This Feeling have been very kind to us and have offered us a lot of great opportunities this year. We are not sure if there’s a simple tick list when it comes to building relationships and working with promotions companies/record labels or whatever. We just love to play our music for people and we really mean every one of our songs. I think the key is being honest and transparent. There’s a lot of confused music around.

The Americas – photo from band`s archives

You are often described as “music to ride your motorcycle to” but we do not find this accurate. We rather see you as a very intriguing combination of classic southern rock (think The Black Crowes in their Amorica era) with eloquence of the college rock (think Collective Soul or LIVE), a bit of post grunge but with a lot of back ground in modern independent British music: The Libertines, The Sherlocks, Razorlight, Primal Scream. Best of both worlds really.

The Americas:  (laughing) You can listen to us while you ride a motorcycle if that’s what you want to do, but yeah, trying to label/categorise music is always a weird one. We are glad you hear lots of different things in our sound. We listen to anything and everything from Gospel Rock to Motown, Punk, Trip-hop or whatever… You’ve got to keep your ears on their toes so to speak.

 The Americas regularly shares the stages with well established acts. You have supported The Twang at the sold out show at 02 Academy Birmingham, you played along the Bluetones, Blaenavon and Trampolene among others. Is there anyone else on the contemporary music scene you would like to play with?

The Americas: Tons and tons of artists. Our dream show would be to play with Courtney Barnett. She’s a poet and a badass player and she’s just got that magnetism you know? A really, really fantastic song writer. If we’re bringing it a little closer to home, we really dig what those Big Moon girls are doing. We think that would be a sweet show.

Popular online music magazine Gigslutz stated that 2017 belongs to the Americas and awarded you the title of the Best Newcomer 2016. You have beaten several bands heavily championed by national radio stations such as Cabbage or Hinds, a Spanish all female rock sensation with an album on the official UK top 40. How do you feel about it?

The Americas: Yeah that was nice of them. We’d only officially been a band for a couple of months at that point. It’s nice to see publications back completely independent bands.

The Americas live at the Truck Festival in 2017

 Gigslutz praise is not the only one. You have won backing from some of the industry heavyweights: Mikey Jonns of the Feeling, Hall or Nothing music promoter Caffy St. Luce, New Musical Express magazine. Everyone agrees that you stand out of the crowd.  Right next to Soeur and The Assist, you are the face of West Midlands music scene. It must come with some pressure. Did you expect such fantastic response to what you do?

The Americas: We don’t feel pressure when it comes to our music. Only the pressure that the songs themselves demand. The pressure to do each of them justice in our own minds when we go out and play live. We’ve always done what comes naturally to us. If everyone hated the music we write, we’d still be writing it. It’s a personal thing and we get a real kick out of seeing these songs take form. Obviously it’s a great feeling when other people have a good reaction to the material too, and we love it when we look out and people are singing the words back to us. We really love and appreciate our fans for sure.

 On October 7th you performed at the BBC Amplify conference in London in front of a huge crowd. Were you excited? Did you prepare anything special to sweep The Beeb bosses off their feet?

The Americas: We’re always excited to go out and play music together and we’re really happy to have been invited along to perform. The BBC has a really great thing going on in terms of it’s Introducing program. Unfortunately we haven’t prepared any dance routines or indoor firework displays this time (laughing).

In all, Amplify was a great experience for us despite the face that we got told last minute that the slot would be acoustic one so we were a little gutted not to have been able to put on a full show. Saying that though, it was still good to have a few beers and mingle with so many fellow musicians and music industry types. No tricks to sweep anyone off their feet no. We think it’s much more important to let the music and performance do the talking in those scenarios.

Your live performances are usually described as perfectly choreographed and prepared in the tiniest detail, yet they contain a great deal of spontaneity and wildness. It’s the good old rock and roll, freedom and creativity.

The Americas: We absolutely love live performances. Putting on a good show is very important to us. It’s a modern world and there’s not a lot of patience out there and you can see it reflected in the nature of the social landscape these days. Throw-away Instagram/Facebook stories that last for 24 hours and then are lost forever. People scrolling through news feeds, and watching the first 5 seconds of 100 different viral videos and not taking any of it in. It’s hard to get noticed in a world of quantity over quality, but we believe in our material and we play it with passion whether we’re performing to 5 people or 5000 people. We want our audience to feel that passion. We want to help them to feel free, even for a short while.

The sleeve to Something`s Gonna Happen single

Several online websites mentioned that you are about to enter the studio to record an album. Is there any truth in these claims? If so, is it going to be an independent release or issued through a record label?

The Americas: We’ve been in and out of the studio throughout September getting down some new material. We’re really excited with how things are sounding and can’t wait to get the music out there. We haven’t figured out what shape our next release is going to take just yet though. Watch this space.

We are very tempted to ask you. Razorlight put it nicely in their song – “All my life, there’s trouble in America”. What does The Americas think of the recent troubles over the Pond: the orange individual, the travel bans and the wall?

The Americas: It’s fair to say none of us would have voted for Trump if we were US citizens. The times are turbulent and confusing and we have problems of our own in this country also. It’s really sad. We’re supporters of basic human freedoms. It’s enough to keep you up at night, isn’t it? It’s important to do the smaller things. Do right to others. Show compassion. Be human.

 The last but not least – what are your plans for the nearest future? Are we going to see you playing local gigs anytime soon?

The AmericasOur plan for the near future is to put out another single by March and then continue to write, release and perform our music as much as possible. Maybe a few tours up our sleeve and hopefully another great festival season. Keep your eyes on the Facebook for announcements. Our next gig is at The Lexington in London with The Blinders on 21st of February, we are also trying to confirm few more dates as well.  Otherwise, we just plan to keep on living the impossible dream and hoping not to die in the process! (laughter)

You can follow The Americas using the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theamericasyeah/
Soundcloudhttps://soundcloud.com/theamericasyeah
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theamericasyeah
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theamericasyeah/

***

Band on the run (or few weeks in the life of a band of the year)

We don`t know how to describe the last few months but you simply cannot follow The Americas fast enough. They are like Tasmanian Devil or The Roadrunner. You think you got them covered, but they are ahead of you by two miles by the time you say “Something`s Gonna Happen”.  The speed in which the band makes ripples on national level is shocking.  That`s a correct word – we hardly see bands progressing at such rate. Just few examples – hold on tight.

The band recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester at the Phoenix Theatre in Ross-on-Wye in October 2017. This live session has been broadcasted on Saturday November 18th (right before Thanksgiving Day – nice one Beeb!) to rave reviews from listeners.

BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester broadcasted The Americas session on November 18, 2017

Images from the live session can be seen here:

This week's specially featured act is The Americas who were formed by Harry Payne (vocals/bass) and Aaron Whittaker…

Posted by BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester on Saturday, November 11, 2017

And then all hell broke loose. On December 23rd 2017 The Americas have been featured on national radio – BBC 6 Music as part of Tom Robinson Show. If you don’t know Tom from his musical career that spans four decades (“2-4-6-8 Motorway“), you may know him from his career as DJ and his own portal that champions new music (Fresh on the Net). Tom is one of the biggest taste makers  in United Kingdom and one of the most cherished DJs on BBC 6 Music. Having a spin on his show – is not a small feat. Being featured on  Christmas show is like winning a lottery. No wonder that The Americas response was very emotional.

