Indieterria meets Gavin Monaghan

Dear Readers,

Living in West Midlands may seem less exciting than living in London or in a Greater Manchester area. Many of the smaller villages have few buses running in the evenings and trains are expensive – which obviously has an impact on access to entertainment. But our neck of woods produces amazing music and we have some real hidden gems close to us. We want to shine a light on those assets in our blogs. Not so long ago we had interviewed RawSound TV – an incredible service for local acts. Now we had a privilege to speak to Gavin Monaghan – prominent record producer and owner of famous Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton. On May 3rd 2019, Magic Garden will host a fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness in Birmingham and the line up is just unbelievable. So read on and grab yourself a ticket while they are still available.

Meeting Gavin is a marvellous experience – he is kind, soft spoken and welcoming. He produced some of the best records we have heard and his stories will leave you mesmerised. Thank you so much for sparing some time for us.

The Wizard of Wolverhampton – photo by Lisette Rex

You have earned the title of The Wizard of Wolverhampton by musicians you worked with. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Gavin Monaghan: Hello Indieterra readers! I’m Gavin, my Studio is called Magic Garden, and I’m very pleased to meet you.

You are a producer and owner of Magic Garden Recording Studios that have been going for thirty years. Can you tell us something about the studio and its rich history? Did it change over the years?

Gavin Monaghan:  I’ve been working out of Magic Garden for 30 years in the West Midlands.  I’m currently in my third and hopefully final location. It’s been a wonderful journey so far, and I’m enjoying every minute of it!

We know that Magic Garden is expanding. What new features are you planning to add to the studio?

Gavin Monaghan:  Joe, Liam and I are working with all sorts of inspiring artists in every genre, and my ambition is simply to keep doing more of the same, while practising Kai Zen (The Art of  continuous self-improvement).  I’m constantly adding new (and old) pieces of equipment and software to push things forward. We have recently finished construction on a dedicated mix and overdub room next door, which is now fully operational. It’s quite hard to contain my excitement! I look at Magic Garden as a piece of art in itself, which will hopefully never be finished.

In 2016 in interview with Louder than War you mentioned that you planned to start a record label with your colleague Mark Evans. What happened to those plans? Are they on hold or is the label up and running somewhere in the shadows?

Gavin Monaghan:  Mark and I are always looking for interesting artists to work with, and develop. We’ve currently put out three releases in single vinyl 45 format. Please feel free to send music. It’s a tiny concern designed to champion new music or help people who are already planning a release with strategies so we don’t release that much.

Magic Garden Vinyl was conceived as an idea from two old friends before The Brexit Con was perpetrated by the awful Tory/UKIP machine on the country. Unfortunately, as Vinyl is mostly manufactured in European locations, this will send the cost of vinyl through the roof (I never saw that on the side of a bus) but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Watch this space.

The list of credits to your name is enormous: Twang, Editors, Ocean Color Scene – enough to make young bands speechless. And yet you are known to work and championing up and coming acts: The Blinders, The Novus, Pagans S.O.H, The Lizards. How do you regard your role as a producer. Do you have your own way of working with artists?

Gavin Monaghan:  Every single artist and every member of every band is so different, that my approach is wildly varied depending on what they need to make the best record we can possibly create. We like to join the band for the time we are with them, and continue to do everything we can after they leave and go out into the world with what we have all created together.

I’m happy to be a sort of Rock And Roll helpline whenever I can, I’m so busy it sometimes takes a while for me to get back, but we always try to go the extra mile.

We are used to asking musicians about their influences. But what or maybe whom can influence a record producer?

Gavin Monaghan:  I’m influenced by inspiring people in every category, existing or as yet uninvented: artists, film makers, poets, activists, singers, musicians, chaos, order, kindness, humanity, animals, revolutionary concepts. Magick and changing the outcome of reality with beautiful intent. What if every good thing you could think of was true or could become so? A life without limits. I find that fascinating.

Before moving to Wolverhampton you worked in London’s most prestigious studios such as Maida Vale or the legendary Abbey Road. Why did you leave the capitol for West Midlands?

Gavin Monaghan: I originally left London to be with family. I ended up staying and it’s home now, though I do work in lots of other places (mostly residential studios) when the need arises. As long as I have speakers in front of me and beautiful music pouring out of them, I’m happy.

Gavin at work

On May 3rd 2019 Magic Garden  will organise a gig for Musicians Against Homelessness. The line up is absolutely mind blowing with Methods, Pagans SOH, The Novus, The Lizards, Moses and The Bohos attending. Can you tell us how the gig idea started?

Gavin Monaghan: I’ve been putting Magic Garden nights on in one form or another since the early 2000’s and quite a few people playing them have gone on to do really well. It’s lovely to watch them grow from a small start into something that people enjoy in a larger scale. The gigs are a lot of fun, and I’m only doing them to benefit various charities these days.

What can we expect on the night and where is the gig taking place?

Gavin Monaghan:  We can expect an incredible night of music, as every band is hand-picked for their awesomeness.

Famous last question – tell us  the weirdest thing that ever happened to you in a studio.

Gavin Monaghan: I was working in residential studio with A very famous band years ago, and a heavy silver candelabra jumped off the grand piano on its own and dented the wall while the singer was playing it. The same night, seven large crows flew into a bay window at the studio Manor House and smashed it to pieces.  Weird is definitely an understatement.

Thanks for asking me to do this, I’m delighted to talk about this path I’m on, and look forward to many more studio adventures.

Gavin at Magic Garden Studios

You can follow Gavin Monaghan and Magic Garden Studios online:

https://www.facebook.com/iamgavinmonaghan
https://www.facebook.com/MagicGardenRecordingStudio/
https://twitter.com/gavinmonaghan
https://twitter.com/MagicGardenUK
https://www.instagram.com/magicgardenstudio/

Poster for Magic Garden fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness

On May 3rd (Friday) a fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness will take place at The Wagon and Horses in Birmingham (Digbeth area). You will have a chance to see some of the best new indie acts with Methods, The Pagans S.O.H, The Novus, Moses, The Bohos and The Lizards – all hand picked by Gavin and the staff at the Magic Garden Studios. We can hardly wait!

Event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/330685257583461/

You can get your tickets (£5) at the address below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/468289

We are hoping you will come down with us to party in West Midlands and celebrate not only our incredible scene – but also the incredible studio and the man behind it. After all somebody mentioned 30th anniversary, right? Who knows, there may even be a cake! 🙂

M/R

Indieterria meets The Americas

The Americas – Something is happening

 

The Americas – it is rock and roll (and we like it)

There is definitely something really exciting happening in rock and roll at the moment. Bands such as The Blinders, Idles or The Velvet Hands are like a breath of fresh air. Let’s not forget The Himalayas,  Shame, The Strawberries or Bang Bang Romeo. Then, there are The Americas –  Worcester based trio quickly joining their ranks. We sat down with the band to discuss wide range of topics: appreciation of their music, travelling with This Feeling circuit, performing at the BBC Music Introducing Amplify conference in London, their admiration for Big Moon and the troubles in the US of A.

 

Harry Payne (guitar/vocals/harmonica)
Aaron Whittaker (guitar/keys/vocals)
Alexander Bradshaw (drums)


Don’t you find it a little bit ironic that band considered being the hope of British rock is called The Americas?

The Americas: We are not sure who exactly considers us the hope of British rock music but we guess a British band being called The Americas is always going to be a bit of a talking point! (laughter)

 The band was formed at the end of 2015 and quickly developed a large fan following. Tell us more about your beginnings.

The Americas:  It was a pretty natural thing for us. Aaron Whittaker and Harry Payne were always writing and singing songs, listening to the same records and going out to the same shows. Somewhere along the way, we decided to take it a little bit more seriously and started to jam with other musicians. We poached drummer Alex from a psych band that was doing the rounds in Birmingham at the time and immediately shut ourselves away for a year. We played a handful of one off gigs through the first half of ’16 trying to work out what on earth we were and what sort of sounds we made, but most of those early days were spent throwing ideas around and just hanging out in our little practice room.

You are the only band from Worcestershire (except for RISCAS) that has been included in the famous This Feeling circuit, a music company that includes band management, a record label, and a series of national live shows. It is run by Mikey Jonns and hosts the biggest names in rock: Kasabian, The Rifles, Noel Fielding, and Noel Gallagher. What does a local band just starting out have to do to be added to their roster?

The Americas: This Feeling have been very kind to us and have offered us a lot of great opportunities this year. We are not sure if there’s a simple tick list when it comes to building relationships and working with promotions companies/record labels or whatever. We just love to play our music for people and we really mean every one of our songs. I think the key is being honest and transparent. There’s a lot of confused music around.

The Americas – photo from band`s archives

You are often described as “music to ride your motorcycle to” but we do not find this accurate. We rather see you as a very intriguing combination of classic southern rock (think The Black Crowes in their Amorica era) with eloquence of the college rock (think Collective Soul or LIVE), a bit of post grunge but with a lot of back ground in modern independent British music: The Libertines, The Sherlocks, Razorlight, Primal Scream. Best of both worlds really.

The Americas:  (laughing) You can listen to us while you ride a motorcycle if that’s what you want to do, but yeah, trying to label/categorise music is always a weird one. We are glad you hear lots of different things in our sound. We listen to anything and everything from Gospel Rock to Motown, Punk, Trip-Hop or whatever… You’ve got to keep your ears on their toes so to speak.

 The Americas regularly share stages with well established acts. You have supported The Twang at a sold out show at 02 Academy Birmingham, you played along The Bluetones, Blaenavon and Trampolene among others. Is there anyone else on the contemporary music scene you would like to play with?

The Americas: Tons and tons of artists. Our dream show would be to play with Courtney Barnett. She’s a poet and a badass player and she’s just got that magnetism you know? A really, really fantastic song writer. If we’re bringing it a little closer to home, we really dig what those Big Moon girls are doing. We think that would be a sweet show.

Popular online music magazine Gigslutz stated that 2017 belongs to the Americas and awarded you the title of the Best Newcomer 2016. You have beaten several bands heavily championed by national radio stations such as Cabbage or Hinds, a Spanish all female rock sensation with an album on the official UK top 40. How do you feel about it?

The Americas: Yeah that was nice of them. We’d only officially been a band for a couple of months at that point. It’s nice to see publications back completely independent bands.

The Americas live at The Truck Festival in 2017

 Gigslutz praise is not the only one. You have won backing from some of the industry heavyweights: Mikey Jonns of This Feeling, Hall or Nothing music promoter Caffy St. Luce, New Musical Express magazine. Everyone agrees that you stand out of the crowd.  Right next to Soeur and The Assist, you are the face of West Midlands music scene. It must come with some pressure. Did you expect such fantastic response to what you do?

The Americas: We don’t feel pressure when it comes to our music. Only the pressure that the songs themselves demand. The pressure to do each of them justice in our own minds when we go out and play live. We’ve always done what comes naturally to us. If everyone hated the music we write, we’d still be writing it. It’s a personal thing and we get a real kick out of seeing these songs take form. Obviously it’s a great feeling when other people have a good reaction to the material too, and we love it when we look out and people are singing the words back to us. We really love and appreciate our fans for sure.

On October 7th you performed at the BBC Amplify conference in London in front of a huge crowd. Were you excited? Did you prepare anything special to sweep The Beeb bosses off their feet?

The Americas: We’re always excited to go out and play music together and we’re really happy to have been invited along to perform. The BBC has a really great thing going on in terms of it’s Introducing program. Unfortunately we haven’t prepared any dance routines or indoor firework displays this time (laughing).

In all, Amplify was a great experience for us despite the face that we got told last minute that the slot would be acoustic one so we were a little gutted not to have been able to put on a full show. Saying that though, it was still good to have a few beers and mingle with so many fellow musicians and music industry types. No tricks to sweep anyone off their feet no. We think it’s much more important to let the music and performance do the talking in those scenarios.

Your live performances are usually described as perfectly choreographed and prepared in the tiniest detail, yet they contain a great deal of spontaneity and wildness. It’s the good old rock and roll, freedom and creativity.

The Americas: We absolutely love live performances. Putting on a good show is very important to us. It’s a modern world and there’s not a lot of patience out there and you can see it reflected in the nature of the social landscape these days. Throw-away Instagram/Facebook stories that last for 24 hours and then are lost forever. People scrolling through news feeds, and watching the first 5 seconds of 100 different viral videos and not taking any of it in. It’s hard to get noticed in a world of quantity over quality, but we believe in our material and we play it with passion whether we’re performing to 5 people or 5000 people. We want our audience to feel that passion. We want to help them to feel free, even for a short while.

The sleeve to Something`s Gonna Happen single

Several online websites mentioned that you are about to enter the studio to record an album. Is there any truth in these claims? If so, is it going to be an independent release or issued through a record label?

The Americas: We’ve been in and out of the studio throughout September getting down some new material. We’re really excited with how things are sounding and can’t wait to get the music out there. We haven’t figured out what shape our next release is going to take just yet though. Watch this space.

We are very tempted to ask you. Razorlight put it nicely in their song – “All my life, there’s trouble in America”. What does The Americas think of the recent troubles over the Pond: the orange individual, the travel bans and the wall?

The Americas: It’s fair to say none of us would have voted for Trump if we were US citizens. The times are turbulent and confusing and we have problems of our own in this country also. It’s really sad. We’re supporters of basic human freedoms. It’s enough to keep you up at night, isn’t it? It’s important to do the smaller things. Do right to others. Show compassion. Be human.

 The last but not least – what are your plans for the nearest future? Are we going to see you playing local gigs anytime soon?

The AmericasOur plan for the near future is to put out another single by March and then continue to write, release and perform our music as much as possible. Maybe a few tours up our sleeve and hopefully another great festival season. Keep your eyes on the Facebook for announcements. Our next gig is at The Lexington in London with The Blinders on 21st of February, we are also trying to confirm few more dates as well.  Otherwise, we just plan to keep on living the impossible dream and hoping not to die in the process! (laughter)

You can follow The Americas using the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theamericasyeah/
Soundcloudhttps://soundcloud.com/theamericasyeah
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theamericasyeah
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theamericasyeah/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1QxPYzki5ME5mHztKXbEir?si=PY6qTN4rRSes3hrTL82pVg
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-americas/287718531#see-all/single-albums
Shop: https://theamericasyeah.bigcartel.com/

***

Band on the run (or few weeks in the life of a band of the year)

We don`t know how to describe the last few months but you simply cannot follow The Americas fast enough. They are like Tasmanian Devil or The Roadrunner. You think you got them covered, but they are ahead of you by two miles by the time you say “Something`s Gonna Happen”.  The speed in which the band makes ripples on national level is shocking.  That`s a correct word – we hardly see bands progressing at such rate. Just few examples – hold on tight.

The band recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester at the Phoenix Theatre in Ross-on-Wye in October 2017. This live session has been broadcasted on Saturday November 18th (right before Thanksgiving Day – nice one Beeb!) to rave reviews from listeners.

BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester broadcasted The Americas session on November 18, 2017

Images from the live session can be seen here:

This week's specially featured act is The Americas who were formed by Harry Payne (vocals/bass) and Aaron Whittaker…

Posted by BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester on Saturday, November 11, 2017

And then all hell broke loose. On December 23rd 2017 The Americas have been featured on national radio – BBC 6 Music as part of Tom Robinson Show. If you don’t know Tom from his musical career that spans four decades (“2-4-6-8 Motorway“), you may know him from his career as DJ and his own portal that champions new music (Fresh on the Net). Tom is one of the biggest taste makers  in United Kingdom and one of the most cherished DJs on BBC 6 Music. Having a spin on his show – is not a small feat. Being featured on  Christmas show is like winning a lottery. No wonder that The Americas response was very emotional.

The Americas reacted to being played on BBC 6 Music on December 24 2017

Obviously, we made audio. You can listen to the short clip of the program here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s0Jg7AfOZk3Y

Early January seen The Americas being featured in influential Some Might Say Zine – as one of the bands that will shape 2018. We ordered a copy for our archives and this is how it looks. Sahera Walker – the founder of Some Might Say keeps a hand on the pulse when it comes to new musical icons and believe us – she hardly gets it wrong.

This is not the first time, Some Might Say mention The Americas. Back in August 2017, Sahera wrote about the band:

“The Americas, man, what a band. A group I bang on about a lot on here, they’re an undeniably brilliant force of pure classy rock’n’roll. Despite the name, The Americas are quintessentially British, with their riffs and the way they play epitomizing perfectly classic old school British rock’n’roll. They use a keyboard in their music, accompanied by this raw feel good guitar rock sound, which is a unique and refreshing set up for a band”. 

We agree wholeheartedly.

Cover of Some Might Say Zine #2 (January 2018)

The Americas featured in Some Might Say Zine #2 (January 2018) as one of the bands of 2018

On 6th January 2018 BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester unveiled their own top ten of best bands for 2017 and guess who was ranked at #2? Yep, The Americas. At this stage, we were not surprised to hear Andrew Marston praise the band for their melodic songs and incredible energy. The show featured “Something`s Gonna Happen” being aired, followed by a short interview with the artists.

The Americas being ranked at #2 of BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester – Best Band of 2017 on January 6th 2018

And yes, we also made some audio – you can listen to it here: https://vocaroo.com/i/s1LXwsxd08Jd

What caught us off guard is that on January 8th – “Something`s Gonna Happen” was made a Track of The Week on BBC Hereford & Worcester.

The Americas` Somethings Gonna Happen announced as a Track of the Week on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester on January 8th 2018

On January 10th, another influential zine – Northern Exposure also featured The Americas as one of the bands of 2018.

The Americas featured as one of the bands of 2018 on Northern Exposure on January 10, 2018

You can see the article below:

http://northern-exposure.co/ones-to-watch-2018/

This is what Northern Exposure had to say about The Americas:

“They are a sensational hard rock ‘n’ blues get up with a blow-the-house-down set that could  translate into a debut album perfectly.” 

Northern Exposure is overseen by two lead women – Rachel Brown and Kate O`Brien who beside running the magazine, also manage and promote local artists, book gigs and mentor young acts. Similarly to Sahera Walker of Some Might Say, ladies of Northern Exposure are very active and know their craft well.

Same day (January 10th 2018), two gigs were announced. On January 24th The Americas would play a gig in London at The Rock Steady  sharing the stage with Sleaze, Black Orchids and Willow Robinson as part of Independent Venue Week.

 

Poster for Independent Venue Week gig at The Rock Steady in London, 24 January 2017

https://www.facebook.com/events/404399526664032/

The other show would take place on 21st February, also in London, but at The Lexicon. Here The Americas are to support The Blinders – one of the most influential bands that come of the UK in the last 30 years. We are not kidding. If you haven’t familiarized yourself yet with The Blinders, you got to tackle this unforgivable faux pas right now. Before people start regarding you as an uncultured savage.

Tour poster for The Blinders upcoming tour

The Americas/The Blinders combo is unreal and we think this is going to be equivalent of all those legendary gigs that people talk about for years. We are actually thinking of attending. Though it may prove tricky.

https://www.facebook.com/events/934013786747020/

Announcement at the Northern Exposure regarding InMusic Festival semi-finals.

Of course not a day goes by without another announcement. On January 11th, The Northern Exposure in association with EUFest and Musicians Against Homelessness unveiled semi finals for InMusic Festival. 20 upcoming bands fight for a slot at the main stage at InMusic Festival in Croatia to support such legends as Nick Cave and Queens of the Stone Age. Guess who got their place among best acts? The Americas will have to go though two more stages (music industry insight and live performance) to win this opportunity of a life time – but they already proved to be more than your average indie outfit.

Right. That would be just about last four -five weeks in the life of a band that is tipped for one of the best acts of 2018. You see now why.

We will keep reporting.

Mal+Rita

***Update: 15.01.2018***

Few days passed and we have to make an update as so many things have happened. Where to begin?  Let`s start with the show in London on 21st February at the Lexington where The Americas will support mighty The Blinders. Well that gig is now sold out (two tickets left as we write so technically no chances to get in). The Blinders so far have two other shows on their upcoming tour being sold out and one of them  is on their home turf  in Manchester.

The Americas announce their gig at the Lexington in London with The Blinders is a sold out affair -15.01.2018

Not only will The Americas play with one of the most exciting bands on the planet, it will also be a full house. If that doesn’t make you want to bounce off the walls in joy, then you must be (no rock and roll) fun at parties! A shout out to fellow A&Rs in London Town. Get yourself on the guest list. This show will be epic.

Another good news is that “Something`s Gonna Happen” is currently being a Tune of the Week at BBC Hereford & Worcester. The Americas are Artists of the Week as well on the BBC Intro and they got a spin on the show of a popular BBC DJ Georgey Spanswick.

Proof is on Twitter:

Artists of the Week for BBC Intro 15.01.2018

And the best news of all is of curse update on In Music Festival. Six bands have been chosen to the live stage of the competition and West Midlands are proudly presented by The Assist and The Americas. The Assist are incredible, we have seen them last year and love them since. Like The Americas, they are This Feeling alumni and  a kick ass band.

The Americas making to the finals for Northern Exposure competition to earn a spot at In Music Festival in Croatia.

It will be a hard fight in the live stage but we will keep our fingers crossed for The Americas! Yeah!

M/R

***Update: 27.03.2018***

We took a step back from the ever changing world of The Americas for two months to concentrate on other acts on Indieterria, while the band continued to leave their mark across the country like a hurricane in Arkansas. They played sold out show in London on February 21st at The Lexington with The Blinders (and Blinders described The Americas as the best act on entire tour!) and followed up with another full house gig at legendary Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham with The Cosmics on March 17th.

Here`s a video to live version of “Susanna” from The Lexington, if you missed the show:

 

 

If that wasn’t enough, The Americas returned to London to play at iconic Nambucca for Some Might Say zine on March 27th. Just a little trip here and there and everywhere. We told you those boys are keeping themselves occupied. They actually do more in a month than most bands we know – but this is how you recognize serious business. The band will play and tour and record and publish.

Poster for Some Might Say zine gig in London at legendary Nambucca on March 27th 2018

Tight schedule paid off. There was a bit of March Madness at local BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester last week. On March 24th The Americas were recommended for BBC 1, then on March 25th they have been put forward to BBC Big Weekend Festival in Swansea alongside with RISCAS and on March 26th “Something`s Gonna Happen” was in rotation and was again a song of the week on the station.

March Madness at BBC Hereford and Worcester – not like we are complaining.

The Americas were also interviewed and you can hear what they had to say here:

https://vocaroo.com/i/s1UP8zVVjE6q

Are you catching your breath? Good. Cause over the Easter Weekend, the band will return to their home ground at the Marrs Bar to play a gig with Junior Weeb and Happy Bones as special guests on March 30th. If you are not hyperventilating and drooling at the same time at the bill, you ain`t local. We are absolutely loco for each of the acts here and believe us Woo-Town will come out in great numbers for the show. You can join us, we have got trains, and buses and there is nothing to prevent you from visiting. Tickets are still available:

https://www.facebook.com/events/266397940564769/
http://www.wegottickets.com/event/429992

Poster for home coming gig at Marrs Bar with Junior Weeb and Happy Bones on March 30th 2018

If you are not familiar with the special guests for the night, here are our interviews with Junior Weeb and Happy Bones respectively for your reading and listening pleasures.

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/indieterria-meets-happy-bones/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/indieterria-meets-junior-weeb/

The show will most likely sell out and we have secured our tickets weeks ago. We will try to post some images or videos from the night.

That`s all for us for for now.

Mal/Rita

****Update 31/03/2018****

Before we publish our review of the band`s home coming gig, we would like to update you on what The Americas has been up to. It`s been few days which in the world of Aaron, Harry and Alex is a lot.

The band has just been announced as one of the acts to play Wychwood Festival on The Big Top stage. The Americas will play alongside another WorcesterWave  band – Soeur.  Add this to the impressive list of achievements in barely 4 months this year.

Wychwood Festival page with the announcement for The Americas

Wychwood Festival 2018 poster

And we can finally see a video from The Americas` performance at The Pirate Studios in Manchester  in January.  Ugly is a regular song in the live performances, but so far has not been released as a single. It’s worth watching as this is a classic track for the band – driven, funky and with a wonderful  melody line.

M/R

****Update 02/04/2018****

The Americas are perfectionists. They plan their acts in the smaller details, play like there is no tomorrow and hit the stage even if the world is falling around them. It could not be any different for their home coming gig in Worcester. The house was full, support acts (Junior Weeb and Happy Bones) delivered splendid sets and the crowd was waiting in anticipation.

Aaron Whittaker of The Americas

The band don’t play home that often anymore so it was time for a real celebration. Harry, Aaron and Alex came on stage wearing identical red suits, looking like British Invasion act out of the 70s. For the next hour they did not let anyone rest even for a second.  Ugly, Rosanna, Hot Minute, Tenth of May and a new song Come On Down were delivered with passion and  determination. Within two tracks, Harry let go of both his jacket and shirt and continued to play, dance and swing.  Audience picked up pace and formed the biggest mosh pit Marrs Bar seen on an indie gig. There was crowd surfing, pogo dancing and dozens of people screaming the lyrics with their eyes closed.

Alexander Bradshaw of The Americas

Once the music ended, fans and friends alike stormed merch stand and even posters were taken off the walls and taken home as souvenirs.

We have been attending  gigs at Marrs Bar (Worcester`s only independent venue and a home to all WorcesterWave bands) for over two years and not often we see this sort of adoration. No, truly there is no other word for how revered The Americas were on that night.

The band will soon play bigger venues and  this could be end of a certain period in their careers.

Harry Payne of The Americas

Like Peace before them, The Americas will put Worcester on a music map…

No wait, let us rephrase that. The Americas have already put Woo-Town on map and other bands from the scene are looking up to them and following.

It makes us proud to call this cathedral town in West Midlands home.

Much power to you The Americas!

Some videos from the night:

And some images from the night:

Sound and fury – The Americas play Worcester on 30.03.2018

The band puts their all into live performances

All together now

Can we bring back British Invasion? The musical one we mean of the 60s and 70s.

Aaron Whittaker

Harry Payne

We so wish you could be with us.

Mal+Rita

Indieterria – Year in review

Hello!

It is nearly December and we cannot believe how quickly this year has gone! The past 11 months were super busy but many things were accomplished. Worcester music scene is growing stronger and stronger by the day and we thought it would be fun to prepare a short review.

We have taken 9 of the most popular musical acts from our faithful city, we looked through their official websites and posts on social media pages to find out what they have been up to and what they have achieved. The results? We can describe them only with one word  – breathtaking. If somebody would told us that 2017 will be so productive and so kind to our local musicians, we would have never believed them.

Please read our report below and we hope you will feel as proud as we feel right now.

There is also another reason why we decided to do this  review.

You have probably heard by now that BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester was asked to put forward one artist from our county to go to famous music business trade and conference SXSW in Austin, Texas next year.

There is a whole discussion on BBC H&W page, so we decided to make it easier for you and point out what leading artists from Worcestershire accomplished in recent times. Now its up to you dear readers to decide who may go to America in 2018. Read on and let your voice be heard.

You can see the entire discussion here:

 

HVMM

1. HVMM (hard rock/alternative)

– Signed to Independent Label Alliance (US based label)
– Released EP “Talk To Me Like I`m Dead”
– Release of debut EP followed by a sold out gig at Marrs Bar and a release party at Rise (Independent Record Store)
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester
– Their single “Lacerate” has been played nationally on BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq), Kerrang Radio (Alex Baker), Radio X (John Kennedy), Amazing Radio and multiple smaller radio stations in the UK and US.
– Band continues to record in Spain and London with legendary producer Martin “Youth” Glover
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Headlined a sold out show in London (Seabright Arms) as part of Hackney Wonderland
– Portal TeamRock.com named HVMM their “Band of the Week”, large features in Classic Rock, Gig Sluts and other large music portals online.
– Band tours nationally
– Released videos to “Lacerate”, “Going Postal” and “Beggars and Thieves”

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/wearehvmm
You can visit band`s page here: https://www.wearehvmm.com/

If you think HVMM deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Nuns of the Tundra

2. Nuns of the Tundra (indie /psychedelic rock)

– Unsigned act
– Released self titled EP
– Successful EP launch at Marr’s Bar in Worcester supporting Soeur (sold out)
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Their singles “Robot Love” and “Float away” were championed by Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester. “Mind`s Eye” has been streamed over  000 on Spotify
– Band continues to record locally at Funky Bunker in Malvern with producer Scott Mahoney
– Named as one of leading acts from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Strong touring presence locally (Bristol, Birmingham, Evesham) .Their performance at at BBC Introducing stage at Lakeview Festival at Eastnor Castle received very positive reviews (“they blew the tent poles off”)
– The band were featured in several articles in Malvern Gazette, Worcester News and Worcester Observer. Overblown Magazine called Nuns of the Tundra “the saviours of mainstream rock”
– The band is currently is in the finals of the third edition of the “Battle of the Bands” organized by Firestone. You can vote for them here: http://battleofthebands.firestone.eu/
– Released 4 singles : “Robot Love”, Mind’s eye”, “Float away” and “Dead in the desert”. Animated video to “Float away” made in co-operation with London based art company YESMAN was accepted into several international short film festivals including the prestigious  NYC Indie Film Festival

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/nunsofthetundra
You can visit band`s page here:  http://nunsofthetundra.com/

If you think Nuns of the Tundra deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Population:7

 

3. Population:7 (rap/funk/neo-soul)

– Unsigned collective and one of the largest in the country (currently 9 members)
– Released three independent albums “Dead city” (featuring Tina Maynard and Anya Pulver of Soeur on vocals), “WHYP7” and “Fiero”
– Their concert at Worcester Music Festival was named best live performance by the audience. They also supported ska legends The Toasters.
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Debuted on BBC 6 Music (Tom Robinson`s MixTape). Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester described them as Incredible live performers. Fun, energetic and have the crowd enjoying themselves as much as the band!”
– The Collective is working on a project entitled “Lowlight” with possible theatrical release.
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– The band is constantly touring locally (Bristol, Birmingham, string of local festivals such as Under The Hill FestDubs In the Middle and Mello Festival).
– Described as one of the best bangers from the Midlands by Birmingham rapper Lady Sanity in Dummy Magazine
– They supported Benji and Hibbz at sold out concert in Birmingham
– Released several videos to singles such as “I say”, “Blindspot” and “Swag” with thousands views on YouTube

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/population-7
You can visit band`s page here:  https://population7.bandcamp.com/

If you think Population:7 deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know her
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/16037890596850

The Americas

4. The Americas (rock`n`roll)

– Unsigned act
– Released demo (“Tenth Day of May”), 2 digital singles (“Something`s Gonna Happen”, “Hot Minute”)
– Played to the full house at Worcester Music Festival, sell out every home coming gig
– They recently recorded session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester, they have featured on BBC Introducing West Midlands
– Their music received airplay from national radio stations such as Radio X (Gordon Smart), BBC Hereford and Worcester, Free Radio and many independent online radio stations
– The Americas just finished recording their debut EP
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– They are the only band from Worcestershire on the famous This Feeling circuit. Headlined sold out show at The Finsbury in London. The Americas supported The Twang (sold out show at O2 Academy Birmingham), Broken Witt Rebels, Bluetones, Blaenavon and Trampolene
– They played some of the most important festivals in the country: Beyond The Tracks, Reading, Y Not, Tramlines, Isle of Wright
– Online magazine Gigslutz awarded them the title of the Best Newcomers and described them as “Infectious, frenetic, cool. One to watch”. Their concert was named “the week’s best gig” by the New Musical Express. The Line of Best Fit championed them by saying they “revitalize rock`n`roll”. The Americas received positive reviews from Mikey Johnns of This Feeling, Hall or Nothing music promoter Caffy St. Luce
– Band tours nationally. They performed at the BBC Amplify conference in London
– The Americas released video to single “Hot Minute” 

You can listen to the artist here: https://soundcloud.com/theamericasyeah
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/theamericasyeah/

If you think The Americas deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

nth cave

5. nth cave (shoegaze/dreampop)

– Unsigned but tipped as the most promising band from Worcester
– Double A single demo released (Bass/Pop Party Princess)
– The band played to a full house for Worcester Music Festival, Worcester Pride and  took part in Musicians Against Homelessness charity fundraiser
– Recorded session for BBC Introducing BBC Hereford & Worcester
– Debuted  by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music with a rave review (“band to watch out for”)
– The band prepares to enter the studio in January
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– nth cave begin to gain ground outside the county with concerts in Birmingham (02 Academy 2) and Liverpool (Club Babe).
– SLAP Magazine described them as “young, fearless and immensely talented”.  They have been heavily championed by BBC Hereford and Worcester
– Members of the band are known for broad interests in music and broadcasting. Fergus (guitar) has been awarded BBC apprenticeship, while Hector (drums) and Alfie (bass) participate in Boneyard Promotions, organizing concerts and open mic nights in Worcester and Hereford.
– nth cave released video for their single “Bass” 

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/nthcave
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/nthcave/

If you think nth cave deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

The Humdrum Express

6. The Humdrum Express /Ian Passey (singer/songwriter)

– Unsigned and self releasing artist
– Ian has a long career which spans over thirteen releases (album and EPs), the newest being a stand-alone single “E-Petition” released in November 2017
– The Humdrum Express has recently taken part in Musicians Against Homelessness charity fundraiser in Worcester, curated folk stage at Worcester Music Festival and played a sold out show at the Ross Theatre in Kiddeminster.
– During his career Ian has been featured numerous times on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester and BBC West Midlands
– His six last singles have been in regular rotation on BBC 6 Music and other national stations. In total over 30 different shows across a variety of stations.
– Ian is currently preparing to record his new album
– “E-Petition” single went viral in October 2017, with articles about the zombie themed video appearing across local media – Stourbridge News, Dudley News, Kidderminster Shuttle and local radio stations (Severnvalley Radio)
– The Humdrum Express shared stages with many great artists such as performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff), Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), The Membranes
– The Kidderminster Shuttle describe Ian Passey as an artist “known for his fast-paced lyrical style who mixes social commentary with familiar cultural references, surreal characters and subtle puns”
– The Humdrum Express has a series of videos under his belt. The latest – is “E-Petition”

You can listen to the artist here: https://soundcloud.com/thehumdrumexpress
You can visit artist`s page here:  https://www.thehumdrumexpress.com/

If you think The Humdrum Express deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Soeur

7. Soeur (alternative/noise)

– Unsigned band (but for how long?)
– Released debut EP “What separates us” and singles “No Fire”, “Left Living” and the title track “What separates us”
– Soeur shows usually sells out quickly as it happened in Worcester, Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, Leeds and Sheffield
– They have been featured on BBC Introducing twice: BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester and BBC Introducing In the West. Their single “No fire” was championed by Andrew Marston and Huw Stephens
– Received impressive amount of airplay on local and national radio stations: BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Bristol, Free Radio Birmingham, Radio X, BBC Radio 1 (Rock Show with Daniel P Carter), BBC6 Music and many more
– They recorded their debut session at the legendary BBC Maida Vale studios in London in September. It was broadcasted live on Radio 1 along with the band’s interview
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– Soeur played at Reading Festival, Leeds Festival and headlined two sold out shows in London – Named as “one of the best unsigned acts” by Radio 1, “unforgettable” by BBC Introducing and “kick-ass attitude, catchy tunes and filthy riffs” by popular online magazine Tab the Feed
– Their single “No fire” was added to official Spotify playlist called “Rocked – the best new rock songs from the UK”
– Released videos to “Pass out”, “No fire” and “Left Living”

You can listen to the band here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVcb7WVDBjUwEcj0hVR4Fig
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.soeursoeursoeur.com

If you think Soeur deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Thousand Mountain

8.Thousand Mountain (match rock/instrumental)

– Unsigned band
–  Released self titled demo and currently are working on their first EP
– Thousand Mountain performed at Worcester Music Festival, The Sunflower Lounge and The Flapper in Birmingham and headlined Musicians Against Homelessness concert at Marr’s Bar in Worcester in support of Crisis
– They supported American spoken word legends The Listener, Press to Meco, Rubio and Sleepmakeswaves among others
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester
– Their single “Falling” was played on Birmingham Radio, BBC Hereford and Worcester and received national airplay on BBC 6 Music Recommends with Steve Lamacq
– “Falling” was also available to listen online nationally on BBC iPlayer for the period of 2 months
– Named as one of leading bands from Worcestershire (“WorcesterWave”) by Worcester News
– The band was featured in several others articles form Worcester News, Worcester Observer and Slap Magazine
– They were interviewed by national Free Radio during prime time broadcast slot (driving home news)
– Thousand Mountain are working with the biggest concert promoters in Worcestershire and Birmingham and constantly touring
– Live videos to “Kraken”, “Open Doors” and “Falling” are available on their  Youtube channel

You can listen to the band here: https://soundcloud.com/thousand-mountain
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/ThousandMountain/

If you think Thousand Mountain deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Lost Tiger

9. Lost Tiger to the Wild (indie/alternative rock)

– Unsigned duo but  under the care of prestigious Coalition Talent agency
– Released debut single in November 2017
– Duo played a string of successful home town gigs at Marrs Bar, to full house
– Recorded a session for BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester
– Band has been championed by Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford & Worcester
– Lost Tiger are currently recording
– They  supported Tinie Tempah at the Coventry University Summer Ball and X Factor finalists, Jack    and Joel. Only weeks after at the Teesside University Ball, Lost Tiger opened for Wheatus, Karen Harding, Fuse ODG and Pendulum
– Headlined the Birmingham Christmas Market for Free Radio
– The band enjoys a phenomenal social media presence – having over  11.000 followers on Instagram
– Released videos to their debut single “Come Out With Me”

You can listen to the band here: https://www.youtube.com/losttiger
You can visit band`s page here:  https://www.facebook.com/LostTigerBand/

If you think Lost Tiger deserve to go to SXSW, please let BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcestershire know here:
https://www.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/posts/1603789059685051

Keep your fingers crossed for your favourite artists and let The BBC Introducing Herefor and Worcester know who would you like to see on the other side of The Pond!

See you soon,
Rita and Malicia D.

**** Update 16/12/2017****

The waiting and anticipation is over. BBC Hereford and Worcestershire had made their decision to put forward one local act before the broadcaster`s panel that decides who will play at BBC Stage at SXSW – the world`s biggest music business trade show.

And that local band is White Feather Collective.

We have decided to add the band to the best of 2017 as they are very accomplished artists and  we will soon interview them as part of our Indieterria project. White Feather Collective were very surprised to learn that BBC H&W considered them for an overseas trip. This is what they have to say:

Each year BBC Introducing takes a handful of British artists to SXSW in Austin, Texas. Each act is performing live as part of BBC Stage. Previous year included artists such The Big Moon, Idles and Shame – you can say the champions league of indie circuit. Idles debut album “Brutalism” is a record of the year, Shame are recognized as one of the most influential new bands in the country, while The Big Moon were nominated to Mercury Prize.

Only the best among indie artists are taken to America and The White Feather Collective face a tough competition from other entitled acts from all across the country. But don’t think they don’t stand a chance. Because they do! We compiled a short note of what they have accomplished and it is a safe bet to say they are making a mark on Worcester music scene. Please send kudos and keep your fingers crossed for yet another alumni of WorcesterWave (yes, this is a real name for our scene. Thank you Andrew Marston!)

 

White Feather Collective

The White Feather Collective (psychodelia/surf-rock/folk)

– Not yet signed
– Released five track debut EP “Universal Harmony” and a stand-alone digital single “Doorman”
– Their song “Come On and Get Down” was used by French company WIKO Mobile in their international campaign on TV and radio
– Have been featured on BBC Introducing and were put forward to the panel that chooses the BBC Music Introducing South By South West (SXSW) showcase line-up.
– The band played at The Orchard Venue in Ledbury, West Fest, Mello Fest, Lakefest, Nozstock to universal acclaim
– Headlined sold out shows in their home town of Malvern, London (The Water Rats in Kings Cross and The Monarch in Camden), Bristol (Mr Wolf’s) and in Scotland
– Their YouTube channel received more than 200,000 individual views, with “Come On and Get Down” being viewed more than 80,000 times and “Crossroad Shootout” more than 34,000 times separately
– The band’s vocalist and guitar player, Will Turner wrote music for Grand Designs, The One Show, BBC News and Santander Bank
– Band tours nationally
– Released videos to “Come On and Get Down”, “Crossroad Shootout”, “The Inside” and “You Got The Time”

White Feather Collective – the future is looking bright

You can visit White Feather Collective on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewhitefeathercollective/

Listen to the band here: https://thewhitefeathercollective.bandcamp.com/
or you can visit band`s page here: http://www.thewhitefeathercollective.com/

Alternatively, see their videos via their official YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMn_Umrhabb1wzGfRNRVlpw

We will keep this post updated when the BBC panel makes a final decision regarding the SXSW alumni 2017.

xxx
Mal and Rita

Indieterria meets Thousand Mountain

Dear Readers,

Another chapter in our ongoing project to discover new and exciting music in 2017. And this band happens to be also a headliner of Musicians Against Homelessness gig that is organized in Worcester on September 22, 2017 – so today. They don`t have a leader, discarded lyrics and use the power of music to evoke emotions and imagination of the listener. Thousand Mountain – ladies and gentlemen – one of the best match rock acts in the country!

Band logo

Let the music do the talking

In the visual age, it is increasingly hard for any instrumental band to successfully compete against rock groups fronted by charismatic leaders. Without attention grabbing spectacle or glass shattering vocals, singer-less ensembles are commonly considered a lesser form of entertainment.  There are however exceptions to the rule. Heralded as one of the most innovative music acts on the West Midlands scene, Birmingham based trio Thousand Mountain, do not need cheap tricks to have all eyes focused on them. With their earth-shattering riffs and technical skills, they can create emotional performance that captivates the audience. During their recent visit to Worcester, we spoke to the band about their influences, preferences and the importance of being persistent.

According to your biography, Thousand Mountain is a three piece act formed in early 2016. Please introduce your band members and tell us more about your beginnings.

Thousand Mountain:  Sure! We have Dan Stokes on bass – huge Spiderman fan, Ash Andrews on drums – who is late for everything and Joel Hughes on guitar- who really wishes we were a Fleetwood Mac tribute band!

Like every strong/lasting relationship, we met over the Internet. Got sweaty in a room together for like 6 months – then music happened!

Read to rock – Thousand Mountain have established themselves as the leading match rock force in the West Midlands.

Your name, often abbreviated as TSND MNTN, is quite intriguing. Logo and song titles such as “Open Door” or “Kraken” point towards philosophical or mythological concepts. There are two famous Thousand Mountains in the world, one located in Japan – Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto (known as the Mountain of Thousand Gates) and The Thousand Buddha Mountain near the city of Jinan in China. What’s the inspiration behind this particular name?

Thousand Mountain:  You’ve nailed it, we take a lot of inspiration from eastern culture and we definitely did not need a band name that began with TM because we’d already paid for a logo using those 2 letters, which led to us being called ‘Trevor McDonald’ for an afternoon (laughing). Definitely, the first one which you said!

You classify yourselves as a power house rock band. The official Webster-Merriam definition for it would be a “rock group having great drive, energy, or ability”. We have to agree. You are volcanoes of energy on stage and your technical skills are commonly acknowledged.

Thousand Mountain:  Thank you (laughing again).

Birmingham Promoters, PR and media company based in West Midlands, described you as the eclectic mix of alternative and metal sounds with the aesthetic of classical rock. Can you tell us more about your musical heroes? Who do you look up to musically?

Thousand Mountain:  We’ve not seen that?! That’s cool though.  We all listen to different artists so we each bring something different to the table when we write.  Dan used to listen to a lot of metal so we have a few heavier elements and massive riffs, Ash listens to a lot of math rock bands, so our rhythms are interesting and Joel comes from a jazz and blues background, so the melodies and choral content are something that’s important to us. We really love bands that aren’t scared of doing what they want. We all love Chon, TTNG (This Town Needs Guns), Manchester Orchestra, Plini and bands like that. Anyone with a guitar gets our respect.

Nowadays, almost all bands relay heavily on strong vocals or charismatic front men/women. You seem to deliberately break all existing rules – you play instrumental music and all band members are equal. Thousand Mountain does not have a designated leader that audience could concentrate their attention on during shows. What is the reaction to your very own and quite unique way of playing?

Three very wise and very talented men. Photo from band archives

Thousand Mountain:  None of us are good enough to be the focal point, but when you put all 3 of us together, we make 1 decent musician. We’re not super cool, beautiful hunks or charismatic talkers – so we have to compromise.

Your genre of choice is often criticized as a limiting form of art. Vocal-less by nature, it does not offer listeners a story, and is regarded as “too technical” in comparison to evocative cinematic scores. How would you counter such arguments?

Thousand Mountain:  There’s only 12 notes in music so if your vocalist can only sing in a handful of key signatures, but our guitars can play in all of them, then who’s really limited? Lyrics are telling you one person’s story, most of the time people don’t have anything interesting to say, so just moan about how they’re so deep, our music sets a scene which you can fill with your own story. We could never compete with an orchestra, but for 1 guitar, 1 bass and 1 drum kit, we try our best.

2017 seems to be a breakthrough year for you. You have been performing extensively, sharing stages with the best new acts like Lost Tiger to the Wild, Rubio, Ideal Club (at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham), Salt Wounds and others.  On 17th of August you have supported American legends of spoken word movement – Listener during their show at the Flapper. In short – you have an impressive resume for a young band.

Thousand Mountain:  It’s because we don’t leave promoters alone. We work a lot with “Surprise You’re Dead Music” in Birmingham. And as I’m sure they’ll testify to, we’re really annoying.
But, if we see a show that we want to be on, we won’t wait for the invitation. We’re no strangers to playing some really weird shows just to get our names out there, so venues and promoters know about us. When you have a 4 band bill of 3 proper indie bands, then it is us. We’re definitely there to stick out and be remembered! We supported Press To Meco, who we adore on the back of playing to a room full of scared indie kids where the other bands didn’t talk to us all night. But you have to do things like that. It’s pointless updating Facebook once a month asking people to re-blog you on Tumblr – just turn up, put on a sick show and never stop asking for more.

Thousand Mountain has played in Worcester on several occasions in the past, always to sold-out shows. In September, you will grace our local stages twice: on 15th of September you will perform at Heroes Bar as part of Worcester Music Festival and a week later, on 22nd of September, you will headline the electric stage at Marrs Bar as part of Musicians Against Homelessness event in support of Crisis, a charity helping to eradicate homelessness from British streets. What can we expect from you on that night?

Photo from band archives

Thousand Mountain:  We love Worcester, from the first time we played we’ve been welcomed back with open arms. It’s by far our favorite city to play. Everyone’s open-minded about music and they seem to dig us. We get noticed when we’re walking around town now too, that’s why we come back so often – for an ego boost.  We’re really looking forward to that show, we’ve been to a few around the country before and they’re always busy nights. And to be headlining one at our favorite venue is something that’s very important to us. So expect a big, big show.

Two charity gigs in span of few days. You really give back to your own community. In your opinion, how important is it for independent artists to be locally engaged?

Thousand Mountain:  Massively. MAH is a huge platform, that’s all the motivation a band should need, but when you know it’s achieving something positive it makes it even more worthwhile.

What are your plans for the future? Any exciting news or plans for a new release?

Thousand Mountain:  Our first EP should be released soon, and we promise there won’t be a long wait for EP2! Additionally, we’ve recently learnt how to use iMovie – which is extremely dangerous for band with a weird sense of humor like us. Everything else is a super-secret; you’ll need to follow us to see what’s happening!

You can follow Thousand Mountain at:

https://www.facebook.com/ThousandMountain/
https://twitter.com/TSNDMNTN
https://soundcloud.com/thousand-mountain

Musicians Against Homelessness charity concert will take place on September 22nd 2017 at Marrs Bar

If you want to see Thousand Mountain play Musicians Against Homelessness concert, tickets are a £5 and can be bought from the links below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/413506
http://www.marrsbar.co.uk/events/musicians-against-homelessness-2/
https://www.facebook.com/events/106395143421500

To find out more about MAH visit Musicians Against Homelessness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

As a headliner of the charity fundraiser, Thousand Mountain filled in the role of press spokespersons and they did quite well you have to admit. The local coverage was great, even before the event started:

Worcester Observer 19th September 2017

https://worcesterobserver.co.uk/news/charity-gig-will-help-homeless/

Worcester News 19th September 2017

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/15544094.Worcester_musicians_to_play_in_support_of_homeless_charity/

Severn Valley Radio, 20th September 2017

http://www.severnvalleyradio.co.uk/news/local-news/worcester-bands-will-play-in-support-of-musicians-against-homelessness/

That`s all for now folks. We will report from after the gig,

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets Rita Lynch

Dear Readers,

Please forgive us if we will be acting like complete fan girls. We absolutely and dearly love Rita Lynch – our next featured artist on Indieterria. We have seen her live on January 1st, 2017 in Worcester, have her records in our musical archives and can hardly wait to see her perform at Musicians Against Homelessness on 22nd September. Read on, this is one of our favorite interviews yet!

Rita Lynch performing at NYE party at Pig and Drum in Worcester , 31 December 2016 – January 1 2017

First Lady of punk

Don’t believe when they tell you that punk is dead. The genre is not only very much alive and kicking; it is going through a period of renaissance. It may be a bit older (and wiser), less drunk and more philosophical at times, yet its message against austerity, social alienation and economic devastation rings loud and clear. Political climate is certainly helping to bridge the age gap between new audiences and the underground legends and helps deliver a musical middle finger exactly where it hurts the most. Yet, looking for rebellion is not the only reason why the kids turn to punk rock. Its biggest strength definitely lies in the authenticity and originality, constant re-definition and self-discovery. We have teamed up with Rita Lynch, the first lady of punk to speak about her career, surviving the odds and her plans for her rock and roll future.

You were first introduced to music when attending a Catholic school. Apparently, a nun has taught you how to play a guitar. Were the nuns really that supportive? Catholic schools in 60’s and 70 were rather known to suppress any form of artistic creativity.

Rita Lynch: The nun who taught me guitar was one of the better ones. She obviously enjoyed playing guitar herself and, as teachers go especially all those years ago, she was slightly more interested in creativity. She had already put one of my stories in the school magazine. She also had given me the cane, a couple of times, once for laughing in church. None of the teachers back then were that interested in a shy child like me who was always getting ill. So she was a bit of a hero to me all those years ago.

As soon as you graduated, you found yourself in the middle of London`s punk rock revolution. You founded one of nation`s first all-female rock bands – Rita & The Piss Artists, playing mostly squats and small venues. Can you recall some of the wild days and tell us who were in the band beside you?

Rita Lynch: With Rita and the Piss Artists we did a lot of drinking. We were a 4 piece band. I played bass and helped write the songs, but I did not sing. During our time we had 2 different singers. The first was a woman called Caspar; she had a brilliant voice but left us quite quickly. The next singer, Jo, wasn’t a good singer but had enough front to do it. The guitarist was not very good but the drummer had played before so we, the bass and drums, mostly held it all together. One squat gig, we played at the Demolition Ballroom on Stokes Croft, Bristol and somebody pulled the plug on us, we were so bad. We would all get very drunk, maybe take some speed and get up on stage. If we had taken it a bit more seriously, we could have done well, maybe. It was more of a sideline to the serious job of drinking. But we were doing it for a while when few women were.

The drummer from the Piss Artists, Justine Butler, just lives around the corner from me now. She went on to get a Master’s degree and had a child who is grown up now. She is a lovely woman. We meet up now and again and she has come to loads of my gigs over the years – she’s very supportive.

Once your band folded, you permanently moved to Bristol. At that time, the town had a vibrant scene with bands such as The Cortinas, Social Security and The Pigs. How did the mostly male scene react to outspoken female artist from the capital?

Rita Lynch: When I first started playing my own gigs as Rita Lynch, I was a solo acoustic performer. The sexism was terrible, the things men in the music world said to me were often rude, insulting and so misogynistic. Stuff like women dingers are always late for gigs, have tantrums at sound checks, and generally talked about as if they were spoilt children. Some of the graffiti in back stage rooms really shocked me. I was, at the time, going out with a woman and mostly socializing on the gay scene. It kind of removed me from the heterosexual world which really helped in those first few years. I was never late and always professional and built up a defence against this sexism by dressing outrageously and, with my height being nearly 6ft I kind of must have struck quite an intimidating figure. It put a wall around me and inside that I happily wrote my songs and tried to perfect and develop my own music.

You also made yourself a name as a performer/protest figure marching around in a mutilated wedding dress. What was the protest about?

Rita Lynch: I went on a lot of demos back then. But the wedding dress was mostly just for wearing in the day time. So, every day was a personal protest. I bought it for 50 pence in a charity shop and ripped it up, and would wear it just to get attention, like I was living art, walking down the street. But loads of people would stare and, as I was always barefoot in the summer, I must have looked very unusual. Apparently a young child saw me from a window and told her mum there was a real live fairy walking down the street. This was all in St. Paul’s. It was a vibrant place with big reputation for race riots. There was a lot of prostitution on the street corners and police would not go down the frontline. It had lots of drugs, crime as well and racism. It was a cool place to live very freely, if you had the nerve.

You joined cold wave outfit God Bless You as a bassist. At that time, the band consisted only of Simon Black and Dave Ryan. Within a year, you were not only a full time member, but also a co-vocalist. With you in the line up, God Bless You released several singles such as “Sugar” which are considered the beginning of your career as an artist and performer. How do you remember the collaboration with Simon and Dave?

Rita Lynch: God Bless You was amazing musically. Dave had a fantastic voice and Simon was genius with inventing simple but amazing tunes and riffs. I was with them as backing vocalist for nearly 2 years. I learnt a lot from watching them put songs together. They also introduced me to countless good bands and artists like Iggy Pop and Roxy Music. Dave was a poet and a great thinker, his lyrics were brilliant. He was hugely pivotal in inspiring me to sing and write songs. I loved being in God Bless You. Dave and Simon were my heroes.

In 1991 you released your first solo work “Call me your girlfriend”. The LP became very popular and music press compared you to Kirstin Hersh, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and even Nico. Channel 4 made a documentary about you. Was it hard to copy with the attention of the media?

Rita Lynch: I loved the attention I got from the “Call me your Girlfriend” album but it was scary as I had been underground for so long and I also found it intimidating. It validated me but made me nervous as well. I had to write another album and I was unsure how to go. I personally thought that I could do so much better than this first album. The album got me a lot of attention on the gay scene but the record label I was with, Moles in Bath, did not promote it very well elsewhere. So, I became a ‘lesbian’ singer increasingly which was not what I wanted and I still had to make the cross over to the mainstream. Also, the record label did not distribute the album properly so people could not easily get hold of it. As a result, I was still ‘underground’ but big on the gay scene. Then both, me and my girlfriend, we got beaten up for being gay. These were harsh times to be ‘out’, I found all this very difficult. The music was getting lost and I felt uncomfortable with being heralded as a ‘lesbian icon’. I was a singer/songwriter but all the other identities were becoming more important. Being an artist, I was feeling misunderstood.

Cover of What am I – anther record from our sonic archives and also signed by the artist.

What am I – sleeve and inside of the record

Your background and lyrical themes also drew comparisons to Sinéad O’Connor – another female figure that could not be easily squeezed into a box. Looking back, do you think there were really similarities between you?

Rita Lynch: I saw Sinéad play at Gay Pride in London, I can’t remember the year. She blew my mind; I had never seen or heard anything like it before. It was one of the most important gigs I have ever seen in my life. Unforgettable. I was humbled by the experience. There are similarities in that we both grapple with sexuality, Catholicism and politics. She is Irish born, I am Irish born to immigrant parents in London. Being Irish/Catholic is an identity made more personal and volatile due to the racism of the English and the weight of the ongoing war and domination of Ireland by the English. Sinéad was and is one the most important musical influences of my life.

You have been a successful solo artist for the last 25 years. In that period you released thirteen albums under your own name, three with other bands, appeared on over thirty compilations and scored several productions (Vampire Diary, Channel 4`s Rosebud), you toured nationally and around Europe. That`s an incredible body of work. Were you expecting such a long run in this dog eat dog industry?

Rita Lynch: No. I never expected to do music in the first place, let alone to be doing it for so long. I love writing songs, I love singing and putting a good lyric together. But my love of these things has developed hugely with the passing of time. I don’t actually see myself as ‘successful’ artist. Over the years, with all the egos and vanities and nonsense that comprise much of the music business, I have tried to focus on the writing of songs and developing my particular style. I was heartbroken when my first album did not go as well as I wanted and as I got older tried to ‘give up’ music and get a proper job. I never did get a proper job. I am dedicated to making music. It is my job. I want to write as many songs as I can. My ambition with music has altered from wanting fame in a vanity way when I was younger to a true hard working attention to song writing. The music business or industry is vile. I don’t think about it much anymore, like it has nothing to do with me. I admire people who dedicate themselves to their art, even when they do not get success, I have aspired to this. I try to work hard at writing songs. I don’t go out much, whenever I get time, I do music. My son is severely autistic and it has been a challenging experience. My life is dedicated to the care of my son and music. I do a lot of gigs, solo and with my band. I am still hugely ambitious in that I have yet to write my best song. I need to communicate through music; it is my take on the human experience.

Cover of Good Advice record, from our own archives. Yes, it is signed and we treasure it.

In 2006 you reinvented yourself yet again by joining The Blue Aeroplanes. You recorded three albums with them (Skyscrappers, Good Luck Signs and Anti-Gravity). In return, John Langley and Mike Youe back you up on your tours. You seem more like good friends than just musical collaborators.

Rita Lynch:  Being in The Blue Aeroplanes was amazing. I admire their music. Also that was how I met my drummer, John Langley. This has been the best musical collaboration since God Bless You. John is the best drummer most people will ever see. He makes every song better with his drumming. When we first teamed up, I wrote the album “Good Advice”. He is massively inspiring and also introduced me to new music. We were a 2 piece for a few years. He upped my game, I had to get better so I practiced more and more and worked harder at my guitar playing. We developed hugely as a band. We sometimes make up songs on stage – improvising with John is a dream. We understand each other musically. It’s like magic. When Mike joined us a few years ago, he fitted in easily. He is a very good musician and picks stuff up very quickly. It felt just right straight away. John and I have been good friends for years and Mike is a lovely easy going person. We have a laugh as well.

In 2016, an anthology of your music “Story to tell (1988-2011)” has been released to celebrate your career and involvement in Bristol music scene. Can you tell us more about this project?

Rita Lynch: Mike Darby used to be my manager about 25 years ago. He had the idea to put out this anthology. It is a cross section of songs spanning 3 decades. I want to bring out another anthology but will do this one myself through the record label I work with now. Also, I am currently setting up to release all my future albums with them and re-release all the previous ones.

You played Worcester on New Year`s Eve at Pig and Drum. You will return to Marrs Bar this September to take part in Musicians Against Homelessness event. Will there be a chance to hear some of your new music?

Rita Lynch: Yes, I will be playing a lot of my new songs. My new album entitled “Backwards” will be released in January 2018. You will have a chance to hear some of my new material for the first time on 22nd of September.

 

You can follow Rita at:

http://ritalynch.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/rita.lynch.121

Musicians Against Homelessness charity concert will take place on September 22nd 2017 at Marrs Bar

If you want to see Rita Lynch  play Musicians Against Homelessness concert, tickets are a £5 and can be bought from the links below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/413506
http://www.marrsbar.co.uk/events/musicians-against-homelessness-2/
https://www.facebook.com/events/106395143421500

To find out more about MAH visit Musicians Against Homelessness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

Please note that due to a serious hand injury Rita will open the gig and her set will be shorter than expected. But it may be also streamlined on Facebook and it will be different than her usual sets, so you better be at Marr`s Bar 8:00 pm sharp! 😉

Take care,

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets The Humdrum Express

Dear Readers,

We continue  our series of interviews with musicians we think shape music scenes and sonic landscapes around us this year.  They don`t have to be spring chickens leading revolutions and tearing roofs off the venues. They can be experienced artists, wiser in their business ways and accompanied by a trusty guitar. And they are still relevant, on point and powerful in their expression. Today, we present you Ian Passey, who is the force behind The Humdrum Express. Ian will be one of the artists that will rock Worcester for Musicians Against Homelessness.  Read on, dear friends. This is as we say: banger of an interview and an artist you have to know.

A thousand things to worry about

An esteemed artist, Ian Passey, has built a solid fan base in the West Midlands under his moniker, The Humdrum Express. Championed by BB6 Music and sharing stages with the rock and roll greatest, Ian is returning to his home turf this September to support Worcester Music Festival and play a charitable show for the national campaign, Musicians Against Homelessness. We have met Ian to discuss his many achievements, stardom and new music he is currently working on.


BBC describes you as “One man, a few instruments and a thousand things to worry about”. Who exactly is Ian Passey?

Ian Passey:  I’m a singer/songwriter based in Kidderminster. I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember, firstly as a member of various bands (Smedley, Jackpot, Swagger). After a bit of a break, I decided to do my own thing, initially bedroom recordings, before taking the plunge back into gigging. Ten years later, I’m still here – writing and performing with as much enthusiasm as I’ve ever had. I suppose the “thousand things to worry about” tag came from the underdog slant of the lyrics, attempting to fear the worst in a humorous way. Either that or it’s a good guess!

The Humdrum Express is your solo project. You write your own music, produce your albums and play all instruments – you are a one man band. Do you prefer to work alone?

Ian Passey:  Although that was the case a few years ago, in more recent times, I’ve really enjoyed working with other people. My last couple of albums and most recent EP has been produced by Mick Lown. Not only is he fun to work with, but also has a great knack of suggesting ideas and instrumentation to suit a particular song. It’s a refreshing way to work which helps to prevent getting stuck in a rut. As far as videos go, I’ve been teaming up with Nick J. Townsend pretty regularly. Again, he’s someone I really enjoy working with to help expand on some of my ideas. I love to get as many people involved as possible with the videos and I’m always amazed by how many love being a part of them. I’ve also got several musician friends, who have enhanced some of the recordings for which I’m extremely grateful. Long may these collaborations continue! I’m always on the lookout for new ones if anyone’s interested…

Ian Passey performing – photo by Arthur Passey

It is hard to categorize your music. Some journalists put you into spoken word or singer/songwriter category; others consider you to be a prime example of what experimental music should sound like. How do you feel about the constant need of squeezing artist into existing genres? Is there any style that could comfortably describe what you are doing or do you avoid being labelled at all?

Ian Passey:  The need for genres is something that has bugged me for years! I always put lyrics ahead of any particular musical style and I’m quite happy to change it when the need arises. I love the spoken word style as much as the classic verse/chorus/middle eight structures. It all about getting the maximum impact from a phrase, I suppose.

Your lyrics, an important part of your music, are complex and straightforward. They’ve earned you a reputation of a “bespectacled observationist, casting a cynical eye over exasperating times”. Where do you look for inspiration?

Ian Passey:   I don’t really look anywhere for it, but always seem to stumble across something. That being said, this is proving to be my leanest year, writing wise, for some time. Perhaps I should start looking?! Like most artists, I work better when there’s a deadline looming so maybe I should start thinking about album number six…

The Humdrum Express album “(Failed Escapes from the) Clones Town Blues” received great reviews from leading music journalists such as Steve Lamacq. Your newest release “The Day My Career Died” has been championed on BB6 Music. Has the exposure helped you to advance your career outside of West Midlands?

Ian Passey:   It’s been fantastic in so many ways. Being pitched alongside artists I admire has helped improve and focus my writing. The thought of being found out as an impostor drives me on to write stuff worthy of the airplay! The knock-on effect is obviously the new people all over the world who suddenly have access to your music.

You have shared stages with many legends: performance poet John Cooper Clarke, Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü), Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), The Wombats, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers) and Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) to name just a few. If you could choose another person to perform with, who would that be?

Ian Passey:  Tricky question! Billy Childish would be nice as it would mean he was back playing live again. I did three dates with John Cooper Clarke around 2010 and I’d love the opportunity again, although the venues he’s packing out these days are much bigger than back then. I was due to support the Sleaford Mods a couple of years ago until the promoter in Leamington opted for a more local act instead. That would have been great, but it wasn’t to be.

You are probably the only person from Kidderminster to ever play at Glastonbury festival. How do you remember this experience?

Ian Passey:  Hazily! I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one from Kidderminster either! It was hardly the Pyramid stage but it was great fun. I seem to recall the act on before me end with a cover of “Take on me” by A-ha which the crowd lapped up. I’m not sure why, but I thought I’d end my own set in similar fashion… by tearing through “Gather in the mushrooms” by Benny Hill! Unless my memory is playing tricks, I received a standing ovation!

We have to ask you – was “Worcester Woman (Forgate Me Not)” written about a real person linked to the city or is it licentia poetica?

Ian Passey:  I’ve always viewed that one as a bit of general daftness! It’s a fictional tale that attempts to mix romance with political terminology. It doesn’t get played too often but I’m tempted to give it an airing on 22nd September, particularly as The Marr’s Bar gets a mention.

The Humdrum Express has many faithful supporters on the local scene. You have played Worcester Music Festival several times, always coming back by popular demand. This year you will also support Crisis charity by performing at Musicians Against Homelessness event on 22nd of September. You will appear on the acoustic stage.

Ian Passey:  I’ve been lucky enough to play at every Worcester Music Festival apart from the very first one. As it happens,  I’m not playing this time but will be promoting an evening as I have done for the past three years. My event will take place at The Firefly on the Sunday, featuring several of my favourite grass roots discoveries.

What are your plans for the autumn? Any upcoming tours?

Ian Passey:   I’ve got some great gigs on the horizon… I’m playing my biggest headline show to date at The Rose Theatre in Kidderminster on 7th October (tickets available from their website!) It’s a near 200 capacity all seater venue and, without giving too much away, will be much more than the usual gig format. I’ve also got dates with the likes of CUD, Mark Morriss and Half Man Half Biscuit to look forward to, so it should be a fun few months. I’m releasing a brand new single early in November with an accompanying video, so I’m pretty busy until the end of the year.

You can follow Ian and The Humdrum Express

www.thehumdrumexpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/TheHumdrumExpress/
https://soundcloud.com/thehumdrumexpress

Musicians Against Homelessness charity concert will take place on September 22nd 2017 at Marrs Bar

If you want to see Ian Passey play Musicians Against Homelessness concert, tickets are a £5 and can be bought from the links below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/413506
http://www.marrsbar.co.uk/events/musicians-against-homelessness-2/
https://www.facebook.com/events/106395143421500

To find out more about MAH visit Musicians Against Homelessness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

Indieterria meets Vinny Peculiar

Dear Readers,

This edition of Indieterria will profile an artist who is not a new starter. To be honest, he is well established and enjoys cult status among music fans. However, discovering new music doesn’t mean only cheeking out musicians on their first demo. There is a lot to learn from artists of all ages and all periods. As John Peel would say – you cannot limit yourself to one genre or one decade. It was a pleasure and privilege (to quote a classic) to sit down with Vinny Peculiar and talk about his art and music. And we will admit, we learned few things. Now, we wait in anticipation to see Vinny perform at Marr`s Bar on September 22 for Musicians Against Homelessness. Read on!

Man of many talents

Alan Wilkes, better known as Vinny Peculiar, is one of the most respected and original artists in the music business today. Splitting his time between his native Worcestershire and adopted home in Manchester, he has established himself as a poet, musician and writer. Finding a spare second in his busy schedule, Alan sat down with us to talk about receiving his own blue plague, new album inspired by growing up in West Midlands and charitable efforts to support local events.

You are a man of many talents – a performer, musician, poet, writer and educator. What is the difference between Alan Wilkes and Vinny Peculiar? Are you one and the same or is Vinny simply your artistic alter ego?

Vinny Peculiar: Thank you, I try and dabble in a few different things. Sometimes they work out but I’m most comfortable as a musician/songwriter. The Vinny Peculiar alter ego has been around for a while now but deep down, I’m one and the same person. The real difference is, I get to elaborate and take more risks as Vinny – perhaps the function of the alter ego is a permission to lose yourself. You’ve got me over thinking this one!

So far you have released 13 albums and EP’s to great critical acclaim, with genre-defying releases such as “Other people like me” or “Non Compliance” among them.  If you could choose one record from your catalogue that you value the most, what would it be and why?

Vinny Peculiar: I’d go for “Ironing the Soul”.  This record has got me a lot of breakthrough press and I made it with a band of mates in Liverpool, during stolen overnight studio time whilst trying to hold down a proper job! There’s certain urgency about it and some of those 4am vocal takes seem suitably desperate for the songs. Nowadays, I’m spending weeks editing acoustic guitar parts on a Mac which is not quite the same buzz. “Ironing the Soul” is kind of an oldschool.

cover of Silver Meadows

Vinny Peculiar is independent music press darling. Uncut magazine called you “an under sung national treasure” and “Tony Hancock of pop”; Q Magazine heralded you to be “a warm-hearted Morrissey” and The Irish Times convinced their readers you are the missing link between Jarvis Cocker and Roger McGough. How do you feel about those comparisons? Are they something you personally agree with? 

Vinny Peculiar: Music press darling you say? Hmm, I’m not sure about that but yes; I have had some great press from the major glossy UK magazines. I think this is partly because my stuff is easy to write about. There is usually a narrative story and some quotable lyrics. UNCUT named one of my songs the fourth best song title of 2004 with “We Tried to Drown Our Music Teacher in 1974”, you can see what I mean.

Your musical style escapes every attempt at classification, forcing reviewers to come up with pretty interesting suggestions such as poetry punk, urban lyricists or even “a beautiful blend of Americana, poetry, indie-pop and busker-punk”. It must be satisfying to see them grind their teeth in frustration every time you release new material. Do you still consider yourself to be part of outside pop movement? 

Vinny Peculiar: Yes, I don’t see music as a defined genre thing; often the most incongruous elements can make a song work or not. I try to be driven by what particular song needs. It doesn’t always work, mind! My Outsider status is probably always going to be a given. I’ve never been the new EMI Darling, or even the New Old Man on the Block. I was rather a late starter in the songwriter game! What I try is to follow the Ray Davies model and just “keep on working”.  There comes a time when you write and perform because that’s what you do and over analysis is futile, so I tell myself…

Photo by David Bailey

Many of your songs are autobiographical. You grew up in north Worcestershire village of Cathill, in a strict Methodist home. Your childhood experiences, vocational training as a nurse and a serious illness in the family are recurring themes in your lyrics. Mental well-being and finding hope against the odds seems to be very important to you. 

Vinny Peculiar: Autobiographical, yes. I think most songwriters write about themselves under some disguise; some do it better [or worse] than others. And yes again, for me personally, holding your head up is everything. We are such a marginalized society and we need hope more than ever. I have found that sharing experiences, often everyday ones, in songs and poems really helps. I try and bring this model to the workshops – people have so much to express, much more than they realise and it can aid their self-esteem and mental well-being. That’s my plug for the workshops done!

 You have strong ties not only with Worcester but also with Manchester to the point of Manchester Evening News claiming you as the city’s own. For many years you have collaborated with the Mancunian finest – Andy Rourke of the Smiths, Bonehead of Oasis or the members of the punk group, The Fall. You also supported the renovation of the iconic Salford Lads Club with frequent gigs. Do you feel at home in the north? 

Vinny Peculiar: It’s been fascinating to be back home and closer to family. I’ve ended up writing songs based on local events and issues. At the same time, I love The North.  I’m still working on the “Silver Meadows” stage play in Liverpool. It’s taking forever to refine, get the right actors, but we are still hopeful it will come off. I was at Salford Lads Club recently and got awarded a blue plaque; other recipients included Wayne Rooney and Maxine Peake. It was a great promo idea for the club, and I was stupidly happy to receive it. I’m planning another Lads Club Fundraiser before Christmas, date to be confirmed shortly.

Your artistic escapades link you closely to the eccentric genius of Bill Drummond (KLF, SOUP ART) – master of anarchistic and thought provoking happenings and art installations. Can you tell us more about your co-operation?

Vinny Peculiar: I was the Artist in Residence [Musical] opposite Bills Artist In Residence [Visual] at The Cathedral Arts Festival In Belfast in 2005. Bill and I shared a flat for 10 days and I went on to do many house concerts with him as part of The Soup Line Project. Bill would make soup and deliver a lecture and I would play a forty minute set of songs. I still keep in touch and look forward to the all new singing, dancing and thought provoking KLF! I also have the dubious honour of being auctioned song by song by Bill in Kensington, Liverpool at the demolition of a high rise block – he managed to sell a one to one version of “Confessions of a Sperm Donor” to a local business woman for £200.  It was quite a night…

Recently your album “Silver Meadows (Fables from the Institution)” has been turned into a stage play by Liverpool writer Ian Salmon. The initial reviews are fantastic. Where did the idea come from and where can we see it?

Vinny Peculiar: The Silver Meadows songs came from my time working in long stay Learning Disability and Psychiatric Hospitals. The album is set in the mid-1980s at the dawn of Community Care. The songs are character driven, they tell little stories of big changes. We’ve had an initial full run through before an invited audience and I’m still working on the fine details of the production. These things take a long time as they involve so many different people, including funder.  It is never straightforward, but we are determined it should be seen…

On 22nd of September, you will return to Marrs Bar in Worcester to perform an acoustic set during Musicians Against Homelessness concert in support of Crisis, an nationwide charity helping homeless people to find a stable and permanent accommodation. Are you planning something special for the night?

Vinny Peculiar: I’ll be doing the Mars Bar show with Rob Steadman, my regular piano player. Rob was in Parlour Flames with me (the band I formed with Bonehead). We’ll be playing songs from the new locally themed album including “The Malvern Winter Gardener” and “Droitwich”. It is scandalous that we still have such a housing homeless crisis in the UK and we fully support the work of Crisis. I’m really pleased to have been asked to play this gig.

We know you are currently working on a new album inspired by Worcestershire and your childhood in Bromsgrove. Several demos have already been posted on Sound cloud website. What else is planned for the nearest future?

Vinny Peculiar: My forthcoming gig highlights include playing The 100 Club in London with Chris Difford, the date has not been confirmed yet.  I’m excited about that, we recently supported him in Malvern and he is a very decent chap, too. The new album will take some time to finish, it is due early next year and we will be touring to support it. I have formed a new band with local Worcester musicians: Dan Bramhall (drums), Wes Dance (guitars) and Rooney Wooster (bass) and we are recording a new live EP soon too – I will let you know when it is ready!
You can follow Vinny at the links below:

www.vinnypeculiar.com
www.facebook.com/vinny.peculiar
https://soundcloud.com/vinnypeculiarmusic

Musicians Against Homelessness charity concert will take place on September 22nd 2017 at Marrs Bar

If you want to see Vinny Peculiar  play Musicians Against Homelessness concert, tickets are a £5 and can be bought from the links below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/413506
http://www.marrsbar.co.uk/events/musicians-against-homelessness-2/
https://www.facebook.com/events/106395143421500

To find out more about MAH visit Musicians Against Homelessness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

Hoping to see you soon,

Mal+Rita