Indieterria meets Kristin Hersh

Dear Readers,

It`s a strange feeling to be writing a blog about Throwing Muses` front woman on a night when VMAs are on. It almost feels like the 90s. Back in the day MTV was a rock channel and Throwing Muses were in heavy rotation, leading guitar revolution across charts and Z Rock network. Times may have changed but many things stayed the same. Kristin Hersh is still touring, recording exciting albums (last years`s “Possible Dust Clouds” is nothing short of a masterpiece) and still being independent. Perhaps even more now than when she was on 4AD.

Being life long fans of Kristin`s music, we have been thrilled to speak to her about her new record, extensive tour of UK and creative process behind her songs.  Lets leave the Moon Men to some emo kids and mumble rappers. There is so much life outside the Top 40.

Ladies and Gentlemen – the one and only Kristin Hersh!

 

Kristin Hersh and her band members on stage

Hello Kristin! In March this year you have played an extensive UK tour with over 30 gigs across the county. How was it? We hope you received a warm welcome!

Kristin Hersh: Best tour of my life in every way. Not making this up. Van life plus my favourite musicians in the world and musically literate crowds. Rob from 50 Foot Wave and Fred from Throwing Muses made this power trio a super group, of sorts.

The first time they called us that, we laughed, and then immediately adopted the term ‘cause it made us feel like super heroes!

You have released nine studio albums with Throwing Muses, the latest in 2013.  “Purgatory/Paradise” came out in an unique form: 32 tracks accompanied by a book full of lyrics, images and additional material. The scale of the release prompted fears among fans that it would be the last album for the band. Do you think there is still some music left in The Muses or are you definitively putting the project to rest?

Kristin Hersh:  (laughs) Throwing Muses is in the studio right now. If Muses songs show up, so do we.

Lady with a guitar – Kerstin Hersh has always been a role model on indie circuit

Besides music you are also a published author. You have written and illustrated children book “Toby Snax” and penned two memoirs (“Rat Girl” and “Don’t Suck Don’t Die”). Was writing a natural step forward from making music and crafting songs?

Kristin Hersh:  I love prose. After a lifetime of speaking music—a language not everyone is fluent in—I get to communicate clearly. Though my writing style verges on prose – poetry, so I guess the communicative effect is watery. It`s more like music than conversation.

In an interview with Guitar World you once said “We’re morally bound to not participate in the traditional recording industry because we disagree with it.” And yet, your newest studio album “Possible Dust Clouds” was released on a label, the old fashioned way. What convinced you to sign  to Fire Records?

Kristin Hersh: The old fashioned way is corporate and anti-music. I traded Warner Brothers my first solo album in exchange for my band’s freedom. The new paradigm—like Fire Records—is staffed by people who’ve been too moved by real songs to play the insult-to-music-and-women fashion game that took over the recording industry.

For the purpose of this interview we really tried to find one review of “Possible Dust Clouds” that was not positive and we failed! Pitchfork called it a “glorious return” while Guardian described you both as “uncompromising” and a “true innovator”.  Every online review is full five stars. Do you regard this record as the best of your career, cause your fans and music journalists seems to agree on that.

Kristin Hersh: I probably think every record I make is the best of my career! But I’m also baffled by songs. They tell me what to do and I have to listen, so production technique is necessarily reinvented in every session. Until I hear back from smart journalists, I really don’t know what I’ve done.

Kristin Hersh – the legend herself

It took about five years to record “Possible Dust Clouds” and unlike your previous album you did not play all the instruments. This album welcomes many guests and even uses field recordings. How do you remember working on this particular record?

Kristin Hersh: I wanted a chaotic sound, one that mimicked the feel of live shows. Live recordings are usually just recordings that suck, so you have to parse the elements of a show: group high and loud noise plus movement, in order to bring that about. I invited a few friends whose playing is very muscular so that I could warp timing and tuning in the high and low overdubs around our performances. Weak playing would sound ineffective with this treatment but here it sounds noisy and fluid.

The album has been promoted by several singles, including LAX and now Breathe In. It is one of our favourite tracks on the album. We would love to learn more about this song.

Kristin Hersh:  “Soloing throughout” is a term we use to make fun of guitar players who won’t shut up, but that’s exactly what I did I in this song. Played my leads with a screwdriver and I don’t shut up until the song ends. My son Wyatt played drums and my fiancé, Fred Abong, is on bass. It’s a little trio of a family, really. So there’s a sweetness in all that noise.

If you are not touring solo or with Kristin Hersh Electric Trio, you are working with 50FOOTWAVE. Can you tell us something about this project as British audience may not be familiar with it.

Kristin Hersh: 50FOOTWAVE is my noise rock trio out of LA. We’re run as a cooperative, with everyone donating their time, from engineers and musicians to videographers, to allow us to give music away.

You have always been very open about your struggles with mental health. And music industry is having this big conversation right now about supporting artists. Looking at things from perspective of somebody who spent four decades in the industry – do you see any changes? And if so are they positive or negative?

Kristin Hersh: I haven’t been all that open, really, since I have no mental health issues. I was misdiagnosed schizophrenic and bipolar and only recently cured of PTSD and concurrent dissociation, which isn’t technically a mental illness. I answer questions when I’m asked, but I shy away from linking any illness to art.

And I think supporting the arts is a very individual decision since they’re all industries now and subject to marketing techniques like bandwagon appeal, etc. I’d love to see people playing their own music, for example. That’s a way to support the arts.

Last (infamous) question – if you were able to change music industry to your liking what would you do? What would change and what would remain?

Kristin Hersh:  I would take fashion, money and fame out of the equation. That would leave us with actual musicians. I’m not sure that there are any musicians or songwriters in the recording industry. Rock stars and people who want to be them should never have happened. Music? Will always happen.

You can follow Kristin Hersh on socials:

https://www.kristinhersh.com/
https://www.facebook.com/strangeangels/
https://twitter.com/kristinhersh
https://www.instagram.com/kristinhersh/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTdtvPp4IiPDDZqX-4No5Uw
https://soundcloud.com/kristinhersh-official
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6ZWUhhSv3IahZyW5keNSxK?si=gDMk7mBZToGJ41ZLz6hJ_A

 

Throwing Muses:

http://throwingmuses.com/
https://www.facebook.com/throwingmusesofficial/
https://twitter.com/throwingmuses
https://www.instagram.com/throwingmusesofficial
https://soundcloud.com/throwingmuses
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5xU5wRTlZHVRoo2OxPvqA4?si=b-eosmzZQzeFzG2hwzYaag

 

50FOOTWAVE:

https://www.facebook.com/50footwave/
https://twitter.com/50footwave
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1ruRQnflSHJVLqvqRe5MRB

Big thank you goes to Kristin Hersh for speaking to us and to Shauna McLarnon of Shameless Promotion PR for making arrangements.

M/R

Indieterria Review – “My Walk” by Pietro Blanca

Dear Readers,

Indieterria continues to showcase artists around Manchester who answered our call to submit their songs. The beauty of project “Hello Manchester” was to allow musicians to speak about their art on their own terms and bring to the light new and upcoming music from the city. It doesn’t matter if the artists were accomplished bands or people who create at their leisure. All music is equal and worth being shared. So far he had the incredible band Hot Minute and electronic indie duo Edits featured as part of our series.

Guitar man – Pietro Blanca is ready to take on the Manchester scene.

Today we meet Pietro Blanca – solo artist and a lead singer of alt rock band Clifftop Empire. And we are so happy to discover Pietro.  Let us tell you why. In March this blog had a pleasure to interview one of the most international acts ever Shiva May Care – where every member comes from different country, speaks different language but all together they create kick ass rock music. Shiva is based in Manchester and was founded by Italian multi instrumentalist and producer Federico Cossu. We are over the moon to discover that Federico is not the only hugely talented Italian artist who chose Manchester to be his home. Pietro Blanca also resides in Mancunia.

If you ever had a chance to listen to Italian guitar masters (Beppe Gambetta or Pino Daniele to just name a few) then you know that the secret of their hugely popular pop and rock music lies in combining classical guitar techniques with ear catching melodies. Continental guitarists don’t just pick up an instrument to play indie – they find their inspiration in folk, medieval, jazz and even flamenco music. Most of them are classically trained. And then bring all those elements into rock music. There is a reason why Sanremo Music Festival both inspired Eurovision and Montreux  Jazz Festival and is responsible for launching careers of Laura Pausini or Eros Ramazotti among countless stars.

The versatility, range of influences from psychedelia to The Beatles and Mark Knopfler (in his Golden Heart era) is evident in Pietro Blanca`s “My Walk” single – dreamy and yet sorrowful song that was just made to be played on the radio on a lazy summer days.  It may surprise you that it lasts just two minutes but such miniature compositions are nothing new in pop music. Just remember “Velocity Girl” by Primal Scream stands at 1:22 minutes.

We had asked Pietro few questions about his music and this is what he had to say:

Pietro during a solo show in Manchester famous Norther Quarter

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. Where are you based and who is in the band?

Pietro Blanca: Hello, my name is Pietro. I am folk/pop singer and songwriter based in Manchester.

Tell us something about your project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve?

Pietro Blanca:  I started my current project in 2010, when I’ve decided to create some music on my own. I was 14 years old when I discovered the guitar for the first time. Through the years, I got into different genres: from mixture of folk and pop like Kings of Convenience, The Cranberries and José Gonzàlez, to heavy metal, like Metallica, System of a Down and Meshuggah. After playing metal with my first band for 5 years, my mind went into a totally different direction! (laughs). My first demo came out in 2010 (“Andare Lontano/Nessuna Esistenza”) and the first EP was released in 2016 (“Mirrors Beyond The Sea”).

What inspires you? What artist or genre had the biggest influence on you?

Pietro Blanca:  I`m inspired by many artists but most likely by Kings of Convenience, José Gonzàlez, The Cranberries and Imogen Heap.

It`s all about the music – and we want to hear about your new single. Is there a story behind the song, where and how was it written.

Pietro Blanca: The single is called  “My Walk”. The song has been written right when I was thinking to leave my country to go abroad. Moving away meant a huge change in my life but also a new adventure to embrace.

 

Are you touring? Where can we see you playing live?

Pietro Blanca: At the moment I’m not touring as a solo artist but I am always checking out open mic nights in Manchester and wherever else is possible. I’ve been focusing on another project called Clifftop Empire in my spare time.

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Pietro Blanca performing with Clifftop Empire in Sheffield

Pietro Blanca:  The best way to reach me is through my Facebook page – Pietro Blanca Music.

Imagine you can record an album with any artist, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Pietro Blanca:  I’d love recording some music with Devin Townsend, he is a great artist in whatever genre he plays.

You can follow Pietro on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/pietroblancamusic/
https://twitter.com/PietroBlanca
https://www.instagram.com/pietro_blanca/
https://soundcloud.com/pietro-blanca
https://www.youtube.com/user/pietroblanca
https://open.spotify.com/artist/68TkewCVzLMXtMCpoMtpUn?si=gsTYG0RwSdyANZRKW3ForA

 

You can listen to Pietro`s demos Andare Lontano/Nessuna Esistenza (“Going Away/No Existence”) at this address:

https://www.jamendo.com/album/62053/andare-lontano-nessuna-esistenza

If you would like to check Pietro`s other musical project – alt rock trio Clifftop Empire, you can do so via following links:

https://www.facebook.com/ClifftopEmpire/
https://soundcloud.com/user-434835923

Thank you kindly for reading and there is lots more in Hello Manchester to discover. We will be seeing you soon.

R/M

Indieterria meets Sybling

Hello!  

It is a music journalist’s privilege to speak to some of the most talented people in the world. Some of the artists might be living just two doors down from you, or in the same town, but some of them might be located at the other side of the pond. Not so long ago, we had an undeniable pleasure to discover an American duo named Sybling. Two New York based sisters, stole our hearts withing minutes with their breathtakingly vocals, harmonies and eerie sounds that would make David Lynch look twice over his shoulder on his way home on a dark winter’s night. The duo are represented by the wonderful folks at Marauder Group and we  wrote to them asking if we could speak to both ladies. Much to our delight, the label and the band said yes (thank you)! We discussed their upbringing in a musical family, writing their debut EP and their eclectic musical taste ranging from Nick Drake to the British indie rock sensation, Radiohead.

Band picture by Manny Inoa

Sybling:
Alice Makwaia (vocals, multi-instruments)
Mariana Quinn-Makwaia (vocals, multi-instruments)

Not always we have a pleasure to speak to an emerging artists from the other side of the pond. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Sybling: Hello there! We are sisters, Alice Makwaia and Mariana Quinn-Makwaia of the duo Sybling.

You grew up in New York, in a musical family with musician and composer father and mother who is an actress and an acting coach. Did your parents have any influence on you to become an artist yourselves? Have they encouraged you to chose this path, or maybe they were against it knowing how hard it is in this business?

Sybling: Both of our parents are artists. As you already mentioned, our father is a musician and our mother is an actress. We grew up, the four of us, near the poverty line, in a one bedroom apartment. It was totally great (and we mean that in earnest). Our parents weren’t unhappy with the struggling artist lifestyle. They saw no problem in going into the arts. Our parents only encouraged us to do what spoke to us. And, from a young age, music did just so.

Before the creation of Sybling, both of you had an impressive musical resumes: Alice wrote musical scores for theatre and film (“The Snow Queen” by Downtown Art and “Forest Bathing” by Yaara Sumeruk) and Mariana found success as part of R’n’B outfit Smoke & Sugar. What convinced you to form a band together? Have you worked with each other before?

Sybling art by Catya Bastien

Sybling: (laughing) Making the band was an easy decision. We grew up singing together and harmonizing. In many ways, we knew each other musically better than anyone else in the world!

Sybling is inspired by a wide and eclectic range of genres: from traditional folk, to soul, jazz, funk and alternative rock. We can hear Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Marianne Faithful and Elliott Smith. And Stevie Wonder! Who is your inspiration?

Sybling: We’re both very inspired by alternative and folk genres. Our top inspirations are Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake, Feist and Radiohead. Funny fact: we actually wrote “The Grim” for Radiohead! We heard the song in Thom Yorke’s voice.

You have released your debut EP on February 22, 2019. It is promoted by a lead single “Grim” and a video in which a young man is haunted by nightmarish figures with white masks covering their faces. Can you tell us more about “Grim” and the concept behind the video?

Sybling: The concept of “The Grim” video came from a sketch we made some years back. It was about someone on the subway, seated next to a suited man in a deer mask. It came from a thought that the subway is the looniest place we know! People are simultaneously physically close but oblivious to each other. We actually wrote the song when we were in High School, and it deals with the loneliness, and darkness that followed us around a lot then.

We absolutely love the cover of your EP, and the artwork  that is displayed on your social media. Who is the author?

Sybling: The cover of our EP was made by a Texas-based artist Catya Bastian. And we made the cover of our single for “Under.”

EP cover by Catya Bastien

You once said that “If one quote were to sum up the entirety of Sybling, it would be Kurt Vonnegut’s: “He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral.” A lot of your lyrics seem to deal with themes of searching for lost things and the past. The whole EP has this aura of melancholy and some sort of sadness. Perhaps we are mistaken but we feel like this record could be considered as a concept album, rather than just a collection of songs to reflect to?

Sybling: We like thinking of our EP as a concept album! Originally, we didn’t know what songs we were going to release, so it’s a bit of a fluke that they contextually fit together so succinctly!

We want to ask you about our favourite song “She is Alive in the Past”. It has beautifully crafted voice harmonies with catchy, radio friendly guitar riffs and piano. What’s really surprising, it has no lyrics. Please tell us more about it. Is there any particular story behind it?

Sybling: “She is still alive in the past” was very much an experiment. We’d had the tune in our heads for years, no lyrics. Even the finished product is a bit of a dream without a clear story. We think of it as a funeral march. We weren’t planning on recording it. Then one day, with an extra hour at the end of a session, we recorded a draft. Simple, just sparse vocals, guitar, organ, a little piano. Mari had the great idea of adding percussion, giving it that lopsided beat—which immediately reminded us, quite morbidly, of the way a zombie would walk.

“Grim” single cover

Last question – If you were to score a Netflix drama of your choice. What would it be and what songs appear on the soundtrack?

Sybling: We think, we’d have to go with Netflix’s “Russian Doll” to write music for. It takes place in the neighborhood we grew up in. We could see “She is still alive in the past” in there.

You can follow Sybling on their social media:
https://www.syblingmusic.com/bio
https://syblingmusic.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/syblingmusic
https://www.facebook.com/pg/syblingmusic
http://sybling.maraudergroup.com/

Email: syblingmusic@gmail.com|

Alice Makwaia (as a solo artist):
https://alicemakwaia.bandcamp.com/releases

Smoke & Sugar (Mariana Quinn-Makwaia side project):
https://www.instagram.com/smokeandsugarmusic
https://www.facebook.com/smokeandsugar/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1KsvM0hfcgI1_7DNTW-ptw

Articles:
https://alonelyghostburning.co.uk/interviews/getting-to-know-sybling/
http://ventsmagazine.com/2019/02/21/premiere-sybling-streams-new-self-titled-ep/
https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/New-York-Folk-Duo-Sybling-Release-Their-Debut-EP-20190301
https://chicagonbeyond.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/mariana-quinn-makwaia-w-smoke-sugar/

Vanadian Avenue would like to say a few “thank you’s” to Sybling manager, Mr Phillipe Roberts and to the Managing Partner/Co-Founder of Marauder Group, Mr Rev Moose for making this interview possible. It was a real pleasure!

It is also worth mentioning that Marauder Group, is responsible for bringing the Independent Venue Week to America! This year, the US edition of IVW will take place on July 8-14, 2019 with more than 60 venues participating. You can find more about the  events here:
http://independentvenueweek.maraudergroup.com/
https://www.independentvenueweek.com/2019/04/independent-venue-week-announces-first-round-of-2019-us-shows-more-participating-venues/

We may try to speak to Marauder about IVW and the difference between the UK and USA versions. Keep your fingers crossed!

Please come back soon, we have a fantastic Mancunian band scheduled to speak to us next week!

Till then,
R+M

Indieterria meets Misha Dawn

Hello hello!

We are starting a brand new month with a BANG! April is going to be a very exciting month with several of our favourite bands performing far and wide, making waves on the independent music circuit and rocking huge crowds of people. Please be on the lookout for Nuns of the Tundra, Thousand Mountain (as they are releasing their debut EP shortly!!), The Americas and Junior Weeb among others.  The spring belongs to them and we will be reporting extensively about their achievements.  Of course, we will always find the time to look for a world-class talent and today we would like to introduce you dear readers to a truly bright star. Her name is Misha Dawn and she has charmed everyone who has ever heard her sing!

The Lady herself – Misha Dawn Patterson

Diva in the making 

Misha Dawn is every record label’s dream come true. She comes with a full package: looks, voice, multiple talents and experience. With her resume the size of a telephone book and her almost effortless ability of penning perfect songs, Misha is a force to be reckoned with. Before she dethrones Leona Lewis as the next British Queen of Pop, Indieterria sat down with her to discuss being a child prodigy, growing into a confident artist and getting highest grades from the harshest judging panel on popular reality TV program, The X-Factor.

Misha Dawn Patterson

Actress, Dancer, singer, songwriter, producer – you seem to have many faces and as many occupations! Please tell us who is Misha Dawn?

Misha Dawn: I’m a Gloucester born artist.  I write lyrics that will confront emotions, happiness and heart break. I am a person who strives to be the very best I can be in everything that I do! I am also a very creative and I like to have a “Plan B’ which is also the title of a song I just wrote! (laughing)
I love experiencing new things all the time along with travelling abroad and seeing/meeting different cultures. My early professional singing career has consisted of singing 50’s-80’s music in care homes.

You started your career very early, at the tender age of 7. Since then you appeared in numerous shows, musicals, radio programmes and live performances. Including appearing on live TV regarding a CD which you wrote also at the same time! Was it hard to be growing up in the spotlight?

Misha Dawn: I would have to answer that with a yes and no. As a child I was awfully shy and have had to seriously work on becoming confident which most people find hard to believe! I am not saying it wasn’t a passion of mine to be in the spotlight (I dreamt about it every day and I still do) but I had to fight against one feeling saying “YES THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT” and the other saying “RUN, EVERYONES WATCHING”. Once I got over my hurdle, I enjoyed everything so much more and I am now completely addicted to performing.

I am fortunate now that I don’t have major stage fright, for those of you who watched me on ‘Dinner Date’ TV show will know I have a bigger fear of flying bugs!

Misha Dawn with Sam and Ashley Worskett at the O2 Academy in Birmingham

It is almost hard to believe but you are also classically trained dancer! Has your comprehensive education helped you in your artistic endeavours?

Misha Dawn:  That’s 100% right. Dancing since the age of 3 had helped me tremendously. From dance performances, rhythm, appreciating different styles of music such as classical, jazz, modern and much more. However, at 12 years old, my injuries put an end to a professional ballet career and my life took a new turn. When I’m on stage, you will notice that I incorporate dance into my singing performances and I love it! I couldn’t imagine singing while standing still.

We would like to ask you about two milestones in your career: appearing on the cover of national WI Life magazine (May/June 2016 edition) and taking part in the X Factor in 2017. You passed 4 rounds with flying colour. Both must have been amazing experiences.

Misha & Ashley

Misha Dawn:  They were both a dream come true. Just thinking about it now, I cannot believe they happened and how lucky I am to have experienced them! I have always wondered what it would be like to have my face on the front cover of a magazine growing up and have watched X factor growing up for as long as I can remember and still doing so now! Getting 4 yes’s from the judges was amazing.

Your music blends, soul, jazz, hip-hop, pop and rock. You have been compared to Beyoncé, Sia and Jesse J. We could add Mica Paris and Mary J Blidge to the mix, especially when you are on stage rocking out with a full band. Your performance at recent Soundwave Music Competition at O2 Academy in Birmingham reminded us of Mary J Blidge singing an alternative version of “One” with U2.

Misha Dawn:  Wow what can I say! For my performance at the O2 to be compared to Mary J Blidge singing with U2 is incredible. It has taken me many, many years of grafting to get where I am and with a comment like that it shows my hard work has paid off! I will continue to grow and every time I perform I make a promise to myself that I will always be better than he last time. My biggest rival is myself.

Talking about your live band, can you introduce your guitarist and drummer to our readers? You share a special bond with them, it was a pure joy watching you perform together.

Misha Dawn: Thank you very much! My guitarist is called Ashley Worskett, he is inspirational and my drummer is called Sam Worskett. Both are brilliant musicians and I am so glad I found them by taking a chance on advertising online for band members. I’m buzzing to see what the future holds performing with them at festivals, parties, events – you name it!

Ashley Worskett – Misha`s guitarist and we swear a new Bernard Butler!

Your latest single “Live It Up” is a well written and produced track that could be a launching pad to Top 20. Tell us more about it. 

Misha Dawn:  Thank you very much! I wrote and produced the song myself a couple of years ago and released the music video on YouTube quite recently. I really wanted a feel-good track for all ages, something you can play when you’re going out, in the car, feeling low, or whatever the reason may be. I made sure my “Live it Up” music video was ‘jammed packed’ full of fun and friends. I have put it on all major downloading sites such as Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and if it did get to the top 20…I would be utterly lost for words.

It’s only April and 2018 has already been a very busy year for you. What are your plans for the nearest months?

Misha Dawn:  I really want to get out there and play for fans and supporters. For the next few months I will be working on a new single of mine which I am so excited for. It is my best song yet. I wrote and produced it and I’m planning to have it uploaded onto all major downloading sites and Youtube. Music video will soon follow, so please be on the lookout and tell me what you think! Also, I’m booking a lot shows and I would like to perform with other artists such as Ella Eyre who is an inspiration to me in the music world.

Misha at the o2 Academy in Birmingham, 24.02.2018

You can follow Misha on social media:
https://www.mishadawn.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MishaDawnOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/mishadawn
https://twitter.com/MishaDawn_
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGkad0FIbHHALgftQBJ3F2A

Additional article you may find interesting:
http://www.starnow.co.uk/Misha3star

After our meeting with Misha at the SoundWave competition in Birmingham, we are sure she will go a long, long way. Vanadian Avenue will be closely monitoring Misha’s next steps and hopefully we will be able to chronicle her journey to stardom.

Please visit us soon as our next blog will be even more esciting!

See you soon,
Rita and Mal

**** Update 17/04/2018****

Misha, Ashley and Samuel on stage – this was such a powerful performance!

Misha’s concert at the SoundWave Competition at the O2 Arena in Birmingham left us truly impressed. Not only we were amazed by her extraordinary performing abilities but we were equally dazzled with her backing band. To learn more about them, we spoke to guitar player Ashley Worskett (we swear he is a new Bernie Butler!) to discuss the beginnings of their successful collaboration, musical influences and recent trip to London town.

 Would you like to tell us how did you and Misha meet and how long have you worked together?

Ashley Worskett: I started working with Misha after responding to her advert on a popular casting website. She gave me a call, I sent her some demo tapes and she liked them. She also needed a drummer so I suggested my brother Sam, who was 16 at the time. Sam is also a violinist and he had just returned from a music tour in Venice. He is still at school, but he agreed to do the gig to help Misha out.

We all met for the first time at a rehearsal studio. We all got on well, learnt the songs and 2 days later performed at the O2 Academy. So it was all a bit of a crazy!

Ashley and Samuel playing with Misha at o2 Academy in Birmingham

Your performance on stage during the SoundWave competition was fantastic. Please tell us more about yourself. Who is Ashley Worskett, how long have you been you playing and who inspires you?

Ashley Worskett:  I am 20 years old musician that have been performing drama for several years. I attended a highly regarded drama theatre in Warwick and I am currently a student at the University of Gloucester. I’ve been playing guitar for 5 years. My main musical inspiration comes from the virtuoso heavy metal guitarists from the 80’s, people like Eddie Van Halen and Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme. I like listening to bands like Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe and Metallica. Jake E Lee and George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob are also ripping guitarists that I take inspiration from!

You recently travelled to London. Did you have fun?

Ashley Worskett:  Yeah! London was amazing. I had to get up at 1 am to catch the bus from where I live in Cheltenham, to get to the film studio in London for 7 am. I was taking part in a feature film, being produced by one of the major studios. It’s a biopic about a well-known rock band from the 70’s and 80’s and it’s due for release later this year. It was an exciting day, and great to be working with truly professional people in the film industry!

We are sure that Misha, Sam & Ashley Worskett are people worth watching in the nearest future. We always say that the talented kids are the  future and we have enough talent in West Midlands for several decades.

xxx
M+R

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