The Americas reacted to being played on BBC 6 Music on December 24 2017

Obviously, we made audio. You can listen to the short clip of the program here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s0Jg7AfOZk3Y

Early January seen The Americas being featured in influential Some Might Say Zine – as one of the bands that will shape 2018. We ordered a copy for our archives and this is how it looks. Sahera Walker – the founder of Some Might Say keeps a hand on the pulse when it comes to new musical icons and believe us – she hardly gets it wrong.

This is not the first time, Some Might Say mention The Americas. Back in August 2017, Sahera wrote about the band:

“The Americas, man, what a band. A group I bang on about a lot on here, they’re an undeniably brilliant force of pure classy rock’n’roll. Despite the name, The Americas are quintessentially British, with their riffs and the way they play epitomizing perfectly classic old school British rock’n’roll. They use a keyboard in their music, accompanied by this raw feel good guitar rock sound, which is a unique and refreshing set up for a band”. 

We agree wholeheartedly.

Cover of Some Might Say Zine #2 (January 2018)

The Americas featured in Some Might Say Zine #2 (January 2018) as one of the bands of 2018

On 6th January 2018 BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester unveiled their own top ten of best bands for 2017 and guess who was ranked at #2? Yep, The Americas. At this stage, we were not surprised to hear Andrew Marston praise the band for their melodic songs and incredible energy. The show featured “Something`s Gonna Happen” being aired, followed by a short interview with the artists.

The Americas being ranked at #2 of BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester – Best Band of 2017 on January 6th 2018

And yes, we also made some audio – you can listen to it here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s1LXwsxd08Jd

What caught us off guard is that on January 8th – “Something`s Gonna Happen” was made a Track of The Week on BBC Hereford & Worcester.

The Americas` Somethings Gonna Happen announced as a Track of the Week on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester on January 8th 2018

On January 10th, another influential zine – Northern Exposure also featured The Americas as one of the bands of 2018.

The Americas featured as one of the bands of 2018 on Northern Exposure on January 10, 2018

You can see the article below:

http://northern-exposure.co/ones-to-watch-2018/

This is what Northern Exposure had to say about The Americas:

“They are a sensational hard rock ‘n’ blues get up with a blow-the-house-down set that could  translate into a debut album perfectly.” 

Northern Exposure is overseen by two lead women – Rachel Brown and  Kate O`Brien who beside running the magazine, also manage and promote local artists, book gigs and mentor young acts. Similarly to Sahera Walker of Some Might Say, ladies of Northern Exposure are very active and know their craft well.

Same day (January 10th 2018), two gigs were announced. On January 24th The Americas would play a gig in London at The Rock Steady  sharing the stage with Sleaze, Black Orchids and Willow Robinson as part of Independent Venue Week.

 

Poster for Independent Venue Week gig at The Rock Steady in London, 24 January 2017

https://www.facebook.com/events/404399526664032/

The other show would take place on 21st February, also in London, but at The Lexicon. Here The Americas are to support The Blinders – one of the most influential bands that come of the UK in the last 30 years. We are not kidding. If you haven’t familiarized yourself yet with The Blinders, you got to tackle this unforgivable faux pas right now. Before people start regarding you as a uncultured savage.

Tour poster for The Blinders upcoming tour

The Americas/The Blinders combo is unreal and we think this is going to be equivalent of all those legendary gigs that people talk about for years. We are actually thinking of attending. Though it may prove tricky.

https://www.facebook.com/events/934013786747020/

Announcement at the Northern Exposure regarding InMusic Festival semi-finals.

Of course not a day goes by without another announcement. On January 11th, The Northern Exposure in association with EUFest and Musicians Against Homelessness unveiled semi finals for InMusic Festival. 20 upcoming bands fight for a slot at the main stage at InMusic Festival in Croatia to support such legends as Nick Cave and Queens of the Stone Age. Guess who got their place among best acts? The Americas will have to go though two more stages (music industry insight and live performance) to win this opportunity of a life time – but they already proved to be more than your average indie outfit.

Right. That would be just about last four -five weeks in the life of a band that is tipped for one of the best acts of 2018. You see now why.

We will keep reporting.

Mal+Rita

 

***Update: 15.01.2018***

Few days passed and we have to make an update as so many things have happened. Where to begin?  Let`s start with the show in London on 21st February at the Lexington where The Americas will support mighty The Blinders. Well that gig is now sold out (two tickets left as we write so technically no chances to get in). The Blinders so far have two other shows on their upcoming tour being sold out and one of them  is on their home turf  in Manchester.

The Americas announce their gig at the Lexington in London with The Blinders is a sold out affair -15.01.2018

Not only will The Americas play with one of the most exciting bands on the planet, it will also be a full house.  If that doesn’t make you want to bounce off walls in joy, then you must be (no rock and roll) fun at parties! A shout out to fellow A&Rs in London Town. Get yourself on the guest list. This show will be epic.

Another good news is that “Something`s Gonna Happen” is currently being a Tune of the Week at BBC Hereford & Worcester. The Americas are Artists of the Week as well on the BBC Intro and they got a spin on the show of a popular BBC DJ Georgey Spanswick.

Proof is on Twitter:

Artists of the Week for BBC Intro 15.01.2018

And the best news of all is of curse update on In Music Festival. Six bands have been chosen to the live stage of the competition and West Midlands are proudly presented by The Assist and The Americas. The Assist are incredible, we have seen them last year and love them since. Like The Americas, they are This Feeling alumni and  a kick ass band.

The Americas making to the finals for Northern Exposure competition to earn a spot at In Music Festival in Croatia.

It will be a hard fight in the live stage but we will keep our fingers crossed for The Americas! Yeah!

M/R

Indieterria meets The White Feather Collective

Hey everybody!

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

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

***

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

 White Feather Collective are:

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

 

White Feather Collective – picture from the bands archive

White Feather Collective logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

The White Feather Collective – photo by Duncan Graves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roo Macphee (bass) – photo by Duncan Graves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0aXrHgwHmuI

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

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

You can follow The White Feather Collective here:

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

***

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

Best regards
Rita and Malicia

Indieterria: WorcesterWave youngest bands part 3

Hola!

The time has come to run the final chapter of our series showcasing artists from our local music scene in Worcester (and neighboring regions) that will be all over the radars in 2018.  We have saved some absolute gems and proper legends for this entry and we are hoping you will be enjoying this blog. Because we had an absolute ball preparing all the entries and profiles. It was also a lot of work, we will admit but we are absolutely in love with finding new music and bringing it to the audience. That`s what A&Rs are for and we are at your service if you ever need to find new artists to listen and fall in love with!

If you would like to familiarize yourself with previous entries, click on the links below:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/indieterria-worcesterwave-youngest-bands-part-1/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/indieterria-worcesterwave-youngest-bands-part-2/

You may also have a look at the Year in Review post where we showcased the biggest players on local scene in 2017:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/indieterria-year-in-review/

And now dear readers, let us introduce you to a handful of kick-ass artists from our neck of country-side.

