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 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/

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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

Indieterria meets Jesse River Dylan Murray

Dear Readers,

JRDM`s heart shaped logo

Let`s take a walk on the wild side.  Our next discovery is not only talented singer-songwriter, with a unique sense of fashion and penchant for poetry.  They also have a list of inspirations long for a mile (William Shatner, Shrek, Ted Hughes, Stefan Raab, David Attenborough, Julian Lennon to name a few), witnessed Eurovision in Vienna and have a whole box of cds from their trip to India. They play rock but their debut EP is called “Classical Music”. Feeling confused? Good, a little vertigo won’t hurt. We have been observing Jesse River Dylan Murray for weeks at the open mic nights around town and finally had a chance to question them for this month`s edition of Indieterria. We hope you will enjoy this interview, because we surely had so much fun preparing it. Can you blame us? Jesse`s cool as few tons of Persian kittens and we can barely wait for 19th of July when the EP and the jaws will drop.

Life’s got everything to do with music

Look sharp! Jesse is a skilled photographer taking all his promotional shots. Ah those pesky kids today, daring to be creative and talented!

Meeting Jesse River Dylan Murray almost feels like stumbling upon the icons of rock and roll golden era. Soft-spoken, dressed in vividly colorful attire that places them somewhere between Marc Bolan and David Bowie, Jesse instantly becomes the center of attention. Their impromptu, refreshingly innovative sessions at the open mic nights around Worcester are like a breath of fresh air. Having heard the rave reviews, we wasted no time to see them in action for ourselves. This is what we have learnt…

Jesse River Dylan-Murray – that’s a fantastic name and a well suited one for a rock star.  Please introduce yourself.

Well, it’s not a stage name in case anyone was wondering, it is my full birth name. I’m apparently named after River Phoenix & Bob Dylan. I’m a guitar-playing songwriter based in Worcester (against my will) and I inhale hope and exhale disappointment. I don’t really aim to become a rockstar – in fact the very term somewhat grates against me like splintery wood. I feel like that whole title has been & gone and comes with this set of specific ways on how to do music which I don’t want to be tied down by. I loathe describing myself almost as much as I loathe BBC Radio 2 & The X Factor.

You have studied at Nunnery Wood High School that is known for placing a great emphasis on art and music. Other graduates include Jodi Hughes, Ewan Pollock and brothers Zac and Alfie Jeavons- from Lost Tiger to the Wild. Did the artistic education help to shape you as a musician?

 I always thought Nunnery Wood was a science-biased school… I had very little interest in music generally when I was there. Pretty much all I was listening to at the time was Marilyn Manson & Michael Jackson (my goth phase & my inner child viciously grinding against each other.) It wasn’t until 2010 when I started to really get into music fanatically (starting with Alice Cooper) and I didn’t get my first guitar until the middle of 2013, a year after I’d left college. My mother’s boyfriend, who had been playing since the 60s, probably, gave me a few lessons in the beginning, but the short answer is that I was never formally educated in music nor was I at all inspired by my educational background. I hated school with a near-maniacal passion and still look back on it with disdain.

Jesse as a guitar hero (self portrait)

One of your songs entitled “Smoke without fire” received a lot of airplays on social media. It is a very complex and interesting composition. Can you tell us more about its beginnings? What is the message behind it?

This song I can actually, unlike most of my songs, pinpoint to an exact moment in time. I was having a conversation with my stepdad in a pub last March and we were talking about rumours & the media, and he said something like “People say there’s no smoke without fire, but you know there absolutely is.” And that’s what the song’s really about in my mind. Spurious rumours, dirty gossip, twisted media. From the playground level to the international level. A bit of anger there in that song

Given the opportunity, we have to ask about another of your songs – “Everyone Wants To Look At Me But Nobody Wants To Look Me In The Eye”. With its poetic yet sarcastically sad lyrics and melodic riffs, it almost sounds like a track that didn’t make the cut for The Smiths’ “The Queen is dead” album.

“Classical Music” EP cover

“I live on the outside of the outside because the rebels and the punks and the freaks and the queers don’t want to know me.” It’s a fairly straightforward song I think, with its almost comically mammoth title. Not entirely sure when I conceived that song, but I had the title stuck in my head for what felt like at least a couple of years. I mean it’s obviously about being stared at and not fitting in, as so many songs are (I’m not even a Radiohead fan) but on another level it’s a lot more. It’s about not even fitting in in the usual groups of outcasts, feeling out of place literally everywhere, accepted or otherwise, but most importantly not even having any clue what you are. To paraphrase the brilliant Chicago-originated musician Ezra Furman: “People say ‘oh just be yourself’ but I don’t have any clue what that is…”.

Your debut EP entitled “Classical music” will be released on 19th of July. What can we expect? Are any of your previously released demos included or are you going to treat your fans to something completely new?

Smoke Without Fire is on there in the center of it. Everyone Wants… is currently being worked on to be released separately. The EP will contain 6 tracks – 5 original plus an instrumental bit of classical music (hey-hey did somebody say theming ho-ho) – at a rather beefy 31 minutes and will cost £3 – that’s the same as a meal deal readers, only this lunch don’t have no consume-by date! It will also contain the bouncy anti-pop protest anthem That’s Got Nothing to Do With Music, which I’ve been bombarding poor old Worcester with for a while and will most likely be released as the leading single for this by the time this issue of SLAP comes out, available for download. So get on that.

