[INTERVIEW] BØRNS

Interviews, Uncategorized

“I kind of just made an album and hit the road immediately.”

There’s nothing quite like the wisdom and charm that fills the air of the sublime dining room at Regents Street’s finest inn the very moment BØRNS-real name Garrett Borns-makes an entrance.

With all the time to relax, having just completed a hectic album cycle for his debut record Dopamine last October, BØRNS insists on leaving his sleek, close-fitted leather jacket on and keeping his posture straight. “I’ve done a lot of touring for that album, much more than I expected,” he says twirling around the glass of water in the palm of his hand. “I kind of just made an album and hit the road immediately.”

The accusation that artists debuting post-2010s have more than enough time to perfect their craft is often false, and that whipping up a record full of likeable songs to connect to the public is the way forward. Having an abundance of material before getting your first ‘smash hit’ is every artist manager’s dream; this then progresses to rushing out the album and hitting the road, because that’s where the money is. BØRNS admits to learning more about his music whilst performing it on tour “cause at the time I hadn’t put much thought into them”.

In a way, touring with material you still need to dig deep into and get to the core of can often work in your favour. “By the end of the record cycle I already knew the next sound I wanted to break into,” BØRNS claims, unworried about reproducing the 2015 effort all over again, because over time his influences have shifted.

During the miniature hiatus taken cooking up the almighty sophomore record, the ‘Search for the Lost Sounds’ project by the man himself gave the listeners an insight to the endeavours BØRNS got up to in order to find the sounds needed for his next piece of work. The inspiration was generated by the surroundings of his LA home.

“I lived in this neighborhood where there were a lot of mariachi bands playing on the weekends, ice-cream trucks and tiny dogs barking, he recalls. “It just all had this Mexican culture that I loved.” He feels that energy of mariachi music infiltrated his own creations whilst being around it, and stepping out of his comfort zone was a must. “I was like, ‘What if I bring a mariachi band into the studio?’ Or even sample the dogs barking in my neighborhood as it reminds me of making my record. So, then I wrote this script about me going around LA searching for these sounds for the new album and finding this muse where she’d tell me the sounds I needed to incorporate.”

BØRNS is well-known for ear-candy pop-too infectious not to swallow whole-and coincidentally titled his four-track debut EP ‘Candy’. Making the move from his hometown Michigan to the always-sunny Los Angeles has changed the way he writes music; with each lyric sun kissed by the West Coast gods. Most of the record was written at the house of Dopamine producer Tommy English. “It’s like a guest house in his backyard, and that’s where we recorded some of the last album too,” image is everything. Breathing and surrounding himself around atmospheres he wishes his music to look like is just a small process of BØRNS’ songwriting. Overriding themes of love and tranquility can be heard on the new record. “Some of the vocals were recorded up near San Francisco in a beach house overlooking the ocean.”

Dopamine, a record that went onto receiving critical success and landed BØRNS multiple festival slots/headline shows over the summer of 2016, is no longer on any of his playlists. “It’s quite funny, I haven’t listened to the old record in a long time,” he laughs before adding, “I was teaching some of the players in my band that album and whilst we were listening to it I was like ‘God, I can’t believe I used to sing like that, I don’t even sing the same way.’” He insists it wasn’t an immediate choice, more so a progression of performing at the hundreds of shows over the past couple of years; the voice may have changed but it’s those steps that made him a better performer for the future.

Since the very beginning BØRNS has had a clear vision of what he wants his works to look like; visuals being the number one priority. “I think some of the songs are even inspired by visuals in the first place and then those visuals turn into the videos or references for photography around the album,” he ponders. “For the video for Faded Heart I took a lot of inspiration from this Japanese film called House, it’s a 70s-fantasy horror. It’s all subtitles but the soundtrack is beautiful and everything is very vibrant and disjointed; quite uncomfortable at times but also playful and magical.”

BØRNS is found sitting in the director’s seat for the first time with the new album campaign, and much to his surprise it’s a lot handle. “You’re not really in the seat, you’re in the video. It had me saying, ‘How am I going to do this?’ How do you know if you’re getting the take if you’re not at the monitor?” Moments of madness spiral around BØRNS mind before the whole crew safety net him with preparation, so that the actual filming of it was the easy part.

From his obvious passion with music, to being so inspired by his fashion idol Thom Browne that inviting just him to a collective dinner party would result in the most wonderful evening; BØRNS is quite the mystical figure, and that’s what makes him so marvelous.

