Indieterria meets Sybling

Hello!  

It is a music journalist’s privilege to speak to some of the most talented people in the world. Some of the artists might be living just two doors down from you, or in the same town, but some of them might be located at the other side of the pond. Not so long ago, we had an undeniable pleasure to discover an American duo named Sybling. Two New York based sisters, stole our hearts withing minutes with their breathtakingly vocals, harmonies and eerie sounds that would make David Lynch look twice over his shoulder on his way home on a dark winter’s night. The duo are represented by the wonderful folks at Marauder Group and we  wrote to them asking if we could speak to both ladies. Much to our delight, the label and the band said yes (thank you)! We discussed their upbringing in a musical family, writing their debut EP and their eclectic musical taste ranging from Nick Drake to the British indie rock sensation, Radiohead.

Band picture by Manny Inoa

Sybling:
Alice Makwaia (vocals, multi-instruments)
Mariana Quinn-Makwaia (vocals, multi-instruments)

Not always we have a pleasure to speak to an emerging artists from the other side of the pond. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Sybling: Hello there! We are sisters, Alice Makwaia and Mariana Quinn-Makwaia of the duo Sybling.

You grew up in New York, in a musical family with musician and composer father and mother who is an actress and an acting coach. Did your parents have any influence on you to become an artist yourselves? Have they encouraged you to chose this path, or maybe they were against it knowing how hard it is in this business?

Sybling: Both of our parents are artists. As you already mentioned, our father is a musician and our mother is an actress. We grew up, the four of us, near the poverty line, in a one bedroom apartment. It was totally great (and we mean that in earnest). Our parents weren’t unhappy with the struggling artist lifestyle. They saw no problem in going into the arts. Our parents only encouraged us to do what spoke to us. And, from a young age, music did just so.

Before the creation of Sybling, both of you had an impressive musical resumes: Alice wrote musical scores for theatre and film (“The Snow Queen” by Downtown Art and “Forest Bathing” by Yaara Sumeruk) and Mariana found success as part of R’n’B outfit Smoke & Sugar. What convinced you to form a band together? Have you worked with each other before?

Sybling art by Catya Bastien

Sybling: (laughing) Making the band was an easy decision. We grew up singing together and harmonizing. In many ways, we knew each other musically better than anyone else in the world!

Sybling is inspired by a wide and eclectic range of genres: from traditional folk, to soul, jazz, funk and alternative rock. We can hear Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Marianne Faithful and Elliott Smith. And Stevie Wonder! Who is your inspiration?

Sybling: We’re both very inspired by alternative and folk genres. Our top inspirations are Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake, Feist and Radiohead. Funny fact: we actually wrote “The Grim” for Radiohead! We heard the song in Thom Yorke’s voice.

You have released your debut EP on February 22, 2019. It is promoted by a lead single “Grim” and a video in which a young man is haunted by nightmarish figures with white masks covering their faces. Can you tell us more about “Grim” and the concept behind the video?

Sybling: The concept of “The Grim” video came from a sketch we made some years back. It was about someone on the subway, seated next to a suited man in a deer mask. It came from a thought that the subway is the looniest place we know! People are simultaneously physically close but oblivious to each other. We actually wrote the song when we were in High School, and it deals with the loneliness, and darkness that followed us around a lot then.

We absolutely love the cover of your EP, and the artwork  that is displayed on your social media. Who is the author?

Sybling: The cover of our EP was made by a Texas-based artist Catya Bastian. And we made the cover of our single for “Under.”

EP cover by Catya Bastien

You once said that “If one quote were to sum up the entirety of Sybling, it would be Kurt Vonnegut’s: “He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral.” A lot of your lyrics seem to deal with themes of searching for lost things and the past. The whole EP has this aura of melancholy and some sort of sadness. Perhaps we are mistaken but we feel like this record could be considered as a concept album, rather than just a collection of songs to reflect to?

Sybling: We like thinking of our EP as a concept album! Originally, we didn’t know what songs we were going to release, so it’s a bit of a fluke that they contextually fit together so succinctly!

We want to ask you about our favourite song “She is Alive in the Past”. It has beautifully crafted voice harmonies with catchy, radio friendly guitar riffs and piano. What’s really surprising, it has no lyrics. Please tell us more about it. Is there any particular story behind it?

Sybling: “She is still alive in the past” was very much an experiment. We’d had the tune in our heads for years, no lyrics. Even the finished product is a bit of a dream without a clear story. We think of it as a funeral march. We weren’t planning on recording it. Then one day, with an extra hour at the end of a session, we recorded a draft. Simple, just sparse vocals, guitar, organ, a little piano. Mari had the great idea of adding percussion, giving it that lopsided beat—which immediately reminded us, quite morbidly, of the way a zombie would walk.

“Grim” single cover

Last question – If you were to score a Netflix drama of your choice. What would it be and what songs appear on the soundtrack?

Sybling: We think, we’d have to go with Netflix’s “Russian Doll” to write music for. It takes place in the neighborhood we grew up in. We could see “She is still alive in the past” in there.

You can follow Sybling on their social media:
https://www.syblingmusic.com/bio
https://syblingmusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/syblingmusic
https://www.facebook.com/pg/syblingmusic
http://sybling.maraudergroup.com/

Email: syblingmusic@gmail.com|

Alice Makwaia (as a solo artist):
https://alicemakwaia.bandcamp.com/releases

Smoke & Sugar (Mariana Quinn-Makwaia side project):
https://www.instagram.com/smokeandsugarmusic
https://www.facebook.com/smokeandsugar/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1KsvM0hfcgI1_7DNTW-ptw

Articles:
https://alonelyghostburning.co.uk/interviews/getting-to-know-sybling/
http://ventsmagazine.com/2019/02/21/premiere-sybling-streams-new-self-titled-ep/
https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/New-York-Folk-Duo-Sybling-Release-Their-Debut-EP-20190301
https://chicagonbeyond.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/mariana-quinn-makwaia-w-smoke-sugar/

Vanadian Avenue would like to say a few “thank you’s” to Sybling manager, Mr Phillipe Roberts and to the Managing Partner/Co-Founder of Marauder Group, Mr Rev Moose for making this interview possible. It was a real pleasure!

It is also worth mentioning that Marauder Group, is responsible for bringing the Independent Venue Week to America! This year, the US edition of IVW will take place on July 8-14, 2019 with more than 60 venues participating. You can find more about the  events here:
http://independentvenueweek.maraudergroup.com/
https://www.independentvenueweek.com/2019/04/independent-venue-week-announces-first-round-of-2019-us-shows-more-participating-venues/

We may try to speak to Marauder about IVW and the difference between the UK and USA versions. Keep your fingers crossed!

Please come back soon, we have a fantastic Mancunian band scheduled to speak to us next week!

Till then,
R+M

Indieterria meets Memes

Dear Readers,

They appeared out of nowhere, with no warning and within a month have been BBC 6 Music single of the week, had Amazing Radio on their team and BBC Scotland taking notice. If that is not a very definition of taking the indie circuit by storm, then we don’t know what that would be. We have sat down with Memes to talk about their new single, future gigs and their lyrics. This band combines post punk fury with intelligence and wit of The Fall. Mark E Smith is probably looking down, nodding his head with approval and saying to John Peel that there are still good bands in the UK.

