ISSUE 17 • FEBRUARY 2014
FREE • NOT FOR PROFIT
COVERING THE BEST UNSIGNED MUSIC AROUND SUSSEX AND BEYOND
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Last year was an eventful one for Zooberon. Having built a reputation as a promoter who was interested, who cared, who actually promoted, Mark Stack found himself inundated with bands wanting to play his nights and rapid expansion followed with additional gigs and venues. In hindsight it was too fast too soon and a bout of illness towards the end of the year made him realise something had to give and Zooberon needed to become more streamlined. Zooberon is now concentrated on the Seven Stars in Ship Street, featuring live music every Friday with full band ‘Live Music Zooberon’ nights alternating weekly with the stripped-back acoustic ‘Zooberon Unplugged’. The nights are free entry, intended to introduce bands and solo artists to new audiences that probably wouldn’t come across them elsewhere. Promotion has always been Zooberon’s main aim, to be that stepping stone helping artists move on to bigger and better. We have so much musical talent playing in this city, people working so bloody hard perfecting their craft, playing for nothing time and time again and yet never seemingly getting their rewards. How can we change that? How can we get the people who live in the city more interested? How can we get the industry as a whole more involved in what we have to offer down here? There’s no point in just quibbling about it, we need something positive to woo them with!
Live music every Friday at the Seven Stars, Ship Street The Live Music Zooberon 1st & 3rd Fridays of the Month Zooberon Unplugged 2nd & 4th Fridays of the Month
In March, Zooberon will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to create a double compilation CD of unsigned bands that play in the city. Fundraising gigs at the city’s venues will add to the project. Each band on the CD will have a page in the booklet with info and contact details. As a minimum, the CDs will be given out free at Zooberon and other gigs around the city and copies will be despatched to DJs and radio stations across the
country. Think of it from their point of view: with all the CDs that are sent to them on a daily basis, it is more likely that one CD featuring the ‘stand-out track’ of a multitude of bands has a better chance of being listened to than ploughing through many single-artist multitrack CDs. Essentially, the more money that can be raised, the further the reach. Other aims are to get the CD out to promoters and venues across the country to create gig offers and enable UK tours, to despatch copies off to American college radio stations, to get shops and pubs in the city to add the compilation to their playlists and give the CD away free to their customers... and the list goes on. So now the call to arms: can you help? • Have you run a Fundraising/Kickstarter event yourself and can offer advice of the invaluable dos, don’ts and ideas that worked for you? • Can you help out at the fundraising gigs? • Do you work for a company that might be interested in sponsoring a gig to cover the overheads? Any funds raised will go straight back into investing in the project in-hand. • Are you or your company able to gift a Kickstarter reward to encourage people to donate? (Ask your boss, you never know.) • Do you have particular experience/skills/contacts that could help us? • Have you press release experience or media contacts that could help publicise the campaign? Please contact by email: BrightonCD@Zooberon.com Further information can be found at Zooberon.com or ‘Mark Stack MusicEvents’ on Facebook. An update will also appear in next month’s Brighton Unsigned Magazine.
Editor: Steven Probets Founder/Deputy Editor: Jordan Thomas
We are proud to be working in association with Access to Music College and also Zooberon Events. We are always on the lookout for volunteer writers, photographers, and camera operators, including anyone interested in interviewing bands on or off camera. Also, if you have any enquiries regarding advertising or any other involvement in Brighton Unsigned contact Steven via email email@example.com
Website: Jak Kimsey Website Development: Ash-Hill Smith
Writers: Cindy Cheng George Metcalf Jess Oâ€™Loughlin Jordan Thomas Chris Biggs Carmen Jose Alex Fraser Proofreader: Alex Clouter
ACCESS TO MUSIC
4 WALLS PROMOTIONS
THE MEOW MEOWS
Front Cover Photography: James Parsons www.jamesphoto.co.uk
The band’s best-known track and fastbecoming anthem is the contradictorily
review CINDY CHENG
named ‘Not Going Out Tonight’, which is met with heckles and cheers when performed live. It’s full of indiepop goodness, laddish vocals and a repetitively simple and memorable gem of a chorus. The band treat us to each member reiterating the infectious “I’m not going out tonight” line when playing live, with drummer Iwan Jones coolly shouting his turn from the back of the stage. Founded at the hands of philanthropy for a friend’s charity gig in support of a donkey sanctuary in Spain, and with a few line-up changes along the way, Nova State are born. And for that, donkeys and listeners alike are grateful. © Photo: James Cook
‘I Don’t Feel Like Leaving’ is created from the story of a period in a boy’s life; exposed to the world’s lessons and its interesting people in a place that has ultimately led to fond memories. Consequently, Lelliott emotionally croons, “I don’t feel like leaving”. It’s an earnest song about fun and growing up, tinged with the sadness of having to move on. The effect is something that is deceitfully happy and upbeat whilst being meaningful and honest. Similarly, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Arlington Gardens’ are brimming with youthful angst and ‘Mindset’ oozes the 90’s instrumentally, in being faintly reminiscent of The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ and Cornershop’s ‘Brimful of Asha’ – but modern day versions with a drum machine and punchy verses.
