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 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

Indieterria meets Tin Mole

Dear Readers,

This December Indieterria stops for a while in a port. Kingdom of Mancunia always had the best music and record collections and even  people who did things differently. So for the time being, we will stay in a safe and warm haven of Manchester and will report on new acts coming from the town and its  wonderfully loud venues of  Northern Quarter.

Two years ago we began Indieterria by interviewing Salford`s own Tigerside. This time around, we reopen a new year by chatting to the artist known as Tin Mole.  You probably did not hear about him yet (unless you listen to Salford City Radio 94.4 FM with Zach Peach who was one of the first DJs to play Tin Mole), but surely soon there will be a lot of hype around the artist who mixes samples, indie rock, trip hop and spoken word in a truly innovative fashion.

Tin Mole logo

You may be familiar with Tin Mole`s previous project – Ladies` Dart Night as they delivered their politically charged musical sermons across the North sharing stages with Garden Back or Strange Bones. Sadly, Ladies` Dart Night ended in 2017 and members of the band moved on to other projects.

We discovered Tin Mole  via Tom Robinson`s excellent Fresh on the Net portal and were so impressed with his debut single “Slug Frontier” that we contacted  him and asked for an interview. Tin Mole is an enigma wrapped in riddle, his answers are short, to the point with the usual northern swagger and edge. But you can`t deny him vision, talent and artistic integrity.  He works double hard to put music out there, doing his own PR (press releases, photos, editing) while studying and working at the same time.  Practical, honest and determined –  Tin Mole breaks the mold on Mancunian scene, offering something fresh and unusual.

Read on, listen and tell us what you think.

Tin Mole
?

Ladies` Darts Night logo

Ladies` Dart Night
 Luke Geoghegan (drums, keys)
Nathan Connell-Howard (guitar, bass)
Jonny Sowerby (vox)
Tom Milnes (vox)
Phil Stuttard (vox)

You are not a newcomer on Manchester music scene. Would you like to introduce yourself to Indieterria readers?

Tin Mole: I’m Tin Mole, a producer from Manchester. I’ve been in a couple of bands and done a fair bit of techno DJ`ing on the underground mole scene.

Before Tin Mole, you have been a member of five piece Ladies` Darts Night. You have released EP “Tragedies, Comedies & Histories” in 2017, toured nationally and shared stages with such established young acts as Garden Back and Strange Bones. Then suddenly you called it quits. What happened?

Tin Mole: It was fun while it lasted but it all went to pot after a trip out to Edinburgh. The Irn Bru was strong that day.

Tin Mole in a curious selfie mode?

German blog “Hey Musik” described Ladies` Darts Night as “pulling groovy, fuzzy guitar from The Stone Roses, powerful lyrics with a poetic rhythm like John Cooper Clarke or Morrissey, and pounding drums paired perfectly with a mysterious bass like Joy Division. If you’re into a loud, mesmerizing sound backed with politically infused lyrics, then this 5 piece band are who you need to be listening to”. The writer even travelled to Manchester to see you. Not every band on the Manc scene can say they had interest from foreign journalists.

Tin Mole: Yeah we were doing alright but it is what it is. “Mesmerising sound” is a great compliment, I like that.

You were pulling no punches as a band. “Message for May” is right up there with Shame`s “Visa Vulture”, an attack on PM for her policies. Your other song “Shopkeeper” tackles grooming. I get a feeling, had the band continued, you would be going in the same direction as The Blinders, leading politically charged music onwards.

Tin Mole:  Yeah we were sort of heading that way, just writing about things we were passionate about at the time. I do still write a lot of that type of thing but they’re amongst other more personal topics, like battles with slugs.

In contrast to being in a band, Tin Mole seems to be a solo act.

Tin Mole:  It sort of is. I’ve written and produced some tunes and Nathan Connell-Howard from Ladies` Darts Night has helped out with guitar parts. I’ve got a 6 piece band together now to play the tunes live which I’m well excited about.

Your first single Slug Frontier is a strange mix of trip hop, spoken word and samples. It reminds us of Black Grapes, Sleaford Mods and Tricky. With some incredible poetic lyrics. Is there a story behind the song?

Tin Mole: Thanks. they’re good acts to be compared to, especially Tricky. As for the story behind Slug Frontier, it’s all true… Every word.

We heard you will be releasing a new track soon. What shall we expect?

Tin Mole: Similar sample based production but a bit slower, slightly less shouty and every word is a lie.

Tin Mole is on a mission to fight slugs.

You once said “I think everyone knows deep down Manchester is Britain’s true second city. Sorry Birmingham.” Do you still feel the scene up north is ahead of everyone else?

Tin Mole:  Yeah I think it is in some ways. There are great bands coming out of Manchester like Duds or Gnod and The Blinders are doing really well. But it always seems that the London bands get more publicity. That’s usually the way with everything in the London-centric Brexit apocalypse.

There is an aura of mystery around Tin Mole – no bio, scarce presence on social media , no agent, no label. It seems that you try to let the music do the talking, rather than drive attention to yourself as an artist.

Promotional image towards Tin Mole`s upcoming single.

Tin Mole:  I talk enough shit in the songs so I don’t feel the need to bombard people with more of it. I’m trying to keep it as DIY as possible and I think the music speaks for itself enough, but no doubt things will pick up on social media in the coming weeks and months.

“Slug Frontier” is easily one of the singles of the year for us. After hearing it for the first time, we immediately started to look for your gigs. And we know we are not the only one. Do you have any concerts planned, and if so – where can we see you in the future?

Tin Mole:  Nice one, I appreciate that! We have a couple of gigs in Manchester confirmed for the new year but don’t think I can say anything until the promoters announce it. But I do know that there’s an exciting new band playing at a venue called Jimmy’s on Saturday 2nd February 2019, so might be worth keeping that date free.

The last (goofy) question. Your bio mentions a strange creature that looks like a monster of the week from Doctor Who: “silvery-white metal, made of tinplate or aluminium with a long muzzle, and small eyes, feeding mainly on worms, grubs, and other invertebrates”. What is Tin Mole and is it safe to keep one as a pet?

Tin Mole:  It’s what it says on the tin really. As long as food and drinks are provided with access to a studio, then yeah of course it’s safe.

Tin Mole as an ice cream vendor.

You can follow Tin Mole on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/tinmole/
https://twitter.com/tin_mole
https://www.instagram.com/tin_mole/
https://soundcloud.com/tinmole

And you can still find information about Ladies` Darts Night online too:

https://ldartsnight.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ladiesdartsnight/
https://twitter.com/ldartsnight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3fZRpZd-o8&t=172s
https://soundcloud.com/ladiesdartsnight
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0l1QTRDsC00gFoO394cUM1?si=2TOpjOMDRy6d5B1RXG3Dfw

If you fancy some additional reading on the band, check out those links:

https://www.gigmit.com/ladies-darts-night
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/incoming/boxer-liam-taylor-mates-behind-9646663
http://www.gigslutz.co.uk/ep-ladies-darts-night-tragedies-comedies-histories/
https://heymusikblog.de/2017/07/20/behind-scenes-manchester-uk-music/

The cover to Slug Frontier – Tin Mole`s debut single

In next few weeks Tin Mole should drop a brand new track which we will surely review on this blog. We are very excited about this artist. Nothing speaks to us more than music that is fresh and unusual. Looking back is a waste of emotions – and projects such as Tin Mole offer us a glimpse of what will be hip and trendy in the future. Just what A&Rs love.

All hail the incredible creative potential of Mancunia!

M/R

Indieterria meets Dream Phases

Dear Readers,

Winter, winter on the way and our little music project is now two years old. To celebrate this humble achievement of Indieterria, we have reached over the Big Pond to speak to Dream Phases – a band that brings back the most exciting and creative genre in guitar driven music – psychedelic rock. If you look around carefully, you can notice some sort of renaissance on the psychedelia front happening in the last 12 months – with bands such as The Naked Party and Hooveriii in the States and The Cosmics, The Surrenders or The Strawberries in the UK.

It was a pleasure to interview Brandon Graham – vocalist and mastermind behind Dream Phases. Great story teller, meticulous in his answers and his enthusiasm for music is contagious. We hope you will like this chapter of Indieterria. Read on and dig it.

Band logo and European tour poster by Lucy Faery
https://www.facebook.com/lucyfaery

Dream Phases

Brandon Graham (vox, guitar)
Shane Graham (drums)
Keveen Baudouin (guitar)
Dylan Nelson (bass)
Anthony Marks (keys)

Brandon Graham – the voice of Dream Phases
Photo by Michael Haight

Dream Phases are recognized as one of the hottest new psychedelia acts in America. Obscure Sound  described you as “hypnotic melodies of vintage psych-folk and rock with a contemporary pop charm”. Please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.

Brandon Graham (Dream Phases) : Thank you. I’m Brandon Graham and I write, record and produce the Dream Phases music as well as sing and play guitar live. We are a group of close friends playing rock n roll based out of Los Angeles. The band is comprised of myself, my brother Shane Graham on drums, Keveen Baudouin on guitar, Dylan Nelson on bass and Anthony Marks on keys.

You have toured Europe in September this year; playing 12 dates across seven countries, with three shows in the UK accompanied by The Blank Tapes. How do you remember the tour? Any stories to tell?

Brandon Graham: Yeah the tour was fantastic, I know we all would like to come back as soon as possible. Everyone in the band was really happy to be travelling around Europe, it was some of my band mates first time in Europe and was quite the experience. There was definitely a lot of highlights and fond memories but one of the funniest was playing a show in northern France. I’m not going to be specific about names but we played a small city in France, that was really beautiful. They don’t get a lot of rock bands, let alone bands from Los Angeles, so everyone was extra excited. The owner of the place we played and stayed at was especially excited, and he treated us fantastic. We probably had the best meal of tour that night. Anyway as soon as we arrived the owner started pouring us drink after drink after drink, and also having them himself as well. As the night wore on he told us, ‘just wait until we close the bar, then the real party will start’. So we are waiting and wondering what is going to happen, but about 5 minutes later we found him totally passed out, and well before he was supposed to close the bar. It was awesome and hilarious, that was a great night. Another memory is that my brother and I literally walked around Paris all night long after our show, it was beautiful to see the city that way. One of the most special parts of the tour was going to visit Keveen’s parents home. Keveen is French and grew up in the northern part of south France. We’ve been playing music together, in different bands, for over 8 years and it was awesome to see where he grew up and to meet his family. We stayed at his parents` house for 2 and a half days and his mom made us two four-five course meals a day. It was unbelievable.

Ready to take over the world? We hope so!
Photo by Michael Haight

We are impressed by how quickly the band works on new material. You started in 2017 and that year seen release of your debut EP “Maybe Tomorrow” on March 28th. In 2018 you have released a standalone single “Easy Love” on April 20th and quickly followed up by another EP “Clear Skies” on September 4th.  Each release comes also in different formats: CD, vinyl, cassette, digital download.  You must be the hardest working band in US!

Brandon Graham: I don’t know about that, but yes we do try to work as hard as we can, mostly so we can continue recording and making more music. The goal is to constantly evolve what we are doing and to try different things. By the time we put something out we are probably onto something else entirely. It can take a while before the music actually hits the public, especially with vinyl releases. We have two albums of material right now that will be coming out over the next several months, one at the end of this year and our proper debut album in spring. We’ll be getting the vinyl version of “Clear Skies” anytime now, and it is combined now with, “Maybe Tomorrow”. The vinyl should be out within a few weeks on Nomad Eel Records.

Brandon, you are known for your work with other bands – Avid Dancer, Blank Tapes, Nacosta. Do you think being involved in so many different project had a positive influence on Dream Phases?

Brandon Graham: It definitely has. It’s opened my eyes to so many different styles and songs, and ways to go about working. It’s also helped keep me focused and budget my time accordingly, to juggle playing in a lot of bands. I’ve learned something valuable from every band that I’ve played with. It has also helped me as a musician enormously, by learning so many different writers songs and parts.

This Californian five piece is regarded by blogs and music journalists as one of the most important bands of the genre at the moment.
Photo by Michael Haight

We want to ask you about our favorite track  – “To Walk Away”.  It has this Beatles-sque quality to it and such moving lyrics. Tell us where was this song recorded  and what is it about?

Brandon Graham: To Walk Away was recorded a couple of different times. Although this is not what it is about, I wrote the song actually as a reaction to when Tom Petty died. I had been listening to his music a lot right before he died, and learning more and more about the simplicity of his lyrics and music. He was an idol of mine growing up, and I was lucky enough to work with him a couple years ago with a band I was filling in with. For a very short time he was a mentor. Right after he died last year I wrote that song and one more, that I have yet to record. The lyric is dealing with the end of a long relationship I was in, and facing the fact that I had to move on, that it was time to let go and to walk away from it. Most of the “Clear Skies” EP is dealing with that time, both shortly before and after the break up. Heartbreak definitely does inspire, I wrote a ton of songs about that.

Dream Phases are sometimes compared to the Naked Party. Are you familiar with their repertoire? Would you agree that there are similarities between both bands?

Brandon Graham: I actually am not familiar with them, but now I’m definitely curious and will look them up. I’m kind of excited to hear them!

We know you have debut album to be released in Spring 2019. Are there any secrets that you can reveal for this interview? What can we expect from the record?

Brandon Graham: We’ve actually been working on it on and off since last December when we recorded most of the basic tracks, and some of the songs date back to my original demo album from two years ago now. We are about to record all the final overdubs and then start mixing it at the beginning of January. Most of the songs, but not all, have been in our live set for a while now, so anyone that has seen us will know some of them. It’s about time to get those songs on tape. The music will encompass similar territory as what we’ve put out so far, but there will be a few dips into some noise pop and shoegaze. Lyrically it is dealing with similar themes as the “Clear Skies” EP, as well as an influence of living in Los Angeles and playing in the local music scene. I can’t wait to finish it!

There is certainly a psychedelic revival on the indie circuit in the UK with  acts like The Surrenders, Raptor, As Mamas or The Cosmics leading the way. Would you like to recommend some new bands from across the Big Pond for our readers? Who is on your psychedelic rock play list at the moment?

Brandon Graham: Yeah I’m stoked that there are so many rad bands making music right now, seemingly everywhere. Some of my favorite local Los Angeles, or California bands are Sugar Candy Mountain, Levitation Room, Cosmonauts, Vinyl Williams, Send Medicine, Cool Ghouls, Hooveriii, and Maston just to name a few. There is seriously no shortage of rad bands operating at this moment. A couple British bands I love are TOY and Ulrika Spacek.

The band in monochrome
Photo by Michael Haight

This will be the most unoriginal question you will hear all week – but we got to ask. If you could record a song with anyone alive or dead – who would you choose for the task?

Brandon Graham:  That’s actually a really tough one because there are some many people I’d love to record with. I guess it would be a toss – up between Elliott Smith and Jimi Hendrix, I love both of them and their studio work and they were both going further and further out in the studio when they died. Also Joe Meek, we could of made some tripped dark voodoo-isa rock `n` roll. For someone today I’d really like to work with Nicolas Vernhes for his work with Deerhunter and Animal Collective. Also would of been amazing to have Geoff Emerick engineer a song, and also be produced by Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher would of been incredible. This is the toughest of these questions for sure!

We are hoping that once your album comes out you will return to the UK for more live shows. But in the mean time – where can people see you play? Any upcoming tours?

Brandon Graham:  If we have a future, we will return to Europe (laughs). At the moment we are done with shows for the year, but we will be announcing three shows for January, with one on Martin Luther King Day, January 21st at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA), which will be rad one! Then we will do some US touring in Spring once our record comes out.

new psychedelia rising – Dream Phases
Photo Michael Haight

The band can be followed on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/DreamPhases/
https://twitter.com/DreamPhases
https://soundcloud.com/dreamphases
https://dreamphases.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/dreamphases/
https://www.songkick.com/artists/8696233-dream-phases
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dream-phases/1215078259
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6TN3btKQrSRW2KG6D7LpID?si=JygSTm0RT4SWseqUMHoEmw

If you fancy additional bit of reading about the band, please check out these excellent articles:

https://www.grimygoods.com/2018/06/20/dream-phases/
http://lastdaydeaf.com/exclusive-track-premiere-dream-phases-clear-skies/
http://larecord.com/news/2018/09/18/video-premiere-dream-phases-to-walk-away

That`s all for now. Vanadian Avenue gives Dream Phases a stamp of approval and we hope that you too enjoyed the music and discovering new acts with us. We can only hope that 2019 will prove to be a lucky year and Dream Phases will once again visit our side of the Pond.

Just imagine them tearing the roof off Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham or Night & Day in Manchester.  Yep, we knew you will all agree with us.

Happy party season,

Mal/Rita

Inditerria meets WITCH FEVER

Welcome again!

 

They are bold, they are loud and they are young. They don’t care what anybody thinks and they are not interested in pleasing anyone. Our today’s guests are truly special. Very rarely, our blog has the pleasure to host a full female band, and we are really happy we can introduce you to WITCH FEVER. The group is known for its strong feminist/equality message, beautifully crafted dynamic shows and excellent music. We caught up with the quartet on the eve of their charity gig, Manchester Punks for West Papua at Alphabet Brewery in Manchester and we spoke about their influences, being catcalled at gigs and playing at the legendary Granada Studios.

The band photographed by Debbie Ellis aka Asupremeshot. Used with permission. https://www.facebook.com/asupremeshot/

Official bio: Manchester based all girl punk grunge band. Angry and honest, bringing grungey riffs, a heavy beat and an eclectic mix of clean and shrieking vocals.

“They are raw, in your face and making a glorious and beautiful racket, are full of explosive and kinetic energy and collapsing new riffs and are going to make a noise musically and culturally” – John Robb for Louder Than War

 

“Imagine the Slits meet Black Sabbath partying with Pussy Riot in Kim Gordon’s angry neighbour’s basement. Drunk. Witch Fever are wonderful.” – Legendary Hacienda DJ, Dave Haslam

“All girl grunge punk band from Manchester with unhinged feral vox and a ramshackle approach yes, but supercool sonics, this band display an undeniable rough-hewn charm.” – Bug Bear Promotions

 

“For a band who were catcalled onstage in Bristol for not being proper punk, they’re near as dammit the epitome of its sound and attitude. So, to paraphrase another great punk band: get outta their way or they’re gonna shove.” – Nightshift Magazine

Amy Walpole (guitar, lead vocals)
Alex Thompson (bass, backing vocals)
Alisha Yarwood (lead guitar, backing vocals)
Annabelle Joyce (drums)

Louder Than War magazine announced Witch Fever`s arrival with the words “deep inside the claustrophobic music scene of Manchester, there is something happening”. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

WITCH FEVER: We’re Alisha, Alex, Annabelle and Amy. We are WITCH FEVER. We play punk, we’re all women, and we don’t take any shit!

The band describes themselves as punk – grunge but we see your sound as being much broader than that. Would it surprise you if we qualified you as the heavier end of the indie circuit, boldly crossing into metal scene at times? We have been listening to your material and Val.i.um of Pist.On, Karyn Crisis, Jack off Jill or Tura Satana come to mind almost instantly.

WITCH FEVER: We totally see the cross over into metal – a lot of our riffs are pretty doomy and evil. The indie thing, not so much, but we’ll take your word for it! (laughter).

Not only musically, but also lyrically you seem to be much bolder, going further than many of your peers on the circuit. The Blinders use dystopia/literature to deliver their political message. Cabbage, Shame or Strange Bones are known for their strong opinions but none of them are as direct as you. In “Toothless” you scream out “I`m a force to be reckoned with” and everyone knows you mean business. Was it a part of the plan to become such a heavyweight act or did it come together naturally in the rehearsal room?

WITCH FEVER: We didn’t plan it. When we started, we knew we wanted to be on the heavier side of things but didn’t really have a specific direction.
Amy found that lyrics are the only place we can be totally honest and angry about anything we wanna be angry about. It’s important to us to dispel any myths about women only being pretty or quiet or delicate – of course women are these things at times but they are not ONLY these things. On stage, we make femininity about anger, power and strength.

All the members of the band come from different parts of the country but study in Manchester. Do you think that being “out of town” gives you an edge of being different and fresh on the scene that is dominated by local lads with guitars?

WITCH FEVER:  We’ve all had quiet different upbringings and lived in totally different places so we suppose the experiences from that come together and make us what we are. We all moved to Manchester expecting it to be amazing for music but it was quite underwhelming. There’s a significant lack of women/non-binary people being given opportunities that men are. We’re here to change that, and hopefully inspire others too.

You have recorded incredible session for Stay Fresh/CITY LIFE at the Old Granada Studios playing two tracks: “Toothless” and “Creeper”. It must have been an experience to play the same room in which the Beatles gave their first ever television performance in 1962.

WITCH FEVER:  We loved doing that, however we had no idea about the Beatles thing! Maybe people will be saying that about us in 60 years 😉

John Robb of Louder Than War/Membranes is not the only fan of your music. Dave Haslam – legendary DJ and journalist also is impressed. In his piece for I Love Manchester (Women in Manchester music: are the times a-changin’?) Haslam mentioned you and Liines as the groups he recommends to other music journalists and your image illustrated the article. Did you expect to have such important figures in your corner when you started out?

WITCH FEVER: Not at all! We’re still surprised by things like that. It’s really encouraging to have prominent men in music on our side, and Dave really is lovely! He’s always championing female artists which is great!

You have toured extensively nationally (Leeds, London, Oxford, Birmingham among others) and internationally (The Netherlands). You have appeared with Cabbage at their Glamour At Thee Ritz. You seem determined to bring your music to the masses. How important is touring?

WITCH FEVER: Very important! We love getting to play new places and meeting so many people. We’d rather not have to do the Megabus thing though!

Amy Walpole photographed by Debbie Ellis aka Asupremeshot. Used with permission.
https://www.facebook.com/asupremeshot/

When speaking about touring, we cannot not ask you about a certain gig in Bristol where you have been though some horrible experience. Would you like to revisit the story for readers of our blog – because in 2018 there are still people out there who do not believe that gigs can be harrowing experiences for artists and the public, especially women.

WITCH FEVER: So, regularly we experience misogyny, sexism and harassment, but Bristol was a gig in which it was so bad that we had to formally complain and ask for CCTV footage. We were being constantly leered over and undermined before and during our set. Men grabbed us, a guy from one of the bands shouted at us to take our tops off, a woman asked us to strip for her friend etc. Throughout the set, we kept repeating that we felt uncomfortable and needed space but nobody listened. Now at most gigs, we make a point of saying that we do not tolerate it at our shows.

On 30th November your debut release double A-side single “Toothless”/”Daddy pt.2” will be released via Brassneck Records. The red vinyl 7” looks magical on promos that we have seen. Can you tell us more about this release?

WITCH FEVER: Its blood red, has a sleeve with 4 individually designed sides, and you summed up the rest! We love it!!!

You will appear at the fundraiser Manchester Punks for West Papua on 1st December 2018 at Alphabet Brewing Company, alongside The Membranes and Modern Family Unit. What can we expect from the set?

WITCH FEVER: Every gig is different and mad in some way! We haven’t played for a couple of weeks so it’ll be a lively one!

You can say that 2018 was a very good year for Witch Fever. What are your plans for the upcoming 12 months.

WITCH FEVER: More records released, new songs, more videos, LOTS MORE GIGS, and a big fuck you to the patriarchy!

Alex Thompson photographed by Debbie Ellis aka Asupremeshot. Used with permission.
https://www.facebook.com/asupremeshot/

The interview wouldn’t be complete if we haven’t had a quick word with the band’s manager, Debbie Ellis. Debbie has been working as a professional photographer and manager for many years and her experience is very valuable. And we are truly proud to have the ability to highlight the wonderful work that women in music do!

Self portrait – picture by Asupremeshot (Debbie Ellis)

How did you start working with Witch Fever?

Debbie Ellis: A few years back, I took up photography. I started out doing gig photos and met a young female photographer who was also in a band. She asked me to go see her band WITCH FEVER and take some pictures. So I did, as I suppose, I’m more intrigued by female artists in general as I was in a band myself and enjoy the dynamic of working creatively with women. I thought they were great and a friend of mine suggested I manage them. The band said yes and now we are here, 3 singles in and there’s a real buzz about the band. They are so talented and driven. They exceed any expectations live. You really have to see them to appreciate their unadulterated power.

Manchester music scene is dominated by guys. Witch Fever  are doing an excellent job causing some ripples and showing that all female bands can be successful as well.You are the only female manager we know! Being a woman, does it make your job harder? Are there any other female managers out there we need to mention?

Debbie Ellis: I know The Moonlandingz have a female manager, which totally makes sense.

AND

Hell YES!

From day one of being in a band to present day of working as a band manager and a music photographer, I have experienced a lot of, mainly negative remarks. Usually with regard to my ability to use technology, write a song, play an instrument, perform on stage. I feel as a manager, my authority is questioned regularly. At quite a few gigs, whether in the role of manager or photographer, I have been asked am I one of the bands mum.

Although on the upside organisations like “Girls I Rate“, “Women in Music” and PRS 4 Music are some I know of that have good support networks. I recently heard about the Keychange initiative set up by the PRS Foundation, which is to encourage festivals to achieve an equal gender balance of performers by 2022 by signing their pledge. To date, many of the big named festivals have signed up, so it will be interesting to see if it comes to fruition. I know Sound City Festival has a lot of women in influential roles and are part of the Keychange Initiative.

Personally for me, the one thing I have always done, is to support and champion other female artists. I love working with women and to be able to give a little back means the world to me, and it goes a long way.

Debbie Ellis photographing Witch Fever

You are not only a manager but also a photographer, again one of only handful of female photographers in rock music. Your pictures are part of the successful “There is a light that never goes out” photography exhibition at Manchester Central Library. Tell us more about it.

Debbie Ellis: The exhibition has been curated by the renowned music photographer, Jill Furmanovsky. She had the foresight to leave one wall of the exhibition clear so she could gather a selection of more recent photographs of contemporary Manchester bands. As the majority of the exhibition features phenomenal images of iconic Manchester bands, such as Oasis, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Buzzcocks etc, which have been taken by herself and other acclaimed photographers as Kevin Cummins, Ed Sirrs & Paul Slatery.

As you can imagine I am absolutely thrilled to have two of my images (Blossoms & Witch Fever) included in the exhibition.

I totally think the fact I have been in a band and I’m female works in my favour when working in my photography role, too. I can be so tuned in to how the artist / bands are feeling. My approach is much more creative than technical. Photography to me is a creative process that cannot be rushed, you need to take time to get to know the people you are photographing before you get the results that make for a great image. Irving Penn, the 1950’s master of portraiture, would take over 200 photos on a contact sheet to tire out the subject before he would find ‘truth’ in their face!

You can follow the band on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/witchfever/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WITCHFEVER
Bandcamp: https://witchfever.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-502164447/carpet-asphyxiation
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsgn5oXDn_IRBjCjIJ1giCw?app=desktop

Debbie Ellis:
Website: 
http://www.asupremeshot.com/
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/asupremeshot/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Asupremeshot
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asupremeshot/

More information:

http://listensd.com/2018/05/23/manchester-punk-festival-2018/ 
https://louderthanwar.com/witch-fever-interview/

Please come back soon as we will have a full review from the gig ready in a couple of days!
It was an amazing show and  we need to tell you all about it!

Take care,
xxx
Rita and Malcia

Indieterria Review – The Blinders at Thekla in Bristol

Event poster at Thekla

Gum Soul, White Room, The Blinders 
Thekla
Bristol
11/11/2018

11th of November 2018 was surely a day to remember. At that time each year, we celebrate National Independence Day in Poland and The Remembrance Day in the UK. This time however, for music fans, it was also the last day of the Blinders’ October/November tour supporting their debut album “Columbia”. Jokingly nicknamed “The Last Battle of Bristol” this date was hugely anticipated for several reasons. The Blinders haven’t played Bristol since their This Feeling days (February 2017 at The Stag & Hounds) and in the interviews, the band was adamant that the Johnny Dream and The Codeine Scene personas will be permanently gone. Expecting a bloody send off, fans quickly  grabbed offered tickets. The gig was not a sold out event but not many tickets remained at the door and it is safe to say that Thekla was nicely packed.  We arrived around 6:30 pm as the doors opened and we had to stand in a long queue to get inside. If you have to wait for the admission, it is a good sign that the concert will be a success.

The venue from the outside

It is a common knowledge that Thekla is one of the most unusual venues in the country. It is actually a real boat turned into music venue and when you see it for the first time, it can look really strange. Not Upside-Down strange, just strangely strange if you know what we mean. Yet, you quickly start appreciating the facilities they have: two bars (one long on the ground floor and one upstairs), upper deck with quiet seating section and a balcony, large toilets, bands quarters, rehearsal rooms, cloakroom and a large secured smoking area in the back. There is also an outside sitting area on the main deck that must be really pleasant in the summer, but it was too cold for us to go there although some locals were brave enough to sit there with cold drinks wearing nothing but shorts and a vest. To each their own as the song goes…

Johnny Dream poster exhibited at the lower bar

Better shot of the same poster – this is how A0 format looks like. Its huge!

The view of lower deck as seen from the upper bar

After leaving our bags and jackets in the cloakroom, we entered the main concert space with large scene and merch stands on the left. Previous reviews mentioned already that The Blinders selection was much smaller than on previous gigs but there is no reason to complain about it. The band sold out their vinyl records, CD’s and most of their tees and we were really happy to hear their tour manager repeating himself saying “Sorry, this is our last date, we are sold out!”. We wish all the bands we have seen this year could say the same. There were many signed posters and badges for fans to grab so nobody left the shop empty handed.

The Lower Bar

The door to the green room

Stage times

On the evening, The Blinders were supported by two bands: Gum Soul and The White Room who replaced Calva Louise for the second leg of the tour. We haven’t seen any of them playing live before, so we were looking forward to their performances, especially after reading very enthusiastic reviews. Gum Soul were the first ones to hit the stage, some 45 minutes after we arrived. Their music can be classified as college rock/grunge that is fused with typical British indie. This is a very good mix and the band played a proper, strong 30 minute set. We had a chance to quickly speak with them after their show and we learnt that they are based in Bath but they play regularly in Bristol and managed to develop a healthy fan following. It was visible as once they started playing, the first few rows were populated by their fans who knew lyrics to each of the five songs they played (“Empty Room”, “Sour”, “In & Out”, “Scratch Ignorance” and “The Knees”). We liked “Sour” the most – it is their leading single and a very good track to play live. Gum Soul have formed only in February this year, but they seem to already have a distinctive sound and they know which direction they want to go. We will be keeping an eye on them in 2019 as the band is promising new material. If you have a chance to see them play locally, please do.

The White Room are described as a psychedelic pop, a marriage of convenience between The Sparks and early David Bowie, with art rock and shoe gaze influences. They are a five piece from Brighton, known for their flamboyant sense of fashion (Simon Le Bon meets David Byrne) and stage theatrics. Their lead singer, Jake Smallwood is very charismatic and he knows how to be in the centre of attention. He grabs the microphone with both hands, walks to the edge of the scene and pushes himself as far into the audience as possible, sometimes singing mere centimetres from the gig goers’ faces. This literal, in-your-face approach, seems to be working like a charm – the girls are mesmerized, the blokes are stretching their hands to pat him on his back and shoulders. With his platinum blonde hair and  jade green shirts, Jake looks more like an actor than a musician but oh boy he can sing. His voice is crystal clear and again balances somewhere between Bowie, Le Bon and Mark Hollis. Except for Smallwood, the rest of the band comprises of Jacob Newman on guitar, Tristan Sava on keyboard, Hen Sava on drums and Josie McNamarra on bass. They have just released their double EP “Eight” and we had the pleasure of hearing all the best tracks from it: “Tomorrow Always Knew”, “Circles”, “Stole the I.V.” and “The Blue”.  The band has been around for nearly two years and they have a large and dedicated fan base. they will be on tour in the late winter/early spring of 2019, so please keep your eyes open as they might come to the (independent) venue close to you.

White Room in action

This band needs to be seen live to understand what an incredible act they are

Just like in Birmingham, once the support acts were gone and the lights dimmed, the atmosphere changed rapidly. With the headliner about to come on the stage, fans grouped tightly on the main floor and on the balcony. In certain moments, the pushing and showing in darkness got so bad that the security had to calm down  some of the most eager of fans. We sadly won’t remember the gig too well as we had to leave after the third song due to medical emergency but it was good to see the band in fantastic shape again. The show started very similar to their London gig, with Gene Wilder’s “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” movie that quickly blended into Columbia style propaganda monologue by Patrick T. Davies. And once the monologue was finished, “Gotta Get Through” smashed our eardrums and sent the crowd into frantic pogo. “Brave New World” followed without break, only to slow down with “Where No Man Comes” and then turn into the poetic declamation of “Free The Slaves”.  We have not seen the rest of the gig but we were told that Thomas Haywood, sat on the floor among the audience singing his mantra “There is no hope” during “Swine”, Charlie McGough battered his bass with intensity not seen previously and Matty Neale nearly broke his drum set with powerful blows. Was it a great send off to Johnny Dream and a proper good bye after 22-day tour? The answer is yes.

Even if it was our first time seeing The Blinders live, those three songs would be enough to turn us into believers. This band is going places, and this is not a secret. This is the truth. They have been predestined for the greatness and they will never settle for anything else.

After all, they’ve got the divine right.

The merch stand

Merch stand

Setlist:

Gotta Get Through
L’etat C’est Moi
Brave New World
Where No Man Comes
Free the Slave
I Can’t Breathe Blues
Swine
Hate Song
Rat In a Cage
Ramona Flowers
Et Tu
Brutus/Berlin Wall
Orbit (Salmon of Alaska)

“Columbia” is available on Modern Sky UK
https://theblindersofficial

The Upper Balcony at Thekla right before The Blinders gig

Audience patiently waiting for the Columbia transmission

****

We often try to photograph and film some part of performance to make sure our review is as close to the experience as possible. It it also to give our readers a chance to see how the event unfolded. Please find below some galleries for your enjoyment.

Photo gallery: Gum Soul


Photo gallery: White Room (soundcheck)


Photo gallery: White Room (performance)

 


Photo gallery: The Blinders

We have been writing extensively about the Blinders on our blog Indieterria, so please have a look if you want to know more.

Introduction to the band:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/indieterria-presents-the-blinders/
Interview with The Blinders:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/indieterria-meets-the-blinders/
Columbia review:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/indieterria-review-columbia-by-the-blinders/
Columbia album performance blog:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/09/21/indieterria-presents-the-columbia-library-archives/
Columbia Tour blog:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/indieterria-presents-the-columbia-tour/
Beyond Columbia Tour:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/11/16/the-columbia-tour-continues-anno-domini-2019/
The Blinders at Castle and Falcon in Birmingham review:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/indieterria-review-the-blinders-at-castle-and-falcon-in-birmingham/

Again, our thanks go to the band and the crew for allowing us this extensive coverage.

And we are not done yet! We have seen The Blinders few weeks later in Manchester – so another blog will soon be up. Stay tuned.

Mal+Rita