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ISSUE 18 • MARCH 2014
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COVERING THE BEST UNSIGNED MUSIC AROUND SUSSEX AND BEYOND
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twitter.com/guy_lloyd So want to get to Number One, yeah? Have no money, no band and no musical talent? No problem! Borrow somebody else’s record and make it your own. This is what I did. Read on… It was the opening night of Alan Partridge’s ‘Alpha Papa’ at the Duke of York’s Picture House back in July. The opening scene was about to set me on a path of obsession that didn’t really leave me until just after Christmas. If you haven’t seen the film, basically, during the opening credits Alan Partridge is seen miming the words to Roachford’s ‘Cuddly Toy’. It was such a moment for me. Not only did it take me back to the lateeighties, it made me fall in love with the song all over again. The next day, I played the song on my
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radio show, got a great response from the listeners and I flippantly said, ‘We should get this to Number One.’ And from there, I set up a campaign and my obsession began. Over the next few months, we had backing from everyone, from the Mayor of Brighton to MP Simon Kirby, to Absolute Radio and to the great man himself, Andrew Roachford. He even announced the campaign at a gig at Komedia! The next step was to film a video and I had a number of 80s celebs lined up to mime the song including Bobby Davro, Linda Lusardi, David Prowse and even Brian May. However, we had problems with logistics and timing ending up pulling the shoot. We eventually filmed a video on our doorstep which involved the likes of exAlbion player, Kerry Mayo and the legend that is Disco Pete. (Search ‘Guy Lloyd and the Cuddly Toys’ on You Tube). Anyway, to cut a long story short, we didn’t get to Number One. We didn’t even get in the Top 300 but it was great fun trying.
This Easter holidays, Access To Music Brighton is offering young vocalists and producers a great opportunity to take part in FREE one-day music workshops. The workshops will be led by qualified college tutors and are ideal for 15-18 year olds. In the Vocal Workshop, Dominique LeVack will look closely at vocal technique. You’ll learn mic technique; how to use phrasing and adapt it to your own style; what ‘range’ is and how to find your own; what head voice and chest voice are; what is harmony and how to do it, and how to control your breathing and how to expand your breath retention.
engineering and even DJing. Whatever passion you have in digital music, you’ll explore it in a day. You’ll be using Logic or Reason and recording in our professional studio.
At the end of the day both groups will come together to perform as one. The activities will take place on Thursday 17 April between 10am and 4pm at Access to Music Brighton, Enterprise Point, Melbourne Road, Brighton, BN2 3LH. Numbers are strictly limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To take part you must book by contacting Lucy Moran (Administrator).
This workshop will help you find your natural voice and discover songs that suit you. The group will learn a contemporary pop song with harmony and record it in a professional studio. All students will be able to access a link to download the final mix.
Alternatively, book online and vist us on Open Days.
In the Beat-making Workshop with Laurence Allen, you’ll learn the basics of production,
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The EP ‘Circle Time’ is the second release from Brighton quartet, grasshopper, with a sound that has matured since their introductory ‘Transmission’ EP, yet still holds onto the band’s instantly recognizable soundscape. The release is a traditional punk rock combo of guitar-drum-bass with the mellow, maturing and comforting tones of singersongwriter, Javi. All together Circle Time creates a shoegaze/post punk sound, which is transcendent and exhilarating at the same time! The first 27 seconds flows as its title suggests – ‘Underwatro’ – and is reminiscent of a broody ice cream van’s melody (mine’s a ‘99’ with nuts and choc sauce!). Leading instantly into the progressive evolving pulse of the track ‘Rico’s Revenge’, a slower paced and calming track, it’s teasing intro building up to the apt first few echoed words “there was a time”. Then ‘Tiny Detonations’ raises the tempo, with intricate guitar work by Emily, driven by the bass of Luis, and perfectly accompanied by the balanced drumming from Rachel. This track quickly becomes a favourite, highlighting improved vocal range, and is closely followed by ‘The Mocking Room’, which I liken Javi’s lyric pronunciation/music connection to that of Howard Devoto (of ‘Magazine’ fame). ‘Pre-Teen Has-Been’ has the confidence of the Dark Spiderman strutting his stuff down the street, an EP version, which the bass line is influenced by the ‘Get
facebook.com/dirtroyalband review PAUL ANTHONY
Carter’ soundtrack and gives a balance to the EP. Ending with a classic sub 2-minute track that closes the circle ‘Too Many Hormones’ is a pounding, punchy track. Circle Time is 20 minutes of addictive tunes; yes the band are still working it out and experimenting with sound but grasshopper maintain that raw and original feel, seemingly drawing inspiration from past and current. The band’s sound is likened to that of Joy Division and Bauhaus, but I feel in this EP they instill an uplifting light to that darkness of lingering mist. A well thought out and not overly produced EP, made possible by Transmission Studios. A highly recommended EP, with the feeling that bigger and better things are to follow; in short, grasshopper are not kidding around.
