[INTERVIEW]

Interviews

On Thursday 19th January I was joined by the ambitious Laurie Wright. Frontman of rock band, The Lodgers. The interview was held at a pub called The Cricketers in Kingston. The venue was accompanied with what appeared to be locals swigging on pints of Stella, and prancing around to extremely loud brit pop.

The Lodgers are an emerging Rock N Roll band, based in the center of Kingston. The boys have received a great amount of media support. Including that of BBC Introducing.

In the background was the noisy discussion of two Labour supporters arguing about the governments need to reconsider equal pay. Laurie appeared to be fine by the noise level, as he continued to raise his voice “well, I was living at Jack’s house, he’s my songwriting partner and we were looking for a name and we have a song called the ‘Artful Lodger’, and I was like we can’t call ourselves the artful lodgers and then he was just like well you’re living here so why don’t you just call yourselves ‘The lodgers”. He says with a slight chuckle at the irony of his friend’s suggestion.

Still laughing at the irony of the settlement of the band’s name, Laurie continued whilst running his fingers through the tip of his hair. “Being able to tour, and have people come to see us, like say 500+ venues, that’s sort of everyone’s dream really, yeah, bigger venues in towns that we don’t know.” Says Laurie about the bands ambitions.

Are you from around her? –Lauren McCdermott: Photographer

“No, I’m from Glostirshire, but we’re a Kingston band.” Says Laurie whilst nervously readjusting his fringe. The background laughter is progressively getting louder and louder. “Probably collectively the Beatles.” Says Laurie on behalf of the bands musical influences.

I asked: Are you guys working on any new music currently?

“Yeah, yeah we’ve got our first single coming out on Friday, tomorrow, tomorrow. But yeah it’s called ‘Sound the Alarm’, that’s out tomorrow. We are recording some more in March and will hopefully have an album out at the end of the year.”

The interview was held in what felt like a conservatory which you could smoke in. The furniture was very vintage like, sofa’s everywhere. To our left sat a group of men causally enjoying a shisha. Proceeding to take a sip of his Lima and Soda flavored cider, Laurie says “Well I met Jack first, we were playing here actually; with my old band. And I got Becky whose email to support me doing spoken word. She got this fella to play with her, and bought out some Beatles tracks. I sort of thought nothing of it, other than he was well good and then we met at a party a couple weeks later and he got his guitar out and I was like, ooh play us one of your songs and he was like ooh play me one of your songs and then I was like I’ve got some recordings coming up why don’t we just join forces and make a band. So, we did that, and then met Kane when we were playing acoustic; Kane’s the drummer. And we were just playing acoustic at the old Mute and he was pissed and got up on the drums and we were like yeah (chuckles) we will have him. And then Will the bass player come a bit later, in August I think. August 2015, we’ve been going ever since.”

I asked: Who is the main songwriter of the band?

“Me and Jack, write the songs. ‘Sound the Alarm’ is Jack’s lyrics. It’s like losing faith in political figures and generally having no faith in politics now and about how politicians don’t do what they say they do and what they say they will and things like that. So, that’s the general theme of it and trying to escape and find a way I guess.”

As he lights his cigarette and inhales it, he continues to talk about who designed the album cover. “For ‘Sound the alarm’? It’s funny we were in Island last week and we were looking for an Argos for a hard drive to put all the footage on but we ended up in a Waterstones and there was this newspaper that said something about the revolution army on it. We had been thinking about art work for a while, kind of nicked it basically, we were just like that’s a good idea, so take out the revolution army and put ‘Sound the Alarm’ and then we sent it off to a graphic designer and he just put ‘The Lodgers’ underneath and that was that, so I don’t know if any copyright is going to come into it.” (Laughs)

“We are planning on doing a 24-hour busking thing when it gets a bit warmer. We haven’t chosen a charity yet but we were thinking about War Child or something. 24 hours, or maybe even try doing more than that. But we’ve done that kind of thing before separately, but never as a band. Can get some other people involved, could be good. I wouldn’t wanna be known as a political band, but we write about all things that affect us in life and politics is one of those naturally.”