Grafton Ash

Grafton Ash

Grafton Ash are known for incredibly energetic performances

Starting off as a duo in 2014, Grafton Ash is currently a four-piece pop/rock group from Bromsgrove. Formed by childhood friends, Dan Roberts and Dan Blake, they were joined by Stephen Ashford and Sam Dimmick in early 2015. The band released their debut EP “Avalanche” in June 2015 and it quickly received very positive reviews from local radio stations. Their title track was named the Track of the Week twice by BBC Hereford and Worcester and Grafton Ash received an extensive airplay over the next 6 months. On 3rd of September 2016, they were officially included into BBC Introducing and recorded a three song session for DJ Andrew Marston alongside the Worcester/Bristol indie rock outfit, Vertigo.

Grafton Ash is touring nationally, frequently to the full-house shows in places such as at Birmingham O2 Institute, London O2 Academy, Islington and Covent Garden’s prestigious Hospital Club. They supported Flye, Tom Walker, Reef, The Feeling, The Fratellis, Racing Glaciers and recently James Blunt on 25th of November during his “Afterlove World Tour” at The Arena in Birmingham,.

Grafton Ash released their second  EP entitled “Existing” in 2017 and  they are currently in the middle of a promo tour that will last until the Spring 2018.

Website: http://graftonash.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraftonAsh/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GraftonAsh
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/graftonash

Silverlake

Silverlake

Sally-Ann Parker the voice of Silverlake

People behind the indie dance/pop trio, Silverlake are probably the most experienced musicians from the Worcester scene. After the breakup of their previous band, the septet Vivarama in 1998, Robin Dalleway (guitar and chief tunesmith), Tony Sherrard (aka Shez, bass) and lead singer Sally-Ann Parker (aka Miss Smartness) returned to their home town of Redditch to concentrate on a new material. Vivarama’s mix of dance rhythms with indie pop and rock sounds brought them a critical acclaim and led to several music videos being filmed for the band between 1993 and 1998. The most popular of them was “Updoor” filmed inside popular club The Flapper and Firkin in Birmingham. “Updoor” premiered on MTV Dance Night with VJ Simone Angel in 1996 and then entered regular rotation as part of Party Zone and 120 Minutes (hosted by Toby Ames). Vivarama was also supporting Lighthouse Family. The band was also awarded for their video to “Let`s Talk About Love” at Film and Television Festival in Birmingham in 1993.

Even before joining Vivarama, Robin Dalleway already had a successful music career.  In 1977, he became a founding member of jazz-punk band The Cravats (they recorded 5 sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1) and in 1982, he formed postpunk quartet, The Very Things with whom he released 6 singles and 3 albums (they all entered Top 40 at UK Independent Chart). The band  played two Peel sessions for Radio 1.

For many years, Silverlake recorded music without releasing it and kept their performances to minimum (appearing only a couple of times, for example at Worcester Music Festival in 2015). Their first song “Twist” still remains unreleased, but in 2010, they issued their debut album “Paradise Place” through Magnet Records. Their most current singles include “Black Ponytail”, “Drop By Drop” and “X (Marks The Spot)”. Silverlake received airplay on BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC West Midlands and a mention at BBC Introducing.

The band is inspired by soul and funk music, the Coen Brothers and David Lynch movies, groovy Californian Pop, Miles Davis, Jackson Pollack, Roxy Music, and Chill Out/Lounge sounds.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SILVERLAKED/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/silverlake_band


Ewan Pollock

Ewan Pollock

Ewan playing Worcester Music Festival in 2016

Singer/songwriter Ewan Pollock (or as he is known locally “the boy with a guitar”) is the first person on our list that is not native to Worcestershire. He was born in Glasgow but moved to Worcester as a child and adopted The Faithful City as his hometown. He specializes in acoustic folk/rock genre and is inspired by the works of Glen Hansard, fellow Scotsman Paolo Nutini, Frank Turner and George Ezra.

Since 2013, Ewan has performed at many events around Worcester and beyond. In 2014 he reached finals of the nationwide singing competition”Open Mic UK” in Birmingham receiving positive reviews from judges and audience.  He played at Worcester Music Festival three times (in 2014, 2015 and 2016), participated in Free Radio Summer Sessions at the Crown Gate Shopping Centre (where he was chosen the most promising artist) in 2015 and 2016, Worcester Moto Show (High Street stage), Festival at the Fountains (South Quay stage), Worcester Foodie Festival (as part of “Young and Talented” stage on the High Street), Christmas in Worcester (Worcester BID stage) and Severn Sounds Festival‏ at Pavilion in the Park stage. He has also graced the stages of The Old Pheasant, Café Blis (supporting Worcester Soup charitable project), The Marr’s Bar, The Firefly (all in Worcester) and Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham.

Ewan released his first digital standalone single “Home comfort” in 2015 and a demo EP “Make it count” in 2016 (“Lady in the Dark”, Distractions”, “Make it count” and “Too late”).  The leading single “Lady in the Dark” was played on BBC Hereford and Worcester radio and was featured on podcast show by popular online DJ Matt Barker in November 2016 (Matt is a presenter of the MattBarkerRadio and broadcasts on 60+ radio stations worldwide via the Deuce Radio Show).

Ewan is currently working on new music and has several concerts already booked for winter and spring 2018.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ewan.pollock.1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPollockMusic
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsgjpmq6Jc4jyl4ES0IZyLQ
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ewanmusic-1


Elephant Peel

Elephant Peel

Elephant Peel live at Firefly in Worcester on October 19th 2017

Official bio:  A bunch of free-thinking, rock n roll survivalists came together in Worcester and produced a plethora of gorgeous, chin-out songs. Honing their craft, fittingly, in an attic studio above a notorious watering-hole (overlooking their home town of Worcester), they’re great lads but they ain’t here to take nonsense off anyone! Reminiscent of The Kinks, 13th Floor Elevators and sharing elements of your other favourite classic bands. They write a hell of a tune and have a great stage presence to boot.

Formed in 2016, Elephant Peel is a brand new band on Worcestershire scene, but it is quickly making a name for itself. The quintet consists of experienced musicians: Joe Thomlinson (vocals and harmonica), lead guitarist Matthew Randall (aka Randall), drummer Guy Bradnock, bassist Sean Gandy and Matt Crawford (nicknamed Crawford) responsible for rhythm guitar/backing vocals. Before forming Elephant Peel, Joe played in two well known Worcester bands: Virals and Something Men that also featured Matt Crawford and Sean Gandy. Something Men released 4 stand alone digital singles “Mud Brown Mistress”, “Birdy Roof”, “Go Diddley” and “Last Night (Was The Last Time)” that received a lot of airplay on local and internet radio stations. “Birdy roof”/“Mud Brown Mistress” was also released in a physical copy as a double-sided 7’’ single through EZPZ Records in September 2011. It was chosen a Song of the Week by BBC Hereford and Worcester in November the same year.

After Something Men disbanded in early 2012, Joe started working with Matt and Sean again which led to the formation of Elephant Peel. They recently  released a demo single “Universal Stream” and played a string of popular local gigs including headlining two sold out concerts at Heroes (organized by Surprise Attack) and The Firefly (part of Boneyard Sessions). The band is inspired by Syd Barrett, The Kinks, The Beatles, Richard Hell, Jennifer Gentle and Graham Coxon.

2018 will see Elephant Peel in the studio (they are now working on more material to be released in the first quarter) and on the road (concerts are already booked and will be announced soon).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elephantpeel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/elephantpeelband


Chloë Elliot

Chloe Elliot

Chloe Elliot performing at the Christmas Lights Switch On ceremony in Worcester, November 23rd, 2017

At 16 years old Stourport-on-Severn native, Chloë Elliot is considered a pop star in the making. She started singing as a child and further developed her singing and song writing abilities at performing arts school in Birmingham, where she received classical training in theatre, dance and stage presentation. Of course, she passed every exam with a distinction.

