Indieterria meets Inwards

Dear readers!

Oh, it was a very frustrating beginning of the month! The WordPress went down, their SSL broke and our publishing schedule got delayed by a week and a half. Luckily, Rita is a miracle worker, found the right script, implemented it and voila – we are back in action. But it took a long time and we do apologize for the technical issues. They were outside of our control!

So, in span of just several days, you can enjoy two brand new blogs. The first one is our view/review/official waffling post about The Blinders (you can read it Here) and the other is a brand new interview with the electronic music prodigy, Inwards.

Inwards in another dimension (or maybe just on the stage!)

Of course, we don’t have to tell you that Inwards (aka Kristian Shelley) is the pride and joy of Worcestershire and we are extremely proud of his achievements. And there is a lot to be proud about! His music receives praise after praise and super favourable reviews from journalists, media and radio stations. Kris is going places and he is going to the top at an impressive speed. Before you blink, he will be there at the top of the charts with Burial, Aphex Twin and Chemical Brothers.

Talking to Kris is a rare pleasure. He is entertaining, kind and very pleasing to interview. He is curious about the world, culture and popular heritage. We sat down with him after his session for BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester and grilled him about his equipment, music and having his music played on the national radio.

Official bio:  Inwards is the alias of Kristian Shelley, a multi-instrumentalist and music programmer from Worcestershire, UK. His work exists in the experimental domain and draws influence from the far borders of dance music, using modular synths with acoustic and electronic sources to create a nostalgic and colourful sonic palette.  Crackling with the freedom and spontaneity that characterises his studio productions, Inwards live performances vary from one environment to the next, taking on organic forms through the manipulation of his electronic instruments. Gaining a reputation for his absorbing shows, which are often complemented by live visuals, he has played alongside the likes of Lapalux, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers), Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and Ulrich Schnauss, and at festivals including The Great Escape and Brighton Digital Festival. Signing to Small Pond in 2017 after capturing attention with a series of DIY releases, Inwards invites you into a dark yet playful and psychedelic world of sound on his debut album.

According to your bio, Inwards is a moniker of producer, multi-instrumentalist and music programmer – Kristian Shelley. We are intrigued. Can you introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria?

Inwards: Hello readers of Indieterria! I’m Kris and I play instruments and use computers to make music.

Inwards is very poetic term. It describes someone “orientated towards the inside” or something “existing within the mind, soul or spirit, often not expressed”. It can also be applied to a person that is private or even shy. This is not a name that was chosen accidentally, isn’t it?

Inwards:  No, it is not an accident. The music I make is an introspective experience for me so I arrived at the name “Inwards” and it felt right. I stuck with it.

Before becoming a DJ, you played in several alternative and funk outfits. Is working on your own much harder than being part of a group? Do you feel more comfortable relying only on yourself on stage?

Diesel album cover

Inwards:  Working on your own can be a very freeing experience. It also makes you question whether what you are doing is a good vibe because you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off. Being on stage alone is much more daunting than with a band but I like it. At this moment, I’m looking forward to a new project I have started with some musicians friends this year. I really miss playing in a band and miss the band vibrations!

It is not always possible to meet your musical heroes, but you were lucky to speak with Aphex Twin (aka Richard D James) at Bangface Festival in Cornwall in 2012, right at the beginning of your career. Are you still in touch? If so, did he say anything about your newest compositions?

Inwards:  This was just before I had started making electronic music and the whole festival was very inspirational! We didn’t exchanged details but I was lucky enough to bump into him again last year at a small festival in Cornwall and we had a good chat about modulars and living in the countryside. I don’t know if he has listened to any of my stuff, but it would be great to give him something back for his early support!

You have performed alongside Lapalux, Forest Swords, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers), Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and Ulrich Schnauss (of Tangerine Dream) and at festivals including The Great Escape and Brighton Digital Festival. If you could share the stage with just one artist or a band, who would you choose?

Inwards: (laughing) Slayer! It has to be them!

On 19th of January 2018 you released double single entitled “Amsterdam”/“Computertalsk”. In one interview you mentioned that both tracks are based on your personal experiences.  Can you tell us what events from your life inspired each song?

Amsterdam/Computertalsk double single cover

Inwards: Well, the first track “Amsterdam” kind of gives me that feeling of freedom you get when travelling. It is mixed with undertones of wanting to return home and chill. “Computertalsk” represents a different feeling, the one of trying to make the computer to express itself. It is like giving the machine a voice so it can tell you what’s going on. For me, this tune is like the computer is learning to talk because it’s got something really emotionally potent it needs to tell you. I really like making the machines feel like they have a personality and trying to give them a voice and this was me exploring these possibilities.

You are the only Worcestershire based artist who has been championed by so many DJ across BBC 6 Music: Mary Ann Hobbs, Don Letts, Stuart Maconie, Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Steve Lamacq and Tom Ravenscroft. Your single “When she flashes her smile on me” was named a Song of the Week. That’s a complete take-over of national radio station! What`s your secret?

Inwards: (laughing) I don’t really know how to answer this question. I don’t think there are any secrets to making music! Just do what feels right for you.

We have seen the equipment you use to create your music during your session for BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester in Pershore. It looks very impressive and very complicated. We are sure that outside of music, it is also capable of answering phone calls and making a cuppa. Help us out and tells us what are all those cables, wires and boxes?

Inwards: I will try to make it easy! So, the main box with the wires is a modular synthesizer. It is basically a synthesizer that you can choose what component parts are inside it. Basically, you can make it your own instrument. The other stuff is a mixer, drum machine and a Delay Pedal which I use alongside the modular and my computer to create the vibes. I wish it could make drinks but not quite there yet (laughing). Would be cool to make a phone module that could randomly call people in a contacts list and then use the audio from the call in the system. Or a prank call module with customizable soundbank for all your favourite prank calls. If you are a modular synth developer and reading this, you’re welcome!

Tell us about your relationship with your label – Small Pond

Kristian at work

Inwards: I met the Small Pond crew through living in Brighton. I remember going to a great party at their studio on Castle Street. I think it was the opening evening of the studio that the Small Pond team had been building for 2 years. I met most of their employees that evening, although I didn’t back then think I would be working so closely with them in the future! Samuel Organ asked me in late 2016 if I would be interested in working on a release with them and if I had any music that I would consider submitting. I put everything I made that I thought was decent enough and sent them a file with about 60 tracks in it. It was quite nerve racking experience really. It felt like sending of all this precious stuff that I wasn’t even sure was any good anymore because I had listened to it so much. I think they were a bit taken back by the number of tracks included! Obviously, they couldn’t make a 60-track album (or could we?). It took some time for us to work out the best combinations of tunes but we got there in the end. The album turned out to be a belter and I’m super proud of it. Yeah in short, the relationship is ace, I had a great time so far working with the whole team and I look forward to future projects with them.

Your music is classified as general electronic /dance but we hear so many elements and inspirations: from Aphex Twin, Ian Pooley, The Orb, Orbital, Future Sound of London, 808 State, Sven Vath to Atticus Ross. At times you cross into territory inhabited by Boards of Canada, Unkle, Bjork and all the way to Radiophonic Workshop. You seem to be familiar with incredible amount of popular music, how do you retain your own distinctive identity?

Inwards:  I think the identity of music comes from chasing a sound or vibe that makes you feel a certain way. For me, it’s like there are massive spaces in music. Almost like big gaps or territories that haven’t been discovered yet. Making music is my way of bridging these gaps and getting to these sonic landscapes that I feel are missing from my current musical world. I think this is perhaps where musical identity comes from. When you are trying to chase an idea or feeling that exists only in your mind and you try to make it into something tangible. It has your own stamp on it.

Your debut offering via Small Pond – “Diesel” was released on 27th April 2018. How did you approach working on that album? Did you enter the studio with prepared material or preferred to compose there and then?

Inwards:  My approach varies to each song individually. Each track is like an experiment where I am exploring music possibilities within a framework of equipment that I set up in different ways each time. When I experiment, I am chasing a vibe or sound that makes me feel in a certain way. Sometimes I can be making music and listening to the same cycle for an hour and not realize it because I am totally sucked in. Some tunes are made in a methodical sequenced way on the computer and others may be coming straight out of the hardware live or a combination of the two methods. I didn’t sit down and said to myself: “Right, I’m going to make a 13-track album this month”.  Every time I make music, I just do it in certain moment. Only afterwards I try and fuse tracks together to make larger works.

Last question – where can we see/hear you next? What`s in your calendar for coming months?

Inwards: I have a live show in London coming up at the Pickle Factory on the 16th of August with my visual bro Irie Pixel. We have been working on a live AV show that I am excited to perform. I’m very excited that the show will take place at the Pickle Factory as they have really good club system. Also, I have a show coming up in Bristol soon and some other very cool things to announce but can’t quite tell you about them yet! You will have to watch and see!

You can follow Inwards on social medias:

Label: Small Pond
Contact: Rosie James
Website: https://smallpondrec.co.uk/
Bandcamp: https://smallpond.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inwardsuk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/inwards_
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inwards_92/
Bandcamp: https://smallpond.bandcamp.com/album/diesel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/inwardsuk
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/542nHHjo4wRmP3AbeJWkse?si=I3pj6B1DSyqchOJ45fV8uw

On 29th April 2018, Inwards visited his home town of Pershore to record BBC Introducing session. We have been there and made some recordings and videos on the day. It is only fair to share some of our materials with you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can also see our videos on Youtube (yes, we have our own channel with a lot of goodies here)

Well, that’s all folks for today, but stay tuned and we will be back shortly with even more news, reviews and interviews!

Please stay beautiful!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Indieterria meets Dead Dads Club

Dear Readers!

The first half of 2018 is behind us but your two faithful A&R’s are not stopping for an inch! In the last week we have travelled with Nuns of the Tundra to HowTheLightsGetIn festival, witnessed them play a semi acoustic gig at Paradiddles Cafe for Before The Music  workshops (similar in form to the “Story Tellers” on MTV if you are old enough to remember it!) and wave them off to go to Swindon for a meeting with a producer!

That’s not all! The Americas and Soeur were chosen by BBC Hereford and Worcester to play at the Wychwood Festival and you can see a short video of The Americas playing one of their best gigs on Vanadian Avenue Facebook page. In short, it was a crazy 7 days  but we are having the time of our lives (as usual anyway)!

