Indieterria meets Neville Staple

Dear Readers,

Neville Staple is an artist who does not need introduction – a legend, an original Rude Boy and a musician that soudtracked the last four decades for millions of people around the world.  His work with The Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat puts him on the front-lines of 2 tone ska movement. In short, ladies and gentlemen, rude boys and girls – we had a pleasure to speak to Mr Staple about his music, 40th anniversary of ska, charity work and his degree.

The Neville Staple Band – photo by John Coles
http://www.johncolesphotography.com/

We would like to start this interview by congratulating you. On July 10th you were awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Arden University in recognition of your musical career and involvement in the community. Well done Doctor! How do you feel?

Neville Staple: Thank you so much. I feel great actually. I am a rude boy who came up from the street, who found opportunities and ran with them, who realised what talents I could bring to the table and brought them. Its all I had, so I used them. I have had over 40 amazing years in entertainment and music, so to be honoured by a very new and classy university like Arden, is brilliant. With all the awards I have gained over the years with albums, singles and other production work, this is extra special, because it is very personal to me and guys like me, don’t get such things easily, without really stepping up. Yeah, I am very proud.

 It’s the 40th anniversary of The Specials this year. Did you ever imagine when you joined the band that four decades later you will be still making music and touring?

Neville Staple:  Before the Specials I was an entertaining, I won dance competitions, performed with the Ray King Soul Band and toasted lyrics with Messenger and Jah Baddis Sound Systems, so I was always going to have a life in music, I reckon. But I probably wouldn’t have believed I’d still be making music, producing albums and soundtracks, or touring the world, all these years later. It’s great and keeps me young!

Neville and Sugary Staples – photo by John Coles
http://www.johncolesphotography.com/

2Tone Ska movement are credited with defusing racial tensions in Thatcher- era Britain by mixing reggae and punk. Music journalists rightly point out that even the chequered patterns used by the movements (black and white squares) symbolized the unity felt by musicians at that time. It’s hard not to draw parallels between that period and “hostile environment” now. Do you think music can again heal the divided society in the times of Brexit?

Neville Staple:  One of my recent songs, “Put Away Your Knives” has led to a lot of people coming forward and looking at more solutions to knife crime. People contact my wife Sugary and me about the issues they face, or the projects they want to set up and lots of other stuff.  So, if that is the power of just one song, then yes, I do believe that we can always make a difference, through music. “Politician Man”, “The Border” and “Road Block” on recent albums, also caused a lot of dialogue with fans, who recognised issues from their own lives, or communities or from the news. Even “Way of Life” was written about our friends who sat in a bar, having a drink, when the Borough Market and London Bridge ‘terror attacks’ took place. That song is about their night of dread and the conversations that took place afterwards, among families and friends. I still prefer to address society through my music.

Your friends in The Specials took on the current politics and Windrush scandal in a song “Vote for me” with bitter words about tearing families apart. You also seem to tackle that issue. In a video to your single “Return of Judge Roughneck” you and the band are seen in the dock for “serious crimes”. You also re-recorded one of your old hits “Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum” and it sounds like it was written yesterday. Do you see yourself as a political commentator or rather as an artist holding the mirror to society?

Neville Staple:  Mostly an artist holding a mirror to society, but perhaps a little bit of both. Judge Roughneck definitely knows a lot about what is wrong in society and especially about those who exploit or hurt others. So, he condemns them all (could be politicians, bankers or violent attackers), but because his hands are tied (or maybe he colludes), the guilty do not get properly punished, they get probation! So, they are still free to do what they do. That is definitely a mirror of the society that I see every day.

You work very closely with your wife and manager Christine Sugary Staple. She supports you on tour and you appeared with her on the “Rude Rebels” album. Many people would fear being business partners with their significant others. You seem to enjoy it. What’s your secret?

Neville Staple:  Being soul mates is the secret. She is my right arm. She has been there through good and bad, happy and sad. She is the heart, strength and support to all what I do, and I try to be the same to her, and she manages the band and me. We worked on Rude Rebels together and she is so talented in the studio, that is easy to work with her, and she did a lot of work on my other recent albums and singles. We also have great fun on the road. She is an original rude girl so knows how to deal with an original rude boy (laughs) Perfect match!

 All though your career, you had a chance to work and perform alongside the biggest names in the industry: The Clash, David Byrne, The Go-Gos and even Bananarama. If we can ask you to name an artist you never got a chance to meet or collaborate with. Who is “the one that got away”?

Neville Staple:  Following Amy Winehouse’s appearance beside me on stage, which was brilliant, we then looked at plans to do some recordings. I was gutted that I never had the chance to do it. But out of today’s current artists, I still love to mix up different genres and the rough with the smooth, so I would like to meet and work with Bastille, to do a sweet and cool, driving track, with a rude spin; or definitely with Stormzy, to do something edgy and catchy, deep and inspiring. We could let people see that elders and young people can unite and create great things together. A show of unity and respect, with an important message. Yeah, good things!

The Neville Staple Band – photo by John Coles
http://www.johncolesphotography.com

After leaving The Specials, you reinvented yourself as a solo artist. Recently, you have been touring successfully with your own assemble, The Neville Staple Band. Can you please introduce your band members to us? Who’s joining you on stage?

Neville Staple:  To be honest, I have never not had a solo career of some kind, in over 40 years. And the Neville Staple Band actually celebrates its 15-year anniversary this year. I put some of my own band tours on hold, when I did the most recent 2009–2012 reunion with the Specials (there have been at least 3 reunions with recorded albums and tours over the years), but I was still doing NSB shows in-between the Specials tours too. I have also always done DJ shows too, since my sounds system days. And before the Neville Staple Band 15 years ago, I had Neville Staple and The Hitmen, and Special Beat, Today’s Specials, plus the Legends of 2Tone Band, that I fronted and toured all over with. I have never not had a solo career or other collaborations going on.

My current band has Sugary up front with me on vocals, doing some lead and some backing; Joe Atkinson on both keys and piano, Sledge Armstrong on bass, Matty Band on drums, Billy Shinbone on guitar, Spencer Hague on trombone and Drew Stansall on Saxophone. These guys are the best. True and loyal friends too.

 Your newest single “Put Away Your Knives” could easily be classified as a protest song about the epidemic of knife crimes sweeping through urban areas such as London, Birmingham or Sheffield. The song is dedicated to your grandson, Fidel Glasgow who tragically lost his life in 2018. The song will collect funding for Victim Support. Can you tell us more this track?

Neville Staple:  It is a protest song. It is a song to say enough now. Enough! Someone has to say it like it is. Stop running around with knives, stop killing each other. Think of your future. One day you could become a dad yourself. Who the hell are your kids going to look up to? You there? You with the big knife hidden in your clothes? I don’t think so! Or you over there, yeah you – the guy who just shot a 17-year-old kid, because the kid upset the puppet master from your endz! It has gone too far! Everyone needs to step on it. My wife Sugary says, every parent, every school, every auntie, uncle, grandparent, politician, neighbour and local organisations, need to step up and get involved. If everyone took a stand and said ENOUGH NOW, ENOUGH, and did their bit to make a change, no matter how small, in their own community or family, we could win this. Don’t just wait for it to happen to you or near you. Stamp it out before it does. People are left devastated, with too many parents and grandparents are burying their young families. We have to make a stand now.

Neville Staple 1 – photo by John Coles
http://www.johncolesphotography.com

 “Put Away Your Knives” and your other recent single “Working Hard Everyday” were mixed and engineered by Tom Lowry at Planet Studios in Coventry. Tom has worked with, from the legendary Kumar Sanu, to Spectrum and the Specials. How do you remember working with him? It must have felt like visiting an old friend.