Chloë spends her free time from school either in the studio recording the songs she wrote or performing. In the last year and a half, she performed more than 60 times as a solo artist in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Greater Birmingham area receiving positive reviews. Her song “One” was selected as the “Song of the week” by BBC Hereford & Worcester which lead to her being interviewed on-air by popular DJ Tammy Gooding.

Her debut single entitled “3 Reasons” was released in early September 2017 and went into heavy rotation on BBC Hereford and Worcester Radio.  It won her the recognitions for the “Song of the Day” and “Song of the week”. It was also named the post popular song among young listeners in November.  Chloe was invited to BBC Introducing at Christmas Lights Switch on in Worcester by DJ Andrew Marston and her performance was seen by thousand of visitors on the High Street.

2018 may be a breakthrough year for the young artist. She has recently preformed for scouts from   two biggest record labels in the world (Universal and Warner) and she is already booked for several shows in the early spring and summer.

Chloë is influenced by John Mayer, Shawn Mendes and James Bay.

Website: http://chloeelliot.com/music/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/chloepaigemusicxo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chloeelliotmusic
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzwimF__Wov3WRB-hPpwPPQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thechloeelliot
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chloeelliotmusic


Winchester

Winchester – photo by Theodore Swaddling

Winchester in black and white

Official bio: Winchester are a new British 3 piece that drags high octane prog, metal and hardcore screaming into the popular arena. Their emotional riff-laden assault course crashes and flows through cinematic soundscapes with no room for boundaries. Drawing from the intense social climate of today, Winchester have nurtured a sound and a concept that rings true with the twists and turns of tomorrow. With a live show that manages to re-create and somehow elevate their epic sound, this is something fresh that you will not want to miss. Life Begins.”

Worcester/Cardiff/Bristol based band Winchester are three piece outfit balancing between progressive rock and old school hardcore à la Biohazard, Pro-Pain or Crowbar with heavy metal inspired vocals instead of rap. The trio consists of producer-turned musician Scott Mahoney (responsible for excellent debuts of Nuns of the Tundra and HEXEN) on guitar, Adam Catalan on lead vocals and bass and Max Edkins on drums.

Winchester was founded in late 2015 and the band deliberately stayed quiet despite touring nationally and internationally (Germany, Belgium France in 2016). Lack of social media presence, stripped contact with the press and performing live resulted in a very raw yet appealing sound that was captured in the studio and perfected by legendary record producer Dan Weller (SikTh, Enter Shikari, Young Guns). Winchester spent more than a month preparing their full debut album entitled “Life begins at these dead ends” and it will premiere on 9th of February 2018. The album is available for pre-order now on all major platforms.

The first single from the album, “Life begins” was released 15th of December 2017 and received positive reviews from online rock magazines and from BBC Wales DJ Adam Walton. It will be followed by second single “Diamond” in late January 2018.

At this moment, Winchester is on promo tour in the UK. On 18th of November, they played  popular club Hobos in Bridgend with As Lions and Greyhaven UK and on 29th of November they headlined sold out show in Bristol’s The Fleece with Holding Absence, Loathe and Phoxjaw. They will play Bristol again on 28th of February along with Loathe and there are talks of their gigs supporting Sever and Time & The Valuator later in the summer.

Winchester draws inspirations from the music of Muse, Biffy Clyro, Fightstar, Northlane, The Architects and Enter Shikari. They are represented by Imperial Music, an artist and event management company based in South Wales.

Website: https://www.winchester.band/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/winchesteruk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/winchukband
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/winchukband/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBjfxh5-cDoBgaBsRGFF0Sg
Official management: james@imperialmusic.co.uk


As Mamas

As Mamas

As Mamas performing live at the opening of Paradiddles in Worcester December 15th 2017

Founded over two years ago, Worcester-native psychedelic rock and roll duo, As Mamas consists of Harrison Baird-Whitman (guitar, vocals and harmonica) and Joe Devine (drums and percussion). Influenced by the Californian 60’s music, the group managed to create a very unique style, the-one-of-its-kind on the Worcester indie scene.

As Mamas released their debut self titled EP on 16th of July 2016. It was recorded in an original 60’s caravan (that was turned into a studio) and was produced, mixed and mastered by the band. It included four stand alone singles: “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted”, “World Wide Blues”, “Mama Moved” and “Zenobia”.  Their single “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted” received a lot of airplay on Birmingham Radio, Free Radio, BBC Hereford and Worcester, 102 Touch FM (Shakespeare’s County & tThe Vale) and was featured on a compilation album “ENTER THE VOID” released by Donut Records in August 2017.

For the last year and a half, the duo has been touring the UK extensively. Along with The Americas, As Mamas are the only West Midlands acts that appeared on This Feeling circuit. As solo artists, they played Birmingham on several occasions including the Sunflower Lounge with The Whitelights (during their EP launch), Ten Tombs, supported The Cosmics alongside LCKD and Quinn (October) and appeared at Birmingham Blues Fest Saturday at the Big Bulls Head in Digbeth (July). They have also graced the stages in Worcester appearing at the Firefly club supporting Solsara alongside Happy Bones and in Heroes with Elephant Peel and Slumb Party (October and November respectively).

As Mamas regularly performs in London as well, usually to the clubs at full capacity. Their recent sold out shows include gig at Amersham Arms (alongside MONIKA, James Beau Barcley and Spinner) and Reverberation Psych Fest at Victoria Dalston with Strange Cages, Dusty Mush and Insomnichord.

Other notable shows include BBC Introducing Session at The Booth Hall with Raptor and New Revival (April 21st 2017), charitable concert at Alestones in Tardebigge Court in support of Anawim (women’s refugee organization) on October 28th and  supporting popular Nederland group MY BABY on 7th of April.

Their latest video and a new single entitled “19th Floor” were released on September 11th and were directed by Caitlin Setterfield. “19th Floor” will be featured on their next EP “Parte Dois” to be released on 10th of March 2018. The band will play a show to celebrate the launch with a gig at the Sunflower Lounge. Tickets sale date and supports will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

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

Time Of The Mouth (TOTM)

Time of the Mouth

Time of the Mouth perform at the opening of Paradiddles in Worcester on December 15th 2017

Time of the Mouth is Kidderminster based punk rock trio that has been around longer than any of the previous bands we have written about (with the exception of Silverlake). Over the years, the outfit gathered a strong fan base in West Midlands and beyond. It looks like 2018 could be a breakthrough year for them.