New week and we have a brand new interview for you dear readers. We have sat down with Lee Richardson, lead singer of the Dead Dads Club, to discuss Malvern blooming rock and roll scene, new tracks and their love for the DIY, guitar driven scene led by bands such as The Blinders. Dead Dads Club will support The Racket on their first national tour and you can catch them both (plus the Jack Fletcher Band) at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham on the 9th of June. The show is organized by the great people at Modern Age Music and you can find more information about the show here:

Poster for gig at the legendary Sunflower Lounge on 9th June 2018

https://www.facebook.com/events/216304582300587/
https://www.seetickets.com/tour/modern-age-birmingham-w-the-racket

We have to admit that we giggled like schoolgirls reading the interview and Lee’s sense of humour (bit dry and sarcastic) made it one of the funniest interviews we ever hosted on Indieterria.

So, please enjoy!

Lee Richardson (vocals, guitar)
Matt Rawlings (bass)
James Devine (drums)
Milo Ferreira-Hayes (lead guitar)

Official bio:  Hailing from Malvern, Worcestershire, The Dead Dads Club consist of four close friends: Lee, Milo, James and Matt. Lee Richardson (lead vocals) is known for composing meaningful lyrics that everyone can relate to. There is a rich deepness as much as sense of humour backed up by strong, dynamic rock and roll acoustic steele string guitar. Lee’s chords are graced by Milo Ferreira-Hayes on lead guitar. Their partnership creates a unique sound with strong arrangements and lush solos. Then comes James Devine with his powerful drumming and unmatched beats that strongly root the band inside the alternative and independent genres. Matt Rawlings’ atmospheric and hypnotic bass completes the musical equation. The Dead Dads Club tour consistently and played many important venues in West Midlands such as The Sunflower Lounge, O2 Arena and O2 Institute in Birmingham, Gifford Arms in Wolverhampton or Marr’s Bar in Worcester. They shared stages with The Racket, HVMM, Nuns of the Tundra, Jump the Shark, Matchboy, Juniper Nights, Winchester, Ruben Seabright, The Soviets and many more.

According to your bio, The Dead Dads Club are four good friends with similar musical interests and outlook on life. You listen to the same records and laugh at the same (apparently unfunny) jokes. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.

Lee Richardson: All right, let’s get started. First, we have JD or James Devine. Our drummer is 23-year-old history graduate. Has a tendency to throw his drumsticks mid-song and he’s a huge music fan. One of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, although he never shuts up (laughing).  Matt Rawlings. Bass. 19 years old. Studying music at college. Saved the band when our previous bass player Liam left as I was ready to jack it in.  Intelligent but quietly reserved, and says what he needs to.  Milo. Lead guitar. 17 years old. Studying music with Matt in Hereford. Channels Jimmy Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan while he continues to develop his own style.  Highly intelligent, loves the ladies (and some men).  He’ll go places.  Lee Richardson.  Rhythm guitar, vocals. 30 something. Loves the band, they’ve become his family.  Came late to the music game but is glad he did.  Also, what really brings us together is we’re fed up of what is considered “popular music” these days. Where the hell are the guitar bands in the charts?  We aim to be part of the wave of new guitar bands that will bring back indie music to the masses. Its due, and it’s going to happen. Bands like The Blinders will lead the way for this new wave.

We heard there is a good story surrounding your first meeting. How and where have you met?

Lee Richardson: Actually, there is (laughing). I met JD first, in a pub over Christmas in 2016. He’d put an Oasis track on the jukebox and in my drunken state, I stumbled over to his table and asked who the Oasis fan was.  Initially, JD thought I was coming over to start trouble so… (laughing again). Anyway, we started chatting and he joined me at some open mic night accompanying me on Cajon. At one such open mic, we were just sitting down as a tall, good looking kid walked in with a guitar and amp in hand.  He set up and started banging out “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” by Hendrix note for note perfect.  Jaws dropped around the pub, and I was introduced to Milo 10 minutes later.  Milo, being an old soul in a young body (he’s 17), decided he was going to adopt us and he started joining JD and I on stage.  Matt came into the band last as a replacement for Liam Blakemore, who left us after becoming a father last year.

Dead Dads Club Live
Picture by Duncan Graves https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

The Dead Dads Club is a highly unusual name. We did a little research about it and the results are very inconclusive. We found an episode of a popular American TV series “Grey’s Anatomy” bearing that title, a book, an independently released murder-mystery stage play and a scientific paper. What is the inspiration behind the band’s name?

Lee Richardson: A friend of mine, Tristan James (who is an incredible rapper and lyricist by the way) and I were working on some songs together two years ago.  Tristan’s dad had passed away two years before and mine had just died around the time.  We made a joke that we should call ourselves The Dead Dads Club. Some found it distasteful, we found it funny and as time went on, it proved to be an attention grabber.  As the band was developing in its infancy, we moved forward without Tristan as we felt that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate rap within our music, and that Tristan’s talents needed to have the sole emphasis placed on him alone.  We still work together and have a collaboration between DDC and Tristan James coming out this year.

The original line-up of The Dead Dads Club included Liam Blakemore on bass and Milo Ferreira-Hayes on lead guitar. Currently you have a newcomer, Matt Rawlings on guitar and Milo moved on to play bass. How long have you been working with Matt? When did he join the band?

Lee Richardson: We have been working with Matt just under a year now. We were lucky to find him after Liam left the band to concentrate on his new family.

Talking about Matt, we have noticed that him and Milo have a tendency of swapping guitars during gigs. Is it done only for certain songs or are you trying to totally confuse the audience?

Lee Richardson: Matt is actually a lead guitarist first and foremost, but we dragged him into the band as we needed a bass player.  Luckily, he could hold his own on the bass.  Matt and Milo swap their instruments over on a song called “Stop”. When we recorded the studio version, Milo was laying down his lead track, when I suggested an idea of putting something “Hendrixy” into the solo. Matt immediately heard something in his head, grabbed Milo’s guitar and played the most amazing little lick that had Milo put his hands to his head in disbelief and proclaim: “You’re a @*%^”! Please insert the swear word of your choice! We all still laugh about it months later. We have another new track in development about an unsuccessful application to play at a local festival that Matt will again take guitar duties on.  And yes, we love to confuse the audience.  It’s what we do best!

Your home town of Malvern is relatively small but it has long musical tradition and a vibrant scene. You are part of the local pack along with Nuns of the Tundra, Ruben Seabright, UltraMegaOK and White Feather Collective. Any explanation for such a high concentration of talent per square mile?

Lee Richardson: Malvern has always attracted arty types from all over the country. It has also produced many talented locals in many endeavors aside from just music. There’s good music everywhere, but I think a lot of people are scared to put it out into the open as they’re worried what people will think.  Bands like the Nuns of The Tundra and The White Feather Collective have got the balls to believe in themselves and their songs and they should.  They set the standard in Malvern for sure and I’d argue further afield than that as well. The Malvern scene has been very supportive of us playing our own songs, and that has provided us with a platform to build on to play bigger towns and cities. Of course, others would say the high concentration of talent is just down to the Malvern spring water (laughing).

Lee Richards singing his heart out
Picture by Duncan Graves https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Dead Dads Club’s music has been compared to The Beatles, The Stone Roses, The Doors, Oasis, Crosby Stills Young and Nash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams and Arctic Monkeys – that’s some of the biggest names in popular music. Tell us what inspires you to write?

Lee Richardson:  Have we?  Jesus, we should be playing Wembley by now then if that’s the case (laughing). Our influences vary, but all those bands have been massive for me when I was growing up.  I have one goal when I write and that’s to infect a person’s mind with the melody or the hook.  If I see people dancing, tapping their feet or getting emotional when they hear Dead Dads Club track, then my job is done.  My lyrics aren’t really deep or even that good. It’s hard to write meaningful lyrics when you have a heart of stone (laughing again).  Most of the tracks have been inspired by either ex-girlfriends, stalkers or life events. I don’t look at the moon on a dark starry night and have flood of beautiful Dylan-esque lyrics come to the forefront of my mind’s eye.  I’ll leave that to all the Joni Mitchells of this world.  I’m rather in-your-face rock n roll writer with attitude and swagger. That’s enough for us.

Your shows attract large number of guest musicians and singers. We are especially interested in James Burnham who joined you on stage playing electric violin many times. Any chances of seeing him performing with you again?

Lee Richardson: James was an original member of Dead Dads Club along with Liam, Milo, JD and myself. Our sound changed after Liam left the band, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate a violin within a setting that was chasing a heavier charged more electric sound.  James Burnham is probably the most talented musical mind I’ve met and I plan on doing more acoustic recordings with him as a duo to add to the songs we’ve already recorded together.

Recently you played three gigs in one day. Were you celebrating a special occasion or trying to beat the Guinness World Book record for the biggest number of gigs played in a single day?

Lee Richardson: We already have a record for band with the most special needs, so we’ll settle for that one for now (laughing). We played at a 21st birthday party in Malvern and did an acoustic set to start things rolling, before packing up and heading to play at The Brickroom in Worcester.  We then headed back to the party to play a full electric set.  It was a good day and the alcohol certainly helped us along the way!

You have been working hard on your new batch of songs. So far you have given us three titles: “After the War”, “Chant” and “Buttons of Gold”. Can you tell us more about those songs?

Lee Richardson: We have such a backlog of tracks, it’s hard to decide what to bring to the set next!  The first song you are asking about “After the War” was written by Matt and myself after consuming half a bottle of Jack one Sunday afternoon.  Matt’s been listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley recently and wrote the trip chords. I wrote the lyrics and melody there and then. Not sure why, but I had images of a post-apocalyptic Earth ravaged by the aftermath of fallen society.  So, I just wrote the story that was forming in my head and we had the track recorded as a demo within an hour. Another demo recording, entitled temporarily as “Chant” in short is a peace protest kind of song. I channeled the “Hey Jude” chorus and came up with my own interpretation of that massive crowd singalong. We’re currently rehearsing “Chant” to add to the set, but “After the War” will probably end up as just a standalone song. It would be very difficult to reproduce the haunting sound we got on the recording on stage, unless we used multiple effects peddles and we don’t believe in overdoing it with those. “Buttons of Gold” is brand new track inspired in a way by the sound that The Blinders have made their own.  It’s about an experience that Jimi Hendrix had when he came to London in the 1960’s with two policemen who stopped him for wearing a WW2 military veterinary core jacket but really because of the color of his skin, let’s face it.  I encourage everyone to read up on it, it’s interesting.  I won’t bore you with the details here (laughing). Anyway, we’ll be playing “Buttons of Gold” for the first time in public at the Sunflower Lounge gig on June 9th. We are supporting another good guitar band, The Racket so come and see us there.