You can listen to Memes on 60 seconds CV on Steve Lamacq’s Recommend’s show at:
https://cocamidemea.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/memes_60-seconds_cv_steve-lamacq-recommends_25.04.2019.mp3

They are going viral and we couldn’t be happier!

Memes logo

Memes are:
John McLinden
Paul McLinden

At Indieterria, we take pride in researching each band we interview. However we weren’t able to find much about Memes. We learnt only that you come from Glasgow and that the band is made out of two friends named John and Paul. Introduce yourselves properly to our readers.

Memes: Memes is John McLinden and Paul McLinden and we are cousins and we are a new duo from Glasgow.

We love your enigmatic attitude. You have no biography on social media, just an email address and a couple of pictures are available. Tell us more about Memes. When did you start playing? Have you been involved in any previous projects?

Memes: To be honest, the mystery hasn’t really been intentional, the missing bio and lack of information on the band is mostly down to the fact that the band is being so new! That said, it’s hard for bands to maintain any mystique in the social media age, which is a shame, as it is one of the things we like about some of our favourite bands.

Memes came about from some downtime in another band we play with (we have been involved in various projects before). We just got together to record some ideas that Paul had written. We were just messing around really and DIY recording in a loft in Glasgow, but we liked the end result of ‘Blah Blah Blah’ and thought we would put a single release together to see if we could get any reaction. We only started working on Memes in February 2019.

Scottish blog Turn Up The Volume compared your music to The Fall and The Smiths with a “healthy dose” of Idles. What are your inspirations?

Memes:  Very flattering of them to say so, we would count those bands as favourites of ours for sure. We like anything that is interesting or provocative in some way. That could be anything from Talking Heads to Frank Sinatra to Steve Reich.

“Is that a picture of your grand pa?” – photography by Gary Dickie

In another review you were described as “Fast and furious lo-fi post punk that sounds like a frantic Mark E Smith after a day spent watching BBC Parliament”.  And we have to admit that your lyrics have the same wit and edge as the lead singer of The Fall. We will risk saying that he`d be a fan.  You are not afraid to be outspoken and yet do it in a subtle way. That’s a very rare quality in music these days. 

Memes:  There isn’t much in the way of being outspoken (or saying anything really) in the mainstream, but there are bands and individuals out there causing a stir. We haven’t deliberately set our stall out to say anything specific but hopefully the songs catch the imagination.

You just released your debut A side single “Blah Blah Blah”/”Funny man” and captured attention of everyone in the business. You have been a single of the week at BBC 6 Music as chosen by Steve Lamacq himself, you have been championed by Jim Gellatly on Amazing Radio, Tom Robinson from Fresh on the Net is also very fond of the song. This Feeling added the single to their Best New Bands playlist. Is this attention something you have expected?

Memes:  No, not at all. We liked the music and hoped others would, but having the airplay we have had for such a new project has been fantastic, we just have to back it up now! Music is a difficult nut to crack and we have only released two songs at the moment, but hopefully our next release will raise the game!

Talking about debuts, The Duct Tape, Edinburgh zine swears that 4 months before “Blah Blah Blah” came out you have released another song that was distributed during underground punk gathering. Sadly we haven’t been able to confirm this  piece of news anywhere else. True or not?

Memes:  Hmmm news to us! Could be another band called Memes but it definitely wasn’t us.

We would like to ask you about the story behind “Funny Man”. Are you able to disclose the person about whom the song was  written?

Memes:  It’s not about any one person in particular, just the many “funny” and supposed “characters” out there that you meet…that aren’t funny and have no character, you know the ones!

We keep mentioning The Fall in this interview and on 13th of June you will be supporting Imperial Wax Band (whose members were the longest serving and the last line up of The Fall). You must have the date marked on your calendars!

Memes:  Yeah, looking forward to that one. Given that The Fall has been mentioned as part of our sound, it will hopefully go down well with the Imperial Wax crowd.

Memes are just getting started – but you must have some plans made for the future. What can we expect? A new single more gigs or perhaps a bigger release such a EP?

Famous last question. Imagine you can play any venue in the world. Which one would you choose?

Memes:  This would have to be the Barrowlands in Glasgow, simply a great venue.

Memes ready to take on the world – photo by Gary Dickie

You can follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/memestheband/
https://soundcloud.com/memestheband
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAozXPvxbmFDRGmKhGVK8fQ
https://twitter.com/memestheband
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4UHOCHsbn2JNwXQJWzO2WT?si=zx3wwhmwQqWzSmIWdyeo8w

Memes can be contacted at: memestheband@hotmail.com

Additional reading :
https://turnupthevolume.blog/2019/04/08/scottish-post-punks-memes-hit-hard-twice-with-double-debut-single-blah-blah-blah-and-funny-man/

Memes will share the stage with hottest new indie bands – Tiger Mimic and Lower Loveday at iconic venue Nambucca on April 27th 2019. The event is free entry:

Showcase poster

You can find more info on socials at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/658720734568060/

We will be reporting on Memes in the future since they are about to go though the roofs. Just give them few months, they will give Sleaford Mods a good run! (and we like Mods, actually them and Memes on a tour is such a good idea!).

R/M

Indieterria meets Tiger Mimic

Dear Readers,

There are many bands on the indie circuit:  the cool ones, the mysterious ones, the ones you like. And then there are bands that you simply love from the first note. It`s so good to be a music obsessive – as Steve Lamacq says – you can fall in love at least twice a week! So yeah – here we go again being head over heels with a new band. They are Tiger Mimic, they are based in London and they will headline Vandian Avenue first showcase on April 27th at the iconic Nambucca.

We cannot tell you how excited we are and how grateful too. We sat down with Jess Rhodes  of Tiger Mimic to speak to her about the band history, their excellent debut EP and even video games.

This is the band you need to know. No excuses!

 

Tiger Mimic Logo

Official bio: Tiger Mimic is a London-based band with a sound that ranges from bitcrushed anthems to sinister bass grooves to rapid-fire rock poetry and more. Their debut EP, “Elephant Skeleton”, was recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Matt Lawrence at London’s Livingston Studio. Released in January 2019, its five songs showcase their diverse range of styles and influences.

Tiger Mimic:
Jess Rhodes  (vox, synth)
Bram Johnson  (guitar,  vox)
Ben Willis  (bass, vox)
George Latham  (drums)

You named the band after a butterfly that mimics appearance of its poisonous cousin, but you are one of the most original bands we have heard this year. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Jess Rhodes: Ah, thank you so much. That’s a very kind thing to say. We’re Tiger Mimic, we’re based in London, and usually we say we’re an “indie rock” band just to keep it simple, but we do have a lot of different influences. Jess sings and plays synth, Bram sings and plays guitar, Ben plays bass and sings back-up, and George plays drums.

You may have just released your debut EP, but the band has quite a history – including a relocation to another continent. Jess and Bram started out their respective projects while living and working in NYC. They met Ben and George after coming to London. Do you think that having musicians from both sides of the Pond helped to forge your unique sound?

Jess Rhodes: I was actually born and grew up (mainly) in Europe! I was exposed to music from every genre. My mom loved Arabic and Kurdish music (I didn’t really) but sometimes people tell me my melodies have a middle-eastern tinge to them, so it’s funny how you can get influenced by what you get exposed to growing up.