TOTM was formed at the beginning of 2010 and went through different line ups changes. Since 2015, the band consists of Chris Jones (vocals and lead/rhythm guitar), Ash Greenway (bass and backing vocals) and Jake Fox (drums and backing vocals). Their back catalogue can only be described as the most impressive. They released their first EP “Third Time lucky” in May 2012 (including singles “Amy”, “The Only Way Out”, “Tears” and “Take Me With You”). “The Only Way Out” proved to be so popular that it was played not only on local BBC Hereford and Worcester radio, but also in America, Australia and Japan. Their second EP “Snorkeling with Jesus” was published on May 2nd 2014. It was a 5 single EP containing “Lost”, “6 Feet Under”, “Snorkeling with Jesus”, “Euphoria” and “Another Level”. Again, two singles “Euphoria” and “Lost” received a lot of radio airplay on BBC Hereford and Worcester, Birmingham Radio and Touch FM. Their stand alone single “Urgent Joe” released in 2013 was named the single of the week by BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Their newest EP entitled “What Would Dave do” was released on August 11th 2017 and contains 4 singles: “Going Back”, “My Disguise”, “Too Obvious” and “ELG3”. A promotional video to “My Disguise” was filmed at Shredder Live Lounge Studios in Birmingham.  A stand alone single “Miss The Madness” was also released on May 26th 2017.  It is worth adding that its music video features a popular actress Eleanor Ham known from BBC series “The Doctors”, “The 4 O’Clock Club” and theater productions of “Les Miserables” and “Cinderella”.

TOMT is known from very energetic live show and frequently tours nationally. They have performed in London, Birmingham (at prestigious The O2 Academy Birmingham & the LG Arena Birmingham), Bristol (Louisiana), Nottingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Worcester (The Marrs’ Bar, Paradiddles), and Manchester among many other places. They also perform at many summer festivals between May and October (including Tower Stage at Drunken Monkey Festival). The band is inspired by Less Than Jake!, Reel Big Fish, Green Day, Spunge, Fall Out Boy, The Used, Placebo and Bowling For Soup.

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/TimeOfTheMouth
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimeoftheMouth
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCjoLeUVunGSrq6YZyYKN2Q
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/timeofthemouth

And it`s a wrap our dear readers. Three long chapters full of bands that will rock your socks off and make you dance in your kitchen in the coming 12 months are yours to enjoy.  We will hopefully see you somewhere at a local gig, next to the speakers. If we meet – come and say hi and tell us if our predictions were correct

There will be more to come on Indieterria in 2018 but we we will be changing our format a bit to get more interesting. You will see 🙂

Till then, stay beautiful

Mal&Rita

Indieterria: WorcesterWave youngest bands part 2

Hello again!

Welcome back to the second part of the Vanadian Avenue official guide to the new, exciting and emerging bands on the Worcestershire Music Scene.
If you have missed the first part of this blog, don’t panic. Please click on the link below and you will be able to read everything about the bands mentioned there:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/indieterria-worcesterwave-youngest-bands-part-1/

Part three can be found under this link:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/indieterria-worcesterwave-youngest-bands-part-3/

Are you ready for another dosage of the super talented and ready-to-take-on-the-world musician from The Faithful City?  We hope so, as we have  some superb artists to show you!

Happy Bones (Iggy Cuthbert)

Happy Bones playing live photo by Alex Knight

Happy Bones (aha Iggy Cuthbert) by Josh Foster

Official bio:  Happy Bones is a Worcester based folk project written by Iggy Cuthbert. Joined by Daniel Merry who provides backing vocals and rhythm guitar. Melancholic, sleep deprived and intimate folk tunes. Sung in a trembling voice, the influences range from Elliott Smith to Conor Oberst.

 Worcester born and based singer/songwriter Igor “Iggy” Cuthbert is a busy body. He is a solo artist (performing under the name of Happy Bones), a poet, visual artist and a music promoter. As Happy Bones, Iggy played extensively in Worcestershire alongside nth cave, Thousand Mountains, Solsara, Ben Dallow, Iosif Norrisache (Joe Norris), Luke Steele, Sam Clines and others. He was also a lead singer and guitarist for the band Shia and lead guitarist for another alternative outfit, Gooche.

Happy Bones released a self-titled debut EP in 2017 to very positive reviews. Iggy described it as “a project I wrote and recorded in 15 days. The EP was full of mistakes, wrong notes and skipped beats. It’s intended to be honest and intimate. I wrote the songs as sketches and ideas and I hope whoever listens to them keeps that in mind.”

As a music promoter, Iggy is a member of The Boneyard Sessions along with Hector and Fergus Brazier and Alfie Newman of nth cave. He works with music venues in Herefordshire and Worcestershire organizing open mic nights, spoken word sessions and concert for local and international artists such as the German indie-rock outfit, The Black Rattles.

Iggy curated a stage for Worcester Music Festival at the Old Pheasant headlined by popular Worcester quartet, RVRMN.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iggyhappybones
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/iggyc
Bandcamp: https://happybones.bandcamp.com

Benjamin Dallow

Benjamin Dallow

Benjamin Dallow at Firefly concert, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Brought up in Worcester and Evesham, Ben Dallow spent several years living away from West Midlands residing in Liverpool and Bristol. His music has been described as a classic rock, with mix of psychedelia and a lot of brit pop. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as his influences include Paul Weller, The Jam, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Primal Scream and Ocean Colour Scene. Known among his friends as “Brit-pop Ben” due to his musical style and image, Ben has been performing in Worcester music clubs and venues, sharing stages with many established and local acts.

He played at 9th and 10th edition of Worcester Music Festival (2016 and 2017 respectively) and curated a music night on September 15th at the Firefly under “Ben Dallows Presents” banner. He introduced several new acts to Worcester scene including Plastic Scene, Ghosts in the Photographs, Elephant Peel, Pink Diamond Revue and The Actions.

Alongside poet Joe Norris, Ben is a part of Random Name Generator artistic project created to popularize poetry and acoustic music in Worcestershire. Random Name Generator closely works with other local promoters including The Hive, Worcester University, Boneyard Sessions, Slap Magazine and Sudden Attack.  As a solo artist, Ben supported Birmingham based electronic/hybrid music trio Lycio in November 2017 at the Bottles and Jesse River Dylan Murray during the launch of his debut EP entitled “Classical Music” in July. He was also involved in Worcester Canal Festival in 2016 and 2017.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.dallow
Worcester Music Festival:
  http://www.worcestermusicfestival.co.uk/bands/Benjamin-Dallow/

Becky Rose Seabright

Becky Rose promo picture

Becky Rose live

 At only 26 years old, Becky has a resume of an artist and performer twice her age. In the last 4 years, she has performed more than 250 times nationally, with her biggest concerts being held in Birmingham, London (Troubadour Club and Amnesty International Headquarters) and Manchester.

 In June 2012 while still a student at University of Worcester, she performed an original song for The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to commemorate the opening of The Hive, the biggest library in Worcestershire. Her performance was recorded and broadcast live on BBC Hereford and Worcester. It also received mentions in the national press and radio.

Two years later, after beating nearly 37000 candidates from the UK and Ireland, Becky was selected to attend the BBC Introducing Musician’s Masterclass at Abbey Road Studios in London where she met artists such as Calvin Harris and Mark Ronson and the bosses of companies including Columbia Records and XL Recordings. As an unsigned artist, her songs received national airplay on BBC 6 Music and Radio 1. Becky’s music has been championed by Andrew Marston and she was invited to record her sessions for BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester twice in 2013 and 2016.  Becky was also interviewed after her fiancé and fellow musician, Ruben Seabright decided to propose on stage in the middle of Dr Stanley’s Medicine Show! Mrs Seabright performed several times at Worcester Music Festival to full houses. She is the only Worcestershire artist with number one hit in the charts! One of her songs made it to the top spot on Amazing Radio Top 20 which led to her receiving professional music tutoring from Air Management of Air Studios in London (Radiohead, Travis, Doctor Who franchise).