Nothing can ever be straight forward with BØRNS, and artists like that are what the industry is lacking. He sits describing themes for the sophomore record, blurting out the words “supernatural phenomena” that came to him from reading a collection of old folk tales during his time away.

Being away from the spotlight has left us with a recharged Garrett Borns. “I always feel extremely fortunate that I can even say that I’m able to do this; travel and meet great people, perform with friends.” This time round he’s ready to continue his world domination, and by looking back at what’s been accomplished over the past couple of years, it’s sure looking like BØRNS has absolutely nothing to sweat about.

Words by Jordan White

[INTERVIEW] Lloyd Wright

Interviews, Uncategorized

A life slightly outside of the spotlight – being a session musician

“…as long as I was wearing black, I could look like anything. I didn’t even have to brush my hair. I could just sit there in the darkness, play, get paid and go home.”

When the star of the show is at centre stage, glistening with sweat and giving it their all, do you even notice the unsung heroes? The long-haired drummer playing the complex rhythms? The tall and rather big-handed bass player, who moves up and down the neck without strain? The mysterious guitarist that isn’t playing the guitar, more like it’s playing him?

Session musicians have been around as long as music has been written and people have been needed to play it. Although, in this day and age, could living in our digital bubble see the end of the road for session players?

Amongst the chaos of the Sage, the prestigious landmark venue that sits on the edge of the River Tyne in Gateshead, sitting snug between instruments in a practice room is session guitarist Lloyd Wright.

After growing up in what Lloyd calls the “densely populated Medway Towns” of Kent, he moved to the heart of the North East, Newcastle, to pursue a career in music at the young age of 17. “My mum found a course up here (Newcastle). It was a BTEC at Newcastle College…It was a performance course so it was right up my street,” says Lloyd. But why a career in music? “I just fell in love with music…I think it’s as mysterious as outer space or the depths of the ocean,” explains Lloyd. “I had long hair and liked different things…I didn’t have many friends,” he discloses, “that’s why I practised playing so much.”

Back in the day, it was a lot more difficult to learn to play. Computers weren’t quite as speedy as they are today. “We had this computer with a CD-ROM built into it. It was an ancient thing,” Lloyd confirms. “It had a few clips of James Brown and Jimi Hendrix…every time I watched them I was overwhelmed. I only had a limited time on it too because the TV was in the same room and my dad wanted to watch the news and other rubbish.” Although, he says, the absence of internet was not an obstruction. “I used to get the metro into town on a Saturday and go to (JG) Windows which was a sheet music shop,” he admits, “I used to go in and memorise chunks before anyone would tell me to put the book down and get out because I was a kid.” Apparently, the young musicians of today have it easy – a click here, a bit of typing there and you’re on the way to learning a song without leaving your bedroom. “It was a sacred thing for me.”

 

Reminiscing on his first performance, Lloyd sighs, “Oh crickey.” He was a naive 16-year-old when he had his first gig as a session guitarist for a wedding “somewhere in Leeds”, and it was all thanks to his grandad who set him up. “The band was absolutely desperate for a guitarist and my grandad said, ‘Oh Lloyd is at music college, he’ll help you out!’” Desperate to make a good impression, the guitarist went above and beyond the expectations. “I learned all the tunes, but I thought, ‘What if the keyboard player isn’t playing that part? I could do that.’” That there is dedication. And dedication is the key for finding success in this tough industry. Lloyd knocked their socks off and scored a permanent place in the band. “Work hard,” he advises.

For the budding musician, the only way from here was onwards and upwards, with his first high profile gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in the big city, London. Today Lloyd has played alongside famous faces such as Lulu James, Jessie Ware, Laura Mvula and Ellie Goulding, each involving both positive and…well, marginally negative experiences. Prior to his debut performance with Lulu James, Lloyd was hanging out in the expansive cold, stone area that is the loading bay, where he was approached and scolded by Jessie Ware. Lloyd blurts out the story, struggling through laughter, “I was in the loading area when Jessie Ware came through the curtain and shouted ‘ARE YOU LULU JAMES?’ and I replied ‘Yeah, I am. How you doing? You’re Jessie Ware, aren’t ya?’ to which she said ‘DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA GET A SOUNDCHECK? YOU CAN GO F*** YOURSELF!’” Oh, the drama of show business. “I was not expecting that. I thought she was gonna hit me!”

Verbal abuse isn’t the only thing you need to watch out for as a session musician, Lloyd affirms that he’s had his fair share of technical difficulties – one particular event involving fire, a monitor and a bottle of vodka, a dangerous trio. Lloyd chuckles, “There were twelve foot jets of fire coming out the top of the monitor. And the sound engineer had a bottle of vodka, ran  up to it and poured it over. I was like ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’” According to Lloyd, everyone just assumes that it’s part of the show, which is where the internal battle begins, do you stop or carry on? Being sensible (whilst also fearing for his life), Lloyd put down his guitar until the issue was resolved.

Although it’s not all doom and gloom, many people don’t get to boast about being on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’, but this guy can. He made his debut appearance on the show in May 2013. Unlike established artists, this was a BIG deal – “We did Jools Holland. That was quite a big one… And was quite scary actually. I didn’t eat a lot,” Lloyd reveals. “When I was growing up, it was Top Of The Pops. And even that’s gone now. Jools Holland is the only one left…so it was pretty big for me” Lloyd adds. According to Lloyd it was a surreal experience, “like being on The Matrix.” “If you can imagine it, there are cameras flying round on electronic arms and they will come right up up to you”, Lloyd dissolves into laughter, bringing his hand only inches away from his face and making buzzing noises. “To be honest, I had to be totally zen about it all. The whole thing was over really quickly, but it just didn’t seem real.”

Unfortunately, the fate of session musicians may be compromised. “I had an experience last year, but i didn’t say anything because I knew it wouldn’t come off,” Lloyd reveals, “Alt-J’s management sent me a few emails asking me to go on tour with them because the new album ‘RELAXER’ requires a lot of programming. But they decided it would be cheaper to go with a track.” This seems to be the way the industry is heading with most current music being electronically crafted and may have dire consequences for session musicians. However, Lloyd argues “There is a lot of work out there for session players, but many people specialise in only one style,” he guffaws, “and you’re usually all old and knackered like me by the time you’ve learned them all.”

Being a session musician can be a tough but rewarding job. Lloyd advises to “be positive and consistent” and use your common sense in order to be a successful session player. Seems pretty obvious but is nonetheless vital. His last words of advice “Read a lot…”

“SIGHT READING! Don’t just read loads of Roald Dahl.”

Words by Megan Berridge

[INTERVIEW] Andy Craigen from The HomeGrown

Interviews, Uncategorized

The HomeGrown are currently recording in studio for their first ever full album release. Andy Craigen (front-man of the band) seems unable to contain his excitement and the thought of releasing their new politically-charged indie music out into this currently fragile country, for the left AND right wing to hear.

I met up with Andy in his quaint hometown of Bedford, as Andy would call it ‘Deadford’; because of its apparent lack of liveliness for the younger generation. Craigen is wearing a baggy blue t-shirt and a pair of old jeans, his hair a shaggy mess and a cigarette is dangling from his mouth. You could say he looks like the typical indie frontman, but he tells me that he ‘just doesn’t like spending money on clothes when he could be spending it on booze and cigarettes’. A statement that you would want to hear from a shaggy, young indie rock-star.

Witnessing The HomeGrown perform in a small venue is like watching your family gather for an awkward Christmas Dinner, we’ve all been dragged along to this event, but no one quite really knows what to do with themselves. Andy is like the drunk uncle after 7pm on Christmas day, who yells at everyone to get off their chairs and dance with him. Just like you will often see at gigs, somehow Andy will convince these awkward passers-by to get up and dance – and also have a giggle whilst they’re at it. Craigen’s ability to seduce a crowd into having that extra drink that they shouldn’t have, or laugh at that naughty joke, is an attribute you seldom see in musicians. He is able to combine comedy with music, without it sounding like a corny cabaret. You will find yourself mercilessly giggling and being silly as he prods and pokes you to enjoy his music with him. Even producing grins from the most anal of people, which I believe he takes great pleasure from.

‘Tell me a little bit about yourself, how did you become the front-man for The HomeGrown?’ I asked, he looked at me reminiscing the past and replied: ‘I never know what to say when I get asked to talk about myself! I normally face trouble head on – I feared heights, so I went skydiving. Now I’m cured! Something interesting about me is that I was once called a ‘yob’ by the Daily Mail when photographed at the 2010 student protests. Starting the band kind of happened by accident honestly. Me and Danny, a close friend and one of my housemates at University wrote ‘Broke in Britain’ as a bit of fun after some refreshments one evening, we then thought it would be a clever idea to try out for a student music festival ‘Keynestock 2015’. To our amazement, we got in and were asked to perform a 45-minute set, after that we just kept getting booked for gigs!’.

Andy seemed proud of himself when speaking about the fact that he faced his fears head on, he had demolished his fears and anxieties with one simple act. It may have seemed simple to him, but I don’t know many people that would jump out of an aircraft to rid their anxieties. A somewhat admirable attribute to have, and a look into how he comes out on the other end full of positivity and charisma.

Wanting to know where the front-man had got his inspiration from, I asked him who he admired. He said: ‘Our influences are quite wide-ranged really. There’s a big dollop of Frank Turner, a dash of Jamie T, a pinch of the King Blues, a shot of Beans on Toast and a sprinkle of Rage Against the Machine. I would like to say our sound is a mixture of catchy chorus’ and melodies, broken up by some clear straight-talking rants in between!

The sound has evolved massively over the last year or so since bringing in our bassist – Adam and our drummer, Seb, they’ve helped us come such a long way in such a short space of time! Even though I was asking questions about himself, Craigen always seemed to involve others in his answers and often avoided solely talking about himself. A personality trait you don’t often see in the lead-singer of a band, humbleness.

I wanted to lean more towards the political side of The HomeGrown, they have grown a reputation as a band for being outspoken about right-wing politics and pushing the anti-austerity movement. After chatting with Andy for most of the day, it’s very plain to see that he very strongly supports Labour and most left-wing movements – a man of the people. Wanting to know more about his outlook on the government in the United Kingdom, I asked him if he was trying to provide a specific message for his listeners and if so, why? Andy continued: ‘Too right! For the last generation, we’ve been sold down the river by successive governments, selling off state assets, the public fuck up initiative, being sent into war under false pretences, seven long dark years of austerity, backdoor privatisation of our NHS. All while the rich get richer and they still have the fucking audacity to say, ‘we’re all in this together’, whilst stuffing their faces with tax payer supplemented caviar and champagne! The higher power claims to have reduced child poverty, when we’re seeing record numbers of families reliant on foodbanks! The message we try to give is, get off your fucking ‘smart’ phone and get out there and do something about it!’ He then added, ‘am I allowed to swear?’.

It’s clear to see that Andy has a strong understanding of what he believes to be the problem with our government. The public are seeing a record rise in young students and young adults wanting to have their say in the voting system, and rebelling at the fact that the younger generation do not have a say in their future. People like Andy and his band members, are the sort of people that are keeping young people in politics, telling them that they aren’t stupid and that their opinion does matter – their future matters.

‘So, I’ve heard you’ll be recording in the studio soon? What’s next for the HomeGrown?’ I asked, his response being: ‘Word travels ‘ey! We’re booked in to studio sessions in December and January. We’ve been very lucky that Alan McGee, the man who first signed Oasis; has offered to let us use his venue to record in January! Meeting McGee was surreal, he’s managed so many legends, including one of my favourite all time bands- The Libertines, what he’s doing with ‘Musicians against Homelessness’ is amazing as well!’.

It seems that there will be a lot of noise and movement coming from Andy and the HomeGrown over the next few months, something that we will have to keep our eyes peeled for. Exciting things are happening for them, and knowing that Andy will be fronting this political alternative/indie band, means we can for sure expect to find a grin sprawling across our face when we listen to new material.

Words by Julia Simmons-Barry

[INTERVIEW] Oddity Road

Interviews, Uncategorized

Sheffield four-piece Oddity Road are emerging as one of the most exciting new indie guitar bands. With close bonds, talent, and enough ambition to fill stadiums, it’s easy to see why they’re attracting interest wherever they go.

Sat in the beer garden of the Camden Monarch, Joel, Jack, Ethan and Dan are musing over the one thing that will always confuse a Northerner-London. “London is like the opposite to everywhere else,” says drummer Ethan. “It’s just completely different. When we’re doing Sheffield, it’s mad, whereas here, the people tend to just watch things.”

It’s true, the crowd at the Monarch tonight may not be the moshing, sold out venue that the band have recently got used to, but as this will only be their second gig in the capital (they played The Lock Cavern in April this year) they are still establishing themselves as a band that has more than just that local teenage appeal. “Everyone seems really like, vibrant and confident here I think. And everyone’s very talkative, definitely more than Sheffield,” he decides. “I’m sure they’ve got the potential to get involved.”

This confidence in their ability is not at all naive. After selling out multiple gigs in their hometown of Sheffield, Oddity Road enjoyed a very successful festival season, culminating in their raucous YNOT set. “We loved that one,” lead singer and guitarist Jack says. “YNot was obviously incredible, with the sheer amount of people.” In reality, extra security was called in to attempt to manage the unexpected crowds, and people were dancing in the rain outside the tent. Quite the achievement for a local band embarking on their first festival season.

More recently, they took on Neighbourhood Festival for the first time. Famously difficult to plan due to the number of line up clashes, it was another surprise success for the boys. “There was a queue outside the building. We were on, at like, one or something [quarter past one] and it packed out the room.” Neighbourhood is Manchester’s inter city festival, using the city’s venues and bars to full capacity. Revolution on Oxford Road, usually more accustomed to a quiet Friday night drink, became the place to be as the day started. With the upstairs room spontaneously converted into a mass mosh pit, there were even fans stood on the stairs trying to get into spaces that simply weren’t there. “Yeah, the bar staff looked a bit shocked,” Jack laughs.

Their dedicated following is no more apparent than in Sheffield. Oddity Road have now played countless gigs in their hometown, and their fans are keen to repay this loyalty. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a pub basement or the University Student Union, the crowds are always on top form. The scream-along choruses and riot-inducing riffs make for the perfect soundtrack to any teenage Friday night.

However it’s not just the physical familiarity that has ensured Oddity’s local success- in 2017 online presence is equally as important, as demonstrated by perhaps the most well known of the new bands emerging from South Yorkshire- The Sherlocks. Aside from their crowd pleasing hits, they are notable for their relentless use of Twitter. “There’s a lot of bands like that, you don’t really get anywhere if you’re not”, guitarist Dan says. And it certainly does seem the case that a band’s success is reliant not so much on the traditional PR techniques or press releases and conferences, but more on the excitement and ‘online buzz’ they can generate. “It’s such an easy way to get your name out there, why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?”

Furthermore, the online generation have led the way for a relationship that breaks down the barrier between fan and band members, and this is something that Oddity Road are keen to continue as their fame grows. “It makes people feel involved in your group. If they’re outside, they might not be interested, but if they’re involved, they feel connected,” Ethan goes on to say. “And if you just ignore someone, it’s just a bit shit isn’t it?” He adds, “It’s nice when someone knows who you are.”

Oddity Road are part of a new generation of the age-old indie guitar band, driven by familiarity of fans and a reputation built on word of mouth- whether this be virtually or not. It is important to remember that they have achieved a solid fanbase despite being yet to release their debut album. In the past few weeks, they have headlined in both Nottingham and Liverpool to equally excitable crowds, however Manchester has given them perhaps the most memorable show. “It’s small but it’s mental to say we’d come from nothing beforehand,” Jack tells me. “We’ve only headlined once there, at the Deaf Institute, which is 200/ 250 people.”

Despite their modesty and drive to achieve more, when you take a step back and consider what the Sheffield four-piece have achieved in the past year, there is nothing to be sniffed at. Jack tweeted his amazement in reflection of their growth throughout the year- ‘from local pubs to festival stages’ in a matter of months. “Yeah it’s been mad. Really this year has taken us by surprise. I mean it’s been our first proper season so, we’re blown away.”

The obvious question is, then, what’s next? The subject on the fan’s lips is the ever looming suggestion of an album. When this inevitably came up in conversation, it was met with awkward laughs and avoided eye contact. “Ahhh no,” Ethan laughs. “There’s live things, definitely live things. And we can say we’ve been in the studio a lot, like a lot a lot.” Not even a hint? “We’re not actually allowed to say! We just have a load of stuff, but yeah, we’re not allowed to say,” the whole band agree.

As our conversation comes to a close, I’m struck by the professionalism and maturity such a new band are able to hold themselves with. It’s evident from their musical focus and lack of cliche ‘lads on tour’ behaviour that they’re driven by a collective passion for what they do and, as the past year has shown, they have the work ethic to achieve.

Words by Briony Warsop

[INTERVIEW] The Dissident Youth

Interviews, Uncategorized

We caught up with metalcore foresome hailing from Carlisle, Cumbria, roasting them on current political stances and their first studio roar.

“When tyrants rule the free world, it’s time to take it back”. These are the ‘from the rooftop’ type proclamations of The Dissident Youth, conveying a somewhat stirring message on their frenetic opener ‘My Apocalypse’, of the bands’ debut self-titled and full-length growling auditory fist of fury (available on iTunes and Spotify, of course). You would have been able to guess that from the anti-authoritarian derived name, the lads may themselves be partial to some opposing of policy and totalitarianism within current landscapes of ruling.

“They all seem to be filled to the absolute top with corruption to be honest. The entire system is botched. It needs rubbed out and start all over,” states Rhys, the ‘screaming’ lead vocalist, in a blatant statement of objection to ‘the system’. When quizzed about any intended meaning regarding the cartoon-like album cover art, featuring a relatively young looking female — presumably disillusioned — complete with the bands’ trademark in red signified upon her face, the band states as follows. “She had had enough. She’s walking away from all the systemic fucking bullshit..basically.”

If you’re pondering on what their sound is like on their first studio conception, it is a consistent collection of stern punches to your auditory cortex. Repeatedly. For well over 40 minutes. It’s a coagulation of aggressively rolling drums  and an odd expected death growl here and there. Nothing too disturbing then. However nothing too ‘wall flowery’ either. When asked if they had any prior ideas sound wise they wanted to bring to the table, bass guitarist Ky explains, ” We wanted to make our mark. It was never going to be too tame,” he laughs.

The sixth gut punch on the album, named ‘Bury the Giant’, was up for discussion also. “It borders on glithcore in one segment. The drums just hold the whole thing together like glue, we are all very proud of our collective achievement.”

When asked about any intended ulterior themes, whether deep or shallow during the composition process, the band chime in on a kind of singular tone. “We never actually set out to convey a particular message. But as the recording process went on, it became a tad political,” Rhys says. “If there is message within the music, it is to open your fucking eyes. Open them up and see for yourself, the disillusionment. The corruption. We felt we had to portray that through our music.” Echoes upon echoes of endless chants of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” taking place earlier in the year at Glastonbury spring to mind, when strands of political issues manage to seep through to the domain of music, whether live or recorded. “I guess music and the current political surroundings of that time will always have a strange relationship eh,” states drummer Scott.

When questioned further over whether politics and music should always be kept separate, the Youth state, “we create music as a form of expression and when we look around us, it’s hard not to spot politically charged issues,” Scott goes on. “All genres of music have lent from this. Punk, metal, soul, jazz etc. All forms of music have expressed the need to zoom in on social, economic and/or other serious talking points time and again.. it’s to be expected.”

Variations of metal music and affiliated sub genres and sub sub genres is much like a club. A biker club. And not just in aesthetic. Tightly knit. Niche. Communal almost.  It’s to be expected that while The Dissident Youth are strident in the aim to remain unique, they also listen out for other portals of sound. “We all have different tastes,” Rhys says. “Our material definitely has influences from the likes of Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry and Dream Theatre, to name but a few.” To be expected, The Dissident Youth have a penchant for varying other forms of metal, rock and who knew it, even hip hop. “Yeah, Kendrick Lamar is tip top,” says Ky. “His message is always meaningful, passionate and deliberately aimed at someone, somewhere”. A message of some meaning or truth, whatever the origin or the aim, appears to be somewhat paramount to the Youth.

Lastly, when I asked the fiery North Westerly four-piece about how others have received the album the lead singer states, “The reception off the back of the album has been amazing to be honest,” Rhys says. “We have massively filled our calendar for next year, which is always a positive sign.” The Dissident Youth have occupied The Brickyard -a cacophonous space and predominantly an indie and rock venue –  on more than one occassion, with obvious aims to branch out to wider areas surrounding Cumbria and beyond. Aims to release an EP next year are eagerly mentioned. “We have to see how it goes with our next shows,” the band say. “We have a few gigs lined up in different cities and further beyond, and a major fetival slot waiting to be confirmed.”  The band chuckle on – “The future is indeed bright, while being dark and heavy at the same time.” The Dissident Youth need their prickling sense of humour in these dark and depressing times, as do we all.

Words by Ryan Walker

[INTERVIEW] Sports Team

Interviews, Uncategorized

Sports Team just want to get loaded and have a good time. They have played festivals, trolled Labour MPs and flute players one in the same, without releasing a single song. Will Craigie speaks to the band on spaghetti bolognese and Red Stripe

“Yeah I think it’s important to know your limits.” That’s what drummer Alex Greenwood says when the topic of diversifying their ‘sound’ crops up. It’s a dry quip in an evening glazed with wit and self deprecation. So Sports Team aren’t going to be reaching Bono levels of egotism anytime soon then. Their feet are placed so firmly on the ground they might as well be in the cement. It’s a rainy night in October, the kind that transforms a budding journalist into a drowned rat. The group live in Harlesden, with the exception of Greenwood and they are that new band missing from your life. Fun, irreverent and loving every moment. The band consists of Alex Rice (charismatic, exuberant), Alex Greenwood (“and if you could clarify that in the writing”, funny, wry.), Henry (Lead guitarist-quiet, discreet), Rob (intellectual, enlightened) and Olly (bass-sweet, thoughtful). Ben, the keyboard/tambourine player, cannot attend but then again the band tell me that he was punched in the face by a man on a moped the other week so maybe you can forgive him on that one.

They formed in their final year of Cambridge (2015). The band came together through, as it always does, friends of friends and similar taste in music. They would put on their own parties and play at the local sports social club, but they are first to admit that in their early years they were dismal. Rice says, “we genuinely couldn’t play our own instruments.” Olly, a later member of the group says “there were no endings to songs. Everyone would stop at a different point and would suddenly start again.” The band sometimes would all be playing separate songs, all this being “just what it’s like being an amateurish for so long” Rob says, “it was like we’re bad but it doesn’t matter because we have fun doing it.”

It wasn’t until after university that the idea of the band became a serious thing as they were offered the chance to play at a DIY Presents gig, the scale of which bemused them. Now, on 25th October one of their largest shows so far at Birthdays will be taking place, they’ve previously performed at Knee Deep and Swvn but their biggest moment is yet to come with their appearance at the Great Escape Festival in May. They are more excited for playing with fellow So Young magazine cohorts The Orielles in November, who are close friends with the band and whose company they love.

And that’s what Sports Team are like. The fun of performing and making music overrides anything on the business side of things. Rice says, “just going on tour would be great because it is a group of mates so we would just be hanging out together, drinking beer around the world which would be quite nice.” They have not yet released a song, but the plan is for “Ashton Kutcher” (written only a month into the band forming) to be the first single, released in November.

So how does Sports Band fit into the current musical climate? Well, they enjoy themselves onstage that’s for sure. Rice bemoans the current scene that takes itself too seriously with bands such as Happy Meal Ltd (“they are nice guys but their music is a bit stale”), Goat Girl (“they seem genuinely miserable”) guilty of this. Rice continues, “I mean it is in a way a dying genre, the reason it’s still going is there’s such dynamics with a group of mates. Get you and your friends on-stage and you’ve got something.” The kids are alright after all.

Words by William Craigie

[INTERVIEW] Steve Peter David

Interviews, Uncategorized

“Hail true metal,” Steve said as I shuffled through his latest mix tape, although this was no ordinary tape – a collection of his favourites past and present. Instead a back-to-back collation of all the bands he was once involved with right up to his current role drumming in The Redeemed – a five-piece thrash metalcore band from Surrey.

Steve Peter David is no run-of-the-mill drummer though, he has devoted his whole life to the craft and can play enhanced, complex solo with speed and accuracy. “People with a real passion for the music and scene, be it thrash, metalcore or the lighter stuff they really appreciate a good drummer.”

I wanted to get to know how Steve Peter David became so respected at what he does both live on stage and in the recording studio. There was no better way to start than right at home in his studio to see if I can find out how it all came together.

“At the age of fourteen I got my real piece of kit – a pearl forum, rock size 5 piece.” Steve replied, “in black.”

He grew up listening to the likes of Slipknot, Slayer, Dimmie Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Pantera and Metallica to name just a few. “There really are too many to mention but those bands were big around about at that time.”

I had been eager to ask Steve about an old cassette tape he had passed my way around a decade ago. The tape consisted of bands such as Deftones, Placebo, Fony, Earthtone9 and Marilyn Manson. “The tape was given to me by a friend,” he added, “back then people you know would make up a mixtape of bands or records they liked and give it to you to listen too.”

“I’ve made up my own mixtapes to practise drumming to – latterly on CDs. That is how I learn,” he adds, “someone else’s track, by ear. Just listening and working out which cymbals to hit or use the kick pedal.”

The early mixtapes and social scene at the time paved the way for Steve to start drumming for his first band at the age of 16 when asked to become part of a group called Handheld Universe which later changed its name to Mirrorfist.

By the age of 18 Steve had become part of Neoentity and with many changes in style along the way he has ended up in his current role drumming for The Redeemed.  “Drumming in several different bands has seen the style of drumming change along the way,” he says. “You might start out with a more mainstream classic metal angle but then change to thrash for example. There’s no real rules so to speak, just enjoy it.”

During the early days of Mirrorfist Steve played at local venues such as the Leatherhead Theatre where they won Battle of the Bands. Nowadays with his current band The Redeemed on tour Steve has played the likes of Sin City in Swansea, Sanctuary in Basingstoke, The Fighting Cocks Kingston and The Star Guildford.

At this point Steve took one of his swords off the wall to show me. It has been two years since I last saw him and much has changed. The studios really taken shape with bizarre and interesting objects on show, I noticed Steve himself had a full sleeve tattoo on his left arm to complement the right.

I wanted to ask Steve about the band that never happened. Was there once talk of forming a band that never materialised? “Indeed there was,” Steve replied. “The band Decapitated were asking the public to forward them demos as they needed a new drummer.” “The demo was for a hard song to drum, very complicated and I didn’t get the demo in on time.”

“There are still great memories along the way though and recently seeing the crowd’s reactions and singing the lyrics to our songs, that really pushes you to do more.”

A great band Steve has come across recently whilst on tour were called Redwood Avenue he tells me: “They are really musically talented and good at what they do.”

My final question had to be had he ever been on stage and the lights gone out. Steve replied, “every time we go on stage the lights go out, for the intro… then they come back on again.” He laughed, “Haha that was a good question” and with that it was time to go, with a bundle of new mixtapes to keep me occupied until the next time…

Words by Trevor Osborn

[INTERVIEW] Audio Tap

Interviews, Uncategorized

Originally formed in 2012 as Tap, the band have seen a variety of line-ups over the years. Despite their flaws, Audio Tap are back and plan on being better than ever

Sitting in the practice room of guitarist Luke Christian’s house, the only original member left in the band, he begins telling me about where the idea for Audio Tap originally came from. “The band was originally called ‘Tap’ as these were the initials of the original members, he explains, “the ‘Audio’ part of the name was added later as the band progressed. Current members John Richards and Ben Andrew are new additions. As it stands, Audio Tap are currently without a singer, making it difficult for the band to really get themselves off their feet. Ben admits that in his opinion, after taking some time to think, that “there is just so much potential from the three of us, and it’s wasting our energy.”  “But we will carry on, try new things, explore our options and the right person will arrive eventually.”

The band have already released a few demo tracks to their Soundcloud page, but without a full-time singer, the originals they write have not yet seen daylight. When asked about the potential of an EP, John is the first to respond. “There are enough originals both old and new to fill a two-disc album. We’ll decide in the near future whether an EP is the best way forward. Or we’ll just throw an album out there and see what happens.” He laughs, his bandmates nodding.

As an old school rock band, the writing process is very important and contributes to having a well organised sound. “Musically, it comes naturally.” Explains Luke. Looking around the practice room filled with guitars, amps, and mixers it is obvious that the band have their fair share of musical prowess. “The more time you spend on the spine of a song, the better it will be.” “Usually, it’s Luke who sets the ball rolling,” Adds Ben. “Then, John and I will add our individual parts and it all comes together.”

Although Audio Tap seemed to have gotten themselves into a better place now, there was a time where things didn’t go so smoothly. Luke, the only original band member left sighs, recalling the various line-ups he has seen over the years. “It’s demoralising,” he pauses before continuing. “To begin with it almost felt like a waste of time. But with faith, you eventually find the right people who want to put the time, effort and dedication into it. Then you finally see the light and the end of the tunnel.” Ben and John look over at him before breaking out into a chorus of ‘awws,’ laughing and joking with their lead guitarist. As Luke is the only original member of the group left, John and Ben, who joined at the beginning of this year, explained how it felt to be a part of Audio Tap. “It’s a breath of fresh air,” admits Ben. “It’s my first proper band, and I didn’t think I’d ever find one, so all the years of practice I’ve put in has finally paid off.” John nods before stating, “Ever since I first saw Audio Tap perform live I knew I wanted to be in the band, just never had the opportunity.” He admits. “When I saw that Luke was looking for a new bassist, I was straight on the bandwagon. It was a case of; sell my gear and forget it, or use my gear and get out there again and do what I love.” The rest of the group nod and hum, and a thoughtful silence fills the room.

Starting as such a small band in a local area, it’s clear that these guys are happy with their current situation and are grateful to still be around. For any local band it’s important to understand what type of starting point to aim for. When asked, all three responded: “DEEP END.” Before bursting into laughter. After a few seconds, Luke begins to explain their reasoning. “There are plenty of places that want us all over the country. They know Audio Tap from previous line-ups and they know what calibre to expect from us.” As the end of the interview looms, the biggest question causes the boys to fall quiet and look at one another. What should we expect to see from Audio Tap in the future? “Once we have a singer on board, expect big things,” Luke states, determination clear in his voice, as with the rest of the band. You can find Audio Tap on Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud to keep up with the latest news.

Words by Bekky Smart