Moving from NYC to London was the best decision ever, and the fact that we met Ben & George was crazy lucky. We all have diverse influences and grew up listening to so many different things, but there is also a lot of overlap, so it’s hard to say how much effect geography had. Each member brings their own style to the band, though, and it has definitely given us a sense that nothing is off limits when it comes to writing songs.

Tiger Mimic – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

When preparing to this interview we have found information that Jess is classically trained operatic singer. Can we confirm if this is true? We interviewed some amazing and unique artists on the blog but a soprano with a degree from Italian music conservatoire would be a first!

Jess Rhodes: I was indeed classically trained. I studied with amazing teachers in Paris, Italy, and NYC. I actually only did 6 months in Milan, and then decided to move to NY. I then went a different route and studied theatre. I love singing opera, I haven’t practiced in a while, but it’s something I really enjoy singing at times. However, I didn’t have a deep passion for it, and if you’re not 100% dedicated, you can forget about it. I wanted to write my own songs, and so I did. Once you’re trained to sing a certain way, it’s actually quite hard to break that, and so I really struggled to find my voice for a while. I always felt I needed to be as loud as when I sung opera, and then I realised I really didn’t.

Your EP “Elephant Skeleton” was released in January 2019. For this record you worked with Matt Lawrence, Grammy winning producer known for helping Adele. The story is that after hearing your demos Matt wanted to work with you and most of the material was written in his studio. Were you scared to collaborate with such a big calibre name?

Jess Rhodes: We were a little anxious before meeting him that we wouldn’t be a huge priority for someone with a CV like his, but he put that to bed immediately. It was amazing to work with him! He’s such a nice, talented, humble person. We actually didn’t write much in the studio, though, most of the songs had been written in NY and Paris right before coming to London. There were a few little flourishes and lyric tweaks and things like that, but the songs were pretty fully fleshed out when we went in.

Matt did give us some great guidance in rehearsals before heading into the studio, but he always posed it as a question, such as “Well, would this song be better if you added a bridge?”, or “What would it sound like if this part had a slightly different groove?”

One of the things we really appreciated was that he liked the music and didn’t want to change what we were already doing, but he would put forward these questions that made us consider whether we had explored all the possibilities with a given song. It was good to be challenged like that and I think we came out of that process with a much more critical ear for our work.

The future looks bright – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

The EP is promoted by two singles – “Don’t Cover Up My Eyes” and the title track. We want to ask you about the video to “Elephant Skeleton”. It shows a 8 bit point and shoot game where an animal tries to recover his bones while the band members serve as evil bosses. Where did you get the idea from and who directed it. Also – will there be a continuation?

Jess Rhodes: The video game idea started sort of accidentally. Bram made a really short video of a dandelion seed floating over some hills just as a short promotional video teaser for Elephant Skeleton and it had that sort of lo-fi, video game look to it. We started talking about turning it into a full length idea and that’s when we decided to make the story about the elephants.

After one night of goofy brainstorming, we drew a little storyboard and then Bram put the whole thing together. He’s not trained in animation, so it was a huge learning curve and took quite a while, but it was fun watching it come together bit by bit. We sometimes think about cooking up a sequel video, but Bram is still a little traumatised from staring at a computer screen for months, so it’ll have to be for a future song.

The band just played first major festival – Cro Cro Land, taking to the stage next to such established acts as Bang Bang Romeo and The Lovely Eggs. We imagine it must have been a lot of fun and a lot of nerves in equal measure. Did you like it?

Jess Rhodes: Oh my God. It was the most incredible day ever. We would’ve gone to Cro Cro even if we hadn’t been invited to play, because the lineup was absolutely sick. I can usually get quite nervous before a gig, and although that was our biggest gig, I wasn’t as stressed as I thought I’d be! Maybe it’s because there was such a huge supportive community feeling going on the whole day!

Bram, on the other hand, had non-stop nightmares the night before about getting bumped from the show or something else going wrong, so it was a huge relief for him when we actually walked out on stage. Seriously, though, everyone involved was incredible. Angela Martin, Julia Woollams, the bands, journalists, photographers, event staff, engineers (sound and light), just everyone was so wonderful.

Your music has been described as a mix of guitar based indie, ska and 1960s pop bands. But outside how the music critics see you – do you have your own term for your sound?

Jess Rhodes: It’s like you say, we get a lot of different reactions to our sound, so we actually struggle a bit to settle on a genre when people ask. Indie Rock has been our go-to, since it’s a fairly broad category, but a lot of people have really specific (and sometimes angry) opinions about what Indie Rock actually is, so we have yet to find a term that satisfies everyone. Any ideas?

Poster for Nambucca headline gig

Tiger Mimic will headline iconic London venue Nambucca on 27th April – what can we expect from your live shows?

Jess Rhodes: Oh man, we can’t wait! We’ll be playing with the awesome Lower Loveday and Memes, and we already know it’s gonna be a great night! Nambucca is a really great venue, too, and we’re so happy to play there again.  Our live show has a lot of dynamic shifts, trading vocal parts, harmonies, and riffs. One thing we’ve always appreciated hearing after a show is that each song sounds completely different from each other, but they all still sound like us. That’s about as cool of a compliment as we could hope for.

We want to ask you about the story behind your song “I Took Off My Body”. It is probably the saddest song on the EP lyrics wise. At points it feels traumatic especially in the age of Me Too movement.

Jess Rhodes:  I Took Off My Body was actually written a few days before we went in to record it. Bram had this really cool instrumental guitar part and was playing it for fun, and I just started improvising over it and insisted we take it to the studio. It tells the story of someone removing the many layers of their body in an effort to find themselves inside (waiting in the dark, waiting for a light).

It’s a reflection on the world’s tendency to make judgements with their eyes, while ignoring whoever is inside that body. It is definitely a problem that’s been going on for a long time. It’s really sad that we live in a world where we have to be on our guards at all times.

For instance, I went to a gig a few days ago and a man kept bothering me, so I moved to the other side, and talked about it to a friend who was there too. Turned out he had also touched her and another woman inappropriately. So in the span of 5 minutes, he managed to make 3 (or more) women feel extremely uncomfortable. He was just seen by everyone else as the “annoying drunk guy” but his behaviour should be seen for what it is: completely unacceptable and absolutely disgusting. The Me Too movement is incredible, I think it shows just how powerful victims can actually be when they get together, and also shows how there should be no stigma or shame around the word “victim”. The only people who should feel shame are the perpetrators, harassers, and abusers.

Tiger Mimic are ready to take over – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

In one year you have accomplished more than many bands in their whole life span: working with top producers, releasing EP, playing festivals. What else have you got planned for 2019 and beyond?

Jess Rhodes: Aw, that’s nice of you to say. We definitely try to work as hard as we can on this, it’s our dream and the main reason we came over to London. We’ve been lucky to connect with a lot of awesome people, there are so many unsung heroes around town who are so supportive of the scene and that’s been incredible.

As for 2019, we’re heading down to Brighton for the first time in May for the Brighton Mix-Up festival, which is super exciting. We’re hoping to get back in the studio in May too, if we can swing it, we have a lot of new songs ready to go. After that we’ll see what comes up. There are a few exciting rumours floating around, but nothing we can share yet, so hopefully we’ll have some big announcements soon.

Last question – if Tiger Mimic could become characters in a video game what title would it be? Final Fantasy? Tomb Raider? Mortal Kombat or would you have your own title. You can pick any game.

