Indieterria meets MeMe Detroit

Hello!

West Midlands music scene is one of the the most original and diverse scenes in the United Kingdom. It has always been very strong with acts such as Duran Duran, Black Sabbath and the girl band Cleopatra coming out of Birmingham and changing the national musical landscapes. Grime, hip-hop, psychedelia, experimental rock, lyrical and even choral music – West Midland have it all.  We would like to invite you to meet another talented artist from our region that is making a name for herself. Maria Theresa Rodriquez, better known as a MeMe Detroit sat down with Indieterria to discuss growing up within musical family, acting career and who she would take to Glastonbury with her.

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Face paint and battle stance

Maria Theresa Rodriquez (vocals and guitar)
Paris Moon Fennell (bass)
Nick Sharman (live drummer)

There are many theories as to what “MeMe Detroit” stands for. Brum Radio speculated that it is the name of your alter ego that you take up on stage, BBC Introducing wrote that it was taken from an old American movie. What or maybe who is MeMe Detroit? 

Maria: “MeMe Detroit” is in fact the alter ego of me, Maria Theresa Rodriguez. MeMe comes from the nickname given to me by my Grandma as a kid. The Detroit part? That just happened to be written my other half’s T-shirt when thinking of a name! (laughing)

Everything about you is a bit mysterious. In interviews you refer to MeMe as a “project” but you perform with the same musicians. We need to ask is MeMe Detroit a solo endeavour or a full fledged band? Who accompanies you on stage?

Maria: MeMe Detroit started off as a solo endeavour, however as the live show came together, it morphed into a bit of both. My band members are now a massive part of it. Paris Moon Fennell is a kick ass bassist and she just oozes cool. We’re currently auditioning for a new full time drummer but have the awesome Nick Sharman in as our current live drummer.

Tell us about the striking make up you are wearing during performances? It looks like a tribal tattoo. Is there any meaning behind it? 

Maria: I wanted to do something that says, “This is MeMe Detroit”, something I could almost morph into, a branding kind of thing. I sat in front of a mirror for several hours, getting a numb butt and trying out different make up and colour designs before settling on what you see on stage now. It was inspired a little by Daryl Hannah’s look in the original “Blade Runner” film.

You grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon in a mixed raced family with Colombian and English family members. Was your childhood any different than that of your peers?

Maria: I wouldn’t say it was different, although I used to secretly pray that the teachers wouldn’t read out my full name during registration (laughing)! There was a small element of bullying in school that came with being “half foreign” which I’m not gonna lie, did affect me but I think now I’m older, it made me want to shout out about my background and heritages even more! I’m proud as fuck of my British and of my Colombian ethnicity. Also, I got to have well cool holidays as a kid visiting British seaside towns and South A-fucking-America!

Has your upbringing shaped you as an artist? 

Maria: My whole family were and still are all pretty big music fans so I was constantly surrounded by music of all genres growing up. My dad used to play Latin hits, turning the volume up really loud in the car and winding down all the windows driving through the town centre to embarrass me as a kid! Whilst my Grandma would play dress up with me and get me singing and performing plays & musicals! Then there was the box of vinyl that’s been passed through generations, each adding their element. Having that huge influence of multi-genres in my every day life has definitely shaped me as an artist.

Maria as MeMe Detroit

Despite developing an acute allergy to Shakespeare in your youth, you worked as an actress, with much success. Is your stage and film experience useful in your current career?

Maria: Ha ha ha! Funny you should ask! We’ve just shot a new video which we’ve approached as more of a short film. It’s mega handy being able to act when you’re in need of an actor for a video. And it is helpful when shooting videos in general, especially live streams!

You debuted in 2016 with an EP entitled “‘Live to Love You’ll Love to Live” to  one of the best reviews for an independent release we have ever heard.  Punk rock legend, John Robb (The Membranes) called you “outstanding”, Louder Than War magazine wrote that you “bridge the gaps between indie, grunge and blues rock” and BBC West Midlands insisted that your music is “simply spectacular”. Have you ever thought of receiving such positive reaction to your work?

Maria: No I have not. You always dream of it but I’m also my own worst critic! I do believe in my work now though more than ever so to have that backed up by such awesome comments and reviews is really humbling and just is really bloody ace!

Tell us more about your newest material “Life In the now”. You have described it in previous interviews as your best compositions so far. Where have you recorded it and how many tracks are on it?

Maria: “Life In The Now” was recorded at Park Studios in Birmingham with producer Alastair Jamieson. There’s 5 tracks on it including singles, “Soc Med Junkies”, “Churchside Inn” & “De Moe”. I wanted to make a powerful in-your-face record with a running theme of positivist underneath it, a fun fuelled blast of Uplifting Angst.

You will be touring quite a bit in the coming months: Birmingham, Stourbridge, Oxford, Mossley – can you tell us what people can expect from your live performances. Also, is there a chance to catch you at any of the summer festivals this year?

Maria: For me, playing live is really what being a musician is all about but it would be nothing without the fans. They’re as much a part of it as we are. Being up there and getting to be completely engulfed in a music fuelled intoxication, music that you’ve made and then getting to share that magnetic euphoria with a crowd of people all on the same level. Nothing fucking beats it!

So far on the festival front, We’ll be at Lichfield Arts Fuse festival in July.

Meme Detroit loves a good laugh!

The word on the circuit is that there may be a new single shortly. If it’s true, are you able to reveal anything about the song? 

Maria: That it is! We are actually releasing a single version of the track “Will You Be My Lie” which is taken from the “Life In The Now” EP. It’ll be released in May alongside the short film/video and with a brand new remix by an awesome artist called DantannaBeatz, which incidentally, I have just heard for the first time this eve and it’s killer!

Cheeky question but we just can’t help ourselves. Imagine you were given the right to curate a stage at Glasto and you can take 5 acts from West Midlands. Who gets to play? 

Maria: Ooh! That’s a tough one. I’d have to say: Blue Nation, Sulpher, Chloe Mogg, Lady Sanity and The Pagans S.O.H

MeMe live in action

You can follow Maria on social media at:

http://www.memedetroitepk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MeMeDetroitofficial/
https://twitter.com/memedetroit
https://soundcloud.com/memedetroit
https://open.spotify.com/artist/7g5I0NVNGr5FaI4e7Xke6X?si=GH1HeQfTQRKmYF4EC1kYaw

 

You can stream and buy Meme`s music from the link below:
http://smarturl.it/lifeinthenowep

Live in Birmingham

Me Me Detroit will perform at The Victoria in Birmingham on Saturday, 23rd of March alongside London based bands MOSES, Dirty Orange, and Malvern rockers, The Dead Dads Club. The show is organised by Modern Age Music. Tickets costs £5 and the doors are opening at 7:00 pm.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1954968431464900/
Tickets: https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Birmingham/The-Victoria/Modern-Age-Music-Birmingham/13465152/

See you soon!
M+R Dabrowicz

Indieterria meets Shiva May Care

Dear Readers,

We are in March already and it is high time to introduce another band to the never ending pages of Indieterria. We are back to the Kingdom of Mancunia to meet the wildest hard-rocking bunch in the North. And what fun gang they are! This five piece is truly international – with members coming from four different nations – all making a wonderful racket around Northern Quarter. Don`t expect the usual brit-pop-y sounds from them. This band is unlike anything you can hear in Manchester – they mix punk, hard rock, metal and even J-Rock to arrive at their own, very distinctive musical voice. A bonus is sense of humour, loyalty to their collaborators and friendship for each other. Show us another group like this in the region and we will buy you a lunch at Night & Day.