She is inspired by Boradway musicals, Queen, Danny Elfman, Regina Spektor and Hans Zimmer. Becky works now for Worcester University as an events manager and performs extensively.

Youtube: www.youtube.com/beckyrosemusic
Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/beckyrose
Myspace: www.myspace.com/thisisbeckyrose

RVRMN

RVRMN posing for promo picture in Worcester

RVRMN up on the roof

Founded in 2013, Worcestershire quartet RVRMN (pronounced “Riverman”) consists of Joe Powell (lead vocals, guitar), Ben Growcott (drums), Will Maeers (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Morgan Whitebeam (bass). 2017 has been a breakthrough year for the young band. They released their debut EP “Back to Bed” in February and embarked on a tour to promote it that took them to Birmingham (The Flapper), Bristol (Louisiana), Hereford, Worcester (The Marrs’ Bar), Walsall, and Wolverhampton. They have returned to Birmingham twice more over the summer to headline young bands nights at O2 Academy. They also played at several summer festivals (Nozstock, Offenham Festival) to great reviews in local press including a positive review from Slap Magazine.

RVRMN performed at Worcester Music Festival three times (2014, 2016 and 2017). The last time saw them performing twice in one day, first at St Swithuns Institute and then at The Swan with Two Nicks. On 29th of November they have been invited to record their session for BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester along with the Americas, Ben Goodwin and Jakebob.

RVMN is influenced by The 1975, Hodera, Bon Iver and The Hunna

Website: http://rivermanofficial.wixsite.com/page
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RivermanPage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RivermanPage
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_riverman_/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rivermanpage
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3d2jDGHN6UP2CrGsWV7Q8v

Neil Ivison and Stone Mountain Sinners

Stone Mountain Sinners promo1

Stone Mountain Sinners promo2

Official bio: Sometimes, timing is everything. When Neil Ivison’s first band (the Janice Long championed Misers) imploded, he soon found his way back out on the road working as a touring guitar tech with the 1975 & Wolf Alice among others. Meanwhile, Sarah Warren’s eponymously named band were also about to call time on 10 years of hard gigging through the UK and & Europe. During a rare day off from an intensive US tour schedule, in a hotel room in the Californian desert, beside the 29 Palms Highway and less than 2 miles from the infamous Joshua Tree Motel (where 42 years previously, Gram Parsons had met his untimely end), Neil, finally admitting that his passion for writing songs and playing his own gigs had become eroded, took the decision to finish the current tour and return to the UK to work on new music, inspired by the regular jaunts to the southern States of the US. Neil: “That same afternoon, I was aimlessly browsing social media and noticed Sarah had written a post announcing the end of The Sarah Warren Band. Having been a fan of her incredible voice ever since I first heard it, I immediately dashed off a quick email to see if she’d be interested in working on something new together. I think I just put “Any Chance?!” in the subject line”. Luckily, Sarah’s mutual appreciation for Neil’s work with The Misers meant that she was more than eager to see what could come out of collaborating together but not before she had grabbed her musical cohort, die hard Americana fan and ex Warren Band bassist Nick Lyndon. The 3 got together over several months in the autumn of 2016 to kick around some ideas with Nick & Neil forming a prolific song writing partnership, giving birth to 12 new tracks in the first 2 weeks alone, as well as revisiting some old songs that were rejuvenated with new & dynamic male/female vocal arrangements. Once the songs started to take shape the trio dug out their address books, made a few calls and were soon bolstered by Roger Roberts on Hammond/Piano and Vocals and former RedBeards sticks man Duke Delight on Drums and began rehearsing in earnest.

Worcester/Hereford based band, Stone Mountain Sinners consist of Neil Ivison (vocals, guitar,) Sarah Warren (lead vocals), Nick Lyndon (bass), Roger Roberts (keyboard/hammond) and Duke Delight (drums). Both Sarah and Nick previously played together in an established Worcestershire outfit The Haunted Souls, while Duke was a member of the RedBeards.

Before joining SMS, Neil Ivison also had a successful career with his previous band, The Misers and as a solo artist. The Misers toured nationally and worldwide playing legendary venues such as Astoria, Royal Albert Hall and Club 100 in London, The Viper Room in Los Angeles or Fillmore in San Francisco usually at full capacity.  Neil performed live and on records with members of Squeeze, The Sex Pistols, The Cult, Guns n’ Roses, The Specials, Morrissey, Ocean Colour Scene, The Proclaimers, The Wildhearts, Groove Armada & Tenpole Tudor. Many of his performances were broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and Sky Arts. He was also championed by Janice Long (BBC 2 journalist awarded the prestigious BASCA Gold Badge for her unique contribution to music in 2016). Most recently Neil scored a Top 10 record in the UK Album charts as vocalist on The Professionals album “What in the World” (released on October 27th 2017 through Automaton Records).

Stone Mountain Sinners have appeared locally on several occasions including a short set on April 30th at the Swan with Two Nicks (Malicia’s gig of the year). The popular pub in Worcester city center was packed to the last place and a huge crowd gathered outside trying to get in. Their gigs around Evesham (The Regal and The Royal Oak) became the talk to the town bringing Robert Plant to see them. On 7th of December, the band made their London debut at the Bordlerline, supporting Men They Couldn’t Hang. The Sinners will release their debut EP in the late spring 2018.

Stone Mountain Sinners
Website: https://www.stonemountainsinners.co.uk
Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/stonemountainsinners/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StoneSinners  

Neil Ivison
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/neil.ivison
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NeilIvisonMusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neilivison
Twitter: https://twitter.com/neilivisonmusic

HEXEN

HEXEN promo picture1

HEXEN promo picture2

Ren Wolfe, better known under the pseudonym of HEXEN is Worcester native singer/songwriter, costume designer, model and visual artist. She currently resides and works in Cardiff. HEXEN describes herself as “pop noir” or “goth pop” and finds inspiration in pulp novels, occult and sexploitation movies from the 60’s and 70’s. She is also interested in horrors and witchcraft motives and their influence over pop culture. Her favourite band is The Cure.

Ren has worked closely with several notable Welsh and Worcester musicians.  She sang backing vocals on a well received single “Float away” by Nuns of the Tundra and supported them on stage during promotion of their EP in Worcester (Marr’s Bar) and in Bristol (Louisiana).

She released her debut EP “Holy Hell” on 14th of August 2017 to excellent reception from press and Spotify community where her songs received thousands of listens and likes. The three song release (“Baptism”, “Sacrifice” and “Salvation”) tell a story of an elaborate revenge and can be classified as a concept EP, something very rare on an indie circuit. It was produced by Scott Mahoney at Strange Trees Media and mastered by Joe Caithness.

Scott Mahoney has nothing but praises for HEXEN for their work together:

“The EP was written completely in the flat. HEXEN wrote some beautiful songs and then came to me. We worked on the music together to get the songs to where they are now. We went into the studio in Malvern, up in the middle of the Hills to record the vocals and extra layers, and then I went away and mixed it all together. The whole process took a few months from demos to finished tracks, and there are more tracks currently being worked on”.