You have recorded at the famous MayB Studios in Pershore along many established acts such as jazz sensation Hot Fingers, London legendary punk rockers Bad Habits or Worcester Music Festival veterans Amorphica. How would you describe working with one of the best music producers and engineers in the county?

The studio’s owner, Peter May`s top person. He always knows exactly what he’s doing and is pretty quick to figure out what you want if you’re not sure how to describe the sound you’re looking for. He’s in the room with you through the whole process – no soundproof glass, no separate room – so you get a proper teamwork feel to it and it’s pretty easy to communicate quickly enough and make the most of your time there (which is also pretty cheap at £10 an hour.) He is, so far, my only experience of working with a producer/engineer and I feel like I’ve lucked out. You also get to work with some pretty swanky top-notch equipment, and if you’re really nice to him he’ll even make you a lovely cup of tea.

Imagine you have a chance to gather any musicians from local or international scene to create an ultimate artistic dream team. Who would share the stage with you and why?

 Thinking locally, I’m a big fan of Ellie Williams and her end-of-the-world song writing and absolutely bellowing pipes. Looking forward to her EP when it comes out and I’d love to work with her. I also like Ben Dallow quite a lot – locally nicknamed “Britpop Ben” for I suppose his rather Gallagher-esque appearance and drone. He has a great non-stop style of guitar playing where he mixes rhythm and lead really well, and gives the impression of being so ice-cool you could hit him with your car and he might not even notice. There’s also Rueben Lovett, Cheltenham-based guitar player and a brilliant writer. Only ever seen him live once so far, right after I’d just left the stage at Marrs Bar’s open mic. I was so sweaty and needed to step outside to cool off, but found myself rooted to the spot by this unique charisma he has. A bit punky but largely just special. Don’t know about a bassist and drummer though… just a load of writers & mostly guitar players lacking the foundations. Chaos.

Sit down next to me (auto-portrait)

Your fashion sense is very unique and you have been compared to David Bowie’s stage persona of Ziggy Stardust and Adam Ant’s Prince Charming. What inspire you?

 My sense of fashion just exploded one day in Cheltenham, when I was 15 years old. I was there seeing my very first ever gig, and my friends & I found this vintage clothes shop on a side street called Browsers. And I’m talking ridiculous vintage here: flares, tassels, glitter, shoulder-pads, zebra-print. I’d never been somewhere like there before. Prior to that I was on the tail-end of my goth phase and moving into the zone of checkered shirts (God knows why) but in that shop something in my head clicked and said “Hang on… I can wear anything!” And I went to that gig that night wearing this ridiculous heavy red velvet waistcoat with 2-foot-long tassels dangling from it (still got it too.) My sense of fashion just evolved from there and that wear-anything philosophy. I’ve since lost sight of the point of even gender-pigeonholing and mix in the make-up, heels & dresses with the suits, leather jackets & jumpsuits. I want it all. I just get bored very, very easily and don’t like to stick to one style for long.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Where can we see you play live?

 My EP launch party will be at The Chestnut on Wednesday July 19th – that’s free entry as well – and I’ll have my very first paid gig at the Brecon Fringe Festival on August 13th. Beyond that I’ll keep inflicting myself upon the open mics of Worcestershire – primarily The Marrs Bar, Firefly & Chestnut – until I move away. I’m still small time. I’ve only been performing regularly for about 14 months. You’ve caught me in what are hopefully only the very early stages. Just another noise-maker in a line of noise-makers. Though my noise is often a few decibels apart from the night’s standard – either quieter or louder, depending on my general mood and whether I want to croon about a mythical Greek monster or bellow & growl about alcohol. Do come see the noise, though. It will be – deep breaths now – FUN.

Poster for the EP launch party on July 19th 2019

You can follow Jesse at:
https://www.facebook.com/JRDMcreations/
https://soundcloud.com/jesse-river-dylan-murray

And you can buy the EP here:

https://jrdm.bandcamp.com/album/classical-music

You can find this interview in the July edition of Slap Magazine:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-71-july-2017.pdf 

or download the file from here:

issue-71-july-2017

Nearly a centerfold! Jesse featured in SLAP Magazine July 2017

As we said, before we sat down to talk with Jesse, we seen them several times performing live and each time Jesse would blow us away. Their stage presence is immaculate and the clothes and killer shoes are just unearthly. It`s like Richey Edwards raiding Bernard Butler`s wardrobe in the 1990s. Or Freddie Mercury, or Syd Barrett or Brian Molka or Marc Bolan or Stevie Nicks…it`s like walking on set of Velvet Goldmine, Breakfast on Pluto live… we can go on until tomorrow morning.

We took some shots for you, so you can judge for yourselves.

Jesse`s amazing stage outfits.

Dressed to slay we tell you.

Classic look and killer heels

We will see you on the 19th July for the EP launch. As Jesse said – it will be FUN.

xxx
Mal+Rita D.

**** Update 26/07/2017****

New Poster for the EP launch

Pushing at the boundaries – “Classical Music” EP launch

Chestnut Inn in Worcester is an unusual place. For starters it looks like it should belong in Hay On Wye. Books and antiques can be found in every corner. On second glance, the pub feels like a crossover between Leaky Cauldron and Peel Archive.  Fat, red cat roams around demanding cuddles from the customers, big portraits of rock and blues stars on the walls seem alive and there are vinyl records in big piles near the bar. No wonder that  Chestnut was chosen as a venue for Jesse River Dylan Murray`s EP launch on 19 July 2017.

The Chestnut Inn in Worcester

This place is like Cash in the Attic episode

Some of those records are really old and still being used!

Large portraits that give Chestnut Inn quite a character

Chestnut Inn decor is out this world, we tell you.

That is self explanatory!

A wild child of Worcester music scene, Jesse cannot be easily squeezed  into a box and they have more aces in their sleeve than a skilled gambler.  One moment channeling Bowie, the next singing like Tom Waits, Jesse easily changes from glam to indie to alternative with charm and buoyancy that captivates the audience. We can tell you that when we entered The Chestnut, the house was full.

Before Jesse hit the stage, we had a pleasure to listen to two support acts: Stephen L Wright (locally known as Nobby Wright) and Benjamin Dallow.  Stephen L. Wright continues a proud tradition of classic blues and we are sure that sooner than later Nobby will find himself on the other side of the Pond. Ben Dallow (who filled in for Redwood as she could not perform due to conflicting schedules) on the other hand is fully immersed in British rock. There is a lot of Oasis and Paul Weller influences in Ben`s music but since when comparison to the Modfather is a bad thing? Dallows version of Jam`s That’s Entertainment was fresh and done in his own style, so no complaints from us here. It also should be noted that Ben`s performance was arranged the night before the EP launch at a last minute but it worked out perfectly. That’s the beauty of our local music scene.

Ben Dallow during his performance

Rock`n`Roll star

We think we need to introduce Ben to Mikey Johns of This Feeling.

Once Ben Dallow finished his set – it was all about Jesse and their music. With their signature guitar, full make up on and snow white shirt, Murray mirrored Richey Edwards in passion and  stage persona and equaled American indie sensation Michete in outspokenness.  They played the EP in full and when that was not enough, they turned to a cover (brilliant version of Heroin by Velvet Underground).

For a young performer Jesse surely has dedicated friends – some of them came as far as London for the launch and at the end of the night, Jesse was presented  with a huge bouquet of summer flowers. Not Morrissey-esque flowers but equally sweet.

Bold in their performance, but there was a bit of stage fright too, we think.

Rocking to a crowded room

Jesse on stage

a view from the first row

In their element

Not everything was perfect. Jesse like many other acts has to learn on the job and perhaps the set was too longish but we did not really mind. Even if we had to buy the EP from one of Jesse`s friends and not the artist themselves.

It was a fun night – full of excellent music, chaos, silly conversations, too many pints and had all the marks of “I was there” moment. If given right amount of endurance in this dog-eat-dog industry, Jesse River Dylan Murray has all the talent and persona to become not just a local starlet – but a full grown rock and roll start in their own right.

Better than Moz.

Set list

The day after thank you note from the artist.

Credits:

Jesse River Dylan Murray:
https://www.facebook.com/JRDMcreations

Stephen L Wright (also known as Nobby Wright)
https://soundcloud.com/nobby-wright

Ben Dallow
https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.dallow

The Chestnut Inn
https://www.facebook.com/TheChestnutInn/

EP launch review in SLAP Magazine, August 2017

Our review has been now published in August issue of Slap Magazine. You can read the magazine online (turn to page 43) here:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/issue-72/august-2017/

Or download a copy from here:

issue-72-august-2017

JRDM – pink bullet logo

If you need to purchase a copy of the EP – please click on the link below. It costs just £3 and supports a very talented performer who, like many on Worcester music scene, is fully independent and  DIY.

https://jrdm.bandcamp.com/album/classical-music

Cover of the digital single That`s got nothing to do with music that accompanied the EP launch

The EP is accompanied by a free download digital single “That`s got nothing to do with music”. Jesse decided not only to give one song completely free for their listeners, but also offered lyrics (it`s actually a very long and contemplative poem) and hi res artwork.  We really believe this is a fair deal – from a very promising artist. You know what to do!

https://jrdm.bandcamp.com/track/thats-got-nothing-to-do-with-music

On 12th July, the single was debuted at BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester to a warm welcome from listeners and the broadcaster Andrew Marston himself

That`s Got Nothing To Do With Music debuted on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester on July 12th 2017

And if you need any more recommendation to get yourself a copy of “Classical Music” – please have a look at the photo posted recently by Steve Lamacq (of New Musical Express, Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music fame). Jesse`s EP has landed on his desk and was scheduled for listening. We think this is uber cool and only shows what potential JRDM has!

 

EP has made its way to 6 Music!

Hope you enjoy the review, coming up – everybody`s fav section – images from two great local photographers!

M/R

**** Update 28/07/2017****

It`s been a week since the EP launch (you can buy it HERE) and  we are getting some amazing shots from the night. Please let us show you photographs done by Andy O`Hare. Andy is a journalist of local chapter of BBC (BBC Hereford and Worcester) and also a staff member at the local SLAP Magazine. He is often seen in front rows, documenting local music scene with his camera in hand– the amount of gigs he attended would make John Peel envious!

Andy was so kind to come and photograph the EP launch despite a very busy schedule. And he allowed us  to republish some of his shots on our blog.

Diolch Andy!

Please visit Andy at:

https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

Peace out,
Mal+ Rita

**** Update 02/08/2017****

EP launch in the lens of Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

More coverage dear readers! Let us present you with some stunning works of Duncan Graves. Originally from Manchester, Duncan relocated to Worcester and has been one of the cornerstones of the scene for many years. He is a freelance photographer working with local bands and  magazines and documenting the music community we have in town.

Duncan was so kind to come and shot the EP launch and he agreed for his images to be part of this humble blog. And thanks to him, we can finally close the gap in our coverage as we did not have any shots of Stephen L Wright performing.

Stephen L. Wright by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Folk hero- Stephen L. Wright, photo by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Benjamin Dallow – photo by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

That`s entertainment – Ben Dallow photographed by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Jesse photographed by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

 

Duncan`s a top lad. You can send kudos (and your gig dates) to him here:

https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

***

EP on the inside

EP back

We will round up  our coverage of Jesse`s EP with this statement. Classical Music has been sitting in our stereo for good three weeks now and we just love it to bits. It is such a nice little local record and surely one of the best debts we have seen on our scene in a long while. Actually, we spoke to folks who have been attending local gigs for years and what pops up in almost every conversation is the excitement people feel. Peace and The Tights  are brought up (two local bands that hit it big) and how they made the town proud.  What is also being noticed is Jesse`s much more ambitious approach and his strive to forge his own stage persona. Imagine, if this kid grows to be new Bowie – mentioned one gig veteran we ran into at the Market Hall Records one Saturday morning when we were all digging through newly arrived rarities. And there was no sarcasm in his voice. That man been going to shows around West Midlands for thirty five years and seen the good, the bad and the ugly of local music. If Jesse is able to win over such hardened listeners, then what really can stop him? All the best Jesse, we have our fingers crossed!

Ps. We really think you look better with flowers than Moz. Thanks for reading this blog!

Jesse is shocked. Mission accomplished! ^-^

Indieterria crew is so so happy with how this blog tuned out – and we hope you agree with us dear readers. Weeks of following the artist, at least 11 updates and corrections and we think we nailed it. Its rock and roll and we are so excited to bring you all the details and angles to the story:)

Mal & Rita

Indieterria meets Jodie Hughes

Indieterria meets Jodie Hughes

Transmission.
Photo by Dominika Marchewka
https://www.facebook.com/a7xf0rlife

Another month, another  edition of Indieterria and we just discovered a real gem worth telling you about. So far we concentrated on bands, but this time around we will profile a solo artist (even if she is part of a band as well).  After all – variety is the spice of life.

We are beyond excited to bring you this interview . Jodie Hughes is unique: hip and mysterious, outgoing, intellectual, artistic and she`s also a polymath (person who is knowledgeable in various disciplines).  She may be very young but, as you will soon discover, she had done in her time more than a lot of us. And she is just getting started.

Jodie Hughes – In a league of her own.

In the world where artists document their entire lives on social media, Jodie Hughes goes against the current. Her online presence is minimal, she scrupulously avoids the spotlight, values education more than fame and releases her music exclusively in form of home-made demos. In the same time, she is a multi-instrumentalist (playing piano, keyboards, synths, bass, ukulele and guitar), avid busker, alumni of Worcester School of Rock, one of the youngest participants of Worcester Music Festival (she was  fifteen when she performed in 2015 to a full house) and  recently she supported  the hottest acts on indie scene – Anteros and The Assist.

We just knew that we had to interview Jodie . Not every day you meet such a diverse, young artist.

Jodie on stage
Photo by Rebecca Warr
https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.warr.7

As a singer and songwriter, your presence on local scene is strong, yet you remain mysterious and elusive. I know you fiercely guard your privacy and allow little information to appear online. By your own words, what  should be known about Jodie Huges as an artist and musician?

I have a very wide variety of influences and I like a little mystery! I’m very fussy about my original songs, they have to be perfect for me to share them.

You recently opened Independent Music Week event in Worcester by supporting such accomplished acts as The Assist and Anteros. What is your reflection of the night?

I really enjoyed it!! It was a fantastic opportunity and Independent  Music Week is brilliant for reminding people of some of the great venues that are out there. I’m very honoured to have been a part of it!

Slap Magazine described you previously as possessing “beautifully melodic vocals”, others drew comparisons to Amy McDonald, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star and Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine. Do you regard such praises as a compliment or unnecessary pressure?

I like hearing other people’s opinions of my music, I like learning different people’s interpretations!  I definitely see it as a compliment to be compared to such successful artists and it sometimes introduces me to new artists too!

You are being likened to Hope Sandoval also because of your unusual artistic strategy: occasional gigs instead of regular performances, busking around with no prior announcements, no demos or EPs being released. Are you waging this musical guerrilla to keep audience on their toes? 

Mostly it’s due to time constraints, it’s often difficult to balance time spent on music with college work, especially at this time of year! I definitely try to keep my music going in some form, be it writing or busking, alongside working – it’s healthy to have something separate to focus on as a break from college work.  I’m hoping to work more intensely on writing and hopefully more gigs over the summer after exams though! Plus it’s always fun to keep people guessing!!!

Jodie performing during Worcester Music Festival 2016
Photo by Rebecca Warr
https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.warr.7

Your SoundClound account is filled by original compositions and covers of eclectic artists like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Neighbourhood. You seem to enjoy confusing anyone who tries to squeeze you into a box.

I’ve always had a wide range of music tastes – I don’t think I could put myself into any box really! I’ve had phases where I’ve taken a particular type of music, like pop punk or indie, and tried to solely fit myself into that one genre, but there’s just so much out there it’s good to discover what else there is! My band do sometimes covers of many different artists – Fleetwood Mac, REM, Erasure and Beyonce to name a few.  Over the years I’ve discovered so many great artists from so many genres, I encourage everyone else to do the same.

We are intrigued by one of your original pieces  – “Don’t talk to me about death”. There is a line in the middle that goes “keep pretending that you`ll be my Kurt Cobain”. You sound almost furious in that track. Is it based on personal experience?

The song is based on a particular person – or I suppose a particular type of person – who tried to create a persona based on self-pity and trying to appear deep and meaningful through cynicism.  The Kurt Cobain reference was in relation to this idea of appearing a certain way and glorifying and romanticizing mental illness, which is often done by the media regarding celebrities such as Kurt Cobain. The idea of trying to be negative just to appear a certain way, and almost making a mockery out of mental illness by using it as an accessory, seemed so ridiculous to me, it felt necessary to voice my feelings on it somehow.

Jodie performing with her signature guitar.
Photo by Lissywitch
https://www.facebook.com/LissywitchPhoto/

Another track worth mentioning is “Mixtapes And Metaphors” – a love song with incredibly clever lyrics. As a song writer what is more important to you – composing of music or having a story to tell?

I think it’s a bit of both – they can work quite well together actually. I like intricacy, it’s something I’ve been trying to work on more by remodelling some of my old songs and adding more subtle details.  I personally find writing lyrics very difficult, so I think I generally prefer the composing and storytelling through the other parts of the song. I am hoping to improve my lyric-writing though! I find some songs with such detail and little lyrics sometimes work better (like The 1975’s song “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”).

Besides being a musician, you are also a skilled painter. You design all covers to your demos. Can we expect any exhibitions from you in the future?

That’d definitely be something I’d like to do one day! I’ve been experimenting with what subject matter I like to work with recently – animals and flowers have been fun to study.  Similarly to my music, it’s nice to have something to do as a break from work, and having stopped studying art at college I’ve been able to experiment more at my own pace and in my own style.

You are currently working towards a degree in law and philosophy. Do you think it is obligatory for musicians these days to have a proper education alongside their artistic endeavors?

It’s a matter of choice really.  I know some great musicians who are going to do degrees in music tech, which is a really good option for them.  I personally chose to go down a path not related to music so that I can enjoy lots of different things – Law is a subject that I really enjoy studying, whereas things like music and art I prefer to have more freedom over, and the option to pick it up as and when I have the inspiration.  I’ve personally found it harder to work creatively under time constraints. However if that works for other musicians that’s great for them!  I think everyone should consider what would be best for them in the long run, but that may be a music-based career/education for some people.

We know you prefer to take your audience by surprise. But what should we expect from Jodie Hughes in the months or years to come?

I’m hoping to go a bit more electronic maybe.  I’ve been looking into getting hold of an Akai Miniak – my dad has two he uses for gigs  and there’s so much you can do with them.  That’s definitely something I’m interested in.  Again, I’m hoping to have more time to write and record more after exams, perhaps re-recording some of my old songs and updating them a bit.  Who knows, I may even start new projects while I’m at university!

Focused, fiercely independent and always looking for new artistic endeavours, Jodie Hughes has no match on local music scene. She has created a whole league of her own.

****

Jodie Hughes – Mixtapes and Metaphors (EP review)

Mixtapes and Metaphors
EP cover

“Mixtapes and Metaphors” is a digital EP or a collection of home recordings that Jodie released between 2015 and 2017. It contains the following original compositions: Angel Statue, Crazy Scientist, Don’t Talk To Me About Death, Small Talks, unfinished version of New Years and the title track Mixtapes and Metaphors.  Each song is accompanied by a mysterious drawing, often a study of animals, human faces or natura morta.  Most tracks can be qualified into singer/songwriter category bringing comparisons with Amy McDonald or Courtney Barnett.  Don’t Talk to Me about Death stands out thanks to very personal lyrics and angry vocals, while Angel Statue incorporates keyboards, samples and has a vivid shoegaze feel to it, including distorted vocals that make Jodie Hughes sound eerily like Belinda Butcher. Somebody please call Creation Records!

On April 14th, Jodie released a new demo – Lake Water (Blue) – this time playing with synthesizers and electronica.

We thought you would like to see the covers of Jodie`s demos. They are spectacular.

Don`t talk to me about death cover

Crazy Scientist cover

Lake Water (Blue) cover

Angel Statue cover.
(word of advice -Don`t blink!)

You can read this interview (in a shorter form) in the April 2017 issue of Slap Magazine:

Interview with Jodie in April edition of Slap Mag

Page 2 of the interview printed in Slap Mag (April 2017)

Online version of the magazine can be found here:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-68-april-2017.pdf

or you can download the file directly from here:

issue-68-april-2017

You can follow Jodie Hughes using the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/jodiehughesmusic
http://www.worcestermusicfestival.co.uk/bands/Jodie-Hughes/
https://soundcloud.com/jodiehughesmusicandstuff
https://twitter.com/JodieHMusic

****

Independent Venue Week 2017 

Ad for UNCOVER – club night organized every month in Worcester at the Marrs Bar. This was launching night on 26.01.2017 to celebrate Independent Venue Week

Last week of January is usually dedicated to independent music venues across the country.  Worcester is a home to Marrs Bar, which is both proudly independent and ran with the local music scene in mind. On 26th January 2017, Marrs Bar hosted an opening night of UNCOVER – a local club night, while simultaneously taking part in Independent Venue Week.

UNCOVER invited some esteemed guests to play in Worcester: Anteros and Rhythm Method (London) and  The Assist (Birmingham). Jodie has been invited to represent home town scene and opened the night with a semi acoustic set.

Flyer advertising club night UNCOVER with Jodie on the bill.

It is always fun to see the jaws drop when Jodie enters the stage and beings to sing. If the audience expects a clone of Taylor Swift or Duffy belting out covers, then they are in for big disappointment.  Jodie presented a set consisting of her own tunes with occasional rendition of a song by The Neighbourhood. And she sang in such a passion and verve  like she headlined John Peel Stage at Glasto.  The audience had goose bumps and once again comparisons to Bilinda Butcher were uttered in whispers. And we won`t be lying to tell you that we have seen people leave the venue after seeing Jodie and The Assist. They did not even wait for the main act!

Jodie Hughes on stage at Marrs Bar opening for The Assist and Anteros.

Jodie opening Independent Venue Week with her performance at the Marrs Bar on 26.01.2017

After her mesmerizing set, Jodie was compared to both Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and Bilinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)

We at Vanadian Avenue thought that such a successful debut called for a celebration. Or at least a present. Few days before the gig, we framed the poster and  handed it to Jodie once she came off stage. Here she is holding the poster with her name on it. A small memento of her big night.

Jodie posing with poster with her name on it. Framed poster was presented to her as memento.

You can see the review of the gig at Slap magazine:

Review of UNCOVER in Slap Magazine

 

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-66-february-2017.pdf

Or you can download the file here:

issue-66-february-2017

We hope that you have enjoyed this issue of Indieterria and we will surely come back to update you on Jodie`s future plans and gigs.

Ta,

Malicia/Rita

 ****Update 30/06/2017****

Tickets for Battle of The Bands at the Worcester Rugby Club, 23rd June 2017

Flyer for the event

All you good, good people – listen to us. Time has come to introduce you to The Lightweights, a project where Jodi Hughes plays guitar and shares vocal duties. We have mentioned the band before, but in our interview we wanted to focus on Jodie alone.

Now, that we have seen The Lightweights live, we can put our stamp of approval  on them and encourage you to catch them on stage if you have a chance.

The Lightweights are a quartet consisting of Alex Russell (drums), Fiona Berry (rhythm guitar), Jodie Hughes (vox, lead guitar) and Euan Richardson (vox, bass).

The Lightweights on stage

Jodie Huges and Euan Richardson – opposites attract

We had a real pleasure to see Lightweights during The Battle of The Bands at the Worcester Rugby Club on 23rd July 2017 and they made an impact all right. Performing as a trio (Fiona Berry is on sabbatical), the band  is a very contemporary twist on American college rock, combining energy of Hole with harmonies and dynamics of Veruca Salt as Jodie and Euan take turns at the microphone. The youngest of the lot Alex (he is just 14) kept the perfect rhythm and it seemed so effortless for him. It is hard not to compare Euan to legendary bass woman Kristen Pfaff – with her dark flowing hair and elaborate stage outfit.  She and Jodie contrast and yet complete each other. Lack of second guitarist was felt, but it did not slow the band at all. We can only hope Fiona will return shortly so we can enjoy The Lightweights in their full line up.

Euan Richardson of The Lightweights

Jodie Hughes of The Lightweights

He bangs the drum – Alex Russell of The Lightweights

We grabbed some merch (pins and mirrors) from the band and count the night to be a perfect one.

Pin and mirror

Merch (front)

You can follow The Lightweights are the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/TheLightweightsBand/
https://www.instagram.com/thelightweightsband/

M/R

 ****Update 03/07/2017****

Worcester Carnival Flyer

We will return to The Lightweights for a moment as we managed to catch them live on July 1st 2017 as part of the Worcester Carnival and as usual they were stunning.  Jodie, Alex and Euan opened the stage dedicated to Worcester School of Rock and delivered 45 minutes show  despite scorching heat. Those kids may be young, but they are professional to the core. Rain, shine, 37 degrees in the shade – doesn’t matter. The band will play and the crowd will have a lot of fun.

The Lightweights at Worcester Carnival

If you haven’t heard of Worcester School of Rock and Performance before, then listen carefully – because this organisation has been operating in town for twenty years. They hold music courses for anyone between eight and eighteen and coach young musicians to be able to perform on stage as part of a – yes, you guessed it – rock band. Young artists not only learn their craft, but also polish their stage presence and get to know how to co-operate in a group. You don’t have to end up being new Rolling Stones but the skills acquired at the school will be useful thought your adult life. Nothing beats creativity and willingness to work with others.

Worcester Carnival performance by The Lightweights

The school  has regular shows at Marrs Bar (our prime venue in town), Mapp Fest and several other music events though out the year. If you feel like joining – please use the links below.  And the coolest news of the day is that on July 14th – WSRP will hold a gig at Marrs Bar and guess who is on the bill.

The Lightweights performing for Worcester Carnival on July 1st 2017

Yep The Lightweights will be rocking out and we have cameras at the ready. So expect another update to this blog. We can`t get enough of Jodie, Alex and Euan. To see them live, pleasure and privilege is ours.

Twenty years of Worcester School of Rock!

https://www.facebook.com/W.S.R.P.worcester
http://www.wsrp.co.uk/

M/R

Indieterria meets The Fidgets

Hello Dear Music Explorers,

The Fidgets are not worse than Lisa Loeb. They have some fashionable glasses as seen in the band`s logo

Indieterria has retreated to more familiar waters . Once a month we will be giving exposure to a local artist from music scene in Worcester- acts that we believe have original sound, work hard and bring something new to the sonic table. First on our list are The Fidgets – jangle pop duo that may put our city on a musical map quicker than you are able to say Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Mixing influences ranging from The Beatles, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones to The Kinks and The Byrds, The Fidgets begin where Cast and The LA`s have left in the 90s. That makes them unique on the whole indie scene at the moment.  The newest act with similar sound are The No-Ones (project that  includes Peter Buck of REM), so you can see how high is the bar for Max and Ryan.

Not only we sat with The Fidgets for an interview, but also got to hear their new single.  We tell you – this town has some amazing scene and we are here to chronicle it!

Move along people – much to see below!

Max and Ryan photographed by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

From buskers to cathedral town heroes

These days, it is hard to imagine the High Street in Worcester without two distinctive figures busking around. With their signature glasses on,  guitars in hands and voices in perfect unison – The Fidgets have become an important feature in Worcester.  A ray of hope to put the town back on a music map. With a vision and passion, The Fidgets cultivate pop melodies and vocal harmonies placing themselves in a league on their own on an indie scene saturated with noise and postpunk rebellion. We`ve met the band to see what they have got in store for 2017.

You are one of the most prolific bands in West Midlands at the moment. But for those who may not be familiar with your history, please introduce yourselves.

Hi! We’re The Fidgets!! The two of us – that would be Ryan Skidmore and Max Stockin – met in 2012 when Max answered an ad placed by Ryan on http://www.joinmyband.com for musicians inspired by ‘60s pop music, and especially The Beatles. We played live for the first time in March 2013 (coming up for four years!) and we’ve played God knows how many times since then – the 500th gig was early last year.

Your music is a mix of classic rock, blues, northern soul and mod revival. Quite unusual for today`s pop music climate. Who are your sonic heroes?

The Beatles, of course! Everything comes back to them, it’s been nothing short of an obsession for years! Around that, our influences are really varied, we both love ‘50s and ‘60s pop in general and the two of us each have our own little avenues. Max is very into Blues and Country music, he’s a big fan of Teddy Thompson, and he’s a huge fan of Chuck Berry. Ryan is a very big fan of modern pop and is currently very much into The 1975 and Ed Sheeran. We both love loads of stuff, but the bulk of our influence definitely comes from the ‘60s.

Looking into the future.
photography by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

The band seems to be moving on up at incredible speed. Your first EP (“I`m Alright”) came out in 2015 to local acclaim and well attended gigs . You followed last year with another EP “Its Only You” and immediately were invited to do BBC Introducing session. It must have been a quite an experience.

I suppose things are moving a bit fast! It never looks that way from the inside, you don’t have time to think about it, everything just goes by in a bit of a blur, it’s only when you look back that you realize what you’ve done. 2016 was big for us! We did a handful of things for the BBC which was exciting! Of course, The Introducing session was fantastic, and the crowd at the Christmas Lights Switch-On was amazing.

BBC Hereford & Worcester placed you at no 7 of the best bands for 2017. Slap Magazine previously described your music as “brilliant”. With such a strong support from local audience and the press, The Fidgets truly are on a brink of better things to come. Does the band feel it too?

Honestly we don’t know what’s going to happen! It definitely feels like things are getting bigger now, but we’ve been in the game a lot longer than anyone remember us for! We’re very excited for the future, but we try not to get cocky!

Recently Worcester News ran a controversial article about new busking scheme to be introduced in town, placing you on the front cover of the paper. Are you getting used to attention?

Definitely, yeah. We’ve been well known around Worcester since the tail end of 2015 and it’s rare for us to go out without being recognized now. It has really picked up recently though! Around Christmas time we were chased through Crowngate Shopping Center by a teenager and her mum for a signed CD and a hug! That kind of thing is getting quite common. It’s brilliant, but it hasn’t stopped being strange!

Worcester News with The Fidgets on the cover,
Every publicity is good publicity

Sometimes you expand for your performances. Would you tell us about the musicians you work with?

We’ve put together a backing band! Dave Whittaker, our bassist, was a friend socially first, we saw each other a lot at the Marr’s Bar on Wednesday open mic nights and he’s a great player. He was the natural choice. Our drummer Jack Bowles went to Sixth Form with Ryan in Bromsgrove, and Ryan had his eye on him from a band even before he was in one. He’s amazing.

Gracing the covers. The Fidgets in Slap Magazine
Cover photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Your new single “Everywhere I Go” comes out in March. It will be accompanied by a video. Can you tell us more about it?

We’ve had to put off the release of the single until later in the month unfortunately (technical difficulties!) We shot the video around the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, and we’ve just had a first full draft come through as we speak. We’re very proud of it, it’s a big step up from what we’ve done before and it’s the first of our videos to feature anyone other than ourselves.

The band has been teasing big things to come in 2017. What should we expect? New material? Festival appearances?

Well, we can’t give away too much I’m afraid! But 2017 is already looking like a big one. Yes there will definitely be new material with an EP being released in May and yes we are already booked in for festivals in the summer at Mello Festival and Severn Sounds Festival on the main stage and there’s guaranteed to be more confirmed soon. Watch this space!

Slap Magazine cover
Photo by Josh Foster
Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You have also been involved in collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company. Can you disclose any details about this project?

Ah we’re very happy to be a part of it! I’d love to tell you what it is but I don’t have a copy of our contract handy and it’s possible we’ve been sworn to secrecy! Besides, we don’t like to spoil our surprises. When there’s something to know, you’ll know!

The Fidgets went from busking to heroes of a cathedral city. Where do you see yourself in the years to come?

Heroes is a bit strong, but thank you very much! We’re very proud of where we’ve got to already and things can only get better in the future! We’ve got all sorts of big ambitions but everyone knows if you tell wishes they don’t come true!! Just keep an eye on the charts and we’ll see what happens shall we? We like big dreams. Unrealistic is our thing!

Eager to prove themselves but playing cards to their chest – The Fidgets are on their way into promising future. With a new release, a single, home coming gigs and an upcoming festival season – they cannot fail. Here`s to the boys that sing.

***

The Fidgets  – “Everywhere I Go” (single review)

The cover for Everywhere I go single, photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Worcestershire based duo, The Fidgets are releasing their new single “Everywhere I Go” this month. SLAP magazine was lucky to hear it first and we can report that this melodious, 60’s inspired love song is going to be a new fan favorite.

“Everywhere I go” opens up a new chapter in the bands history, proving that The Fidgets have evolved and matured considerably since their last release “It’s only you” in 2016 and became a truly unique, pure-blooded rock and roll act deserving their place on the BBC Hereford and Worcestershire list of bands to look out for this year.

The mid tempo, Beatlesque three minute single is filled with perfect harmonies, catchy riffs and will undoubtedly have the crowds swinging and singing along. It also has a distinctive Northern vibe to it, with Max Stockin sounding eerily similar to  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Fans of classic rock, The LA’s and The Cast will have a chance to catch The Fidget rocking the Marrs Bar on March 17th.

Banner for the single release on Spotify

The single is accompanied by obligatory music video:

If you are on Spotify, listen here:

 

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The Fidgets in full line up with Jack Bowles and Young-Dave Whittaker recording a session for BBC Introducing 18.09.2016

If you wan to follow The Fidgets – please use these links:

http://www.thefidgets.com/
https://soundcloud.com/the-fidgets
https://www.facebook.com/thefidgetsband
https://twitter.com/TheFidgets
https://www.instagram.com/the_fidgets/

Part of the band`s charm are the session musicians that support Max and Ryan on stage: drummer Jack Bowler (EMPYRE/Willow Robinson) and  Young-Dave Whittaker. This rhythm section is so powerful, they are locally nicknamed as Worcester`s own  Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce.  Kid you not.  Many a band lined up to work with Dave and Jack but to no avail. Max and Ryan know that you should never change a winning team.

You can follow Young-Dave and  Jack below:

https://www.facebook.com/jack.bowles.520
https://www.facebook.com/youngdave.whittaker

 

Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

 

Slap Magazine interview (page two)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You can  see this interview in Slap Magazine for March 2017

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-67-march-2017.pdf

or you can download the copy here:

issue-67-march-2017

That`s all from us for now. We hope you had fun reading.

Mal/Rita

****Update 18.03.2017****

It`s their party and they can rock if they want to!

We have written on our blog before that The Fidgets were to headline a home coming gig on March 17th at Marrs Bar in Worcester. What we have not mentioned to the band is that we planned to treat them to an unexpected cake-and-candles party. See, both Ryan and Max celebrate their bday within one week from each other and it was just too good not to use this opportunity.  So Vanadian Avenue ventured to the gig armed with two huge chocolate torts, candles, napkins, lighters, paper trays and a spatula.

The Fidgets took their headlining duties very seriously and  delivered 1,5 h set filled with their original material and covers. Guests came on stage to join the band for certain performances and the entire audience had a wonderful time, one by one slipping into the darkest corner of the venue to sign cards for the birthday boys.

When the last song came to an end  cakes were brought on to the stage and signed cards were handed. Max and Ryan had each a chance to blow the candles and make a wish.  Each member of the public was given a piece of the chocolate tort (you should always bring a spatula to the party) and the audience roared an out of tune birthday song.  Top night. Some pictures for you to enjoy below:

The Fidgets perform at Marrs Bar on March 17th 2017

Performance ends with a bow

Cakes!

Make a wish

Till the next time kids. We are off to find some alka seltzer.

Mal/Rita