Grab your hair spray, your torn jeans and Motley Crue tees – its time to meet Shiva May Care!

Band Logo

Shiva May Care

Michael Morris – vox
Jet Lag (Federico Cossu) – guitar, vox
Jenny (Giorgia di Pancrazio) – bass
Raul Ochoa – guitar
Luke Thorpe  – drums, vox

Official bio: Born in 2017 as an collaboration between Federico Cossu (J3T L4g) and Stefano Carbone (who left the band few months later) Shiva May Care is a five piece based in Manchester. They play hard rock with glam, punk and metal inspirations. The band is actively gigging on the local scene with sold out shows at Hula Bar, Rebellion, Night People and Pop Bar in Hyde under their belt.

You are one of the most outstanding bands that came out Manchester scene recently music wise. Please introduce yourselves to readers of Indiererria.

Federico Cossu:  Thanks for calling us outstanding.  We really appreciate it. Hello Indierreria, we are Shiva May Care: Federio Cossu on guitar, Michael Morris on vocals, Raul Ochoa on guitar, Luke Thorpe on drums and Giorgia “Jenny” Di Pancrazio on bass. How are you doing?

Is there any story behind the band`s name? Who is the mysterious Shiva?

Federico Cossu:  Well, we liked the idea of a band with a “Devil May Care” attitude, but we needed something more exclusive than that, more personal. We are not hot-headed guys, we try to be good! For this reason Shiva takes place of the Devil.

Shiva May Care was born just two years ago as a collaboration between guitarist Federico Cossu (known on the Manc scene as J3T L4G) and another local musician Stefano Carbone. Now you expanded to a five piece. Can you tell us about the beginnings of the band and how this particular line up came together?

Federico Cossu:  We all met in pubs and clubs, we were friends of friends. I met Stefano at an house party  and we decided to start a band out of the blue. At that time, I used to work in the same company as our first singer, Massimo Zitti, so it was natural to ask him to join the band. We just wanted  to have fun and  play loud rock and roll. Stefano introduced me to Raul and I met Luke at Whiskey Jar in Manchester, amazing place, great vibes and inspiring music environment.  Massimo had to leave for Canada so Michael joined the band and our sound went in the hard rock/ metal direction. Our bassist Giorgia joined us last year to complete the line up.

The band is their glamorous splendour

The band is a proper international affair – with members coming from UK, Italy and Mexico. Your work with a producer from New Caledonia. You are basically a heavier version of Superorganism!  Do you think that coming from different cultures and speaking different languages is an advantage when it comes to song writing process? How do you overcome potential misunderstandings?

Federico Cossu: Oh yes, it’s definitely an advantage. But to answer your question – coming  from different countries where you struggle to find good music allows you to get deeper into the genres as you are not being constantly bombed by the big hits.  And we love Manchester, it’s a multicultural hive where people can express themselves as they wish.

I come from a small town where probably only me and my brother know “The Gift” by the Jam! In Manchester you hear these tunes being played every night at bars! It’s great, it`s like a dream!

Different backgrounds  bring  more points of view to the song writing process and, fortunately, the language misunderstandings  are not present as we work really naturally on our songs. I often show a lyric or idea to the band and  Michael and  the guys will make their own interpretation of it, in order to make it sound personal and more to their liking.

They care a lot – about music, fans and each other

Even if we wanted to squeeze you into a musical box, we would not be able to. There is so much going on in your sound – traditional hard rock, glam, punk, metal and even visual kei (Japanese rock). If we were to summarize your style we would have to define it as Motley Crew meets L`Arc-En-Ciel at a party in Mother Love Bone`s basement.  You have your own name for the genre you play: punk`n`roll.  Where did your sound originate?

Federico Cossu:  Wow, that sounds like a good party. No one has invited us though!

Well, the genre punk’n’roll is something I know since I was a kid, we didn’t invented it. I’m personally a big fun of Social Distortion, Backyard Babies, The Hives, Hardcore Superstar, Radio Birdman, Gluecifer, Turbonegro and Hellacopters. I’ve always known these bands as punk`n`roll bands, especially referring to all the Scandinavian rock scene.

To summarize, you pick The Stooges, Ramones, MC5, New York Dolls, Dictators and stick a distorted  rocket under their asses: congrats, you`ve got punk and roll, action rock, death punk and so on.

All these influences have been probably mixed up with Luke, Michael, Raul and Georgia’s influences, such as ’80 classic rock and new romantic, metal and hair metal, blues and stoner rock. However, I wouldn’t get stuck with genres names and labels, it’s a never-ending battle, it’s only rock and roll after all.

Hopefully in the future, you will find us on the soundtrack to a new anime or a video game (laughs).

Shiva May Care – the wildest kids in Northern Town

You have just released your debut A side single “Til The Music Is Loud”/”Stubborn Lovers” produced by Mathieu Garcia at Red Sand Studio. We know Mathieu from his project Gold For Kids and incredible single he released last year “City of Your Name”. How did you find working with Red Sand Studio? 

Federico Cossu:  We felt at home! Mathieu is a friend and we love his solo projects. I remember he was working on his track “Plastic Guns” when we started talking about recording Shiva`s first songs. His music knowledge and skills are impressive and he has been able to catch the essence of Shiva May Care as a band. He also added effects, keyboards and backing vocals ideas to our songs.

Have you recorded any other songs with  Mathieu Garcia?

Federico Cossu:  We recorded together “Shiva Dance” – our live show opening track, which you will find on streaming platforms in the coming months. It is a small ethnic rock composition that became incredible thanks to Mathieu`s arrangement skills and taste. He added deep Asian and tribal percussions mixed up with modern sounds, giving it a “V for Vendetta” kind of vibe. For this song, we collaborated with two close friends: Nina Bakhshayesh on cello and  Kitty “Albino” Tha Eastankittan on vocals.

Mathieu contributed to the maturing of the band and we wish him the very best in his own career.

You are also teasing release of another single in mid March entitled “Stay With Me”. Do you plan any promotional videos for this song? What can we expect?

Federico Cossu: We are working with Luca de Falco on music video for Stay With Me. We tried to think out of the box, avoiding the usual hard rock clichés when it comes up to video clips. It will be great,  we had such a positive feedback towards the single so far. It’s a song that everyone can relate to and for the video we are bringing in this great Manchester dancer, Aisha Clasen. You will be able to enjoy her interpretation of the song through her performance next month.

The only way is UP!

Shiva May Care is regularly playing live shows around Manchester, recently at Lock 91. And your shows  are always described as very upbeat and dynamic. What`s the best part of playing on stage?

Federico Cossu: The best part of playing on stage is playing on stage I guess. There’s nothing better than expressing yourself, high on adrenaline in front of people who are waiting to have some fun. That’s the best drug ever. However, everything happens too quickly, as my ex used to tell me, so you need another gig  ASAP.

