Indieterria meets Dead Dads Club

Dear Readers!

The first half of 2018 is behind us but your two faithful A&R’s are not stopping for an inch! In the last week we have travelled with Nuns of the Tundra to HowTheLightsGetIn festival, witnessed them play a semi acoustic gig at Paradiddles Cafe for Before The Music  workshops (similar in form to the “Story Tellers” on MTV if you are old enough to remember it!) and wave them off to go to Swindon for a meeting with a producer!

That’s not all! The Americas and Soeur were chosen by BBC Hereford and Worcester to play at the Wychwood Festival and you can see a short video of The Americas playing one of their best gigs on Vanadian Avenue Facebook page. In short, it was a crazy 7 days  but we are having the time of our lives (as usual anyway)!

New week and we have a brand new interview for you dear readers. We have sat down with Lee Richardson, lead singer of the Dead Dads Club, to discuss Malvern blooming rock and roll scene, new tracks and their love for the DIY, guitar driven scene led by bands such as The Blinders. Dead Dads Club will support The Racket on their first national tour and you can catch them both (plus the Jack Fletcher Band) at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham on the 9th of June. The show is organized by the great people at Modern Age Music and you can find more information about the show here:

Poster for gig at the legendary Sunflower Lounge on 9th June 2018

https://www.facebook.com/events/216304582300587/
https://www.seetickets.com/tour/modern-age-birmingham-w-the-racket

We have to admit that we giggled like schoolgirls reading the interview and Lee’s sense of humour (bit dry and sarcastic) made it one of the funniest interviews we ever hosted on Indieterria.

So, please enjoy!

Lee Richardson (vocals, guitar)
Matt Rawlings (bass)
James Devine (drums)
Milo Ferreira-Hayes (lead guitar)

Official bio:  Hailing from Malvern, Worcestershire, The Dead Dads Club consist of four close friends: Lee, Milo, James and Matt. Lee Richardson (lead vocals) is known for composing meaningful lyrics that everyone can relate to. There is a rich deepness as much as sense of humour backed up by strong, dynamic rock and roll acoustic steele string guitar. Lee’s chords are graced by Milo Ferreira-Hayes on lead guitar. Their partnership creates a unique sound with strong arrangements and lush solos. Then comes James Devine with his powerful drumming and unmatched beats that strongly root the band inside the alternative and independent genres. Matt Rawlings’ atmospheric and hypnotic bass completes the musical equation. The Dead Dads Club tour consistently and played many important venues in West Midlands such as The Sunflower Lounge, O2 Arena and O2 Institute in Birmingham, Gifford Arms in Wolverhampton or Marr’s Bar in Worcester. They shared stages with The Racket, HVMM, Nuns of the Tundra, Jump the Shark, Matchboy, Juniper Nights, Winchester, Ruben Seabright, The Soviets and many more.

According to your bio, The Dead Dads Club are four good friends with similar musical interests and outlook on life. You listen to the same records and laugh at the same (apparently unfunny) jokes. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Lee Richardson: All right, let’s get started. First, we have JD or James Devine. Our drummer is 23-year-old history graduate. Has a tendency to throw his drumsticks mid-song and he’s a huge music fan. One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, although he never shuts up (laughing).  Matt Rawlings. Bass. 19 years old. Studying music at college. Saved the band when our previous bass player Liam left as I was ready to jack it in.  Intelligent but quietly reserved, and says what he needs to.  Milo. Lead guitar. 17 years old. Studying music with Matt in Hereford. Channels Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan while he continues to develop his own style.  Highly intelligent, loves the ladies (and some men).  He’ll go places.  Lee Richardson.  Rhythm guitar, vocals. 30 something. Loves the band, they’ve become his family.  Came late to the music game but is glad he did.  Also, what really brings us together is we’re fed up of what is considered “popular music” these days. Where the hell are the guitar bands in the charts?  We aim to be part of the wave of new guitar bands that will bring back indie music to the masses. Its due, and it’s going to happen. Bands like The Blinders will lead the way for this new wave.

We heard there is a good story surrounding your first meeting. How and where have you met?