Hmmm… aside from the Elephant Skeleton video, in which we’ve already been game-ified, here are some nerdy answers for you:

Ben Willis: I’d be Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. I still remember my first inter-species love affair with fondness.

Bram Johnson: I’d be Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango. He’s a grim reaper in a crime noir version of the Mexican Land Of The Dead who spends years going to any lengths trying to save a soul that was cheated out of their rightful afterlife. I always liked that he was a regular guy, no bulging muscles or guns or anything, just tenacity.

Jess Rhodes: I’d be Sindel from Mortal Kombat. I’d love to be able to kick ass just by whipping my hair!

George couldn’t be reached for comment, but we’ll ask him next time we rehearse. Important information to know.

We absolute love Tiger Mimic. They are one in a million.

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.tigermimic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tigermimicband/
https://www.instagram.com/tiger.mimic
https://twitter.com/TigerMimic
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7qT0D9stk05ym53ziRGwzg
https://soundcloud.com/tigermimic
https://open.spotify.com/artist/296hyITffv9hw30ypToBi7?si=Khrq4iL0RT6Rbm2Bf0426g

You can purchase the EP “Elephant Skeleton” at the link below:

http://www.smarturl.it/tigermimic

If you fancy a bit of extra reading – here are some fantastic articles about the band from other independent blogs:

https://www.musicmusingsandsuch.com/musicmusingsandsuch/2018/9/16/interview-tiger-mimic
https://gigradar.co.uk/introducing-tiger-mimic/
https://www.croydonist.co.uk/tiger-mimic/
https://thegirlsattherockshow.com/song-of-the-day-tiger-mimic-dont-cover-up-my-eyes/

Tiger Mimic will headline the Nambucca on April 27th in London. The entry is free. You can find the info for the event on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/events/658720734568060/

We hope you enjoyed this little blog. We will be back
M/R

Indieterria review – Slease by False Heads

Dear Readers,

False Heads can easily be called a band that we love here at Indieterria. They have been on our  radar for over three years. We had a chance to interview them in August 2018 and a month later also reviewed their EP, proclaiming “Less is Better”  as one of our records of the year. We seen them live in Bristol at the minuscule The Mother`s Ruin basement and it was a glorious and sweaty affair. We met them at BBC Live conference in London. False Heads represent pure talent, determination and strong fellowship – all the qualities that make great bands. And now they return with a new single!

Slease cover by Will Hutchinson
https://www.facebook.com/will.hutchinson.921

“We go into the studio next week. Wanna hear what scribbling in a shipping container sounds like?” – wrote the band on their socials on March 1st and they meant it. Slease – their first single post “Less is Better” EP has been written in their rehearsal space somewhere in London  – a large, metallic shipping container. A place that may as well be an epicentre of world domination in the near future.

Slease premiered on 22 March 2019, dropping like a bomb from the sky. Three minutes and fourteen seconds of noise, dirt and impressive bass lines. But surprisingly, there is also a catchy chorus and melody that gets stuck in your head. The vocalist, Luke Griffiths screams out his lyrics with such a passion that you get the feeling you are on a political march (and we had quite a few big marches recently).

“The song was written last year” – explains Luke – “It`s about bad mental states. Addiction. But also how similar the left and right are in terms of tactics they use leaving people  politically isolated”.

The band posing outside their rehearsal space
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

Dark and gritty – False Heads are ready to take over
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

False Heads are a trio with Luke Griffiths on guitar and vocals, Jake Elliot on bass and Barney Nash on drums – but the songs they craft are so powerful  that you`d expect them to be at least  a  five piece. Slease is a good example – there is a wall of sound in this song, changing tempos, roaring bass and drums that will make you deaf if you find yourself  standing next to an amp at the gig.

The single is accompanied by a video directed by Brigitta Szaszfai (who also directed video to “Yellow” for the band last year) showing False Heads violently shaking and being blinded by bright lights in a darkened room.

As expected, Slease made a powerful impact within one week of its release.  John Kennedy  – influential DJ and champion of new music as Radio X described the song as fantastic. It has been added to “All New Rock” playlist on Spotify and “Best New Bands” playlist on Amazon.
The song premiered on Rodney on the Rock on Sirius XM in the US and became “next wave” track at BBC Radio 1 in the UK. It amassed nearly 5K streams in few days days on Spotify.

False Heads played two gigs in London and Manchester to promote the single. Their home town show took place at The Monarch on 21 March with The Estevans and Getrz supporting. On March 20, the band played Manchester`s The Soup Kitchen also with The Estevans. We don’t have to tell you that both shows sold spectacularly well.

Tour poster

False Heads by Nathan Whittaker/ MRC Live
https://www.facebook.com/Nathan.W6

False Heads live in London
Photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

There is something about False Heads that remind us of another band we used to follow in the early 90s. We would carefully gather every bit of information about them and the excitement was felt every time the name was mentioned. The band was called On A Friday at that  time and they went on to do a few interesting things since we first heard about them (like releasing The Bends or Kid A for example). Call it cliché – but we feel the same about False Heads nowadays. Keep them on your radars because they are not just an indie band we like. They are a band that will inspire your children to pick up instruments.  Wait and see.

Slease has gathered some rare reviews from blogs and magazines alike – and we would love to quote here some of them as we enjoy this sort of thing in our reviews:

“Outspoken, heavy post punk trio False Heads have just dropped their first track of 2019 and we are loving it” –  Vulture Hound
https://vulturehound.co.uk/2019/03/track-of-the-day-22-12-19-false-heads-slease/

“Keeping things gritty and fierce with new single “Slease” power trio False Heads have unleashed another monster punk-rock anthem” – Gig Slutz
http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/this-feeling-track-of-the-day-false-heads-slease/

“OOOOOH, we’ve got something awesome for you today! Yes indeed…here’s an incredible grungey alternative rock banger from False Heads. It’s called ‘Slease’ and it’s a bloomin’ masterpiece”  – SoundSphere Magazine
http://www.soundspheremag.com/videos/videos-of-the-week/watch-false-heads-slease/

“This is the first new single False Heads have released following their impressive EP, Less is Better. From the very first few chords, it is abundantly clear that this is going to be a step forward. The sound is immediately rougher, more aggressive and stripped down, and, one might say, more confident”  – Words For Music
https://wordsformusic.blog/2019/03/24/false-heads-slease-new-music/

“False Heads are without a doubt one of the most hard-working bands out there. After travelling up and down the country extensively in 2018 to promote their blisteringly confident EP Less Is Better and hooking us in with exploding riffs cemented firmly in the centre of punk sensibilities, this chaotic trio return with new single Slease” – Unique Lullaby
http://www.uniquelullaby.co.uk/2019/03/unique-to-check-out-false-heads-slease_18.html

False Heads
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

“With shows locked in to support the launch of ‘Slease,’ and the wheels of their debut album now in unstoppable motion, 2019 will be their most ambitious year to date and they want you to be a part of it. Who’s in?” – Rock and Loud Magazine
https://rocknloadmag.com/news/false-heads-drop-new-single-slease/

“[False Heads] crash into 2019 with one of their most explosive tracks to date” – Original Rock
https://originalrock.net/2019/03/07/interview-false-heads-talk-upcoming-single/