We are definitely seeing you live this year.  Are you planning a tour perhaps?

Federico Cossu:  We won’t plan any tours at the moment, we wish to see our fan base grow locally first. We will definitely be planning some gigs to promote Stay with Me. The next show will be at Jimmy’s on the 2nd of April and we will appear at Zombie Shack on the 5th of May for Below The Bridge event.

Radio Salford described your bassist  Giorgia di Pancrazio as the best bass player  to come out of Manchester since Peter Hook himself.  Any comments on that?

Federico Cossu:  We will take the compliment with pleasure, thanks for that. Georgia is great. And we will do our best to honour her talent  at our future live shows. Hopefully, love won’t tear us apart.

The band has sense of humour and doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

We love your merch. The Shiva logo that appears on your t-shirts is one of the best designs we have seen in a long time. Can you reveal who is the artist behind it?

Federico Cossu:  The artwork comes from the mind of Matt Shock, Sardinian art designer. With him, just like with Mathieu, we immediately got the essence of Shiva May Care. The design was born from a photo I’ve taken in Market Street in Manchester of a girl wearing a jacket with a snake emblem on it. Matt added some Hellacopters influences and our Shiva logo was born. You definitely have to check Matt`s works, he is currently working on all our next artworks too.

Last question – but we have to ask. What are the things that Shiva may care about? Any ideas?

Federico Cossu:  Shiva may care about making good music. And we definitely care about people who will listen to our songs. We want the public to have fun while we are striving to encourage people not to waste their lives, all between a jump, a shout and a good riff. We really wish to see boys and girls of  Manchester (and beyond) beating depression, drug and alcohol abuse if they are suffering of any of these problems. There’s a huge potential within each of us and it would be a shame not to use it. We also care about  our pets… God, we love our pets and good coffee.

Shiva May Care merch stand is colourful and very artistic

You can follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/shivamaycare
https://twitter.com/ShivaMayCare
https://www.instagram.com/shivamaycare/
https://soundcloud.com/shivamaycare
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5l8feZRdChITHw7dp0L0gc?si=ww1Tiem0S5C0aOPiQbRoZw

Federico Cossu (aka J3T-L4G)
https://soundcloud.com/jet-lag13

We hope you found Shiva May Care interesting and we will surely report back on their musical endeavours in the future. For now, turn the volume up and enjoy the wild ride with the awesome band!

Laters,

Mal+ Rita

Indieterria presents A Very Insecure Exhibition

Dear Readers,

A Very Insecure Exhibition flyer #1

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition – the place was packed!

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition

Vanadian Avenue has always been about music, pop culture and art. We absolutely adore any artistic activity and when we are notified that something interesting and unique is going to take place, we cannot help ourselves but to check it out. After hearing that two legendary music photographers, Karen McBride and Shari Dawson are going to do a collective exhibition, we booked hotel, tickets and off we went to see what was happening in the kingdom of Mancunia.

Before arriving to Manchester, we spoke to both artists about their exhibition, but they were mysterious as Sphinxes and didn’t reveal anything about it. They were so adamant not to let things slip, that they refused to name the place of the exhibition until the last day and even then, they had to be convinced by the BBC DJ to do it.

In the days of social media and constant bombardment by notifications, such attitude may be surprising but knowing both ladies, we can understand why they chose to promote their event in this way.

Thomas Haywood of The Blinders – the most popular print at the exhibition

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition – the famous Elbow image!

First of all, both Karen and Shari are fiercely independent. They don’t follow any trends and they don’t look up to anybody else. Secondly, they take the Manchester motto of “doing things differently” very literally and always come up with something fresh and exciting. They are also trend setters, always a step ahead of the game. When the rest of the world is busy printing stage times to the last seconds or sending invites, Karen and Shari do the opposite. They provided their fans with minimal information and encouraged them to patiently wait for the right moment. And this tactics worked like a charm! When we arrived at the PROJECTS MCR skate park venue where the exhibition took place, we found out that the place was tightly packed. It was really fascinating to watch – people queued eagerly, exchanging ideas and being excited like  group of kids before unpacking their presents on Christmas morning. We have never seen anything like this before. In a world over-saturated with news, being told only the bare minimum, suddenly seems radical and very punk!

Shari Denson and Karen McBride – photo by Simon Lee https://www.flickr.com/photos/strangelove20/

Skatepark MCR is a very specific place, full of concrete pillars, fantastic graffiti (the portrait of Princess Leia is probably one of the best we have seen in our lives!), slops and ramps. It is located under Mancunian Way and is separated from the main road by a fence. Holding exposition in an open air venue can be tricky on a chilly  February night, but the organizers made sure that the cafe was opened and served hot drinks and cakes to those who needed a little something to warm them up. There was also another drink bar, crafty built from recycled pallets and placed among the pictures that served cold drinks and ice creams.

John Robb (The Membranes/Louder Than War Magazine) who also conducted interview with Karen and Shari at the opening

At the bar

Since learning about the location of the exhibition, we were speculating among ourselves how Karen and Shari’s pictures are going to be displayed. After many guesses, we reached the conclusion that the venue is so unusual that the set up is probably going to be very traditional. We imagined rows of white, elegant boards with pictures displayed in even rows and the visitors passing from one end of the venue to the other with a glass of wine in hand, admiring them. You can imagine our surprise when we saw the final layout! Absolutely nothing traditional, no boards, no elegant browsing! The images, although beautifully printed on large scale billboards, were plastered alongside the slops, hang from the ceiling and were displayed on the walls or even covered the ramps and the floor! To get to see them, we had to move really close. We were forced to bend down, get on our knees, climb and walk around the uneven edges. And in that moment, we truly understood the genius of both photographers. Their art is not to be displayed in a museum or just glanced over. It needed to be felt, touched, breathed in. It was supposed to be in-your-face, it was supposed to feel like you had to work to earn the right to see those images. Only then we could truly appreciated them. The images are strictly linked to the city of Manchester. They portray musicians, artists, cultural icons and regular people frozen in  a single moment in time. They are not static, they are expressive, moving, they feel alive. They would still look beautiful in an art gallery, but it would never be the same. And the title finally made sense. A Very Insecure Exhibition was exactly that – vulnerable, chaotic, unique yet inspiring and very much alive. It felt true and one of a kind. By the end of the evening, the public could take the prints home and the exposition was gone. One time event only, one evening, something brief but beautiful. Just like real life.

Malicia and Keith Higgins

Musicians Against Homelessness Manchester Manager – Andy White

Malicia and photographer Neil Winward

Malicia and music promoter Paul Cartwright

Paul Cartwright

Rita and Mancunian poet – Karl Hildebrandt

Admiring, or taking the photographs home was not the only attraction of the evening. John Robb, punk rock legend and editor of Louder Than War magazine interviewed Karen and Shari for nearly half an hour and we had a chance to listen to their anecdotes, stories from working behind the stages and experiences as professional photographers in one of the most competitive and difficult industries. In the end, Karen and Shari received small gifts form the grateful visitors – two chocolate cameras!

“A Very Insecure Exhibition” proved to be a very big success for both artists. There is a talk that another event will take place in 2020. We cannot wait.

