loy l e car n e r Decl an McKenna set music free free / issue 58 / dec 2016 / jan 2017 diymag.com
dream wife pixx g irl i & tons more
making a splash
class 2017 of
D E C 1 6 / J A N 1 7
GOOD VS EVIL
WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S R ADAR?
Emma Swann Founding Editor GOOD I saw Dream Wife a whole six (!) times at Iceland Airwaves. They were (obviously) great. EVIL Where to start... .............................. tom connick Online Editor GOOD Off to Australia for a month. Bye, cold. EVIL Not ‘evil’ per se, but this is my last issue as a DIY staffer. Thnks fr the mmrs. .............................. El hunt Features Editor GOOD Hanging out with Loyle Carner at a super-basement swimming pool (with a built-in basketball pitch to boot) is among my more surreal interview experiences, it’s safe to say. EVIL Laura Marling
removed all the otter pictures from her social media accounts, and she’s yet to reinstate them. .............................. Jamie MILTon Neu Editor GOOD Having seven opportunities to see The xx next March. Might just live in Brixton Academy for a week. EVIL Choosing to be financially sensible the day Frank Ocean released ‘Blonde’ on vinyl. .............................. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD I’ve seen a lot of bands’ pants this month. EVIL It didn’t feel wholesome to squirt a water pistol in a 17 year old boy’s face for 20 minutes.
EDITOR’S LET TER
It’s no secret that 2016 has been a bit, well, naff. Over the past twelve months, we’ve lost some of the finest musical icons, witnessed a host of questionable political decisions and had to deal with seeing Nigel Farage’s mug all over our TVs for god knows how long. But now 2016 is finally drawing to a close, it’s not about dwelling on the past. It’s all about looking to what comes next. As the old saying goes, the future’s bright, and our Class of 2017 are dead set on proving it. From cover star Loyle Carner’s raw and honest outlook, to Declan McKenna and Jorja Smith having eyes firmly set on political change, 2017’s best new acts aren’t just willing to sit back - they’ve got something to say, and there’s no stopping them. Whether it be about changing our views on police brutality, gender preconceptions or the stigmas around depression, these artists are about to make waves. So go on, dive in. Sarah Jamieson, Managing Editor GOOD It’s been a long ol’ year but I’m genuinely so proud of everything team DIY has pulled off in 2016. Bring on next year! EVIL Getting ill on print day is really bloody inconvenient. Body, this sort of stuff needs to be scheduled in!
LISTENING POST What’s on the DIY stereo this month?
Laura Marling • Semper Femina
The first glimpse of Laura Marling’s new album came in the form of ‘Soothing’, a track which does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. With her sixth record, she’s being braver than ever and it pays off. It gets released 10th March.
Tall Ships • Impressions
Returning with a new record five(!) years after their debut, the now four-piece have overcome all manner of challenges to get their gorgeous second full-length out in the open. 3
DR JOHN COOPER CLARKE
Fred Perry has always been a brand for people who do things a bit differently. Its history is entwined with that of generations of British subcultures, who have been adopting the Fred Perry Shirt as their own for over 60 years. This unique lineage of subcultural style was the starting point for a new poem by cult icon and punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke, as part of Fred Perry’s seasonal ‘Annual Traditions’ campaign…
You can hear the poem performed by the man himself on fredperry.com/subculture 5
CLASS OF 2017
2 6 LOYL E CAR N E R 8 JA PA N D R O I D S 32 PUMAROSA 12 DIY READERS POLL 3 4 B L A E N AV O N R E S U LT S 36 DECLAN MCKENNA 14 METRONOMY 40 GIRLI 1 6 S TA N D F O R 4 2 T RUDY AN D T H E ROMANCE SOMETHING TOUR 44 JORJA SMITH 2 2 H A L L O F FA M E 4 6 A B AT T O I R B L U E S 2 4 F E S T I VA L S 50 PIXX 52 DIET CIG 5 4 E AT FA S T 56 MURA MASA 70 ALBUMS 58 DREAM WIFE 76 LIVE 6 2 S L Ã˜ T FA C E 64 WILL JOSEPH COOK 66 LISS 68 ESTRONS
C O N T E N T S
GIRLI is set to make a splash in 2017. More on p40.
Founding Editor Emma Swann Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson Features Editor El Hunt Neu Editor Jamie Milton Online Editor Tom Connick Art Direction & Design Louise Mason Marketing & Events Jack Clothier, Rhi Lee Contributors Alex Taylor, Alim Kheraj, Cady Siregar, Dan Jeakins, Eugenie Johnson, Grant Rindner, Jessica Goodman, Liam Konemann, Lisa Wright, Lucas Fothergill, Marlena Synchyshyn, Matthew Hogarth, Ryan De Freitas, Samantha Daly, Will Richards. Photographers Andy Ford, Carolina Faruolo, Caroline Quinn, Corey Rid, Drew Reynolds, Ellen Offredy, Lindsay Melbourne, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Phoebe Fox, Poppy Marriott For DIY editorial email@example.com For DIY sales rupert@sonicdigital. co.uk lawrence@sonicdigital. co.uk tel: +44 (0)20 3632 3456 For DIY stockist enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. Cover photo: Mike Massaro
LET’S EAT GRANDMA I, GEMINI
Features the singles ‘Deep Six Textbook’ and ‘Eat Shiitake Mushrooms’
Features the singles ‘Never Be Like You’ feat. Kai and ‘Say It’ feat. Tove Lo
“One of the most extraordinary records” The Independent
“Skin is brilliant across the board” The Independent
★★★★ Mojo ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ NME
★★★★★ The Independent ★★★★ Rolling Stone ★★★★ The Line of Best Fit
Features the singles ‘Pool Party’ and ‘Coming of Age’ “truly exceptional” Q Magazine
Features the singles ‘Not for Nothing’ and ‘Lost Dreamers’ “a gorgeous album” Pitchfork
★★★★ Mojo ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ Rolling Stone
★★★★ Pitchfork ★★★★ The 405 ★★★★ The Line of Best Fit
DON’T LET THE KIDS WIN
SKIP A SINKING STONE
NEWS Cor, that wall hurts your eyes after a while, doesnâ€™t it?
the 8 diymag.com
After three years of silence, Vancouver’s favourite noiserock duo Japandroids are back with a rock ‘n’ roll record for the ages. Words: Dan Jeakins. Photos: Emma Swann.
t’s not like we made ‘Kid A’,” starts Japandroids’ Brian King, speaking during a brief spell of downtime on their recent European tour. “We’re not trying to drastically change. One of the fundamental reasons people listen to rock ‘n’ roll is because of its sense of freedom and escapism. Great rock music has the ability to make people feel things they don’t feel in their day-to-day lives. I certainly know it does that for me.” Japandroids are back, and, after spending the best part of three years completely off the radar, they’re picking up exactly where they left off. The Canadian duo’s follow-up to 2012’s ‘Celebration Rock’ is just around the corner, and the band are already raring to go. “We’ve been working on [new album ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’] in secret for a long time,” he says. “We’re both very eager to share it with the world.” Failing to update Facebook pages or Twitter profiles is often internet suicide, yet the fact that no one’s heard a peep out of Japandroids for the last three years, has only made the
prospect of a new record that much more exciting. “That was 100% our decision – we were quite secretive publicly,” he admits. “People who knew us were aware of what was going on, but in terms of the outside world we wanted to have the freedom to work on the album without any sense of expectation. “For us it felt much easier to focus on the writing and recording and to give ourselves enough time to fully explore each idea we had,” he goes on. “We didn’t want any outside pressure – the danger of telling the world you’re working on a new album is that people assume it’ll be out the next month. We’ve learnt in the past that sometimes these things can take a while.” Rewind back to 2013 and Japandroids had pretty much been on tour for four years straight, visiting 44 countries and playing a ridiculous, but stellar, 500 shows in the process. The time off they then took soon became integral to their next step. Brian explains that “without the break we wouldn’t have made a very good record – it could have been a disaster for
OF IT ALL
us. We wanted to make the best record we could and the only way to do that was to take a bit of time off. “There was certainly some pressure when things were going well to keep things rolling. We didn’t plan on touring as much we did [for ‘Celebration Rock’],” he admits. “We kept on getting all these invites to tour all over the world and it was very hard to say no.” Their decision to take some time out wasn’t without concern. “We were worried on some level that people might not remember who we were, but we had to do what was best for the band. It’s been a very nice welcome after disappearing from the public eye for so long – we basically had radio silence for three years. Luckily people seem to really care about our band.” And, thanks to their time away from the spotlight, drummer David Prowse is confident that with ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’, they’ve made a rock ‘n’ roll record for the ages. “The best rock ‘n’ roll albums are eight tracks long – look at Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ and Led Zeppelin’s ‘IV’,” he laughs. “The traditional record comes from music being pressed on vinyl in the sixties and seventies, and the way bands used to build an album was by having four tracks on each side, with each built as its own ‘minirecord’. That’s the way we’ve always gone about making our records and we’re both really happy with how it’s turned out.” While the crashing drums, addictive guitar lines and blistering choruses that made ‘Celebration Rock’ so special are just as prominent on ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’, there’s a real personal touch to Brian King’s lyrics this time around. Smiling at the suggestion that
he’s a romantic under the rock ‘n’ roll exterior, he has a perfect reply ready. “I think fundamentally a lot of the best rock ‘n’ roll is romantic. When I think of romantic I think of a lot of different things – from your typical boy-meets-girl to the romance of being young or the idea of travelling and the open road. That’s when rock ‘n’ roll is very romantic because it’s at its most inspiring and powerful. There are people who can make really great, sad rock ‘n’ roll records but for me the most important ones are those ones that have a sense of reckless abandon.”
“We didn’t want any outside pressure.”
The album draws to a conclusion with the epic ‘In The Body Like A Grave’, a grandiose track that sees Brian delivering a litany of broad, life-affirming lyrics. As it turns out, it holds a special place on the record. “That song feels unique on that album because typically I write lyrics about my own experiences,” he explains. “You’re trying to do it in a way that people can identify with – but it comes from a personal place. With ‘In The Body Like A Grave’, I tried to write a song where I was representing a larger body of people. Those kind of songs are very hard to write without coming across as pretentious or preachy. I tried very hard to sum up what I thought was a very common life experience that everyone goes through.” In turn, it feels like an apt conclusion to a record that wears its heart on its sleeve. Japandroids’ new album ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’ is out 27th January via ANTI- Records. DIY
- Brian King
This Hide and Seek game is going well…
P R E S E N T S
stornoway THE FAREWELL TOUR 2017 PLUS SPECIAL GUEST
BRASSTRONAUT MONDAY 27 FEBRUARY
MONDAY 06 MARCH
Sage Gateshead u
THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY
NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY
UK TOUR 2017 TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY
TUESDAY 07 MARCH
FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY
THURSDAY 02 MARCH
SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY
FRIDAY 03 MARCH
MONDAY 27 FEBRUARY
CARDIFF UNIVERSITY Y PLAS
SATURDAY 04 MARCH MONDAY 06 MARCH
WEDNESDAY 08 MARCH THURSDAY 09 MARCH
OXFORD O2 ACADEMY
Glasgow Old Fruitmarket
PLEASE NOTE VENUE UPGRADE
WEDNESDAY 08 MARCH
Bristol ColSton Hall
LEICESTER O2 ACADEMY
SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY
TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY
HATFIELD FORUM SATURDAY 11 MARCH
Cambridge The Junction
Exeter The Phoenix
FRIDAY 10 MARCH
SATURDAY 04 MARCH
Manchester Academy 2 PLEASE NOTE VENUE UPGRADE
A CROSSTOWN CONCERTS, SJM, DHP, DF, PVC & FUTURESOUND PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH X-ray
THURSDAY 09 MARCH
THURSDAY 02 MARCH
T SOLD OU SUNDAY 05 MARCH
NORWICH, UEA THE NICK RAYNS LCR
THE NEW ALBUM ‘FRIENDS’, OUT NOW
SUNDAY 12 MARCH
PLEASE NOTE VENUE UPGRADE
WEDNESDAY 01 MARCH
Leeds Brudenell Social Club
London O2 Shepherd’s bush empire SUNDAY 12 MARCH
oxford new theatre
A crosstown concerts AND FRIENDS PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CODA AGENCY
SLEEP NO MORE TOUR 2017 THURSDAY 02 MARCH 2017
FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2017
BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY
LONDON O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
OUT SATURDAYSO 25LDFEBRUARY 2017
OUT 2017 FRIDAYSO 03LDMARCH
SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2017
T LD OU SO04 SATURDAY MARCH 2017
TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2017
MONDAY 06 MARCH 2017
BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY
NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY
LEEDS O2 ACADEMY
SATURDAY 18 MARCH FRIDAY 24 MARCH
CORN USHER HALL EXCHANGE SUNDAY 26 MARCH
SOUTHAMPTON O2 GUILDHALL
SUNDAY 19 MARCH
LEICESTER CITY HALL DE MONTFORT HALL GRAND BALLROOM TUESDAY 21 MARCH TUESDAY 28 MARCH
PHILHARMONIC HALL WINTER GARDENS WEDNESDAY 29 MARCH
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL JACKSAVORETTI.COM A CROSSTOWN CONCERTS, SJM CONCERTS & DF CONCERTS PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT WITH CODA AGENCY
SUM41.COM A CROSSTOWN CONCERTS, SJM CONCERTS, DF CONCERTS, SLAMDUNK MUSIC, DHP & PVC PRESENTATION BY ARRANGEMENT UNITED TALENT AGENCY
T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E F R O M
SONGKICK.COM - GIGANTIC.COM - TICKETWEB.CO.UK - SEETICKETS.COM TICKETMASTER.CO.UK - STARGREEN.COM - GIGSANDTOURS.COM - GIGSINSCOTLAND.COM
1 Sundara Karma, She Said
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
1 Biffy Clyro, Ellipsis
2 Black Honey, Hello Today 3 Inheaven, Treats
2 David Bowie, Blackstar 3 Parquet Courts, Human Performance
t h e R ES U LT S BAND OF THE YEAR
1 Wolf Alice
We used up our digits, brought in an abacus and covered the office wall in tally marks here’s what you, the readers, thought made 2016 one great year (of music, at least).
2 INHEAVEN 3 The 1975
1 Oscar Lulu 2 Alex Turner 3 Ellie Rowsell
BREAKTHROUGH BAND OF THE YEAR
1 Sundara Karma 2 Black Honey 3 VANT
Best Person .
1 Mattie Vant 2 Ellie Rowsell 3 Oscar Lulu
Indie Dreamboat . Of The Year.
1 james Taylor
(September) 2 Declan McKenna (November) 3 Tom Dewhurst (October)
Best Cover Version
1 sundara Karma,
Never Too Much (Luther Vandross) 2 The Big Moon, Beautiful Stranger (Madonna) 3 The 1975, Sorry (Justin Bieber)
New Band Most Likely To Be Amazing In 2017
1 Blaenavon 2 Dream Wife 3 Declan McKenna
Most Wtf Lyric.
1 “My girl eats mayonnaise from the jar while she’s gettin’ blazed” Glass Animals, Season 2, Episode 3
Prat Of The Year
1 Donald Trump 2 Nigel Farage 3 The USA
Song Of The Year
1 INheaven, Treats 2 Sundara Karma, She Said 3 Blaenavon, My Bark Is Your Bite
2 “Keep sucking my dick while my friend fucks your mother” VANT, The Answer 3 “You look shit and you smell a bit” The 1975, A Change of Heart
JONES New Skin
american football the long-awaited second self-titled album
SALUTE My Heart
“captures the magic of their debut and will satiate those who’ve waited so patiently” kerrang
**** Loud and Quiet **** uPset **** dork
DANIEL WOOLHOUSE What’s That Sound?
JUNK SON Beginning Ending Pretending
mothers when You walk a Long distance You are tired the debut album “raw, striking” Pitchfork
**** the guardian **** diY **** Q magazine
J CHURCHER Borderland State
OUT NOW 13
Metronomy took a break from live shows… to make time for snazzy jacket shopping.
RIGHT BACK AT IT You know how Joe Mount decided to give touring a break after Metronomy released ‘Summer
08’? It was just so he could get back into the studio to kick start album six. Words: Lucas Fothergill.
t might feel like only a few weeks since Metronomy released fifth album ‘Summer 08’, but main man Joe Mount is already back on it, in the studio and making music. Which is good news. “This is part of the whole reason why I wanted to have a break from touring,” he offers up. “If you get into this cycle of ‘every three years you release a record, you tour it, you become a bit tired’, it slows down your creativity a bit. The whole point of not touring was to spend time writing.” He’s not just being figurative, either. “I’m in the studio as I speak to you! Obviously not writing anything while on the phone – you’re distracting me! - but yeah, I am. I think it’s the one confusion in the world of music at the moment. If you’re touring as much as you have to tour these days, often, it can stifle your creativity.” Despite announcing three big dates for the new year, Metronomy are still six months away from getting back on stage. But if Joe’s time in the studio keeps going as well as it has so far, it may not be too long before their sixth album appears. By the sounds of things, it
“I’m in the studio as I speak to you!” Joe Mount might be unlike anything we’ve heard from them before. “I’d like to do a record that’s really fucking popular,” he laughs. “What I’m trying to do is make a record that gets played on Capital FM. I’m trying to get onto Radio 1. That’s what I’m trying to do.” From 2008’s ‘Nights Out’ and its squelchy indie-electronica to 2011’s sleek, sunny, Mercury-nominated ‘The English Riviera’ and beyond, every new Metronomy album stands apart from what came before. Their next will be no different. “With ‘The English Riviera’ and ‘Love Letters’, those were the two quite specific records where I had very clear ideas of what I wanted to do. With ‘Summer ‘08’ and this next one, I feel relaxed conceptually. The pleasure, I think, of being a Metronomy fan is that you enjoy the fact that you don’t necessarily know what the next thing will be like.” DIY
WE WERE ON A BREAK Metronomy may have decided to give their live show a bit of a rest, but that’s not set to last long. They’ll be back out on the road for three massive dates next year. Tickets are on sale now. MAY 2017 16 Glasgow ABC 17 Manchester Albert Hall 19 London Brixton Academy
LOADS OF ACE NEW BANDS JOIN
DIY’S PICK OF
In desperate need of a live music fix but can’t decide where or who? If you feel too spoilt for choice, here’s just a few of LNSource’s upcoming shows worth getting off the sofa for.
THE COMET IS COMING March and May 2017, nationwide Nominated for 2016’s Mercury Prize, these outward-thinking oddballs may have lost out to Skepta, but nothing’s stopping their charge of unorthodox, outer space-aiming dance. They tour the UK next year, including a show at London Heaven.
PAIGEY CAKEY 17th - 20th February 2017, London /
Birmingham A grime sensation, MC and actress up there with the UK’s finest, this Hackney star plays a hometown show in Brixton, before taking on Birmingham early next year.
March and April 2017, nationwide Confrontational, uncompromising postpunks IDLES are fast building a massive fanbase across the UK. They’re going on a mammoth tour next spring, following the release of gigantic recent single ‘Well Done’.
HELLO 2017 We’ve added the likes of Her’s, Bruising and Haarm to the tour!
eginning just days into the new year, as announced last issue, we’re sending Dream Wife on the road as part of the Hello 2017 tour. Joining the explosive trio will be a bunch of ace new bands local to every city - the best each has to offer (in our humble opinion). In Liverpool, alt-pop duo Her’s join the bill, alongside trip-hop newcomers Haarm and the equally promising AGP. Newcastle is churning out incredible new music right now, and we’ve picked out Plaza and Seeing Hands to support on 23rd January. Elsewhere, we’ve got the likes of Bruising and Thyla getting on board. Check out the full Hello 2017 line-ups below and get tickets via DICE, SeeTickets, Songkick and local record shops.
