Indieterria meets Sahera Walker

Sahera Walker interview

Known as the Queen of Underground Scene in London, Sahera Walker is one of the most respected independent promoters working on the DIY scene. Her passion, music knowledge and intuition have been praised on numerous occasions and were recognized by industry professionals. Indieterria is following young, successful females who are taking the music business by storm and continue to change the industry rules. We have sat down with Sahera to discuss her zine, modern alternative music and her ambitious plans to turn Cafe 1001 into a hub of music, fashion and counter-culture.

Sahera Walker

Bio: Sahera is 20 year old music journalist based in East London, and she is the creative-owner of Indie Underground Blog

She started blogging in 2016, which is when she first set up her blogging site. She has since gone on to work in PR & live music, and now owns Some Might Say Magazine, and is the lead booker for live music events at Café 1001 on Brick Lane. She runs gigs for her magazine at Nambucca in Islington & The Five Bells in New Cross.

Indie Underground & Some Might Say have received support from BBC Radio 6, Flying Vinyl, Clue Records, This Feeling, The Truman Brewery, The Zine UK, Clash Magazine, 1234 Records, Roadkill Records, ArtBeats Promo, Coda Agency, Devil PR, and more. The digital and physical platforms Sahera runs all have one aim; to promote underground DIY music, and support creatives within the industry by printing, reviewing, and featuring their work. Always keen to work with new artists, Indie Underground is a growing platform which has gained an impeccable reputation for scouting new acts who go on to be huge within the indie industry

Sahera also works as a freelance photographer & journalist, focusing solely on DIY indie rock, psych rock, grunge, and post punk music

Promoter, PR professional, zine editor, writer, journalist – it’s hard to believe that one person can do it all. Who is Sahera Walker? Please introduce yourself to the readers of our blog.

Some Might Say zine promotional picture

Sahera Walker: Very kind of you! So my name is Sahera, I’m 20 years old, and I’m a music journalist and promoter based in East London. I’m the creative owner and editor of Some Might Say Zine and Indie Underground Blog, running launch parties for each zine that comes out. I have recently taken over the Live Bookings and PR for a new DIY space on Brick Lane too!

You created “Some Might Say” zine at the age of 18. Was there any specific reason why you decided to start a musical magazine?

Sahera Walker:  I really love the DIY authenticity of rock music, and to me there’s something really special about flicking through a physical print publication, and just seeing all the beautiful photos and art pieces in print, and soaking up new musical knowledge. I really love that vibe, and I wanted to bring that authenticity back into an industry where mainstream magazines are either dying out, or turning to conventional pop music instead. I used to love NME but they sold themselves out years ago, so I suppose I wanted to create my own print publication with no sponsors or external funding, its sole aim to promote fresh upcoming new music.

So far “Some Might Say” published five issues and the sixth one will be released shortly. What can we find in the newest edition?

Sahera Walker: It will be available to purchase by the end of May/ very start of June, via somemightsay.org. This Issue has taken months to work on, as it’s taking Some Might Say down a slightly more creative and unconventional route, so I hope the wait will be worth it!

Alongside with the zine, you run a popular music blog Indie Underground focusing on rock, post punk and DIY scene. In your opinion, how important is support from blogs and magazines for up and coming artists?

Sahera Walker: To me, it’s absolutely vital. The music industry is made into the thriving and vibrant scene that it is through DIY support, from people who love music and want to work, often for free, to promote and support new music. That’s where fans of bands end up becoming journalists, photographers, promoters, and bloggers, inspiring a real love and passion into their work. This supportive DIY scene is probably the most important thing for new bands, as without them who is going to fuel the underground music scene?

Several issues of Some Might Say magazine

You have put bands such as Yonaka, Calva Louise, False Heads or most recently Black Midi on many people’s radars. What captures your attention when it comes to indie bands? How do you recognize the “next big thing”?

Sahera Walker:  I do try! I think I was very lucky, when I got into music aged about 17 it was when bands like Yonaka, The Blinders, Strange Bones, Calva Louise, and False Heads were all starting out (the last three I’ve had play Some Might Say gigs for me, which I’m very proud of!), so I just naturally saw them at small venues playing to tiny handfuls of people. For me, I like unconventional bands that are passionate and exciting, and it just has to click in a special way for me to go crazy about a band. This doesn’t happen too often, as it’s more of a feeling you get from certain bands – it’s very special though, and all the bands you mentioned are ones who really gripped and excited me when I discovered them.

Gig goers often ask what they can do to help bands, something beyond buying a tee from the merch store. Would you have any suggestions?

Sahera Walker: I think going to gigs is the most important thing, as it supports not only the bands, but also the small venues and promoters who are hosting the gigs, which is fundamental to the scene as a whole. Bands that have a strong live following as well are the ones who end up being hotly tipped by journalists, on the radio, and then eventually scouted by agents and managers, so going to gigs really helps. But even the small things like social media posts, buying merch, streaming and downloading music; it all helps, and I know they mean massive amounts to the bands.