The band in full
Picture by Duncan Graves
https://www.facebook.com/duncan.graves

Next months will surely be very busy for you. What’s in store for the Dead Dads Club? Anything we need to know?

Lee Richardson: We’re having a month off in July to re-charge and find new inspiration.  Our EP is ready to roll now, and that’ll be out in August.  We’ll be throwing a release party at Carnival records in Malvern, and playing a set there too.  The momentum has been building nicely thanks to support from the Nuns and local promoters, and we’re going to build on this massively this year, guaranteed.  Long live rock n roll…and cheeseburgers.

You can follow Dead Dads Club on social media:

Management and booking:
Officialdeaddadsclub@gmail.com
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBAV3WyU2Yika85Moux8uzg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialdeaddadsclub/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/deaddadsclublive
Instagram: www.instagram.com/officialdeaddadsclub

Articles about the band:
http://www.malverngazette.co.uk/news/15889224.Bands_to_play_in_Worcester_as_part_of_Independent_Venue_Week/
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/16080910.Snow_forces_Malvern_band_to_postpone_gig_-_but_the_show_goes_on_in_nearby_venue/
https://www.expressandstar.com/entertainment/2018/03/13/birmingham-show-rescheduled-for-worcester-band-nuns-of-the-tundra/

We cannot wait to see Lee, Milo, James and Matt rocking The Sunflower stage again! Last time Dead Dads Club played there, they gave their best and the audience loved them. Some tickets are still available, so do yourself a favor and come see them live.

The Blinders might be leading the musical revolution, but Dead Dads Club are following their footsteps!

Please come back soon as we have  another great interview to show you before the big day  next Saturday!!

till then,
Rita and Mal
xxx

Indiaterria meets As Mamas

Ahoy!

Welcome back to Indieterria, dear readers. We hope you had a fantastic bank holiday weekend. The weather was great and we finally caught some sunshine after being constantly hidden away in the office (during the day) or lurking in the dark venues and dive bars (at nights) looking for the next big thing on the English music scene. Trying not to become vampires, on Saturday we went to Cardiff to see Manic Street Preachers at the MotoArena and it was a dream come true! After 25 years we finally had a chance to see Manics perform live in their home town! The gig was sold out, over 7 000 people sang their hearts out and we met a dear friend Rebecca (aka Crossfire) whom we’ve known for more than 20 years. It was the first time we have seen each other in person. In short – it was a beautiful day and you can expect a large report later on.

Now, we are back to business and we are more than ecstatic to introduce you to a trio that had been on our rock and roll radar for over a year now. They started as a duo, recorder their first EP at the back of a classic caravan and blew our minds with perfect mixture of psychedelia, classic rock and huge dosage of blues. They are growing better and better and the release of their second EP only prove that they are already outgrowing the small West Midland scene.

The golden era of rock and roll is coming back and with bands such as The Lizards, TSAhe Americas, Raptor and Insomnichord, we might be looking at the second revival of the British psychedelic rock! We have sat down with our today’s guests, As Mamas to discuss their very unusual name (we HAVE NOT seen that coming!), musical influences from both sides of the pond and the changes to their sound brought by a new band member.

Ladies and gents…We give you:

.

As Mamas still as duo

As Mamas
Harrison Baird-Whitman (guitar, vocals and harmonica)
Joe Devine (drums and percussion)
Jacob Coley (bass) 

As Mamas is the grooviest name we have on Worcester scene. It brings the swinging 60’s to mind and all the classic, ground-breaking bands like the Mamas and the Papas. Where does your name come from?

As Mamas: (laughing) It is a funny story. When we first started, we wanted to be called “The Tits”. There was just the two of us and we thought the line “Who doesn’t love a pair of tits” would get us far. We then realised, we probably wouldn’t get too far with a name or line like that so we threw “The Tits” into a translator and randomly chose Portuguese. Now we’re “The Breasts”.

You recently incorporated Jacob Coley on bass. What abilities does he bring to the table?

As Mamas: The guy is a little fucking genius! When we first practiced with him, we thought maybe we’d have to go through some chords or long practice with him but Jacob just picked up all our songs like that! It’s also a completely different feel for the band and for Joe (Mr. Drums) who’d never played with a bassist before. Having that lo sound to ride with! Jacob is not only a bassist but is also producing the new tracks we’ve recorded. He is showing us things we have never seen or heard of before. We love him!

Psychodelic picture of the band as a trio

You have been compared to early Black Keys but there is so much more happening in your music. Syd Barrett, Caravan, 13th Floor Elevators, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Funkadelic, Jefferson Airplane, and even Grateful Dead could be named as possible influences. Do you agree?

As Mamas: Thank you! We get compared to the Black Keys frequently which is understandable but we take inspiration from all those bands mentioned. We’ve been listening to the 13th Floor Elevators a lot over the past few months so some of our new material has pinches of them in. We all have different tastes but those bands and artists have certainly influenced Harrison. He digs the Grateful Dead and the entire psychedelic movement they were a part of along with bands such as The Acid Tests and The Merry Pranksters. Their music is what dreams are made of!

To date you have recorded two EP’s (“As Mamas” from 2016 and “Parte Dois” released in March 2018). We know it is like asking to compare your children but what are the strong and the weak points of both releases?

As Mamas: Harrison would say that say the first EP doesn’t hold much in terms of strong points but we’re always critical of what we’ve done. Although, we will always dig the tracks and what kind of music we were doing then! The recordings and production on the first EP is sort of shabby but that was when we did everything out of the caravan in Harrison’s back garden. Saying that though, we still play the first track and still get the same joy out of playing it but it could be simply down to Jacob joining us (laughing). It’s hard to compare the two releases. “Parte Dois” is more mature. We had grown musically and gotten better at our instruments and song writing. The sound of it is definitely “bigger”. It just came with learning more about production. We now know more of what to add, and what not to add. Putting a bit of organ here and a bit of percussion there, you know.

And more traditional picture of the band performing at Paradiddles in Worcester, March 2018

Second EP “Parte Dois” is heavily inspired by American delta blues (Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddly) and garage rock of 60’s and 70’s (The Standells, The Kinks, the Sonics) but it has a modern twist to it. Reviewers hear a lot of traditional psychodelia mixed with a bit of Arctic Monkeys, The Peace and Night Beats.  Who else was thrown into your own inspirational melting pot?

As Mamas: We think the first EP was more inspired by the blues! Harrison was listening to a lot of reggae and rocksteady when he was writing the songs for “Parte Dois”. It comes through particularly well on “Idle Eyes” for sure. “Foolish Vibrations” was meant to be a real slow reggae track but thankfully Joe made it what it was. Night Beats were a big influence and still are. Other bands that inspired that were The Doors, always The Doors. Then the Growlers, Modern Lovers and several others. Again, we are all different but we’re usually on the same page and listening to the same stuff!

We absolutely love the single “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted”. It is one of your fan favourites and recently was chosen as a song of the week by BOAC Internet radio. Surely it is not about falling asleep on the floor after a party with the corridor lights on (or is it)?

As Mamas: (laughing loud) “The Lights Are On but Everyone’s Wasted” is always rad to play live. Good one to get in the groove to. It can be about whatever people want but Harrison is pretty sure he wrote it about letting your mind run away with drugs and going a bit insane. We got quite a few songs about going mad!

Elegantly psychodelic

As Mamas are constantly on the go performing in Worcester (Paradiddles, The FireFly, The Marr’s Bar), Bristol, Birmingham (selling out Sunflower Longue) and London (Amersham Arms, Reverberation Psych Fest) among others. You have played as a part of This Feeling circuit. Tell us about your favourite show? Where was it and with whom you have shared the stage?

As Mamas:  We gotta say our favourite show was one we played recently with Rhino and the Ranters at the Night Owl in Birmingham. The venue is just perfect, real cool atmosphere and a sort of 60s feel to it. Plus everyone who works there seems to really dig what they’re doing. Then Rhino and the Ranters are one of the best live bands we’ve had the pleasure of seeing, always fun with them. And in the future, we will play Bristol for the first time on the 12th of May at Mr Wolf’s along with Arno and DJ Hiphoppapotamus.

Last year (April 21st 2017) you were invited to play at the Booth Hall in Hereford along with Raptor and New Revival. How do you remember the performance? 

As Mamas: We are honest, we were probably a few drinks in! Our memories are pretty terrible but we remember we played this groovy little blues jam. And it’s always sweet to play with Raptor. They’ve been with us since the beginning really.

Imagine you can put your song on a soundtrack to any movie. Which film do you choose and what scene it illustrates?

As Mamas playing live

As Mamas: Shit, that’s a hard one! We have always pictured our song “Midnight Floor” being over a bar fight or some real gory Tarantino scene. So either a bar fight scene in “Roadhouse” or that scene in “Django Unchained” where Django’s getting all geared up to take on Monsieur Candy’s house.

As Mamas have been incredibly hard this year and we see no signs of you stopping. Where can we see you playing live next? What are your plans for the next few months?

As Mamas: Yeah we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! Gigs, gigs, gigs – this is what it’s all about. We play live next at the Firefly in Worcester with Elephant Peel supporting Thee MVPs which is sick! That’s gonna be a crazy good show. Plans for the next few months are probably gig more and finish off recording what we think will be our album. We’ve also got some plans to collaborate with another band and release a split single but we haven’t asked them yet and it’s still very much just blue prints but you watch this space!

You can follow As Mamas online by clicking on their plethora of social media sites:

Probably our favourite picture!

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/asmamas
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asmamasband
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/asmamasband
Bandcamp: https://asmamas.bandcamp.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asmamasband/

As usually, if you’d like to be featured on Indieterria, please send us a message and we will be listening to your music.
Any genre is welcomed – from rave to black metal, from A to Z – we are open minded and we are not afraid to discover new lands!

Email us at rdabrowicaz at yahoo dot com and see the magic happen 🙂

Till we meet again,
R+M

Indieterria meets Happy Bones

Dear Readers,

Hey you! Iggy Cuthbert showing the way

When we started Indieterria fifteen months ago, we did not expect to be setting out on such a grand journey. And yet – here we are: spending nights editing and proof reading, interviewing musicians over Skype at 3AM while lying in bed with the lights out, talking to artists who continue to have meaningful careers while battling severe illness (Nic Evenett), watching brightest talents take on the world (nth cave). In our last chapter we profiled Junior Weeb – a band that had to grow up in the spotlight despite incredible personal tragedy.  Witnessing such stories makes us humble. We have realized that indie circuit – close and far – is full of incredible artists, who have strength, determination and their own unique voice.

