Indieterria Reviews: Mudlark

Hello!

It is a common knowledge that Wales has a strong connection to music. From Ivor Novello, Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones to Budgie, Funeral for a Friend, Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia, Welsh music has always been a step ahead of everybody else, setting new trends and refining musical tastes for decades.

The money might be in London, but the talent is definitively hidden among the valleys and it’s our pleasure to introduce our readers to the best of new acts that Vanadian Avenue has the privilege to discover.

Come Clean /Swansong cover by Robert Paterson

Our today’s guests, Mudlark hail from the beautiful town of Caerphilly. At the beginning, it is worth mentioning that their name is quite original and what’s even more important, it fits them like a glove. In the 18th and 19th century England (especially in the capitol) people scavenging through the river mud in search of valuable items to sell were called either mud searchers or mud lurkers. Usually they belonged to the city’s poorest residents, yet they enjoyed a great deal of  independence, respect among other dwellers and could keep all their earnings to themselves. Nowadays, the term is attributed to treasure hunters, amateur archaeologists and even metal-detectors looking for World Word II souvenirs. When we say the name fits the band well, we mean the listener has to literary “dig” through many layers and intricately constructed melodies to discover and appreciate the true value of their music. Multidimensional and complex creations are Mudlark’s trademarks.

The quintet was formed over two years ago and on the 5th of November 2017, they released their new double track single entitled “Come clean/Swansong”. You may remember them from their September release of an instrumental track “Ruth” that received very warm reviews from independent music websites and online zines. A well made, silent-cinema inspired video (known as “Frankenstein’s Ruth”) also helped to raise the band’s profile. We can promise you that the new release is as good as the previous one and shows that Mudlark are in incredibly great musical shape.

Mudlark picture by Rhys Morgan

Now let’s sink our teeth into the two new compositions. The first one track “Come Clean” is the shorter of the two, standing at only 2 minutes and three seconds. It starts with a longish atmospheric interlude but blossoms into a dynamic and structured sonic landscape at the end of the first minute. The band lists New York hard-core legends Minor Threat as one of their influences and the heavy, gritty guitars and distorted amplifiers are there but “Come Clean” masterfully covers them with haunting harmonies that reminds us of the classic Tool or maybe even more accurately, The Perfect Circle. Luke Powell’s powerful set of lungs shatter the poetic lyrics into shreds but somehow it goes perfectly well with the music. Our only complaint is that the track is a bit too short, yet it is a matter of individual taste. In our opinion, additional 20-30 seconds would allow the song to develop a bit better and keep its natural flow. It is not a big flaw, rather leave  the reviewer wanting more, which is a great thing.

Another great shot by Rhys Morgan

Second song entitled “Swansong” is much longer at 5 minutes and 13 seconds. Again slow beginning, with nearly spoken word vocals, mid tempo that gradually evolves into dramatic and vibrant finish. It is very hard to put it into a single genre – there is a bit of hard-core, a bit of progressive rock, mixture of clean and  growl vocals. If we could say, Swancong is something of a Faith No More, meets Fear Factory (Burton C Bell type vocals) with The Streets and a fellow Welsh metallers, Taint thrown into the concoction. Both songs were solidly mixed and produced. In short this is a professionally prepared demo from a band that`s on a good way to great things.

The double single comes with beautiful photographs taken by Alexandru Olteanu and cover art made by Robert Paterson.

Final mark: Highly recommended!

Promotional photography by Alexandru Olteanu

Mudlark
Luke Powell (vocals)
Wesley McCarthy (lead guitar)
Benjamin Morgan (rhythm guitar)
Nick Giles (bass)
Jack Williams (drums)

Hometown: Caerphilly

Bio: Lifelong friends from the Welsh valleys who write melancholic, poetic and dark oddities.

“Swansong/Come clean” two track single
Release date: 05/07/2017

Written and performed by Mudlark

Engineered by Rhys Morgan – https://twitter.com/rhysdrums
Produced by James Minas – https://twitter.com/minassound
Artwork by Robert Paterson  – https://www.facebook.com/robertpatersonart/
Photography by Alexandru Olteanu  – https://www.facebook.com/not.nanu
Video by Stone Letter Media  – https://www.facebook.com/stonelettermedia/

Second picture by Alexandru Olteanu

You can find more about Mudlark online:

Booking and interview requests:  mudlarkmail@gmail.com
Bandcamp:
https://mudlarkuk.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/mudlarkuk
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/mudlarkuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/mudlarkuk
Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKwB_UXUDEVppX7dUrbNE2w

Swansong video:

Frankenstein’s Ruth video:

If you’d like to have your music featured on Indieterria, please send links to your Soundcooud or Bandcamp pages 3 or 4 pictures and a bio to rdabrowicz at yahoo dot com. Please note that Vanadian Avenue do not accept mp3 or zipped files. Also, please give us a week or two to listen to your music and write the review!

Thank you and see you shortly.
Rita and Malicia

 

Advertisements

Indieterria meets Population:7

Hey, hey!

Time does fly quickly when you are having a good time and recently we have been having the time of our lives (yes, Baby is not sitting in the corner anymore!). We have been to countless gigs, several parties, open mic nights and even to a Halloween extravaganza, but this is a tale for another day 🙂

Today, we would like to introduce you to one of the best neo soul musical collectives from The Midlands. They are called Population:7 and they are very popular among  faithful city residents. You should see their gig at Marrs’ Bar during Worcester Music Festival, it was so packed that Rita got a panic attack (she is claustrophobic), yet people still wanted to get in and were queuing outside! Something like that has not happened since the early 90’s according to the owners and we truly believe them.

Ladies and Gents, let us introduce you to a group that can make old Worcester City dance like the stars on BBC1 on Saturday night 🙂

—————————————————————

Population: 7 

Haydn Rogers: Vocals
Rachael Medhurst: Vocals
Sam Ruane: Vocals
Rob King: Guitar/Synth/Vocals
Pete Mann: Guitar/Vocals
Rob Taylor: Bass/Synth
Jon Kasch: Sax
Hannah Webb: Sax/Flute/Clarinet
Carl Browne: Drums

Population:7 official logo

Being in a band these days is certainly not a walk in the park, yet the technology available can make musicians’ lives so much easier.  The least experienced group will sound pretty good in the studio even if minimal production is applied. Reconstructing that decent sound on stage is another keg of beer whatsoever. In the spotlight, lack of skills or sloppy presence can send the unlucky ones straight into rock and roll oblivion. Don’t be alarmed, Population: 7 are fantastic on the record and in concert. To be honest, they are one of the few bands that can make you dance and jump right from the start. Talking to them is a pleasure as well. We met with Haydn Rogers to discuss their three records, linguistics and the dynamics of working in a musical collective.