Flyer for next year`s event.

See you shortly,
M+R

As usual – you can see entire gallery of snaps below:

The Exhibition:

 

 

The Opening:

All the best
M/R

Indieterria meets Karen McBride

Welcome again!

The grand opening of “A Very Insecure Exhibition” for two leading Manchester photographers Shari Denson and Karen McBridde, is approaching quickly.

In less than a week, the audience will be treated to a unique artistic experience: a one night only event combining photography, art and networking. Both ladies are fiercely independent and they are known for doing things the Mancunian way – being innovative and different. We can expect many surprises and many aces up their sleeves.

Karen McBride herself

We have a good news! The secret location for the exhibition has been revealed on the waves of the BBC Radio Manchester! Karen and Shari appeared on Mike Sweeney’s middday show on Monday, 18th of February at 10 am. Mike grilled them to get the information out and finally we know where the exhibition is taking place. It will open at 8pm, on Friday 22nd of February at Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way). We also know that a special bar has been built for the guests so please expect the unexpected!

Address: 97 London Rd, Manchester M1 2PG
Website: http://www.projektsmcr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/The.Pumpcage.Skatepark

Mike Sweeney Show

You can listen to the show online for 30 days at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06zvp9g
Also, you can listen to the recordings of the show below:

Yesterday, we have spoken with Shari Denson about her career and photography. If you’d like to read it, you can find it at:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/indieterria-meets-shari-denson/

Today, we have sat down with her co-conspirator and a fellow photographer, Karen McBride to discuss the beginnings of her passion for photography, first cameras and her many, many accomplishments. It is always a pleasure to speak to women that inspired entire generation of new photographers, artists and painters.

John Robb (Membranes) photographed by Karen McBride
https://www.facebook.com/theMembranes/

Staying up late with Robbie Williams on tour, working with Debbie Harry, winning a prize for aerial photography – you are one of the most exciting guests we have interviewed so far. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Karen McBride: My name is Karen and I take pictures. I love what I do and hope that you do too.

You hold a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and carved yourself a name as innovative and influential music photographer. Can you tell us what lead you from academia to rock and roll halls and tour buses?  

Karen McBride: Well, my brother was in a band and he needed some pictures for his album artwork. I’d been into photography from an early age and art too, he knew this and so I took his pictures. More bands found out what I was doing, they liked the results and it built up from there.

We heard that you found your first camera – a Kodak Brownie – in a bin. Is it an urban legend or a true story? And if it is, do you still have that camera? 

Karen McBride: It’s a true story and yes I still have it. The camera comes with me everywhere. I tried to restore it but you can’t get film for it anymore. But it’s my mascot.

JJ Rosa photographed by Karen McBride
https://www.facebook.com/JJRosaOfficial/

Over the years, you have photographed biggest names in the industry: Pink, Robbie Williams, Lou Reed, Liam Gallagher, Billy Bragg, Green Day, Debbie Harry, Elbow, Prodigy and your works have been used by Sony, Warner Music, NME, MTV, Classic Rock, Clash Magazine.  You have been called one of the most significant female photographers of your generation by Slash. When you started out, were you experiencing this level of success in a male dominated field?

Karen McBride: Starting out, you can never imagine where anything takes you, really. I could never have imagined, I’d ever be able to sustain a career this long, let alone, create images that bands and the general public still like. I’m glad they do though!

Despite your incredible accomplishments, you don’t shy from working with unsigned artists or young and upcoming bands – for example The Blinders. Not many photographers of your calibre would do that. Do you think it is important to support artists at the beginning of their careers?

Karen McBride: I could never shy away from them, they are exciting in my opinion it would be so wrong to ignore them just because I shoot bigger artists too. in fact I love the rawness of the new band.

Guy Connor of Paris Riots photographed by Karen McBride
https://www.facebook.com/theparisriots/

You enjoy a reputation of a local hero in Manchester. John Robb (The Membranes/Louder Than War Magazine) described you as “Unashamedly Mancunian. While other contemporaries headed South, Karen has always resisted the lure of the bright lights of London for the unmistakable and unique vibe of her hometown”. It seems that you have influenced Manchester as much as Manchester influenced you.

Karen McBride: I’m deeply humbled that anyone would see me as all hero!

There is something unique about your style. The aesthetics, colour palette, the dynamics remind us of  the classic images on the record sleeves of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Accidentally, your first book was also called “Elvis Would Have Really Liked Me”. Is it us or has The King been an inspiration?

Karen McBride: That book is still a work in progress. The guy who designed the cover and content was a long standing friend of mine and passed away last year. It will get published and it will be dedicated to him. I miss him deeply. He understood my creative approach. He would be so proud of this exhibition. It’ll be the first one he’s missed.

And yes, the King has provided my backdrop. Everything I ever photographed came from being inspired by American music.

Flyer promoting A Very Insecure Exhibition

You are known for unusual photography projects and expositions. In 2011, you held a talk at The Deaf Institute during Photo-book Month Manchester, to which you brought a model and ended the meeting with a real life photo session exercise for the audience. In 2015, you held another talked about exposition “Stripped Back” that combined photography and collages with live music and artistic performance. You also launched your own clothing brand during that event. You like to keep your audience on their toes.

Karen McBride: Thank you! “Stripped back” was performed in The Green Room, which is now called Gorilla. In 2007, the venue was sold out and it was much smaller than it is now. It had a capacity of 200 back then. I try to do things differently and I think when you see the new exposition, you will know first hand what all the others exhibitions were about.

On 22nd of February, alongside another female photographer Shari Denson, you will hold an photographic display entitled “A very insecure exhibition”. This is a special, one night only event and the venue still is not disclosed. We are told to expect a true celebration of creativity. Tell us more about it. Where does the unusual name come from?

Karen McBride: I was planning a solo exhibition and my friend, Shari Denson offered to do a press shot for me. We started talking and laughing and talking again…and we ended up photographing each other!  So I said to her that I’d found a very interesting venue and that it would be selfish to do the exhibition on my own as her work is stunning too! She jumped at the chance and here we are. It’s very exciting to work with her, as I admire her so much. It really makes perfect sense for us to do it together.

 

Cover of A Very Insecure Exhibition book produced by Karen McBride and Shari Denson

The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully printed art-book. Apparently it can be open from both sides and will contain 50 pictures: an even split of 25 images for each one of you. Will it feature any of the photographs from the exhibition or is it to showcase your newest works? Will it be possible to purchase the book after the exhibition?

Karen McBride: (laughing) Yes I think it might do! and You can order the book online: https://ukgiclee.co.uk/avie

It is only the beginning of the year and your calendar is already full. Please tell us what have you planned for the spring and summer? Any tips where can we see your works?

Karen McBride: I never discuss my diary. I take every day as it comes. For now you can see my work alongside Shari’s’ on the 22nd Feb in Manchester.

The famous last question at Indieterria: let’s say that you can photograph any person or any event in the world. No time or space restrictions. Were are you going and who’s going to be immortalised by your camera?

Karen McBride: Elvis, anywhere he wants!