Neville Staple:  Tom and I have been great friends for so long. We worked together from when we first set up studio space. I had a record label of my own and I used to produce artists at Tom’s studio back in the late 80’s onwards. It was there that we produced Johnny Zee, Stereo Nation (aka Tarzam Singh) and Lieutenant Pidgeon. We have never stopped working together and being friends. I even flew Tom over to the States in the 1990’s, when I was over there recording and producing, to help me with some of my engineering and production work. Even now, with both Tom and Sugary in the studio with me, it`s like a night out with great friends, where you all support each other and just get on really well. He’s like family to me.

 You are shortly due to hit the road that will take you all over the UK. What can we expect from your newest shows?

Neville Staple: I will be performing my hit songs with the Specials and classics from my career.
I always have a party with the fans. They love to sing along, jump, skank and stomp with us. No two shows are the same and they are not like being sat at home with an MP3 on. What’s the point of that? We prefer to make each show energetic and individual to match the audience on the night. We could be performing a show with thousands, or a smaller venue with hundreds, but will still give them the best night ever. Come and see!

The last questions at Indieterria are always a bit of fun. You are the original Rude Boy and we have to ask – if you could do one naughty thing and never get caught, what would it be?

Neville Staple:  I would steal back all the rights to my own song writing that I unwittingly signed away to others many years ago, or I would hack the tax system and give every hard-working individual, a 10- year full tax rebate!! (laughs)

Neville Staple – photo by John Coles
http://www.johncolesphotography.com

You can follow Neville Staple on socials:

http://www.originalrudeboy.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/NevilleStapleBand
https://twitter.com/NevilleStaple
https://www.instagram.com/originalrudeboy1/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLdTZw3peRaUrjwrckSps8Q
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3cpVKY88BdRzsgWf5mHaUo?si=W0LYHYmTRj-BhgduTKDn2Q

We would like to thank to Mr Staple for his time and to Shauna McLarnon of Shameless Promotion PR for making arrangements.

Love,

M/R

Indieterria meets Karl Hildebrandt

Dear Readers,

There is nothing better than to interview a poet. They are the people who understand life, who know their scene and who quietly put into words what we cannot even express. In a way, they are chroniclers of victories and struggles of life. It was Czesław Miłosz who said that the poet remembers and it is very true. So it was a true pleasure and privilege to speak to Manchester`s finest spoken word artist and poet – Karl Hildebrandt ahead of Musicians Against Homelessness gig on 21st August at The Night People.

Karl is known not only for his extraordinary poems but also for his active involvement in music and his charity work on a local level. Proper stuff as they say in Mancunia.

Mosh Pit Poet Laureate – Karl bringing poetry to the gigs.

You are a man of many talents: multi – instrumentalist, spoken word artist, poet, roadie and a stage hand. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Karl Hildebrandt: I’ve had a love of music and words since an early age. Bother listening and eventually playing. I’ve always written words. Just never had the nerve to do it live till about 5 years ago. “Mancunian Gobshite” sums me up to be honest.

Dark and witty poetry has won you many notable fans: Denise Johnson, Dave Haslam, MC Tunes to mention a few. You take daily conversations, occurrences and fleeting moments and turn them into heart wrenching observations.  What inspires you?

Karl Hildebrandt: Life inspires me. I tend to brain dump either on paper or my phone. I see the good and the shitty bits and write it down. In the last 8 months or so, my prose has become a lot lighter than previously. I am happy and in love.

You have been performing at concerts, open mic nights and  jam sessions earning yourself a nick name “Mosh Pit Poet Laureate”.  Do you see spoken word as a part of a regular gig? There are still many people out there who think poetry belongs in libraries, not concert halls.

Karl Hildebrandt: I think poetry and spoken word is becoming a bit more popular. A pot of acts are putting words over music. I am, but I prefer the purity of just getting up to “shout at the traffic”. If people hear you, they’re listening.

Looking out for inspiration.

For a while you have been in a band The G-O-D with Chris Bridgett (Dub Sex) and Simon Wolstencroft (Ian Brown, The Fall) as a bassist. Do you think this project will make a come back?

Karl Hildebrandt: No. Chris has a new project called Cold Water Swimmers, who are amazing. And Simon is busy doing what Simon does, being Funky Si. In the San Pedro Collective.

Please tell us about your involvement in San Pedro Collective – another musical project that you are a part of. San Pedro just released an EP that gathered rave reviews in the music press. Is that true that one of the songs was inspired by your mother?

Karl Hildebrandt: The San Pedro Collective is the brainchild of Manchester’s finest maverick, Rikki Turner. His vision to bring artists and musicians together to create something unique for the eyes and ears is genius. The Demon Sessions EP is being rehearsed for live work. Gigs are coming up. And the next single will be dropping soon. And yes, inspired by me losing my mum, but it’s a paean to loss of any kind.

If you had to chose one particular poetry movement to identify  with, which one would it be? Beatniks, Modernists or maybe something more old school like The Cavaliers?

Karl Hildebrandt: The Beats. I hate structure within any art form. Be it music, poetry, art or whatever. I feel hemmed in by conformity. Burroughs, Kerouac and Ginsberg helped me understand you can be honest about writing and not worry about what you’ve written. Never be afraid to create.

You are also known for your charity work, often contributing to incentives as Musicians Against Homelessness. Can you tell us about this charity and its work?

Karl Hildebrandt: MAH was set up by Alan McGee and Emma Rule to create a platform for musicians and creatives to raise both funds and awareness for homelessness. In the North West we have Andy White and Angela Moore, co-coordinating gigs and events. Both top people as well. I’m also doing some spoken word for Action Against Hunger at Moovin Festival for Deborah Faulkner-Moscrop and I’ve done stuff for various other charities. Give it – you get it back.

If you don`t have a pen and paper, mobile phone is a great tool to record poems!

On 21st August you will appear at Night People as part of a fundraiser to fight homelessness.  Who is on the bill and what can we expect from your set?

Karl Hildebrandt: The gig is on at Night People on Princess Street in Manchester. Top line up including acoustic sets from Thomas from The Blinders, Scuttlers, Afghan Sound Gang and Maddy Storm amongst others. And me, of course. I found a poem, a poem I couldn’t remember writing which will fit the bill. I supported Dave Johns (Daniel Blake) at Moston Miners and recorded it on the bus on the way home. It’s very, very sweary.

Imagine that one of your works is to appear in anthologies or school syllabuses, like John Cooper Clarke`s “I Wanna Be Yours”. Do you have a poem that you consider your major or most significant piece?

Karl Hildebrandt: I honestly don’t know. My stuff contains far too many swear words, but if I had to choose one, “Another Bastard List Poem About Manchester”. I’ve done a Liverpool version and have been asked for a London version as well.

We can`t pass this opportunity. Do you think we can get a haiku out of you about Indieterria?

Karl Hildebrandt:  Sorry, I struggle with haiku. I’ll get my mate Dave Norman to do one for you. Here’s one of my favourites though:

“The taste of rain
Why kneel?” –

Jack Kerouac

Proper.

You can follow Karl on the socials (you know those pesky online pages), but he is often found at the nearest Social or other boozer/venue in the neighbourhood.

https://mitherdimps.wordpress.com/
https://soundcloud.com/mither
https://www.facebook.com/karl.hildebrandt1
https://twitter.com/RTransmissions

Essential reading:

http://essentiallypop.com/epop/2016/02/holy-trinity-new-punk-trio-the-g-o-d-features-members-of-dub-sex-the-fall-and-ian-browns-band
http://www.soundspheremag.com/spherecast/listen-spoken-word-karl-hildebrandt-will-it-be-forever/

 

Poster for MAH gig on 21st August 2019

You can see Karl (and many others) doing their thing for Musicians Against Homelessness on 21st August 2019 at The Night People in Manchester. Tickets are £5.