Lee Richardson: Actually, there is (laughing). I met JD first, in a pub over Christmas in 2016. He’d put an Oasis track on the jukebox and in my drunken state, I stumbled over to his table and asked who the Oasis fan was.  Initially, JD thought I was coming over to start trouble so… (laughing again). Anyway, we started chatting and he joined me at some open mic night accompanying me on Cajon. At one such open mic, we were just sitting down as a tall, good looking kid walked in with a guitar and amp in hand.  He set up and started banging out “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” by Hendrix note for note perfect.  Jaws dropped around the pub, and I was introduced to Milo 10 minutes later.  Milo, being an old soul in a young body (he’s 17), decided he was going to adopt us and he started joining JD and I on stage.  Matt came into the band last as a replacement for Liam Blakemore, who left us after becoming a father last year.

Dead Dads Club Live
Picture by Duncan Graves https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

The Dead Dads Club is a highly unusual name. We did a little research about it and the results are very inconclusive. We found an episode of a popular American TV series “Grey’s Anatomy” bearing that title, a book, an independently released murder-mystery stage play and a scientific paper. What is the inspiration behind the band’s name?

Lee Richardson: A friend of mine, Tristan James (who is an incredible rapper and lyricist by the way) and I were working on some songs together two years ago.  Tristan’s dad had passed away two years before and mine had just died around the time.  We made a joke that we should call ourselves The Dead Dads Club. Some found it distasteful, we found it funny and as time went on, it proved to be an attention grabber.  As the band was developing in its infancy, we moved forward without Tristan as we felt that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate rap within our music, and that Tristan’s talents needed to have the sole emphasis placed on him alone.  We still work together and have a collaboration between DDC and Tristan James coming out this year.

The original line-up of The Dead Dads Club included Liam Blakemore on bass and Milo Ferreira-Hayes on lead guitar. Currently you have a newcomer, Matt Rawlings on guitar and Milo moved on to play bass. How long have you been working with Matt? When did he join the band?

Lee Richardson: We have been working with Matt just under a year now. We were lucky to find him after Liam left the band to concentrate on his new family.

Talking about Matt, we have noticed that him and Milo have a tendency of swapping guitars during gigs. Is it done only for certain songs or are you trying to totally confuse the audience?

Lee Richardson: Matt is actually a lead guitarist first and foremost, but we dragged him into the band as we needed a bass player.  Luckily, he could hold his own on the bass.  Matt and Milo swap their instruments over on a song called “Stop”. When we recorded the studio version, Milo was laying down his lead track, when I suggested an idea of putting something “Hendrixy” into the solo. Matt immediately heard something in his head, grabbed Milo’s guitar and played the most amazing little lick that had Milo put his hands to his head in disbelief and proclaim: “You’re a @*%^”! Please insert the swear word of your choice! We all still laugh about it months later. We have another new track in development about an unsuccessful application to play at a local festival that Matt will again take guitar duties on.  And yes, we love to confuse the audience.  It’s what we do best!

Your home town of Malvern is relatively small but it has long musical tradition and a vibrant scene. You are part of the local pack along with Nuns of the Tundra, Ruben Seabright, UltraMegaOK and White Feather Collective. Any explanation for such a high concentration of talent per square mile?

Lee Richardson: Malvern has always attracted arty types from all over the country. It has also produced many talented locals in many endeavors aside from just music. There’s good music everywhere, but I think a lot of people are scared to put it out into the open as they’re worried what people will think.  Bands like the Nuns of The Tundra and The White Feather Collective have got the balls to believe in themselves and their songs and they should.  They set the standard in Malvern for sure and I’d argue further afield than that as well. The Malvern scene has been very supportive of us playing our own songs, and that has provided us with a platform to build on to play bigger towns and cities. Of course, others would say the high concentration of talent is just down to the Malvern spring water (laughing).

Lee Richards singing his heart out
Picture by Duncan Graves https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Dead Dads Club’s music has been compared to The Beatles, The Stone Roses, The Doors, Oasis, Crosby Stills Young and Nash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams and Arctic Monkeys – that’s some of the biggest names in popular music. Tell us what inspires you to write?

Lee Richardson:  Have we?  Jesus, we should be playing Wembley by now then if that’s the case (laughing). Our influences vary, but all those bands have been massive for me when I was growing up.  I have one goal when I write and that’s to infect a person’s mind with the melody or the hook.  If I see people dancing, tapping their feet or getting emotional when they hear Dead Dads Club track, then my job is done.  My lyrics aren’t really deep or even that good. It’s hard to write meaningful lyrics when you have a heart of stone (laughing again).  Most of the tracks have been inspired by either ex-girlfriends, stalkers or life events. I don’t look at the moon on a dark starry night and have flood of beautiful Dylan-esque lyrics come to the forefront of my mind’s eye.  I’ll leave that to all the Joni Mitchells of this world.  I’m rather in-your-face rock n roll writer with attitude and swagger. That’s enough for us.