Stepping outside comfort zones.

We will continue down this path with Iggy Cuthbert, known as Happy Bones. Iggy is a poet and songwriter based in Worcestershire, who has been leaving his mark on local scene in the last few years. Known for his dreamy lyrics and raw and emotional music, Iggy is an incredible person to interview.  He is fierce, open and raw. He is also shy and vulnerable and yet candidly speaks about his stage fright, death, highs and lows of being an artist in digital era. Please enjoy this interview and let`s take a walk on the wild side.

Sinking mud

Happy Bones made his mark on local scene, but for those not familiar with West Midlands indie circuit – tell us who is Iggy Cuthbert and why do you make such extraordinary music?

Happy Bones: Iggy Cuthbert is a pretentious persona I don’t really keep up with or know that well. I’m a writer and a singer, I suppose. I’ve grown to like the “folksinger” label. However, I always think of myself as a poet first. I can’t really write without a melody though, so I guess that’s why I do it. I make music because it’s the only thing that makes some sense to me. A lot of my songs jump around different topics and sometimes don’t make much sense, even to me. But that’s the way my brain seems to work. To me it’s a way of talking things out with myself, so it’s always a strange experience when I whisper my deepest, darkest secrets behind the mic (laughs). I enjoy it though.

You have been involved in organizing events and gigs for other artists as part of Boneyard Sessions. If you were to pick three  local acts that had the biggest impact on yourself – who would you recommend?

Happy Bones: I love all the bands we have put on so far, we always try and put on bands that we are excited about. Boneyard is a very selfish endeavour in that way. As for the three that are closest to my heart my first answer, perhaps the most obvious one, is nth cave. They’re my friends, I love them very much. They’re all extremely talented instrumentalists. You can tell they mean each note. Whenever I see them live, it feels like I’m discovering each of the notes all over again. Danni Timmins has a great way of delivering vocals, she makes it easy to get lost in the lyrics. Their song-writing is incredibly strong and clean, everything sounds tight, every word has a purpose. There are no clichés with that band. Hector and Fergus Brazier both work on Boneyard with me and I played some sets with Alfie Newman. I love them a lot. Following that, F. F. Ivanovski (Alfie Newman`s alter ego and solo project) is a sleepy but awakening experience. That boy sings in poetry covered in reverb. With some beautiful guitar work. Third would have to be Tom Forbes, his sets are a trip. He radiates confidence. He makes no mistakes, and if he does he works with them. He’s a real performer, his set for Boneyard Sessions really stuck with me.

In March 2017 you debuted with self titled EP. It included four tracks and was hailed as intimate and raw combination of lo-fi, folk and alternative with very strong song writing credits. You have been compared to Evan Dando, Stephen Joseph Malkmus of Pavement, Beck or even Ariel Pink. Slap Magazine called you ”a troubadour in the making”. Not a bad answer to a demo that has been written and recorded in about two weeks.

Happy Bones: I’ve always been writing songs and poems. I had a bit of a break after some old bands dissolved, I worked a shitty job that made me sad and I almost ruined one of my oldest friendships. So, of course, the most logical answer was to write an EP. I get distracted easily so a tight deadline worked for me in terms of keeping me motivated and inspired. Again, it was mostly therapy, and the fact that people enjoyed it made it seem some-what worthwhile. The “production” of the EP is pretty crude and simple, but I hope people listen to it with an open mind. When I counted down the days till the release most people thought I was counting down to something dark but I’m still around. I played harmonica on the EP, in hindsight that was a mistake (laughs). I tried to make the EP sound as if it’s an interview with a therapist or a doctor. I originally called it “The Grand Finale” (I think if you download the EP that’s still the title it has) because, I didn’t want to carry on with music after I released it. I was pretty demotivated at the time. I started studying literature and poetry at university, so I think I’ve come a long way in terms of maturing as an artist since that EP and I don’t really relate to it anymore, but it’s still very close to my heart. “I Surrender, I Give Up“ is probably the song that defines the whole EP well, I think? Again, I don’t really like that EP defining me as an artist anymore.

Iggy live

We absolutely love “Death Obsessed (Sketch #2)” from the EP, not only because of the fantastic lyrics. The entire composition is something like out of a secret diary of Syd Barrett.  Can you tell us more about this song?

Happy Bones: Thank you! I’m a huge fan of Syd Barret so that means a lot. “Death Obsessed” is more-or-less a true story. My mother tells me I was a different age when the swing incident mentioned in the song happened, but I chose to gloss over that. There’s still a pretty large scar on the back of my head for those that don’t believe the authenticity of it (laughs). “Death Obsessed” is about mortality and I suppose, existentialism. It’s about being stuck. It’s about the dark part of the human psyche that’s always nagging and telling you that time is running out, reminds you you’re ageing. That voice in the back of your head telling you that you don’t deserve to be happy. The song was inspired by one of my trips to the doctors trying to figure out what it is that’s making me feel blue and they said I was just a teenager. I’ve done some growing up since then and death is still on my mind. The last verse is the most important to me, I think it summarises the song perfectly. it’s about the empty effort of time endlessly pushing you forward but really, you’re going no-where. I don’t play that song as much anymore because of how close it has become to me. I don’t really like showing that side of me anymore. Being sad isn’t that original or cool anymore (laughs).

Last year you played Worcester Music Festival while also curating a scene for the festival. You seem to keep yourself occupied at all times.

Happy Bones: Playing the same shows I’m curating always makes me worried about what people might think my intentions might be. I suppose there’s stress from both sides: performance and promotion, but playing Boneyard Session shows just feels natural. Playing such gigs gives me a similar feeling I get when I’m just playing songs in my bedroom in front of my girlfriend or best friend.  I always get anxious about working with other promoters and sound engineers. On the other hand, I like stepping outside of the comfort zone of Boneyard Sessions. I want to be heard, and the only way that will happen is by forcing my music down everybody’s ears.

Happy Bones EP cover

You shared stage and collaborated with incredible amount of local artists: Alfie Newman (F.F. Idorovski), nth cave, Jesse River Dylan Murray, Ben Dallow, Luke Steele, Joe Norris, Tom Forbes, Sam Clines to name a few. Aren`t you sometimes tempted to form a band on your own?

Happy Bones: I always think about starting a band, I tend to write my songs as drafts that can easily be expanded. Myself and Hector Brazier (nth cave) are in talks but who knows what will happen? I’m used to playing on my own, but I get bored easily. I tend to write a lot and start hating my old songs. During most of my shows you’re very likely to hear a song that’s just been written the day before. Doing that would be harder with a band. I like the freedom I have as a solo performer, but I do miss my band days, I get lonely sometimes (laughs). I have a vision of creating a Woo-town supergroup made up of all the singer-songwriters I love. Big things might happen. Don’t forget about me, I still have a lot of songs in me.

You undergo a mesmerizing transition into a truly iconic performer. Where last year was a shy boy with guitar, now we see a confident Beatnik-esque young man unafraid to treat his skin as a canvas.  You  showcase some incredible inks on your socials and we have to admit, following your metamorphosis is very exciting and intimate experience. Was it a conscious decision to share this growing up process with the audience?

Happy Bones: Documenting my life was certainly not intentional. I feel like I have been doing some growing up as a person and as an artist. I still have a lot of bad days and I still shake on stage but it’s what I do and it’s all I think about. I can’t imagine working in an office, so I suppose I might as well give it all I’ve got and see what happens. There’s still a lot I have to learn, and I am learning with every set I play. As for social media, I like pretending that people care about what I do, and social media is an excellent illusion. I like sharing things and being as open and honest as I can. I want to show snippets of songs I’m working on and not worry about my voice slipping out of tune. I try to not worry about what people think of me based on my Instagram or Twitter feed. I don’t want to cultivate an image (the way so many people do) of being someone I’m not. I do really like the fact people are noticing a change. I like creating that intimate feel on stage or outside of it. I like to form connections with people and social media seems to be the way it happens today. A costume or a mask would definitely be more comfortable but what’s the point of pretending? It’s the same way as it is on stage.

Iggy Cuthbert (Happy Bones) performing live at Paradiddles, Worcester March 22

Tattoos have become another outlet, I suppose. I like the idea of art being permanently on my body. I like treating my body as a canvas, a record of my mistakes and so on. It’s more permanent than sketching but I like tattooing myself. Without meaning to sound cliché or pretentious, I do think it’s possibly the most primitive form of self-expression. I’ve given myself a couple of bad stick n’ pokes. I have a little sad face on my ankle. And some other little pieces on my legs and fingers. I like tattoos that don’t look like tattoos. I like them when they look like sketches out of a notebook. The ones you do at Uni when you’re bored. That’s kind of the way I see my songs. Just sketches that I churn out then forget about.  They all have a little part of me though.

 On March 30th 2018, you will support The Americas during an anticipated home coming show. Will we be able to hear some new material?

Happy Bones: Yes, it’s always a yes. I write songs all the time. Some of them no one will ever hear but some of them I’ll be brave enough to share. The Americas show might be the latter. I’m really excited. I’ve known the Americas for a while and they’re incredible artists. I’m  honoured to be asked to play their home-coming show I think it’s gonna be really special for everyone involved. I’ve seen Junior Weeb a couple of times, and I know they’re going to make a lot of noise that night too. It’s gonna be a party.

And while we are asking about the new stuff – when do you think we will see the follow up to Happy Bones EP?

Happy Bones: Yes! I don’t know when, but I’m in talks with Alex Knight, he recorded some wonderful artists: Chip Langley, Tyler Massey among others. I get bored easily though and I can never decide what to record. I always change my mind about what I want to sound like. One day soon there will be a new EP, maybe an album, maybe a collection of poems? Or maybe all three. I don’t know. I’m certainly not done yet. I have a lot of ideas and not too much time.

Lost in music

Over the last twelve months, you have been a recording and performing artist, you organized shows, promoted and booked other musicians. What`s the state of the indie scene in your opinion?  Is it all cut throat – dog eat dog world out there or have you seen reasons to be optimistic?