Event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/703946873388361/

Tickets page:
https://www.fatsoma.com/night-people/cvr968u0/musicians-against-homelessness-night-people

The full line up is as follows:

Thomas Haywood (The Blinders)
Afghan Sand Gang
Scuttlers (acoustic set)
Ellysse Mason
Maddy Storm
Karl Hildebrandt
Shot by a Shotgun Slug

We are proud to say that we will be attending MAH gig at The Night People so there will be a lot to report back! We are hoping to see some of you down the front.

M/R

Indieterria Reviews – “Remainder” by Trupa Trupa

Dear Readers,

It is with the greatest of pleasures that we present you today’s review. For the first time ever, Indieterria is hosting a band from Poland! And they are, in our opinion, one of the best bands to come out of our native country in many years.

Trupa Trupa has been present on the international market since the release of their debut album in 2015. Musically, they are closer to Fugazi and experimental shoe gaze mixed with wild psychedelic rollercoaster. This year Trupa Trupa played Off Festival and SXSW where they received rave reviews from Chicago Tribune, NPR and Rolling Stone!

Official bio: Trupa Trupa are Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, Tomek Pawluczuk, Wojtek Juchniewicz and Rafal Wojczal. They made their first international appearance in 2015 with the album “Headache” published by a British label Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records. A year later, they signed to French Ici d’ailleurs, where they released a remastered version of “Headache” on vinyl. In 2017, in cooperation with their British and French labels, the band recorded and put out “Jolly New Songs”, which was also published by the Japanese label Moorworks. In recent years, Trupa Trupa have toured extensively, playing at the SXSW, Primavera Sound, Iceland Airwaves, Colours of Ostrava, Waves Vienna, Eurosonic, Liverpool Sound City, to name just a few. In February, 2019 the band released a single “Dream about” via Sub Pop Records. The new album “Of The Sun” will be international cooperation between Glitterbeat Records (Europe & elsewhere), Lovitt Records (USA), Moorworks (Japan) and Antena Krzyku (Poland). Release date: September 13th, 2019. The band works with Paradigm Talent Agency in North America, South America, Asia, & Australia and ATC Live for Europe, and will promote the new album with tours in the USA, Europe and Japan.

Wojtek Juchniewicz by Steve Hampson

Their single “Remainder” is KEXP’s song of the day and received a solid airplay on BBC through Stuart Maconie, Gideon Cole and Tom Ravenscroft. The band has been mentioned or interviewed in Rolling Stone Magazine, Pitchfork, Wire Magazine, Clash Magazine and many others.

We have sat down with Grzesiek Kwiatkowski, the singer and guitarist of the band to speak about the new song, his fear of people and why discussing history is so important in times of social divide.

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: My name is Grzegorz Kwiatkowski. I am the singer and guitarist of Trupa Trupa.

Trupa Trupa by Steve Hampson

Where are you based and who is in the band?

 Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: Trupa Trupa is based in Gdańsk, in the north of Poland. Except for myself, the band consists of Rafał Wojczal (guitar/keyboards), Tomek Pawluczuk (drums) and Wojtek Juchniewicz (bass guitar, guitar and vocals).

Tell us something about your new single “Remainder”? Is there any story behind it?

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: Everything we do can be interpreted in many different ways that’s why there isn’t a single story behind this song. Wojtek wrote the lyrics so his interpretation of “Remainder”, his idea behind this track, is not the same as mine. I’m not even sure if I truly understand what inspired him to write it. I can only tell you what it means to me personally. And I think, when people start listening to the song, they realize it is a protest against denial, against conveniently forgetting about things that happened in the past. It is a song about Shoah (Holocaust), about human catastrophe.

Trupa Trupa (again) by Steve Hampson

Where did you record the song? Was it in your home town of Gdansk (Poland) or somewhere else?

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: The song was recorded, along with our entire album “Of The Sun”, in Custom 34 recording studio in Gdansk.

The song comes with a black and white video that looks like it was filmed through a telescope. Can you tell us where it was shot and who directed it?

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: The video to “Remainder” was directed by Nick Larson but Aleksander Makowski helped him a lot on the set so it’s rather a cooperation between the two of them. I have discussed the meaning of the song with them before the shoot and they seem to agree with my interpretation. The video too tells the story of a humanitarian disaster.

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

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: Yes. We work with ATC Live and Paradigm Talent Agency so we are really in great hands when it comes to touring. This fall, we will play in America, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland. So far, we have booked four shows in the UK: in London (Sebright Arms on 27th of September), Brighton (The Hope & Ruin on 2nd of December), Glasgow (The Hug and Pint on 4th of  December) and Leeds (Hyde Park Book Club on 5th of December).

You can purchase tickets online:
London: https://www.songkick.com/concerts/38535964-trupa-trupa-at-sebright-arms
Brighton: https://www.songkick.com/concerts/38990036-trupa-trupa-at-hope-and-ruin
Leeds: https://www.songkick.com/concerts/38982813-trupa-trupa-at-hyde-park-book-club
Glasgow: tickets available soon

Your new album “Of The Sun” will be released in September through Glitterbeat Records (Europe & elsewhere), Lovitt Records (USA), Moorworks (Japan) and Antena Krzyku (Poland). What can we expect on the record?

Tour poster

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski: Each song we put on the album is open to individual interpretation. For me, the record feels like a “Samuel Becket Lonely Hearts Club Band”. It is about time and nothingness. It deals with social issues on “Remainder”. And it is important to talk about these things. You see, few month ago, we wouldn’t be speaking about politics, but the mayor of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, was murdered by a person radicalized by a right-wing hate speech. It was a huge shock for the entire country but it particularly strongly affected us. Gdansk is a city of freedom, (this is where the Solidarity movement started – Vandian Avenue), so the shock was even bigger. The band is now more aware of how the world around us has changed in the last couple of years, how bad it really became. We almost felt the history knocking on the door of our rehearsal room. I dedicated our SXSW shows to our murdered president.

I have always been rather afraid of people so that hasn’t changed. But now I realize, we live in a crazy, fucked-up Brexit-Trump times. Our reality has always been cruel and a lot has been done to cover up the brutality and violence. In the past however, people were more pretending, they wore masks. They were hiding their intentions. And suddenly, they feel empowered to say whatever they want. They do things in the most egoistic ways. Not all of them, but many do. They dont care about others. I feel this is a very risky situation. Evil can spread around faster than ever.

New single “Remainder”:
https://idol.lnk.to/Remainder

Tour: 
https://www.facebook.com/trupatrupa/photos/p.2530909726960137/2530909726960137/?type=1&theater

You can follow Trupa Trupa on socials:
http://www.trupatrupa.com/
https://www.facebook.com/trupatrupa/
https://twitter.com/trupatrupaband
https://www.instagram.com/trupa_trupa/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCafPyfB3DfnALknzO4NMYCw

Articles:
https://soundcloud.com/trupa-trupa/david-fricke-of-rolling-stone-about-new-album-and-remainder-on-siriusxm
https://rockandrollglobe.com/shoegaze/trupa-trupa-coming-to-america/
https://www.gigwise.com/news/3329600/watch-trupa-trupa-share-video-for-new-song-longing
https://www.clashmusic.com/features/dreams-and-reflections-trupa-trupa-interviewed

“Of The Sun”, Trupa Trupa’s new album will be released in September and we will be reviewing it as soon as it gets into our hands.
You can preorder your copy now fom Bandcamp:
https://trupatrupa.bandcamp.com/album/of-the-sun

The band is also working hard at adding new dates to their UK tour so keep your eyes open for possible gigs in Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham!
We would like to thank Steve Hampson for his beautiful pictures taken during band’s rehearsal in Gdansk in July.

Support your (international) scene!
XXX
Rita and Malicia

Indieterria meets Bexatron

Dear Readers,

They are one of London`s best kept secrets, a band that took classic rock influences and dragged them into XXI century. Holding to their DIY ethos with pride, their amps turned up to 11 and writing songs that will make you shake your booty – Bexatron offer you a whole package of rock and roll fun.  You will not regret this ride. Get on! We sat down with Greg Radcliffe to speak about their beginning, gruelling recording sessions and touring Canada.