“False Heads remain one of the best and most authentic guitar bands” – Its All Indie
http://www.itsallindie.com/2019/03/false-heads-release-explosive-new-track.html

“Slease finds the East London trio in super energetic, ferocious punk mode, and memorable and easy to take in as it is, the dynamic song does not lack in any of the fierceness, the poignant lyricism and the impeccably well done production which have made the band thrive from the very beginning” – Destroy Exist
https://www.destroyexist.com/2019/03/false-heads-slease.html

“Sometimes a really crunchy and meaty bass riff is all you need to love a song. Thankfully False Heads’ latest track not only gives us that for an introduction, but continues down the path of beautiful raw punk in their new track “Slease” – Indie Central Music
https://indiecentralmusic.com/false-heads-release-stomping-new-track-slease/

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/FalseHeads
http://www.falseheads.com
https://www.instagram.com/falseheads/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqivl1sWLJyZxP3Ywei3HGw
https://twitter.com/FalseHeads
https://www.musicglue.com/falseheads

You can buy or stream Sleaze from the link below:

https://ffm.to/falseheadsslease

You can also visit the band`s label These Bloody Thieves Records:
https://www.thesebloodythievesrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesebloodythieves/

We hope you enjoy this review. Come back soon, we have more!
M/R

Indieterria meets MeMe Detroit

Hello!

West Midlands music scene is one of the the most original and diverse scenes in the United Kingdom. It has always been very strong with acts such as Duran Duran, Black Sabbath and the girl band Cleopatra coming out of Birmingham and changing the national musical landscapes. Grime, hip-hop, psychedelia, experimental rock, lyrical and even choral music – West Midland have it all.  We would like to invite you to meet another talented artist from our region that is making a name for herself. Maria Theresa Rodriquez, better known as a MeMe Detroit sat down with Indieterria to discuss growing up within musical family, acting career and who she would take to Glastonbury with her.

logo

Face paint and battle stance

Maria Theresa Rodriquez (vocals and guitar)
Paris Moon Fennell (bass)
Nick Sharman (live drummer)

There are many theories as to what “MeMe Detroit” stands for. Brum Radio speculated that it is the name of your alter ego that you take up on stage, BBC Introducing wrote that it was taken from an old American movie. What or maybe who is MeMe Detroit? 

Maria: “MeMe Detroit” is in fact the alter ego of me, Maria Theresa Rodriguez. MeMe comes from the nickname given to me by my Grandma as a kid. The Detroit part? That just happened to be written my other half’s T-shirt when thinking of a name! (laughing)

Everything about you is a bit mysterious. In interviews you refer to MeMe as a “project” but you perform with the same musicians. We need to ask is MeMe Detroit a solo endeavour or a full fledged band? Who accompanies you on stage?

Maria: MeMe Detroit started off as a solo endeavour, however as the live show came together, it morphed into a bit of both. My band members are now a massive part of it. Paris Moon Fennell is a kick ass bassist and she just oozes cool. We’re currently auditioning for a new full time drummer but have the awesome Nick Sharman in as our current live drummer.

Tell us about the striking make up you are wearing during performances? It looks like a tribal tattoo. Is there any meaning behind it? 

Maria: I wanted to do something that says, “This is MeMe Detroit”, something I could almost morph into, a branding kind of thing. I sat in front of a mirror for several hours, getting a numb butt and trying out different make up and colour designs before settling on what you see on stage now. It was inspired a little by Daryl Hannah’s look in the original “Blade Runner” film.

You grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon in a mixed raced family with Colombian and English family members. Was your childhood any different than that of your peers?

Maria: I wouldn’t say it was different, although I used to secretly pray that the teachers wouldn’t read out my full name during registration (laughing)! There was a small element of bullying in school that came with being “half foreign” which I’m not gonna lie, did affect me but I think now I’m older, it made me want to shout out about my background and heritages even more! I’m proud as fuck of my British and of my Colombian ethnicity. Also, I got to have well cool holidays as a kid visiting British seaside towns and South A-fucking-America!

Has your upbringing shaped you as an artist? 

Maria: My whole family were and still are all pretty big music fans so I was constantly surrounded by music of all genres growing up. My dad used to play Latin hits, turning the volume up really loud in the car and winding down all the windows driving through the town centre to embarrass me as a kid! Whilst my Grandma would play dress up with me and get me singing and performing plays & musicals! Then there was the box of vinyl that’s been passed through generations, each adding their element. Having that huge influence of multi-genres in my every day life has definitely shaped me as an artist.

Maria as MeMe Detroit

Despite developing an acute allergy to Shakespeare in your youth, you worked as an actress, with much success. Is your stage and film experience useful in your current career?

Maria: Ha ha ha! Funny you should ask! We’ve just shot a new video which we’ve approached as more of a short film. It’s mega handy being able to act when you’re in need of an actor for a video. And it is helpful when shooting videos in general, especially live streams!

You debuted in 2016 with an EP entitled “‘Live to Love You’ll Love to Live” to  one of the best reviews for an independent release we have ever heard.  Punk rock legend, John Robb (The Membranes) called you “outstanding”, Louder Than War magazine wrote that you “bridge the gaps between indie, grunge and blues rock” and BBC West Midlands insisted that your music is “simply spectacular”. Have you ever thought of receiving such positive reaction to your work?

Maria: No I have not. You always dream of it but I’m also my own worst critic! I do believe in my work now though more than ever so to have that backed up by such awesome comments and reviews is really humbling and just is really bloody ace!

Tell us more about your newest material “Life In the now”. You have described it in previous interviews as your best compositions so far. Where have you recorded it and how many tracks are on it?

Maria: “Life In The Now” was recorded at Park Studios in Birmingham with producer Alastair Jamieson. There’s 5 tracks on it including singles, “Soc Med Junkies”, “Churchside Inn” & “De Moe”. I wanted to make a powerful in-your-face record with a running theme of positivist underneath it, a fun fuelled blast of Uplifting Angst.

You will be touring quite a bit in the coming months: Birmingham, Stourbridge, Oxford, Mossley – can you tell us what people can expect from your live performances. Also, is there a chance to catch you at any of the summer festivals this year?

Maria: For me, playing live is really what being a musician is all about but it would be nothing without the fans. They’re as much a part of it as we are. Being up there and getting to be completely engulfed in a music fuelled intoxication, music that you’ve made and then getting to share that magnetic euphoria with a crowd of people all on the same level. Nothing fucking beats it!

So far on the festival front, We’ll be at Lichfield Arts Fuse festival in July.

Meme Detroit loves a good laugh!

The word on the circuit is that there may be a new single shortly. If it’s true, are you able to reveal anything about the song? 

Maria: That it is! We are actually releasing a single version of the track “Will You Be My Lie” which is taken from the “Life In The Now” EP. It’ll be released in May alongside the short film/video and with a brand new remix by an awesome artist called DantannaBeatz, which incidentally, I have just heard for the first time this eve and it’s killer!

Cheeky question but we just can’t help ourselves. Imagine you were given the right to curate a stage at Glasto and you can take 5 acts from West Midlands. Who gets to play? 