In April 2019, you joined Cafe 1001 as their official promoter and PR. Tell us more about this place. What can it offer to the emerging bands?

Sahera Walker: So Café 1001 is a venue space in Shoreditch, just opposite Rough Trade East. We are currently undergoing a really exciting refurbishment and rebrand in the venue, which will change the name and appearance into something a lot more DIY. We’re taking the venue down a more creative, subculture-philosophy inspired route, and alongside the gigs (focusing on indie/punk/grime/grunge) we want to have a lot of new DJs playing with us too. What we’re offering bands is payed gigs, in a fantastic DIY 200 capacity space, with a state of the arts PA and backline system. I also run PR campaigns and social media campaigns for my live events, so bands would be fully supported by us.

Some Might Say logo at legendary London Club, Nambucca

You are known for coming up with groundbreaking ideas. Your newest one is to create a rotating exhibition aimed at avant-garde DIY artists, music zine makers, live music photographers and designers. Can you provide us with more information about it? How long will it last? will artists be able to sell their works?

Sahera Walker:  Given the DIY subculture philosophy we are implementing, I came up with the idea of running a rotating exhibition in the venue’s front room. We will have art work, photos (art based, film, portrait, and live music), and film reels on display, as well as zines in the venue. The idea is to have a launch night (June 27th) with live music to accompany, and this will be a chance for the creatives involved to network and sell their work. We will then keep some of the work up in the venue, and keep the zines in the café space for people to browse through during the day. Then every three months, we will run another exhibition, where we can refresh the art and photos we have, and bring in some new zines to the space

Let’s play! You are given a whole page in The Guardian for a music column. What bands are you recommending to the public?

Sahera Walker: So many, I could write you pages on this! I’d have to narrow it down to Black Country New Road, The Murder Capital, Weird Milk, Kid Kapichi, Fontaines DC, Uncle Tesco, Legss, Happy Hour, Pip Blom, False Heads, Squid, Haze, LICE, Avalanche Party, Strange Bones, Calva Louise and JW Paris. Just a quick note, when I spoke earlier about those rare special bands who I just click with – Kid Kapichi are my current obsession, and I would recommend them highly.

The last question (but very important one). If any artist or musician wants to get in touch – how can they reach you?

Sahera Walker: I have contact forms on my websites which are usually the best shout to play a gig at my new venue:
https://indieunderground.blog/play-for-us/,

Send your submissions to:
https://indieunderground.blog/contact/
https://somemightsay.org/contact/

Or any London based bands, you can usually find me at a scatty punk gig in Camden or Brixton, so feel free to come up and say hi!

You can follow Sahera on socials:
https://www.facebook.com/sahera.walker/
https://www.instagram.com/youareallslaves/
https://twitter.com/sahera_walker
https://open.spotify.com/user/1143822162
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCssXbu_GT0ZU47I8xUmXEdw

https://www.instagram.com/somemightsayzine/
https://somemightsay.org/
https://www.facebook.com/somemightsayzine/

https://indieunderground.blog/
https://www.facebook.com/indieundergroundblog/

Articles:
http://northern-exposure.co/interview-sahera-walker-some-might-say/
https://www.thezineuk.co.uk/2019-futurepicks-the-music-people-on-and-off-stage/

The new issue of “Some Might Say” will land in a couple of days so don’t forget to order your copy. Supporting local zines, magazines and independent artists is vital for the scene to survive. Indieterria will keep shining light at the people behind the music – promoters, event managers, club owners, streaming services companies, radio DJ’s and hosts, photographers, managers or music scouts – they all are working in the background helping artists move from one level of their careers to another. They are essential yet they are rarely getting any credits or thanks. Let’s bring them into limelight!

Please stay tuned as we have something special planned very soon!

XXX
R+M

Indieterria meets The Empty Page

Hello again!

Let’s start with a riddle. Do you know what Frank Zappa and John Peel have in common? They both thought that the music business became too safe and too predictable. The thrill of making something exciting, the unknown and the chance of everything going awry that characterized the music-making for generations suddenly disappeared. The stimulating and (sometimes) dangerous game turned into a polished and ironed showcase for pop princesses and boy bands. And it slowly started leaking into the rock and roll, turning rebels and their muses into fashionistas and influencers buying shoes and belts.

Luckily for us and certain old school radio DJ’s, there is always an underdog band that comes out of nowhere and rescues the day. Our musical saviours are raw, energetic and completely independent. And they come from Manchester! We have sat down with the Mancunian trio, the Empty Page, few days before their gig at the Dead Dead Good Weekend on 11th of May to discuss their beginnings (in an old and cold warehouse), having a female lead singer and their plans for a glorious future.