 

Band logo

Your bio introduces you as “an octane pop punk with a glam coat” from the heart of London. What an intriguing way to describe a band! Please tell our readers who is in Bexatron and how did the group start?

Greg Radcliffe:  Bexatron consists of BeXXX on vocals, Belle Star on drums, Adam Adorjan on bass and me on guitar. I had been for looking for a singer to front a band which eventually became Bexatron for months. I bumped into BeXXX in Bruno’s Cafe in Soho in London.

I thought she looked the business and asked if she could sing. She said yes. The rest is history. I knew the boys already so when they heard her sing, they jumped in.

 The band has been compared to rock greatest (Blondie, Joan Jett, The Pretenders) and lauded for bringing uncompromising rock with a charismatic female leader back to the frontlines. God knows we missed it.  Do you see yourselves as saviours of rock from repetitiveness and mediocrity?

Greg Radcliffe:  We’re not saviours. We are more pioneers of a genre of music that we like. Putting our own slant on it. We are constantly avoiding repetitiveness and mediocrity. I would say 75% of what we do ends up on the cutting room floor.

Bexatron live – photography by Tosh Marshall
https://www.facebook.com/ToshMarshallPhotography/

 Bexatron has released their debut album “Hey You” in December 2018 and a stand-alone single “Dirty Disco”. One of the things being mentioned in every review is how the records brings generations of guitar music fans together. It`s like you found a secret formula between classic rock antics while sounding fresh and appealing for young audience. What`s your secret?

Greg Radcliffe: There’s no secret (laughs) You hit the nail on the head. All the aforementioned artists, we have been disciples of. We are just spreading the word through our own interpretations. I guess that what keeps it fresh.

 In an interview for Vents Magazine you described the recording sessions as demanding and not without difficulties. Tell us where “Hey You!” was created and how do you manage to face gruelling recordings with such energy and positivity? 

Greg Radcliffe: “Hey You!” was created in Soho, Kilburn, Hackney, Barcelona. The recording was gruelling but we thought to stick to our guns and make the record ‘WE’ wanted. It could have easily ended up on X Factor. Underneath the songs are basically pop songs. However, we didn’t want that one-minute wonder sound. We’re here to stay.

You are now back with a new single “I`m Trash” – an angry track directed at the modern life and how powers that be can make us feel small and insignificant.  Where did the inspiration for the track come from?

Greg Radcliffe:  We wouldn’t say “I`m Trash” is an angry song. It’s reflective of, as you mentioned, modern day life and the society we live. The song like the whole album is pretty much based around London past and present.

Bexatron live shows are legendary – audience dancing, singing lyrics back at the band (in a slightly off-key manner) and generally having good fun. You just recently smashed it at Camden Rocks. How was it to play a home coming gig?

Greg Radcliffe: Camden is our spiritual home. It`s always nice to play to a packed Camden Assembly at 2 pm on the hottest day of the year.

The band is soon off to play your first tour of Canada. It seems like a natural step considering the amount of radio airplay you received there. What can your overseas fans expect from your shows?

Greg Radcliffe:  I think our audience in Canada expect to see the fourth dimension. So far, they have heard it from their radios or phones and seen it on TV screens. Now they are going to get the real deal up close.

Bexx in her element – photography by Tosh Marshall
https://www.facebook.com/ToshMarshallPhotography/

Talking about support from radio stations. Amazing Radio has been championing you a lot these days.  So does BBC Introducing. Do you have any DJs that were instrumental for your career that you would like to give a shout out to?

Greg Radcliffe: All’s been pretty grass roots radio wise. We need to mention Spizz on Resonance Radio, Peter Fox on Foxy Radio, Dave Renegade on Dark Hearts of Camden Radio, Gwen Ever on Deal Radio and Stuart Clack on The Premium Blend Radio. There’s many more, but the reason we’ve given them a shout is that they have all been to our gigs, not just spun our tune.

When all the touring obligations are completed, and you have some time for yourselves – do you plan to take longer holidays or rather just bury yourself in the studio again?

Greg Radcliffe: No holidays, we will just keep on promoting “Hey You!” through till festival time 2020. You can expect our next offering in October 2020. As we’ve already said 75% of our stuff ends up on the cutting room floor, but we’ve already got a fair whack done and start shaping it up when we get back.

Last (in)famous question – imagine that you can play any legendary venue in the world for your most dedicated fans. Where do you take them?

Greg Radcliffe:  Hammersmith Odeon in London.
Bexxx:  CBGBS in New York.
Adam Adorjan: Madison Square Garden in New York.
Belle Star: The Rounhouse in London.

The band live on stage – photography by Graham Hearn https://www.facebook.com/graham.hearn.9

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.bexatronuk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bexatronlive/
https://twitter.com/_BEXATRON
https://www.instagram.com/bexatron_ukofficial/
https://soundcloud.com/bexatron_london
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvDY-TyjsmRspVwYDI74MSg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/2vKP9JrDVQyfNroiqCdAkk?si=w_I3B9K_SMepx-vjmC4zAA

Big thank you to Greg Radclife for agreeing to this interview and to Mimi Brock-Stark of Lander PR for making necessary arrangements.

Shall we meet again on the blog for more kick ass music talk? You bet.

M/R

Indieterria meets Joseph Murray

Dear Readers,

Some time ago we had a pleasure and privilege to speak to Gavin Monaghan, the founder of legendary West Midlands` studios – Magic Garden. The interview proved so popular that we were asked to go back and write some more about the studio and its personnel.  And we are happy to oblige. Part of what we do at Indieterria is to highlight the assets that young and up and coming bands have at their disposal. And nothing is more essential than a good recording studio and talented producers/engineers. Bands, artists and those of you who one day plan to produce albums professionally – please meet Joe Murray. He is one of the best engineers in the country and he has a lot of incredible things to say about working with musicians, mixing and making the magic happen.

If that is not the best interview we did this year then we don`t know how to do interviews.

Joe Murray at work

You are second in command at the iconic Magic Garden Recording Studios.  Please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.

Joseph Murray: Hey everyone. My name is Joseph (Joe) Murray and I’m here to try to answer these wonderful questions and hopefully not bore y’all to deathhh!

Gavin Monaghan – the owner of  Magic Garden described you as a man of many talents. You act as engineer, producer and mixer. You and Gavin work very closely with each other. How do you divide the workload on a regular day in the office?

Joseph Murray:  That is very kind of him as always. One of my favourite things about music is that there is no such thing as a regular day, which keeps things exciting and creative! I think due to how long and how closely we’ve worked together on mountains of records, we’re able to share the workload in various different ways to get the best out of the track and the band. So here’s a rough example of working with a random 3-4 piece band:

Step one: The Band shows up and before anything we have a look around and a general chat. The main thing is putting the band at ease and trying to make sure everyone`s comfortable and “vibing”. The band`s music is massively important and the recording will live forever,  so of course there can be a few nerves here and there.  I try to make sure the band knows I’m on their side and their music means as much to me as to them!

Step two: After all the gear is loaded in and coffees have been made, we’ll all gather in the control room and have a talk about the song and the vision for the track. It`s crucial to get an idea of where we’re heading.

Step three: Once we’ve discussed the in’s and out`s and any ideas on how we should track the record, there’ll be a little bit of mind reading between Gavin and myself and I will head next door to the live room with the drummer to get a better idea of what kit they are using. Whether they can use studio`s various shells or maybe they’ve brought their own or perhaps they just got their prize snare. I’ll then give all the drums a tune which is HUGELY important and often overlooked! The drummer and myself will have a nice in-depth chat about what they like and we will find two, maybe three snares to narrow it all down.

Step four: When we’re hearing everything back through the mics, we’ll then move on to start tracking against the vibey guide track Gavin and the rest of the band have put together.  We’ll do this till we’ve got the “magic” and then I’ll spend a little while putting together the best of each take whilst the band get some sustenance or a nap.

Step five: Then it’s time for the big bad BASS, which 9 times out of 10 we will capture through a high quality direct signal and an amp for vibe. Having the direct signal means that when we’ve wandered into guitar land, we can re-amp the direct bass through various oddities and balance the mid-range against the real guitars.

Step six: And speaking of guitars – another bit of mind reading takes place and Gavin dons the chef`s hat and starts crafting the bands melodic elements. At this point,  I`ll take what we’ve got so far into my mix room and start doing some session file housekeeping so that once Gavin has tracked the rest of the musical components it`s a matter of bringing it all together. From here I’ll start working on my Mix! Every day is completely different: some days I’m producing an electronic artist in one room and Gavin is recording an acoustic songwriter next door and on other occasions I’m mixing an album whilst Gavin’s producing vocals for another project. Every sessions is different so I’m open and ready for most anything (animal attacks included).

Joe worked with many established acts – here in the picture he is shown with Paper Buoys

About two months ago we interviewed  Gavin himself and he mentioned that the studio was being refurbished. Can you update us on the progress of the works? How does Magic Garden grow?

Joseph Murray:  The studio is always changing and growing, which again keeps things fresh we’re always on the hunt for the next big thing or a mysterious hidden gem.

At the moment, we’re putting focus on the benefits of a hybrid approach so far as getting the most out of the computer whilst also squeezing out the analog goodness of the hardware units. The main room is centred around two different analog consoles from two different eras to give us options and choices, when it comes to different genres or bands or even song by song.

One of the desks is a vintage 70’s German broadcast, which gives us great clarity, punch and in general just makes most things sound a little more lively. Then to the side, we’ve got a fantastic gem of a 60’s British desk which again gives us vibe, colour and some nice, rich saturation.

We’ve also got a stock of various preamps – for even more flavours. I find that if you can get the recording chain working WITH the sound from the start, life is just easier later. They’re all tools, like paintbrushes – some are great for huge broad tonal strokes and others are better for fine movements and just a little bit of highlighting.

Meanwhile in the “B” Room, we’ve focused on the finishing side of projects and put the emphasis again on a hybrid approach focusing on the summing side and making sure that the hardware used is as flavourful as possible. In both rooms we’ve got matched monitors to make it easier to transition projects and maintain the same vibe and vision. There’s also a vast microphone collection ranging from the standards to the weird and wonderful and that floats between the rooms

What we are trying to do via this blog is to highlight options available for people who want to break into the music business. And we not only mean artists or bands, but also future technical experts: producers and sound engineers. Judging from your experience –  if somebody wants to find themselves on the other side of the mixing desk – where should they do?

Joseph Murray:  I can obviously only speak for myself and my own experiences, so my advice would be… you should be prepared to work hard (and long) and make sure you love music. Luckily music is so multifaceted and there are so many moving parts that I guarantee there are jobs you’ve never even heard of.

I’ve always thought that the technical side of the recording process can come second and will be worked on for years and years and years… So as long as you’ve got the attitude and decent taste you’re onto a winner. I would also say to remain open minded, you could walk in wanting to be the producer but find that you actually enjoy the engineering side more or even the sound design aspect. Be fearless-ish.

Prepared for any weather.

What are the do`s and don’ts of your profession. If you were to pen a list of helpful and unhelpful habits of studio personnel, what would you include?

Joseph Murray:  I think that attitude is probably one of the most important aspects to studio life. It’s long days, usually all in the same room. You’re dealing with people and it`s important that they know you’re on the same team and you only want what`s best for the song at the end of the day. Being able to write a good clear track sheet is always helpful, making (good or bad) coffee is always appreciated, in fact make lots of coffee. Take notes, ask questions, listen to  e v e r y t h i n g .

For don’ts – each studio or professional will have a different view on what not to do but my main one is don’t make mine or anyone else in the rooms life harder and that`s about it.

You have been instrumental in creating one of our favourites albums of last year – “Columbia”  by The Blinders. Tell us more about the recording process behind this record? Was it easy to work on it? Or maybe it was a truly dystopian experience?

Joseph Murray:  That`s great to hear and thank you very much! It was a brilliant album to be a part of for many reasons. Firstly, I lurvve the guys and they’re great to just hang out. Secondly the songs were top notch and they’re performers through and through, which makes creating an exciting record a joy. The process for the album wasn’t too out of the ordinary and just felt organic. They’re a band with a collective vision and unwavering commitment to get to it. They each know what they like and what they want whilst also being collaborative and open to suggestions and guidance. We were able to develop the songs in such a way that I reckon got the best out of everyone!

A parent shouldn’t have favourites but we need to ask  – which album you worked on so far is your pride and joy?

Joseph Murray: (laughs) Well I try to make whatever I’m working on at the moment be my favourite. I like the idea that for the time the band are in the studio with me I join them as an auxiliary member and in doing so it’s not about a personal ego or a personal preference, it`s about collaboration and doing your best for the band. We’re Family!

There are records I’m proud to been part of because of their musical or emotional significance, there are records I’m proud of because of my input and contribution and records that I’m proud to be part of because of the experience, so I wouldn’t say I have a favourite. It`s like being part of all of these different little tribes!

Besides working in the studio, we have seen you delivering am impressive stand up comedy sets at Musicians Against Homelessness gig in Birmingham in April. Was it one off or have you been doing it for a while now?

Joseph Murray: Ah, well thank you very much! That was actually my first set. I’ve never considered myself a stand up comedian, just a guy who spouts various amounts of nonsense and likes to hear people laugh. It was for a very good cause and as I’m a musician who is most definitely against homelessness how could I say no! If you’re also a musician who is against homelessness, I suggest having a look into what Musicians Against Homelessness do!

Joe Murray delivering stand up comedy set at Musicians Against Homelessness gig in Birmingham. Photo by Annie Monaghan
https://www.facebook.com/annie.monaghan.984

Every sound engineer have their favourite tools to use. What piece of equipment you just have to have at hand?

Joseph Murray: I often will rant about how you can make a record anywhere using anything because it’s the songs that matter and a good song will always be a good song. That being said, it’s nice to have the luxury of your favourite tools and it`s more often a question of what you’re comfortable using. The most important thing for me is my ears and monitors. Everything else is a bonus. My desert island bag would probably have in it a particular snare we’ve acquired that I don’t know much about other than it sounds incredible and seems to just balance the rest of the kit really nicely! Not to compare myself to Van Gogh but if he didn’t have his favourite brush I reckon he’d still paint a masterpiece.

We know that working with Gavin is a dream come true – he is the Wizard of Wolverhampton after all. However, let’s pretend you can work with any other producer (alive or dead) on any album in existence. Who do you choose to collaborate with and what’s the title of the record?

Joseph Murray: I feel that music is always changing and evolving and growing, so I struggle to pick a favourite album or producer. There are thousands of records that I would love to be part of. Some albums that come to mind straight away are the Berlin era recordings by David Bowie, especially “Heroes” produced by Tony Visconti whilst Brian Eno and Iggy Pop were hanging around too. That would of been an experience, especially seeing Tony recording Robert Fripp creating melodic feedback just by walking around the room.

I also think being with Nigel Godrich recording “OK Computer” would of been amazing, to be at the genesis of this new turn in modern music.

There are so many more – Bob Marley`s “Exodus” (not just for the weather), The Beach Boys` “Pet Sounds”, Marvin Gaye`s “What`s Going On”, Wu-Tang Clan`s ”36 Chambers”, Beastie Boys` “Ill Communication” and of course Fleetwood Mac`s “Rumours”.

Thank you very much for talking to us!

Joseph Murray: Thank you so much for your brilliant questions and I hope my answers made some sort of sense! Keep It Loud and One Love.

You can follow Joseph Murray on the socials:

https://www.facebook.com/josephjosephmurraymurray
https://www.instagram.com/josephjosephmurraymurray/

And Magic Garden Recording Studios can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/MagicGardenRecordingStudio/
https://twitter.com/MagicGardenUK
https://www.instagram.com/magicgardenstudio/

There is an awesome playlist that showcases all the recordings made at Magic Garden on Spotify:

Yeah we know, we are so lucky to have such incredible studio in West Midlands and people like Joe and Gavin to take care of all the local (and not so local) artists. If you look for a place to bring your art to life – please get in touch with Magic Garden.

R/M

Indieterria meets The Cosmics

Dear Readers,

The Cosmics has been shaping West Midlands music scene for three years now. They announced their arrival on the local scene with a punkadelic anthem “Johnny” and do not show any signs of slowing down. It does not happen often that so early in their career a band will achieve best of both worlds – cult status in their home town and respect of their musical peers.Ask anyone in West Midlands and they will tell you – The Cosmics are unlike any other band. Not only in sound but how quickly they progress from one stage to another, like they have found a secret formula to make it in the music business. We can only think of one other act in the last four years with such distinctiveness, influence and uniqueness – The Blinders.

This blog will be longer than others – that is because we wanted to do a proper introduction to the band. We interviewed them, we went to see them on their first European tour and gathered some press coverage of their debut EP.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the indie circuit – please meet a trio that will define the future of music in the UK – The Cosmics.

**** The interview ****

Before the band travelled abroad to play shows in The Netherlands, Belgium and France, we have sat down with bassist and vocalist Erin Grace to talk about the band`s Glastonbury appearance, their EP and working on exclusive pressings of their singles via Flying Vinyl. This is what Erin told us:

The Cosmics photographed by Psychedelic Eye
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelic.eye.photography

Many bands claim that they are as close as relatives. You don’t have to – you are one very talented family.  Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Erin Grace:  Thank you! We are Erin Grace (bass/vocals), Connor Boyle (guitar) and Danny Boyle (drums).

The Cosmics formed in 2015 and within one year gathered incredible support. In 2017 BBC Introducing invited you to play their stage at the biggest festival of all – Glastonbury. Tell us how do you remember that show?

Erin Grace:  Glastonbury was an unforgettable dream come true, it felt very surreal, being on stage, there was huge  feelings of excitement, it’s something we always dreamt of but never thought would happen when we first started the band.

Since Glasto you have been going from strength to strength – the list of your achievements is longer than  life span of many indie acts: rave reviews from Steve Lamacq and Hugh Stephens, radio play on BBC 1, BBC 6, Amazing Radio, Radio X, coverage from BBC Introducing West Midlands. You played Isle of Wight and Reading Festival.  Your ascent to veterans of indie circuit was swift. Do you feel overwhelmed by your own success?

Erin Grace:  We don’t feel overwhelmed by anything, we just appreciate every opportunity we’ve had and we’re grateful for this journey as a band.

You shared stages with Starcrawler, Surfbort, The Murder Capital, Goat Girl and Birmingham finest -Table Scraps. Its equivalent of playing in Premier League of Indie Circuit. Do you book your own shows or do you prefer to use agents or external promoters?

Erin Grace: It depends what kind of show we’re going for, we love DIY shows and we also use promoters that suit us. Sometimes we book our own shows, though if we’re supporting a band or playing outside of Birmingham, we use promoters.

We have to ask you about your unique stage dress code: vintage dresses or costumes inspired by 60s and 70s have become your trademark. You have also been included in Fred Perry Subculture series.  How important is stage attire to you and was this aspect of your shows something that you wanted to explore?

Erin Grace:  Outfits are relatively important, they can express a mood or an era, we all love vintage fashion too so it just feels natural to wear what we love.

Your debut single “Johnny” came out in 2017 on Flying Vinyl – a company specializing in limited releases on vinyl. You returned to working with them last year when you took part in Flying Vinyl`s first compilation “Paranoid Futures”.  We would love to hear how your collaboration began?

Erin Grace:  Flying Vinyl approached us a few years ago when “Johnny” first came put and ever since, we love what they do!

The Cosmics ready for action – photography by Jessica H_Ingram
https://www.facebook.com/jessicahingramphotography

You just released your debut EP. It was recorded by Rory Attwell (Palma Violets, The Vaccines) and produced by Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin (Sundara Karma, The Orb, Blur, Oasis). You got to work with some established names. Where was it recorded and how long it took for the EP to be finished?

Erin Grace:  The EP was released on 13th June and we recorded it all in London, we went to record on few separate occasions over the course of a year so each song was written at a different time.

You also launched the EP in London. How did that go?

Erin Grace:  The EP launch went better than we expected, it was great having our friends on the line up. The show was a lot of fun and The Old Blue Last is a great venue.

The record is promoted by single “Eyes” and a very curious video. Cyclops on skateboards. Please tell us where did you film the video. Some part of it look like Digbeth. Who directed it?

Erin Grace:  We filmed everything for the “Eyes” music video in Birmingham, some bits in the city centre and others in suburban areas. Our drummer Danny directed it and filmed the video.

Before “Eyes”, you released “Trust Is Blind”.  We really want to know the story behind this song. In the video you look like a character from Lynch movie – you smile to the camera and yet the viewer has a feeling that any given moment you will break into tears. Then in a blink, you charge on stage where you tear down the decorations in a  fury that would suit Courtney Love at the heights of her Hole days. Like to keep your viewers on their toes?

Erin Grace:  “Trust is Blind” surrounds themes of betrayal and dishonesty, it’s about trust being broken. Yeah, we wanted to add twist into this track, we enjoy experimenting with noise.

We are hearing that the EP has been selling well and you got played on legendary American radio KEXP. So where do The Cosmic go from here? Any plans for the future?

Erin Grace:  We plan to keep gigging in cities and countries we’ve never played before and we’ll continue to make new music!

You can follow the band on their socials:

https://www.facebook.com/thecosmicsband
https://twitter.com/thecosmicsband
https://www.instagram.com/thecosmicsuk/
https://thecosmicsuk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx3KjGaX2RJvXI5e7nljvGA
https://soundcloud.com/user-838453312
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0aocL5HcJzJlZJtAZH6caL?si=OYgzbMbGTZ-TwFXsFRmQ7Q

 

 **** The EP ****

The Cosmics presenting cover and the vinyl of their debut EP

The self titled debut EP has gathered rave reviews across the industry. These are just some of the reactions that we have gathered for the purpose of this blog. There are many more out there ranging from big established brands (The Clash Magazine) to local newspapers and blogs (Birmingham Review, Independent Music News), radio stations (Brum Radio, BBC West Midlands, BBC Introducing). The EP received airplay from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1), X Radio, Amazing Radio, KEXP in US among others. No management, no booker, no label or radio plugger. Just the strength of their music.

Front cover of the EP and A side of the vinyl pressing.

The Clash Magazine:
“New cut “Eyes” is a short, sharp shock, driven by that urgent vocal and those taut guitar lines. The sound of The Cosmics thrashing away in the unholy night, it carries some uncanny reverberations. Tune in now.”
https://www.clashmusic.com/news/the-cosmics-rev-it-up-on-eyes

Circuit Sweet:
“Lead single “Eyes”, taken from the self-titled record,  perfectly encapsulates the kind of 60’s beat that The Cosmics perform with such perfect refrain before collapsing almost entirely into a much more modern take on the garage-fuzz sound. Addictively catchy, the band walk the line between surf and noise effortlessly while showcasing a raw talent for song writing”.
https://circuitsweet.co.uk/2019/04/brand-new-garage-fuzz-from-birminghams-the-cosmics-debut-ep-announced-for-june/

The vinyl pressing of the EP

The 405:
“On this release they’ve perfectly captures the debauchery of their live performances”
https://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/the-cosmics-capture-the-youthful-grit-and-glamour-of-their-sound-in-the-video-for-eyes-405-premiere-155

Backseat Mafia:
“The thing about The Cosmics is they’ve mastered sounding like they’re from the 60s girl band sound, strained through a messy, edgy garage punk filter. That’s because they have the melodies at heart that could have made it onto a classic soul all-nighter, but instead of organ and bass, they’ve got this frayed guitar sound that leaks feedback and lashes itself to the track. Brilliant stuff.”
http://www.backseatmafia.com/track-the-cosmics-drained/

Travellers Tunes:
“The immediacy of the record is undeniable. Singer Erin Grace co-opts a Shangri-La’s vocal for the verse before effortlessly sliding into a furious punk rock delivery in the chorus.”
https://travellerstunes.com/review/thecosmics-drained

Back cover of the EP and B side of the vinyl pressing.

**** The Tour ****

Before going abroad, The Cosmics played dates in Birmingham, London, Glasgow and Manchester.  As we had to go to continental Europe for a bit ourselves, we have decided to catch up with the band on the road and bring you an exclusive coverage of their gigs though videos and photos. This is what we have found and you can judge for yourselves that The Cosmics had a lot of fun! Tours can be great!

Tour poster

On 20th of June, The Cosmics travelled to Ghent in Belgium to participate in Girls Go Boom, a one day festival organised at a popular Muziekcentrum KinkyStar. Located in the historical (and tourist) city centre of Ghent, the venue has a capacity of 80 people and is known for supporting independent and emerging acts, not only local to Belgium but also from all over the world. In the last two years, nearly 100 bands from Europe, Canada, USA and Australia played at the Kinky Star and majority of their shows are sold out. Manchester darlings, WITCH FEVER (whom we have seen recently at the Albert Square during Manchester International Festival alongside The Pagans SOH and The Blinders) performed for Girls Go Boom in October 2018 and completely blew the audience away. We had a pleasure to speak to one of the organisers of the festival and we were told that the team are big fans of indie/post punk music from the UK. The Cosmics were chosen as their songs caught the team’s eye (and the ear as well) while browsing the newest releases on BandCamp. It is worth adding that Girls Go Boom book only female fronted and fully female bands (including LGBTQ+ artists who identify as females). They are the only promoter in Belgium who does it and their shows comes with a set of quite obvious rules. They include no homophobia, no racism and no sexism, girls in the front, safe space for sexual and racial minorities and no patriarchal bullshit. Everyone is cordially invited  – men, women, non binary or gender fluid persons. Their motto is “It doesn’t matter who you are, you will always be among friends”. We can only applaud their initiative as it was one of the nicest, safest shows we have seen in a long time. The venue was packed to the last place, everybody danced (and pogo’ed), drank beer, sang and had a lovely time. And there was no pushing, no shouting, no aggression, the photographers could work uninterrupted without fear of having their equipment destroyed. Every gig goer received a complimentary badge at the door and the entry was free. We need something similar in the UK as some of the gigs we go to are a parade for bullies and football hooligans. Organisations such as Safe Gigs For Women are doing a splendid job but there is a long road ahead of us.

The Cosmics performed alongside Piss KittiVaginas, what else?, Dragon’s Daughters, DJ’s MOSHI MOSHI and Melissa Juice. Their show started exactly at 22:00 CET (21:00 UK time) and lasted about 40 minutes. The band played their recent singles “Trust Is Blind” and “Eyes” along with fan favourites: “Cundy Come Down” and “Brainfuzz” taken off their self titled debut EP. “Velma”, “Johnny”, “I Quit” and “Inishfree” filled the rest of the set.

It was wild and energetic ride, filled with solid dose of sound distortion and vibrations. Lead singer, Erin Grace, is known for her expressive performance and we could see her falling to her knees, bashing the strings of her bass like her life depended on it and move as in a trance. Twin brothers, Conor (guitar) and Danny Boyle (drums) were closely following Erin’s trail with thunderous beat and aggressive riffs. And the crowd loved every minute of the spectacle, responding with admiration to each song. At the end, the Birmingham based trio received a standing ovation and many cheers for the show. Judging by the reactions, The Cosmics have bright future in front of them. If you haven’t seen them yet, please do as they are on rise and soon they will be playing big stages instead of intimate venues.

 

You can learn more about Kinky Star at: http://www.kinkystar.com/media.php
and Girls Go Boom Festival at: https://www.girlsgoboom.com/0

The performance was live streamed on Kinky’s Star website and you can watch it at: https://www.facebook.com/MuziekcentrumKinkyStar/videos/487192875376482/

Two days later, on 21st of July, we met with the band again, this time in Antwerp. They were about to play another EU show at an independent venue called Cafe Cabron. Sadly, we couldn’t stay for the gig itself, but we have taken them for a small photo shoot around the beautiful The Grote Markt of Antwerp. It is so easy to fall in love with The Cosmics. They come as a full package – not only their music is a killer, but they have the looks, the talent and confidence that will take them far.

The show has been organised by Zing Zang Zong and was to start at 9:00 pm.
The Cosmics were to be supported by Belgian duo, De Batteries.
Form what we have heard – it was another success for the band, but that is a standard outcome for the Birmingham trio.

More information about the gig:
https://www.facebook.com/events/858188711217531/
https://www.facebook.com/zzzgarageclub/
https://www.facebook.com/CafeeCabron/

We are hoping to catch the band at another show this tour so watch out this space for additional content and more compliments regarding the band. If you still haven`t noticed West Midlands has the best scene and we are so happy to be part of it.

See ya down the front? You bet!

M/R

Indieterria meets The Kecks

Dear Readers,

Music is a funny thing – it has this incredible power of bringing strangers together. And if right people meet, soon the word will spread around of another great band on the circuit. So, when our vast network of international spies (read other A&Rs) alerted us one day of a band from Hamburg that was catching a lot of attention, we had to investigate. Especially if a former bass player from Manuka Hive was involved. Few notes exchanged here and there and one email mishap later, we got in touch with The Kecks to discuss their new single, touring Germany and the state of music in the UK. But we found much more than just another band with potential. This four piece has passion, drive and artistic vision to take them a long way. Please meet “that band” that everybody keeps talking about these days.

The Kecks logo

The Kecks are:

Lennart Uschmann (vox)
Samuel Telford (guitar/vox)
Corentin Neyran (drums)
Joel Phillips (bass)

Official bio: The Kecks have rapidly established a reputation as an enigmatic must-see live act after only completing their lineup in October 2018 after a chance encounter on board a Berlin bound Flixbus to see The Growlers.

After throwing raucous bunker parties in their rehearsal room and several other Guerilla gigs, a buzz is beginning to bubble – culminating in two consecutive sold out shows at the renowned Astra Stube and European dates already in the calendar for 2019.

Drawing from a wide range of influences, not least the Australian, French, Austrian/German, and British nationality of its members – The Kecks offer a fresh and exciting take on guitar music. Delivering sophisticated yet spikey tunes that are expansive in ambition but remain authentic and raw by nature.

The Kecks photographed by Carlos Andres
https://www.carlosxandres.com/

The Kecks have earned themselves a reputation playing guerrilla gigs and throwing parties in a bunker. Also each member comes from a different country.  Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

The Kecks: Hello! We are The Kecks from Hamburg! We have Sam on guitar shipped in directly from Australia, Lennart on vocals originating from Austria, Dragon is our sophisticated French stallion on drums and we’ve got Joel from the deepest darkest north of England on bass.

Lennart Uschmann: Dragon does have a real French name, Corentin. But none of us could pronounce it so we just christened him Dragon and it’s stuck. He even refers to himself as Dragon now!