Happy Bones: The music scene in Worcester is wonderful and it’s scary and it’s intimidating and inspiring. It’s all the things you say and none of them at all. I wrote a song that I often dedicate to the indie scene titled “I hate being one of your kind” because Worcester and “the scene” are both easy places to get stuck in, I worry about that sometimes. I don’t want to get stuck. But I made some wonderful friends and we all have to help each-other out, that’s the whole motivation behind Boneyard Sessions for example. We all want to do this. I try and stay optimistic, it feels good to be a part of something. Something that’s definitely breathing. It’s a real honour to be able to have some (however small) impact on it. Worcester birthed The Americas, Junior Weeb, Tom Forbes, Ben Dallow, nth cave, Alfie Newman, Luke Steele, Joe Norris, Jesse River Dylan Murray, amongst many, many, many others. They are some of the most interest artists I’ve had the pleasure to watch and share the stage with. Worcester definitely has something to say. I don’t know what it is yet, but I hope we’re loud enough to say it.

Poster for upcoming gig with The Americas

Iggy Cuthbert will play Marrs Bar in Worcester with Junior Weeb and The Americas on March 30th. Its gonna be carnage and a sold out home show – we are warning you. So grab your tickets before they are gone.

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

In the meantime, you can visit Happy Bones online and listen to some quality music:

https://www.facebook.com/iggyhappybones/
https://twitter.com/iggster_69
https://soundcloud.com/iggyc
https://happybones.bandcamp.com
https://www.instagram.com/iggycuthbert/

That`s all for this episode of Indieterria. We will see you soon -ish,

Mal& Rita

****Update: 01/04/2018****

What can we say? The gig at Marrs Bar went by in a flash. We have been running around taking pictures,  videos, making sure we had some images from the green room. We also had enormous pleasure to see Iggy Cuthbert on a proper stage. When Happy Bones started, the room was still filling in – but he had a perfect combination of almost religious silence and a cheering crowd. Each song was performed to a focused audience and ended with an applause and calls for encores. In return Iggy spoke about his tunes, the stories behind them and debuted a new song “Bruised Knees” (we are hoping this is the right title) about a funeral of a young, anonymous girl. It must have been first time that we actually seen a person in Marrs Bar tear up when listening to a song. Iggy promised us tunes to cry to and he delivered.

Happy Bones performing at Marrs Bar

Powerful voice and dark lyrics.

Happy Bones is powerful on stage armed with just a guitar, his voice and his lyrics. He is coming out of the shadow of his collaborators and friends – nth cave at incredible rate and is firmly standing on his own as a writer and performer.

His new material is as dark as previously but the melodies come up front and you find yourself humming the chorus lines long after the song is finished.  We won`t lie – “Bruised Knees” caught us off guard with its intense and existential theme contrasting with a sophisticated pop melody. That is a formula that made The Smith legendary. Iggy is obviously learning from the best.

Vanadian Avenue agrees that everyone should see Iggy live.

Up close and personal – Iggy leave an impression on the audience

The coming months will be very interesting to observe as nth cave also enter studio and we may have a “battle of friends” on the Worcester scene.

If you missed the gig, here`s a video since we have now a YouTube channel!

And some extra photos from the green room.

Iggy Cuthbert (aka Happy Bones) backstage at the green room Marrs Bar 30.03.2018

Against the wall – Iggy Cuthbert

Iggy at the back of Marrs Bar.

Regards,
Mal+Rita

****Update 20/04/2018****

Worcestershire favourite indie poet has dropped a new single, so we did a review!

Happy Bones – “Just The Same”

Cover of Just The Same single – released on 16th April 2018

There is something captivating about Happy Bones (alter ego of Worcestershire based poet and  resident decadent – Iggy Cuthbert): messy hair, strange glasses, beanies and shirts, mysterious  tattoos, ethereal vocals and grim lyrics.

He changes like a chameleon. One day, he is a Harry Potter of indie circuit – a kind of rebellious prodigy, then you see him live and he creates this semi acoustic and mesmerizing show only to shake you back to your senses using all sorts of sonic effects that would make Ash Bowie of Polvo jealous.

There is also an aura of defiance in whatever Iggy Cuthbert is doing. He could have easily cast himself as a traditional folk singer and fill coffee houses and clubs in a large city with a buzzing university campus. Instead, he lives in a market town in West Midlands and sings to small but dedicated audiences. He could provide his listeners with produced to perfection poetic songs, yet he releases homemade demos and subscribes to the ethics of lo-fi movement: scratches, background noise, disregard to quality et all.

Even his name is contradictory – Happy and Bones. Iggy Cuthbert obviously found a formula to keep all those opposites together and merge them into one coherent artistic and musical persona, but don’t expect him to reveal the ingredients.

Iggy Cuthberg performing at Firefly, Worcester 22.02.2018

And why should he? He seems to find enjoyment in confusing his audience and keep them on their toes.

Expecting a single release in a regular way with sponsored ads, competitions, likes and shares? Not here, not this artist.

In a fashion that reminds of antics of Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, Iggy posted series of  Instagram stories showing him smoking heavily, looking like he was about to suffer a nervous breakdown and counting days to something. Could have been new material, could have been a walk to the bridge. Fans could  guess.

On 16th April a new song appeared on Happy Bones` Soundcloud and Bandcamp entitled “Just The Same”. Illustrated by a simple graphics with flowers in a vase, it featured Iggy Cuthbert on guitar and vocals, Alfie Newman on guitar and Hector Brasier on drums.  Alfie and Hector belong to  incredibly popular in Worcester dream pop/shoegaze outfit nth cave and this is the closest collaboration yet between nth cave and Happy Bones.

Bringing together nostalgic lyric with mid tempo lo-fi dark folk composition, hypnotic drums and loops echoing in the background, Iggy Cuthbert once again delivered a single that escapes all forms of description. Full of strange effects yet easily memorable, evocative and haunting, radio friendly and yet meeting all the requirements of a niche circuit that prides itself in being alternative.

Even trying to review the song, makes you feel like a dork.

Happy Bones is definitely placing himself in the same league as Pinning for Sunshine,  Lowpines or  Joshua Burnside. Yet  I keep  on hearing small nodes to Grant Lee Buffalo or Evan Dando and it catches me off guard time and time again. For 3 minutes folky song, “Just The Same” has so many layers, it makes your jaw drop.

There is one regret here though. It really begs for a better mix. If only to fully appreciate all the small sound bits that happen in the background. I know it goes against the indie ethos but damn it.

It has so much potential.

“Just The Same” can be purchased from Iggy Cuthbert`s official shops at:

https://soundcloud.com/iggyc/just-the-same
https://happybones.bandcamp.com/track/just-the-same

Do yourself a present and get your copy of the single.

Mal+Rita

Indieterria meets Junior Weeb

Welcome again!

Winter months have been a very busy period for your favourite independent A&R’s. We traveled to gigs, went to Indiecon conference in London, took pictures, filmed shows, handled merch, sent countless emails and wrote reviews and articles about our lovely Worcester Wave bands. The rest of March will leave us very little time to relax as well, but we love what we do!

Last time, we spoke to Lower Loveday – an exciting new rock group that makes a name for themselves on the indie circuit. Today we have something for lovers of young, hip and alternative rock with fuzzed guitars, wall of sound and catchy melodies.

Do we have your attention? Good – please read our conversation with a band that is quickly following the trails of Soeur and The Americas, leaving jaws on the (dance) floor and an insatiable craving for their full-bloodied debut album.

***

Promotional picture of the Weebs

 

Growing-up in the spotlight

Almost a year and a half ago, when we saw Junior Weeb for the first time, we were not impressed. They played a short set and compared to other acts performing that night, we didn’t think the young quarter had any future. How wrong we were! In recent months, Junior Weeb underwent almost miraculous transformation. Their stage presence is electric, their writing improved to the point where their songs could easily conquer the Top 40. Everything about them is matured, sophisticated and exciting.

Luckily for us, the band do not hold grudges and we didn’t have to beg for second chances to interview them. Chris Phee and the company were a joy to talk about their humble beginnings, self-(re) discovery and their upcoming music.

Official bio: Junior Weeb are an indie funk/alternative rock four-piece hailing from Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire. With hard-hitting bass grooves, soulful vocals and sticky guitar licks, Junior Weeb take their influences from a catalogue of different genres hoping to create a finished product that pleases your ears.

Chris Phee (rhythm guitar and lead vocals)
Max Killing (bass guitar and backing vocals)
Joe Webby (lead guitar)
Quentin Hill (drums)

Junior Weeb’s official bio mentions that the band was formed at the beginning of 2016. Tell us more about the beginnings of your musical journey? Where did you meet and who is in the band?

Junior Weeb: We’ve all been close mates since high school. To begin with, we were in 2 different bands, one of our old bandmates had a house party where we all played in his kitchen. This brought us closer together musically so we formed a super group called Junior Weeb in around February 2015 and thus discovered our mutual love and trust in music. We have the soulful enigma that is Chris Phee on rhythm guitar and vocals, Max Killing slapping da bass and vocals, man like Weeb (Joe Webby) providing that sticky lead guitar and the big friendly giant Quentin Hill smashing the shit out of those tubs like.

The Press and your fans affectionately refer to you either as The Weebs or The Juniors. Where the name “Junior Weeb” does comes from?

Junior Weeb: (laughing) Our guitarist Joe has the nickname “Weeb”. We don’t refer to him as Weeb anymore because of the association with the band. He said that if he ever had a son he would want it to be called Junior Weeb. We laughed but never really thought of it as a band name. It wasn’t until many weeks of arguing and moaning about the band name that we referred back to what he said and we finally settled with Junior Weeb. It was something catchy, funny and relatable to the band. We also happen to be the first website that pops up when you type our name into Google. Mad isn’t it?

We have to admit, when we`ve seen you for the first time, we were not into your music. Watching the band for a second time, a year later – we have fallen in love with Junior Weeb. Yours is the biggest, most impressive musical development on the local scene in recent years. Can you tell us what drives you, what keeps you focused?

Junior Weeb live on stage

Junior Weeb: We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made in the last year or so. We all study music at Kidderminster College and the tuition we’ve received has definitely kept us motivated and driven. Our musicianship has developed, each player is learning their instrument well and we’re listening to all kinds of music at the moment which is driving us to succeed. Some of the bands we’ve played/become acquainted with are doing some really great things at the moment which is also inspiring and a gentle reminder that we need to get our arse in gear.

It’s the beginning of the year and 2018 looks very busy for you already. On 17th of February you played at Mr Wolf’s in Bristol, where you supported two other WorcesterWave bands: Soeur and HVMM. You have opened for Soeur before at a sold out home-coming gig at the Marr’s Bar. How does it feel to perform alongside your friends? Have they offered any advice?