“We are just concentrating on recording, we are a little bit late for the festival scene to be honest. Unless ‘Sound the Alarm’ does well on BBC Introducing and then we can hopefully try and get something through that, but I think we’ve missed the boat on that one for this year.”

I asked: Which Festival have you always dreamt of playing?

“Glastonbury, definitely.”

I asked: Do you have any hobbies outside of being musicians?

“Jack is a hypnotist, I used to play cricket for the county, that’s about it really. Kane’s a great salesman. (Laughs) Will’s a light and sounds engineer, what else does he like to do? Put up with the music, I don’t really know? (Laughs)

I asked: What’s one of your most irrational fears?

“Giving a best man speech. (Laughs). I think I’d rather be asked to do the music.”

He stutters as he struggles to think of one of his funniest guilty pleasures. “There was a band, that my mate showed me and she was just saying this is fucking terrible, isn’t this terrible. It was a band called The Struts and the lead singer was trying to go for this Freddie Mercury thing and the video was so cringe and horrible, but I found myself singing it all the way home. I can’t remember how it goes but it was in my head for a while.”

I asked: What’s your most vivid memory?

“Oh, you’ve put me on the spot there, vivid memory. Getting stung by a wasp, the only time it’s ever happened to me as well. It was in my mouth, underneath a tree. (Laughs) My brother was shaking apples from a tree and I was running underneath and he was like can you dodge the apples…

Still haunts me.” (Laughs)

Words by Laviea Thomas

[INTERVIEW] ONE MAN REVIVAL

Interviews

Blending moderate rock with a subtle ambience, Sunderland trio One Man Revival have already made a name for themselves in their local live scene, boasting reviews of highly-energetic performances and an unwavering dedication to the do-it-yourself work ethic. Last year saw the release of the band’s debut album, Ordinary World, following four years of relentless touring and a successful, spur-of-the-moment Indiegogo campaign to fund it. “We had been touring all over the country for years, but had no money and nothing to show for it, says vocalist Andy Hanlon. “We knew we had a good fan following, so we decided to test out the campaign idea and it worked. The whole concept of reviews and things is pretty new to us, but the feedback has been great.”

The band name itself originated as a concept in Andy’s imagination when he was part of a “failing band” in the days before One Man Revival. “The ‘One Man’ was me,” says the frontman. “The ‘Revival’ was anyone that wanted to perform the songs I had written, whether that was two people or twenty two people.” In the early days, the band started out as a four-piece, with drummer Wayne Glaister having worked alongside Andy in a previous band. “It was an acoustic concept at first, but I was told to ‘keep Wayne in mind’ if I ever wanted to rock it up again.” By the winter of 2012, Andy’s concept was eventually finalised following the departure of two members and the addition of bassist Kyle Smith. “We click together brilliantly,” explains Andy. “Wayne is like my brother and Kyle is my best friend. On stage we know exactly what the others are doing, and whenever we’re off stage there’s always banter.”

Despite the cheerful atmosphere in the band, Ordinary World doesn’t always maintain a positive vibe. While tracks such as ‘Be With Me Anymore’ and ‘Out of Here Alive’ have subtle post-punk and hard rock undertones, others (‘Dreams’ and ‘Temper’ for example) take a more emotional approach in terms of both lyrical and vocal intensity. Written about the death of a friend, “’Dreams’ has a deep meaning to it,” Andy explains. “With the other tracks it’s normally the music that comes first, then we work out a vocal line and the lyrics come last. We tend to brainstorm what we’re all thinking or feeling and take it from there.” Discussing the album’s weaker points, Andy says, “If I knew what I do now when I started recording the album, a few of the tempos would have been slightly quicker and some of the effect and records would be more polished, but overall it’s our baby and we’re very happy with it.”

Describing their sound as “a fine line between mellow and hard rock”, One Man Revival claim that they take an eclectic approach within their influences, drawing inspiration from Sunderland’s local live scene. “I’ve been a fan of the local scene for many years just due to the endeavour of what it takes to become a good, successful musician,” explains Andy. “I know it’s always cliché to hear people refer to bands as the ‘next big thing’, but there are so many acts that just don’t make it to the big stages.”

For One Man Revival, the objective now is to get the band’s name out there as much as possible. “This year is focused solely on trying to get the album into the public eye, whether that’s through shows, festivals, radio stations, public appearances or anything else.” One Man Revival’s album launch show will take place at Newcastle’s O2 Academy on March 19th, with supports from Black Nevada, Saints of Arcadia and The Firelight Opera. “It’s a great step for us – playing in a venue we love with three bands that we love. A lot of people are saying that it’s the pinnacle of the North-east rock scene at the moment, and it means a lot to be a part of that.”

 

Words by Kelly Ronaldson

[FEATURE] THE DEVOLUTION OF METAL

Features

2017, it’s the start of a brand new year. For most, it’s the time to crack on with those new years resolutions, but for some, it’s the anticipation of festival announcements. It’s hard to avoid them right now – Download, Bloodstock and Reading and Leeds have all announced at least one headliner, and with that comes the onslaught of the serial moaners, and metal fans are by far the worst.

 

If you ask the fans, metal has always been a controversial subject. It was a British thing, mostly, fronted by veterans Black Sabbath, but the genre was only really when Judas Priest burst onto the scene in 1979. And by the time Motörhead had dominated the charts, the music press had finally started to take notice – it was coined ‘The New Wave of British Heavy Metal’.

 

You’d expect it to be all plain sailing from there – new genre, new scene, exciting new bands – but the arrival of Californian rockers Van Halen in the 80s shook things up a bit. All of a sudden, metal had changed. Now it was all about it the image – sex, drugs and rock and roll. Hair metal evolved, and the scene was nothing short of promiscuous. Fans of the new wave were angry – their scene had become something purely about image, and very little of it seemed to be about the music.

 

But this, obviously, was not the last controversy in the metal scene. The genre evolves with each decade: the 90s brought grunge, the 00s brought nu metal and the 10s brought metalcore. And all of these periods have brought the same thing – elitism.

 

If you’re a part of the scene, it’s pretty hard to miss. You’ll probably experience it first hand. I did: I was fourteen and had a questionable set of friends, and their unspoken motto was “if you listen to anything other than metal, you’re not one of us”. That was a difficult situation for me, considering I listen to everything (except country music, no offense to those fans). And while I attend Download festival yearly and been to metal gigs more times than I can count, I’ve attend Slam Dunk yearly and I’ve seen Robbie Williams live – and enjoyed it, too. I was young and impressionable, I wanted to fit in and it sounds stupid to say it now, but it was suffocating. Imagine having to click ‘private session’ every time you wanted to listen to a bit of pick me up pop – no thanks.

 

So is elitism the reason the scene doesn’t seem to be evolving? Look at it this way: festival headliners never change. Take Download festival, for example – 2017’s headliners are System Of A Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith. Only one of those bands haven’t headlined before, and yes, you guessed it, it’s Biffy Clyro. System Of A Down headlined in 2005 and 2011. Aerosmith headlined in 2010 and 2014. Granted, both bands have only headlined twice before but the fact is they still have.

 

There are worse examples, obviously – take 2013 (Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein) and 2016 (Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden). These two line ups were virtually the same. And from what I’ve seen, fans who go to Download festival tend to go every year, so why would you want to go to a festival that is almost identical to the one three years earlier? That’s how you lose attendees.

 

But it’s not just Download. Sonisphere, although it may not be around anymore, was the same. Metallica, arguably the biggest metal band in the world, headlined three years in a row. Fair play to their fans who do want to see them that often, but what about those who go for the festival experience? Do they really want to see the same bands?

 

So why are festivals constantly booking the same headliners? Is it metal fans not welcoming new bands? Or is it too difficult to become headliner material these days? Because most of these big bands had their time in the 70s, 80s and 90s – basically any time before 2000. Is the Internet killing the metal scene or is it something else? It must effect all aspects of the scene – promoters, unsigned bands and fans alike. So what do they have to say about it?

 

Northamptonshire promoter Kane Campion says that while “there are areas where the local metal scene is thriving, it’s becoming increasingly difficult in finding bands to come and play in a town they’ve never heard of”. Maybe that’s the problem – maybe bands simply can’t be bothered to put the effort in anymore, seeing as everything is digital.

 

He also claims that the elitism has spread to the behind the scenes crew too. “It’s such a huge competition with promoters – “who can get the biggest numbers at a show? Who can get the best venue?’” he says. “Companies are so obsessed with being the best that they forget that the main reason promoters exist is to give local music a chance to grow and thrive.” And then he makes a point that we all seem to forget sometimes: “Every huge band started small. We could be responsible for the next Iron Maiden!”

 

And then you come to the forefront of the scene: the fans. Metal wouldn’t exist without fans, that’s certain, but are they the ones killing their own scene? Metal fans are some of the harshest critics, but do they really have the right to complain about festival and tour line ups when they’re the ones slating all recent metal bands? It’s not just recent bands, though – the comments on a Facebook post about Korn and nu metal in general all seem to include the words “shit”, “has beens” and “past their prime”. Considering that Korn are a generally well-liked band, what hope does that give an upcoming musician?

 

Metal fan Adam Lancaster claims that some of his worst experiences were at metal shows: “I’ve been threatened more than once at gigs,” he says. “And that’s an issue I’ve never experienced at a dance or pop gig.” He also says the only people to ever judge him on his music taste are metalheads, and that he’s often berated for his lack of band merch – in his words, “they said I couldn’t be a proper metalhead or music fan because I didn’t own any [merch]!”

 

It is a ridiculous prospect, judging someone on the fact they’re not wearing a band t-shirt. You scoff and think, “I’d never do that!” But what if you are? What if you’re doing it without realising, like when you look at a teenage girl and raise an eyebrow because she’s wearing a Little Mix t-shirt or carrying a Taylor Swift bag? That’s elitism. It’s across different scenes, sure, but it’s still elitism.

 

“People live their own lives,” Fan Marc Johnson says. It’s their choice to listen to everything or nothing. A little ribbing, maybe, but to judge them for living the way they want to? No.” He also brings up certain bands in regards to being victims of elitism: BABYMETAL and Nickelback.

 

Many bands have publically been mocked ­– sometimes it’s worse. The perfect example of abuse towards musicians is My Chemical Romance, however. They were bottled at Reading festival in 2006 during the peak of their fame, but continued to finish the set before branding it a victory. The next year, however, they were bottled during their Download festival headline slot. Why on earth would you bottle a headliner?

 

But its not just metal fans that have noticed – bands have too. Metalcore band Whitechapel have dedicated a track to it, surprisingly called ‘Elitist Ones’. Vocalist Phil Bozeman accompanied the song by saying, “Metal is one of the most criticized genres – it’s one of the most judgemental genres you can be in. Because if you’re not this type of metal, you’re not true [but] there are just so many subgenres of metal that it’s almost like a fashion contest at this point,” He concluded this statement by saying something that should be glaringly obvious. “You should like music just for the way it sounds, not because of who it’s associated with.”

 

Asking Alexandria guitarist Ben Bruce also has a few words for metal elitists. In an interview with Metal Wani, he said, “You can sit and complain as much as you want but we’re flying the flag for metal. Maybe we are a little more commercially acceptable […] it means we’re getting more radio play, and we’re opening people’s eyes to metal. If you’re going to be a bitch and argue, no one is going to discover metal. There are elitists going “why are there no new metal bands for me to listen to?” It’s because you’re a fucking asshole and ruined it.” And really, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

So you need to ask yourself this: do you really want your scene to implode? Because that’s looking likely right now. The only people that can fix this are the fans – you have to stop being elitists. I’m not saying you can’t dislike music, I’m just saying that you don’t have to be so shitty about it. I’m saying at least try to broaden your horizons. I’m saying at least try to go see bands you’ve never heard of. I’m saying at least try to support your local scene, and then maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally get somewhere.

 

Words by Lucy Wenham

[INTERVIEW] ERIC ARIKAN

Interviews

It’s a Tuesday night and I sit across from Eric Arikan in his favourite bar in his hometown, Ulm. He’s sipping on a coke while he looks around the room with a thoughtful look in his eyes.

It’s late now and the Motörhead‘s tunes playing in the background have now changed to gentle Beatles. The candles that illuminate the assortment of mismatched chairs and overflowing ashtrays have burned down and only a few people are left, chatting away with the bartender. Eric seems to register it all, making a mental note. Then he rolls a cigarette, fiddles with his lighter for a minute before he lights the cigarette and when I ask him if he’s ready for the interview, he grins at me and replies: “Yes, ma’am.”

Eric’s been making music for almost 12 years now. He started playing the guitar when he was 11. He also started writing music at the same time but he acknowledges that it takes time to get good at it, “I’d say I wrote my first decent song at 16.”

He released his first album The Ship in 2014. “It was really just a challenge to myself to record and finish a whole record,” says Eric, “up to that point I’d only ever recorded single songs at a time.”

The album’s tracks range from blues rock songs like The Dead Stare in Your Eyes to dark, threatening nu-metal guitars in I Saw Jesus Walking on a Tightrope. It’s skilfully written blues rock, melding together influences like Iggy Pop, the Velvet Underground and Alice in Chains in a way that leaves you unable to distinguish what it is that is so enchanting about what you’re hearing. In the song Don’t Tell Anyone Eric asks “What’s the point of it all, if there’s no point at all?”

What’s the inspiration for lyrics like that? “Life keeps happening around you and it’ll often give you something to chew on or to think about. I also find greatness to be very inspiring. When I listen to Alex Turner’s lyrics, it makes me want to write better lyrics. When I hear the Beatles’ chord changes, it makes me want to write better songs.”

But there are no boundaries what artists inspire him. “I’ll maybe listen to hip-hop for months and that will have an influence in terms of rhythm. Then I’ll listen to Tarantino soundtracks and all of a sudden all these surf guitars will appear in my songs,” Eric muses. But then he finds a common theme. “What’s most important to me is a great hook. It’s the thing that’ll move me the most in a good song and it’s the thing I strive for when I write songs.”

In his song Bonny & Clyde, he tells the story of the famous pair’s last moments. Just before  they are shot down by the police, Eric narrates their demise from Clyde’s point of view. “It’s just always been a scene that fascinated me. It’s so cinematic and the music kinda goes along with that.”

The new album, he says, will contain a lot more personal material, like the song The Tide’s Electric. Talking about this he gets more and more thoughtful and lights another cigarette, watching a man walk by our table. “The song is basically about the moment you fall for somebody and everything has a different energy. It’s as if something goes through you and all of a sudden you see things differently.” He scoffs and chuckles. “It’s a song everyone has written. But writing about personal things makes me feel so much closer to the music. That’s where I want to go with things in the future.”

“I find greatness to be very inspiring. It makes me want to write better songs.”

What is the future for him? He thinks about it for a second before he replies that he would love to make a living with music. But he does feel like being from Germany is a clear disadvantage. “I feel like Germany doesn’t have that much to offer in terms of music,” says Eric and hesitates, “in terms of popular culture in general, actually.”

While Germany is a country with a vibrant and active music scene, barely anything ever goes beyond its borders. “Of course there have been great German bands and musicians that can probably also be inspiring for people outside of Germany. But the cool stuff tends to be hidden and hard to discover,” says Eric on the matter. “Also, mainstream German art seems to have a tendency to be a little cautious and harmless. On the other hand, underground artists tend to try and push the boundaries to such an extent that it becomes inaccessible. There seems to be no middle ground.”

Is it about the quality of the music? “Yes, I think most of what German artists produce just isn’t good enough for the international industry to care about. I imagine music with German lyrics must be hard to market outside of Germany simply because it’s not a very pleasant sounding language. It might’ve helped Rammstein become famous but probably no one else.”

I tell him that I think that’s nothing he has to worry about. Playing all the instruments and producing his music by himself in his bedroom is hard to believe when you hear what he has done so far. Being an English language student and having a comprehensive knowledge of music, as well as a hand for songwriting has given him something special – international potential.

“I mean, it’s been historically difficult for bands or musicians to get out of Germany,” he goes on. “There’s just so little going on here. Even when Bowie or Iggy Pop recorded in Berlin, it’s not like they recruited German musicians for their sessions, at least not as far as I know.”

We chat about this for a while longer, talk about London, sing along to the Beatles and then I decide to wrap it up with a question about Moon, his upcoming album. It will not only be more personal, but also more mature. “I hope to finish it by February,” says Eric, grimacing a bit, as if hesitant to make that commitment, “I think it’ll be better than The Ship because there’s more of a concept behind it.”

I remember that one song on his album that I never really understood, so while he’s getting his slightly tipsy friend from the bar I ask him about Silver Lining In a Mushroom Cloud. He just laughs and chuckles out a “Fuck, if I know, dude.” And I just nod and feel like that’s actually the best answer I could have got.

moon

Words by Lena Pagel

[INTERVIEW] VINYL STAIRCASE

Interviews

Rising stars Vinyl Staircase want your attention and they’re ready to put in the hard work to get it.

Vinyl Staircase members Mike Thorpe and brothers Luke and Jake Andrews talk amongst themselves as we move away from the venue where the band played a storming set of psychedelic and guitar driven rock earlier this evening. Following the release of their EP Aquarelle last year the four-piece have been playing a busy schedule of gigs as their fan-base continues to grow in size.

Its freezing to say the least, and as we come to a stop in a suitably quiet spot our warm breath fills the air for a moment before vanishing into the night as if it had never existed. “Joel is a really cool guy, he went to the same secondary school as we did and that’s how there’s a worthwhile connection.” Explains Thorpe, detailing their relationship with the Wolf Alice drummer who wrote an article on them in NME, before pausing to think for other potential candidates that may steal the crown as the four-piece’s highlight of last year, “It’s that or Swim Deep” he says nonchalantly.

“We try to keep it as varied as possible in order to give them a taste of all the stuff we do, rather than just go down a heavy route or a psych route”, says Luke, revealing the thought process that goes into their energetic and noisy live shows. Doused in purple and blue lighting on the small stage at Proud in Camden the group put on an impressive performance, executing each song with an aggression that caught the attention of the audience in a way none of the bands sharing the bill managed to do. Whilst they’ve undoubtedly got a long way to go, they’ve gone from recording a few tracks at a small studio in their hometown Guildford to playing shows in established London venues in a matter of months and understandable feel great satisfaction at this achievement.

Gigs are unquestionably important for a new band, and when asked whether they prioritise live shows over making new music, drummer Jake Andrews speaks first: “I think gigs are important because we get to play to people who haven’t heard us. When you first start off, the most important thing is making the music and then once you’ve got the songs just go out and gig them”.

The crowd here in Camden is trendier than that you would expect to find at the Boiler Room in Guildford where the band first established themselves. “It’s a totally different atmosphere here in London” explains Luke as a distinctively ‘hipster’ character passes us with fitting timing. “In London you have to think a little bit more about how you present yourselves, people aren’t going to be forgiving here.” Where others many find this lack of forgiveness a frightening factor, this is a confident group of young men and it is clear that London shows present an exciting opportunity for the band to gain new fans, rather than occasion to get nervous about or fear.

There is a noticeable bond between the three bandmates. They met at secondary school and have shared a friendship ever since, their bond can only benefit them as they continue to grow and develop. When asked whether they hope to sign to a label at some point they confer for a moment before responding, “If we find the right people, we’re going to try and hold out for as long as we can.” this is a band that want things done their way, in the most egalitarian way and are willing to work hard in order to make their dreams a reality.

Words by Joe Austin

[INTERVIEW] JERAMIAH FERRARI

Interviews

Reggae Rockers, Jeramiah Ferrari, talk new directions, their embarrassing moment with UB40 and Butterfly Sex Bongs.

“Sex bong”. Bass player Hanson Pollitt completes the song title after I had left the word ‘butterfly’ hanging over the conversation. The table instantly erupts in laughter as the other band members remember one of their earliest efforts, Butterfly Sex Bong. “We were in Lilford Park, we were high and there was loads of butterflies,” lead singer Ryan Barton explains. “And I just said ‘imagine how cool it would be if you had a butterfly inside a bong’, just a real stoner conversation”. “So where did the sex part come in?” Guitarist Josh Aitchison points out. “Well me [Ryan] and Hanson were having sex at the time.” The whole room is once again flooded in laughter as drummer for the band Stuart Welch breaks his repetitive hand tapping to give a lively knee slap.

The band joke about themselves as ‘Leighfers’’, hailing from a small northern town that no one has heard of. “So when we’re in London we just say were from Manchester” says Aitchison,“it makes us sound more cultured.”

The small room at the top of The Barfly is completely bare except from the two torn and tattered sofas surrounding a decaying coffee table. As I sit around the table with the band members of Jeramiah Ferrari, noise from the Camden high street creeps in through the top guided window which is barely ajar.

Jeramiah Ferrari have been developing their distinct Rock infused Reggae sound since the release The Cactus Killer EP in 2011. “We probably couldn’t tell you one band that were doing it in Leigh at that time, we didn’t know of any” Barton says, asserting that there was no-one in their Greater Manchester area playing Ska or Reggae when they were. When asked why they chose to play Reggae, Ryan simply replies “we just thought let’s do something different, so we tried to mix Reggae with our Rock and Punk influences.”

Since the release of their self-titled album in 2014 the band have been touring tirelessly across the U.K and Europe filling the bill at a number of festivals including Boomtown, Beatherder in Lancashire and the goMAD Festival in India. This has given them the chance to meet and tour with some of their musical idols, including The Wailers, Steel Pulse and The Blockheads. They will be touring with the latter again this year. “It’s top, we’ve done a couple of gigs with The Blockheads, they’re great musicians and a really good band to see live.” On the subject of meeting musical idols Barton remembers an incident he had with UB40 “I really embarrassed myself with UB40… they were playing Can’t Help Falling In Love With You and shouting ‘Ryan, come up on stage and sing’, which would have been mint, but I was having a piss” He says, covering his face in shame.

“We are focusing now on some new stuff, we’re going to be playing some of it tonight” Barton reveals to me when asked whether the band have started writing the follow up to their debut album, “It’s kinda changed a little bit.” The band are now going a little bit more indie, taking influences from The Smiths and The Police, describing the new sound as ‘indie-ska’. An original direction for one of Britain’s most exciting new reggae bands.

Words by Liam Williams

[INTERVIEW] HINDS

Interviews

Madrid band Hinds have recently released their debut album Leave Me Alone with such high critical acclaim it is enough to make any band at least a little arrogant, but not Hinds.

The four Spaniards are full of energy and excitement and a smile is never off their faces like a toddler on Christmas morning. They’re embracing the music world with open arms and the music world is welcoming them with numerous award nominations and outstanding reviews.

While in a smoking area of a bar in sunny Leeds, I managed to catch two very enthusiastic and cheery members of the band, Amber (the drummer) and Ade (the bassist and singer).  After only starting gigging in the summer of 2014, the band is not yet without their pre-show anxieties.“We still get nervous which is a good thing I think and it doesn’t really change if it is a big gig or a small gig” Amber says. “I prefer smaller crowds though as it is more intimate, like when you’re on stage people are just right there and you can just sing and play to them, it feels a lot more comfortable.”

After releasing their debut Demo they not only attracted fans from their home country of Spain, but also attracted quite a large fan base from America, Europe and helped them burst on to the UK music scene for 2015. ‘Debut’ was supposedly fuelled by Sangria which doesn’t come as a shock when interviewing the band as alcohol seems to be a theme within Hinds when it comes to writing and playing music. I asked Ade and Amber what their craziest gig was and their answer was involving a time when they did a gig in Copenhagen, “we had so long between sound check and the actual gig so we decided to drink a bit and we got so fucking drunk, it was the craziest and best gig ever”. Although Ade decided that it was the best gig ever Amber instantaneously laughed, almost chocking on the smoke from her cigarette and exclaimed that although it was her favourite gig it was also the bands worst gig to date. “We were so fucking drunk and it was so much fun but the sound we made that night was just so bad”.

The band have come a long way since 2014, they played numerous festivals in 2015 including UK festival Glastonbury and Internacional de Benicàssim which is situated in the province of Castelló in Spain. When mentioning the festival to Ade she couldn’t hold back her excitement thinking back to the festival with a smile appearing on her face interrupting her taking a drag of her cigarette. “It feels crazy the fact that we played Benicàssim, from visiting it for years to actually being on one of the stages in 2015, we couldn’t believe it.”

Hinds are a band to watch in 2016 and are a breath of fresh air when it comes to European bands making themselves present in the American and British music scene.

Words by Jonny Page