Maria: Ooh! That’s a tough one. I’d have to say: Blue Nation, Sulpher, Chloe Mogg, Lady Sanity and The Pagans S.O.H

MeMe live in action

You can follow Maria on social media at:

http://www.memedetroitepk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MeMeDetroitofficial/
https://twitter.com/memedetroit
https://soundcloud.com/memedetroit
https://open.spotify.com/artist/7g5I0NVNGr5FaI4e7Xke6X?si=GH1HeQfTQRKmYF4EC1kYaw

 

You can stream and buy Meme`s music from the link below:
http://smarturl.it/lifeinthenowep

Live in Birmingham

Me Me Detroit will perform at The Victoria in Birmingham on Saturday, 23rd of March alongside London based bands MOSES, Dirty Orange, and Malvern rockers, The Dead Dads Club. The show is organised by Modern Age Music. Tickets costs £5 and the doors are opening at 7:00 pm.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1954968431464900/
Tickets: https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Birmingham/The-Victoria/Modern-Age-Music-Birmingham/13465152/

See you soon!
M+R Dabrowicz

Indieterria meets Shiva May Care

Dear Readers,

We are in March already and it is high time to introduce another band to the never ending pages of Indieterria. We are back to the Kingdom of Mancunia to meet the wildest hard-rocking bunch in the North. And what fun gang they are! This five piece is truly international – with members coming from four different nations – all making a wonderful racket around Northern Quarter. Don`t expect the usual brit-pop-y sounds from them. This band is unlike anything you can hear in Manchester – they mix punk, hard rock, metal and even J-Rock to arrive at their own, very distinctive musical voice. A bonus is sense of humour, loyalty to their collaborators and friendship for each other. Show us another group like this in the region and we will buy you a lunch at Night & Day.

Grab your hair spray, your torn jeans and Motley Crue tees – its time to meet Shiva May Care!

Band Logo

Shiva May Care

Michael Morris – vox
Jet Lag (Federico Cossu) – guitar, vox
Jenny (Giorgia di Pancrazio) – bass
Raul Ochoa – guitar
Luke Thorpe  – drums, vox

Official bio: Born in 2017 as an collaboration between Federico Cossu (J3T L4g) and Stefano Carbone (who left the band few months later) Shiva May Care is a five piece based in Manchester. They play hard rock with glam, punk and metal inspirations. The band is actively gigging on the local scene with sold out shows at Hula Bar, Rebellion, Night People and Pop Bar in Hyde under their belt.

You are one of the most outstanding bands that came out Manchester scene recently music wise. Please introduce yourselves to readers of Indiererria.

Federico Cossu:  Thanks for calling us outstanding.  We really appreciate it. Hello Indierreria, we are Shiva May Care: Federio Cossu on guitar, Michael Morris on vocals, Raul Ochoa on guitar, Luke Thorpe on drums and Giorgia “Jenny” Di Pancrazio on bass. How are you doing?

Is there any story behind the band`s name? Who is the mysterious Shiva?

Federico Cossu:  Well, we liked the idea of a band with a “Devil May Care” attitude, but we needed something more exclusive than that, more personal. We are not hot-headed guys, we try to be good! For this reason Shiva takes place of the Devil.

Shiva May Care was born just two years ago as a collaboration between guitarist Federico Cossu (known on the Manc scene as J3T L4G) and another local musician Stefano Carbone. Now you expanded to a five piece. Can you tell us about the beginnings of the band and how this particular line up came together?

Federico Cossu:  We all met in pubs and clubs, we were friends of friends. I met Stefano at an house party  and we decided to start a band out of the blue. At that time, I used to work in the same company as our first singer, Massimo Zitti, so it was natural to ask him to join the band. We just wanted  to have fun and  play loud rock and roll. Stefano introduced me to Raul and I met Luke at Whiskey Jar in Manchester, amazing place, great vibes and inspiring music environment.  Massimo had to leave for Canada so Michael joined the band and our sound went in the hard rock/ metal direction. Our bassist Giorgia joined us last year to complete the line up.

The band is their glamorous splendour

The band is a proper international affair – with members coming from UK, Italy and Mexico. Your work with a producer from New Caledonia. You are basically a heavier version of Superorganism!  Do you think that coming from different cultures and speaking different languages is an advantage when it comes to song writing process? How do you overcome potential misunderstandings?

Federico Cossu: Oh yes, it’s definitely an advantage. But to answer your question – coming  from different countries where you struggle to find good music allows you to get deeper into the genres as you are not being constantly bombed by the big hits.  And we love Manchester, it’s a multicultural hive where people can express themselves as they wish.

I come from a small town where probably only me and my brother know “The Gift” by the Jam! In Manchester you hear these tunes being played every night at bars! It’s great, it`s like a dream!

Different backgrounds  bring  more points of view to the song writing process and, fortunately, the language misunderstandings  are not present as we work really naturally on our songs. I often show a lyric or idea to the band and  Michael and  the guys will make their own interpretation of it, in order to make it sound personal and more to their liking.

They care a lot – about music, fans and each other

Even if we wanted to squeeze you into a musical box, we would not be able to. There is so much going on in your sound – traditional hard rock, glam, punk, metal and even visual kei (Japanese rock). If we were to summarize your style we would have to define it as Motley Crew meets L`Arc-En-Ciel at a party in Mother Love Bone`s basement.  You have your own name for the genre you play: punk`n`roll.  Where did your sound originate?

Federico Cossu:  Wow, that sounds like a good party. No one has invited us though!

Well, the genre punk’n’roll is something I know since I was a kid, we didn’t invented it. I’m personally a big fun of Social Distortion, Backyard Babies, The Hives, Hardcore Superstar, Radio Birdman, Gluecifer, Turbonegro and Hellacopters. I’ve always known these bands as punk`n`roll bands, especially referring to all the Scandinavian rock scene.

To summarize, you pick The Stooges, Ramones, MC5, New York Dolls, Dictators and stick a distorted  rocket under their asses: congrats, you`ve got punk and roll, action rock, death punk and so on.

All these influences have been probably mixed up with Luke, Michael, Raul and Georgia’s influences, such as ’80 classic rock and new romantic, metal and hair metal, blues and stoner rock. However, I wouldn’t get stuck with genres names and labels, it’s a never-ending battle, it’s only rock and roll after all.

Hopefully in the future, you will find us on the soundtrack to a new anime or a video game (laughs).

Shiva May Care – the wildest kids in Northern Town

You have just released your debut A side single “Til The Music Is Loud”/”Stubborn Lovers” produced by Mathieu Garcia at Red Sand Studio. We know Mathieu from his project Gold For Kids and incredible single he released last year “City of Your Name”. How did you find working with Red Sand Studio? 

Federico Cossu:  We felt at home! Mathieu is a friend and we love his solo projects. I remember he was working on his track “Plastic Guns” when we started talking about recording Shiva`s first songs. His music knowledge and skills are impressive and he has been able to catch the essence of Shiva May Care as a band. He also added effects, keyboards and backing vocals ideas to our songs.

Have you recorded any other songs with  Mathieu Garcia?

Federico Cossu:  We recorded together “Shiva Dance” – our live show opening track, which you will find on streaming platforms in the coming months. It is a small ethnic rock composition that became incredible thanks to Mathieu`s arrangement skills and taste. He added deep Asian and tribal percussions mixed up with modern sounds, giving it a “V for Vendetta” kind of vibe. For this song, we collaborated with two close friends: Nina Bakhshayesh on cello and  Kitty “Albino” Tha Eastankittan on vocals.