Junior Weeb:  Soeur has looked after us a lot over our musical journey and we couldn’t thank them enough for the support. We feel honoured to be playing alongside such talented songwriters who are so lovely and kind.  We don’t think we’ve ever had any advice from Soeur but we know how dedicated and driven they are. They have put so much hard work and passion into their music, they’re probably the most organised band we’ve played with and they deserve all the recognition they are getting. Playing with Soeur has definitely inspired us to work harder and organize ourselves respectively. We love you Soeur! XXX (laughing)

You shared stages with many popular independent acts such as Muncie Girls, The Riscas, Ivory Wave and The Americas. How important, in your opinion, is the close fellowship between different bands on the indie circuit? Is the Worcester scene supportive towards new starting acts?

Junior Weeb: In our opinion, we think the fellowship between bands on the indie circuit is very important. We’ve had some great opportunities recently and as long as we’re all supporting each other, things are gonna keep ticking along. The Worcester scene is always supportive to new bands and we’re always excited to hear new music and meet new people who are keeping the scene alive.  Seeing what all the other bands have achieved and the support we’ve received recently has really helped us out. Long live Da Woo Town scene!

On April 21th 2017, your debut single “No right” was chosen as the track of the week by This Feeling circuit and a month later popular website GigSlutz gave you a glowing review describing your music as “dreamy, psychedelic affair with just a hint of Oasis”. That’s very impressive review for a young band. Have you expected such warm reactions to your song?

Junior Weeb: To be honest we didn’t expect these reactions. “Not Right” was the first song we wrote together and it’s one that’s very close to our hearts. The main riff in the song was something that Max’s brother Sam came up with before he sadly passed away. We decided to write it as a tribute to Sam and his legacy. The reactions to this song have been very heart-warming and we hope Sam is proud of the finished product.

You are currently working on a new material to be published later this year. Can we expect an EP or a full blown debut album? We are curious where are you working and who is attached to the project?

Junior Weeb: We’ve had a lot of fun in the studio recently, we’ve been recording new songs at Kidderminster College with help from the Music Tech students who have made some impressive mixes for us. We thought it would be a good idea to record these songs live because on some of these tracks there is a lot of feel and groove. Hope that doesn’t give too much away (laughing). It’s great being able to record in an environment that we are all so comfortable with and the recording sessions have been fairly regular. We’re not too sure about an E.P or an album anytime soon but there will definitely be new music. Expect the unexpected.

You had to deal with incredible family tragedy. Do you feel confident to talk about it?

Junior Weeb: We lost Sam Killing in December 2015. After a long battle with mental health and drug misuse, Sam took his own life with unclear intent. He was a charming, intelligent and charismatic guy who inspired us a lot. We were all very shocked and upset when it happened but the legacy he left behind in his music and persona helped us a lot with our music. When you have to deal with a tragedy like that it’s hard find comfort when listening to music but we knew that music was the only thing that would help us out. Sam played lead guitar/backing vocals for Babypink and it’s not until you sit down and properly listen to Babypink that you understand the intricacy and beauty of Sam’s playing and writing. He has been a massive inspiration to all of us and one of the main reasons we formed. His legacy will continue to inspire us and live on through our lives as long as music will. R.I.P Sammy x.

Juniors on the green grass

2018 could be a breakthrough year for Junior Weeb. What are your hopes and fears for the nearest future?

Junior Weeb: 2018 is the year of the Weebs. We hope to gig as much as we can up until summer. The plan is to spend summer writing and working so that hopefully we make a fabulous return when we’re finished. None of us are driving yet so we hope to get on the road too. At the moment, we have nothing to fear, we’re going with the flow, taking everything as it comes. Big thank you to everyone who has supported us on our musical journey so far and we hope to see you all in the near future. Weebs out! Xxx.

***

Baby Pink

Writing about Junior Weeb, we cannot omit Sam Killing, the incredibly talented elder brother of Max Killing. Hailed as one of the most talented musicians to come out of The Faithful City, Sam played lead guitar for a band Baby Pink along with Andrew Brooks (vocals, guitar), Jack Vaughan (bass) and Jack Cotterill (drums). Formed in 2012, Baby Pink very quickly gained a lot of attention and toured the UK without even releasing a debut EP. Their gigs in London and Manchester drew big crowds even with minimal promotion, giving the band very positive reviews from music journalists and comparisons to the American alternative rock legends, The Pixies. Baby Pink were featured in the New Musical Express (named as precious find) in February 2014 and toured with Jaws, Catfish and The Bottleman, Wolf Alice and many other. Baby Pink decided to call it quits in March 2014 and Sam went on to form Birmingham based quartet named Juice with Davis Armstrong, Matt Burdon and Damon Cox in September 2014. Tragically he lost his life three months later.

You can learn more about Baby Pink by listening their music online:
https://facebook.com/bbypnk
https://amazingtunes.com/brumpromoters/biography
https://amazingradio.com/home/news-babypink-break-up
https://soundcloud.com/babypinkband

More articles about Sam:
https://www.indiependent.co.uk/tribute-late-sam-killing-power-music/
http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/14188972.Bandmates_to_honour_life_of_musician_Sam_Killing__20__who_died_after_being_hit_by_a_train_in_Droitwich/

***

Poster for The Americas gig at Marrs Bar

Junior Weeb keep a tight schedule of gigs all over the West Midlands. They recently supported Soer at Night Bus in Bristol, played legendary Fleece,  opened a gig for hugely influential Catholic Action at another iconic venue – The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham and will progress to 02 in Birmingham in April.

They will play Marrs Bar with Happy Bones and The Americas on March 30th. Its gonna be carnage and a sold out home show – we are warming you. So grab your tickets before they are gone.

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

As usual we will keep our hand on the pulse and will report all the action. In the meantime, you can follow Junior Weeb using the details below. You will thank us later for introducing you to the quality music and future rock stars.

https://www.facebook.com/juniorweebband/
https://twitter.com/JuniorWeeb
https://soundcloud.com/juniorweeb
https://juniorweeb.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/juniorweeb_

All the best,
Mal&Rita

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

What can we tell you about Junior Weeb that we haven’t said already? They are a perfect combination of youthful indie, funk, blues and classic rock. They emerged victorious from a tragedy that would end much older and experienced bands. They improved their act to the point where they outgrew local circuit by a long distance and moved easily to play bigger venues in Bristol and Birmingham. They will be on a label and touring their debut album sooner than we think.

Junior Weeb supporting The Americas at the Marrs Bar on 30.03.2018

We look at Junior Weeb and see a new Viola Beach. A four piece made for biggest stages, a group with strong work ethic and resilience, talent , sense of humour  and desire to succeed.

And they proved it on the night they supported The Americas. Jumping into crowd, singing their hearts out, being joined on stage by one of their dads for a hilarious blues piece. They are wild, free and  unstoppable as soon as they are in front of the audience with their instruments in hand. There are no apologies, no fear when they play.

Loud and ready. Junior Weeb put everything into their set.

Interaction with audience is very important

But see them back stage, sitting on a sofa in a front of photographer – huddling together,  making sure that all of them are in the frame. This is a band that does not only play good music together. They genuinely like being in each other`s company, they treasure and respect one another. Junior Weeb are a bunch of close friends as much as they are the next big indie act.

And that is why readers you should see them when Junior Weeb play live.

Here`s some videos in case you missed the gig.

 

And some green room shots too.

Junior Weeb with photographer Duncan Graves at the green room

Posing for a photo session right after the set. Junior Weeb work hard and play hard

Everybody in the frame. Post gig photo session at Marrs bar on 30.03.2018

That’s all for now,

Mal+Rita

 

Indieterria meets Lower Loveday

Hello, hello!

Oh! February is an extremely busy month for everyone at Vanadian Avenue. After talking to Dharma Bums about their new EP “Nothing to Lose Blues” and grilling Andrew Marston from BBC Hereford and Worcester about their new radio show, here we are throwing questions left and right at another very talented young band!

Named after a street in Birmingham, Lower Loveday are a four piece outfit that connects pop melodies with a edgy rockier sound. They are perfect for Top 20 chart and a mosh pit pogo at your local venue. We have caught up with the guys from LLD a day before their big gig at O2 Institute and had a quick chat about winning talents shows while at school, travelling to Australia and their music.

Lower Loveday logo

The band that was meant to be  – Lower Loveday interview 

Tom Garbett (drums)
Stuart Creed (bass),
Chris Francis (lead guitar/vocals)
Mark Washington (vocals)

Official bio: The band has its roots way back to Year 8 in school, when Mark (Vocals) & Tom (Drums) entered the end of year talent show in a band. From then we always assumed that it would always happen one day, although this was delayed by education. Then having both met up during travelling in Australia, we decided to go for it when we got back and follow our dreams and get a band going! With this then Tom got writing some songs whilst the two of us practised. We knew there was potential, not only in the song but in us as a combination. We then begun our quest to fill out the remaining positions in the band. And after a long and tiring journey we finally found our perfect fit in the form of Chris (Lead Guitar), who manages to provide the perfect guitar part to support our melodies and hooks. Along with Stuart (Bass) who has added his unique blend of punchy but melodic bass playing to fill out the rhythm section… Now nothing can stop us in reinventing the music wheel and creating something the world has not yet heard and therefore needs!

There then Lower Loveday was truly born.

*******

Lower Loveday promo picture

Lower Loveday is an incredibly poetic name. Where does it come from? Is the band named after a single by Britpop heroes Menswe@r or have you been inspired by a picturesque canal side street leading to the Jewellers Quarter in Birmingham?

Lower Loveday: Thank you very much! Our name actually comes from the street in Birmingham you mentioned. Tom, our drummer, lived on Lower Loveday Street during his second year at the university and always thought it would make a good name for a band. We didn’t have any other names, so we went with it and it actually means something to us.

Your biography is full of surprises. Is it true that the first incarnation of the band was formed for Year 8 talent show?

Lower Loveday: (laughing) Yes, that is absolutely correct! Tom and Mark went to school together and were very friendly throughout. It was the Year 8 talent show when for the first time music brought them properly together. It was also a bonus that they won it but after that they didn’t really pursue the music that much yet then.

After playing for a while at school, you seem to go separate ways only to meet again years later on the other side of the world…in Australia! We are sure, Hollywood will soon come knocking on your door asking for movie rights!