Over the summer, Reverbnation placed Ren in their top 5 pop chart for Wales in 2017, Our Culture Mag (blog) described her as “dark pop artist, her powerful and moving music is starting to put her on the radar” and she was interviewed for BBC Wales by DJ Bethan Elfyn in June 2017. Ian Critchley of Louder Than War Magazine described her EP as “atmospheric, emotive and brimming with soul, heaven for pensive ears. Baroque and Roll for all the lost souls”.

HEXEN was championed by DJ Adam Walton at BBC Wales. In May 2017, he included her on BBC Introducing Wales and in July, she became their Artist of the Week. She was also named one of the emerging new artists on BBC Wales three times: in May, August and September 2017. HEXEN’s songs are included in several official Spotify play lists dedicated for rising indie stars: “Wonky Sensitive”, “Fringe Music Fix”, “Find A Song” and “Pop Daily”.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/itshexen
Twitter: https://twitter.com/itshexen
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itshexen/
Bandcamp: https://itshexen.bandcamp.com

Vertigo

Harry Lee Jones – the mastermind behind Vertigo

Cover for the single “Breath”

Fronted by Worcester native, Harry Jones, the Bristol based project Vertigo is one of the best kept secrets on the West Midlands and Bristol indie scenes. Formed in 2015, the band underwent several line up changes and at this moment consists of Charlotte Tunnicliffe on drums, Aaron House on bass and Harry Lee Jones on vocals and guitar. Vertigo are somewhat elusive and do not perform much, but each of their concerts is always well attended (such as the sold out gig at The Fleece in Bristol). Their debut single entitled “Breath” received a fantastic response from local media and the band was quickly spotted by BBC DJ Andrew Marston. They were included into BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester on 3rd of September 2016 along with Grafton Ash. “Breath” also received an extensive play on BBC Hereford and Worcester radio. The band is inspired by Jesus and the Mary Chain, The Stone Roses, The Beatles and The Velvet Underground.

Vertigo is now working on new material to be released in the second half of 2018. Judging by their new demos, we can expect great things from them. They are Rita’s discovery of 2017. Honestly, she has not been so excited about a band since The White Lies and they went on to have a spectacular career!

Website:  http://harryjoneslfc.wixsite.com/vertigo/vertigo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harryjones27
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vertigo-1710755979198462
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/vertigodada
Soundcloud (new demo for “Gucci”) https://soundcloud.com/vertigodada/gucci-the-first-demo
Soundcloud (“Breath”): https://soundcloud.com/vertigodada/breathe
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj0K77SGJnPWsz417sYERKw

Wheew! What a ride! One can get a serious case of vertigo being surrounded by so much talent in such a small place. We keep saying it, but we are extremely proud of our musicians, the entire scene and the people who work so hard in the background to make the gigs and events happen. Hats off to you, ladies and gentlemen.

It is not possible to mention all the bands that are playing clubs, bars and venues in Worcester, but we are constantly on the lookout and if we see anybody worth a mention, we will be more than happy to add them to the next edition!

Stay tuned, stay sharp and stay vigilant,
Rita and Mal D.

Indieterria: WorcesterWave youngest bands part 1

Hello!

It’s December already and soon 2017 will be a history. Despite what the popular songs says, it was a very good year for Worcester and Worcestershire groups. After numerous articles in the press, sold out gigs, sessions for BBC Introducing, national radio plays and won competitions, we can be proud of our musical scene and its accomplishments.

If you are searching for brand new bands to look out for in 2018, to quote again another popular song, please don’t look any further. Your faithful A&R’s at Vanadian Avenue spent the entire last week composing a list of emerging groups that will keep you headbanging, pogo’ing and singing along for the next 12 months. Some bands are well established, some are just starting and some have their resume filled with important names, legendary venues and songs on the charts.

This guide has two parts already and we will be adding more in the future:
You can read the next chapters here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/indieterria-worcesterwave-youngest-bands-part-2/

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/indieterria-worcesterwave-youngest-bands-part-3/

Please keep your eyes open and you will be attending the best concerts without the need of travelling anywhere outside of Worcester! There is so much happening in our city, it’s really hard to keep track of every event out there.

To make it easier for you music lovers, please read our guide to the bands that will rock 2018. We salute them!

Navajo Ace

Navajo Ace

Navajo Ace acoustic

Official bio: Worcester band Navajo Ace formed in 2016 and are quickly garnering themselves a reputation as an interesting underground band that make music with power and soul. The band combines a broad spectrum of influences, breathing new life into a sound somewhere between the grittier end of 90s college alt rock, shoegaze and Emo before it became a dirty word.

Named after the DC Comics Native American superhero character, Johnny Cloud from 1960’s “All-American Men of War” (created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Irv Novick), Navajo Ace is an Americana/college rock four-piece based in Worcester. The band started playing together early in 2016 and their current line up consists of Adam Barnes (vocals and guitar), Thom Dewhurst (guitar and backing vocals), Christian Burton (bass) and Crag Sharpe (drums). On August 6th 2017, they released their 5 track EP “Five Turnings” (“Tiger in the Tank”, “Underneath Cars”, “Awkward Place”, “Five Turnings” and “Drop The Needle”). The EP has been recorded at a well known studio JT Soar in Nottingham, produced by Phil Booth & Navajo Ace and mastered by Jesse Cannon at Cannon Found Soundation (Limp Bizkit, Man Overboard, NOFX, The Misfits) in New York.  In September, their song “Awkward Place” debuted on BBC Hereford and Worcester and the band received positive reviews from Andrew Marston of BBC Introducing and Louder Than War magazine.

Navajo Ace are constantly touring nationally (Nottingham, Lincoln, Bristol, Plymouth) and locally (sold out gigs at Heroes Bar with nth cave, Worcester Music Festival and acoustic set at Bottles in Worcester). They supported Moose Blood, Bivouac and legendary bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, Big Walnuts, Yonder, Porno for Pyros, The Stooges).  The band is inspired by the music of Some Skeletons, Transmissions, 36 Strategies, Thousands of Reflections and Rosebud.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/navajoace
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/navajoaceband
Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/navajoace
Louder Than War review: http://louderthanwar.com/something-that-shines-introducing-navajo-ace/

Novaview

Joanna Edwards on vocals

Novaview live on stage

Formed in Worcester early in 2017, Novaview is the youngest group to join the WorcesterWave scene and one with a massive potential. The group consists of four band members: Luke Rhodes on guitar, Joanna Edwards on vocals, bass player Jack Godwin bass and drummer Tate Ellison. Inspired by My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins, this very young shoegaze/dreampop quarter is now working hard on their demo songs that will be released in 2018. We hope their new material will include a remastered version of “In Limbo”, a beautifully crafted and very catchy song they currently have on their Soundcloud account.

Novaview debuted in October at the Boneyard Sessions concert at The Firefly in Worcester and made a big impression on the audience and music promoters. It is worth mentioning that Joanna Edwards has an unique, almost ethereal voice that can only be compared to that of Hope Sandoval’s of American dreampop giants, Mazzy Star. Vanadian Avenue will be closely watching their progress as their prospects are big and bright like the starry skies in the middle of winter (the most luminous time of year if you wondered).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/novaviewuk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Novaviewuk
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/novaview

Junior Webb

Junior Weeb playing live

Junior Weeb on the green grass

Official bio:  Junior Weeb are an indie funk/alternative rock four-piece hailing from Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire. With hard-hitting bass grooves, soulful vocals and sticky guitar licks, Junior Weeb take their influences from a catalogue of different genres hoping to create a finished product that pleases your ears.