There is no doubt that Population:7 is a fantastic name for a band. It’s short, easy to remember and carries a certain element of mystery. Can it be linked to the current population of Earth (7 billions people) or does it mean something completely different?

Haydn Rogers : Finally! Someone gets our name right! Yes, it is a reference to there being 7 Billion people on our planet (currently its 7,571,613,961, but it changes every second). I think we were having a conversation about Desmond Morris (a prolific scientist and writer) and exponential population growth and it all went from there. You would not believe how many people come up to us at shows and say something like: “What’s with the name? There’s like 9 of you and your name has a 7 in it!” Maybe it’s because of groups like SClub7 that people just assume its’s how many members you have!

Group picture

You are so far the biggest group we had a pleasure to host on our blog.  Would you be so kind to introduce all 9 members of your collective? Don’t worry, we like long answers!

Haydn Rogers: Currently, there are roughly 9 of us. I say roughly because we have members that come and play with us for a season or jam with us from time to time. On vocals we have Sam Ruane (alias Ruane), Rachael Medhurst and me (alias Phantom). On the guitars, we have Pete Mann (alias Swagadon), Rob King (he also plays synthesizer) and Rob Taylor who plays bass guitar. Carl Browne is our drummer but this summer he was replaced by Ben Pemberton as Carl was away. Also, there is Hannah Webb who plays alto saxophone, clarinet and flute. We’ve played with loads of other great players that we hope to play with again in the future.

Other bands are struggling to recruit members, yet you managed to gather quite a crowd. How did you all meet? Have you started out as a regular 3 or 4 piece band and kept adding new instruments or vocalists or have you just got together one day and decided to make music?

Haydn Rogers (laughing): We all met in a submarine, just off the coast of Puerto Rica. The Cubans had taken a top secret super weapon that would endanger all of the Eastern Sea on board. So, naturally we were in a nuclear stand off until we started playing this groove in the mess hall (witch for some reason was full of instruments). It was so righteous that we played it over the sub space radio and the Cubans heard it and immediately de-armed themselves and opened the peace negotiations. After that, we decided to form a fusion band instead of a top secret black ops division of MI6.

Or….

I met Sam Ruane few years back when I was playing with Rob King in a band called This Wicked Tongue. We were just chilling in the living room when Sam told us he was a rapper which really impressed us. After little collaboration with Sam’s band TWT, we decided to “do some hip-hop”. At that point we all gathered around a totally out dated lamp-shade iMac (absolute classic computer) and we would make beats with whatever we could get our hands on. At the same time, Pete Mann AKA Swagadon (a mysterious blues/rock/math demon) started writing with us and playing guitar, adding a whole new dimension of insane riffs and enigmatic dance routines. Slowey, we started working with other artists as well. Members of TWT and another group named Mansize were always involved with playing parts and jamming. Two girls, Tina Maynard and Anya Pulver did some fantastic vocals on our first album “Dead City”. When both bands broke up, half of their members moved to Bristol, the other half stayed in Worcester and we formed Population: 7. We wanted it to be a live act and not just a living room/studio project. The first incarnation included Sam, myself, Rob Taylor, Rob King, Pete Mann and Rachael Medhurst, who joined shortly after our first album was released. We needed a drummer, so we sent a couple of our songs to Carl Browne, our mutual friend. It was just few days before our first gig and he nailed everything without rehearsal. We asked him to join us and he said “Indeed shall!” The last person to join was Hannah Webb. She brought a new element to our music with the saxophone, clarinet and flute, giving us a funkier/jazzier sound. We also played with two other amazing sax players along the way – John Kasch (the blues wizard of sax, incredible player) and Katie Ind (amazing jazz multi instrumentalist).

The band in action at Mello Festival

You easily blend jazz, hip-hop, soul, R’n’B and funk into a powerful cocktail of rhythm and irresistible melodies. In your opinion, does Population: 7 sound fits any particular genre or are you happy to keep your fingers in many pies?

Haydn Rogers:  Thank you! I think we initially intended Population: 7 to be a live hip-hop group but through all of our different influences and ideas of what that should be, we ended up with something very different. Our music is an expression of our love for playing, jamming and creating, we get into a room and it just happens. The creative process is organic that way, more intuitive than conscious. The influences from other genres are intrinsically a part of us so when we play they manifest through us and form our fusion of sounds. We can be put into genres or a single genre but that is more for the listener to decide, we are too close to what we are doing to truly know. Also we’re happy to keep exploring music; it is always an adventure and a voyage of discovery

You have impressed Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester so much that he described you as one of the best neo-soul acts in the country. After seeing you live he wrote:“What an incredible live performance. Fun, energetic and have the crowd enjoying themselves as much as the band!” It’s hard to disagree with his words as you nearly brought the entire Marrs Bar down during Worcester Music Festival on Saturday 16th of September. It was packed tight.

Giging at Marrs Bar in Worcester

Haydn Rogers:  We are very thankful to Andrew and the BBC Hereford and Worcester for playing our music and having us on at Lake Fest last year! We put a lot of effort into making sure our live shows are full of energy and it’s great to know that people appreciate that when we play. The Marrs Bar concert organized by The Task in Hand was a really enjoyable night for us and the crowd was amazing! This makes it easier for us to perform and have a great time doing it. It was a packed night and the atmosphere was intense. To capture that energy, we decided to film part of the show to make a video for our song “Swag” which will be out soon! We loved the other bands playing that night with us as well: Hoggs Bison, Theo, To The Wall, Esteban and Rosebud – check all of these out if you haven’t already!

Recently Population:7 has recorded two albums: “WHYP7” in 2016 and “Fiero” earlier this year. Despite just a year of difference between both releases, there is a massive change in your sound. “Fiero” is much more complex and adventurous. You use various singing and rapping techniques, you are not afraid to experiment with ambient and dubstep, everything seems to flow more naturally, almost with ease. We can freely use the word “mature” to describe it. You have evolved considerably as a band in a really short period of time.

Haydn Rogers: Again, thank you! A lot changed for us in that time including members and musical tastes so the music naturally moved with us. We also had time to play a lot of shows and practice hard, further discovering our sound and what P7 is and means to us. The sound will no doubt continue to change and evolve as we do as people. Music is all about people really, it’s a social thing. It is as much about our relationships and culture as it is about notes and musical structure. That is its true power – it connects people or sometimes the opposite – in our case we all agree on how it makes us feel which drives us to achieve more. We are currently bringing together the material we have been working on for the last year with a view to turn it into an album to record sometime next year.

We are intrigued by the name of the album. Tell us, what exactly is “Fiero”?

Cover of Fiero album

Haydn Rogers:  “Fiero” is an Italian word that has several meanings. I first came across it when I read “Emotions revealed: Understanding faces and feelings” by psychologist Paul Ekman. It is amazing, read it! Jane McGonigal, American game designer and author gives a good definition of fiero in her book “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World”.  She says: “Fiero is what we feel after we triumph over adversity. You know it when you feel it – and when you see it. That’s because we almost all express fiero in exactly the same way: we throw our arms over our head and yell”. We decided to use “Fiero” as the album title after having lots of problems with the titular song. There was a very tricky section in this song, that when we eventually got it right this is exactly what we felt. It also means fierce or proud and is also the name of a 1988 mid-engined Pontiac.

Two tracks included on and “Fiero” are standing out: the hypnotic “I Say” and the crowd pleasing “Blindspot” which opens the record. We’d love to hear more about those songs.

P7 at Lake Fest rocking the BBC Introducing stage

Haydn Rogers: “I Say” is a song about not feeling in control of your life but accepting that fact. It’s also a lot of fun to play and there’s a flute bit in it that Hannah came up with that completely defines that track. “Blind Spot” is one of our older songs and has changed a fair bit over the years until we recorded it for “Fiero”.  We also did a music video for it earlier this year in our friend Diff’s basement. Thanks Diff, you are a legend!

The collective is constantly on the move. You play a lot of shows at home and away. Recently you have supported Benji and Hibbz in Birmingham at a sold out concert and enchanted the audience during very successful performances at Lakeview Festival and at The Wharf in Stourport-on-Severn.  Where will your fans have to see you live next?

Haydn Rogers: We really enjoyed playing with Benji and Hibbz at the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham. They are a really talented bunch of musicians and great people too! We ended up having a freestyle jam with them and the other act, Glimmer & Wiz.  It is really refreshing playing with a band that is genuinely up for live jamming. We have a couple of shows coming up. Please come and see us on 2nd of November at the Marrs Bar supporting the Toasters and 2nd December at the George and Dragon in Belper. We’re also planning to do a Christmas Show show at the Marrs’ Bar but we are still confirming the dates.

Another group picture from the vast band’s archives

You can follow Population:7 at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/population7
Twitter: https://twitter.com/p7_population7
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/population-7
Reverb Nation: https://www.reverbnation.com/population7
Bandcamp: https://population7.bandcamp.com

 

You want to hire them for your gig? Please send all request to Population7uk@gmail.com! They will get your party started like nobody else. Trust us, we haven’t danced for years but our feet start moving on their own! It’s a dangerous thing to go to their performances. You never know, you might be off  showing your best moves on the dance floor in no time!

Have a fantastic Novermber kids and keep your eyes open. Population:7 are going to be even bigger, very, very soon.

xoxo
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

 

Indieterria meets Nuns of the Tundra

Dear Readers,

We arrived into October not so quietly. Our ears are still ringing from both Worcester Music Festival and Musicians Against Homelessness gigs, but there is no sign of slowing down. Actually, next week we will rock out again – back at the Marr`s Bar for the EP launch of Nuns of the Tundra. The Nuns are from Malvern and they have built themselves quite a reputation in the last few years. It will be a sonic pleasure to see them live and to listen to their new material. We hope you enjoy first installment of Autumn selection of Indieterria.

Nuns of the Tundra logo

Music from the Shire

 

Nuns of the Tundra

Troy Tittley: Guitar
Arran Davies: Guitar
Jim Smith: Bass
Melos Moody: Drums


West Midland quartet, Nuns of the Tundra, is a rare beast. They easily melt American rock tradition with typical British favoritism for distorted sounds and gritty tunes, creating a fresh sound that has a chance of revolutionizing the rusted structures of the indie genre. Vanadian Avenue sat down with Nundra’s (their pet name!) lead singer and guitarist, Troy Tittley, to discuss their newest single “Float Away”, the Hobbits, road movies and composing on top of the Malvern Hills.

Banner with original logo

According to your biography, Nuns of the Tundra was formed nearly two years ago. Can you please introduce yourselves?  Tell us how the band was formed and where did you meet.

Troy Tittley: The band is the brain child of me and my childhood friend, Arran Davies. We’d always be showing each other cool new music we’d found since we were about 10 years old, and in fact were in a band together called RoadKill when we were 13. We’re better hopefully by now. We had all these riffs and song ideas that were floating around not doing anything, and we had a ton of free time. We didn’t take it overly seriously at first; we made songs about swamp monsters, vampires, goblins… The song about killer sex robots from the future actually became our first single. I also have been in a band before Nuns with a producer Curig Huws, and Curig basically taught me some song writing rules that made me feel confident enough to give it a crack myself. So after that band broke up,  Nuns were formed.

You have to admit that Nuns of the Tundra is a very interesting choice of a name for a rock group. We tried to look for possible explanation and this is our theory: You come from Malvern that derives its name from the old Welsh word “moel-bryn” meaning “Bald Hill”. The tundra biome is usually described as barren, treeless or bare. Also, Malvern as a town has been established by Benedictine order in late 10th century. Maybe as a joke, instead of the monks you called yourselves The Nuns. Nuns of the Tundra. Sounds pretty good to us!

The Nuns photographed by Colton Halls
https://www.facebook.com/coltonhalls

Troy Tittley: I absolutely love your theory and I wish we were that clever. I have to disappoint, but Arran loves nuns, my favorite word is tundra. Deep, right? Tundra Nuns sounded too indie, Nun Tundra doesn’t really work, I don’t know why. When I came up with Nuns of the Tundra, it was a joke, but when I said it out loud, it just stuck with me. We were going to be called nilbog (goblin backwards), but I think Nuns of the Tundra is equally as ridiculous and that’s why we love it. We also have some twitter followers using Nundra to save precious characters, and we really dig that name too.

Let’s talk about Malvern for a while longer. You describe your music asdirty desert stoner rock from the unlikely Midlands town of Malvern”. However, Malvern always had a strong links to (popular) music. For many years it has been the home of Edward Elgar and Julius Harrison, classical composer and professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Malvern Winter Gardens was a popular venue bringing top rock acts such as Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbaths and many others to West Midlands. It seems that you are continuing the local tradition of crafting good music.