Lower Loveday: We wish! Yes, we’d joked a couple of times before both going our separate ways that we’d be in a band together in the future but university put us on different paths. It wasn’t until we both went travelling (separately!) and then we met in Sydney. After a drunken sing-along, we realised the band we’d been joking about previously, was actually a possibility. At this moment, Lower Loveday consist of: Tom Garbett – he’s our drummer and also the principal songwriter, on bass guitar we have Stuart Creed, on lead guitar is Chris Francis and on vocals is Mark Washington.

Your music has been compared to Kasabian, Kings of Leon, The Arctic Monkeys, The Blossoms and (a little bit) to Oasis. Those are huge names and it must be flattering to be likened to the most important rock groups of the last two decades. How do you feel about it?

Lower Loveday:  We’ve said it before that those bands are our main influences. We weren’t aware we’d actually be compared to all of them but if that’s actually the case then that is incredibly flattering. To achieve even half of what those names have would be amazing.

We absolutely love two of your tracks: “You Could Have Been My Queen” and “Chains”. Can you please tell us more about these songs?

Lower Loveday: It’s funny that you like both songs as, ironically, they came along at pretty much the same time in terms of song-writing. We knew then that they were a bit of a game changer for us. They had a different, very unique “pop” quality to them that the other songs we wrote at that point had not. We haven’t written anything like them before. And so as soon as we showed them to people and started playing them, everyone just really loved them and we knew we had something there.

Lower Loveday received some good response from the music business. BBC Hereford and Worcester called your single “You Could Have Been My Queen” fresh and exciting and New Musical Express included your music profile on their website as one of the upcoming bands from Birmingham. Three of your singles, “Loved You”, “You Could Have Been My Queen” and “Anything You Wanted Me To” also received a lot of airplay from Brum Radio, Cannock Chase Radio, Uckfield FM and The Bugcast.

The band on stage

 

Lower Loveday:  We thought we knew almost everything that has been written or said about us but we missed a few here. Being anywhere on NME is amazing! We initially started just being happy to receive any sort of air time on anything but when BBC Introducing H&W played pretty much every song we uploaded it really makes you think! Maybe these tunes we think are great, aren’t actually that bad!

On the 24th of February, you will be performing at SoundWaves Music Competition UK Final at the O2 Academy in Birmingham. Of course we are keeping our fingers crossed. Where did you learn about this competition and what will happen during the finale?

Lower Loveday: It may be hard to believe but finding the competition was as simple as just googgling ‘music competitions’ on the Internet. Or vocalist Tom found few good links and we applied for several. As far as we know, at SoundWaves 15 acts are due to perform in the finals and we will get a small slot to impress as many people and judges a possible. We think the winner will be announced on the night. It’s a great opportunity for us to perform on a big stage and it gives us a chance to play in front of an A&R’s and representatives from many labels. Hopefully we will go out and get our name out there even more.

Worcester News – 23 February 2018 (page 21)

You recently started working on new material to be released later in the year.  Are you finally recording your full debut album?

Lower LoveDay: Yes, we are currently working on several new songs. We went back into the studio just before Christmas to lay down the initial parts for two more songs which we’ll be completing very soon. The goal is to just keep recording tunes until we have enough for an album and then release when the right time comes (laughing)

Your website is warning that a musical storm is brewing. When can we see you live on stage? Any upcoming gigs we should be aware of?

Lower LoveDay: We came up with that phrase initially to lure people into listening and to create a sort of intrigue about us but it’s something we’ve seem to have kept going with from the start as it hasn’t done too badly! After this weekend’s final, we have a gig the following Sunday 4th March at The Fleece in Bristol which is going to be a full day of live music and a festival slot in August at  Venture Festival in Nottingham! We will be adding new information as they come!

We bet they look good on the dance floor as well!

Lower Loveday can be found on social media:

Website: https://www.lowerloveday.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lowerloveday/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lower_loveday
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/lowerloveday
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lowerloveday
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClGDR9XIPOo96KRox090yTg

Articles about the group:
New Musical Express Emerging: https://artists.nme.com/artist/lower-loveday/
Worcester News: http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/regional/worcestershire/worcester/16037251.Evesham_indie_rock_band_reaches_final_of_national_music_competition/

More information about SoundWave Competition:
https://www.facebook.com/soundwavecompetition/
https://www.soundwavemusiccompetition.co.uk/

The competition starts at 19:00 PM at O2 Institute so please come and support our local talents if you can!
We are keeping our fingers crossed for you guys!

Good luckxxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Indieterria meets Andrew Marston

Dear readers!

We always have fun speaking to bands, singers, songwriters and artists. Discovering new music is what we love to do and we will never miss the opportunity to ask few questions and direct your attention towards a good tune or an album that is worth listening to. From time to time, however we have a special guest at our blog and today’s entry will be dedicated to a man we all know but whom nobody interviewed yet (we know it is a shocker!)

It is with the biggest of pleasures, we are able to announce that Indieterria has interviewed the man who not only came up with the name for Worcestershire music scene but who has been tirelessly working behind the stages of biggest local radio programmes, festivals and concerts – Andrew Marston of BBC Hereford and Worcester and BBC Introducing! We sat down with Andrew to discuss the impact the BBC Introducing has on the UK musical map, the best songs he has ever received through the Introducing Uploader and his brand new exciting show.

Think globally, do locally  – Andrew Marston Interview

The right person for the job!

Official press release: A BBC programme, dedicated to supporting up-and-coming musicians, is to launch a second show this weekend.

 BBC Music Introducing in Hereford & Worcester, which broadcasts every Saturday from 8pm, is to double its airtime in its new timeslot on Sundays from 6pm. Since its launch in 2005, the team has been overwhelmed with the amount of musical talent coming out of Herefordshire & Worcestershire with more than 15,000 demos sent in, during the last decade, from the local area.

 Presenter Andrew Marston says: “We have such an incredible music scene right here on our doorstep – and I looked down the pile of music that I’d earmarked for broadcast and realised, if I never received a song again, I still had enough to carry me through the next decade without repeating a single track!

 “The picture, nationally, is also very similar – with 170,000 artists now registered and 500,000 songs submitted. It would take 3 years to listen to every song currently on the Uploader and the number of musicians registered now exceeds the number of people who went to Glastonbury last year.”

 Originally broadcast as the Friday Session, the programme has gone on to discover acts such as Ellie Goulding, Becky Hill and Peace. John Peel’s former manager, Clive Selwood, said: “John would have loved the programme – it would have pleased him enormously.”

 As well as the superb quality of music the programme showcases, there’s a weekly gig guide, local music news, interviews with movers and shakers, a Musicians’ Masterclass, a local history of great gigs and musical legends, coverage of our local festivals plus live sessions on the show every week.

The team has also been responsible, in recent years, for sending Leominster’s AKA George to Glastonbury, Hay-on-Wye’s Cherryshoes to T in the Park, Sœur to Reading + Leeds and flew Bromyard’s Remi Harris to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Other successes include Sam Isaac at Glastonbury and the BBC Electric Proms, Pencil Toes, Luke Leighfield, The Anomalies and Pegasus Bridge at BBC Maida Vale (and Radio 1’s Big Weekend), while securing the brother/sister duo Muchuu a support slot with Florence & The Machine and the Temper Trap alongside a spot on the BBC Radio 1 playlist. Other Radio 1 opportunities include Riscas and Lauren Wright, while FREnchfire, Georgina Upton, Kamos & Tripbuk and Scarlette Says ending up on the BBC 1Xtra playlist. Andrew also landed The Roving Crows a place on tour with Jamie Cullum, AKA George two spots on the Radio 1 playlist, as well as a place on stage at Glastonbury and Radio 2’s Live In Hyde Park.

 Andrew continues, “Every month, we record our sessions at a variety of festivals – including Hay, Wychwood, Nozstock, Lakefest, Worcester Music Festival, SXSW, T In The Park, Montreal Jazz Festival, The Great Escape, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, The Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds.

“When artists upload their music for airplay, they often don’t realise they’re being considered for these incredible opportunities.

 “With such a diverse range of music, the new show makes it really easy to plan – and sharpens the focus for our audience: ‘Is this more of a Saturday night track?’ or ‘is this more of a Sunday night track?’”

You can listen to the new show on Sunday from 6pm on 94.7FM in Hereford, 104FM in Worcester, 104.4FM in Redditch, 104.6FM in the Wyre Forest, 738AM across Worcestershire, 1584AM in Tenbury Wells, on DAB Digital Radio, Freeview channel 720 and online at bbc.co.uk/introhw. The programme will also be available via the BBC iPlayer Radio App for free download for 30 days.

***

Andrew Marston at the mixing console

You are very well known in the West Midlands, but in case somebody spent the last decade on the other side of the world, please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria. Who is Andrew Marston and how did you get involved with BBC Hereford & Worcester?

Andrew Marston: Hi, I’m Andrew, a 36-year-old radio presenter from Hereford who’s now spent more than half a lifetime behind the record decks and well over a decade at the helm of BBC Music Introducing. In fact, I’ve always been surrounded by music having had keyboard and piano lessons since the age of 6 and have wanted to work in radio since discovering my first cassette recorder as a toddler. Somehow I’ve managed to combine both passions in a way that I’ve not played piano in public for 2 decades and haven’t played a cassette since I was at Hereford Sixth Form College!!

In fact, I was gigging regularly at Whitecross High School (mine – I didn’t just break in!), also touring the country with my brothers’ band – but I was being asked more and more to DJ between sets; something that ended in me landing my first residency at the Jailhouse Nightclub aged 14! Slowly, but surely, my gigging time was filled with playing CDs rather than keys – and I eventually tried to claw back some of what I’d “lost” by organising weekly band nights at the Imperial in Hereford. At the same time, I was presenting a non-music show (!!) on Hereford Hospital Radio, focussing very much on bringing news to life. I finished college on the Friday, had the worries of ‘what to do next’ for two days and went into the BBC’s Hereford office for work experience to be greeted with the words “how would you feel if we’re to train you up as a Broadcast Assistant?” I still haven’t had my training…

Outside of Dj’ing and music production, you are heavily involved in the BBC Music Introducing programme, looking for new talents. Tell us more about it.