review ALEX FRASER
tune, ‘Girl in the Shop’, you might get the impression that life hasn’t moved on so much from the Thatcher years that inspired so much politically minded music to emerge. I’m not here to make political commentary, but I’m glad there are still bands willing to do just that: to voice their opinions and observations of modern life through honest albeit sometimes cynical lyrics:
Dirt Royal are here to prove that the Mod scene is anything but dead. Combining influences from The Clash to Green Day and with songs about everyday life and “normal” people (whatever that means), they leave a classic British tint on their three-chord-punk that is most reminiscent of Pulp’s classic ‘Common People’. The first of the two tracks I’ve been given to happily blast out of my speakers is titled ‘Busy Man’. It so clearly fits in with that mid-70’s punk that is still held in true adoration by fans of bands such as The Jam, Sham 69 and The Undertones. It’s all very musically simple, as with most punk music, the emphasis is always going to be on the band’s attitude. Listening to ‘Busy Man’ followed by their second (and in my opinion even better)
“If I hear the words ‘have a nice day’ one more time, I think that I might die.” - Girl in the Shop It is worth mentioning quite how accurately they pull off the classic punk sound. It’s all there: call and response between lead singer and a gang chorus, the classic punk “Oh oh” (check out the pre-chorus in ‘Girl in the Shop’), speedy drumming and simple, melodically appropriate guitar parts, the lot. Rough harmonies give real power to the almost football-chant choruses that are instantly sing-a-long-able. For anyone who reminisces for any of the bands mentioned earlier, or if you’re just a fan of true honest music, punk or otherwise, give them a blast. The irony here is punk’s come a long way since the 70’s, so these guys may not be completely in touch with what’s modern, but they certainly do know what it is to be a Mod.
Supervolcano (Album) facebook.com/deathapedisco deathapedisco.bandcamp.com
There is a growing collection of adjectives in circulation to describe the specific breed of, what is in the broadest sense rock/metal music, created by Brighton band Death Ape Disco. These come from reviewers and band members alike and include such juxtaposing terms as positive and ferocious, grungey and groovy, heavy and melodic. Categorized as a fusion of metal, grunge and variations of rock - namely hard, southern, alternative, and stoner - comparisons are as wide-ranging as Tool, Pantera and Clutch, to Down and Alice in Chains. However, such review categorizing is futile as Death Ape Disco’s main skill is taking the familiar JESS and making it their own.
‘SUPERVOLCANO’ REVIEW The best way to understand the band’s music is to listen to their debut album ‘Supervolcano’. The finely produced album reflects the hard work that lead vocalist Rob Rainford (vocals), Kit Brice (guitar and vocals), James Boulstridge (guitar), Sam Curtis (bass) and Harry Lehane (drums) have put in. Consisting of seven carefully crafted tracks that are relentless in their energy and vitality, this is not an album to wallow to. The band removes the death from the metal, the gloom from grunge and the drone from the rock, leaving behind pure powerful, inspirational and infectious musical energy.
ROCK / METAL
Death Ape Disco
The first track, ‘Kingdom of Others’ kicks off with a drum roll and a vocal utterance
that suggests you get ready for a crazy ride. It dashes into a frantic, pulseracing guitar riff overlaid with gravelly yet harmonious vocals that are reminiscent of such greats as Cornell and Anselmo. The pulsating tempo change in the chorus has the listener rocking out involuntarily. Glorious vocal harmonies, powerful guitars and punchy percussion keep you gripped by the throat throughout.
The second track opens with a guttural scream and a groovy, playful riff that is instantaneously infectious. The machine gun style vocals in the verses and impressive growls in the chorus further show off vocalist Rob Rainford’s control and ability. The catchy riff is relentless for the short two minutes of the song’s duration before an outro of drum rolls, cymbal crashes and screaming with high-pitched guitars closing the track. The next number, ‘10, 000 years’, arrests the attention from the off with an intro of pounding drums and power chords. A fast and furious verse filled with potent lyrics takes no prisoners. This leads to an explosive, rock anthemic chorus of melodic vocal harmonies and screeching guitars. This is a punchy, in-your-face number that demonstrates the sheer undefeatable, positive nature of the band. ‘Grinding Down the Sun’ is a sevenminute musical odyssey that takes you across all kinds of terrain: from breakneck guitar riffs, funky bass hooks, all kinds of drum patterns, tempo changes and time signatures, to guitar shredding, and pitch-perfect harmonies and tonal consonance. The song crescendos with a poignant outro filled with honey-toned melodic notes that soar beautifully over moving lead guitar solos. The next track, ‘Eclipse’, follows on with fury. It has a rawness and edginess that stands out from the others. It builds slowly before leading to more vocal acrobatics and exciting guitar solos. The trance-like chant repeated throughout the song suddenly takes centre stage, sung in perfect choirboy style with simple guitar-picking accompaniment. A crashing drum solo gives drummer Harry Lehane a chance to show off his abilities.
