Indieterria meets Neville Staple

Dear Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow Neville Staple on socials:

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

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

Love,

M/R

Indieterria meets Sahera Walker

Sahera Walker interview

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

Sahera Walker

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

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

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

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

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

Some Might Say zine promotional picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several issues of Some Might Say magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Might Say logo at legendary London Club, Nambucca

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XXX
R+M

Indieterria meets The Empty Page

Hello again!

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

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

Official bio:

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

The Empty Page picture by A supremeshot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The band photographed by A supremeshot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you soon!
xoxxo
R+M

Indieterria meets Owen Meikle- Williams

Dear Readers,

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

Festival banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow Owen Meikle -Williams on social media:

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

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

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

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

To avoid disappointment – please book your tickets online at:

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

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

M/R