Hailing from the Worcestershire town of Droitwich Spa, former Victorian health resort and a well known beauty spot, Junior Weeb is an indie/alternative rock quartet with massive dose of energy. They easily pass it to their audience during their live performances causing serious cases of pogo, headbanging and singing along. The group consist of Chris Phee (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Max Killing (bass guitar and backing vocals), Joe Webby (lead guitar and an obvious inspiration behind the name) and Quentin Hill (drums).

The band known affectionately as the Juniors (or alternatively as The Weebs) has been together for over a year and spent the majority of that time recording their demos and touring. They supported Muncie Girls, The Riscas, Ivory Wave, The Americas (at the O2 Academy in Birmingham) and Soeur at the sold out show at the Marr’s Bar in Worcester.  They will return to Birmingham this Christmas to play alongside Mama Roux and The Icon.

On April 21th 2017, their debut single “No right” was chosen as the track of the week by this Feeling circuit and a month later, popular website GigSlutz gave the boys a glowing review describing their music as a “dreamy, psychedelic affair with just a hint of Oasis”. With recommendations such as this and a strong following, Junior Weeb is on the best way to make it to the charts in the next couple of years.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juniorweebband
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/juniorweeb
Twitter: https://twitter.com/juniorweeb

Jodie Hughes/The Lightweights

The Lightweights

The Lightweights at The Marr’s Bar by Indri Richardson

Before joining forces with The Lightweights, Jodie Hughes was a well established singer/songwriter in her own right. At the age of 16, Worcester School of Rock and Performance alumna, Jodie became the youngest person ever to perform at Worcester Music Festival and at the Independent Music Week in her hometown to support Anteros and The Assist. The Lightweights are three-piece indie/punk rock band from Worcester consisting of Jodie Hughes on lead vocal and guitar, Alex Russell on bass and Euan Richardson on drums. Second guitarist, Fiona Berry occasionally joins their performances but doesn’t seem to be a permanent member of the band anymore.

The Lightweights had a very busy summer performing at the Live Experience Festival, Battle of the Bands at the Rugby Club, MappFest in Malvern, Bowfest in Bromsgrove and Worcester Carnival. Recently the band supported Jacklines at Birmingham O2 Institute, the RPM’s and Thousand Mountain at the Marrs Bar in Worcester and participated in the 10th edition of Worcester Music Festival. The band is currently in the studio working on their debut EP.

Jodie Hughes:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jodie.katrinahughes99
Facebook: https://facebook.com/jodiehughesmusic
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/jodiehughesmusicandstuff
Reverb Nation: https://www.reverbnation.com/jodiehughes

The Lightweights
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thelightweightsband
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelightweightsband/

Jesse River Dylan Murray

Jesse River Dylan Murray picture by Andy O’Hare

Jesse live on stage

23 year old Jesse River Dylan Murray is the singer/songwriter based in Worcester. His strong voice, impressive range effortlessly changing from falsetto to bass and striking scenic image has been compared to David Bowie, Mark Bolan and Johnny Cash. Named after River Phoenix and the bard himself (Bob Dylan), Jesse is designed for fame. His debut EP “Classical Music” has been released in July 2017 to positive reviews. JRDM has been very busy this year touring and gigging in every corner of West Midlands and beyond (The Brecon Fringe Festival, Wales) , performing with numerous local acts such as Reuben Seabright, Ben Dallow, nth cave, Nuns of the Tundra (at the Marrs Bar), Boneyard Sessions and Doozer McDooze (for Worcester Music Festival). He is often performing at the Open Mic nights at the Chestnut Pub in Worcester. 2018 seems to be another busy year for him as Jesse is already booked for summer festivals such as Breathfest.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jesse.River.Dylan.Murray.Warner
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JRDMcreations/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jesse-river-dylan-murray
Bandcamp: https://jrdm.bandcamp.com/album/classical-music

The Ben Vickers Collective

The Collective

Ben and his Collective playing at Firefly in Worcester, picture by Malicia Dabrowicz

Reggae, ska and funk musician Ben Vickers is somewhat of a Worcester music scene legend. Performing since he was 11 years old (right after he received his first guitar), Droitwich resident Ben played, jammed and shared the stage with almost every local musician. He has worked at well established music shops in the city center (RGS Worcester and Cranes Music) and tutored countless amateur musicians helping them develop better guitar-playing skills. He was also in popular Worcester band, Hometown Tourists.

However, Ben is best known for playing acoustic solo sets that draws big crowds. He has played at The Marrs Bar, The Firefly, Heroes, The Chestnut, Bottles and many other local venues. He is also involved in running popular open mic nights and jam sessions. Ben performed at Youthcomm’s Minifest, Sunshine Music Festival in Upton, Worcester Music Festival, Worcester Show and was featured on BBC Introducing by Andrew Marston. In 2015, he released 4 song EP entitled “Keep it Real Funky” which received a lot of radio play at BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Ben’s newest musical endeavour is called The Collective. It is a five-piece outfit consisting of very experienced musicians. Except Ben Vickers (lead guitar and vocals), The Collective include Poppy Waterman-Smith (piano and vocals), Matthew Todd (bass guitar), Ryan Lerigo-Jones (drums) and Pat McArdle (percussion, melodica and samples). The Collective plays a mixture of ska, roots rock reggae rhythms with touches of jazz and soul. It is worth mentioning that Poppy’s powerful voice and scene presence gained the attention of Seal, who invited her to perform as an opening act for his concert in Manchester in July 2016. In November, the band released their first EP (recording of Davis Amps live session).

Ben Vickers:
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/vickersbeard
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/vickersbeard
Twitter: https://twitter.com/6stringwiszard

The Collective:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecollectivereggae/
Bandcamp: https://thecollectivereggae.bandcamp.com

Ruben Seabright

Ruben Seabright

Ruben playing live

Malvern native, the 29 year old singer/songwriter, Ruben Seabright is the owner of one of the most recognizable and the most powerful voices in Worcester. Ruben comes from artistic and musical family and he has been performing along with his parents and siblings locally since a very young age. He has released his debut album entitled “Depths” in 2013 and has been performing extensively ever since. Ruben shared the stage with Soeur, Nuns of the Tundra, This Wicked Tongue, Ben Vickers, Vault of Eagles, Thousand Mountain and many more. Recently he has supported Nigel Clark (of Dodgy), Heck (formerly Baby Godzilla) and Kill the Romantic. He has been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester in 2016. Ruben is currently working on his new material to be released as an EP next year.

Ruben is hosting a number of open mic nights in Worcester and Malvern where he performs solo or in the company of his father, Paul “Toad” Seabright, member of successful Worcestershire groups Health Warning and Sons of Spock (winners of Three Counties Band of the Year award).

Please keep your eyes on the entire Seabright clan as the talent runs in the family! Ruben is married to fellow musician, Becky Rose Seabright and he is a brother-in-law to writer Katie Lowe, whose debut book “The Furies” has been purchased by Harper Collins for an international publication in 2018 (and they paid a 6 figure sum for it as well)!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RubenSeabright/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rubenseabright
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ruben-seabright
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rubenseabright/

Please come back soon as we are not finished yet!
The second part of our  guide will be released next week (or even sooner as we are really dying to show you the rest of the bands).

Have a great evening,
Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz