IN ASSOCIATION WITH
ISSUE 20 • MAY 2014
FREE • NOT FOR PROFIT
COVERING THE BEST UNSIGNED MUSIC AROUND SUSSEX AND BEYOND
GUY LLOYD’S BLOG www.guylloyd.co.uk facebook.com/juicedrive Me: “I might be doing some telly next year.” Wife: “What are you going to do about your face and your teeth?” Me: “Erm…….” This was an actual conversation, word for word I had with my wife, approximately one year ago. I’d love to fluff it up a bit, make it appear a little softer, a little less harsh but my wife’s from the North and doesn’t do ‘fluff’. After the initial excitement of moving into TV, my wife had brought me back down to earth, not so much with a bump but a couple of fractured ribs. What it also brought into the spotlight was my own vanity. My colleagues at the radio station will tell you that I spend more time on my hair and shopping at Fred Perry than I do on preparation for the show. But I can still have those ‘dress down’ days, where the shirt may be hanging out, my stubble is pushing to be recognised as a beard and my hair lost in a fight to Brighton seafront. But it’s OK. I’m on the radio. You wouldn’t believe what you can get away with, when people can’t see you. Anyway, after my wife’s encouraging pep talk on my future career, I decided I would have to live with the face but I could do something about my teeth. The tooth comment, my wife so delicately pointed out, was a single bottom tooth that was a little on the shy side and preferred the other teeth to take the limelight, as it sat in the background, contemplating what could
have been. In short, I needed my teeth straightening. I discussed the issue with my dentist. After much thought, I decided that I couldn’t really commit to a brace for three to six months and not being able to eat nuts and apples for that duration (I’m a veggie, what else was I going to eat?). It also seemed like a lot of pain and hassle for a bit of TV vanity. I went back to talk about it with my agent (wife) and she persuaded me to go ahead with the work, as it was free and she wanted her husband to look less like Shane McGowen. And so I went back. I was committed. I wore a brace for three months (broken several times, as I continued with my chronic nut habit) and I now have straightened madefor-TV teeth. But that’s not it. You have to have a ‘retainer’ in the back of your teeth, to keep the little blighters in line for the rest of your life. Way beyond any prospective TV career, unless you’re Bruce Forsyth, in which case, I’ve made a good investment. The treatment was also free, on the understanding I go on to be a massive TV star who smiles a lot, like Dale Winton (without the orange thing going on). Now I’m not one of these people that endorse things to get them for free but thanks to Dental Health Spa, 14-15 Queens Road, Brighton, for teeth that say, ‘I’m ready for the telly.’ Anyone out there do Botox?
As a professional PR in the music business I lead my learners through the pitfalls of publicising themselves to their relevant market, knowledge which they use whilst developing their careers.
Corrina Taylor started writing songs when she was 13. She had considerable moral support from family and school. She continued to follow her dreams by going to study drama at university and other courses as well as working with London producers. She arrived at Access To Music in Brighton last year on the AD4 course, where she is fully focused and more passionate than ever about her music. Corrina was eager to learn how to draw media attention to her debut single due to be launched on 14th February. She went all out putting together a great press release and, having put together a massive contact list, sent it out with copies of the single and also loaded it up to BBC Introducing. There it was referred to BBC UK-wide network evening show presenter Mark Forrest. He liked it so much he’s played it several times. Interviews in the UK press and other radio shows followed and are ongoing.
MORE ATM STUDENTS MAKING WAVES Former ATM students Box of Light are fronted by Youtube sensation Helen Melon, who has over 500,000 social media followers. The band released their debut single last year, they were finalists for MTV Unsigned 2014, have played Green Man Fest, Latitude, Secret Garden Party and Folk East as well as a sell out show at The Borderline. Beth McCarthy is a Yorkbased singer-songwriter who has been gigging with her acoustic guitar since mid 2010, her style has been described as acoustic pop with a slight ‘country-esque twang’. Beth is now reaching a wider audience after her two tours of England, and following the successful release of her debut EP ‘Northern Light’ in the summer of 2013. Beth recently took part in the third series of ‘The Voice UK’ and made it to the final 6 for the team mentored by Kaiser Chief’s frontman Ricky Wilson. Beth plans to book a UK tour for summer 2014 and hopes to release her debut album by December 2014. Both Beth and BoL are appearing as special guests at the Access To Music Brighton Great Escape gig at The Tube (169-170 Kings Road Arches) on 8th May, 12-3. Entry is free. Words: Kairen Kemp
Editor: Steven Probets Founder: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
GUY LLOYD’S BLOG
ACID BOX FEATURE
ACCESS TO MUSIC
FEATURE - KALAKUTA MILLIONAIRES
BAND UPDATE - MOK
Front Cover Photography: Will Jessel
Website: Jak Kimsey Website Development: Ash-Hill Smith Writers: Alex Fraser Harrison Davis Carmen José Kaye Sarah Inglis Helena Watmuff Jacqueline Mitrovic Garry Alexander Proofreader: Alex Clouter
MOK, BRIGHTON HOTTEST ‘RAP NEW WAVE’ BAND, WERE OUR COVER FEATURE IN JULY 2013. WE CAUGHT UP WITH THEM TO SEE WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING AND WHAT’S GOING ON FOR THE BAND IN 2014... So since being on our cover last year in August, what highlight gigs have you played since? We had some great gigs for freshers in Brighton and Southampton supporting Mister Jam, Sub Focus, oh and Lovable Rogues (but we don’t think we’ll be sharing a dressing room with them again anytime soon....) We reviewed your new track ʻSlow Motionʼ in January. How did the track go down with your fans? People liked it; it’s a bit more chilled out than other MOK tracks; we released it as a little teaser until we ﬁnally release our next two singles. We also released another teaser called ‘Massage Baby’ that you should deﬁnitely check out. We have heard you are making a new video. Can you expand? We have two new videos for your eyes and ears soon. The ﬁrst is for our single ‘Rule the world’ that comes out on 31 May. We are working with Kenny McCracken again – he produced and directed our last video ‘Hey’.
And our second is called ‘Always Island’, which we have been working along side Holly Ann Croucher (Bezzann Productions); we cannot WAIT for y’all to see them. How did you feel when Radio 1 played one of your tracks? That’s quite an achievement. Yeah it was great; it was actually a remix of our last single ‘Ruﬁo’ by Klax and Holotype. You can ﬁnd it on YouTube. We’re looking forward to getting some more plays. You have been writing new material – how is that going? What musical direction would you say the band is taking? Bigger, badder and braver! We’ve never been more focused. What are your major inﬂuences for creative writing with the new material? Well, we all live together, so it’s a combination of all of the music we hear and shit, we ﬁnd amusing or interesting. Church! Any arguments in the process of writing? Yes, all the time! Joe has been missing for
facebook.com/mok.uk twitter.com/mok_uk three weeks in a progressive space electro voyage, whilst Dex is permanently stuck in E7 12 Bar. It’s very hard to get anything done. There’s a massive gig at the end of the month for you guys at The Haunt. Are you as excited as much as we are? Care to give us more details? Yes, it is going to be amazing! It’s on Saturday 31 May. We have a set of brand new songs and great support from Don Komodo, Fuses and ARC, plus some talented up and coming DJs called Assistants. Get yourselves in early! We have a promo deal on the night: the ﬁrst one hundred through the door between 7-8pm will be receiving a free EP pack from MOK and most of the other bands. Is there anything else in the pipeline for the rest of the year? Our singles ‘Rule The World’ and ‘Always Island’ will be coming out with videos around May/June so keep following us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date. We’re also playing the Alt Great Escape Festival, Camden Crawl and some other great gigs this year.
Having just dropped their debut EP ‘Catalysts’, Brighton-based metalcore 5-piece Preserver are set to blow up in 2014 with their unique blend of elegance and brutality. Since forming in June of 2011, Ryan Peters, Dom Cleary, Christy Burns, Frank Pleece and Charlie Stubbs have been hard at work perfecting their music, and with one of the cleanest, most fine tuned sounds I’ve ever heard from an unsigned band, it really shows. The band’s influences include most of the usual suspects: Parkway Drive, Architects, The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red, but what really blows me away with this band is not just the music itself, but the quality. The blasting of the kick, the crispness of the snare, the faultless guitar and the unbelievable vocals make this band sound bigger than they really are. In these recordings, they aren’t an unsigned band from Brighton, they are metalcore heavyweights with years of experience behind them.
The EP’s opening track ‘Crown of Thorns’ shows you the band’s full potential by introducing you to their killer riffs and bone shattering breakdowns early on. The chorus brings into it the band’s most prominent feature: contrast. The fierce growls are replaced with sweeping vocals, and the crushing guitars are eclipsed by an elegant lead. ‘Fractured Skies’, the EP’s penultimate number, pushes the extremes of the contrast even further by introducing an almost heavenly breakdown midsong. This track focuses more on the band’s lighter side while still maintaining the devastating styles that precede it. The final track and my own personal favourite: ‘The Enemy’ is a hardcore blast the whole way through. With an arse-kicking riff and a breakdown that could make your man-boobs concave, this is their way of making sure you remember their name. And just as the dust is settling, the fist-pumping, revolution-starting gang vocals are there to take you home.
REVIEW COURTESY OF ALBATROSS AUDIO VISIT WWW.ALBATROSSAUDIO.CO.UK FOR MORE AWESOME REVIEWS, FEATURES AND PLAYLISTS!
I have become interested in this precarious relationship, and so decided to have a chat with Polly Miles from Acid Box Promotions, a less-than-year-old promotions company based in Brighton and Eastbourne. I was keen to know what this new team had to offer after seeing so many promoters begin, turn disheartened and quit after three shows, and I must say I was refreshingly surprised. Miss Miles appeared an incredibly resourceful individual, tackling the competition in Brighton such as Soundscape, and spreading their wings in Eastbourne, to ground themselves in a slow moving but viable place. Described as God’s Waiting Room and a one genre town, Acid Box have been pushing new sounds into local venues such as Blue Bar and Buskers Bar,
ACID BOX FEATURE
Bands find gigs, play gigs, get a review, get better and do more gigs and so on. But when you hear of bands that have risen up from their local towns, which is all bands, unless you were a sob story or commercial bag of balls thrown onto national television screens, and then celebrated as a major superstar for the entirety of the Christmas period, then no, you didn’t and I feel bad for people from your town, who do take the time to seek out talent and support them through stages in their growth (sorry). I’m talking about a breed called promoters. Bands get bigger, and move on to bigger promoters and bigger venues, and I’m not implying feature the journey is quick; it’s usually a long hard process but the journey to HELENA WATMUFF becoming a successful promoter, considering it’s something anyone can decide to try their hand at, is harder. With the takeover of viral marketing vs. traditional, it’s difficult to keep secrets on the ‘how to’ of the promoter world hushed, and being in Brighton where there is at least three gigs every night of the week, convincing audiences to come to yours, never mind paying, has become somewhat of an creative game. Yes, the live music industry has been on the rise, but I’m not talking about putting on Arctic Monkey at the Prince Albert, of course you’d make money, if they agreed to play for 50 quid of course. I’m talking about local bands, the ones desperately seeking out that breed we mentioned earlier to try and convince them that their band is the one who should be on the bill.
hosting a regular night each month at both featuring DJs and live bands. “We’ve brought a different kind of genre there, and I think people will soon realise, oh, there is something going on here.” Acid Box lean towards psychedelic garage music, an underground sound that is slowly becoming appealing across pockets of the country. When promotions companies are popping up everywhere in Brighton, it’s clever of this team to begin the foundations for a new scene in a town that hasn’t witnessed it yet, thus get themselves at the front of the musical exchange and making it happen. They concentrate effort on promoting directly to fans through networking and human contact, alongside an online presence, a refreshing objective in an internet dominant world.
The foundations for Acid Box began with an internship at One Inch Badge, a string of first time successful shows for a college project and creating the Eastbourne Gig Guide. Since then Teen Creeps and Late Night Lingerie have been strong supports in the birth of Acid Box, and six gigs later, featuring bands such as Spit Shake Sisters on the launch night and the mental stage destroying evening that was The Black Tambourines, AB are still going strong and are content with their progress. “I just love it, once you put all that hard work in, and see everyone enjoying it.” In regards to the next few months, there are a few nights in the pipeline, but with some of the busiest times coming up in Brighton, it’s difficult to plan when you’re too distracted by everything else. Ollie, photographer for AB says, “There’s so much we want to see over April, so we’re going to take a month off, go to loads of gigs, and then do more gigs with the bands we’ve found after.” However, as with most start-up ventures, money has been a problem, for instance, not being able to pay bands but in this current industry a small level band should be happy with the exposure, and not demand a guaranteed figure. They’ll give you beer, you play a brilliant show, and from one night you’ve made fb.com/acidboxpromotions some new friends and got some new fans. It’s a give and take relationship between promoters and artists, one to be respected. acidboxpromotions.co.uk
BRIGHTON UNSIGNED HAVE BEEN CHECKING OUT THE AWESOME AFRO ORCHESTRA ‘KALAKUTA MILLIONAIRES’. FIRST SPOTTED BY US IN 2013 AT THE MEADOWLANDS FESTIVAL THEY GIVE US A INSIGHT INTO THE BAND AND THEIR MUSIC...
You guys have been together for around 5 years now, how do you find keeping so many members in a band together? The core members of KM have been playing together for years now. Touring, gigging, writing music together - all of that makes you really close. There’s a lot of commitment and time put in, and we have a lot of respect for each other both musically and as people, and a lot of love. I think because we come from very different places musically, there’s always unexpected and interesting musical happenings occurring - we never get bored! We also don’t take ourselves too seriously, we have a real laugh. I know it sounds cliched but we really are like a big family! Brighton Unsigned saw you at Meadowlands Festival in 2013 - how does playing festivals compare with town venues?
There are some venues we’ve played at, which have a real festival atmosphere but I suppose mostly the difference is that at festivals, people are already in real party mode and warmed up and it can go off big time! You get to meet some amazing bands backstage at festivals too - watching Radiohead from backstage at Glastonbury was pretty spectacular, and playing at Latitude Festival in between Ska Cubano and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble was an amazing experience too... In your opinion how has New World music - Afro, reggae, latin etc - been received in Western countries? When do you think the explosion came about and why?
We’ve recently written a song about this, actually, called ‘Changanya’. I think in Britain we’re blessed with a very modern and open concept of culture. We blend funk, jazz, soul, reggae, Latin and African styles in our music, and we’ve had a really positive reception to our music. I’m sure the internet has a lot to do with it - we can all listen to so many different styles of music these days. It also reflects the huge mix of cultures we have in the UK. In KM, we have members with ancestry in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Malaysia, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, and also Jewish ancestry, as well as English. For centuries there’s been migrations of people coming to this island and having travelled around the world we’ve realised we’re so lucky here to be able to tap into so many different artforms and cultural fusions here. So sometimes you can come across some negative attitudes about tradition and the accusation of ‘stealing’ of culture. To KM, that totally goes against the idea of creativity, and also against the concept of Afrobeat, which Fela Kuti created from a fusion of funk, jazz, salsa and calypso with juju, highlife and African percussive patterns, having been inspired by his time in the UK, Ghana and the US. We also have a very enlightened attitude to equality in the UK - for example, in some countries it’s forbidden for women or gay people to play certain types of music! Our percussionist Congalita, said: “As a female percussionist, I’ve had black Cuban men coming up to me and properly laying into me because I’m a white woman and I’m stealing their culture. That’s like saying they shouldn’t play drum’n’bass in Brazil! On the other hand, I’ve had lots of support from other members of the musical community who question these attitudes. I’ve played percussion for twenty years and I’ve studied with master musicians in Africa, Brazil and Cuba, and people are always surprised when they see a woman who can actually play - I suppose it’s a bit of a novelty! I have total respect for those cultures but I don’t want to be held back by a fixed notion of tradition: I believe that’s contrary to the idea of creativity, and all of those cultures are from oral traditions which have changed over time, anyway! I’ve taken all the different styles I’ve studied and draw on them like a language - it’s like a massive vocabulary. I invent my own rhythms all of the time, and I take them as an inspiration for composing a lot of the tunes I write for KM.”
L SE ES
PH OT OG How’d did you come up with the name Kalakuta Millionaires? RP AH Y: W The word kalakuta translates as ‘rascally’ in vocalist Siggi’s mother tongue of Swahili. It is also a nod to Fela Kuti’s compound ILL in Nigeria - he took the name kalakuta from some East Africans he was in prison with and named it the Kalakuta Republic, J where the ethos was very much anti-establishment – as was the attitude towards music-making. And we’re a huge band, there’s millions of us, but we’re definitely not millionaires, not with the way we get paid! So the name Kalakuta Millionaires literally means ‘rascally rich’. You can interpret this as a political statement, this idea of the West having being built on the money from colonialism, and more recently, all the corrupt bankers. We also liked that it challenged the idea of cultural appropriation: we have a wealth of different styles and influences we draw on, and being creative and mischievous in our approach, we’re renegade rascals breaking the musical ‘rules’. I suppose that’s the British punk ethic coming out in us!
M R.CO MBL Y.TU APH GR TO HO JP
Your music has a wide range of influences, what are the most inspirational bands/artists that influence your writing?
People often try to pigeon-hole our music into Afrobeat but we are so much more than that. We put less emphasis on the style or genre we’re a part of and more on the people creating it, and what inspires us. There’s quite a punky edge to our attitude towards ‘traditions’ in music which makes us distinctively British I suppose. The musicians in the band have a really varied background in jazz, funk, soul, African and Latin music (as well as some secret ex-metallers in there!) and we have a very open-minded approach, which means we can end up creating very unexpected musical combinations: different soloists can throw in musical curve balls which can warp a particular track from ragga-style toasting to guitar shredding! We’re inspired by musical giants such as Fela Kuti, James Brown, Ernest Ranglin, Oscar Sulley and Orlando ‘Cachaito’ Lopez, as well as hidden gems such as The Lijadu Sisters and ESG. Our Tanzanian/ Kenyan vocalist Siggi has generated her own unique lyrical style, giving a fresh funk-soul twist to the traditional Latino/ African aesthetic. A heavy underbelly of rhythm and bass underpins a horn section blistering with soul, whilst jazz-drenched guitar riffs merge seamlessly into highlife, reggae and funk. The percussion section is mostly African and Latin-influenced but slips into reggae skanks and jazzy soundscapes. You’ve had a few gigs around Brighton, what other places have you played and how do you feel the audience varies city to city?
One of the lovely things about Brighton is that all of the like-minded artists come together, and there’s a really big creative community, so it’s a bit easier to connect with other musicians in Brighton than other bigger cities, and we all support each other and go to each others’ gigs. There’s a real party atmosphere here too and people really know how to have fun. What we’ve found though is when we’re gigging in places like Ipswich or Oxford there’s a smaller community of more die-hard fans so you feel like a really big fish visiting those places! We’ve had some wicked gigs in London at venues like Hootananny - the Brixton crowd definitely knows how to party hard! We’re heading over to Bristol and Hay-on-Wye next week so we’ll report back to you about what’s going down in the West. Best festival moments? We’ve been lucky enough to play at some brilliant festivals, headlining stages at Glastonbury, Latitude, and Secret Garden Party etc. Congalita’s favourite moment was crowd-surfing an audience of 3000 people at the end of our set headlining the Playgroup festival that was definitely one ticked off the bucket list!
We had such a great time making our first album. We recorded the whole thing over Easter in just three days with engineer Mark Crawford, who is so chilled and lovely he just made the whole experience so enjoyable. Rather than layering it up by overdubbing, we recorded it with all of us in the same room, and with all of the solos done live. This gave the tracks a really live, vibey, dynamic edge. Our debut album is out on global release via the Big Chill Label, who bring a lot of kudos via the legacy of the Big Chill Festival. The album has been really well received in the UK, and recently came number one in the World Music Network charts. We’ve got distributors in the US and Europe too and we’ve had lots of advance sales from France and Italy, so I guess our kind of music is popular there! We’ve got some French and Italian agents interested so hopefully be doing more gigs over there in the future. We’ve had some fantastic remixes from a number of producers: one of our heroes, Manchesterbased producer Diesler, who has previously worked with Hot 8 Brass Band, has done a brilliantly funky house remix of ‘Feel Free’, and there’s been a re-edit of our track ‘Ye Ye Minyoro’ by legendary producer Nick Faber, who has worked with top stars like Ice T and remixed for Kylie Minogue, the Sugababes and Badly Drawn Boy. What kind of messages do you like to convey through your music? Whilst we don’t take ourselves too seriously, KM touches on issues that are not covered by most bands, such as homophobia and more culturally specific subjects like female genital mutilation. A lot of the tracks are written by the female members of the band, which can give a different perspective to the music, that is particularly reflected in some of the songs in our forthcoming album, for example, the track ‘Yansan’, which is written about the fate of women and children in Charles Taylor’s Liberia. Our debut album includes a song called ‘Feel Free’, which is described by Congalita, who wrote it, as “the concept of people walking around life and feeling like they’re limiting themselves in their minds. You know, ‘Oh, I can’t do this because I haven’t got enough money, or I can’t do this because I haven’t got the qualifications’. Even in terms of writing music, you kind of feel like you need a music degree to be able to write music, which I don’t have. It’s about that concept of actually allowing yourself to be that free and to do whatever you want to do, to feel open to the world I suppose.”
On your debut album what track meant the most on a personal level and why? The track ‘Kubadili’ was written by our percussionist Congalita: she woke
IMAGES © JOLYON HOLROYD
What kind of processes do you go through to create your first album? How was it received?
up one Sunday morning with it already written in her head, so she ran downstairs and tapped it out on the Casio! This track means the most to us though because the lyrics were written by our singer Siggi’s daughter Tulia when she was only 8 years old. She was in the rehearsal studio with us and she started singing along down the microphone, improvising some lyrics, and we like them so much we translated some of them into Swahili and incorporated it into the song. The word ‘kubadili’ means ‘you can change’. This is particularly poignant as our singer Siggi is a single mum and making a living as a musician is a tricky thing to do at the best of times, particularly if you are juggling childcare. Despite the challenges, music is totally her soul food, and Siggi wouldn’t ever consider not playing music: surrounding her daughter with strong, creative female role-models is really important to her. You have a new album out this year. How’s that going? What kind of direction is the album taking? We’re super excited to be working on our second album this year in collaboration with renowned producer Nick Faber, who started out at Beatles-producer George Martin’s AIR Recording Studios and has since worked with Ice T, Kylie Minogue, Betty Boo, The Cuban Brothers, Emiliana Torrini, John Turrell, and Longy. He’s a brilliantly passionate person and we can’t wait to get into the studio with him. Our writing has taken on a new lease of life and we’ve been writing nonstop recently. Our latest tracks incorporate such a dynamic range of genres, from hip-hop to highlife, jazz, funk, soul and Afrobeat. We seem to have a signature thing going on of adding in crazy offbeat breaks and weird time signatures, which can have a funny effect on the dancers in the audience! We try to spend a lot of time gigging out new tunes before we go into the studio, it means you can really craft the tune before committing it to vinyl or CD. What else can we expect from Kalakuta Millionaires in 2014? We’ve got some really fun gigs booked in for this year, mostly at festivals and venues, both performing and leading music workshops. We’re just about to head off for a little tour of the West Country and will be heading up North later in the year for some dates up there. Max Mezzowave, another artist on the Big Chill Label who works with Angie Brown and Alison David, is currently working on a remix of our Afrofunk track ‘Kubadili’. Kalakuta Millionaires are also performing at the Kemptown Carnival on the 7th June. See you there!
DESCRIBING THEMSELVES AS STEMMING FROM A VARIETY OF MUSICAL BACKGROUNDS, DEAD MAN’S HAND ARE A CULMINATION OF SOUNDS INSPIRED FROM THE SEVERE TO THE MELANCHOLY. GA: Ste? STE: Yea, it’s northern for Steve. GA: Who’s ‘Caravan’ (Facebook profile)? STE: My surname’s Gallivan. ALEXANDER LEX: There’s a song that goes round at festivals when everyone’s lubricated: ‘Steven Gallivan lives in a caravan…’ interview GARRY
GA: How did the band begin?
Callum (guitar), Geddy (bass), Todd (drums), Lex (vox/guitar) Ste (vox/guitar)
STE: Callum and I grew up in Southport and started a band when we were 15. Then we moved to Leeds and started a band called ‘These Five Walls’. LEX: I jammed with Ste and Callum who I met through friends at Uni. I moved down to Brighton then Ste moved down to start a band with Callum and me that led to us to look for a drummer and bassist and Geddy was working in Weatherspoon’s at the time. I was buying a pint and realised he played bass so asked if he fancied a jam and did he know any drummers. GED: I said ‘Yea, I live with one’. LEX: We had a jam and straightaway we knew it was good. GA: How did you decide on the name Dead Man’s Hand? LEX: The story behind it is that a guy called ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was shot whilst playing poker and had a black AA88 plus another card which became known as the dead man’s hand. GA: What’s your writing strategy?
LEX: Ste has his own style for writing songs; I always start with the riff. Sometimes I’m walking home blind drunk and I will hum a melody in my phone and listen to it the next day; sometimes I delete it straight away, other times I take it to rehearsal and we play it over and over and somebody will add their bits. STE: The first few songs came pretty quick; ‘Freight Train’, ‘8 Years’, and ‘Like the Rest of Us’. GA: And Egg’s? STE: Yea, we changed the name to ‘The Rest Of Us’. TODD: I think there should be a petition on that, at gigs people always shout out ‘Play Egg’s!’. GA: The lyric ‘get rich quick schemes worked for a bit, now they’re all gone’… was it aimed at anybody? STE: No, it’s actually about being with an ex for a long time and regretting it. LEX: Seeing all your mates playing around and being a bit jealous. GA: So how do you like your eggs? (Laughing) STE: Fried, CAL: Scrambled, GED: Fried, TODD: Fried, LEX: Poached. GA: How do you find the Brighton music scene? LEX: Wicked, for such a small town there’s about 40% of venues that have live music. Good venues have great sounds. We found it easy getting our first few gigs. We’ve been quite blessed which is testament to the Brighton scene. You’re not playing the same venues every time.
We want to play C2 and The Haunt but we’ve only been going for six months so we are working hard to promote ourselves to be able to get a slot with a bigger band. GA: If you could have played in any era, what would it be and what band would you liked to have played with?
GARRY ALEXANDER (GA) MEETS UP WITH DEAD MAN’S HAND. A NEWLY FORMED ‘ROCK AND/OR ROLL’ BAND BY FORMER LEAD SINGER OF BAT COUNTRY.
STE: Early mid 90s, probably Britpop, with early Radiohead. CAL: 90s grunge, the mid 90s Smashing Pumpkins or QOTSA. LEX: Black Keys, I’d support them, I’d let them have us as support. (laughs) TODD: I’d like to have played in the time of The Who where you just got up there and played! I met Justin Hayward from Moody Blues and he said they would just go out and fuck everything up but they still make a name for themselves like Keith Moon and John Bonham. GA: What have you got to offer that other bands haven’t got live?
TODD: Three guitarists but we’re not Iron Maiden. LEX: The problem with trying to put three guitars in a band that’s what we’ve got. (laughs) CAL: I think having two lead singers – Ste and Lex – who have different styles that actually blend well; they naturally harmonise which is quite a touch. ALL: ‘TOUCH!’ (laughs) STE: We have catchy songs that are not easy, they are technically proficient. LEX: There are bands that play stuff that’s really clever and hard to play but doesn’t actually sound good. STE: You said it best, having something that doesn’t sound complicated. fb.com/deadmanshandbanduk
Like a snake in the grass, Vyypers first crept up on me unexpectedly at the now extinct Ouch! Bar about two years ago. Although I had not heard their name mentioned on the live circuit and had not come to review the establishment to watch HARRISON live music, in particular this DAVIES young band. The name intrigued me so much that I ordered another round and stayed and just as unexpectedly as they had crept up on me, I had found myself bitten. That’s exactly what Vyypers do. They slither harmlessly onto the stage, and then sink their venom-tipped hooks deep into the listener until they are left with no choice but to get wrapped up by them and their boyish charm.
The band consists of four locally bred scoundrels: George Metcalfe, Stone Burleston, Aaron Gough and Tarun Bhakta. They take their influence from America’s West Coast garage rock and roll bands such as The Black Lips, Thee Oh Sees and Canadian psychedelic punks, Dead Ghosts. Just like their predecessors, Vyypers’ music
HARRISON DAVIS CAUGHT UP WITH A YOUNG BAND THAT HAVE BEEN PLAYING LOCALLY AND MAKING WAVES IN THE GARAGE ROCK SCENE. PLAYING NIGHTS SUCH AS BRIGHTON UNSIGNED ALTERNATE, LATE NIGHT LINGERIE AND ACID BOX. THESE ARE CALLED VYYPERS. is tinged with venom of the same vein and is delivered with a scrappy yet well structured bite. The EP ‘She Doesn’t Put It Down’ - available on their Soundcloud - is obviously recorded in their collective bedroom or rehearsal space and the production is oozing with primal slime that nods to a clear DIY background. The drums sound like they are being played by a real life cymbal-monkey toy and the guitars refuse to stay clean. The songs themselves pay homage to any band that has made it from their garage to the stage, and sound as if Nirvana had decided to record every song on never mind the same way they recorded ‘Territorial Pissings’, brattish and full of angst, particularly the song ‘Thirsty’. This lo-fi punk attitude has caught the attention of the underground garage rock
scene in Brighton. The raw live shows and hard work they have put in means they have been billed to play with DZ Deathrays in London as well as The Great Escape Festival in May, which will sure enough earn them even greater attention and even better shows. George speaks humbly about the future ambitions for the band stating that the band “just want to keep gigging and play with bands that we like, also, it would be cool to start playing higher up on bills too.” This just goes to show that despite their inexperienced age they have mature heads on their shoulders and they are not biting off more than they can chew. It is almost two years since I unexpectedly caught their first set at Ouch! Bar and the other night I found myself catching their set supporting Dead Ghosts, where most of the ambitions George spoke about were about to realised. Playing with a band they like, check. Playing higher up on the bill, well it was 9pm and two bands had already played, so I guess that’s another thing they can check off the list. Unfortunately, they were a member down, as Stone sarcastically explained, “Tarun isn’t here tonight because he’s gone to Asia to find himself. He will be back though.” And then they proceeded to launch into the grittiest and most unrefined set of songs they have ever played, it was almost as if they were saying “we don’t need you” to their absent band mate and flicking their proverbial V’s in Asia’s general direction. Every song was laden in catchy vocal hooks and the chainsaw-like guitar sound made up for the fact there was only one of them. It was almost a proud moment to watch, seeing them play with a band they love and gaining the respect of a crowd who were predominantly there to see the headliners: a crowd whereby every member is older than Vyypers themselves.
The crowds they attract now are going to have the privilege of watching these guys grow up and into the music they are making. They will forgive them for being scrappy and inexperienced because the crowd themselves either remember being that age or are that age. They relate to fans of their niche so well, from the subject matters of which they are singing, to the clothes they are wearing. I’m not saying they are an every man’s band, because they are not. It is just really hard not to like or even love Vyypers. They are like those annoying little brothers who, even if they make too much noise sometimes or are a little messy, you would miss if they weren’t around. They have earned their place in Brighton’s musical family and they can stay until they feel the need to fly the nest.
You have been singing with Red Butler for a while now. Where did it all begin? My earliest memories of singing were as a very small child. If we had interview people visiting our house, CARMEN I would grab the chairs JOSÉ from around the dining table and line them up in a row for ‘my audience’ to watch me sing. I studied vocals straight from school and that was the real beginning of my musical journey. Constant gigging and performing is when you truly learn your art. You play, play, play, gain experience, make mistakes, work with passionate people and develop. Tell me about your inspirations. Collectively, we have many different musical tastes as a band. We are rock/blues so bands from the British blues scene like ‘King King’ have a big influence on us. Obviously, all the old blues guys like Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williams and Buddy Guy are influential plus Gary Moore was always played when I was growing up. My
You have been recording your first album with the band, how did it evolve?
number one influence would be Miss Ella Fitzgerald who is an absolute master of her craft. She used her voice like no one else. Other influences include Beth Hart, Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers, Etta James (of course) and Janis Joplin.
Paul Jones (Manfred Man frontman and harmonica player), Procal Harum and R&B legends, Dr Feelgood! One of my goals since a child is to play on the same bill as Jools Holland or to feature on his show. That would be amazing!
What has been the biggest crowd you have played for?
If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
Probably when we performed on the BT Introducing stage at Hyde Park, London, for the 2012 Olympics. The stage was right by the entrance of the event, so every person that walked in during our two sets would have seen us! Having the opportunity to play there (after only 3 months as the current line up) was a great experience. I remember reading the lyrics to the first song we wrote as a band, ‘Bringing out the Devil’, off a sheet of paper on the floor! We wrote it a couple of practices before to have original material to show and there was nowhere near enough time to remember all the lyrics!
I have definitely dabbled in other genres. When I was 21, amongst other projects, I recorded 3 dub step tracks with Bristolbased producers ‘Millions like Us’ and the single ‘Don’t let go’ was released. It was very different to anything I’d done previously. If you can master your studio recording technique as singer, it’s a great skill to have. I also recorded a pop/heavy metal album called ‘Sex the Raspberry’ with a very talented friend of mine, Mikey, all arranged and written by him. This was very much out of my comfort zone and was the first time I ‘screamed’ as a vocalist. I haven’t done it again since, but doing things out of your comfort zone is always going to make you more confident and push your boundaries to the next level.
Who would you most like to open for, as a support slot? Wow, a good question! We have had the pleasure of playing along side some pretty legendary people: The Lambretta’s,
So tell me, do you have any ‘guilty pleasures’ on your IPod?
Oh no, the IPod question? I would say I have many Guilty Pleasures, I don’t listen to much current chart music but it sways from blues like Buddy Guy/Albert King to hip hop like Big Daddy Kane/ Cypress Hill but my ‘guiltiest’ of all must be George Michael, you can’t beat a bit of ‘Careless Whisper’!
HAVING RECEIVED PLENTY OF AIRPLAY SINCE JOINING THE BAND IN 2012, IT’S CLEAR THAT JANE PEARCE FROM SOUL/ROCK BAND RED BUTLER IS A GIRL ON A MISSION. AFTER BEING CHOSEN TO PLAY AT HYDE PARK FOR THE OLYMPICS IN 2012 WITH A WELL EARNED SUPPORTING SLOT FOR DR FEELGOOD UNDER HER BELT, IT SEEMS RED BUTLER WILL BE A NAME YOU’LL BE HEARING A LOT OVER THE SUMMER.
The album has been a joy to make and answering your question makes me realise how much work has gone into it. We recorded it at Yellowfish Studios, where Rodger Daltry (The Who) and Wilko Johnson (Dr Feelgood) have been recording. We spent a good year writing and perfecting our material and my lyrics have matured and the subjects have changed from song to song. I love writing songs and I think it’s very relevant as a singer to also be able to write original lyrics. The guys will usually have the structure of a song pretty solid, then I’ll go away and see how it makes me feel and I write what comes into my head at the time. A good song should never be rushed until it’s perfect to you. One track on the album started as an intro song, instrumental, and has now developed into a explosive, driving number which is probably lyrically, one of my favourites. What is next for you and your band? We are focusing on the release of the album and all the preparation that will hopefully make us millions! fb.com/redbutlermusic www.redbutlermusic.co.uk
Front man Tom’s guitar work is impressive in itself, realising that he’s fast switching between shredding lead guitarist to charismatic front man, more often than not blending the two, is what really sets him apart as a great band leader. Of course behind every great guitarist is a rhythm section holding him up, keeping him strong. Neil on bass and Jake on drums look like they might be more at home in something a little more grungey but thank god these three decided to team up. The resulting sound is a mesh of Foo Fighters feel-good harmonic heavy rock and Jimi Page guitar greatness. Huge drums rumble along unheeded behind Tom’s vocals and the bass holds everything together beautifully (as always, the unsung hero). If you’ve not seen them live yet, check them out sharpish; if you have, lucky you!
feature ALEX FRASER
PUPPET KINGS ARE A THREE-PIECE ROCK BAND FORMED IN 2011. DRAWING INFLUENCES FROM BOTH ROCK AND METAL. ALEX FRASER TELLS US MORE...
If you’re at all involved in the live music scene in Brighton (UK) right now you’d have had to have your fingers in your ears and your eyes firmly glued shut to have missed out on seeing these guys. They seem to be playing live almost every other day, they should be known as ‘The band that keeps giving’, as they bring their unique blend of harmonic songwritery and Zeppelin-esque guitar-rock to every stage in any venue that will hold the charismatic three-piece. The passion for their music is what enthralls the gig-going fan. But that’s not all that might inspire a new found taste for the kings of puppetry.
On record they’re sharp, tight, emotionally fuelled and just as passionate about the music they’re playing. One of my favourite tracks, ‘The hope that kills in the end’ is a lolloping head-rocker. Tom’s pitch perfect vocals give the intro smoothness until the song finally tears out into the thumping rock chorus and, as if from nowhere, into a double time riff of truly filthy magnitude. ‘The gift that keeps giving’ is a less subtle beast, tearing away at 100mph from the off before being reigned back in for a poppier verse, tastefully picked pre-chorus and catchy as hell chorus. The track ends on an almost metal outro with palm muted power chord riffage moving from standard to half time. Their most recent track, titled ‘Stubborn little thing’ reminds me of a young The Vines. It has possibly the catchiest, most singalongable chorus and the “ahhh’s” on the intro/pre-chorus are beautifully reminiscent of late Brit-pop a la Oasis. It’s tricky to write critically about a band that I genuinely just want to rip my shirt off and mosh to, even when sat at a laptop in my darkened room on a rainy evening. These guys are something really special, lovable while eardrum-tearingly rocking, like Dave Grohl holding a baby Koala. As with all great bands, you have to experience fb.com/puppetkings them for yourself to truly appreciate what they can do. soundcloud.com/puppetkings As always, I’ll see you in the pit!
Oxjam is known within the charity sector as ‘plumbers without borders’ because they specialise in clean water, coordinating the provision of Water and Sanitation Hygiene when disaster strikes. You might also be surprised to hear that in 2012/13 they spent £2.3 million on helping people in the UK, working mainly with the Trussell Trust who are one of the main food bank providers. I caught up with Caroline Waters, the joint Oxjam Brighton Takeover Manager for 2014. feature
So Caroline tell us what made you sign up for Oxjam?
I’ve done lots of festival organisation, in dance and music, working internationally, but with a particular focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. I’ve recently started managing bands from Russia and have spent the past couple of years volunteering at several UK music festivals. I was a Venue Manager for Oxjam 2012 and for Oxjam 2013 I stepped in as Production Coordinator at the last minute when the person originally working in that role left. This year I thought it would be good to be involved from the start. What is Oxjam all about? As you say it is about raising money for Oxfam and has been running since 2006. From 2009 it has been in the current format where teams of people ‘takeover’ their city or town and put on a multi-venue music festival, using a similar model to The Great Escape or Camden Crawl in October. It’s about showcasing local music to local
OXJAM IS KNOWN WITHIN THE CHARITY SECTOR AS ‘PLUMBERS WITHOUT BORDERS’ BECAUSE THEY SPECIALISE IN CLEAN WATER, COORDINATING THE PROVISION OF WATER AND SANITATION HYGIENE WHEN DISASTER STRIKES. YOU MIGHT ALSO BE SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT IN 2012/13 THEY SPENT £2.3 MILLION ON HELPING PEOPLE IN THE UK, WORKING MAINLY WITH THE TRUSSELL TRUST WHO ARE ONE OF THE MAIN FOOD BANK PROVIDERS. BRIGHTON UNSIGNED CAUGHT UP WITH CAROLINE WATERS, THE JOINT OXJAM BRIGHTON TAKEOVER MANAGER FOR 2014.
people, focusing on unsigned artists, to make a global impact. Since 2006 more than 55,000 musicians have played to over 1.2 million people at 4800 events. We hope to put on events that people enjoy and raise lots of money, while having fun. The last two Oxjam Brighton Takeovers each raised about £1000 but we are hoping to raise at least four times that this year so as well as the main takeover we aim to hold at least three fundraisers in July, August and September. We will possibly include a Buskathon, a pop-up gallery and some multi-media shows that include dance, film and spoken word. We will need talented people to perform at every fundraiser we put on. With you being the joint Takeover Team Manager, who else will be involved in organising events?
As well as the two of us, we will be recruiting volunteers to work with us over the next six or seven months in key areas. We are looking for an Event & Fundraising Coordinator, a Marketing Coordinator, a Production Coordinator and a Volunteer Coordinator, who we want to have in place in early May. As well as these key people we will be looking for other volunteers to assist the coordinators and to help us at events. We also want local promoters to work with us and curate stages as part of the main Takeover. We are really pleased that we will be working with Brighton Unsigned and would love it if others wanted to do the same. What’s in it for people who work with you?
Well it is all voluntary but for people in the key roles you get to participate in the Oxjam Conference in Birmingham over the weekend of 14/15 June, which will be a great networking opportunity and the chance to share knowledge and experience. Also there’s a chance of being within the Music Industry when employers, such as Melvyn Benn of Festival Republic, are sifting applications something they look for now is involvement in Oxjam. Plus it’s fun and invaluable experience. How do people contact you if they want to apply?
We’re just waiting to get our Oxjam email address set up but for now people can send a message, with their email, phone contacts and an idea of which area they are interested in working in, to the Oxjam Brighton Takeover page on Facebook. The main date that Oxfam want Takeovers to happen is 18 October and we aim to hold our main event on that day. We hope to get as many people to attend as possible.
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