Troy Tittley: Yes, you’re totally right. Malvern just feels like a tucked away music hub. The hills are pretty inspiring; I did a lot of writing up there because you can get away from everything, so Elgar was definitely on to something. It’s basically the Shire and we’re the Hobbits. It’s rather unlikely because I’d kind of expect a rock band to come from Mordor or Isengard. Maybe Sigur Ros lives in Rivendell! (laughs)

Your music has been categorized as a wild mixture of psychedelic, progressive rock, American collage rock, grunge and mainstream harmonies. Fugazi, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse and Grant Lee Buffalo have been mentioned as possible influences. Which other artist you would add to the mix and why?

Troy Tittley: As you can see we have a lot of American influence. I love that Fugazi made its way into that list by the way! Live we can be quite raw, but we like to get the layers and intricacies in there too. Really, I want this sound to evolve into something that shifts from chaos to complexity and back, but that’s for another time. Right now, we are very guitar driven, and try our best not to retread ground structure wise or atmosphere wise, so the wild mixture is probably down to that. I’d probably add Nine Inch Nails and Foo Fighters to that list; it’s basically all I listened to growing up.

Nuns debut single “Robot Love” received fantastic reviews from local and online press. It has been championed by Andrew Marston at the BBC Hereford and Worcester. You were also invited to play at BBC Introducing stage at Lakeview Festival at Eastnor Castle in August this year where apparently “you blew the tent poles off” with your powerful riffs. That’s very impressive start, don’t you think?

Troy Tittley: The thing is that’s not the start! We’ve been going at this for a while now and a lot of the feedback hasn’t been so hot. But that gives you thicker skin and if you can get past it, then that’s when the real stuff starts happening. We used to post demos online to public forums, because face to face people often say things that let you off easy. Online anonymity allows people to be complete dicks to you and you just have to deal with it! So, really it started there. We just got our ass handed to us until our “Mind’s Eye” demo took off. We were on the front page of Reddit Guitar Facebook page for a while and it felt amazing. It doesn’t surprise me as “Mind’s Eye” is currently our most popular song.

Second release entitled “Mind’s Eye” only cemented your reputation as a new band to look out for. Overblown Magazine called you “the saviours of mainstream rock”, Worcester Music Festival described you as “dirty drive 100 MPH through the deserts of the wild west” while Born Music gave you the title of “one of the UK’s most exciting upcoming bands”. By now, you must be accustomed to constant praise.

Troy Tittley: It is a good feeling knowing you are on the right track, but it’s important not to rely on positive press because it can make you soft, in my opinion anyway. I think I work harder when people are being harsh. Josh Homme once said “You’ve got to learn to love being hit by rocks” and I think that’s true. But I am deeply grateful for the positive response.

Your latest single, “Dead in the desert” has almost cinematic feeling to it – a certain dark vibe accompanied by an open landscape of fuzzed guitars and distorted echoes. It is easy to imagine surviving members of Velvet Revolver teamed up with Trent Reznor to write a soundtrack for a new road movie directed by David Lynch. I have to admit, it has been one of my favorite tracks this year. Can you tell us more about it?

Troy Tittley: Can I use that description? I love it. I would definitely watch that movie. That song started off as just the bass riff. Originally, it was a guitar line made by Arran. We changed it hugely and made it way more psychedelic. Then we dropped it from our set for over a year, the chorus just wasn’t right. After that, I got addicted to Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” album and it channeled a lot of how I was feeling at the time and the chorus just came together. Finally, the whole song just made sense. The weird sounds and little guitar licks were improvised in the studio. Our producer Scott Mahoney just set me up with this enormous chain of trippy guitar pedals, went out for a smoke and told me to do whatever I wanted. It was a really fun experience, and we were just trying to create the weirdest and most creepy soundscape we could get away with. I’m glad you like it.

Nuns of the Tundra during their BBC Introducing session
Photo by Andy O`Hare
https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

On the 10th of October, you will release your first EP and a new single “Float Away”.  How many songs will be included? Where was it recorded?

Troy Tittley: The EP is the first 4 songs we recorded at the Funky Bunker in Malvern. “Float Away” will be the new track and all other singles released will be on there too. It’s our first CD and we’re so excited to have something physical. All songs were produced by Scott Mahoney and the current band lineup: me, Arran, Jim and Melos.

Recently, we found out that an animated video to “Float away” was produced by London based indie/alt rock art company YesMan. Its official premiere took place on the 28th of September and it has already been shown to critics at NYC Indie Film Festival where it was included into official festival selection. It will be competing for the main festival award in short movie category on 7 – 13th May 2018. We are very interested in learning more about this unusual collaboration.

Troy Tittley: YesMan caught our attention with his previous work; it has a really different feel to the majority of the stuff out there. We played him a lot of tracks that we’d recorded, and just asked him to pick the one that vibed with him most. We didn’t want any input; we just wanted him to come up with something, to make a song more than a song. “Float Away” is close to my heart, I wrote the main riff when I was very young, probably 13, so a part of me was hoping he’d choose it. And honestly the song works so much better with the video, once you see it, you won’t be able to separate the two. It’s just how I wanted it to be. Plus I get to be the moon!

Nuns of the Tundra are on the (rock and) roll. What are you up to in the nearest future?
Any gigs your fans should be aware of?

Troy Tittley:  We’ve got a few songs that are recorded and ready to go. We like to surprise people, so “Float Away” will be a departure from our main sound. The next batch will hopefully add another element to our repertoire. We have some songs to be yet recorded, a tour through October and big plans for 2018. Also, we’ll be back in the Louisiana in Bristol on the 4th of October, and our EP launch will be held at the Marrs Bar, October 10th. We’re heading back down to London on the 27th of October and we’re playing a special hometown gig in Malvern at the Unicorn too. Can’t wait!

You can follow Nuns of the Tundra online:

http://www.nundra.com
https://facebook.com/nunsofthetundra/
https://twitter.com/NunsoftheTundra
https://soundcloud.com/nunsofthetundra
https://www.reverbnation.com/nunsofthetundra
https://nunsofthetundra.bandcamp.com

That`s all folks. We will see you at Marrs Bar on October 10, for the EP launch.

Mal/Rita

Indieterria meets The Humdrum Express

Dear Readers,

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

A thousand things to worry about

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


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

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

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

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

Ian Passey performing – photo by Arthur Passey

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have shared stages with many legends: performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers) and Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) to name just a few. If you could choose another person to perform with, who would that be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow Ian and The Humdrum Express

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

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

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

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

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

Indieterria meets Vinny Peculiar

Dear Readers,

This edition of Indieterria will profile an artist who is not a new starter. To be honest, he is well established and enjoys cult status among music fans. However, discovering new music doesn’t mean only cheeking out musicians on their first demo. There is a lot to learn from artists of all ages and all periods. As John Peel would say – you cannot limit yourself to one genre or one decade. It was a pleasure and privilege (to quote a classic) to sit down with Vinny Peculiar and talk about his art and music. And we will admit, we learned few things. Now, we wait in anticipation to see Vinny perform at Marr`s Bar on September 22 for Musicians Against Homelessness. Read on!

Man of many talents

Alan Wilkes, better known as Vinny Peculiar, is one of the most respected and original artists in the music business today. Splitting his time between his native Worcestershire and adopted home in Manchester, he has established himself as a poet, musician and writer. Finding a spare second in his busy schedule, Alan sat down with us to talk about receiving his own blue plague, new album inspired by growing up in West Midlands and charitable efforts to support local events.

You are a man of many talents – a performer, musician, poet, writer and educator. What is the difference between Alan Wilkes and Vinny Peculiar? Are you one and the same or is Vinny simply your artistic alter ego?

Vinny Peculiar: Thank you, I try and dabble in a few different things. Sometimes they work out but I’m most comfortable as a musician/songwriter. The Vinny Peculiar alter ego has been around for a while now but deep down, I’m one and the same person. The real difference is, I get to elaborate and take more risks as Vinny – perhaps the function of the alter ego is a permission to lose yourself. You’ve got me over thinking this one!

So far you have released 13 albums and EP’s to great critical acclaim, with genre-defying releases such as “Other people like me” or “Non Compliance” among them.  If you could choose one record from your catalogue that you value the most, what would it be and why?

Vinny Peculiar: I’d go for “Ironing the Soul”.  This record has got me a lot of breakthrough press and I made it with a band of mates in Liverpool, during stolen overnight studio time whilst trying to hold down a proper job! There’s certain urgency about it and some of those 4am vocal takes seem suitably desperate for the songs. Nowadays, I’m spending weeks editing acoustic guitar parts on a Mac which is not quite the same buzz. “Ironing the Soul” is kind of an oldschool.

cover of Silver Meadows

Vinny Peculiar is independent music press darling. Uncut magazine called you “an under sung national treasure” and “Tony Hancock of pop”; Q Magazine heralded you to be “a warm-hearted Morrissey” and The Irish Times convinced their readers you are the missing link between Jarvis Cocker and Roger McGough. How do you feel about those comparisons? Are they something you personally agree with? 

Vinny Peculiar: Music press darling you say? Hmm, I’m not sure about that but yes; I have had some great press from the major glossy UK magazines. I think this is partly because my stuff is easy to write about. There is usually a narrative story and some quotable lyrics. UNCUT named one of my songs the fourth best song title of 2004 with “We Tried to Drown Our Music Teacher in 1974”, you can see what I mean.

Your musical style escapes every attempt at classification, forcing reviewers to come up with pretty interesting suggestions such as poetry punk, urban lyricists or even “a beautiful blend of Americana, poetry, indie-pop and busker-punk”. It must be satisfying to see them grind their teeth in frustration every time you release new material. Do you still consider yourself to be part of outside pop movement? 

Vinny Peculiar: Yes, I don’t see music as a defined genre thing; often the most incongruous elements can make a song work or not. I try to be driven by what particular song needs. It doesn’t always work, mind! My Outsider status is probably always going to be a given. I’ve never been the new EMI Darling, or even the New Old Man on the Block. I was rather a late starter in the songwriter game! What I try is to follow the Ray Davies model and just “keep on working”.  There comes a time when you write and perform because that’s what you do and over analysis is futile, so I tell myself…

Photo by David Bailey

Many of your songs are autobiographical. You grew up in north Worcestershire village of Cathill, in a strict Methodist home. Your childhood experiences, vocational training as a nurse and a serious illness in the family are recurring themes in your lyrics. Mental well-being and finding hope against the odds seems to be very important to you. 

Vinny Peculiar: Autobiographical, yes. I think most songwriters write about themselves under some disguise; some do it better [or worse] than others. And yes again, for me personally, holding your head up is everything. We are such a marginalized society and we need hope more than ever. I have found that sharing experiences, often everyday ones, in songs and poems really helps. I try and bring this model to the workshops – people have so much to express, much more than they realise and it can aid their self-esteem and mental well-being. That’s my plug for the workshops done!

 You have strong ties not only with Worcester but also with Manchester to the point of Manchester Evening News claiming you as the city’s own. For many years you have collaborated with the Mancunian finest – Andy Rourke of the Smiths, Bonehead of Oasis or the members of the punk group, The Fall. You also supported the renovation of the iconic Salford Lads Club with frequent gigs. Do you feel at home in the north? 

Vinny Peculiar: It’s been fascinating to be back home and closer to family. I’ve ended up writing songs based on local events and issues. At the same time, I love The North.  I’m still working on the “Silver Meadows” stage play in Liverpool. It’s taking forever to refine, get the right actors, but we are still hopeful it will come off. I was at Salford Lads Club recently and got awarded a blue plaque; other recipients included Wayne Rooney and Maxine Peake. It was a great promo idea for the club, and I was stupidly happy to receive it. I’m planning another Lads Club Fundraiser before Christmas, date to be confirmed shortly.

Your artistic escapades link you closely to the eccentric genius of Bill Drummond (KLF, SOUP ART) – master of anarchistic and thought provoking happenings and art installations. Can you tell us more about your co-operation?

Vinny Peculiar: I was the Artist in Residence [Musical] opposite Bills Artist In Residence [Visual] at The Cathedral Arts Festival In Belfast in 2005. Bill and I shared a flat for 10 days and I went on to do many house concerts with him as part of The Soup Line Project. Bill would make soup and deliver a lecture and I would play a forty minute set of songs. I still keep in touch and look forward to the all new singing, dancing and thought provoking KLF! I also have the dubious honour of being auctioned song by song by Bill in Kensington, Liverpool at the demolition of a high rise block – he managed to sell a one to one version of “Confessions of a Sperm Donor” to a local business woman for £200.  It was quite a night…

Recently your album “Silver Meadows (Fables from the Institution)” has been turned into a stage play by Liverpool writer Ian Salmon. The initial reviews are fantastic. Where did the idea come from and where can we see it?

Vinny Peculiar: The Silver Meadows songs came from my time working in long stay Learning Disability and Psychiatric Hospitals. The album is set in the mid-1980s at the dawn of Community Care. The songs are character driven, they tell little stories of big changes. We’ve had an initial full run through before an invited audience and I’m still working on the fine details of the production. These things take a long time as they involve so many different people, including funder.  It is never straightforward, but we are determined it should be seen…

On 22nd of September, you will return to Marrs Bar in Worcester to perform an acoustic set during Musicians Against Homelessness concert in support of Crisis, an nationwide charity helping homeless people to find a stable and permanent accommodation. Are you planning something special for the night?

Vinny Peculiar: I’ll be doing the Mars Bar show with Rob Steadman, my regular piano player. Rob was in Parlour Flames with me (the band I formed with Bonehead). We’ll be playing songs from the new locally themed album including “The Malvern Winter Gardener” and “Droitwich”. It is scandalous that we still have such a housing homeless crisis in the UK and we fully support the work of Crisis. I’m really pleased to have been asked to play this gig.

We know you are currently working on a new album inspired by Worcestershire and your childhood in Bromsgrove. Several demos have already been posted on Sound cloud website. What else is planned for the nearest future?

Vinny Peculiar: My forthcoming gig highlights include playing The 100 Club in London with Chris Difford, the date has not been confirmed yet.  I’m excited about that, we recently supported him in Malvern and he is a very decent chap, too. The new album will take some time to finish, it is due early next year and we will be touring to support it. I have formed a new band with local Worcester musicians: Dan Bramhall (drums), Wes Dance (guitars) and Rooney Wooster (bass) and we are recording a new live EP soon too – I will let you know when it is ready!
You can follow Vinny at the links below:

www.vinnypeculiar.com
www.facebook.com/vinny.peculiar
https://soundcloud.com/vinnypeculiarmusic

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

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

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

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

Hoping to see you soon,

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets Lost Tiger to the Wild

Dear Readers,

Lost Tiger to the Wild band logo

On September 22 2017, Worcester will be rocked by Musicians Against Homelessness campaign. The town will host an annual gig to raise funds for Crisis,  an NGO that help vulnerable people. This year yours truly are involved and our role is to bring to light and attention of general public the amazing artists who will be playing for the fundraiser.  We have already profiled nth cave for this blog. It`s time to meet Lost Tiger To The Wild.
Believe us or not, we found them via Twitter when they were still under a different name around a year and half ago, we have been in the first row on their debut gig, we may have passed a word about them to a DJ or two. It was a pleasure to watch this duo grow into confident artists. Now it is a pleasure to present them on this blog.

Hear us roar

Jokingly referred to as the rock and roll version of the Thompson Twins (who were not real twins mind you!) brothers Alfie and Zack Jeavons-Fellows are on the straight way to stardom. Their sudden appearance on Worcester music scene less than a year ago was a true musical knock out. Powerful riffs, rhythmic beats combined with talent for writing songs you cannot get out of your head, proved to be a winning combination. We have caught up with the skilled duo to speak about their early success, getting noticed and their upcoming music.

You are identical twins, we are not seeing double, are we?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: (laughing) Yes, we are identical twins; born a minute apart. I’m the older of us both.

Lost Tiger to the Wild is an interesting name for a band – half poetic and half cryptic. Can you explain where it came from?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: We found the phrase in a book. The quote read “We have lost a tiger to the wild”. We liked the way the words worked together, so we went with ‘Lost Tiger to the Wild’. For us the name is about being free and independent.

Alfie and Zac before their BBC Introducing session with Andrew Marston for BBC Hereford and Worcester Photo by Andy O`Hare https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

 

Zac, you normally play the lead guitar and sing, while your brother Alfie is wreaking havoc behind his drum kit.  However, you are known to switch places or play different instruments such as ukulele or keyboard during your performances. Is it hard to play only with your brother as a duo or do you prefer to keep it simple?

Zac Jeavons-Fellows: Playing as a duo is easier for us. We get on really well, have similar mindsets and share an approach to our music. Decision-making is much easier. And of course sorting rehearsals is simple. We are keeping it simple; it works for us at the moment.

Are you working with any other local musicians? Do you have a backing band that is supporting you on stage on special occasions? 

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Yes, we do. We’ve added a bass and lead guitarist for a recent live gig, which was really good for us because we were able to experiment with the solid guitar sound that Lost Tiger is about.

Many young bands look up to your own musical heroes such as Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Kasabian, Oasis or Catfish and The Bottlemen and their influences can easily be heard. The music you make is hard to categorize – it is rhythmic and energetic, yet very original. What inspires you to write?

Zac Jeavons-Fellows: Song writing is all about the riff for me. The lyrics come after. I can’t really tell you where the inspiration comes from. We probably draw from blues, a bit of soul and plenty of guitar rock, although we do listen to lots of different music. Lyrics generally come from experiences – some of my own and some that I see other people going through.

Read to Rock! Photo from band archives.

BBC Introducing gave you one of the best recommendations we have seen in years. “Great guys, great melodies, great live shows, great future ahead of them”.  It is not easy to impress people who listen to music for a living.

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: (laughing again) People who listen to live music for a living are our best critics. Honest feedback is what helps us drive forwards. The BBC Introducing chaps were really good to work with, funnily enough we bumped in to Andrew Marston after our Coventry University gig and we see Andy O’Hare all over the place. Good blokes.

You are represented by prestigious Coalition Talent Entertainment Agency in London, responsible for shaping careers of well-known acts such as Shoala Ama, Pixie Lott, The Wombats or Artful Dodger. How did your partnership begin?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Once our social media started to kick off, we found several agents were getting in touch. Rather than leap at the first offer we have received, we waited for a proven talent management team that could help push our careers on. Coalition got in touch in February, making some really positive noises so we met with them in London and soon agreed to work together. Being part of the Coalition stable gives us a chance to perform with lots of other professional artists.

We have to ask about our favourite track, Remember to Breathe.  You played it at the BBC session at the Railway in Redditch to rave reviews and great compliments from the crowd. It is a powerful track with thoughtful lyrics. Tell us more about this song. 

Zac Jeavons-Fellows: I have had the chorus riff for ages and loved the way it sounded with a decent fuzz pedal. Alf developed the song without lyrics a lot and it still sounds exactly the same. Coming up with lyrics to compliment the gritty sound was a struggle until I heard a bluesy song called “Remember to Breathe” written by Australian busker, Owen Campbell. It just clicked. With a little bit of tweaking, the lyrics fitted perfectly over my verse and chorus. We love it. Hope Owen will too, when he hears it.

Lost Tiger to the Wild – performing at the Marrs Bar on 5th May 2017 – their debut gig

Debut gig on May the 5th 2017 – force was definitely with the band

Lost Tiger was only founded in November 2016 and you have been performing extensively ever since. Your achievements are most impressive: on 17th of May you played at the sold out CUSU Summer Ball 2017 at the legendary Coventry University Students’ Union supporting Tinie Tempah;  on the 10th of June you supported Lethal Bizzle at University of Essex and recently you headlined a gig for UNCOVER sessions night in Worcester. Where are you going to play next?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Our next gig is the Monmouthshire Filthy Girl Mud Run After party at the beginning of September. We played the sister event in Derbyshire about a month ago which was great fun. The crowd was really up for it. Top gigs are all about the audience.

On 22nd of September you will return to Marrs Bar in Worcester to take part in Musicians Against Homelessness initiative in support of Crisis (charity combating homelessness). This nation-wide musical event is championed by Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records and manager of Primal Scream, Oasis and The Libertines. Are you preparing anything special for the night?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: The Marrs Bar is the home of original music in Worcester so we’ll definitely be playing our own music. If everything goes well, we’re hoping to debut a couple of new tracks. We’re really pleased to be part of the event.

Debut gig at the Marrs Bar.

Outside of your musical careers, you are very keen on sports, especially rugby. You both play for Stourbridge RFC, also with great success. We hope you are not thinking about a sudden career-change.

Zac Jeavons-Fellows:  No, don’t worry! We’re really into music; it’s what we really want to do.

Last but not least – the fun question. Tell us the most rock and roll thing that has happened to you so far. 

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: I think it’d be best if we keep that one to ourselves… if you ask us face to face we may answer differently.

You can follow Lost Tiger to the Wild at:

https://www.facebook.com/LostTigerBand/
https://twitter.com/LostTigerBand
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNcu1GbXFLTrl_UP-L9lHsw
https://www.instagram.com/LostTigerBand/

 

Lost Tiger to the Wild in Slap Magazine

You can read this interview in September issue of Slap Magazine:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/issue-73/september-2017/

or you can download the copy here:

issue-73-september-2017

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

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

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

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

We will see you soon enough for more music,

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets TommyandMary

Dear Readers,

Band logo

Since we are already in July and the days are longer, we will have a double (or maybe even a triple) portion of Indieterria this month. So much music to listen to and great bands to tell you about. This episode is all about Thomas and Mary Yaman, known professionally as TommyandMary.  This is our pleasure and privilege to introduce you dear readers to punk rock duo that is building themselves a cult following in London. Based in Brixton, they work hard, play even harder and have won their fans not only by the strength of their music, but also because of the affection and respect they show each other.

We have sat down with Tommy and Mary to speak about their new album, busking, being  independent artists and song writing.

Forget about Sid and Nancy, we have got better couple in town! And they rock!

The Angels of Brixton

The Angels of Brixton

You are described as British answer to The White Stripes. Like Jack and Meg White, you are married and until recently, you have played exclusively with each other. You also divide band duties in similar way as Mary plays drums whilst Tommy concentrates on guitars and vocals. Do you consider comparisons to The White Stripes to be a badge of honour, lazy journalism or perhaps you  just don’t care?

Tommy: I think people will always compare us to The White Stripes and many other duos. I personally don’t think we sound like The White Stripes at all. I grew up  when The Strokes, Kings of Leon and The Libertines and off course The White Stripes all came out at the same time. But Jack and Meg were never my cup of tea. Mary didn`t even know who they were until someone mentioned them to her while we were busking.

Can you remember the moment when you two decided to form a band together?

Tommy: Yes, very well. We were outside my old apartment where Mary and I lived for a while. The band I was in at the time and Mary joined had split. I wanted to play solo as I found it difficult to cope with all 5 personalities I had to play with at the time. And Mary thought it would be cool if we played just us two and carried on our musical journey together.

The fondness you show for each other is unparalleled on the indie scene. Band bio says “TommyandMary are one word because we are that close”. You wear matching attires (“I prefer the drummer” – Tommy, “Unavailable” – Mary) and then there is “Angels” – powerful love song  about yourselves released as a single. We have to say – it is incredible to witness such affection.

Mary posing in her signature “Unavailable” tee

Matching attires.

Tommy wearing his “I prefer the drummer” shirt

Mary: Music is a very sensitive and fragile form of art and the fact that we are married and are in a band together just makes it even more personal. We grow together as individuals and as musicians and the love that we have for each other makes everything seem possible. I hope it shows in our music!

Another thing that sets you apart from other acts is your working ethics. For the last two years you have combined regular gigs with extensive busking. It seems the life on an independent artist is pretty intensive.

Tommy: We’ve stopped busking for now. We couldn’t stand it anymore (laughs) but I think we learnt a lot from it. It built our confidence.

Your busking escapades quickly turned into a permanent residency at the Oxford Circus attracting hundreds of people each time you played. Can you tell us how does it feels to be playing on Britain’s busiest street?

Tommy: Busking gave us an opportunity to meet some amazing people from all over the world and acquire some professional contracts. Mary got sponsored by Underground and we both got sponsored by company called W.S.Studio. Not to mention that we had once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record our latest album “Authority” at Rupert Cobb’s Gun Hill Studios with the AMAZING Gary Wallis. So I think the goods outweighs the amounts of times we were harassed by the public and judged for being beggars by some clothing companies that had no idea about our passion for performing and playing music.

Tommy at The 100 Club

Mary posing for the Underground brand

Is it safe to be a busker in London? And  a question that must follow the first one – is it profitable  in the times of everlasting rush and gripping austerity?

Tommy:  I think anything is profitable when your passion for something is bigger than the price. And  to be honest, no it isn’t safe. Especially when there is still a minority of crazy, ignorant people in the world and as a busker you are exposed to it.

Your regular gigs took you to some of capital`s most celebrated venues. Among many 100 Club, Nambucca, Camden Assembly and now 229. How is club circuit responding to independent acts?

Tommy: We’ve definitely been to some amazing venues like 100 Club and 93 Feet East. It gave us a chance to meet some bands and musicians that have been in the game for a while longer than us. It’s inspiring but also feels overwhelming.

Mary at The 100 Club

TommyandMary supported number of prolific artists, most recently The Telescopes. How do you recall that particular show?

Tommy: Having been on the same stage as some legendary acts, we both felt like we really had to step up and not let our ancestors down.

Mary, you are known for very technical and powerful style of drumming despite downsizing your kit to bare essentials. Something similar was practiced by Palmolive  (original sticks woman of the punk heroines The Slits). What inspired you to hit things for a living?

Mary:  I can’t agree with saying that my drumming is technical at all. In fact loads of drummers criticised me about the way I sit, hold sticks and set up my drum kit. But yeah, I prefer aggressive style of drumming as it allows me to feel the songs and it is just boring otherwise. Tommy suggested busking one day and I just went with it.

As a band`s chief tunesmith, you don’t shy from tacking contemporary topics such as corporate/precarious work (“My manager is a prick”), obsession with celebrities (“Rich acting Rich For The Poor”) or going though existential crisis (“Red”). Do you believe that it is important for artists to be socially and politically active?

Tommy: I believe if an artist is only writing about ego or their own spoilt opinions, he or she is avoiding the honesty that lays in each person’s heart. Whether this is political or not, the truth is that we are all in this journey together and being ignorant, self indulgent or judgmental isn’t something that I encourage. But being empathetic to both worlds, the ego and the selflessness give me an insight into what lays in-between inaction and people’s willingness to ensemble, and this is something worth writing about. Contradiction is something that is often reflected in my thoughts and actions and I want to learn more about psychological and philosophical aspects of writing. So I don’t think politics is really my strength.

The band is on their third independent release. “Authority” was debuted earlier this year and was recorded at Gun Hill Studios in London. It is a significant change in sound compared to “The Things we love” (2015) and “Smoke Break -Side A” (2016). Your songs are layered, elaborate even. Are you satisfied with this new direction?

Sleeve to debut release Together We Love

Smoke Break -Side A – collage and pins, this record is in our musical archives and is signed!

Authority – third release

Tommy:  For our  first album “Together We Love”, I had written all the songs and Mary didn’t have much of a say or creative input. But as we grew musically together, we began to think collaboratively on our sound and direction. Our experiences started to reflect in our music and we really started to learn more about our sound and what we wanted to write about.

“Authority” is accompanied by three promotional videos (“Angels”, “Authority”, “The Rich acting Rich For The Poor”) and an alternative DIY video to “The Rich…” directed by the band, a fan documentary and a video interview. That’s an enormous amount of work put into promoting the album. Do you enjoy collaborating with others?

Tommy:  We have made a lot of friends from our music and we absolutely love spending time with them. The DIY videos that we made are all about the collaboration that we can have with our friends and using their talents to make things happen. But also it is important for us to have a great time making something together.

We heard though a grapevine that you are planning to introduce a new guitarist  to the fold.

Tommy:  A lot of bands add members after a while to create a wider range of sounds. We decided that this isn’t the direction we want to take. We want to keep it as it is. We don’t want to change. Although we were thinking of  bringing a friend in for our next show  as he is an amazing guitarist and writer. I know for sure that he will be very successful with his music in the long run. But no, we won’t be adding another band member.

Random. Last. Question. If you could travel to the golden years of rock music with whom would you tour?

Tommy: The Clash did a lot of busking in their days. So I would have liked to play a few shows with them.  I think Mary’s drums would have been a huge factor in pushing boundaries in the late 70s (laughs). Or perhaps I could be in New York playing a few shows at CBGB`s with The Dead Boys, that would have been amazing, having been given the opportunity.

Mary: I would have played with The Rolling Stones and Queen.

TommyandMary: One Word

You can follow TommyandMary here:

https://www.tommyandmary.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/tommyandmary/
https://twitter.com/tommyandmary
https://www.instagram.com/tommyandmary_punkduo/

**** Update 28/07/2017****

Poster for the Absent Kelly indie night on 7th July 2017

TommyandMary played a very well received gig at 229 Venue in London on 7th July 2017 as part of Absent Kelly`s indie night series. So good was the night in fact, that they were given a rave review in Louder Than War magazine and  photographer Marcus Jamieson-Pond dedicated them a whole gallery on his website!

Louder Than War review in full, 16th July 2017

You can see the kick ass review online at Louder Than War (which happens to be this blog`s fav music mag!)

http://louderthanwar.com/absent-kelly-presents-bexatron-live-review/

And the image gallery can be found here:

https://www.tommy-and-mary-229.jampondphotography.com/album

 

See ya

Rita+Mal

****Update 03.09.2017****

Folks, we`d love to tell you to hang onto your seats, but you will be floored anyway, so find yourself a comfortable spot and listen up. Tommy and Mary had just finished headlining gig last night at The Cellar/The Finborough Arms in Kensington and were so generous to share with us a very cool collection of their concert posters. Exclusive for the blog! We are very lucky. Eye candy those posters are but also serve as a proof that the band played a string of cult venues in half a year: The 100 Club, Nambucca, 93 Feet East, Camden Assembly and The Cellar. All those years of playing and busking and persistence certainly paid off. Nothing builds a brand for a band like doing their own thing and pushing at the boundaries.

Poster for The 100 Club gig on 25.01.2017 while supporting legendary The Telescopes

Poster for the gig at Camden Assembly on 25th March 2017

Poster for gig at Nambucca on May 3rd 2017

Poster for the gig at 93 Feet East gig on 11.08.2017

Poster for a gig at The Cellar/ Finborough Arms in Kensington on 2nd September 2017

Another achievement of the band is even better than playing all the venues in the capital. Tommy and Mary debuted on BBC 6 Music on 18th August 2017 as part of 6 Music Recommends. Picked by the legendary DJ and broadcaster Steve Lamacq himself, they were hailed for being “nicely uncompromising” and  tacking a myriad of topics from having annoying housemates to precarious work.  If you don’t know who Lammo is, let us tell you this much – he is recognized as one of handful other DJs (with Mary Ann Hobbs and Jo Whitley) to fill the gap left by John Peel and is often regarded as a trend setter. Being on his show is a stamp of good quality and a sign that band is on the right way.

Personally what we found exciting is that Tommy and Mary`s Insecurities were played right after Paul Draper`s new single (yes, the man from Mansun!) and received the same amount of introduction on air.

Here is a screenshot of the BBC website

Screengrab from BBC 6 website

And here`s a (very) bad quality recording of the song and what Steve said:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s0bj1xgiKKAb

We hope you like it,

We are so excited for the band, we really are. Surely  more good things to come from them!

Laters,

Mal/Rita