Your shows attract large number of guest musicians and singers. We are especially interested in James Burnham who joined you on stage playing electric violin many times. Any chances of seeing him performing with you again?

Lee Richardson: James was an original member of Dead Dads Club along with Liam, Milo, JD and myself. Our sound changed after Liam left the band, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate a violin within a setting that was chasing a heavier charged more electric sound.  James Burnham is probably the most talented musical mind I’ve met and I plan on doing more acoustic recordings with him as a duo to add to the songs we’ve already recorded together.

Recently you played three gigs in one day. Were you celebrating a special occasion or trying to beat the Guinness World Book record for the biggest number of gigs played in a single day?

Lee Richardson: We already have a record for band with the most special needs, so we’ll settle for that one for now (laughing). We played at a 21st birthday party in Malvern and did an acoustic set to start things rolling, before packing up and heading to play at The Brickroom in Worcester.  We then headed back to the party to play a full electric set.  It was a good day and the alcohol certainly helped us along the way!

You have been working hard on your new batch of songs. So far you have given us three titles: “After the War”, “Chant” and “Buttons of Gold”. Can you tell us more about those songs?

Lee Richardson: We have such a backlog of tracks, it’s hard to decide what to bring to the set next!  The first song you are asking about “After the War” was written by Matt and myself after consuming half a bottle of Jack one Sunday afternoon.  Matt’s been listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley recently and wrote the trip chords. I wrote the lyrics and melody there and then. Not sure why, but I had images of a post-apocalyptic Earth ravaged by the aftermath of fallen society.  So, I just wrote the story that was forming in my head and we had the track recorded as a demo within an hour. Another demo recording, entitled temporarily as “Chant” in short is a peace protest kind of song. I channeled the “Hey Jude” chorus and came up with my own interpretation of that massive crowd singalong. We’re currently rehearsing “Chant” to add to the set, but “After the War” will probably end up as just a standalone song. It would be very difficult to reproduce the haunting sound we got on the recording on stage, unless we used multiple effects peddles and we don’t believe in overdoing it with those. “Buttons of Gold” is brand new track inspired in a way by the sound that The Blinders have made their own.  It’s about an experience that Jimi Hendrix had when he came to London in the 1960’s with two policemen who stopped him for wearing a WW2 military veterinary core jacket but really because of the color of his skin, let’s face it.  I encourage everyone to read up on it, it’s interesting.  I won’t bore you with the details here (laughing). Anyway, we’ll be playing “Buttons of Gold” for the first time in public at the Sunflower Lounge gig on June 9th. We are supporting another good guitar band, The Racket so come and see us there.

The band in full
Picture by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Next months will surely be very busy for you. What’s in store for the Dead Dads Club? Anything we need to know?

Lee Richardson: We’re having a month off in July to re-charge and find new inspiration.  Our EP is ready to roll now, and that’ll be out in August.  We’ll be throwing a release party at Carnival records in Malvern, and playing a set there too.  The momentum has been building nicely thanks to support from the Nuns and local promoters, and we’re going to build on this massively this year, guaranteed.  Long live rock n roll…and cheeseburgers.

You can follow Dead Dads Club on social media:

Management and booking:
Officialdeaddadsclub@gmail.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBAV3WyU2Yika85Moux8uzg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialdeaddadsclub/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/deaddadsclublive
Instagram: www.instagram.com/officialdeaddadsclub

Articles about the band:
http://www.malverngazette.co.uk/news/15889224.Bands_to_play_in_Worcester_as_part_of_Independent_Venue_Week/
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/16080910.Snow_forces_Malvern_band_to_postpone_gig_-_but_the_show_goes_on_in_nearby_venue/
https://www.expressandstar.com/entertainment/2018/03/13/birmingham-show-rescheduled-for-worcester-band-nuns-of-the-tundra/

We cannot wait to see Lee, Milo, James and Matt rocking The Sunflower stage again! Last time Dead Dads Club played there, they gave their best and the audience loved them. Some tickets are still available, so do yourself a favor and come see them live.

The Blinders might be leading the musical revolution, but Dead Dads Club are following their footsteps!

Please come back soon as we have  another great interview to show you before the big day  next Saturday!!

till then,
Rita and Mal
xxx

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