Mathieu contributed to the maturing of the band and we wish him the very best in his own career.

You are also teasing release of another single in mid March entitled “Stay With Me”. Do you plan any promotional videos for this song? What can we expect?

Federico Cossu: We are working with Luca de Falco on music video for Stay With Me. We tried to think out of the box, avoiding the usual hard rock clichés when it comes up to video clips. It will be great,  we had such a positive feedback towards the single so far. It’s a song that everyone can relate to and for the video we are bringing in this great Manchester dancer, Aisha Clasen. You will be able to enjoy her interpretation of the song through her performance next month.

The only way is UP!

Shiva May Care is regularly playing live shows around Manchester, recently at Lock 91. And your shows  are always described as very upbeat and dynamic. What`s the best part of playing on stage?

Federico Cossu: The best part of playing on stage is playing on stage I guess. There’s nothing better than expressing yourself, high on adrenaline in front of people who are waiting to have some fun. That’s the best drug ever. However, everything happens too quickly, as my ex used to tell me, so you need another gig  ASAP.

We are definitely seeing you live this year.  Are you planning a tour perhaps?

Federico Cossu:  We won’t plan any tours at the moment, we wish to see our fan base grow locally first. We will definitely be planning some gigs to promote Stay with Me. The next show will be at Jimmy’s on the 2nd of April and we will appear at Zombie Shack on the 5th of May for Below The Bridge event.

Radio Salford described your bassist  Giorgia di Pancrazio as the best bass player  to come out of Manchester since Peter Hook himself.  Any comments on that?

Federico Cossu:  We will take the compliment with pleasure, thanks for that. Georgia is great. And we will do our best to honour her talent  at our future live shows. Hopefully, love won’t tear us apart.

The band has sense of humour and doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

We love your merch. The Shiva logo that appears on your t-shirts is one of the best designs we have seen in a long time. Can you reveal who is the artist behind it?

Federico Cossu:  The artwork comes from the mind of Matt Shock, Sardinian art designer. With him, just like with Mathieu, we immediately got the essence of Shiva May Care. The design was born from a photo I’ve taken in Market Street in Manchester of a girl wearing a jacket with a snake emblem on it. Matt added some Hellacopters influences and our Shiva logo was born. You definitely have to check Matt`s works, he is currently working on all our next artworks too.

Last question – but we have to ask. What are the things that Shiva may care about? Any ideas?

Federico Cossu:  Shiva may care about making good music. And we definitely care about people who will listen to our songs. We want the public to have fun while we are striving to encourage people not to waste their lives, all between a jump, a shout and a good riff. We really wish to see boys and girls of  Manchester (and beyond) beating depression, drug and alcohol abuse if they are suffering of any of these problems. There’s a huge potential within each of us and it would be a shame not to use it. We also care about  our pets… God, we love our pets and good coffee.

Shiva May Care merch stand is colourful and very artistic

You can follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/shivamaycare
https://twitter.com/ShivaMayCare
https://www.instagram.com/shivamaycare/
https://soundcloud.com/shivamaycare
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5l8feZRdChITHw7dp0L0gc?si=ww1Tiem0S5C0aOPiQbRoZw

Federico Cossu (aka J3T-L4G)
https://soundcloud.com/jet-lag13

We hope you found Shiva May Care interesting and we will surely report back on their musical endeavours in the future. For now, turn the volume up and enjoy the wild ride with the awesome band!

Laters,

Mal+ Rita

Indieterria meets Ist Ist

Dear Readers,

In December Indieterria focused on Manchester to showcase you some of the newest artists on their local scene. We had a pleasure to sit down and talk with Witch Fever and Tin Mole. Now, we bring you third interview with a band that grabbed our attention from the first time we heard them on Steve Lamacq show at BBC 6 Music. They are called Ist Ist and we swear they belong to a different era.

Louder Than War magazine described them as “majestic post-punk, haunting and hypnotic”. This four piece blends alternative rock with cold wave elegance and they have been compared to The White Lies and Joy Division. Dark, brooding, mysterious and melodic at the same time, Ist Ist are fiercely independent with disregard for social media and all the hype about networking.

Ist Ist (classic) logo

It was a bit of a challenge to find the right questions to ask but then again music requires effort from listeners and writers alike. So we had to dig around a bit, in an old school way. We questioned mutual friends in Mancunia for tips, went reading through printed interviews in Manchester Evening News in a Central Library and searched though pages of a label that would rather quote poetry than provide you with “about us” segment.

We also went down to Picadilly Records to “argue” to get a copy of the band`s EP on vinyl.

We visited Manc several times from Worcester…

The last time we researched a band like this was when Melody Maker was still a thing. But we loved every minute of the preparations. It only made our admiration for the band stronger. In a world where artists put their entire lives and privacy for everyone to see, Ist Ist are not just a band. Their approach is an act of defiance.

 

Ist Ist as a four piece photographed by Nidge Luhg Sanders (Trust A Fox)
https://www.trustafoxphotography.com/

Ist Ist:
Adam Houghton (vox, guitar)
Andy Keating (bass)
Joel Kay (drums)
Mat Peters (keyboards)

Ist Ist built themselves a reputation as iconic Manchester performers. Can you please introduce yourselves to Indieterria readers?

Andy Keating: We’re Adam Houghton, Andy Keating, Joel Kay and Mat Peters.

You have started out in 2014 and from the very beginning this band is synonymous with complete control of your art: no radio plugger, no label, handling all the group related matters and tours. We were told you don’t have a manager. Yet, you easily sell out such legendary and sizable venues as Gorilla or The Deaf Institute and receive air play on national radio. Steve Lamacq champions you regularly on his 6 Music shows. How important is the DIY ethos to you?

Andy Keating: The DIY ethos is very important. We don’t really know how to operate any other way, either. We seem to appeal to a fan base who don’t want any bullshit and want to get behind a band who are real people making real music they can believe in. At the same time, we’re not without a manager by design, if the right offer came along or the right opportunity to work with a genuine label presented itself, we’d take it.

Ist Ist as a three piece photographed by Paul Husband http://www.paulhusbandphotography.com/

Ist Ist are also not very fond of self promotion on the Internet. Your social media are limited to announcements regarding tours and upcoming music. No funny posts, jokes or behind the stages shots. You try to keep a distance between your audience and the band. Aren’t you sometimes tempted to break the fourth wall or post something controversial like Slaves for example?

Andy Keating: We’ve never felt like posting something controversial just for the sake of it. What’s the point? If it’s just for sake of it it’s just going to be contrived and unnecessary. With regards to breaking the fourth wall, we like to keep it strictly business online. Bands posting photos posing in Christmas hats? No thanks. Stick to the music.  Our fans would attest to us looking after them as best we can, we’ve always got time to sign a record, have a photo, have a chat or whatever at gigs but your online presence should be a snapshot of the band and their image. We’re serious about our music so we’re serious online.

We want to ask you about the visual side of the project. Your videos and photography are limited to the monochrome and all releases feature distinct photography, often of brutalist architecture or strange landmarks. There are other bands in Manchester who also have their own artistic direction but we have to admit, what you put out is the closest thing to what Peter Saville did with releases at Factory Records.

Andy Keating:  Thanks, the artwork and style should always compliment the music. The Peter Saville influences are inescapable given where we grew up and what we were listening to when we all started playing instruments as teenagers.