Andrew Marston: I spent from 1999-2005 working behind-the-scenes at the BBC, including several stints on BBC Online. Back then, we were writing album reviews and gig features – very much like Vanadian Avenue and Slap Mag, but we kept saying to the boss “let’s stop talking about music – and let’s play it”. 12 months later, the boss came to us and said “I’ve got a great idea! Let’s stop talking about music – and let’s play it!” and the Friday Session was born. It made a lot of people very nervous thinking there wouldn’t be enough music to sustain a 2-hour programme every week and “is local radio the right place to be breaking new acts”. In fact, the bosses of Radio 1 came down to see how this was impacting on their audiences and some of the people in charge of local radio. I think they weren’t keen on the idea, before they arrived, but within 6 months the BBC Introducing brand was launched nationally!

In 2017 BBC Music Introducing celebrated 10 years since its conception. If you look at the official stats, nearly 130,000 bands submitted more than half a million songs. That’s nearly 3 years’ worth of music if one would like to listen to them all. How is BBC Introducing in Hereford & Worcester looking compared to other local shows? Do you know how many bands submitted their songs and how many played a live session for you?

Andrew Marston: Since we launched the uploader seven years ago, more than 10,000 songs have been uploaded from Herefordshire & Worcestershire alone. We’ve also just finished ripping all of the CDs sent into us 2005-2010 and that’s another 4,000. But – in those early days, tracks that didn’t get a spin after a couple of years were deleted from the uploader to save on server space – so I’m guessing that figure is much, much higher. In fact – I’m going to keep my eye on that! In terms of live sessions, we’ve now had more than 1,000 acts perform live on the show leading to countless opportunities. Last week, the whole Introducing family (that’s what we call it) got together at Broadcasting House in London before heading down to Maida Vale for our annual get-together. Everywhere in Britain is powering forwards, but it’s interesting to see how the poor folk in London are swamped by acts claiming to be from London when they’re not. Geographically, you have more chance of “making it” if you’re from a rural area than somewhere that’s overrun with musicians (who’ll also play for free. I lived in London for a couple of years and, despite playing 137 gigs in one year, struggled to find any paid opportunities in the capital as everyone would do it for nothing).

Andrew Marston preparing to go live

You were one of the first DJs to play Ellie Goulding, The Voice UK alumna Becky Hill, Peace and the alternative outfit This Wicked Tongue. Do you remember the artist or a band that made the biggest impression on you as part of the BBC Introducing?

Andrew Marston: Muchuu made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Sadly they’re no more, but their music was haunting, full of space and left you wanting more. Somehow it drew you in and I still go back and listen to those tracks when I want to reflect. They were one of the first acts to use the Uploader and I instantly passed it onto Huw Stephens at Radio 1, who claimed there was “something in the water” with so many artists going national from our neck of the woods. They’d go on to support Florence + The Machine and the Temper Trap at the BBC Introducing staff Christmas party (those were the days!) and turned down a slot at Glastonbury because they were going on holiday – I know, right??!

Worcester music scene is going through a real cultural renaissance at this moment. Many local acts receive fantastic reviews from the critics and you are credited with coining the name for it – “WorcesterWave”.  Do you think Worcester is going to be the next musical hotspot after Manchester, Cardiff and London?

Andrew Marston: I think we actually have a greater music scene than all of those cities. Having lived in London, everybody that claims to be from there comes from somewhere else. Sadly, these big cities are so swamped with bands (from across the region) they’re embracing the “pay to play” culture, meaning you’ve either got to sell tickets for your show or actually pay the promoter for stage time. It’s a very sad state of affairs, especially when musicians have learned their craft since a young age having music lessons at £20 per hour.  I also lived in Manchester for a while and everybody tours there, but Manchester bands rarely get the chance to play their own city because of the competitive nature. Every city has its own music scene – but often it’s cut-throat. The thing with Manchester is if you’re 15-years-old and you get bored, you go out. But if you’re 15 and living in Clifton-upon-Teme, you form a band. And when there’s nowhere to play, you organised your own gigs. This whole cottage industry, where everybody supports everybody else, is what’s getting this city noticed.

You have an eye to spot future stars. Many artists championed by you frequently receive national coverage. The list is very impressive: The Americas performed on Georgie Tonight, a prime-time show across the whole of BBC Local Radio, Soeur recorded live session at the legendary Maida Vale studios, Nuns of the Tundra reached second place in nationwide “Battle of the Bands” competition sponsored by Firestone, Tazmin Barnes’ EP “Powerful” debuted at number 11 at iTunes Pop charts, nth cave and Thousand Mountain were played by Steve Lamacq while Population:7 and Chavy Chase Stole My Wife were noticed by Tom Robinson. What qualities are the most important for future success? Song writing, catchy melodies or stage presence?

BBC Introducing

Andrew Marston: The song is always key. It doesn’t matter how good your biog is, who you’ve toured with, where you’ve played and how good you are at playing guitar, the 3-minute song is the thing that will get you everywhere. In fact, it’s your best advert. In commercial radio, a 30 second commercial could cost you £150. A 3-minute song is effectively £900 worth of airtime. If you were recording speech – you’d tell people to download your music, advertise your shows, sell some merch and ask them to friend you on Facebook. So make sure your demo isn’t a demo – it’s the polished product.

As a presenter, if you get too involved with a band, it definitely impacts your decision making. I’ve seen many bands who’ve blown me away, jumping all over the stage, but I’ve listened back on iPlayer and they’ve failed to jump out of the speakers. I will score every track based on the first listen – as that’s exactly how the audience will hear it. There’s no such thing as a “grower” unfortunately – that’s a phrase coined for bands that have had so much money invested in them, they’ve got no choice but to champion that track. First impressions count.

Rumour has it that there is a brand new Sunday radio show being prepared? Can you please tell us more?

Andrew Marston: Exactly that! We have so much music coming in that we want to play, 2 hours a week just isn’t enough. In fact, it’s a really simple thing to do – the gig guide still exists, we still want to cover the same number of festivals, enjoy live sessions – but the canvas is now twice as big. The thing we’re accused of, most of all, is using a too-bigger paint brush. At one end of the spectrum, there’s tonnes of classical musicians and folk artists in the Malvern Hills; at the other end of the spectrum, Kidderminster produces the heaviest of death/screamo metal and Bromsgrove unearths a lot of dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass. The balancing act is to aim to the programme at everyone – otherwise you risk broadcasting the X-Factor to only the people who queued up to be on the X-Factor! Being blunt, musicians provide the raw material for the show – it’s my job to then expose it to as wider audience as possible, so I have to be careful not to make the show sound like a fanzine. That job just got a little simpler; I can now ask “is this more Saturday night or more Sunday night”. So Saturdays will be a lot louder, a lot more raucous with a real edge. Whereas Sundays will be a lot more accessible, focussing a lot more on those acoustic/soulful/folk/jazz/blues/country styles with “candlelit” stripped-back studio sessions. I’m hoping there’ll be a fair bit of crossover, meaning audiences will feed between both programmes – but the idea is you’ll definitely have your favourite, all, of course, available for 30 days to download and listen via the BBC iPlayer Radio app!

What advice would you give to the kids who are just starting out and would like to send their music to BBC Music Introducing for consideration?

BBC Hereford and Worcester: Guitars and great tunes!

Andrew Marston: Here’s my top three…

  1. Always disappoint your audience!! Keep your music short. Your favourite song will never be long enough; loop play is the greatest compliment. If they hear it on the radio and want to hear more, they’ll have to go out and buy it! If you play a gig, don’t give them an encore. If they want more, they’ll have to come to another show! Take pictures of every gig – especially the audience having fun – and host them online afterwards. People will be disappointed they missed out and will come to your next show. If you’re on the door, don’t let every Tom, Dick and Harry in! An exclusive audience will grow punters; letting in those who don’t particularly care will distract your die-hards. Remember that time you couldn’t get into your favourite nightclub because your mate was wearing trainers? You didn’t particularly want to go in – but the moment the bouncer said no, you were desperate to be in there!
  2. Properly release your music. Set a release date. My best music I’ll save for a “rainy day”. I’m hoping it’ll never rain. But that means I might not play it for 5 years! Setting a release date ensures everyone is across your track on that particular date. Nobody likes to back the last horse in the race, so if everyone else is championing your music on that date – others will follow. Make big events even bigger. I remember booking Remi Harris for the Montreal Jazz Festival a couple of years ago and just as I was ending the phone-call, he said “oh – did you hear I have a new album?” If I didn’t know, nor would any of his potential audience. I told him to stop being a fool and to release it at the festival! Forevermore you can say “I launched my debut album at the biggest gig of my life”. The festival will be happy you saved such a special moment for their event – and, with any luck, will also do your promo for you! Whenever Remi rings up a venue, he can now say “and here’s a copy of my album I officially released at the Montreal Jazz Festival”.
  3. Write music you believe in. You’ll be amazed how many people I interview who write rock music who go out every Friday and Saturday night and listen to dance/RnB then wonder why nobody comes to their gigs. Take a look around and see what people are genuinely listening to. If you’re really into electronica, you’ll probably write better electronica than trying to form a band with people who don’t really share your passion. The most common reason bands split is because of “musical differences”. If you wouldn’t be happy to drive around town with your windows wound down and your track blaring out, you’re possibly not being true to yourself – and if you’re not 100% behind what you’re writing, what chance does anyone else have?

But most importantly – have fun! If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you’ve probably forgotten the reason you got into music in the first place. If you become the best at what you do, the money will somehow find its way to you. But just remember it’s not always this cartoon version of “write a song, get signed, achieve #1 then headline Wembley”. There’s money to made in writing theme tunes, being a session musician, writing for video games, weddings, playing the piano in hotel receptions, writing for other people and one of the most lucrative “revenue streams” is writing lift music! But that’s just page one of an ocean of opportunity. Remember, I learned piano and I now host a show on the BBC. So music can open all sorts of opportunities – just make sure you grab them with both hands and never let go!

BBC Introducing:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d72q
https://twitter.com/bbcintroducing
https://en-gb.facebook.com/bbcintrohw/

Andrew Marston is very active on social media and you can find him on many different platforms:
http://www.djandrewmarston.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Marston
https://twitter.com/DJAndrewMarston
https://www.facebook.com/djandrewmarston
https://www.mixcloud.com/djandrewmarston/
https://www.youtube.com/user/DJAndrewMarston
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/dj-andrew-marston/id983733498

Vanadian Avenue would like to thank you to Andrew and the crew of BBC Inroducing in Hereford and Worcester for their time, hard work and answering the questions.

Keep on doing the good job!

Please come back soon as Indieterria is meeting a really cool band next week and we will be back shortly with another interview for your enjoyment!

Bye for now,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz