Indieterria meets Memes

Dear Readers,

They appeared out of nowhere, with no warning and within a month have been BBC 6 Music single of the week, had Amazing Radio on their team and BBC Scotland taking notice. If that is not a very definition of taking the indie circuit by storm, then we don’t know what that would be. We have sat down with Memes to talk about their new single, future gigs and their lyrics. This band combines post punk fury with intelligence and wit of The Fall. Mark E Smith is probably looking down, nodding his head with approval and saying to John Peel  that there are still good bands in the UK.

 

Memes logo

Memes are:

John McLinden
Paul McLinden

At Indieterria, we take pride in researching each band we interview. However we weren’t able to find much about Memes. We learnt only that you come from Glasgow and that the band is made out of two friends named John and Paul. Introduce yourselves properly to our readers.

Memes: Memes is John McLinden and Paul McLinden and we are cousins and we are a new duo from Glasgow.

We love your enigmatic attitude. You have no biography on social media, just an email address and a couple of pictures are available. Tell us more about Memes. When did you start playing? Have you been involved in any previous projects?

Memes: To be honest, the mystery hasn’t really been intentional, the missing bio and lack of information on the band is mostly down to the fact that the band is being so new! That said, it’s hard for bands to maintain any mystique in the social media age, which is a shame, as it is one of the things we like about some of our favourite bands.

Memes came about from some downtime in another band we play with (we have been involved in various projects before). We just got together to record some ideas that Paul had written. We were just messing around really and DIY recording in a loft in Glasgow, but we liked the end result of ‘Blah Blah Blah’ and thought we would put a single release together to see if we could get any reaction. We only started working on Memes in February 2019.

Scottish blog Turn Up The Volume compared your music to The Fall and The Smiths with a “healthy dose” of Idles. What are your inspirations?

Memes:  Very flattering of them to say so, we would count those bands as favourites of ours for sure. We like anything that is interesting or provocative in some way. That could be anything from Talking Heads to Frank Sinatra to Steve Reich.

“Is that a picture of your grand pa?” – photography by Gary Dickie

In another review you were described as “Fast and furious lo-fi post punk that sounds like a frantic Mark E Smith after a day spent watching BBC Parliament”.  And we have to admit that your lyrics have the same wit and edge as the lead singer of The Fall. We will risk saying that he`d be a fan.  You are not afraid to be outspoken and yet do it in a subtle way. That’s a very rare quality in music these days. 

Memes:  There isn’t much in the way of being outspoken (or saying anything really) in the mainstream, but there are bands and individuals out there causing a stir. We haven’t deliberately set our stall out to say anything specific but hopefully the songs catch the imagination.

You just released your debut A side single “Blah Blah Blah”/”Funny man” and captured attention of everyone in the business. You have been a single of the week at BBC 6 Music as chosen by Steve Lamacq himself, you have been championed by Jim Gellatly on Amazing Radio, Tom Robinson from Fresh on the Net is also very fond of the song. This Feeling added the single to their Best New Bands playlist. Is this attention something you have expected?

Memes:  No, not at all. We liked the music and hoped others would, but having the airplay we have had for such a new project has been fantastic, we just have to back it up now! Music is a difficult nut to crack and we have only released two songs at the moment, but hopefully our next release will raise the game!

Talking about debuts, The Duct Tape, Edinburgh zine swears that 4 months before “Blah Blah Blah” came out you have released another song that was distributed during underground punk gathering. Sadly we haven’t been able to confirm this  piece of news anywhere else. True or not?

Memes:  Hmmm news to us! Could be another band called Memes but it definitely wasn’t us.

We would like to ask you about the story behind “Funny Man”. Are you able to disclose the person about whom the song was  written?

Memes:  It’s not about any one person in particular, just the many “funny” and supposed “characters” out there that you meet…that aren’t funny and have no character, you know the ones!

We keep mentioning The Fall in this interview and on 13th of June you will be supporting Imperial Wax Band (whose members were the longest serving and the last line up of The Fall). You must have the date marked on your calendars!

Memes:  Yeah, looking forward to that one. Given that The Fall has been mentioned as part of our sound, it will hopefully go down well with the Imperial Wax crowd.

Memes are just getting started – but you must have some plans made for the future. What can we expect? A new single more gigs or perhaps a bigger release such a EP?

Famous last question. Imagine you can play any venue in the world. Which one would you choose?

Memes:  This would have to be the Barrowlands in Glasgow, simply a great venue.

Memes ready to take on the world – photo by Gary Dickie

You can follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/memestheband/
https://soundcloud.com/memestheband
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAozXPvxbmFDRGmKhGVK8fQ
https://twitter.com/memestheband
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4UHOCHsbn2JNwXQJWzO2WT?si=zx3wwhmwQqWzSmIWdyeo8w

Memes can be contacted at: memestheband@hotmail.com

Additional reading :
https://turnupthevolume.blog/2019/04/08/scottish-post-punks-memes-hit-hard-twice-with-double-debut-single-blah-blah-blah-and-funny-man/

Memes will share the stage with hottest new indie bands – Tiger Mimic and Lower Loveday at iconic venue Nambucca on April 27th 2019. The event is free entry:

 

Showcase poster

You can find more info on socials at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/658720734568060/

We will be reporting on Memes in the future since they are about to go though the roofs. Just give them few months, they will give Sleaford Mods a good run! (and we like Mods, actually them and Memes on a tour is such a good idea!).

R/M

Indieterria meets Tiger Mimic

Dear Readers,

There are many bands on the indie circuit:  the cool ones, the mysterious ones, the ones you like. And then there are bands that you simply love from the first note. It`s so good to be a music obsessive – as Steve Lamacq says – you can fall in love at least twice a week! So yeah – here we go again being head over heels with a new band. They are Tiger Mimic, they are based in London and they will headline Vandian Avenue first showcase on April 27th at the iconic Nambucca.

We cannot tell you how excited we are and how grateful too. We sat down with Jess Rhodes  of Tiger Mimic to speak to her about the band history, their excellent debut EP and even video games.

This is the band you need to know. No excuses!

 

Tiger Mimic Logo

Official bio: Tiger Mimic is a London-based band with a sound that ranges from bitcrushed anthems to sinister bass grooves to rapid-fire rock poetry and more. Their debut EP, “Elephant Skeleton”, was recorded with Grammy Award winning producer Matt Lawrence at London’s Livingston Studio. Released in January 2019, its five songs showcase their diverse range of styles and influences.

Tiger Mimic:
Jess Rhodes  (vox, synth)
Bram Johnson  (guitar,  vox)
Ben Willis  (bass, vox)
George Latham  (drums)

You named the band after a butterfly that mimics appearance of its poisonous cousin, but you are one of the most original bands we have heard this year. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Jess Rhodes: Ah, thank you so much. That’s a very kind thing to say. We’re Tiger Mimic, we’re based in London, and usually we say we’re an “indie rock” band just to keep it simple, but we do have a lot of different influences. Jess sings and plays synth, Bram sings and plays guitar, Ben plays bass and sings back-up, and George plays drums.

You may have just released your debut EP, but the band has quite a history – including a relocation to another continent. Jess and Bram started out their respective projects while living and working in NYC. They met Ben and George after coming to London. Do you think that having musicians from both sides of the Pond helped to forge your unique sound?

Jess Rhodes: I was actually born and grew up (mainly) in Europe! I was exposed to music from every genre. My mom loved Arabic and Kurdish music (I didn’t really) but sometimes people tell me my melodies have a middle-eastern tinge to them, so it’s funny how you can get influenced by what you get exposed to growing up.

Moving from NYC to London was the best decision ever, and the fact that we met Ben & George was crazy lucky. We all have diverse influences and grew up listening to so many different things, but there is also a lot of overlap, so it’s hard to say how much effect geography had. Each member brings their own style to the band, though, and it has definitely given us a sense that nothing is off limits when it comes to writing songs.

Tiger Mimic – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

When preparing to this interview we have found information that Jess is classically trained operatic singer. Can we confirm if this is true? We interviewed some amazing and unique artists on the blog but a soprano with a degree from Italian music conservatoire would be a first!

Jess Rhodes: I was indeed classically trained. I studied with amazing teachers in Paris, Italy, and NYC. I actually only did 6 months in Milan, and then decided to move to NY. I then went a different route and studied theatre. I love singing opera, I haven’t practiced in a while, but it’s something I really enjoy singing at times. However, I didn’t have a deep passion for it, and if you’re not 100% dedicated, you can forget about it. I wanted to write my own songs, and so I did. Once you’re trained to sing a certain way, it’s actually quite hard to break that, and so I really struggled to find my voice for a while. I always felt I needed to be as loud as when I sung opera, and then I realised I really didn’t.

Your EP “Elephant Skeleton” was released in January 2019. For this record you worked with Matt Lawrence, Grammy winning producer known for helping Adele. The story is that after hearing your demos Matt wanted to work with you and most of the material was written in his studio. Were you scared to collaborate with such a big calibre name?

Jess Rhodes: We were a little anxious before meeting him that we wouldn’t be a huge priority for someone with a CV like his, but he put that to bed immediately. It was amazing to work with him! He’s such a nice, talented, humble person. We actually didn’t write much in the studio, though, most of the songs had been written in NY and Paris right before coming to London. There were a few little flourishes and lyric tweaks and things like that, but the songs were pretty fully fleshed out when we went in.

Matt did give us some great guidance in rehearsals before heading into the studio, but he always posed it as a question, such as “Well, would this song be better if you added a bridge?”, or “What would it sound like if this part had a slightly different groove?”

One of the things we really appreciated was that he liked the music and didn’t want to change what we were already doing, but he would put forward these questions that made us consider whether we had explored all the possibilities with a given song. It was good to be challenged like that and I think we came out of that process with a much more critical ear for our work.

The future looks bright – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

The EP is promoted by two singles – “Don’t Cover Up My Eyes” and the title track. We want to ask you about the video to “Elephant Skeleton”. It shows a 8 bit point and shoot game where an animal tries to recover his bones while the band members serve as evil bosses. Where did you get the idea from and who directed it. Also – will there be a continuation?

Jess Rhodes: The video game idea started sort of accidentally. Bram made a really short video of a dandelion seed floating over some hills just as a short promotional video teaser for Elephant Skeleton and it had that sort of lo-fi, video game look to it. We started talking about turning it into a full length idea and that’s when we decided to make the story about the elephants.

After one night of goofy brainstorming, we drew a little storyboard and then Bram put the whole thing together. He’s not trained in animation, so it was a huge learning curve and took quite a while, but it was fun watching it come together bit by bit. We sometimes think about cooking up a sequel video, but Bram is still a little traumatised from staring at a computer screen for months, so it’ll have to be for a future song.

The band just played first major festival – Cro Cro Land, taking to the stage next to such established acts as Bang Bang Romeo and The Lovely Eggs. We imagine it must have been a lot of fun and a lot of nerves in equal measure. Did you like it?

Jess Rhodes: Oh my God. It was the most incredible day ever. We would’ve gone to Cro Cro even if we hadn’t been invited to play, because the lineup was absolutely sick. I can usually get quite nervous before a gig, and although that was our biggest gig, I wasn’t as stressed as I thought I’d be! Maybe it’s because there was such a huge supportive community feeling going on the whole day!

Bram, on the other hand, had non-stop nightmares the night before about getting bumped from the show or something else going wrong, so it was a huge relief for him when we actually walked out on stage. Seriously, though, everyone involved was incredible. Angela Martin, Julia Woollams, the bands, journalists, photographers, event staff, engineers (sound and light), just everyone was so wonderful.

Your music has been described as a mix of guitar based indie, ska and 1960s pop bands. But outside how the music critics see you – do you have your own term for your sound?

Jess Rhodes: It’s like you say, we get a lot of different reactions to our sound, so we actually struggle a bit to settle on a genre when people ask. Indie Rock has been our go-to, since it’s a fairly broad category, but a lot of people have really specific (and sometimes angry) opinions about what Indie Rock actually is, so we have yet to find a term that satisfies everyone. Any ideas?

Poster for Nambucca headline gig

Tiger Mimic will headline iconic London venue Nambucca on 27th April – what can we expect from your live shows?

Jess Rhodes: Oh man, we can’t wait! We’ll be playing with the awesome Lower Loveday and Memes, and we already know it’s gonna be a great night! Nambucca is a really great venue, too, and we’re so happy to play there again.  Our live show has a lot of dynamic shifts, trading vocal parts, harmonies, and riffs. One thing we’ve always appreciated hearing after a show is that each song sounds completely different from each other, but they all still sound like us. That’s about as cool of a compliment as we could hope for.

We want to ask you about the story behind your song “I Took Off My Body”. It is probably the saddest song on the EP lyrics wise. At points it feels traumatic especially in the age of Me Too movement.

Jess Rhodes:  I Took Off My Body was actually written a few days before we went in to record it. Bram had this really cool instrumental guitar part and was playing it for fun, and I just started improvising over it and insisted we take it to the studio. It tells the story of someone removing the many layers of their body in an effort to find themselves inside (waiting in the dark, waiting for a light).

It’s a reflection on the world’s tendency to make judgements with their eyes, while ignoring whoever is inside that body. It is definitely a problem that’s been going on for a long time. It’s really sad that we live in a world where we have to be on our guards at all times.

For instance, I went to a gig a few days ago and a man kept bothering me, so I moved to the other side, and talked about it to a friend who was there too. Turned out he had also touched her and another woman inappropriately. So in the span of 5 minutes, he managed to make 3 (or more) women feel extremely uncomfortable. He was just seen by everyone else as the “annoying drunk guy” but his behaviour should be seen for what it is: completely unacceptable and absolutely disgusting. The Me Too movement is incredible, I think it shows just how powerful victims can actually be when they get together, and also shows how there should be no stigma or shame around the word “victim”. The only people who should feel shame are the perpetrators, harassers, and abusers.

Tiger Mimic are ready to take over – photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

In one year you have accomplished more than many bands in their whole life span: working with top producers, releasing EP, playing festivals. What else have you got planned for 2019 and beyond?

Jess Rhodes: Aw, that’s nice of you to say. We definitely try to work as hard as we can on this, it’s our dream and the main reason we came over to London. We’ve been lucky to connect with a lot of awesome people, there are so many unsung heroes around town who are so supportive of the scene and that’s been incredible.

As for 2019, we’re heading down to Brighton for the first time in May for the Brighton Mix-Up festival, which is super exciting. We’re hoping to get back in the studio in May too, if we can swing it, we have a lot of new songs ready to go. After that we’ll see what comes up. There are a few exciting rumours floating around, but nothing we can share yet, so hopefully we’ll have some big announcements soon.

Last question – if Tiger Mimic could become characters in a video game what title would it be? Final Fantasy? Tomb Raider? Mortal Kombat or would you have your own title. You can pick any game.

Hmmm… aside from the Elephant Skeleton video, in which we’ve already been game-ified, here are some nerdy answers for you:

Ben Willis: I’d be Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. I still remember my first inter-species love affair with fondness.

Bram Johnson: I’d be Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango. He’s a grim reaper in a crime noir version of the Mexican Land Of The Dead who spends years going to any lengths trying to save a soul that was cheated out of their rightful afterlife. I always liked that he was a regular guy, no bulging muscles or guns or anything, just tenacity.

Jess Rhodes: I’d be Sindel from Mortal Kombat. I’d love to be able to kick ass just by whipping my hair!

George couldn’t be reached for comment, but we’ll ask him next time we rehearse. Important information to know.

We absolute love Tiger Mimic. They are one in a million.

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.tigermimic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tigermimicband/
https://www.instagram.com/tiger.mimic
https://twitter.com/TigerMimic
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7qT0D9stk05ym53ziRGwzg
https://soundcloud.com/tigermimic
https://open.spotify.com/artist/296hyITffv9hw30ypToBi7?si=Khrq4iL0RT6Rbm2Bf0426g

You can purchase the EP “Elephant Skeleton” at the link below:

http://www.smarturl.it/tigermimic

If you fancy a bit of extra reading – here are some fantastic articles about the band from other independent blogs:

https://www.musicmusingsandsuch.com/musicmusingsandsuch/2018/9/16/interview-tiger-mimic
https://gigradar.co.uk/introducing-tiger-mimic/
https://www.croydonist.co.uk/tiger-mimic/
https://thegirlsattherockshow.com/song-of-the-day-tiger-mimic-dont-cover-up-my-eyes/

Tiger Mimic will headline the Nambucca on April 27th in London. The entry is free. You can find the info for the event on socials:

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

We hope you enjoyed this little blog. We will be back
M/R

Indieterria meets Ivory Wave

Dear readers,

West Midlands scene, although sadly overlooked in the mainstream press, has a long and proud musical heritage. From Duran Duran and Black Sabbath to the ever popular grime scene, Birmingham and the neighbouring cities are producing high quality musical talents at an amazing speed. And slowly things are beginning to change. The new influx of bands such as The Cosmics, MeMe Detroit, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Novus, The Pagans S.O.H or The Clause are changing the popular perception that only London and Manchester are the music hot-spots to go to. The Second City’s DIY scene has never been stronger and it is ready to take on the world. Indieterria spoke to Sebastian Baldwin, the drummer of  the newest star of the scene, the Ivory Wave, about Madlands, plans and an incoming tour.

George Johnson (vocals)
Luke Morris (bassist)
Connor McMinn (guitar, vocals)
Rob Clarke (keyboard, vocals)
Seb Baldwin (drums, vocals)

Official Bio: Birmingham band Ivory Wave have released their new single ‘Gold’. The band have landed support slots with DMA’S, The Twang and Superfood to name a few as well as playing festivals such as Isle of Wight, Truck and Shiiine On. Their growing army of fans are now packing out venues up and down the U.K. “Gold” is an infectious swagger drenched banger that relentlessly surges hyped up energetic tones into your ears. With a punchy bassline creating a funk flavoured strutting foundation, this track is fun vibrant and full of youthful adrenaline. Slick guitars glide and jingle between snappy drums, while flickering speckles of scintillation through swirling soundscapes. With attitude smothered vocals and pure unadulterated raw energy this swanky groove infested track is an instant shot of vitality and is sure to have you dancing and bopping carelessly.

About the track front-man George Johnson said: “Gold is about realizing your full potential, grabbing it with both hands and running with it.“

Ivory Wave picture taken by James Kay

Ivory Wave is a very poetic name. The story goes it was used in a conversation you once overheard in a pub and thought it would make a great name for a band. Is this true?

Seb Baldwin: (laughing) That’s exactly the case! Our singer George and bassist Luke were sat in a pub discussing potential names and caught the name from a nearby conversation!

You are based in Birmingham and according to your bio, you formed at the beginning of 2016. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria and tell us more about your beginnings. How did you meet?

Seb Baldwin: Ivory Wave is made up of singer George Johnson, bassist Luke Morris, guitarist Connor McMinn, Rob Clarke on keys and of course me. We’d all played in different bands before and ended up forming through mutual friends and connections. We wrote the first few songs and it all just clicked.

We listen to hundreds of bands per year but we can safely say that nobody plays like you do. You remind us of the golden days of The Hacienda, Mancunian rock mixed with rave beats, but with a contemporary twist. Ivory Wave is not just a nostalgia play, but something brand new. It is fresh and exciting. What do you think?

Seb Baldwin: It is the same with us! We all listen to such a wide and varied mixture of music and styles that it’s hard to pin point specific influences down. We’ve all listened to most of what came out of Manchester scene so there are undoubtedly nods to that sound. But we have never laboured to create something that replicates a specific sound but rather focused on writing something that feels real and genuine to us.

You have been compared (but of course!) to every Madchester legend there is, from 808 State, Stone Roses, The Charlatans, New Order and Inspiral Carpets to Happy Mondays and even The Beautiful South. But you come from Birmingham! How did that happen that a Brummie quintet started playing Manchester inspired music in the middle of West Midlands?

Seb Baldwin: I think it is because we listened to all those bands growing up and although we have never consciously tried to write anything that sounds like them, those sounds have crept into the music we produce.

BBC Introducing in West Midlands described Ivory Wave as a “perfect combination of rave, acid hip hop and classic rock a la Duran Duran”. This is the first description of that sort we ever heard! Who inspires you to write?

Seb Baldwin: We are inspired by such a wide range of different artists, it wouldn’t feel fair to name few individuals. The key to our sound has always been the range of different genres that our music tastes cover. From hip-hop to rock, from pop right across the spectrum to grime, we all indulge in a wide enough range that when it comes to writing our own music, we all bring different dynamics and angles to what we put out.

The band is known to keep to “no label, no management, no agent” rule. Although you are not the only ones in the business to do so (Jordan Allen, Strange Bones or The Clause also decided to follow that path) it means doing everything yourselves. Does day to day managing of the band affairs have an impact on the creative process?

Seb Baldwin: Most definitely. To take the time to manage the bands social media, book shows, engage and organise meetings with a people across a range of parts of the industry to name a few things, all while we are working full time obviously takes a decent wedge of time away from creating music and playing.

Ivory Wave supporting the excellent DMA’S at the sold out gig at O2 Academy in Birmingham. Picture by James Kay

You are credited with creating the “Madlands” musical movement. Who else, besides you is in the league and what bands should we all be looking out for?

Seb Baldwin: (laughing) This is a common misconception! Jacky-P, ex-BBC WM Introducing presenter and DJ for Scxrlxrd actually coined the term, although we are more than happy to champion it. And we have to name every band in the area who is pushing for the common goal of putting the Second City back on the map musically: The Clause, Riscas, The Novus, Violet and Sugerthief to name but a few as the list goes on and on and on.

Ivory Wave supported established acts as The Twang and DMA`s and appeared on festivals such a Truck, Shiiine On and Isle of Wight. This year, you are already booked for Live at Leeds and Lakefest among others. Are you eager to take your music to the next level?

Seb Baldwin:  We are all grinding and pushing as hard as we are able. Getting to play bigger and better shows is already an amazing and humbling confirmation that our music is being well received and that we are establishing ourselves more and more as time goes on. Onwards and upwards.

April and May will see you hitting the road and going to Preston, Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds. Are you planning to add more dates? What about London or Glasgow? Any plans on playing there?

Seb Baldwin: We cannot say much yet, but we have a number of shows in the pipeline and will be announcing details of all of these soon!

Your current single “Gold” was released in January 2019 to a phenomenal response. It was a song of the week for BBC West Midlands and gave you several spins on BBC 6 Music by Steve Lamacq himself. The song also amassed over 18K streams on Spotify. We can easily say that this song is going through the roof. Did you expect such a positive response from public and music business alike?

Seb Baldwin:  We had been playing “Gold” for well over a year in our live set, and although we all loved it as a track we hadn’t thought of it as a standalone single until the fans started to beg for its release. After an influx of tweets and messages asking us to release it next, we went back into the studio and the result it out for the world to hear.

They say “ride the wave until the grave” – so we want to know, where is Ivory Wave taking you next?

Seb Baldwin: We are in this for the long run, although we couldn’t call exactly where we will end up. We are all driving at the band building and growing as time goes on. Long live Ivory Wave.

Articles:
https://counteract.co/interview/interview-ivory-wave-discuss-their-biggest-gig-to-date/
https://www.shiiineon.com/blog/ivorywave/
http://www.uniquelullaby.co.uk/2019/01/interview-w-ivory-wave.html
https://wordsformusic.blog/2019/01/27/band-profile-ivory-wave/
https://www.musicglue.com/ivorywaveuk/bio

Catch Ivory Wave on tour and you can now win two tickets  for their homecoming gig in Birmingham.
Good luck!

Please come back soon as we have some very interesting interviews and reviews coming later this month.
Catch you soon!

R+M

Indieterria meets Raw Sound TV

Hello!

Some might say that there’s never been a better time to be a musician. Internet gives you access to billions of users, streaming platforms are easily to set up and curators are at the stretch of the palm. You can set up professional recording studio in your own bedroom as the equipment is getting better and cheaper and it is not hard to master its use. It seems, the rock and roll dream is just around the corner and ready for grabs.

Others might argue that the technological edge is the same for everybody and it is hard to break through thousands of other bands competing for attention.  There are also external factors that need to be taken into consideration: lack of funding, closure of local pubs and venues, austerity, quickly changing musical trends, constant search for something new fueled by social media and Instagram influencers. DIY musical scene can also be divided and lack of unity affects the bands and gig goers altogether. You could say that for every ray of sunshine, there is a big rainy cloud covering it.

Yet the DIY  scene is holding on despite the odds. Bands are recording, exciting music is somehow making it to the national radio stations and new opportunities are springing up here and there. Indieterria sat down to speak to Mark Piddington the man behind RawSound TV to speak about the new ideas to help emerging artists, production techniques and their plans to permanently change West Midlands musical scene.

You call yourselves an “old school MTV” style music show in the Internet era. Please introduce yourselves to readers of Indieterria.

Mark Piddington: Hi. I’m Mark Piddington. Producer and Presenter of RawSound TV. Part of the reason for the idea of RawSound TV was that I could see that there was a lack of decent live music “tv” shows. Especially for unsigned artists. A show in the style of “The Tube”, “The Word” and many other iconic TV shows from the past that I felt the older generation were missing and the younger generation were missing out on.

Raw Sound TV is live music show recorded at Glass Onion Studios in Birmingham every two weeks, broadcasting on your YouTube channel on the Sundays in-between. Your shows include interviews with unsigned and new artists doing live performances and featuring videos along with interviews with the bands and occasionally live gigs. You’ve had 4 seasons so far and are currently working on a new season which is due to broadcast on the April 14th. Can you tell us how the recording and filming process works? 

Mark Piddington: We invite bands and artists to our studio which is fully equipped for recording and filming. After they arrive and meet the crew, we set them up for a sound check/ rehearsal, during which time the crew get audio levels for recording and camera angles worked out. After a short break it’s on to recording. The red light goes on and we film them performing three live tracks. After a short break we then conduct a short interview. We go through this process twice as we usually have two live bands featured per episode. After the bands have gone we do our ‘bits to camera’ which includes introduction to the show and individual intros to the bands. It can be a long night! Then, once all this is done, its on to editing the show for broadcast on the follow Sunday which usually takes well over 40 hours over the week.

Raw Sound TV at work – photo by Danielle Clarke

How long does it takes for a band to appear on Raw Sound TV? How do you select the bands? What do you look for? 

Mark Piddington: We encourage bands and artists to get in touch with us if they want to appear on the show.  Selection is very difficult for us as there are so many fantastic bands and artists around at the moment. We know that a lot of them unfortunately won’t get to appear on the show as we are only able to feature two bands per show.  We don’t let our own personal tastes influence who appears on the show. We try to look for quality in musicianship, song writing and what/ who we feel our viewers should be seeing and would appreciate.

Besides the music show, you also offer other services: recording live performances, making and editing videos and even access to a recording studio/rehearsal space. We know many artists look for those services – so please tell us about what you also offer and how bands go about this? 

Mark Piddington: The recording studio is a separate entity to RawSound TV. I established Glass Onion Recording Studio in 2003 and have been recording bands there since.  As well as recording, I also offer rehearsal space, studio dry hire and also music video production. If anyone wish to use any of the studio facilities/services, they can contact me via any of our social media platforms or at RawSoundTV.com.

Money matters are hard to talk about – but essential for both businesses and artists alike. Can you tell us about the fees and other charges that artists approaching you should consider?

Mark Piddington: Firstly, to clarify, we are not a business. RawSound TV do not charge anything for bands and artists to appear on the show.  It is totally free.  As the crew and I do not get paid and the studio given for free, we are currently trying to get the show funded in some way so we can continue to offer this opportunity to unsigned bands without them having to pay. Having been there myself I know that young musicians don’t generally have the funds to afford what some companies charge for ‘promotion’ and what they get for their money.

You’ve featured and worked with an exciting array of West Midlands acts: Alex Ohm, The Clause, The Cosmics, The Verse, Ivory Wave, Karkosa, Lady Sanity, MeMe Detroit, The Novus, Sugarthief, Violet, Lycio, La Dharma, The Goodwater and Candid – the list is endless. If an artist or band wants to get involved, how can they reach you? 

Mark Piddington: We have worked with over eighty bands and artists in the twenty months since we started. Some of whom are most definitely destined for big things. If an artist wants to appear on this show they can contact us on our website at RawSoundTV.com and navigate to the ‘want to be on the show?’ section.

You have filmed performances in many different places in West Midlands: The O2 Institute, Castle and Falcon, Square One in Coventry and The Flapper to name just a few along with outdoor festivals such as Lunar and the Bewdley Music Festival. Is it harder to record in a small, intimate club or in a large arena? 

Mark Piddington: They both have their difficulties. As opposed to the studio which is a controlled environment set up for filming and recording, live venues are not. Therefore, we always have obstacles to overcome when filming away from the studio.  More often than not, sound recording and lighting problems are the usual suspects as we have little or no control or influence over these.

Raw Sound TV have recorded many, many bands and concerts over the last couple of years but we are sure some of the performances must have stood out from the others. Do you have any favourites? 

Mark Piddington:  That’s a very difficult question. If I’m honest the ones that have stood out for me are when the whole recording process and post production has gone smoothly or when the crew have had a particularly good session and the band have performed well and, more importantly, enjoyed themselves. It is great to see the bands’ reaction to the whole process from ‘our side’ of the process. Festivals are always good fun for the crew but the days are long and can be a logistical nightmare (especially when it rains)!

Imagine that you can film any artist in the world, where and why?

Mark Piddington: Ahh, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for something exciting we “might” be doing over the summer that will answer this question. So watch this space!

Is there anyone you’d like to invite to appear on the next series or future series? 

Mark Piddington: There is no one in particular I have in mind.  The plan is to keep on inviting the best new, unsigned bands and artists on to the show.

Last question – we are only in April, but what are your plans for the upcoming months. Anything exciting to tell us about any what you’ll be including in forthcoming shows?

Mark Piddington:  Every show is exciting for us. Being able to give young artists this kind of platform and the excitement and enthusiasm they have for the show gives myself and the crew a massive buzz and makes the whole thing worthwhile. We also get a huge lift from the positive comments on social media from the bands who have now become friends and their fans alike.

No rest for technical crew – photo by Danielle Clarke

Lights, camera, action – photo by Danielle Clarke

You can follow RawSound TV on their socials:

Official website: http://rawsoundtv.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rawsound.tv/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rawsoundtv
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rawsoundtv/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzvfJMPXYhK65X2VRDIkifg

Please contact Mark if you’d like to be included in the next series of concerts. Also, if you have performed for RawSound TV in the past and you’d like to share your videos, please contact us and we will be more than happy to share your experiences.

We also have some incredible  artists to showcase  this month and we are thrilled to be sharing our new interviews with you soon.
Thank you for reading and see you soon!

Rita and Malicia

Indieterria review – Slease by False Heads

Dear Readers,

False Heads can easily be called a band that we love here at Indieterria. They have been on our  radar for over three years. We had a chance to interview them in August 2018 and a month later also reviewed their EP, proclaiming “Less is Better”  as one of our records of the year. We seen them live in Bristol at the minuscule The Mother`s Ruin basement and it was a glorious and sweaty affair. We met them at BBC Live conference in London. False Heads represent pure talent, determination and strong fellowship – all the qualities that make great bands. And now they return with a new single!

Slease cover by Will Hutchinson
https://www.facebook.com/will.hutchinson.921

“We go into the studio next week. Wanna hear what scribbling in a shipping container sounds like?” – wrote the band on their socials on March 1st and they meant it. Slease – their first single post “Less is Better” EP has been written in their rehearsal space somewhere in London  – a large, metallic shipping container. A place that may as well be an epicentre of world domination in the near future.

Slease premiered on 22 March 2019, dropping like a bomb from the sky. Three minutes and fourteen seconds of noise, dirt and impressive bass lines. But surprisingly, there is also a catchy chorus and melody that gets stuck in your head. The vocalist, Luke Griffiths screams out his lyrics with such a passion that you get the feeling you are on a political march (and we had quite a few big marches recently).

“The song was written last year” – explains Luke – “It`s about bad mental states. Addiction. But also how similar the left and right are in terms of tactics they use leaving people  politically isolated”.

The band posing outside their rehearsal space
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

Dark and gritty – False Heads are ready to take over
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

False Heads are a trio with Luke Griffiths on guitar and vocals, Jake Elliot on bass and Barney Nash on drums – but the songs they craft are so powerful  that you`d expect them to be at least  a  five piece. Slease is a good example – there is a wall of sound in this song, changing tempos, roaring bass and drums that will make you deaf if you find yourself  standing next to an amp at the gig.

The single is accompanied by a video directed by Brigitta Szaszfai (who also directed video to “Yellow” for the band last year) showing False Heads violently shaking and being blinded by bright lights in a darkened room.

As expected, Slease made a powerful impact within one week of its release.  John Kennedy  – influential DJ and champion of new music as Radio X described the song as fantastic. It has been added to “All New Rock” playlist on Spotify and “Best New Bands” playlist on Amazon.
The song premiered on Rodney on the Rock on Sirius XM in the US and became “next wave” track at BBC Radio 1 in the UK. It amassed nearly 5K streams in few days days on Spotify.

False Heads played two gigs in London and Manchester to promote the single. Their home town show took place at The Monarch on 21 March with The Estevans and Getrz supporting. On March 20, the band played Manchester`s The Soup Kitchen also with The Estevans. We don’t have to tell you that both shows sold spectacularly well.

Tour poster

False Heads by Nathan Whittaker/ MRC Live
https://www.facebook.com/Nathan.W6

False Heads live in London
Photo by Alan Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thealanwells/

There is something about False Heads that remind us of another band we used to follow in the early 90s. We would carefully gather every bit of information about them and the excitement was felt every time the name was mentioned. The band was called On A Friday at that  time and they went on to do a few interesting things since we first heard about them (like releasing The Bends or Kid A for example). Call it cliché – but we feel the same about False Heads nowadays. Keep them on your radars because they are not just an indie band we like. They are a band that will inspire your children to pick up instruments.  Wait and see.

Slease has gathered some rare reviews from blogs and magazines alike – and we would love to quote here some of them as we enjoy this sort of thing in our reviews:

“Outspoken, heavy post punk trio False Heads have just dropped their first track of 2019 and we are loving it” –  Vulture Hound
https://vulturehound.co.uk/2019/03/track-of-the-day-22-12-19-false-heads-slease/

“Keeping things gritty and fierce with new single “Slease” power trio False Heads have unleashed another monster punk-rock anthem” – Gig Slutz
http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/this-feeling-track-of-the-day-false-heads-slease/

“OOOOOH, we’ve got something awesome for you today! Yes indeed…here’s an incredible grungey alternative rock banger from False Heads. It’s called ‘Slease’ and it’s a bloomin’ masterpiece”  – SoundSphere Magazine
http://www.soundspheremag.com/videos/videos-of-the-week/watch-false-heads-slease/

“This is the first new single False Heads have released following their impressive EP, Less is Better. From the very first few chords, it is abundantly clear that this is going to be a step forward. The sound is immediately rougher, more aggressive and stripped down, and, one might say, more confident”  – Words For Music
https://wordsformusic.blog/2019/03/24/false-heads-slease-new-music/

“False Heads are without a doubt one of the most hard-working bands out there. After travelling up and down the country extensively in 2018 to promote their blisteringly confident EP Less Is Better and hooking us in with exploding riffs cemented firmly in the centre of punk sensibilities, this chaotic trio return with new single Slease” – Unique Lullaby
http://www.uniquelullaby.co.uk/2019/03/unique-to-check-out-false-heads-slease_18.html

False Heads
Photo by Neil McCarty
https://www.facebook.com/neilmccartyphotography

“With shows locked in to support the launch of ‘Slease,’ and the wheels of their debut album now in unstoppable motion, 2019 will be their most ambitious year to date and they want you to be a part of it. Who’s in?” – Rock and Loud Magazine
https://rocknloadmag.com/news/false-heads-drop-new-single-slease/

“[False Heads] crash into 2019 with one of their most explosive tracks to date” – Original Rock
https://originalrock.net/2019/03/07/interview-false-heads-talk-upcoming-single/

“False Heads remain one of the best and most authentic guitar bands” – Its All Indie
http://www.itsallindie.com/2019/03/false-heads-release-explosive-new-track.html

“Slease finds the East London trio in super energetic, ferocious punk mode, and memorable and easy to take in as it is, the dynamic song does not lack in any of the fierceness, the poignant lyricism and the impeccably well done production which have made the band thrive from the very beginning” – Destroy Exist
https://www.destroyexist.com/2019/03/false-heads-slease.html

“Sometimes a really crunchy and meaty bass riff is all you need to love a song. Thankfully False Heads’ latest track not only gives us that for an introduction, but continues down the path of beautiful raw punk in their new track “Slease” – Indie Central Music
https://indiecentralmusic.com/false-heads-release-stomping-new-track-slease/

You can follow the band on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/FalseHeads
http://www.falseheads.com
https://www.instagram.com/falseheads/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqivl1sWLJyZxP3Ywei3HGw
https://twitter.com/FalseHeads
https://www.musicglue.com/falseheads

You can buy or stream Sleaze from the link below:

https://ffm.to/falseheadsslease

You can also visit the band`s label These Bloody Thieves Records:
https://www.thesebloodythievesrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesebloodythieves/

We hope you enjoy this review. Come back soon, we have more!
M/R

Indieterria meets Table Scraps

Dear Readers

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

Band logo

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

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

Table Scraps photographed by Meg Lavender

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Autonomy” album cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table Scraps promo picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table Scraps on SXSW, picture by SKCPhotography

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

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

You can follow Table Scraps on their social medias:

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

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

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

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

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.

logo

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

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