Indieterria meets Tin Mole

Dear Readers,

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

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

Tin Mole logo

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

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

Read on, listen and tell us what you think.

Tin Mole
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Ladies` Darts Night logo

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

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

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

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

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

Tin Mole in a curious selfie mode?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tin Mole is on a mission to fight slugs.

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

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

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

Promotional image towards Tin Mole`s upcoming single.

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

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

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

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

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

Tin Mole as an ice cream vendor.

You can follow Tin Mole on socials:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All hail the incredible creative potential of Mancunia!

M/R

Indieterria meets Nic Evennett

Nic Evennett – A Song to a Siren

 

Nic is also a skilled photographer doing all her publicity shots herself.

Welcome to the new chapter of Indieterria, where we profile artists on the unsigned/independent circuit that bring something new to the audiences. We want to introduce you to incredible artist, poet, photographer and composer based in Kent – Nic Evennett.

Nic not only records and mixes her own compositions, staying true to DIY ethics of the genre. She also built quite an impressive profile as a studio based artist. She is not touring, not playing the popularity games on social media. And yet appears on national radio and enjoys a wide network of collaborators. She is passionate and driven. Talking to her was a privilege. Please read on.

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You have the most unconventional biography we have ever seen. It reads: “I bash the piano and stuff”. We were expecting few home-made demos but found a whole catalogue of songs, an established artist who have been on national radio and comparisons to Kate Bush. Not exactly just piano bashing! Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria?

Nic Evennett: Well, firstly, thank you so much for interviewing me! I’m all flustery and excited! It’s a real honour, and it’s my very first proper interview.

I remember Tom Robinson saying something about the “I bash the piano and stuff”, commenting that is was self-deprecating, and I think self-deprecation sums me up quite well! Your question is one that always makes me (pauses) clam up, somewhat. I find talking about me incredibly hard. I doubt that’s uncommon. It’s much easier for me to just quote what somebody else has said about me. But I’ll have a go here: I am Nic, a singer-songwriter from Kent, United Kingdom. I’ve been bashing the piano since I was 7, studied music for a while, had a long break, and then really only turned to song-writing about five years ago, or so. I also love photography, being out in nature, listening to Buddhist talks,  meditations, and eating cake, in no particular order. There. I did it. (laughs)

Nic Evennett through her own lens

Your song “Outside” debuted in January 2017 on BBC Introducing Kent  to very favourable reviews.  Listeners described it as “outstanding” and “mesmerising”, while BBC staff was also visibly impressed. Not a bad start of the year. Did you expect such reactions?

Nic Evennett: No, not at all, and certainly not for that particular song. It was a lovely surprise, and I am so grateful to Abbie McCarthy at BBC Introducing Kent for including me in that show. It’s funny. Many of my songs are kind of dredged up from some depths – something that needs exploration, then gets twisted and turned into music and poetry, trying to find some resolution, and then splattered out into song. And I come out the other side thinking, whooof, I needed to get that stuff out of my head. “Outside” didn’t work that way, which is very rare for me. I just liked the riff! And I think it was the riff that got me a foot in the door. I think my music generally tends to be more meandering, more spacious, and that doesn’t always lend itself well to radio play. But this one is a bit livelier. And yet, I reckon it’s probably in my own bottom three! Funny how it works.

“Outside” also found itself on the rotation at the Channel Radio and Strange Fruit Radio. Your next offering – “Hurry” – went even further and was voted “Song of the Week” at the Strange Fruit at the recommendations from listeners.  We know it was a digital release but we will still call it a beautifully crafted ballad. Any inspiration behind that song?

Nic Evennett: “Hurry” is much, much more from the heart. Like all my songs, well, bar “Outside”, they really are little windows into my heart and mind. And as somebody who loves words, loves playing with and manipulating language, and somebody who in many ways is quite private, my lyrics tend to be deliberately ambiguous. I suppose it’s a little safety net for me in some ways – only those who truly, truly listen can see through the windows. But also I love the idea that the songs can be whatever you want them to be about. Once they are out in the world, I really don’t see them as my songs any more. They just float about for people to borrow and use and sink into when they need to. So some people have questioned the lyrics to “Hurry” – mainly asking what in the world does it all mean. Which is a good question that I’m not sure I have the answer to! I think it’s about somebody reaching a point where they want somebody else to intervene; take away bad memories, tough stories. “Hurry” has a funny time signature too, which is meant to depict waves rolling in and out. The sea features quite a lot in my songs. Or rather, nature does. Sea, rivers, the moon, the seasons, the sky, trees. I can’t think of a song that doesn’t mention nature, actually.