Official bio:

Taking their name from a Sonic Youth song which in turn was inspired by Jack Kerouac, 90s alt-punk inspired Northerners The Empty Page have been making steady headway since their inception in a draughty warehouse in Ancoats, Manchester. Following an invite from rock production royalty Gggarth Richardson (RATM, Biffy Clyro, Melvins), their debut album, ‘Unfolding’ was recorded with him in Vancouver, Canada, with tracks receiving national airplay by the likes of Steve Lamacq on 6 Music and receiving praise from the underground press. As well as diligently ticking their favourite UK venues off their collective wish list, from Manchester Ritz to Hebden Bridge Trades, the band went back to Canada to play shows in Toronto after winning Indie Week UK. Carefully selected UK shows are planned for 2019.

The Empty Page picture by A supremeshot

The Empty Page are:
Giz (guitars)
Jim (drums and vocals)
Kel (bass and vocals)

You are described as a band that combines guitar noise with Northern charm. Please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.

Kel: I’m Kel, I play bass and sing and write the words.
Jim: I’m Jim, I play drums and sing
Giz: And  I’m Giz and I play guitar

We have heard some incredible stories about how bands came to be. But meeting in a cold warehouse must be one of the best tales so far. What were a trio of rock musicians doing on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Manc?

Jim: A friend of ours had this weird room in a freezing cold mill in Manchester full of instruments and recording gear. Full. You couldn’t move. Anyway, we needed somewhere to rehearse and record. It really was freezing. We could barely get through a full song it was that cold so in the end we started to set fire to our gear for warmth. Shame really because those songs were brilliant but we’ll never remember them, just how cold we were. Also it was quite a cheap room! (laughing)

The Empty page started to turn heads almost immediately after its conception. Your demos “The Ancoats Sessions” were heard by producer Garth “GGGarth” Richardson who worked with The Melvins and Rage Against the Machine – and he invited the band to his studio in Canada to work on your debut album “Unfolding”. It was released in 2016. Please tell us how do you remember your collaboration with Richardson?

Jim: The guy is wonderful. He’s thoughtful, respectful, he knows everything about music yet he always listens to what you want. He’s ridiculously funny but my god his “Northern” accent is dreadful! (laughs)

Kel: It was the best time. So great to lock ourselves away in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and focus on music 24/7 while drinking lots of Canadian craft beer and listening to stories of legendary musicians which we’re not allowed to repeat. We’d love to go back and record with him again but it’s just logistics really.

In February this year, you released “When The Cloud Explodes” produced by local duo Sugar House. The album, according to your page, is inspired by Northern cities like Liverpool and Manchester. Did you plan to have your new record produced locally, as if in opposition to the first one that was created so far away from home?

Kel: No, not really. We just made a decision to try a different way of putting music out there this time. We wanted to take each song individually and release it as its own thing. I do think it made sense to record that song in a humdrum town in the North though, and it doesn’t get much more humdrum than St Helens. The recording process was very different from what we did with GGGarth, we had more time for a start. So, we came out with something sounding quite different from what we have done before. Our plan now is to release a series of individual songs over the year, produced by different people and all quite distinct from one another musically. People keep asking about an album, but for now, we’re doing things step by step. Maybe an album will come later.

Let’s talk about the excellent video to you shot for the song. It was filmed in Manchester and directed by Jason Weidner, who worked previously with Desperate Journalist and Stonehouse Jack. You have also recruited two contemporary/urban dancers named Max and Chiara. How did you convince them to star in your video? What is the message behind it?

 

Kel: Jo from Desperate Journalist suggested Jason when we were looking to shoot a video at quite short notice, to cut a long and boring back story short. We hit it off right away and got planning. We’d had an idea to include dancing somehow and had been through lots of ambitious ideas, then, in the end, we decided to keep it quite simple. Jason is extremely skilled at editing and he did a brilliant job. Max got involved through a friend of ours named Bundy who we have known for years on the punk scene as he’s drummed in lots of punk bands including The Business. Max works in Bundy’s brilliant little punk bar, The Salty Dog in Northwich, so he suggested him when I put a call out for dancers. Then we asked Max if he knew anyone else and when he suggested his girlfriend Chiara. And it seemed perfect to have them star as a young couple just hanging out. They were absolute troopers. It was a hot day as you can see and we had them dance over and over again in different locations till they pretty much collapsed on the grass in Hulme Park. But they’re young and fit and they loved it. We had such a fun day together.

The song, in a nutshell, is just about the beauty of creativity. Whether that’s writing songs, making art, poetry, knitting, dancing or whatever. It’s one of the most wonderful things we have as humans and I really think it’s a lifesaver. We didn’t want to be too literal with the video, so we thought dancing would be a nice visual expression of the joys of creative freedom.

Jim: I think we filmed the whole thing on Valentine’s Day too, so once they’d finished and got their breath back, they were straight off out for a romantic date. They probably went down the arcade or to the fair or whatever fit young dancers like to go. Stock car racing? Something like that!

We can’t stop salivating over the vinyl edition of “When The Cloud Explodes” – 7 inch, released on orange wax, limited to just 330 copies. It looks unreal. Are there any copies left and if so – where can the record be purchased? Asking for a friend…

The band photographed by A supremeshot

Kel: It’s sold out on the Rough Trade website twice now, they will be restocking soon. We have some in a few record shops like Jumbo in Leeds and others, and it will be in Piccadilly Records in Manchester very soon. We are selling it on our website (theemptypageband.com) and Bandcamp as well and we will have some for sale at upcoming gigs. It’s selling really fast though, well over half gone, so I wouldn’t hang around!

Kel, a question especially for you. You gave an extensive interview to Louder Than War in 2016. You said: “I think more women should play music, because there is still a heavy trend towards males on stage at gigs, but more importantly women should just be able to do it without having to be scrutinised so much in every way.” Has the situation improved in the last three years? Are organizations such as Safe Gigs for Women really making a difference?

Kel: (deep breath) I’ve been in bands for a really, really long time and I’ve always felt I had to work a bit harder just to be treated with respect as a musician and songwriter and not just considered a “girl singer” (like it’s some kind of gimmick) or putting up with comments about my appearance rather than the actual music. I remember many moons ago, some bloke actually saying to me that they were thinking of “getting a girl singer” for their band as it was a good thing image-wise. I was furious then in my teens and I am as furious now at that attitude. There have always been women in guitar bands but I think there have been more women getting involved and getting a platform in the past few years. This has been the result of a lot of different factors including the issues relating to inequality in this industry (and in general) being openly talked about more. Women haven’t always been as welcomed, celebrated and treated as equally as they are now in the UK music scene but I think we still have a way to go and it’s complicated.

One thing that has helped is more promoters putting together representative bills. Women don’t need to be sidelined into only playing “female only” band nights. Don’t get me wrong. There are people doing that well and for the right reasons in the name of shifting the balance and being representative, and crucially this is usually done in an inter-sectional way. Power to those people. But there are others (yes, often if not always blokes) still doing that in an awful, gimmicky, frankly pervy way. Like “check out these chicks with guitars, pfwoooarr”. As a woman,  you have to be careful about which gigs you say yes to. I have been caught out in the past where the gig has seemed like a normal booking and then nearer the time, it has turned out to be something else. You have to be quite vigilant, which is really annoying when you just want to play. But there are lots of bills now that are just generally more representative. I like playing with a mix of bands that are similar to us musically and I like it even better if there is an intersectional representation of humans on that bill. Nobody likes to be tokenised.

Safe Gigs For Women are doing great things for audience safety and it’s essential that women and non-cis males who attend shows are not made to feel threatened or treated disrespectfully. These are slightly different but related issues. It’s all part of an ongoing fight and we also have to remember that this is not just a fight here in the UK but around the world. Feminism is worthless if it does not aim to make things fairer for all women all over the world. There is a long way to go.

You jokingly say that you are on world tour of Yorkshire this year, but you have scoped some amazing gig opportunities. You supported Desperate Journalist in March at The Deaf Institute and in May you will share the stage with The Wildhearts in Scarborough. You will also make an appearance at Dead Dead Good Weekend in Manchester and at Camden Rocks in London. What can be expected from your live shows?

Jim: A fucking good show. We throw everything we have into them. We have fun!

You have hinted on your social media that the coming months will be very busy for the band. What can we expect in the nearest future?

Kel: (laughing) More shows and more releases! Our next single, “He’s Very Good At Swimming” is coming out on June 28th accompanied by a video by Debbie Ellis/asupremeshot. It’s a song with an important subject: victim blaming, and the way the media (and arguably the justice system) foregrounds the academic and sporting achievements of the accused and picks apart every aspect of the victim’s life and lifestyle when writing about rape cases almost all the time.

Last question – you can steal one record made by a band that inspired you. Whose work is so good you’d claim it as your own?

Jim: For me it would be “The Holy Bible” by Manic Street Preachers
Kel: Yes, that and Fontaines DC  – “Dogrel”

You can follow the band at their socials:
https://theemptypageband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thmptypg/
https://twitter.com/thmptypg
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRvo9IV6VKi6HRdzJRXwawA

The Empty Page will be touring a lot this summer and we can expect a lot of dates to be added to their calendar. Outside for the Dead Dead Good Weekend in Northwich, the band is booked to play Leeds on the 18th of May at CHUNK and Camden Rocks Festival in London in June. Catch them for an unforgettable lesson in independent rock and rolling. With a huge dose of unspoiled, unfiltered fun.

See you soon!
xoxxo
R+M

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 Owen Meikle- Williams

Dear Readers,

Following our interview with record producer extraordinaire Gavin Monaghan, we continue to shine a light on people who set up high standards in the music business. Our next guest is event management student and artist manager based in Manchester – Owen Meikle – Williams. Forget everything you read about millennials spending fortunes on avocado toasts and being offended by everything. The younger generation is actually very active and does much more than we seem to notice. Hands up all you thirty-somethings who organised a full scale festival in the heart of Northern Quarter on your first year at the university. Or anyone who taught themselves music management to help others put first steps in the business. It is easy to see why Owen is making waves in Manchester. Even in the town that is used to doing things differently he is seen as a breath of fresh air. We sat down with Owen ahead of After All festival he founded to talk about event organising, the bands he manages and who he would book for his dream festival.

Festival banner

You are the main force behind After All Festival – that will take place in Manchester  on 19th May 2019. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Owen Meikle-Williams: Hi everyone. I’m Owen Meikle-Williams, and I’m a first year student at BIMM University in Manchester. Live music is my absolute passion, and I’m studying event management. After All Festival on May 19th isn’t actually part of my course  but I thought I would put on a local event to showcase some fantastic bands, and raise some money for charity along the way. I’ve gone for May 19th to be as close to the 22nd as possible – “After All that has happened, let music bring us together…”

It is quite a task to organize one gig, less alone a whole festival. Can you tell us how the idea started and how long was this event in the planning?

Owen Meikle-Williams: Well, I’ve been going to gigs since I was 5 years old, so I guess this has been a few years in the planning! More seriously, I put on my first gig just over a year ago, reintroducing live music to The Briton’s Protection for the first time in many years. That gave me the bug, and the idea for After All came from then really. Serious planning started about 6 months ago, lining up venues and finding the right bands.

After All will incorporate concerts across three iconic Manchester venues: Night & Day Café, AATMA and The Castle Hotel – all less than three minutes of walk from each other.  We absolutely love it as this eliminates the hassle of commuting  between places. But shall we expect clashes between acts?

Owen Meikle-Williams: I’ve tried to mix things up a bit across the stages so minimise this, but with so many great bands on the line-up, there are bound to be a few tough choices to make. Better to have that problem I think than looking at a line-up and not seeing anything you want to watch!

You managed  to gather a jaw dropping line up: from rising Mancunian band Narcissus to visiting guests such as Birmingham based The Pagans S.O.H  We shouldn’t be saying it – but we are impressed.  Is this the final line up or do you still have some aces up your sleeve?

Owen Meikle-Williams:  Never say never…but the line up is quite full as it is at the moment.

The Festival plans to donate all profits to charity. Can you tell us more about the organisations you will support?

Owen Meikle-Williams:  We are raising money for two music related charities, both of which in turn support larger charities. Musicians Against Homeless (MAH) is a great cause, and you can’t walk around Manchester at the moment without seeing what a vital need this is. The money raised by MAH goes to support Crisis.

Walter’s Page raises money for Make a Wish, helping kids with serious illnesses get some much needed joy. If you have not come across Walters Page, I seriously suggest you check out their Facebook page. Follow the antics of Walter and Eustace, literally a pair of muppets, as they turn up on stage, off stage and in the bar with some of the best known bands on the planet.

You work with BIMM on this festival. Do you think, it is the possibility of having regional editions of After All for example in Bristol or  Birmingham  also in association with BIMM in the future?

Owen Meikle-Williams: That would be fantastic, but I’m really focused on making this year a success first. If things go well, and it is looking good at the moment, then I’ll look to try and re-run the festival next year. I’m always up for a challenge though, so maybe a multi-site one could be doable.

Owen Meikle-Williams – the man behind Manchester new indie music festival

Besides being the festival organiser you also manage local artists. We would love to hear more about them.

Owen Meikle-Williams: I prefer “working with” to “managing”! I am working with a couple of up and coming singer songwriters at the moment, including Leah Karis who is playing After All festival on May 19th. It’s early days, but I’m really keen on championing local talent where I can.

Last question:  we know it is a bit too early for this – but if all goes well, would you consider to bring the festival in 2020 and if so, who would you want to headline. You have got 5 picks and unlimited budget.

Owen Meikle-Williams:  James – my all time favourite band and Manchester music Royalty.

The Slow Readers Club – now finally seem to making it big and getting the success they deserve.

The Blinders – so exciting live – I can’t wait to see how far these guys go.

Editors – so good live, and criminally underrated in the UK. I had the pleasure of seeing them in Berlin and Hamburg last year, and it is amazing to see how well mainland European audiences react to them

Andy Burrows – drummer from Razorlight, now a solo singer, I think that his type of music would perfectly suit the acoustic stage at this festival.

You can follow Owen Meikle -Williams on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/owen.meiklewilliams
https://www.facebook.com/OMWManager/
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialAfterAllFestival/
https://twitter.com/AfterAllFestiv1
https://www.instagram.com/after_all_festival/

On May 19th 2019,  eighteen acts will play across the tree established stages in Manchester to raise the funds for charity. You can find more information about the festival on their official Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/363074884283149/

Advance tickets are between £10- £12 and they will cost £15 on the day. Doors open at 17:30 PM

To avoid disappointment – please book your tickets online at:

https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Manchester/Night-And-Day-Cafe/After-All-Festival/13500619

Vanadian Avenue will be at After All Festival making noise and hanging out with the best people in Mancunia.  We are hoping to see some of you down the front.

M/R

Indieterria meets Lower Loveday again

Dear Readers,

We are few days away from our first proper musical showcase at the legendary Nambucca venue in London. We truly can`t wait to see the amazing Tiger Mimic and Memes and this band – Lower Loveday. Ladies and gentlemen – we had a pleasure to meet them a year ago and had amazing time speaking to the band. Now we sat down (quickly) with Lower Loveday`s frontman Mark Washington and  the band`s drummer Tom Garbett for a refresher.  And we had few things to ask them! So read on and check out the band`s new banger of a single.

Lower Loveday logo

You can read our old interview  with the band here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/indieterria-meets-lower-loveday/ 

We have spoken to the band exactly one year ago. A lot has changed in Lower Loveday – including a new member. Please introduce your new bassist to the readers of Indieterria.

Mark Washington (Lower Loveday): Yes, that year really has flown by and a lot has happened! Our new bassist is Ben Gillman from Worcester (West Midlands). He’s an excellent talent who’s played with a few bands in the area before joining us in December last year.

In March, you have released a new single entitled “Fire That Burns Inside”. Can you tell us what the song is about?

Tom Garbett: The song is all about a relationship struggle that I was having at that time and its summarising what I was feeling.  I was left in a rather awkward situation that was really hard to deal with so I decided to put my feelings down into a song. It is brutally honest in that respect. So in general it is a relationship conundrum I would say!

Lower Loveday have been championed on BBC Introducing West Midlands and BBC Hereford & Worcester

The song is promoted by a very interesting video. You show some fabulous dance moves and very colourful outfits. Who directed it and how do you remember working on the set?

Mark Washington:  Ah thanks very much! We had a lot of fun and managed to get it all shot in a day! We choreographed the dance ourselves which you can probably tell from the moves but we wanted to get people laughing and really enjoying the video as well as the song. It really had an amazing reaction! The video was brilliantly filmed and edited by Ben Parry at Indy Motion who are local to us in Evesham.

You are keeping a busy touring schedule. On April 27th you play iconic London venue Nambucca with Tiger Mimic and Memes, then on May 4th you return to O2 Institute in Birmingham to play with Open Arms. What can we expect from your live performances?

Mark Washington:  We’re really looking forward to these shows! You can expect lot of energy and good vibes a lot like our recent music video. We get the crowd involved, get them moving and try to get them to join in with the dancing and make sure they have a smile on their face too!

We heard that you are also looking to play more shows in the North. Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are being mentioned as possible destinations. If any of the Northern promoters want to get in touch with you, what do they need to do?

Mark Washington:  Yes we have quite a few fans asking us to play further north than we have before! Promoters can reach out to us on any of our social media but the best way would be to send us an email directly to: lowerloveday@gmail.com

You can follow the band on the socials:

https://www.lowerloveday.com/
https://www.instagram.com/lowerloveday/
https://twitter.com/lower_loveday
https://soundcloud.com/lowerloveday
https://www.facebook.com/lowerloveday
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClGDR9XIPOo96KRox090yTg

You can catch the band playing a gig in London on April 27th – all info can be found at the event page below:

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

 

Poster for our first showcase!

All right – enough fan girling here. Lower Loveday are officially going places and to miss them would be foolish. We will see ya at Nambucca.

Love,
Mal/Rita

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 meets Table Scraps

Dear Readers

Over the last two year, we had a pleasure to speak to many wonderful bands and artists. To interview some of them, we have been waiting several months (in one case, it has even been over a year and still counting!) but it is always worth the time. And sometimes all it takes is you listen to a song, you fall in love with it and  you contact the band asking if they would be willing to talk to you and they say yes under 1 minute. We sat down with Table Scraps, right after their return from SXSW, the biggest music conference in the world, to discuss their influences, musical references and going on tour with Monster Magnet.  We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we did, talking to the band. Now we need to see them live. Another band added to our bucket list this year!

Band logo

Official bio:  Celebrated for their bruising and feedback-drenched live shows, as well as a knack for crafting the perfect nagging hook, Birmingham’s Table Scraps have gradually fought their way to the top of the garage rock pile by conquering stages and refusing to compromise. After self-releasing a clutch of praised 7’s and an LP, as well as holding their own alongside heavyweights such as Fat White Family, IDLES and Black Lips, the ‘Scraps soon found interest after plays on Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music started to rack up. However, they insisted on continuing to do things their own way: self-recording, creating their own nightmare worlds in homemade zines and shooting their own B-movie style videos. “Autonomy”, the band’s most recent LP, surfaced in February 2018 to widespread enthusiasm and was picked up for release in the US by the legendary Burger Records. A huge European tour with stoner legends Monster Magnet (at the insistence of fan Dave Wyndorf himself) quickly brought Table Scraps to a new legion of enthusiastic continental headbangers. Wyndorf, as well as Joe Talbot of IDLES and Grace Jones, are part of a growing swathe of those who realize that it’s only a matter of time before Table Scraps go on to bigger and better things.

“Dark and brilliant” (DIY Magazine),
“Check‘em out pronto” (Metal Hammer)
“Table Scraps are awesome!” (Dave Wyndorf, Classic Rock).

Table Scraps photographed by Meg Lavender

Scott Vincent Abbott – Guitar & Vox
Poppy Twist – Drums & Vox
TJ – Bass & Vox

Joe Talbot, the lead singer of IDLES said: “If you don’t know Table Scraps, you’re a fucking idiot!”. That’s the best recommendation we have ever heard! Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Table Scraps: We are Table Scraps – a three piece garage doom band from Birmingham.

Your bands name is very unusual. By definition, table scraps are the leftovers  nobody wants to touch. It is either something disgusting or something insignificant. Why did you decide to go with name like that?

Table Scraps: We’re very much inspired by the gross out tradition, which to us is as diverse as first wave punk to John Waters movies. Trash in all its glory! Disposable and throwaway is what we wanted when Scott chose Table Scraps. Particularly when there is such a modern tradition of agonizing over a band name that is deep, evocative and edgy. That whole thing bored us to the point of going the opposite way: there isn’t a less evocative word than “table” after all.

Table Scraps are being described as Idles meets Duran Duran with Mark E Smith on vocals and David Bowie/The Ramones influences. We very rarely agree with online classifications but this one seems to sum your music pretty well. Do you agree?

Table Scraps: Definitely not when it comes to Duran Duran and Scott’s vocals are far more rooted in the American vocal traditions of blues, rock’n’roll and 80s west coast punk as opposed to someone like the great MES, who is from a much more British evolution of post-punk. It is a genre we all love but don’t bear much similarity to for the most part. Idles and The Ramones are probably closer to our stable, particularly our attitudes towards what bands and songs should be like. There’s a lot of hard rock, metal, psych, garage and 60’s girl group influence that are really foundational to what Table Scraps do too. We love a bit of glam but it doesn’t pop up very often. That’s more of a London band extravagance.

“Autonomy” album cover

You are known for your specific approach to marketing. You are fiercely independent and if you can do something against the current tides or ideas, you will. Creating home made zines, recording in strange places, breaking stereotypes – you are masters of  unconventional PR. Where do you take your ideas from?

Table Scraps: A lot of our approach is very much based on practicality. We are so detached from the UK’s music industry, which is almost exclusively in London, that there isn’t really any benefit to us playing by the rules. We’ve also been there and done that when it comes to “the right way” in our younger years and it only takes one peek behind the big label curtain to realise that it’s all a load of big budget tricks that rarely work anyway.

While so much has changed in the past ten years when it comes to income, streaming, artist discovery and so on, what doesn’t change is the fact that people want to see good bands live and people also like nice physical product. Like the majority of the population, we aren’t rich enough to buy every single LP we want so we only choose the ones that are special or different. It makes perfect sense that we would then use that in our own approach to putting our music out there. Most of our ideas come from boredom and frustration that no one else has done it already!

Let’s talk about your videos – apparently you make them yourselves. They show real directing skills and what’s really important to us, a deep understanding of pop culture. The video to “Electricity” feels like an intro to a Rob Zombie film, “Sick of Me” channels Spoke Jones, “Motorcycle (Straight to Hell)” contains references to several hit songs such as “I will walk 500 miles” by The Proclaimers and “Loser” by Beck. Our favourite video, “I’m a failure” is a very faithful homage to “Beavis and Butt-Head” (down to the same type of sofa and descriptions for each song shown on the telly) and MTV Oddities (The Brothers Grunt, Aexon Flux, or Maxxx). You are too young to remember those shows/songs from your experience – how do you know about them? Through Internet or research?

Table Scraps: Fortunately we are good looking enough to appear younger than we actually are as most of these references are not lost on us. Particularly as Poppy and TJ are children of the internet where suddenly the wealth of history and pop culture becomes an explosion of access instead of a straight line. We are collectors and obsessives so we naturally gravitate towards things that are high quality and know their references. Our dissatisfaction with bringing other people in to the creative process of Table Scraps is what drove us to make it all ourselves. That and it’s just too expensive to rely on a team of people to do everything for you.

Poppy bought her first DSLR at some point in 2014 and we began shooting videos with it immediately. We taught ourselves the whole process to the point that we make music videos for lots of other bands now which is a nice reminder of how far you can come if you just rely on yourself to do things the way you want rather than relying on other people to bring their interpretation to it and muddy your vision.

Your releases (especially your latest LP “Autonomy”) received a flood of rave reviews. DIY Magazine called you “Brilliant” and “Groundbreaking”, Louder than War claimed you defined “21st century rock and roll”, Clash Magazine described  you as “A real punch” and BBC1 gave you 12 stars out of 10. Have you expected such praise?

Table Scraps: (laughing) We think there may be a small element of misquoting going on there but appreciate it all the same! We don’t expect such praise because we don’t seek it out but it is very encouraging to get and it does help to make things happen for us. It’s particularly nice when we don’t have someone greasing the wheels for us behind the scenes and it comes straight from us. The press and radio team we had for “Autonomy” were wonderful and took the time to understand what we were doing so they did an excellent job at getting it out to more people.

Table Scraps promo picture

You went on tour with the legendary Monster Magnet! How did it go? It must have been one-of-a-kind rock and roll journey!

Table Scraps: The tour with Monster Magnet was insane and a real eye opener for us, particularly as everything about it was so out of our comfort zone. We went, virtually overnight, from a small garage rock band mostly playing in 150 cap clubs to an audience mostly comprised of tasteful garage rock fans who got the references to playing in 2000 cap venues to what we feared might be quite a tough crowd in the stoner/metal bracket. We worried that we might not translate to the size of the rooms and that we would seem out of place with such a heavy band as Monster Magnet but Dave Wyndorf loved us, understood us and Magnet’s audience and insisted that we be there.

Clearly he saw it better than we did as we were kind of the perfect fit and we really rose to the challenge as opposed to a meat and potatoes metal band and we went down incredibly well. We got a lot louder and a lot more comfortable with our hard rock/psych influences there which was very freeing. People on the continent are a lot more accommodating and we had an absolute blast. It showed us that we didn’t need to be so protective and could genuinely kill it on a big stage.

We have to ask about SXSW, you have just returned from Texas. Tell us more about your trip. How many showcases you played? Did you have fun?

Table Scraps: As it is with most things we do, official selection for SXSW was 100% something we never expected to receive. It’s probably a Midlands thing but despite our confidence and commitment to Table Scraps, our expectations are usually extremely low. Like everything else we do, we had no industry backing or money other than that we had raised ourselves and it did represent quite a big risk when we need to be careful with what we spend our money on but there was no way we could turn it down.

Fortunately we really drew people towards us at the shows and we got to play to a lot of new people who were really excited by us. Like the Magnet tour it is very representative of another hard fought step forward. We played nine shows altogether (three in one day!) and got to play at Hotel Vegas twice which was a dream come true. You realize quite quickly that lots of bands you admire and have wanted to see for a long time genuinely see you as their equal and are just as complimentary about you as you are of them. It was a really wonderful and empowering week. Americans are so enthusiastic and sincere and it’s really cute.

There is a word on the streets that Table Scraps are working on new material to be released later this year. Are you planning another record or something else. What can you tell us without spoiling the surprise?

Table Scraps: We are always working on new material in our studio! We aren’t making any promises when it comes to a release date but the new material will genuinely be worth the wait. It’s most certainly indicative of our growing confidence and refusal to follow the crowd because it genuinely sounds like nothing else. It might be a bit of a curveball for some but it’s heavy, it’s fun and it’s got what I think are the best songs Scott has ever written on it. It’s all about the songs!

2019 has been a very busy year for you so far. What are your plans  for the next couple of months? More gigs? Long-deserved holidays?

Table Scraps: Back to the studio to add some finishing touches to what we’ve been working away on for the previous twelve months and then lots of good stuff which is soon to be announced. Certainly lots more gigs. We’re playing for our friends in IDLES’ after-party following their third and final headline at HEAVEN on April 6th at The Garage in London. USA Nails are brilliant and are playing too and our friends Danny Nedelko from Heavy Lungs and Steve Lamacq are DJing too. We can’t wait. So proud of The IDLES!

Table Scraps on SXSW, picture by SKCPhotography

It is our tradition to have a bit of fun with the last question. Let’s say you can compose the perfect rider for yourselves but it will be served to you on tour every night. What’s on the menu?

Table Scraps: (laughing) Whatever we want as long as there is double the amount of beer that was originally intended!

You can follow Table Scraps on their social medias:

Website: https://www.tablescrapsband.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tablescrapshq/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TableScrapsBand
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChFw0Lv7eMvylKWfXdyuZ7Q
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/table_scraps/
Bandcamp: https://table-scraps.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/table-scraps-1

You can also learn more about this excellent trio by reading some of the articles about them:

https://counteract.co/features/band-of-the-week/band-of-the-week-004-table-scraps/
http://drownedinsound.com/releases/20233/reviews/4151646
https://www.musicglue.com/tablescraps/about
https://www.m-magazine.co.uk/newmusic/30seconds/30-seconds-interview-table-scraps/
http://diymag.com/2018/02/23/table-scraps-autonomy-album-review

Come back soon as we are planning something really cool and we cannot wait to share it with you!
See ya later,
xx
R+M