© Photo: Natasha Lewington
While their musical delights are accessible online, there’s just a raw energy and compelling presence to Nova State when on stage that can’t be produced on tape. Maybe it’s the cocky confidence from front man Louis Brennan and his Gallagher-like front, or the surprising power in the ‘softer’ vocals of Sam Lelliott when faced with an eager crowd. The two uniquely blend together the musical styles of both indie and pop punk and share writing credentials.
Hot off the trails of the American garage scene, Spit Shake Sisters show the Yanks that we can do anything just as well as they can. For those of you not familiar with garage rock as a genre it’s an incredibly raw sound that emerged in America and Canada in the 60’s, built on the simplicity of rock and roll. But with more energy, garage rock quickly grew to become an underground subculture that over time grew in popularity to the scene that exists now, that is still going strong and is now influenced by the Punk music of the 70’s and the energy that came out of those stage shows. The scene is heavily dominated by bands such as Thee Oh See’s, Black Lips and Ty Segall to name a few. One band from here across the pond that is keeping the scene afloat is The Spit
Spit Shake Sisters
review GEORGE METCALF
Shake Sisters. A lovely three-piece act who formed in 2011 here in Brighton, their debut EP ‘The Pretty Youth E’ combines catchy-as-hell overdrive heavy guitar riffs with catchy-as-hell vocals, backed by pulsing drums and pounding bass creating audio delight. Heavily influenced by the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh See’s, Spit Shake Sisters have been gaining recognition from giants in the scene, supporting bands such as Night Beats and garage rock titans King Khan and The Shrines. The band’s 2013 EP ‘OverDope’ explores more “psych” elements, taking influence from the psychedelic music from the 60’s and in my opinion sounding nicely like Ty Segall’s outfit ‘Fuzz’. The band show that even in their young age they are growing as artists and becoming one of the most exciting bands in the Brighton scene today and show no signs of slowing down in the near future. Fuzzy Love.
“There’s no going back...This Is Dedication” Nottingham based, the five boys of The Inside Is Live released their first, self-titled debut EP on 17 February 2013. Quickly generating hype and views (over 25,000 in the first week of release alone), their music video ‘Atlas’ put them on the map. The band just recently finished their 5-stop tour with The Last Carnival, proving themselves as dedicated and talented artists ready to play with the best of them. First blowing up on the social media site Tumblr, The Inside Is Live were heard by thousands of people around the world. Many of these users expressed interest in the band from the start and were excited to hear new music, including management company AJM who have recently welcomed the band to the roster with open arms. In addition to their previously released EPs, the boys have
their first full-length album in the works, which is being produced by Phil Gornell (BMTH and All Time Low). This album will define their sound and bring in a wider fan base. Their edgy alternative rock sound is fresh and original. Each band member brings their own personal style to the table, creating a well rounded and three dimensional quality that is difficult to replicate. Fans and industry should look forward to their new album, coming out in early 2014, as well as accompanying music videos. In the meantime, you can check out ‘Atlas’ and watch ‘Behind the Scenes’ videos that the band post on their YouTube channel. www.theinsideislive.co.uk facebook.com/theinsideislive twitter.com/theinsideislive
LIVE GIG REVIEW
END OF THE TRAIL RECORDS with
PIRATE VIDEO COMPANY fb.com/piratevideocompany
The Latest Music Bar is a small venue off the main street of Kemp Town in Brighton. Often empty I’ve noticed in the upstairs through the week, which for Brighton, kitted out with its cool, bohemian clubs and quirky pubs, seems review HELENA strange. It’s not difficult to WATMUFF find a party any night of the week in this seaside town, however, on the night of October the 14th, in this particular hidden away venue by the sea, there didn’t appear to be too much going on. Although, once I headed down to the basement I found a different atmosphere.
End of Trail Records, a new indie label, were showcasing a few of their artists, such as Weatherbird and Harriet Jones alongside our unsigned bands, all of whom are completely contrasting from one another in their genre, which
definitely made for an interesting turn out from the crowd. Sandweaver and Pirate Video Company were the first unsigned bands on the bill for the night. Sandweaver, began the night on an easy genre of melodic indie pop, infectious catchy commercial rhythms paired with rough vocals and harmonies thrown in for good measure, polished off with electronic guitar riffs to create a pretty mediocre sound. However, well rehearsed and a tight unit is something to not be taken away from these guys. In contrast, Pirate Video Company were the next unsigned act to grace the stage. Grace is probably the wrong word for these guys, they pretty much blew the stage apart. Cool, calm, collected faces suddenly explode into raw energy and movement. The set was 30 minutes long to a crowd of no more than 50, but PVC have the potential to do much more than that. These guys represent an exciting and enthralling brand of post punk/hardcore and it’ll be cool to see what’s next for them. Digo, a young unsigned band from Brighton, were next and last to take the Latest Music Bar stage. Until this point, the audience interest matched a casual atmosphere, boasting a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. The minute this
PIRATE VIDEO COMPANY
5-piece alternative group stepped up, and began to ring out their psychedelic guitar lines and bassy undertones, it was as if people appeared from the corners of the dark room to stand up and became engrossed in the hazy melodic sound that seemed to pour from the shadowy stage. The leader singer, Jake Fisher, seemed equally as magnetised by the audience themselves with a continuous soul deep stare into the eyes of his viewers. Some would describe it
as cocky, one girl standing next to me did. But it seemed to me as something more personal, and kept you listening, even if you felt uncomfortable. Behind the captivating expression of Digo, there is an obvious solid unit, who are all well rehearsed in their work, making every syncopated note sit perfect in the mix. They had a raw energy about them on this night, with a set at around 40 minutes, and bringing the night to a strong close, the best band of the night, was for once definitely saved until last.
www.normantonstreet.com review CINDY CHENG
in, is clear and poignant, showing off lead vocalist Jack Beard’s lovely tone. The song is full of clever, subtle musical ironies such as the line “we’re wasting all our time trying to get the girl who never tries” conveying the struggle, confusion and feelings of helplessness of the love story it is telling.
As soon as I learnt that Brighton Unsigned was extending its arms to welcome reviews of bands from all over the south of the country, I immediately hit up ‘Pirate and Cobie’ on my laptop. Hailing from Crawley, they had originally been about twenty miles too far north of Brighton. However, when I was met with the announcement of their split and to digest that Brighton Unsigned had been too late; I was gutted. Therefore, you can get a sense of my relief and joy in learning that 3 out of the 4 members have since formed Bored Games. Far from disbanding, instead getting their heads down to write fresh material, I grabbed the nearest pen to start taking notes and pressed play. In contrast to the title, the delivery of the line “smoking mirrors” at 01:57 minutes
The more upbeat ‘Redline’ brings optimism to the table, encouraging the act of taking risks and believing. “You never take your chances, it’s just a shot in the dark, the fate is part of the fun,” sings Beard, revealing a cheeky and carefree nature, and he has us convinced. ‘High and Mighty’ doesn’t beat around the bush and comes crashing out of the speakers, leaving a mini storm in its wake. The quirky EP artwork of everyone’s favourite board game pastime, Cluedo, and Bored Games’ lyrical wit ensures that this is a band that certainly won’t be leaving you bored.
Bored Games EP
Normanton Street – those hard-working, soulful Northern boys who have thrice featured in our magazine – returned with their third EP just in time for Christmas 2013. Titled ‘Phoebe Freya’, the EP comprises seven delicately chosen tracks of individual merit, which collectively serve to demonstrate how the band has developed since their last recording. If you enjoyed their first two EPs, then you can expect more of the same reliable laid-back beats, smooth melodies and lyrics full of both social realism and romantic sentiment. In addition, there is a new surprise thrown into the mix: a female lead vocalist. The same familiar voices as before contribute to the personality of each song: from Ned’s cool, bassy drone to Nicholson’s intelligent, raspy rhymes; Frankie’s smooth, recitative storytelling; and Jack’s dulcet tones. However, there is an extra splash of colour added to this mosaic of musical sounds; this comes in the form of the album’s namesake: Phoebe Freya. From the first track of the EP, the dynamic soulful voice not only adds an extra layer, but also suddenly becomes a dominant feature among the previously all-male vocal ensemble. The transition is so seamless however,
that the smooth, honeyed female voice, slotting so naturally into the mix, does not immediately rouse your attention, nor does it detract from the merit of the other members. Phoebe’s vocals are as effortlessly slick as her male counterparts that it is easy to forget she was not always a part of Normanton Street. Like the lost sister coming home, it is a surprise at first but in no time becomes clear she was the missing piece of the puzzle.
Aside from the new addition to the group, this EP differs from their previous efforts in that it is markedly more chilled, with a comfortable confidence demonstrating the experience these guys are gaining through their constant gigging. The overall sound is non-intrusive, contemplative and polished, making it great music to drive to, fall asleep to, work to and to just relax to. The group have managed to carve an identifiable sound while continuing to create new challenges, keeping us – the listeners – intrigued as to what they will do next. Fans may notice the lack of saxophone on this EP, but fret not… I have it on good authority that the sax will be back on the next EP, as will Phoebe, something for Normanton Street followers to look forward to!
FOR THE FIRST FEATURED ARTIST OF BRIGHTON UNSIGNED’S 2014 RELAUNCH MAG, WHO COULD BE BETTER THAN THE MEOW MEOWS THEMSELVES?
For the first featured artist of Brighton Unsigned’s 2014 relaunch mag, who could be better than The Meow Meows themselves? They are a well-known large band on the Brighton music circuit with their sound of ‘South Coast Ska ’n’ Soul’ with quirky lyrics and song titles such as “Beep! Beep! Omelette!”. Not to mention experience of playing at music festivals which is just as well, a large crowd dancing with beer and cider goes with them like a… well, ball of yarn to a kitten? It’s a magic combination that is perfect and they certainly are a favourite at local festivals. Along with all this, they have the experience of supporting bands such as The Beat, The Selecter, The Temptations and Reel Big Fish. The super group (sic) originally formed through a mutual love of music, drinking and a good old-fashioned knees-up. In Ellis’ words:
“Our band’s sound is a fresh and happy muddle of sixties garage and dirty pop with a belly-rumbling rock steady rhythm, blistering hot horns and heart thumping keyboards, topped off by a two all-dancing, all-harmonising female singers with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a killer stage presence.” But also self-admittedly, the Meow Meows do have a serious side, political even: a reflection of life with the current Coalition Britain and expressing solidarity for the recently incarcerated Russian fem-punks Pussy Riot. Incidentally the Meow Meows wrote a tribute song (along with a promo video) for Pussy Riot called Siberian Soup with credit to Dave Thomas who captured their character. As well as “personal lives of doomed relationship”, it takes a real talent to have issues like this into the Ska ‘n’ Soul genre along with their lyrics written by the dual singers, Danny Girl and Hanna. But with so many members in the band, the writing process surely must be difficult and time-consuming? Alex states: “Everyone contributes. Usually Danny Boy or myself come up with a riff, verse and a chorus and then we all work on the structures together, with everyone honing their own parts. Hanna and Danny Girl write their lyrics once we’re pretty much done, the horns write and arrange their parts into something far better than we could have thought of, and Ian will ignore suggestions for a bass line and play what he always does anyway. “Then over the course of a few months of playing songs live, some kind of alchemy will occur and we’ll naturally fall into what works best for the song. I listened to the original home demo I did for Siberian Soup and the finished song is at least three hundred times better after everyone else kicked it into shape. Yay for democracy!” The Meow Meows second and latest 12-track album ‘Somehow We Met’ was released back in July 2013 (available on Spotify), giving an even fresher sound than their previous album. Surely this must’ve been a difficult and lengthly project to write and record? Danny Girl replies: “We are a band who most definitely knows how to enjoy ourselves. But writing and making this album ‘Somehow We Met’, was some of the best fun ever, every part of it. “The first album ‘Songs From The Fridge’ is very special to us, recorded with lost friends and a lot of love. It took years to finish with changing line-ups and the talented (and very patient) producer Paul Pascoe beating and hammering drunken performances out of every one of us.”
As an unsigned band, obviously this would not be a cheap project, so Hanna herself successfully coordinated a Pledge Music campaign to fund this second album. Obviously this wouldn’t have been possible with their large fan base’s support. Danny Girl also admitted: “That, plus
But for Alex: “It actually was a bit more difficult, but that’s because we were consciously striving to make it a whole lot better. For the first album the songs mostly came from drunken jamming in our tiny basement rehearsal room when we weren’t taking it very seriously at all. We definitely spent a bit more time and attention on the writing process this time around. We’re still very much a ska band, but we wanted to throw in elements from all different kinds of genres to expand our boundaries and make it a bit more interesting, if only for ourselves. There’s funk, dub, soul, disco and balls (and tits?) out rock ‘n’ roll on this album, which makes for a more varied listen and a more interesting live show.” Of course, Ska has been coming back in trend although not quite mainstream. Hanna continues: “It might not be what you hear on the radio all the time, but ska isn’t a flash-in-the-pan genre as it has been around in so many guises since its beginnings in the 1950’s. Some of the band are lucky enough to have been around during the 80’s ska revival (Ghost Town was at number one when I was born; technically I wasn’t aware of it, but I like to think that it was a sign of things to come) and also grew up through the 90’s/00’s ska scene right here in Brighton. “It was such an exciting time with established bands from the US such as Reel Big Fish, Save Ferris, The Slackers and Less Than Jake coming over and playing shows at Concorde 2 all the time, and on the other hand UK talent springing up such as Capdown, Random Hand and Lightyear. Back then, there was a definite buzz, especially in Brighton as it was a DIY scene with all these young whippersnappers putting on shows all over the place. Some of us were in bands from around that era: Hanna’s band Muttly’s Dastardly Skam, Danny Girl/Ian’s band Ska Gal and the Hands of Ra, Danny Boy’s band Out of Luck, Ellis’ and Matt’s band Go Tokyo and Emma’s band Fisticuffs. But, like any scene that suddenly blows up, it is inevitably going to change and fizzle out.”
Lastly, as with any bands that have made ground in their local music scene, there’ll be personal favourites of other local bands, right? Alex states that he loves The Beautiful Word (a favourite of Brighton Unsigned too): “They’re another independent twin front women band from Brighton who takes a great joy in what they do”. Other favourites include Yumi and the Weather who used to be in bands for which The Meow Meows shared stages with in the past. Alex continues: “Also Chas Palmer-Williams, ex-Lightyear and Derby-toBrighton transplant; lyrical genius and highly entertaining onstage mad-bastardry.” For Ian’s choice: “Personally, ska-wise I think Johnson and the Believers are good. The Garage scene has loads going on, in particular I like The Gogo, The Querelles and the Spitshake Sisters.”
our confidence in the new songs, meant by the time we were ready to go in the studio we were practically giddy. As for the writing of our album, it gets easier and easier. We are lucky enough to all actually (mostly) love hanging out, falling over, getting into scrapes and even playing the occasional gig. We just can’t wait to make album number 3!”
Also, how do they feel about the local scene in general though, especially with the rising popularity of their signature genre? Ian says: “Promoters Stay Sick and Teen Creeps both put on really good nights in Brighton. We love playing for the Playgroup guys who put on great gigs at the Blind Tiger Club, and their summer festival just out of Brighton. We also enjoy supporting the bigger 80’s two-tone bands at Concorde 2 such as The Beat and The Selecter. In the past year we also supported Reel Big Fish and The Temptations at C2 which were both great experiences.”
Hanna continues: “Brighton in particular has a rich history of ska with loads of local bands having created brilliant scenes in several waves (earlier, The Hotknives and Too Many Crooks and later, Los Albertos and King Porter Stomp). The Meow Meows were never a part of any scene because we formed in 2005 – kind of in no man’s land. We just started doing it because we all liked ska and wanted to be in a band.” Some words of wisdom from Hanna! But obviously and unfortunately, every band has experienced their downsides – “At the beginning we played some completely dreadful shows in front of ten people, wondering what on earth had happened to all the people who liked ska? What were they doing now? Ska-Punk in particular was a pretty puerile genre anyway, but it may be that as those fans grew up, their tastes matured as well. I think it’s fair to say that festivals have been key to our more recent success. We love dressing up, getting pissed, playing to a crowd who are there to have fun and dance. We draw attention to ourselves through just generally being a bit chaotic and silly, and count interview ourselves lucky CHRIS that our favourite www.themeowmeows.com BIGGS festivals keep asking us to return” feature fb.com/themeowmeows JORDAN THOMAS
We took a liking to pop punk trio ‘Loose Lips’ way back in 2012 when we saw them at the fantatstic Zooberon night at the Seven Stars. We caught up with Jason, Sam and Ben... When and how did you guys get together?
Sam: I met Jason back in 2010 when we started uni together studying Music Production. I thought I could be cheeky on one of interview the assignments and get JORDAN away with not doing a lot, THOMAS so asked Jason if i could record one of his songs and put some drums to it. What came out was Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ but we thought we were a bit ahead of our time, so tried again and recorded a track called ‘Don’t Push My Buttons’. What was it like at first to create new material and then your first gig? Sam: We started working on a few songs and got in Matt Don, who I knew from being in bands with back home. We spent about 2 months solidly working on them in a rehearsal studio, a few of the songs were ones Jason had written years ago and wasn’t sure what to do with, whereas some others were newly written once we had decided on a style to go with.
Jason: I then booked our first gig which was a battle of the bands at The Hydrant. At the time I was just glad someone was up for giving us a slot. It’s probably the most punk show we’ve ever done as everything was played at about twice
the normal speed as we were all shitting ourselves. Also the sound wasn’t all that great as Tom Adams was doing the sound that night (just kidding, Tom’s a dude).
Peckham where we played in the kitchen.
What achievements are the most memorable and which ones are you most proud of?
Jason: When we first started booking shows I spent a lot of time looking at the different venues and promoters in Brighton and emailed Mark about a slot at the Zooberon. He came down to a show and thought we were good and so we booked a show together. It seems to have gone down well when we’ve played there but last time we thought we’d give the punters a bit of a rest and did a more relaxed acoustic set. Watching Sam restrain himself from smacking his drums was like watching the Gorilla in that Cadbury’s advert just before the drums come in.
Jason: Every person who has listened to our music or come to a show, brought an EP or a T-shirt, is an achievement for me. It’s nice to know people like what we’re doing. Sam: For me I think it was either when we supported Madina Lake at Concorde 2 or last year when we played at Redfest. Concorde 2 was one of those surreal gigs where you don’t really realise what’s happening until you’re on stage. We did this cheesey thing where I walked out first and started playing drums; Matt would walk out, start the bass and then Jason would come on. When I went on and started playing, I was just staring at the drums as I was so nervous and when it came for Matt to start playing he didn’t; I looked at Jason who had come on by this point and thought Matt had bottled it; turned out he was right next to me and just my monitor wasn’t on, haha! Ben: I don’t think I’ve been in the band long enough to have many achievements but my favourite memory so far was a house party show we did recently in
How did you get involved with Zooberon gig nights?
How do you find your fan base? Sam: I think it’s a bit of a mix of things now. I think we do the same as most unsigned bands, which is playing as many shows as possible, people sharing the music on social medias, etc. Maybe I’ll take a crash course in marketing and PR and have a better answer. How do you find the Brighton music scene and how does it compare to other towns? Jason: It’s a strange one. There’s so many bands in Brighton all of which are
trying to get themselves noticed, build up a following, hit the big time, haha! The good thing about it is the amount of venues, promoters and touring bands, all the different genres, etc but sometimes if you are on at one venue and there’s a crazy good line-up down the road it can be a bit dead. The plus side of that is when you are playing the right gig and you’ve got a good crowd it’s the best feeling ever. What aims for the future do you have as Loose Lips? Sam: We’ve started writing the next EP now. After spending so long to get the second one recorded and released we’re hoping for a fairly quick turnaround. We’ve got three songs done and ready to record already, two which we’ve been slipping into our live set here and there. They’re bangers as well, they don’t sound like the tracks on the first EP but are still very much Loose Lips tracks.
Jason: There’s a lot of stuff that I’ll write and spend ages working on them, worrying if they’re “Loose Lips” enough or playing around with the lyrics. That’s kind of gone out the window for now and we’re just working on what we think sounds great, which hopefully these do. Sam: Our plans for 2014 is to get into a studio somewhere and get the tracks down for the next EP. I think we’re gonna try and make this one a bit more personal. The first EP we did - ‘Cloud Your Thoughts’ - was done in my parents’ living room and we put so much effort into it. It was all so new to us and for us when we listen to that EP we can hear that a bit. I think we want to try and recreate that with the next one as well so it has that unique personal spin on it. We’re also in the middle of booking up a tour for February 2014. We’re also hoping to get out to mainland Europe at some point in the next year. Discuss your EPs.... Cloud Your Thoughts Jason: Our first EP - ‘Cloud Your Thoughts’ - was released in 2011 just 2 months after starting the band. We recorded it in Sam’s front room. The three tracks we chose were ones we thought gelled well together but showed our diversity as a band at the time. It’s our little baby. The girl on front is our friend Geordie, after a gig when we got a bit messy and drew on her and then when we were trying to find artwork we stumbled on the photo and thought it was genius. She still isn’t too happy that it’s the cover art, haha!
Christmas and New Year in 2011. We recorded 7 songs in a week and the whole thing sounded so rushed we scrapped it. We did it again the next Easter and when we got the mixes backed it was all too slow! So we whittled it down to 4 and eventually recorded the final version at Spiral Studios in Guildford with Chris Coulter who does a load of great stuff. It was about the nicest recording environments we’ve been in but before getting the mixes back it was kind of like ‘make or break’ because we really didn’t want to record them all again! Any other aspects of the bands worth mentioning? Sam: Ben! Our new bass player (our 4th one now). He recently joined the band and has just about passed his initiation. Any upcoming news for 2014? Sam: So we’ve got a new EP on the way and hopefully some tours coming up. We’re hoping to get up to London a bit more next year. We’re also going to be working on shooting some music videos. It’s something we’ve spoken about forever and just never got round to doing it or found the right person to work with. We’ve never liked the idea of doing a standard live footage video or playing to our mates in a front room somewhere and videoing it. Those videos are cool but we want to do something that really stands out and we can be proud of. In terms of videos and stuff like that we are all rubbish so we really need someone who knows what there doing to come do it with us.
Spitting Teeth Sam: ‘Spitting Teeth’ is our second born. It’s the younger brother of ‘Cloud Your Thoughts’. We recorded this EP a total of three times. The first time was in a friend’s studio in Portsmouth in the week between
BRIGHTON UNSIGNED CAUGHT UP WITH JACKO HOOPER WHO HAS MADE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE SINGER-SONGER WRITER SCENE. When did you first start learning to play music and write? How did it progress?
It started initially when I was around 11 or so. I always used to like writing little interview poems and after seeing JORDAN Glastonbury, Reading and THOMAS Leeds festivals on the TV, I craved having the same experience as the people on the stage. When I started learning guitar it became a very natural transition for the poems and scribbles to become melodies. I don’t really remember a specific point at which I knew it was what I was going to do. I think for most songwriters it is just something that you feel you naturally are supposed to do.
You played your first gig for Brighton Unsigned in August 2012. What was it like to take the switch of playing at home and getting your first gigs around Brighton? Well, it was strange for different reasons. I had been playing around Brighton for years with my band, before I started
doing it on my own. I wrote these songs in my bedroom and didn’t really ever think it was something to pursue. I wrote them for myself really, so it felt quite nerve-wracking letting people into my little world a bit. I find it therapeutic as well though. I played a lot of open mic nights before I started playing shows. It was actually a brilliant way to get into it all and I met some really nice people too. And in hindsight the open mic nights are ten times more scary than shows... so maybe that helped. I still do them every now and then now to keep me on my toes a bit. What things inspire you to write the songs you do and how do you go about it? It changes with different songs. I’ve always said though that the songs that are written the quickest tend to be the most honest, natural and just generally better. Most of the songs I would play now were all probably written in a few minutes, lyrics and guitar. There isn’t really an order, it’s kind of like scooping out brain juice and plopping it on some paper. I don’t really remember how I go about writing, there isn’t really a set formula. I just noodle something and words come out. I usually write down the first line and then from that it just sort of flows. How do you think your performance and music has matured since you started?
I think I’ve perhaps learnt how to use my voice a little more. I haven’t ever really seen myself as a ‘singer’ but from recording at home especially, I think I have felt an improvement. If you’re listening to the same vocal over and over again, you start noticing really precise little things and I hope that I can continue to smoothen it out. I guess the main thing would be confidence, to get up and play. Playing live is what it is all about. On your two-track EP you have introduced some drums and other instruments in the song ‘These Echoes’. What direction do you see your sound taking in the future? Yes, that was a fun song to do. I wanted to give away a couple of songs for the people that had spent money on the first release; it’s something a little more different perhaps. I’m working on my EP at the moment which will be out in March, I feel it will have a more simplistic and stripped back approach… more how I am when I play live, but that will become evident when it’s out. Since you first played Brighton Unsigned what have been the highlight moments? Any festivals or major events? I played Blissfields in 2013, which was cool; to actually be invited to play my first festival was a really nice experience. However the highlight has to be my shows in France in December. To be
invited by Le Hiboo (one of my favourite French videographers) to headline the Cafe De La Danse was just incredible. I couldn’t believe I was performing in such a big venue, in another country and there were people there to see me play. It was quite an amazing experience, the whole French tour was great. I can’t wait to go back. Playing with some of my favourite artists, Chet Faker, Rachel Sermanni, Dylan Leblanc and a load more, has been great too. In the space of a year it seems you have played with some brilliant artists and achieved a good fan base. What advice would you give other musicians to help you get to that point? Play live! For the first year I played a lot, I met a lot of people and I talked to a lot of people. I think it’s just a case of earning your stripes, working hard and just enjoying playing. I think if you lose that buzz of fun then it’s perhaps time to start looking at a plan B. The new EP ‘For You’ is released in March. Self-funded via the KickStarter campaign. Visit www.kickstarter.com fb.com/jackohoopermusic jackohooper.bandcamp.com
GLASS SINES HAVE QUICKLY MADE A MARK IN THE LOCAL SCENE WITH A DISTINCT INDIE ELECTRO SOUND. How did the band come together? Tom: I met Ian when I was 17/18 working in Brighton, I have always written songs and played in a band and he’d always being working interview on his dance and electronic CARMEN style. He introduced me to JOSÉ a synth and I thought yeah we can work with this, starting laying a few things down and I got Kate to play a bit of violin over the top and it all started to get going. Glass Sines have been gigging a lot in Brighton recently... Favourite performance this year? Tom: We’ve hit it hard in Brighton this year, best gig for me was our first show at Sticky Mikes for Lout Promotions, great atmosphere, sound was great and it went off in there. Ian: I’d have to say our show before Andrew Weatherall in September. We played a really strong set on an amazing Traction Sound rig to about 200 people packed into The Loft on Ship Street. How does your song writing evolve? Ian: We all bring our instruments and their sound to the mix but it’s predominantly Tom and I that craft the tracks and work the lyrics. We normally work around a guitar part or a beat then build on the idea, add a synth line or two, get some structure and we’re away.
Tom: I generally come up with a bit of guitar, some lyrics and then Ian sticks a beat and some other bits on there, synth/bass, and then we get Doctors and Kate to do their thing over it.
Ian: Yeah we love it, our show is energetic and driving – we’re a four piece but you get a nice mix on stage, couple of guitars, a violinist and load of hardware, it looks good.
some amazing DJs playing here if you know where to look. In terms of local bands, I wouldn’t want to single/miss anyone out, plus, let’s keep the focus on us please (Laughs)…
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Tom: Energy, always. We love playing our tunes, simple as that.
You have a great mix of genres in your music, what/who are your influences?
Tom: Ian Brown or Noel Gallagher, without doubt. Heroes.
Kate: It’s always fun and a buzz to play together with or without a crowd but performing to a crowd that is up for it is always amazing, we really enjoy it.
Tom: For me it was always bands growing up, the obvious stuff from your old man, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, you can go on. Then The Stone Roses and Oasis obviously came along and smashed it. The use of synthesis with The Killers when they first started and Brownies solo stuff has certainly had an effect on the way I write and think about putting things together.
Ian: It would be great to work something with Underworld. Kate: Eminem, ha, no seriously, Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky classically, but Dylan’s music has had a big influence on how I play with the band. CunninLynguists have a tune called ‘Linguistics’, which has my favourite violin concerto Tchaikovsky in D, that’s when I thought what I do can work over a sexy beat! You always look like you are enjoying yourselves when you play… Describe your set for us.
What do you think about the music industry now people are so obsessed with shows like the X Factor? Ian: There’s a lot of manufactured crap backed by huge marketing budgets getting pumped into the mainstream, it’s a shame as there is so much great music out there not getting a look in, some people need re-educating. It’s important to recognised, but for the right reasons. Doctors: Harder to break into now, there’s a lot of good bands out there, but if you’re good enough you’ll get recognition on a larger scale, which can only really be a good thing. Are you fans of the Brighton music scene? What bands are you listening to at the moment? Ian: Absolutely, it’s one of the main reasons I moved here, it’s great for live music with some decent venues. I do like the dance floor too and you get
Doctors: Pink Floyd (Dave Gilmour), Hendrix, Stones, Oasis. What inspires you to do what you do? Tom: There’s nothing better than thinking of something, putting it together, playing it with your mates and watching the reactions of other people. Ian: I love music, making music and especially performing live to a crowd of people feeling it too – it’s an extremely addictive habit!
SEARCH FOR THE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE. IF YOU ARE VIEWING THIS PAGE ONLINE CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LINK TO THE VIDEO. THE MEOW MEOWS
After a bit of a quiet moment from The Meow Meows, they have returned with a bang that is ‘Siberian Soup’. Just like their sound, this video has a colourful carnivalesque style that is unmistakably Brighton. Directed by Dave Thomas, think of fairy lights, sunglasses, graffiti and, well, a heck lot of colour!! The track no doubt sticks in the mind for ages after, especially with the brilliant bass section of constant beats that is easy to dance along to. The video is also in promotion of freepussyriot.org.
Another video filmed entirely on location, the track quickly starts off on a catchy beat and riff with a slow and melodic singing. It is immediately easy to jig along to and gives the desire to sing along to. Think of something slightly similar to ‘All Too Human’ by The Rakes. The video isn’t short of extras either, most noticeably, a couple of members from Normanton Street! The video typically ends in a packed home-gig with plenty of dancing and fun with the fan base dancing along. It is a viable single and certainly should get The Move-Ons even more popular.
Filmed in just a room and around Brighton town, Jamie Knox released this rather jiggly and folksy song. With melodic singing and catchy beats, it gives a style of a kind of acoustic Franz Ferdinand mixed with The Magic Numbers. With contributions from members of the band, the track still seems really of Knox’s own with his deep singing. It is easy to listen to in this sunny weather so here’s hoping for an outdoor gig with this guy!
This ‘Jipsy Magic’ track is toned down and much more chilled out than previous material, which makes a fresh change and good to see that the members can broaden their talents even further. The video itself seems to be self-recorded and on a much more personal level. With each member clearly videoing themselves preparing and getting ready to go out with their equipment that we find them to be setting up and playing in a field. The video as a whole seems sort of self-confessional and mature as opposed to their other videos, which has a juvenile yet amusing sense of humour, but still a good ‘un.
reviews JORDAN THOMAS
Stronger and a Winner
Hit the Road
If anyone or anywhere is in the midst of a long lived love affair with the sultry mistress that is Live Music, it’s here in Brighton. From the cobblestone floor of the Green Door Store to the velvet rope of the Brighton Dome and in every venue inbetween, there is arguably more music in our streets than most major cities. words ALEX FRASER
If you’d rather not walk about in the cold streets for a chance encounter with a young street performer strumming their heart out for your loose change, you can go one step up the musical scale and visit one of Brighton’s many small pub venues. There’s a fair few to choose from: The Blind Tiger Club near Old Steine, The Hope along Queens Road, the infamous Prince Albert and its phenomenal graffiti mural to the greats, to name but a few. But how do these musicians end up here? Live music promoters have a truly terrible reputation. Many is the tale of the promoter taking home all the profits from the gig, putting up a shoddy handful of poorly designed posters two days before and hoping that enough people show up so that the venue sells enough booze to invite them down again next weekend. To put it simply, promoters are not known for caring about the musicians they put on. Four Walls is a small promotions company made up of musicians or, to be more accurate; two bassists, a guitarist and an anthropology student. All four of them
adore live music, the people who play it and the fans that support it. Having put on a monthly charity night called ‘Healing Sounds’ for well over a year and starting up two monthly genre-themed nights Four Walls are building a name for themselves as the friendliest promoters in Brighton. Free lollipops at every show and the promise that not a penny goes into their personal pockets is just the beginning. Sophie from Four Walls: “We like to give the bands what we can, obviously the Healing Sounds money goes to the charity we’re raising for. The rest goes into building the Four Walls community, bringing bands from further afield and making each show as good as it can be. Bands want people to come and see them, and that’s our goal: to create a place where a musician can do their thing on stage and attract new fans, inspire other musicians and enjoy doing what they love without the hassle of the promoter being unfriendly, unprepared or unprofessional.” Sounds good, but don’t take our word for it. If you’re in a band, Four Walls wants to hear your songs; if you’re a fan they want to see you dancing at the front of the stage with them; if you love live music, they want to know about it. fb.com/fourwallspromotions twitter.com/fourwallslive
Access to Music (ATM) Brighton is a wellestablished, dynamic music college located just off Lewes Road in studios shared with Brighton Electric. The college has been a significant player in the city’s music scene for many years and it seemed a natural step for ATM Brighton to become the official education sponsor for the newly relaunched Brighton Unsigned magazine. Access to Music has helped many local bands, singer-songwriters and producers on the journey from starting out in music to becoming fully-formed artists, so it has a natural affinity with the ethos of Brighton Unsigned. As well as developing their music, students also gain valuable qualifications and life skills, all within a musical environment.
College manager, Tim Cotterell, commented, “We are the place for aspiring musicians and producers to come to develop their music in Sussex. Our courses are free for 16-18s, have no academic entry requirements and Level 3 courses generate UCAS points for progression to university. Our Level 4 Artist
Development course is the perfect place for artists to refine their work and image ready for professional work and is delivered by industry professionals including PR entrepreneur Kairen Kemp, dance producer Just Jack, and Martin Rossiter, formerly of the indie band Gene.” Access to Music also works with young people wanting to re-engage with education and with those wanting to work in the industry itself, from sound engineers through to promoters, label owners and managers. New for 2014 is a Level 3 Digital Media course for anyone wanting to gain the skills to promote artists through web, graphics, video, photography and PR. To find out more about the Access to Music experience, why not check out their Open Day on Wednesday 5 February, which takes place between 5-7pm. There will be opportunities to get a tour of the facilities, meet students and staff and ask questions about the courses. There will also be a chance to check out Access to Music at the Brighton Music Conference at the Brighton Dome on 1112 April. The college will be hosting some high-profile production seminars as well as a trade stand. W: www.accesstomusic.ac.uk T: (01273) 628 363 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
the music and media college
First choice for music and media courses in Brighton
FEBRUARY OPEN EVENING Wednesday 5th February 5-7pm
Enterprise Point, Melbourne St, off Lewes Rd, BN2 3LH
Free tuition for 16-18s No GCSE entry requirements Courses carry full UCAS points
0800 28 18 42/ 0330 123 3153
the music & media college . Graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted April 2013