Collages created by Nic often include poetry or lines from her lyrics.

You have been featured several times on national radio BBC 6 Music (singles “Somehow” and “Where We Are The Forest”) and by Tom Robinson himself. Now this is not just mere luck. It is quite hard to get through all the vetting for the “MixTape Show”. You did it more than once.

Nic Evennett:  I think that Tom is just blimming lovely and kind! In fact, that was a lovely surprise too because neither “Somehow” nor “Where We Are The Forest” got short-listed! It was picked by a few people, but not enough, and I felt thoroughly deflated. But I think Tom ultimately decides what he wants to broadcast and added me both times, which was so lovely of him. It’s people like him that truly help the likes of me. I think there are two strong divisions in music – those who will push hard at the self-publicity bit and have a lot of confidence in what they do, and then folk like me, where none of that comes naturally or comfortably at all. I worry that the folk in the latter never get heard, never get found. There is a difference between being confident and wanting to be heard. An artistic voice can be so, so important for people who lack confidence, self-esteem, or who just struggle generally. So having a platform where you can submit songs and they are judged in their own right, without the need for self-promotion or long-winded bios, is essential. And wonderful. The Fresh Net team do a superb job. Love ’em.

You have about sixteen songs on your Bandcamp and Soundcloud profiles and they are produced and recorded to highest quality. Moreover, we see that certain songs are mixed by other artists. Are they really home recordings or have you invested in professional studio?

Nic Evennett:  Well, that made me beam! Know why? Mixing is the bane of my life! I never feel I get it right. Or I think I have got it right, and find it’s completely wrong. My ‘studio’ is the spare bedroom and I share it with drying laundry, stuff that should be in other rooms that I haven’t got round to putting away, and the dog. In most recordings you can hear the birds in the tree outside. Most songs have had a few dozen takes after bikes decide to whiz up and down the road, or somebody has slammed a front door, or somebody has yelled at somebody else, and then there is much quiet swearing from me and we go again. I tell myself that there is something…lovely and organic in home recordings, which in truth I think there is, but that only seems to apply to everybody else but me. I really love listening to songs with other sounds going on in the background. I love listening to songs where the mix isn’t perfect and there is a rawness to it. But if a bird has tweeted out of place, or I have made a vocal tick somewhere, I am very hard on myself about it all. So to hear that is wonderful. I shall try not to give myself such a hard time from now on.

Besides your solo compositions, you are involved many collaborations, two main projects being Return To Mountain (with Steve Gleason) and Silent Reasons (with Frank Cable).  Would you like to tell us more about them?

Nic Evennett:  Ah, I love working with Steve and Frank. I suppose they are two I work more regularly with and I feel a deep musical connection with. They are both gorgeous souls all round, and that is important to me. I have done work with quite a few folk, though. Robert Pabst, from Cinematic Dance Music, is a genius and did a super Bond-style remix of my song “Hold On”. We have done other projects together that I have loved working on. And I also work with a chap called UNJAY, who is big on his Future Bass – a genre so far from what I do and yet I find so interesting to do the vocals for. Not to mention other fabulous musicians I have been honoured to work with. I am very lucky to have these folk encouraging me and inspiring me.

Your back catalogue is available on US based streaming platform Pandora. The service describes you to their subscribers as “delicate mystery, warm and lustrous, yet fragile and crystalline – a bewitching blend of Kate Bush and Linda Perhacs, surrounded by dolorous, reverb-drenched piano and woven into broken-hearted balladry”.  This is the very first time we have seen an indie artist being compared to Kate Bush and we have to wholeheartedly agree. Are you able to  tell us how well are you received on Pandora?

Nic Evennett: Being compared to Kate Bush is just crazy, isn’t it? I can’t get my head around that one. Kate is in a league of one. She truly is an astounding musician, poet, artist, woman. So my name in the same sentence as hers makes me feel both thrilled and baffled. And maybe even a bit scared. And Andee Conners from Pandora, was the very first person to write a review on me and for that I love him to bits. What an amazing first review. It’s something I read when I am feeling anxious about my music…so I read it a lot. I’m so grateful to Andee for that. As for how I am received, I have no idea! We can’t get Pandora in the UK and nor can I access any listening figures or anything. Actually, I quite like it that way. It is a little mystery. I have no idea when or if my music is being played.

It is quite hard to describe your music. There are piano based ballads, but also loops, possible samples, elements that remind us of trip -hop. If you were to give yourself a label, what genre would you subscribe to?

Nic Evennett:  It is hard, isn’t it?! I never know where to stick myself, category-wise. Something might jump out at you as trip-hop in style, and then a choir will burst into life (well, just me really, layered up a hundred times) and throw you off the scent. It throws me too! The term ‘alternative’ gets used a lot by folk who have no real home and who travel between genres, so I tend to opt for that one. ‘Odd’ is another one. Or ‘a bit mixed up’. Any of those could apply to me (laughs).

Recently you spoke about limitations imposed on artists due to health reasons. You said: “Folk with chronic conditions need to be heard in more ways than one. I often feel sidelined for not being able to give a gig list or tour dates. I can’t be alone.”  We would like you to elaborate a bit more on the topic, because we think there are still many people in the music industry who do not know how to handle artists with chronic conditions or disabilities.

Nic Evennett:  This is a BIG one for me. Personally I have two main conditions that sort of take over my world quite a lot. One is PMDD, which is a devastating condition that few have heard about. Basically, think PMS multiplied infinitely! The second is Fibromyalgia. And other than that, bipolar and other mental health stuff. What a combo! All ‘invisible’ conditions, so like many out there, you’d never know it if you met me. But these things, and mental illnesses like depression or  anxiety are so isolating for many. You may not feel able to leave the house, you may not be even able to get out of bed. So musically, just standing up and recording is an issue for me. My voice is temperamental and reflects how bad things are. Gigging and touring is certainly out the window. I have no doubt I am one of a vast amount of people who love making music, love singing, love playing but hate performing! I am not a performer. And I think in this day and age we shouldn’t need to be. I think it can silence people with, say, mental health illnesses who think that in order to be successful they must be a certain way. They must be the ‘whole package’. Well, personally, this package is dented! It’s rattling around with smashed pieces inside and the paper is all torn! But I still want a voice. I still want to share my songs. I still want to connect to people through music. And I really want others to feel the same, because it just so happens that some of the most beautiful, most moving, truest music I have heard has come from people who struggle in this way; people who have hardly any followers on Soundcloud, say, or few listens. How they use their experiences to create is astounding. We need so, so much more of that out in the world.

The last question is traditionally reserved for future plans. What can we expect from Nic Evennett in the coming months?

Nic Evennett:  Ooo, like any question about the future, I say ‘who knows?’! I have some plans of eventually getting a little EP together, but money is tight, obviously, so I need to find ways of doing this on a budget. Certainly more songs, and I’ve thrown my music into various competitions out there. I would LOVE to have a song used in TV or film. I think music and drama can be such a magical partnership, so I am trying to find ways of doing that at the moment. If anybody out there knows how, please come chat to me! But I am very much a ‘in the moment’ person, so I just live hour by hour, day by day. That way magical things can happen that you just weren’t expecting!

Through her own lens #2

 

Nic Evennett can be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicevennettmusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicEvennett
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/wingless-night
Bandcamp: https://nicevennett.bandcamp.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiCT_99Cy3p1w0RMCuv1SBA

Return to Mountain ( collaboration with Steve Gleason)

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/returntomountain
Soundclick: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=540680 (Steve`s page)

Silent Reasons (collaboration with Frank Cable)

https://soundcloud.com/silentreasons
https://soundcloud.com/orionstarband (Frank`s page)

We would like to thank Tom Robinson of 6 Music for introducing us to Nic`s music.  And big kudos to Nic who was patient with us for publishing this interview.  We are hoping to make quite a few updates to this interview in the coming months.

Until the next time.

Mal+Rita

*** Update 01/02/2018***

We are following up our awesome (and highly popular!) interview with Nic! After we wrapped the talk, we still had some questions. We wanted to know what the artists will release this year. And boy, we were lucky. After a bit of nagging, Nic  revealed that her new digital single will be called “Ribbons” and you can listen to it online!

Nic Evennett: There are two versions of this track – this one includes the birds outside Nic’s house.

During our post interview exchange, we also learned that Nic is an advocate for mental health and well-being.  In September 2016,  she released an experimental EP “Three” from which half of proceeds go to charity Mind. The EP includes seven compositions, all recoded during the same week. It was basically a challenge: one song a day while stepping outside comfort zone and using  instruments and arrangements that Nic not used before.

Nic Evennett:  The EP is free to download on Bandcamp, though people can give money if they like and 50% goes to the charity Mind. Might be worth a mention. In fact all my music is free to download, in truth, but we won’t mention that! (giggle)

Three EP cover

You can access the EP from the link below:

https://nicevennett.bandcamp.com/album/three

Nic you are the very definition of awesomeness and a proper legend!

Mal+Rita

*** Update 03/02/2018***

Bone and Thirst EP cover

We knew there was something in the air, when we followed up our interview with Nic. She mentioned EPs and singles. We should have seen it coming really! The hard life of a music writer – you try to nail everything, have the artist in a box, fully explained and  leaving no mystery uncovered. And then this happens – a brand new EP! Dropped in the middle of the night! Ah!

Artists are such incredible beings – they constantly reinvent themselves, they are masters of creativity and no matter how hard you try to figure them out, they are two steps ahead of you. And we love them for it, to be honest.  They keep us on our toes.

We can picture Nic Evennett smiling like mythical Sphinx when she dropped her new EP – “Bone and Thirst” at 4:00 am yesterday.

But we will admit -we are very lucky. We got our interview just at the right time. We won`t complain.

So what can you expect from “Bone and Thirst”? Three songs:  the title track, lead single “Ribbon” and a brand new composition – “Jagged Boy”, incredible poetic lyrics and  two digital photographs.  Nice package.

“Bone and Thirst” is the most experimental of the tree tracks – it blend trip hop and electronica with  mesmerizing vocals, it is full of loops, samples and strange noises in the background that create quite a dark and nervous atmosphere. Nic is shining in this track, her voice just flows and overwhelms you. This composition reminds us a bit of Sarah McLachlan or Paula Cole – it is very cinematic, neurotic and mysterious.

Ribbon digital single cover

On the other hand – “Ribbon” is completely opposite. Nic sings nearly a-cappella accompanied just by a piano and chirping birds. You read it right. There are birds singing in the background though out the track and this is used like accompanying instrument to the piano. What a strangely beautiful duet! Vocals are stripped but in the lead, providing a focal point of the composition. We`d think “Bone and Thirst” would make the lead single, with all the production that went into the track, but choosing  “Ribbon” Nic Evennett proved to be very brave, experimental and adventurous artist.

“Jagged Boy” continues with the acoustic feeling. But there is something gospel about it. It feels almost religious, like it was recorded in a cathedral instead of a studio. Nic`s voice is at times multiplied, creating a choir effect. The lyrics is unsettling and mysterious, a lamentation even. If this song won’t give you goose-bumps, please consult a GP. You may be deaf. In both ears.

The EP can be bought from Nic’s Bandcamp page and half of the proceeds will go to Mind charity.

https://nicevennett.bandcamp.com/album/bone-and-thirst

You know what to do, dear readers. Go and get yourself a copy of the EP.

A comment from Tom Robinson!

Also, thank you Tom Robinson for your feedback. We are blushing. It is a great honour as we consider ourselves fans of your music and we have always held your lyrics and writings in high esteem. Much power to you too Sir!

Mal+Rita