Cover of A Very Insecure Exhibition book produced by Karen McBride and Shari Denson

A Very Insecure Exhibition:

22nd February
Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way)
Manchester
20:00 pm – 23:30 pm

Tickets costing £6 – £8 can be obtained from the address:
https://www.universe.com/events/a-very-insecure-exhibition-tickets-manchester-5K0X7V

There are daily updates to the event (please remember that the location of the event is still not disclosed)- so keep your eyes open
https://www.facebook.com/events/1180667978750896/

The exhibition is proving to be very popular – and the media take notice. You can safely say that the event will be a success when Visit Manchester and national music magazine both pick up the story!

https://www.visitmanchester.com/ideas-and-inspiration/blog/read/2019/02/a-very-insecure-exhibition-the-underground-photography-of-two-of-manchesters-finest-photographers-is-coming-to-a-secretive-city-centre-location-b741
https://louderthanwar.com/2-manchesters-best-photographers-announce-photo-book-launch-party-conversation-john-robb/

 For those who enjoy a bit of additional reading, we have found a bunch of articles about Karen and her work.

https://www.bobbooks.co.uk/blog-post/an-extraordinary-photobook-month-manchester-with-karen-mcbride
http://aboutmanchester.co.uk/who-are-the-women-behind-manchesters-music-success-a-new-exhibition-explores-them/
https://ilovemanchester.com/women-manchester-music-times-changin/
http://www.aidan.co.uk/article-karen-mcbride-stripped-back.htm
https://www.mudkiss.com/karenmcbrideinterview.htm

You are cordially invited to the exhibition and we hope we will see many familiar faces in Manchester!

M/R

Indieterria meets Shari Denson

Dear Readers,

In December 2018, we have travelled to Manchester to see a photography exhibition entitled “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. It chronicled city`s musical heritage via the lenses of local photographers. We have to admit – it was an extraordinary experience to see all the iconic shots beautifully laid out at the Manchester Central Library. As expected thousands of locals and tourists alike flocked to see it. We promised ourselves that next time another such exhibition is held in Manchester, we`d be back to attend its opening.

Meg Lores of The White Stripes photographed by Shari Denson

And we are!  We cannot be more excited to tell you that on February 22nd two leading female photographers – Karen McBride and  Shari Denson will join forces to create one night only photography exposition (in a secret location for now) to showcase their work. If you are a music obsessive like us  – you don’t need an introduction to the magnificent images produced by both ladies.  Everyone else just needs to know this – Karen and Shari revolutionised pages of music magazines and bands portfolios. They set the bar incredibly high but also inspired many starting photographers.

We are lucky – not only a weekend of incredible art and music awaits us in Manchester  – we also were able to interview both iconic photographers ahead of the exhibition for this blog.

This chapter is dedicated to Shari Denson, you can read our interview with Karen McBride by clicking on the link below:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/indieterria-meets-karen-mcbride/

So without further delay.  Dear readers – please meet one of the most influential music photographers known to English music scene.

Shari Denson photographed by Stuart Hadfield
https://www.facebook.com/stuart.hadfield.94

You worked with the likes of White Stripes, Interpol and Elbow while your images have been featured  on album covers (Ian Brown), in print (Independent, NME, Guardian, Louder Than War), in retail (Amazon) and on television (The Mercury Prize, Later with Jools Holland). Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Shari Denson: Hello, I’m Shari

It is said that you became a photographer after attending  many concerts around Manchester – including legendary venues such as Manchester Apollo. Looking back, was there ever a definitive moment  when you realized that you wanted to capture moments on film, or was it rather a longer process that lead you to photography?

Shari Denson:  It was long, long process. I’ve been a bar maid, a stage manager, a clapper/loader and focus puller on films amongst other things before I finally started being serious about photography. I wanted to make films and was doing a film studies degree. When I had my first child half way through the degree I switched to still photography so I could be in control of my time. You have to go by everyone else’s schedule when working on a film. So even though I’d always taken photos at gigs from being young, it was never with a view to making anything beautiful or striking, it was just for memories. I mean, my photos still serve as memories now but hopefully with an extra layer or two.  So  I was 30 when I got my first SLR camera and fell in love with photography. Fairly soon after that, I needed to complete an assignment for university and I decided to do it on live music photography.  And that was where it began for me.

Music was always around you – your brother  as dedicated gig goer took you to see The Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen when you were just ten years old, while your father  was a musician. This may sound a bit like a question they ask on Desert Island Discs – but if you were to name five records that shaped you the most – what would you choose?

Shari Denson:  I’d chose the following:

More Songs about Buildings and Food – Talking Heads
For the Roses – Joni Mitchell
Desire – Bob Dylan
The Spangle Maker 12” which also included Pearly-Dewdrops Drops – Cocteau Twins
Porcupine – Echo and the Bunnymen

iconic image of Elbow – photographed by Shari Denson

Every photographer could write a book about funny, slightly horrifying or straightforwardly weird situations they encounter behind the scenes of the glamour photo-shoots. Please, share one such a story with our readers.

Shari Denson:  That time I took a Sheffield band, Trap 2 on Saddleworth Moor in the freezing cold winter..forgetting it was a bit nippy, then asked them to hang about near some trees in the woods on the way back home, whilst I lit them with fireworks. All I could see was smoke, and all I could hear was coughing and spluttering, whilst I assured them everything was fine. The shots were awful but we had a scream. Great band, and really lovely lads who put with all sorts from me (laughs)

Your best known photo – that of Elbow from the promo session to their album “The Seldom Seen Kid” has been recreated as a mosaic by artist Mark Kennedy,  and is now exhibited on outside wall of the iconic Affleck’s  store. We imagine you must be feeling very proud every time you are on Tib Street.

Shari Denson: Yes, I mean it would have been nice to know about it 10 years ago when Mark decided he wanted to use the image… I only found out about a year ago. I’m sure my parents, who were still around at the time, would have been very proud indeed.

Mosaic by artist Mark Kennedy displayed at the wall of iconic Manchester landmark- Affleck`s http://www.markkennedy.co.uk/

Besides photography, you also direct videos and worked with Blaney, The Winachi Tribe, The Northstand, The Tapestry, The Backhanders, and The New Southern Electrikk among others.  Was it hard to transition from photography to video? Do you have any artists that you would like to work with?

Shari Denson:  Well, as I said before, I’ve always been interested in the moving image,  so the transition was exciting. I had the pleasure of learning how to use Final Cut editing software during my time at Badkamra, a video production company so it seemed natural thing to make music videos.  I wouldn’t name any band in particular, I just like to work with creative and collaborative, like-minded people.

In 2007 you had your first exhibition entitled “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member” at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Other exhibition soon followed such as solo exposition at the Kro2 Oxford Road in Manchester in 2013, Night & Day Café in 2014 or Suffragette City in 2018. How do you prepare yourself before each event?  

Shari Denson:  Mostly by having a major meltdown. Apart from Night & Day, which was made much easier by Jan, who helped me immensely.

Your next exposition is a one night only “A Very Insecure Exhibition” that will happen on 22 February 2019 in yet undisclosed location in Manchester. It will be a joint event with another well known photographer Karen McBride. Can you tell us what can we expect?

Shari Denson: (laughs) I can only tell you this…you can expect something different….heartfelt and beautiful whilst being bold and powerful.

Trap photographed by Shari Denson

There is also a book prepared for the occasion. It looks amazing from the promotional shot we have seen so far. How long did the entire event took planning wise. And can the book be purchased online by those who cannot make it to the opening? 

Shari Denson:  Yes, it can. At https://ukgiclee.co.uk/avie/  We’re very pleased with it.

Manchester is famous for many things, among them Vimto, football and (of course) the music scene. The National Football Museum has been opened in the city centre since 2011 but somehow The Music Museum still hasn’t happened yet. Do you think it is high time that Manchester got a dedicated  place to properly celebrate its photographic and musical heritage?

Shari Denson:  I think that sounds like a marvelous idea!

You must have been asked many times about  your favourite shot you have taken. We want to know the opposite: what picture (if given the chance) would you permanently removed from your catalogue?

Shari Denson:  None. Each and every one has it’s place. They serve as my memories. I get emotionally attached to them and I don’t deal well with loss, so I wouldn’t get rid of any.

Flyer for the exhibition

A Very Insecure Exhibition

22nd February
Now revealed as Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way)
97 London Rd, Manchester M1 2PG
http://www.projektsmcr.com/
20:00 pm – 23:30 pm

Tickets cost £6 -£8 and can be purchased from the link below:
https://www.universe.com/events/a-very-insecure-exhibition-tickets-manchester-5K0X7V

You can also get all the newest updates from the event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1180667978750896/

Flyer for A Very Insecure Exhibition

You can follow Shari on social media and we encourage you to do it, she is a phenomenal artist!

https://sharidenson.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/sharidenson
https://twitter.com/sharidenson
https://www.instagram.com/sharidenson/

For those who enjoy a bit of additional reading, we have found a bunch of articles about Shari and her work.

http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/070377293-suffragette-city-mm-meet-two-manchesters-most-influential-women-shaping-music
https://www.mdmarchive.co.uk/artefact/18946/ELBOW_IAN_BROWN_I_AM_KLOOT_SHARI_DENSON_PHOTOGRAPH_2018
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/going-out/sharis-homage-to-the-stars-1000324
https://louderthanwar.com/2-manchesters-best-photographers-announce-photo-book-launch-party-conversation-john-robb/

What else can we tell you?  Come back next week as we will publish our interview with Karen McBride. And prepare yourself for updates, images and maybe even polaroids from the opening. Its gonna be a proper party in the North.

All the best for now,
Mal/Rita

Indieterria meets The Novus

Dear Readers!

It`s Valentines! What`s a better way to celebrate the day than interviewing a band we have fallen in love with? Let us tell you about this particular bunch of talented friends who are shaking up entire indie scene in West Midlands and turn heads wherever they go. Despite their young age – they are determined and focused, they relentlessly play up and down the country, including gigs in London, they gathered themselves invitation from This Feeling and a mention in NME by Alan McGee himself.  They are more than ready to leave their mark on the scene and follow the likes of The Blinders, False Heads or Avalanche Party to bigger things and bigger stages.  We won`t be surprised to  see them going to SXSW next year.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the independent music circuit – please meet The Novus. We had pleasure and privilege to sit down with vocalist Connor Hill to speak about their upcoming tour,  Birmingham music scene ad recording with Wizard of Wolverhampton.

The Novus

Tom Rhodes (guitar)
Tyla Challenger (bass)
Euan Woodman (drums)
Connor Hill (vox)

 

The word “Novus” means “new” in Latin. What does it mean to you? A new beginning? A new chapter in your lives? New music? Or maybe the explanation is very simple and it just sounded like a good name for a band?

Connor Hill: The Novus does mean new in Latin. Not many people know that initially (laughs)! It also does mean a new beginning I guess – myself Tom and Tyla were in a band before and wanted something new and more us – but ‘The New’ sounded quite boring. We went through loads of names, but The Novus for us sounded like it fitted well; and no one else had the name.

You come from Stourbridge and Birmingham, the second biggest city in the UK. Brum has a powerful musical scene: from indie to metal, grime and rap. Tell us about your beginnings. How did you meet and when did you know you wanted to play music together?

Connor Hill:  Myself, Tom and Tyla (guitarist and bassist) met at school when we were 11. We were all in bands throughout school together and we only initially connected with music so I guess we knew we were wanting to play together. Tom and Tyla asked me if I wanted to be part of this new band they were creating and that was that! We met Euan (drummer) at a gig he was playing at and managed to poach him and that’s how the band formed.

The new kids on the indie scene

No rest for the indie band

The Novus has been compared to The Clash meets Kings of Leon (half way) with a bit of Joy Division, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath thrown into the mix. Would you agree with being squeezed into the new garage/psychedelia genre alongside IDLES, The Blinders, Avalanche Party and Shame? We have to admit that your music is more melodic and blues-y at times. There’s definitely The Doors and Jimi Hendrix hidden somewhere under all those distorted guitars.

Connor Hill: To be compared to the names mentioned is mad for us, we love all the bands mentioned and the garage/psych scene is an amazing one to even be considered to be a part of. We do take a big inspiration from Jimi Hendrix as well but we listen to such a wide range of music, we have lots of little inspirations from different places. Every review of us someone hears something slightly different, which is good for us to see where people think we fit.

On 2nd of November 2018, Raw Sound TV filmed your concert at O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham. The show received very positive reviews. Connor you were described as “teenage Mike Hucknall joining Pearl Jam or Rage Against the Machine”. We don’t see any likeness to the Simply Red singer (maybe the hair do?) but the resemblance to Eddie Vedder and Zach De la Rocha is quite convincing. During performances you jump into the crowd, run from one end of the stage to the other, command the crowd to come closer. Would you agree with this description?

Connor Hill:  (bursts into laughter) Hucknall is definitely to do with the hair- wish I did look like him!! I guess I would agree to an extent, but for me, my stage presence is more of an alter ego than me personally – which is what I love so much about performing. For me, I don’t really take that much of an inspiration from people to do with my stage presence but more just go with what my head thinks I should do and roll with it.

One of the bands of 2019? Why not!

This is not a drill – this is rock and roll

Despite forming in early 2017, you shared stages with Karkosa, Velvet Tides, Riscas, Ivory Wave and Pale White to name just a few. You have a strong following in your home town and now you are off to pastures anew to conquer other parts of the UK. Is the tour with This Feeling helping? How many shows have you played with them already?

Connor Hill:  We aren’t doing a tour with This Feeling right now. Not yet anyway, but we have played a few shows in Birmingham with them. It’s always a good night and we get a good few cans of Red Stripe out of it so that’s enough to win me over!

At the end of last year, several zines and promoters put you on their list to watch for 2019. On 29th of January you played alongside Young Garbo, Chris Grant, Nadia Sheik and Christian Pattemore at Social in London. Was this your debut in L-Town or have you played there before?

Connor Hill:  We’ve played London a couple of times before but we do have plenty planned for the capital in the future. It`s always a warm reception and we love playing there!

The Novus are known for their incredible performances.

The Novus

You are working on new music and we heard that you have chosen The Wizard of Wolverhampton himself – Gavin Monaghan (The Pagans SOH, Editors, The Sherlocks, The Blinders) as producer. Are you able to tell us anything? Will you be recording at his Magic Garden studios or somewhere else? Is it going to be an EP or a full fledged debut album?