Sleeve and vinyl pressing of EP “Spinning Rooms”, photography by Tom Houghton

You channel FAC also in another way: Ist Ist is yet to release their debut album but your catalogue is huge and highly collectable. You released five singles: “White Swan”, “Night Arms”, “Silence”, “Strangers” and “Right Before Your Eyes”, then followed it up with a single compilation “Prologue” and two live albums “Live at St Phillips Church” and “Live at Manchester Gorilla”. Then in April 2018 you landed your first EP – “Spinning Rooms”. Each release is limited between 100 – 300 copies, on CDs or vinyl. And once the stock is gone, it’s gone. Nobody beside you and maybe Idles cares to release their materials in such collectable formats. What made you take this approach to releasing your music?

Andy Keating:  Listening to music should be an experience and much of that is lost with digital streaming. Being on streaming sites like Spotify and iTunes is necessary but it’s not an experience. The art of the album is being lost because of this. Sites like Spotify suggest an artist’s “most popular” songs, so unless you really want to get into a band, you’ll likely only listen to those suggested songs and you may never find some gems which are on earlier EPs or singles.

We wanted listening to music to be fun and something you commit to. Getting hold of a vinyl record and putting it on whilst you look at the artwork and cover notes should be special. Receiving a new record in the post should be special. Streaming sites serve a purpose but they’re not particularly fun.

The limited edition thing works well because people like to be part of something exclusive. There’s some people who’ve bought everything we’ve released and there’s some who maybe came on board around “Spinning Rooms” and missed out on the initial limited runs of singles and want to get their hands on them but can’t.

Ist Ist`s upcoming EP “Everything is Different Now” sleeve and red vinyl pressing. Photography by Tom Houghton

Ist Ist`s upcoming EP “Everything is Different Now” bundle: red and black vinyl pressing and CD. Photography by Tom Houghton

Ist Ist was for most of the time a three piece but recently you added Mat Peters as a permanent member of the band. Do you think your sound changed because of introduction of keyboard into the mix? 

Andy Keating: Barring “White Swan” and “Right Before Your Eyes”, every song we recorded in the studio had keyboards or extra on, but we either didn’t use those elements live or we occasionally used backing tracks. After the tour in early 2018 it felt right to bring an extra member in to play keyboards because the new songs demanded them. So the older songs haven’t lost their fundamentals and Mat gave them a lift – but we’ve really developed our sound with him. The new EP will show that.

The release of “Spinning Rooms” was followed by an extensive tour that took you around the country and abroad (playing in Berlin). It also received rave reviews. Nigel Carr wrote in Louder Than War: “This EP will stand as one of the best debut releases by any band; simply stunning”. Are you satisfied with what you accomplished with the record? Would you change/ correct anything on it?

Andy Keating: It’s always a bit of a wasted exercise to deliberate over something which has already been committed to record. We’ve sometimes discussed what sort of impact Mat would have had on the record if he was in the band at the time, but we love “Spinning Rooms” and it perfectly encapsulates who and where we were when we recorded that in early January 2018.

Promotional poster showcasing sleeve to single “Exist”. Photography by Tom Houghton

Your sophomore EP “Everything Is Different Now” will see the light of the day on Friday, 25th January 2019. What can we expect?

Andy Keating: It’s a progression from “Spinning Rooms.” It still sounds like Ist Ist but it was the natural progression. It’s probably actually slightly more accessible. “Spinning Rooms” was relatively niche in places but there’s two definite “singles” on “Everything Is Different Now.”

 “Everything Is Different Now” is being promoted by a single “Exist” and a video filmed in France. It was created and directed by Natalia Bedkowska and Matthew Boone. Can you tell us more about the idea behind this video? It seems to follow the same concept as “Right Before Your Eyes”, showing ordinary life and streets of urban dwellings.

Andy Keating: Our keyboard player Mat knows Natalia so he got in touch with her and the only brief really was that it needed to fit in with our style, we left the rest up to her. She was on a trip to Paris so decided to film it there, she sent it across and we were happy with it. Boone shot the live footage at our show at St Philip’s Church back in August 2018.

We want to ask you about your label – Kind Violence Records. They seems to share your interest in high art and dislike of social media hype. Their website is minimalistic and quotes “Darkness” – a poem by Lord Byron. We noticed that photography on the record label’s page is done by Tom Houghton whose images also can be found on the covers of your releases. It’s hard not to notice that Tom bears the same surname as Adam, your vocalist. Is it a coincidence or rather a family owned enterprise? 

Andy Keating: Someone’s done their research… Adam created Kind Violence to use as a label to release our EPs and to potentially release other music he and we liked. The surname isn’t a coincidence either. Tom is Adam’s brother. He takes some really cool photographs which always seem appropriate for our artwork.

Artwork showing a brutalist landmark that can be found on Kind Violence Records website
Photography by Tom Houghton

Surely after the EP is out, a tour will follow. Where can we see you playing live next?

Andy Keating:  Yes, we’re heading out on tour soon after the EP is out. We’re playing:

30/01 – Hebden Bridge Trades Club                     Venue              Tickets
28/02 – The Lending Room, Leeds                        Venue              Tickets            RSVP
01/03 – Sebright Arms, London                             Venue              Tickets            RSVP
05/03 – The Polar Bear, Hull                                   Venue            Free Entry        RSVP
09/03 – Cafe Totem, Sheffield                                Venue              Tickets           RSVP
15/03 – Rough Trade, Nottingham                        Venue              Tickets           RSVP
16/03 – Gorilla, Manchester                                   Venue              Tickets           RSVP
30/03 – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh                          Venue              Tickets           RSVP

Last question. Will you ever release song “Rats” in the form of a single? It seems to be a fan favourite of sorts.

Andy Keating:  No, definitely not.

Ist Ist tour poster
Photography by Nidge Luhg Sanders (Trust A Fox)
https://www.trustafoxphotography.com/

Despite not being fans of inter-webs, Ist Ist keeps a healthy online presence. You can visit and follow them at:

https://www.facebook.com/ististmusic/
https://twitter.com/ististmusic
https://www.instagram.com/ististmusic
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIe48WYG__QCArF6t-CdIMw
https://www.musicglue.com/ististmusic/shop
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5YiRgqaj5yVjVtUp4G6iUq?si=l3HrO7M7QAm9mixV-epaXg

Or you can follow their record label, Kind Violence Records

https://www.kindviolencerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kindviolencerecords/

The upcoming tour dates/tickets can be found here:

https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/ist-ist-1
https://www.musicglue.com/ististmusic/tour

Additional reading  for anyone who – like us – finds Ist Ist to be an incredible band.

https://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2017/09/ist-ist-interview.html
https://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2018/08/ist-ist-interview.html
https://epigram.org.uk/2018/04/06/ist-ist-spinning-rooms-ep/
https://bittersweetsymphonies.co.uk/2018/04/08/ep-review-ist-ist-spinning-rooms/
https://louderthanwar.com/ist-ist-spinning-rooms-review/
https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=122111

So there you have it. Ist Ist`s new EP “Everything Is Different Now” will be out on 25th January. Get your copy before its gone! The only thing we could not do while preparing this chapter of Indieterria was to see the band live. That may change in the coming months!

We hope you enjoyed our first interview of 2019 and we will be coming back to update this blog in the future.

M/R