‘Death Ape Disco’, the band’s namesake track, epitomizes the duality and dichotomy of the band’s music. It is thrashy and dirty, funky and groovy, dancey and playful. If features an inventive, original melody, an infectious guitar hook and a memorable, uplifting chorus interspersed with more satisfying vocal harmonies. One can imagine that this mix of true heavy metal guitar, grunge-influenced vocals and a discoinspired groove would send shivers down your spine at a live gig.
The album closes with a track that has been in creation for almost ten years. The epic journey dips and dives, climbs and meanders across 8 minutes of musical biography. The instrumental intro reflects the compatibility and chemistry of the band members - each instrument being perfectly complementary, no one outshining the other. Rainford throws out everything from his box of vocal magic tricks on this one - from 20-second long money notes to harsh growls and melodious harmonies. A variation of impactful riffs, hooks and hammering rhythms create a spiralling, ambient piece that shows off the technical ability of each member. As a whole, the album is a red-hot, lavafilled super volcano of erupting force and empowerment that is impossible not to rock out to. Effectively, Death Ape Disco takes the depressed death ape to the disco and makes him dance.
It is very late at night, or ridiculously early in the morning, depending on how you look at it but finding out that jaunty ex-Holloways frontman Alfie Jackson is now the singer, guitarist and songwriter of new band The Rusty Suns has sent me into hyperactive excitement. At the time of writing this, the still unsigned (for now) band, has publicised ‘Loco’ on their Soundcloud and will get the best of us dancing around our rooms like prepubescent fan-girls. How wildly or awkwardly we dance is probably not of a concern to Jackson, as the selfconfessed owner of ‘two left feet’, is fondly remembered singing, “well I can’t really dance but baby won’t you dance with me?” in his work with The Holloways. The Rusty Sun’s biography consists of a single, snappy line: “good tunes, good harmonies, good fun, good times”; summarising the carefree spirit and cheerfulness they wish to bring to their audiences. Loco is nostalgic, taking listeners back to the indie glory days circa 2007 when music was simpler, rawer and ‘janglier’, which seems to have been lost amongst the drum and synth machines and House beats of today, thus
review CINDY CHENG
begging for revival. It is laden with humour and depictions of a sleepless town staying awake into the night in case locals want to have a drink. But it also plunges into a heartfelt story of experience: “well it started with you cheating”, “now the weather’s also lost it, it’s changing like your hair… I just stay the same old, nothing changes me, but I know I’m getting closer to finding out where this all will end”, tackling the prospect that things may not be able to continue as they are in a numbingly happy, beer-induced world – possibly entered into as a result of having being deceived by a loved one, as so candidly stated in the beginning. The canny lyrics and buoyant melody is just a teaser of what is yet to come and all audiences can do, is retreat to old Holloway’s videos and LPs to tide them over for the highly anticipated new material from hat-wearing, loveable rogue Alfie Jackson and his talented band members.
The Rusty Suns
“I used to live in a flat above an antique shop in Meeting House Lane, which had a tarmac roof with a few broken tiles and plant pots. It was coming up for summer and I was sorting it out, having a garden day. I liked the way ‘garden day’ sounded – your garden day seemed a nice little way to describe life. Everyone has their own garden day.” Robin’s love of nature is evident in the band’s styling – note the flowers, natural prints and ever-increasing number of garden gnomes that join the boys on stage. Last year’s tour saw enough time planned for woodland walks and sea swims to break up the time on the road. While the official EP launch gig took place in the church, Robin unveiled his songs to a select group a few days earlier, playing through the EP in his back garden.
KAYE SARAH INGLIS
yourgardenday is the musical project of Brighton singer, pianist and all-round good egg Robin Coward. Well-known on the acoustic and open mic scene, Robin has been playing under this name for several years and the band has gone through a few line-ups. Currently it comprises Robin on piano/vocals and Samuel Declan Kelly on guitar/backing vocals, with Paul Blackburn joining on bass for local live shows. At time of writing the position of drummer is vacant, although the latest EP features the considerable stickwielding talent of Peter Rowley.
The yourgardenday sound is tricky to categorize. The band themselves use the alliterative ‘playful piano prog pop’ tag, and there is certainly a heavy dose of symphonic prog attitude in the songs, as Robin’s classical piano roots are blended with an unplugged pop sound, plus a liberal dash of saloon bar raw energy for good measure. The heavy reliance on natural acoustics and minimal amplification also makes the band popular on the folk circuit – perhaps the term ‘anarchic acoustic’ suits them better. In August 2013 yourgardenday released the five-track flat stream EP with a launch gig at St. Andrew’s Church, Hove, followed by a tour of unique venues across the South of England that culminated in a show at the Union Chapel. The tour and EP was fanfunded through a Pledge Music campaign. Big things are planned for yourgardenday in 2014 with more ambitious tours and festival appearances. Often to be found purposefully spoonerising himself as a “magician, erm, musician”, there is no denying that there is something magical about yourgardenday’s live performances. We caught up with Robin to see what he has up his wizardly sleeve.
The first thing most people ask about yourgardenday is where the name comes from. Nature-lover Robin explains,
“For all that we spend a lot of time indoors I love getting outside, going for walks, seeing nature slip into cities,” says Robin. “Quite often I get distracted by a dove or flummoxed by a fox during a conversation.” Take a look at the yourgardenday back catalogue and you could be forgiven for thinking Robin has spent the best part of seven years stopping to sniff the flowers along the way. Even in terms of huge rock groups, the hiatus in recordings since the release of the last EP, ‘Journeys in my House’ (which is well worth a listen along with the first, ‘Little Boy There’, released in 2003 and with a more of a traditional prog rock sound) is considerable. So what’s the reason for such a long gap? “It seems strange that it would take me so long to do more recordings,” Robin readily admits. “But I’ve always wanted to get it right. yourgardenday has been through lineup changes, I was travelling, then being full-time self-employed as a musician means work gets in the way. I have far more songs floating around than are recorded – this EP is a stepping stone to get a whole album done professionally, with more instrumentation.” There’s something of the perfectionist in Robin, which meant finding the right people to work with was also important. And it’s a slur to say he’s been lazy in those seven years – running up to three open mics a week and numerous acoustic showcase nights, including the now-sadly-departed Ali Cats, gigging with a covers band and working as a session musician for Passenger, Martin Rossiter and Bo Bruce has kept him busy. Indeed, it was the mic nights and the work with Bo that were to prove crucial to flat stream’s realisation. “I met producer Fleet doing session work for Bo Bruce (runner-up on series 1 of The Voice),” Robin explains. “I was coming up to a point when my work was sustaining itself so I had time to spend on my music.”
“Again at another of my nights I met Samuel Kelly and again was impressed with his guitar work. It just so happened that Peter was visiting England with his family at the time of the launch and tour so he was able to play live with us.”
music can be lost through speakers. So many gig venues are similar; a lot of the performance aspect is added into shows via lights or special effects.
“...live shows somehow manage to strike a balance between a tightly-run ship and mildly bamboozled anarchy.”
Old friend Paul Blackburn from Gomez was available to complete the line-up for Brighton and Hove shows by adding live bass (the bassline on flat stream being produced on a synth). The seven-year glitch has also been a time of personal development for Robin. “Of course I myself have also grown as a musician/songwriter through experience,” he says. “The songs on the EP are the simpler side of what I do – I have learnt not to overcomplicate things. These songs are some of the simplest I have done structurally.” As well as making the songs more accessible than some of the earlier pieces, it also enabled easier live performance, as some of the early yourgardenday songs, while great compositions are not the easiest to perform live with the back-tomusical-basics setup currently favoured. Robin explains the stripped-back format that is proving so popular: “For the last year and a half I have had hearing problem; it’s meant I’ve found it hard to listen through speakers. Listening through monitors, headphones, etc is hard work. I am favouring acoustic instruments that make a real sound. I mean direct sound, rather than through the filters of speakers. I wanted to make a recording that was essentially acoustic but punchy.” He continues: “I feel I’ve been skirting around the edges of the music industry with opportunities but being a bit stand-offish, I don’t see how the music industry connects to the heart of music, which is sound, vibration and energy. Physical connection with
Fortune struck again at Robin’s ‘Sidewinder Open Mic’ (one of the longest-running in Brighton). “I met drummer Peter Rowley at one of my open mic nights and was impressed with his work – the drums were largely recorded in one take before, for family reasons, Peter moved to America.
“I therefore wanted to do a series of gigs that reconnected me with simpler times in music. I grew up with my family playing acoustic music – dad guitar, mum piano. This is why I am trying to do acoustic shows in interesting venues where people can’t do anything but be quiet and listen.”
As well as the music, puns and fun are a huge part of the yourgardenday ethos. Word play features heavily in Robin’s lyrics: “I heard holy cattle like to taste fallen apples” or “I herd holy cattle/like to taste fallen apples” from opening song ‘Something in the Music’ is just one example.
Thanks to autocorrect and terrible standards of English, the description of Robin as a “wondering minstrel” is now often considered a typo or simply mis-read. But this sense of child-like wonderment is at the heart of Robin’s work, and indeed is an essential part of what makes it so compelling. The whole of yourgardenday shares this way of thinking and the live shows somehow manage to strike a balance between a tightly-run ship and mildly bamboozled anarchy. It works.
Take a look at the tour bill for 2013 and you’ll see it was far from a “regular” road trip. The majority of expenses was for cream teas, fruit and Buckfast tonic, while the band and its entourage of a driver and PA slept in skittle alleys, summer houses and on friends’ sofas.
Robin concludes: “In 2014 I want to take the tour wider, playing house concerts and other original venues where the acoustics of the building play their part in the music. At time of writing we are looking for a new drummer, comfortable with full kit and cajon, and have gigs booked in throughout February and March, including the Brighton Unsigned gig, which we are of course hugely looking forward to. “I’ve recently spent a week in seclusion writing some new material and working on a couple of new tracks with Fleet. I’m very excited about what 2014 holds for yourgardenday.”
Images courtsey of Jon Southcoasting www.flickr.com/southcoasting
ARIVMIA ARIVMIA BRING TOGETHER EVERYTHING GOOD ABOUT HARD ROCK AND MAKE IT THEIR OWN
Band members Dan Carver (vox), John Barrett (guitar), Dan Finn (bass), Russell Bradley (drums) and manager Garry Alexander join Brighton Unsigned for a chat...
How did you guys meet? JB: I used to play football with Dan Carver then he went off to Australia at which point I started to do another band. DC: I got back and John contacted me and said, interview “Do you wanna start a STEVEN PROBETS band? I was like ‘OK’ and we jammed round his house.” JB: We jammed some Alice In Chains and Nirvana.
What’s the background for the formation of the band?
JB: At first we put the band together with various musicians, which didn’t work so we scaled it down to just me and Dan. We had about 8 songs, then put an ad in the Friday Ad for a drummer. DC: It was wicked (laughs); ‘Are you the next John Bonham?’ Is that what you put? DC: Yeah; ‘If so, Arivmia need a drummer’ and Russ was the only one that replied. It cut away all the useless drummers (laughs). We then auditioned bassists who went from people that were OK, to ones that couldn’t even hold a bass.
Your music is very tight and polished. How was it to hear Roger Daltrey say, “A great band, with a great vocalist”? How did that come about? DC: This was actually the worst day of my life. JB: We did a gig at The White Rock, Hastings, which was hyped up as Roger Daltrey was attending. Someone had spilt water on my effects pedal, which I spent the first 10 minutes trying to get the board working. DC: I stood there staring at Daltrey who berated me for holding the microphone wrong. JB: You were ‘choking the microphone’ (laughs). DC: We played the gig and your (JB) effects were still not working so we played ‘Stole My Fire’ fully distorted which didn’t sound too good. JB: Daltrey had his fingers in his ears through the whole song, which you didn’t want to see. DC: He came up to me afterwards and said; “I know you had some issues, but you’re a great vocalist and a very good band” so as far as the quote goes it’s a lovely quote to have but it brings back one of the worst memories of any gig in my life. You have quite a mix of styles, what bands have inspired you? JB: Probably early 70’s like Led Zeppelin then Radiohead, Nirvana, Soundgarden, the early 90’s grunge scene.
DC: My early tastes were Nirvana, Foo Fighters but then got into the 80’s metal scene like Maiden, Dio and WASP. Then when I joined the band JB introduced me into Zeppelin, Sabbath and kinda ended up where we are now. DF: Zeppelin, The Who, anything that my parents were playing DC: DALTREY!! DF: Sorry Dan (laughs). What processes did you go through to create your album, ‘Echoes From The Wilderness’? JB: Sleep deprivation, alcohol, no! An extensive period of working through songs for months. DC: We spent hours over 1 bpm in songs. JB: At least 4 months of intensely working on the timings. So did the studio change any of your timings when you got there? JB: No we had it all mapped out and they were good in that respect. DC: They did want to layer loads of backing vocals but we fought against it. They did come up with some good ideas though. JB: We were there for nearly 4 weeks and Russ went in and did the drum parts in one day, that’s how tight he had got. Any advice for other bands looking to create an album? Most seem to end up with EPs.
internationally with a UK and European tour hopefully Sep/Oct. There are also new songs in the pipeline and there are some monsters waiting to be played live. DC: We will be playing more Brighton dates this year including The Great Escape and The Hope on the 7 May for the TGE warm up party which is free entry. If there was one thing you could change JB: Try and put diversity into it. It’s not that in the world in 2014, what would it be? difficult to write one decent track but then you don’t want to hear the same thing over DC: Change the f**king music scene, it’s and over again; you kinda got to try and toss. Music being produced to make the keep the listeners’ interest throughout the labels money like X Factor crap. process. JB: The rock scene has become ‘Play DC: Don’t be scared to go from an over the it safe’ type stuff. The only rock being top electric song to an acoustic track. promoted is quite JB: Don’t be frightened generic. to slow it down a bit, “Change the f**king music DC: This country has got you wanna be getting as scene, it’s toss. Music being some of the best rock many emotions, moods produced to make the labels bands in history but and lyrical contrasts money like X Factor crap.” what does it amount to shades and colours. It’s nowadays? not all about the energy DF: The whole Rock scene has wound in the same sense as the live performance. into an Indie scene; there are no real rock DC: With the EP question it’s down to them bands emerging because the potential rock not having enough material and maybe the bands are playing safe and being put in the ease factor of putting it out. Indie scene. JB: With an EP you don’t have to commit JB: Because the press own the bands now. as much; whether it’s 3 tracks or 6 tracks Zeppelin used to get terrible reviews from you can call it an EP but if you commit to Rolling Stone and other magazines alike, an album you are committing more tracks but they are kissing their arses now. Back and to a higher standard. then bands could do what they want then DC: And try to package it as an album. the writers were secondary; nowadays if writers don’t get behind the band they Welcome to the New Year! What’s in have no chance so the bands kiss the store for Arivmia for 2014? press’ arses. DC: I saw a Pink interview and she said she DC: Hopefully a new revamped band, new did all the pop crap to get her name out energy. there, then once she got big she did what GA: Firstly thanks to Brighton Unsigned for she wanted musically. supporting us, the band. For 2014 we have a busy year; we are making a video for the first single; ‘Stole My Fire’ from ‘Echoes’ facebook.com/arivmia and aiming for an April/May release. We will be playing The Great Escape Festival in May followed by a UK tour to support the reverbnation.com/arivmia single and then the album will be released
FICKLE FRIENDS FICKLE FRIENDS FIRST APPEARED IN BRIGHTON UNSIGNED IN ISSUE 7 AND ISSUE 13 AFTER THAT. THIS BAND HAVE WORKED TREMENDOUSLY HARD AND ARE GOING STRENGTH TO STRENGTH WITH THEIR OWN BRAND OF ‘80s NEW WAVE POP’...
Starbucks in Brighton, a place you go to if you’re looking to witness the human behaviour that occurs when a lonely singleton takes up residence on the only two sofas in the whole place. feature It’s not human at all, I can HELENA tell you that, but as Fickle WATMUFF Friends arrive and kindly apologise for their slight delay, the stares, claws and dagger looks of the now seemingly intellectual, happy people, smile at me as if to say, ‘we didn’t realize you were meeting friends, we thought you were just a bitch taking up four seats’, refocus on their beverages and leave myself and the band to begin our chat.
Starting out a local music university, BIMM, the band came together and fought through the mass of artists as they churn out to present a polished down-to-earth group. “BIMM gained us exposure, but it’s time for us to move on from that”, creating distance between the
idea that a school has taught them how the Indie disco band do what they do. Alternative pop/Nu wave genre is what 5-piece Fickle Friends would describe themselves as, taking inspiration from the likes of Friendly Fires and Passion Pit. Lucky enough to have become best buds with Jamie Oliver, whose Big Feastival competition they won back in August 2013 playing alongside Basement Jaxx and Lianne La Havas to name drop a few, the celeb chef took a shining to the band and hooked them up with some recording time and a producer in his own personal music studio. They took the same producer with them in October 2013 when they won yet
another competition to record in the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Armed with a new band van, which the engine of sadly blew up, Natty says, “It was the best day of my life, the whole experience was just incredible”, as one can imagine, and so far 2014 isn’t looking bad either. I admire these guys for exploiting the avenues open to them, and presenting the idea that there’s no standard procedure to follow when you’re trying to ‘make it’ and using platforms such as these competitions can really help. The single, ‘SWIM’, which was released on 2 January this year has had a huge amount of success already, with plays on Radio 1 and Amazing Radio to being featured on around 70 blogs and articles, topped off with 100k+ plays on Soundcloud, rolled in with being included on the ‘Killing Moon’ compilation alongside the wonderful Tall Ships and Laurel, who they also gigged with at The Barfly, Camden with recently, it hasn’t been too much of a terrible start for these guys. Catchy riffs and Natty’s point perfect vocals… it’s not an easy track to keep from your mind. Think Bombay Bicycle
Club’s ‘Lights out, Words Gone’, paired with female-fronted Haim’s ‘Falling’ and you’ve created a love song child, if that’s possible. It’s been described as an ‘infectious summer sound to lift the winter blues’ and that isn’t far from the truth with the warm tones that seep through the music to create an uplifting track. I was keen to ask the band about DIY models, being an emerging band in a turbulent music industry must be a confusing unpredictable process. “Well, Harry edited the video for ‘I Want, You Want’ and we recorded and released our first EP alone”. And even with management and press agencies in tow, FF are still keeping that DIY ethos going by recently teaming up with local promoter, SORO Live, to celebrate the release of ‘SWIM’ at The Green Door Store, Brighton. With this ethos paired with a strong buzz building for Fickle Friends and their new single, the natural progression some would say, would be an album. “We don’t see any point in an album at the moment”, “We don’t even really want to do one”. These 80’s pop revival kids prefer to build their portfolio steadily, gaining a strong fan base as they go. With festivals on the horizon such as Yorkshire’s Beacons Festival, Brighton’s famous Great Escape Festival and a possible show in Belgium, “It’s 80% confirmed”, the guys clarify, there’s going to be no shortage of excitement for Fickle Friends through the rest of 2014. facebook.com/ficklefriends soundcloud.com/ficklefriends
How did you get involved in Zooberon nights? Frankie: I met Mark quite a few years ago now, at a friends gig. We got talking and he asked me what could he do to make his night the best night for the acts and the punters. Apparently, having had a few, I then went on to tell him a list of things that we as artists would appreciate from promoters. He tells me I inspired him to put on such great nights from that conversation we had years ago. Zooberon nights are always amazing fun and we feel very looked after as a band for the whole evening. They never fail to bring in a good crowd :) We are hearing rumours of a Crowd Funding campaign in 2014, can you tell us more about it?
How did you guys meet and get together to form Unsung Lilly? Sera: Myself and the boys had been playing together for years doing all sorts of stuff, playing as a backing band for other artistes, playing cover songs at events etc, doing whatever we could to make a living really. We had a great chemistry, and decided to start writing our own music and form Unsung Lilly. We’d known Frankie for a while and followed her music (she had some great solo stuff) and so we couldn’t think of a better person to join us. I remember that first time myself and Frankie sat down to write, it was just so easy... within the
first session we’d come out with ‘Time Changes Minds’, and when we took it to the boys I think we all just relaxed and thought, ‘Yep, this is it’. You’ve played some prestigious gigs and venues, which has been your favourite? Russ: We’ve been lucky enough to play at some amazing venues. Some of the more intimate gigs we’ve done have been really special. For example a gig we did to celebrate the release of our EP at The Bedford in Balham (London) was amazing. It’s an almost Shakespearian theatre, with everyone hanging over the
Sera: Yes! It’s so exciting! Our song ‘Just Be’ caused quite a stir last year we got loads of messages from people saying how much it inspired them… it’s all about overcoming the pressures from the media and society about the way we should look and be. So we’ve decided to travel around the USA (as that’s where the majority of our messages came from) and give our ‘Just Be’ songwriting workshops in schools, community centres, corporations etc. Basically we’ll be sharing ideas and experiences between us and the participants about how we’ve all felt at some point like we can’t just be ourselves (whether it’s because of body image, social background, interests, race, sexual preference etc), and then
we will come together as one large group and write a song about it! Music is a proven to be very empowering and we just thought this is a great way to inspire people and take our ‘Just Be’ message to the next level! We’re trying to fund it via a Crowd Funding campaign so please do check out www.justbecampaign.com for more details and help us by donating money and sharing the details with your friends! We’re also hoping to do this in the UK too.
UNSUNG LILLY WAS BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION BY MARK FROM ZOOBERON EVENTS. HAILING FROM SURREY, WE REALLY HAD TO GET THIS BAND A FEATURE AND BRING THEIR FANTASTIC SOUL AND POP INFLUENCED MUSIC TO BRIGHTON...
balcony and sitting right up close. The Belfast Pride Festival has also been a great gig for us: 25,000 people all out in the sun having a great time and bringing the issue of gay rights to the fore.
Which current bands do you consider influences?
Allan: As musicians we try to be influenced by absolutely everything, whether that’s old soul and Motown records, Jazz, Rock, Blues, R&B or the latest pop hits. What advice would you give new bands about getting gigs outside their home area?
Wayne: The great thing about the world we live in right now is that bands can promote themselves in any area they wish to, via the Internet, so my advice is to start building up a following in other areas, connect with other bands who are similar to you and perhaps try to support them in their home town, in exchange for them supporting you in your home town. That’s a great way of starting out and I think we’ve found, all it takes is getting one ‘super fan’ who sees you, and they tell all their mates, and the next time you come back you have your own audience to play to.
Pirate Video Company is being talked about as one of the most exciting post hardcore bands in the Brighton music scene at the moment and after listening to them for the first time it’s easy to see why.
PIRATE VIDEO COMPANY
to Pirate Video Company and they have shown them what the alternative scene in Brighton is like and what a band like them can do in the Brighton.
If you had to pin point the band’s sound it would probably fall under the post-hardcore genre; the songs are very guitar driven and combine with the heavy screamed vocals creating a very aggressive but engaging sound. Although the songs are heavy they’re The four-piece band comes from a humble indie-inspired background, still very melodic, with the bass working as a second rhythm allowing the lead to taking first influences from bands such as The Cribs and The Rakes, provide catchy and punk inspired lead-ins. The use of two vocalists however as they progressed and their own music tastes allows the band to scream at two different ranges as well as providing developed they found themselves inspired by more “..one of the most feature sung vocals to add a nice aural juxtaposition to the songs that not a lot heavy acts such as GlassJaw, The Blood Brothers exciting post-hardcore GEORGE and At The Drive In, although they do keep the indie bands performing in the of bands do nowadays. The bands latest single ‘Sustaining’ is gaining METCALF a lot of plays on YouTube, and blends post-hardcore nicely with a more influences close to their hearts. Brighton scene..” modern sound. The ‘S/T E.P’, which is on their Sound-Cloud, shows their progression to where they are today, the EP still in keeping with the alternative According to the band there isn’t much a of a scene in Jersey; the regular punk scene heavy sound but it is slightly less polished as it is today and a bit more punk than that existed when they were younger has gone and although there are some great post-hardcore. Their older songs sound very much like older Deaf Havana, with the bands such as Whitechapel Murders and Electric Brick the only decent music venue use of sung vocals and screamed vocals, pounding drums and the mix of melodic and closed at the end of January. heavy guitar. Their live shows are nothing short of chaotic, but in a very good way, very energetic and very loud, but again in a very good way. This led the band to relocate to the more musically diverse city of Brighton three years ago, and since then they have gathered a cult following and got everyone talking. The As well as performing all over the UK on their own merit, they have also supported big band feel they don’t fit in with one scene in particular and like to keep themselves quite bands such as DZ Deathrays – they even got to watch a secret show performed by the open to who they play and the kind of crowd they associate themselves with and there band! Pirate Video Company has also teamed up with fellow Jersey boys Top Buzzer, was no better place to do that than Brighton. Brighton has a fantastic alternative scene to support Baddies on their last tour. The band also played at Glastonbury Festival in that the band themselves are fans of and familiar with, bands such as Gnarwolves, 2011 on the BBC Introductory Stage Hot Glass and The Ghost Of A Thousand (RIP) have been somewhat of an inspiration
Photo: Paul Watson
It seems the move to Brighton three years ago was a very wise decision from the fourpiece, from humble indie beginnings, treading water in a punk scene where not much was happening to moving to one of the most musically diverse cities in the country. Pirate Video Company has joined the renowned Brighton alternative scene, quickly fitting in and starting making waves. They’ve got many impressive accomplishments and are very capable of adding more to their list. Their new album is set to come out this year and is likely to take the alternative scene by storm and help cement the band as one of the most exciting posthardcore bands performing in the facebook.com/piratevideocompany Brighton scene and indeed the British scene today. piratevidecompany.bandcamp.com
IMAGES FROM OUR RE-LAUNCH GIG ON JANUARY 25TH 2014 FEATURING THE MONROE, FRESH LIKE DEXIE, KITTEN AND THE HIP AND THE MEOW MEOWS CHECK OUT MORE GIGS FROM BRIGHTON UNSIGNED AT WWW.BRIGHTONUNSIGNED.CO.UK/TOUR “When I arrived the place was packed, a steam room of 120 hot bodies, and no clear way to the bar, but the atmosphere was incredible. A gentle buzz of rapt excitement. Plus I counted the amount of hats in the room, and it was under 25, so I was pretty happy.” - Joseph Bunn Read the full gig review at Albatross Audio Images courtesy of Will J Photography
BOEUF À LA MODE! WIN 30 MINUTES ON STAGE IN NORTHERN FRANCE’S HIPPEST INDEPENDENT FESTIVAL...
Would you and your band like to play in front of thousands of French rockers in northern France’s hippest independent festival? Rock en Stock is looking for a group of “Roast Beefs” to play at this year’s festival and it could be you and your friends. We are running an entry competition in Brighton this spring and the winner on the night will receive €500 travel expenses, accommodation and a 30-45 minute slot on our main stage at the Rock en Stock Festival in July. We are running the competition in partnership with Brighton Unsigned Magazine at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar on the 6 April. Check back with Brighton Unsigned or our Facebook page for more details. Music styles from Indie to Metal and everything in-between will be considered, so SEND YOUR DEMO in today to: email@example.com
FIND OUT MORE www.rockenstock.org fb.com/rockenstockuk
OPEN EVENING for courses starting Sept 2014
Weds 2nd April 5-7pm BOOK NOW!
www.accesstomusic.ac.uk 0800 28 18 42 (landlines) 0330 123 3153 (mobiles) Free tuition for 16-18s No GCSE entry requirements Full UCAS points at Level 3 Also book for FREE Beatmaking and Vocal workshops on Thursday 17th April Enterprise Point, Melbourne St BRIGHTON, BN2 3LH
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Published on Mar 2, 2014
Published on Mar 2, 2014
Brighton Unsigned covers all unsigned bands and artists around Brighton and beyond delivering the best of music talent you possibly never kn...