Connor Hill:  We are going into recording with Gavin in the next couple of months and recording a few tracks, nothing confirmed as to yet but we have some good plans lined up for them. Gavin is a genius and we connect with him and Joe at Magic Garden so well. He isn’t just a producer, he is someone who helps you think about further development of your music to make it the best you can be and that man knows everyone! They are great people to be around and the vibe at Magic Garden Studios is great, we love making music there. All I can say I guess is stay tuned for what’s to come because we are really excited about it.

It’s only February but your calendar is getting busier and busier. Where can we see you later this year? Any booked festivals or gigs we need to attend?

Connor Hill:  So far we have the following dates:

15th February – Actress and Bishop (TF), Birmingham (supporting Gertz)
Event Page    Tickets

28th February – The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham (supporting Willie J Healey)
Event Page    Tickets

8th March – The Tin Can, Coventry (supporting FEET)
Event Page    Tickets

23rd March – The Snug Coffee House, Atherton (supporting Honeyspider)
Event Page    Tickets

13th April – Camden Assembly, London (Youth Music charity gig)
Event Page    donations welcomed

These are just the ones that are confirmed, we do have quite a few in the pipeline!

To truly appreciate this band – you need to see them live

The Novus live

Live and kicking

Last question are always fun at Indieterria. Let’s pretend that you were invited to any party in the world and you can take two rock and roll legends with you. Where are you going and who’s coming with you?

Connor Hill:  Jimi Hendrix and Flea from RHCP would probably be my choice. Flea I imagine would be a laugh, Jimi would just be the guy that gets us into everywhere because everyone knows him. I would probably go to somewhere like Vegas with them – would be jokes. If you want to find out about the other boys, catch them at a gig and they’ll be happy to have a conversation. Big love.

You can follow the band on social media at the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/thenovusband
https://twitter.com/TheNovusBand
https://www.instagram.com/thenovusband/
https://soundcloud.com/thenovusband
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCRt2uOIvTYDQ8vYaoPEX-w
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3mPpz1sdOXNi3vLokDVbHm?si=JvlBswE-QYap-6PJ7emuww

We don`t usually link to entire gigs, but you need to see The Novus live and RawSoundTV recorded their performance at the end of last year – and it is a jaw dropper. If you have 30 minutes to spare – see the footage and then book yourself a ticket for the real experience. You will not regret. Believe your friendly A&Rs on this – we know talent when we hear it. And The Novus are pure talent.

We will be reporting back on The Novus on this blog. Not only because we are very curious what they have created with Gavin & Joe at the Magic Garden Studios (by the way – Happy 30th Anniversary  guys! What would the local and national music scene do without you?), but because we simply want to follow their journey to bigger, better things.  There is so much promise and so much passion in this band – and more importantly – so much love for music and art. How can we resist? How can anyone resist?

Till the next time,
Mal+Rita

 

Indieterria meets Ist Ist

Dear Readers,

In December Indieterria focused on Manchester to showcase you some of the newest artists on their local scene. We had a pleasure to sit down and talk with Witch Fever and Tin Mole. Now, we bring you third interview with a band that grabbed our attention from the first time we heard them on Steve Lamacq show at BBC 6 Music. They are called Ist Ist and we swear they belong to a different era.

Louder Than War magazine described them as “majestic post-punk, haunting and hypnotic”. This four piece blends alternative rock with cold wave elegance and they have been compared to The White Lies and Joy Division. Dark, brooding, mysterious and melodic at the same time, Ist Ist are fiercely independent with disregard for social media and all the hype about networking.

Ist Ist (classic) logo

It was a bit of a challenge to find the right questions to ask but then again music requires effort from listeners and writers alike. So we had to dig around a bit, in an old school way. We questioned mutual friends in Mancunia for tips, went reading through printed interviews in Manchester Evening News in a Central Library and searched though pages of a label that would rather quote poetry than provide you with “about us” segment.

We also went down to Picadilly Records to “argue” to get a copy of the band`s EP on vinyl.

We visited Manc several times from Worcester…

The last time we researched a band like this was when Melody Maker was still a thing. But we loved every minute of the preparations. It only made our admiration for the band stronger. In a world where artists put their entire lives and privacy for everyone to see, Ist Ist are not just a band. Their approach is an act of defiance.

 

Ist Ist as a four piece photographed by Nidge Luhg Sanders (Trust A Fox)
https://www.trustafoxphotography.com/

Ist Ist:
Adam Houghton (vox, guitar)
Andy Keating (bass)
Joel Kay (drums)
Mat Peters (keyboards)

Ist Ist built themselves a reputation as iconic Manchester performers. Can you please introduce yourselves to Indieterria readers?

Andy Keating: We’re Adam Houghton, Andy Keating, Joel Kay and Mat Peters.

You have started out in 2014 and from the very beginning this band is synonymous with complete control of your art: no radio plugger, no label, handling all the group related matters and tours. We were told you don’t have a manager. Yet, you easily sell out such legendary and sizable venues as Gorilla or The Deaf Institute and receive air play on national radio. Steve Lamacq champions you regularly on his 6 Music shows. How important is the DIY ethos to you?

Andy Keating: The DIY ethos is very important. We don’t really know how to operate any other way, either. We seem to appeal to a fan base who don’t want any bullshit and want to get behind a band who are real people making real music they can believe in. At the same time, we’re not without a manager by design, if the right offer came along or the right opportunity to work with a genuine label presented itself, we’d take it.

Ist Ist as a three piece photographed by Paul Husband http://www.paulhusbandphotography.com/

Ist Ist are also not very fond of self promotion on the Internet. Your social media are limited to announcements regarding tours and upcoming music. No funny posts, jokes or behind the stages shots. You try to keep a distance between your audience and the band. Aren’t you sometimes tempted to break the fourth wall or post something controversial like Slaves for example?

Andy Keating: We’ve never felt like posting something controversial just for the sake of it. What’s the point? If it’s just for sake of it it’s just going to be contrived and unnecessary. With regards to breaking the fourth wall, we like to keep it strictly business online. Bands posting photos posing in Christmas hats? No thanks. Stick to the music.  Our fans would attest to us looking after them as best we can, we’ve always got time to sign a record, have a photo, have a chat or whatever at gigs but your online presence should be a snapshot of the band and their image. We’re serious about our music so we’re serious online.

We want to ask you about the visual side of the project. Your videos and photography are limited to the monochrome and all releases feature distinct photography, often of brutalist architecture or strange landmarks. There are other bands in Manchester who also have their own artistic direction but we have to admit, what you put out is the closest thing to what Peter Saville did with releases at Factory Records.

Andy Keating:  Thanks, the artwork and style should always compliment the music. The Peter Saville influences are inescapable given where we grew up and what we were listening to when we all started playing instruments as teenagers.

Sleeve and vinyl pressing of EP “Spinning Rooms”, photography by Tom Houghton

You channel FAC also in another way: Ist Ist is yet to release their debut album but your catalogue is huge and highly collectable. You released five singles: “White Swan”, “Night Arms”, “Silence”, “Strangers” and “Right Before Your Eyes”, then followed it up with a single compilation “Prologue” and two live albums “Live at St Phillips Church” and “Live at Manchester Gorilla”. Then in April 2018 you landed your first EP – “Spinning Rooms”. Each release is limited between 100 – 300 copies, on CDs or vinyl. And once the stock is gone, it’s gone. Nobody beside you and maybe Idles cares to release their materials in such collectable formats. What made you take this approach to releasing your music?

Andy Keating:  Listening to music should be an experience and much of that is lost with digital streaming. Being on streaming sites like Spotify and iTunes is necessary but it’s not an experience. The art of the album is being lost because of this. Sites like Spotify suggest an artist’s “most popular” songs, so unless you really want to get into a band, you’ll likely only listen to those suggested songs and you may never find some gems which are on earlier EPs or singles.

We wanted listening to music to be fun and something you commit to. Getting hold of a vinyl record and putting it on whilst you look at the artwork and cover notes should be special. Receiving a new record in the post should be special. Streaming sites serve a purpose but they’re not particularly fun.

The limited edition thing works well because people like to be part of something exclusive. There’s some people who’ve bought everything we’ve released and there’s some who maybe came on board around “Spinning Rooms” and missed out on the initial limited runs of singles and want to get their hands on them but can’t.

Ist Ist`s upcoming EP “Everything is Different Now” sleeve and red vinyl pressing. Photography by Tom Houghton

Ist Ist`s upcoming EP “Everything is Different Now” bundle: red and black vinyl pressing and CD. Photography by Tom Houghton

Ist Ist was for most of the time a three piece but recently you added Mat Peters as a permanent member of the band. Do you think your sound changed because of introduction of keyboard into the mix? 

Andy Keating: Barring “White Swan” and “Right Before Your Eyes”, every song we recorded in the studio had keyboards or extra on, but we either didn’t use those elements live or we occasionally used backing tracks. After the tour in early 2018 it felt right to bring an extra member in to play keyboards because the new songs demanded them. So the older songs haven’t lost their fundamentals and Mat gave them a lift – but we’ve really developed our sound with him. The new EP will show that.

The release of “Spinning Rooms” was followed by an extensive tour that took you around the country and abroad (playing in Berlin). It also received rave reviews. Nigel Carr wrote in Louder Than War: “This EP will stand as one of the best debut releases by any band; simply stunning”. Are you satisfied with what you accomplished with the record? Would you change/ correct anything on it?

Andy Keating: It’s always a bit of a wasted exercise to deliberate over something which has already been committed to record. We’ve sometimes discussed what sort of impact Mat would have had on the record if he was in the band at the time, but we love “Spinning Rooms” and it perfectly encapsulates who and where we were when we recorded that in early January 2018.

Promotional poster showcasing sleeve to single “Exist”. Photography by Tom Houghton

Your sophomore EP “Everything Is Different Now” will see the light of the day on Friday, 25th January 2019. What can we expect?

Andy Keating: It’s a progression from “Spinning Rooms.” It still sounds like Ist Ist but it was the natural progression. It’s probably actually slightly more accessible. “Spinning Rooms” was relatively niche in places but there’s two definite “singles” on “Everything Is Different Now.”

 “Everything Is Different Now” is being promoted by a single “Exist” and a video filmed in France. It was created and directed by Natalia Bedkowska and Matthew Boone. Can you tell us more about the idea behind this video? It seems to follow the same concept as “Right Before Your Eyes”, showing ordinary life and streets of urban dwellings.

Andy Keating: Our keyboard player Mat knows Natalia so he got in touch with her and the only brief really was that it needed to fit in with our style, we left the rest up to her. She was on a trip to Paris so decided to film it there, she sent it across and we were happy with it. Boone shot the live footage at our show at St Philip’s Church back in August 2018.

We want to ask you about your label – Kind Violence Records. They seems to share your interest in high art and dislike of social media hype. Their website is minimalistic and quotes “Darkness” – a poem by Lord Byron. We noticed that photography on the record label’s page is done by Tom Houghton whose images also can be found on the covers of your releases. It’s hard not to notice that Tom bears the same surname as Adam, your vocalist. Is it a coincidence or rather a family owned enterprise? 

Andy Keating: Someone’s done their research… Adam created Kind Violence to use as a label to release our EPs and to potentially release other music he and we liked. The surname isn’t a coincidence either. Tom is Adam’s brother. He takes some really cool photographs which always seem appropriate for our artwork.

Artwork showing a brutalist landmark that can be found on Kind Violence Records website
Photography by Tom Houghton

Surely after the EP is out, a tour will follow. Where can we see you playing live next?

Andy Keating:  Yes, we’re heading out on tour soon after the EP is out. We’re playing:

30/01 – Hebden Bridge Trades Club                     Venue              Tickets
28/02 – The Lending Room, Leeds                        Venue              Tickets            RSVP
01/03 – Sebright Arms, London                             Venue              Tickets            RSVP
05/03 – The Polar Bear, Hull                                   Venue            Free Entry        RSVP
09/03 – Cafe Totem, Sheffield                                Venue              Tickets           RSVP
15/03 – Rough Trade, Nottingham                        Venue              Tickets           RSVP
16/03 – Gorilla, Manchester                                   Venue              Tickets           RSVP
30/03 – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh                          Venue              Tickets           RSVP

Last question. Will you ever release song “Rats” in the form of a single? It seems to be a fan favourite of sorts.

Andy Keating:  No, definitely not.

Ist Ist tour poster
Photography by Nidge Luhg Sanders (Trust A Fox)
https://www.trustafoxphotography.com/

Despite not being fans of inter-webs, Ist Ist keeps a healthy online presence. You can visit and follow them at:

https://www.facebook.com/ististmusic/
https://twitter.com/ististmusic
https://www.instagram.com/ististmusic
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIe48WYG__QCArF6t-CdIMw
https://www.musicglue.com/ististmusic/shop
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5YiRgqaj5yVjVtUp4G6iUq?si=l3HrO7M7QAm9mixV-epaXg

Or you can follow their record label, Kind Violence Records

https://www.kindviolencerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kindviolencerecords/

The upcoming tour dates/tickets can be found here:

https://www.ents24.com/uk/tour-dates/ist-ist-1
https://www.musicglue.com/ististmusic/tour

Additional reading  for anyone who – like us – finds Ist Ist to be an incredible band.

https://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2017/09/ist-ist-interview.html
https://www.eventhestars.co.uk/2018/08/ist-ist-interview.html
https://epigram.org.uk/2018/04/06/ist-ist-spinning-rooms-ep/
https://bittersweetsymphonies.co.uk/2018/04/08/ep-review-ist-ist-spinning-rooms/
https://louderthanwar.com/ist-ist-spinning-rooms-review/
https://www.piccadillyrecords.com/counter/product.php?pid=122111

So there you have it. Ist Ist`s new EP “Everything Is Different Now” will be out on 25th January. Get your copy before its gone! The only thing we could not do while preparing this chapter of Indieterria was to see the band live. That may change in the coming months!

We hope you enjoyed our first interview of 2019 and we will be coming back to update this blog in the future.

M/R