There is a story about the band that we would love to confirm – is it true that you all met onboard a coach bus on a way to a gig? It`s such a perfect rock and roll story, it almost feels too good to be true.

Sam Telford: (laughing) Yeah, that one is completely true. Me, Lennart and Dragon had been jamming for a little while and getting ideas together but we needed a bass player to complete the line-up and push things forward. That’s when we bumped into this loose unit on the Flix Bus to Berlin to see The Growlers.

Joel Phillips: (also laughing) It was one of my first days in Hamburg actually! I was feeling a little unsure of myself so was having a beer at 10 am waiting for the bus to Berlin and everyone knows that nothing has more of a hypnotic  pull to a Australian than a beer and a mullet. I drew Sam in like a moth to a flame. We spent the next three hours on the bus talking music and the rest is history.

On the way up. Photo by Carlos Andres https://www.carlosxandres.com/

You have recorded BBC Introducing session at the Tonhotel in Hamburg. Two songs from that session “Paris” and “Tonight Might Be Different” have been played on BBC Sheffield. Please tell us more about this particular session. Tonhotel is a cult studio and  rehearsal space  in Hamburg, quite similar to Magic Garden in Wolverhampton. You worked with Gerd Mauff, is that correct?

Corentin Neyran: That was an awesome experience recording the tracks live with Gerd. It was something that all came together a bit last minute and he was very accommodating and did not mind burning the midnight oil with us. He is just a really good guy who is totally into the music and not just there to take a pay check. He has loads of lovely vintage equipment which we were like kids in a sweet shot getting to play with. The studio itself is just a cool old German style house on a suburban street, walking past you would never even notice it amongst a quiet street. Once you get inside though the place has been completely converted into a super homely feeling musical heaven. We immediately felt relaxed and at home.

Your debut single “Stick In My Throat” is scheduled to come out on June 21st – please tell us something about this song. What`s the inspiration behind it?

Lennart Uschmann: We recorded the single at London’s vibey Buffalo Studios With Jean Baptiste Pilon. He was a joy to work with, he just totally got what we were about and what we were trying to do. He was totally into trying weird stuff and experimenting and was totally invested in the project. We even managed to get some omnichord on there which we found at the bottom of a storage box in the studio. Jean Baptiste introduced us to Giovanni Versari (Muse, Nic Cester) of La Maestà studio In Tredozio, Italy who did a wicked job mastering it.

Sam Telford: We just wanted to write something to really set our stall out and leave an impression of what we are about. It’s about those times when a loved one is trying to fight with you but you just don’t want anything to do with the conversation. That burning frustration you get inside when you just want to be left alone. I think we’ve all been there!

The single will be released via AWAL, rather than a regular label. Weren`t you tempted to get signed?

Joel Phillips:  It would always be nice to have somebody else picking up the bill for the studio but we are very specific about what we want to do and how we want to sound and don’t want to have to compromise that at all. I think at this stage we have still got to go out and prove ourselves and what we can do off our own back before anyone significant would come on board anyway. The reality in 2019 is that you don’t need a label to get your music out there so if you truly believe in what you are doing, just do it yourself.

“Stick In My Throat” has already received radio airplay on BBC Introducing and  Amazing Radio and gathered rave reviews from veteran DJs such as Jim Gellatly. We have heard the single and quietly expect it to become a significant release on indie circuit this year. What are you hoping to achieve with this song?

Sam Telford: It’s our debut release so we just wanted it to be a bit of a cock punch really and get into as many ears as possible. You only get once chance to make a first impression so we are just aiming to give everyone a proverbial “kicks in the nuts” and make our way into as many people’s earholes as possible. Nobody has heard us yet so we really appreciate people like yourselves giving us a platform.

Is there a chance that your debut single receives a physical release? The cover is amazing and would make an incredible record to own. Who is responsible for the sleeve design?

Lennart Uschmann:  Physical release is definitely something we would like to do at some point, it is a bit of a musician`s wet dream to stand and hold your own physical vinyl in your hand so we would certainly love to do it in future. Carlos Andres who also directed our debut video was responsible for the artwork, he is a total wizard. All of our graphics stuff has either been created by Carlos or Sam.

Stick In My Throat sleeve – artwork by Carlos Andres
https://www.carlosxandres.com/

You have recently finished a video that will promote your debut release. It was directed by a close friend of the band – Carlos Andres. Do you have any date chosen for the premiere of the video?

Joel Phillips: Yes, Carlos “Mexi Kravitz” Andres is actually my flat mate. The guy is on another level with anything when it comes to visuals and a total pleasure to work with. It’s just like friends hanging out really. We are always helping each other out with various schemes and projects and it’s a really great dynamic to have. It also brings in another nationality into a weird little dysfunctional cross continental family as he is Mexican so another set of outside influences and ideas to the group.

You completed a short tour of Germany supporting Peter Perrett. Is there any chance to see you play shows in the UK?

Corentin Neyran: We are coming to the UK next month actually for a short run of shows around Tramlines Festival! A lot of our influence comes from historic British Rock ‘n’ Roll and the culture around it so it seems to make sense that our music feels most at home here. We are also in talks with This Feeling about doing a more comprehensive run later in the year, so we will be coming to the UK pretty often for sure.

Lennart Uschmann: The experience of touring with Peter was great, as it gave us our first opportunity to get out and play around Germany. It was important for us to be able to get out and play in these new cities and see how people react to nothing but the music and your performance, as they have no preconceived ideas about who or what you are. Opinions are formed right before your eyes and it was a real confidence booster to be so well received. Peter is a genuine legend who has seen it all and he had some unbelievable stories to tell and we will forever be grateful to him, his team, X-Ray Touring and FKP Scorpio for our first proper touring opportunity.

The Kecks come as a full package: incredible music, stunning visuals and perfect image

Being based in Germany gives you a much broader understanding of indie circuit. Looking from the outside on what is happening in the UK – how do you see music scene in  Brexitland?

Joel Phillips: I suppose I have a bit of an advantage here as I only left the UK less than 12 months ago but from what I can see it’s never been healthier. You’ve got bands like The Blinders selling out huge venues. Calva Louise, Strange Bones, Yak all making serious inroads in the UK and in Europe. It’s all still painfully ignored by the mainstream but all of the shit around Brexit and Trump has created a whole new generation of angry youths with guitars and something to say which is a beautiful thing.

The best for the last (question): Let’s say that you can commission any company in the world to create the perfect equipment for you. What are you getting? New guitars? New drum kit? Amps?

Sam Telford: That would have to be me on this one and working with Earthquaker Devices on some super weird and wonderful guitar pedals! Again, I think we were inspired by seeing Kirin J Callinan open for The Growlers in Berlin and he blew our minds with his crazy guitar tones and performance. He had a whole horseshoe of pedals and effects and since then we have been all about weird pedals and making the guitar sound like a synth or a siren or something extra-terrestrial so the dream would be to work with those guys to make a Kecky Bois Supreme pedal that would just instantly melt your brain with far out tones!

The Kecks – perfect mix of creativity and indie hits

You can see The Kecks live on these days next month:

19th July – Vintage Rockbar, Doncaster UK   Event Page  (free entry)

20th July – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield UK   Event Page

21st July  – Yerrr Bar, Manchester UK            Event Page  Tickets

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.thekecksofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thekecksofficial/
https://twitter.com/the_kecks
https://www.instagram.com/thekecksofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm0wdB5kpFtz5VjJlblmlIQ
https://open.spotify.com/artist/7rq4XneM5dE0uYeAoyMGGn?si=SD6WJsSaR9uBIck6pcusWA

Follow Carlos Andres here:
https://www.carlosxandres.com/

And as usual a bit of extra reading for your pleasures:
https://www.rgm.press/2019/06/21/the-kecks-stick-in-my-throat/

We will monitoring this band and hopefully will have many good things to report about them and their achievements.

M/R