THE DATeS: JANUARY 2017
17 • London • The Old Blue Last Dream Wife • Venture Lows • Dama Scout 18 • Brighton • Green Door Store Dream Wife • Thyla • Gang 20 • Liverpool • Buyers Club Dream Wife • Her’s • Haarm • AGP 21 • Leeds • Headrow House Dream Wife • Bruising • Drahla 23 • Newcastle • The Cluny 2 Dream Wife • Plaza • Seeing Hands 24 • Manchester • Night & Day Cafe Dream Wife • Kyogen
For more information and to buy tickets, head to livenation.co.uk or twitter.com/LNSource 15
STAND FOR R U O T G N I H T SOME 2016
IN G S N O N -S TO P PA IG E Y CA KE Y B R IR M IN G H A M B O T N IO T A R B E L CE 16 16 diymag.com diymag.com
The Hackney MC was an energetic alternative to trickor-treating this Halloween. Words: Jessica Goodman. Photo: Emma Swann.
hile costumed crowds wander the streets around the city centre, Mama Roux’s offers shelter from the spooks and surprises with some sensational live music at the Birmingham leg of the Dr. Martens Stand For Something Tour. First up, all the way from Hull, Chiedu Oraka wins over the audience with his distinctly northern charm. He might have to explain where his city is, but his music offers something that everyone can connect to. Representing his hometown to the core - standing by the dial tone with ‘01482’ - his upbeat energy is impossible to draw away from. It’s a succinct set from hometown hero Jaykae. Despite playing just a handful of songs, his performance manages to refrain from lacking, instead offering a potent burst of his long-established capabilities. Shouting out friends in the audience as he hypes his crowd, the few tracks he does perform are laced with an unshakable attitude. Checking the ID for everyone over 18 at the front before sharing out drinks with them, Paigey Cakey’s set is a non-stop celebration. Showcasing a whole host of new material, incorporating everything from Afrobeat to roots into her sound, she’s an artist who never fails to give her all - and the crowd lap up every moment. Phones in the air, dancing along like it’s the only thing that matters, those gathered let the energy of the night take hold. From the instantly addictive singa-long of ‘NaNa’ to the fiery spirit of ‘Pattern’, Paigey Cakey raps and sings her way well into the night. She commands the room, characteristic stylings effortlessly keeping the venue in the palm of her hand. Ending with a second performance of ‘Boogie’, giving a promoter-perfect shout out for the night, she dives off stage to meet everyone who came along. The Halloween weekend might be typically rooted in terror, but tonight offers a thrill as freewheeling as can be. DIY
TIC VA NT G ET CATH A R WITH B LIS TER IN G N E WC A S T L E S E T
The band returned to their roots to exorcise demons with their explosive set. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photo: Emma Swann.
f ever a Saturday night is needed for blowing off steam, it’s this one. At the end of a week filled with political turmoil and disheartened optimists, tonight’s gig is no longer just about watching two brilliant bands play: it’s about – as Mattie Vant himself said earlier this week – exorcising some demons.
Hull’s LIFE are mesmerising from the off. Frontman Mez Green is a bubbling pot of intensity, threatening to explode at any moment. All contorted limbs and wide eyes, there’s an unhinged air to his performance which works to up the adrenaline. Blitzing through cuts ‘Rare Boots’ and ‘Popular Music’ - the latter of which sees the frontman start to clamber off the stage and towards the balcony railings – their set is controlled yet unpredictable, intriguing but gripping, and they prove themselves an invigorating presence. Fresh from a tour across the country alongside You Me At Six, VANT are more than prepped. Returning to the venue that frontman Mattie found himself occupying throughout his younger years, the atmosphere in The Cluny is sizzling ahead of their set. As soon as the scuzzy feedback introducing ‘The Answer’ rings out and its glorious chorus kicks in, it’s a sheer adrenaline rush. Antagonistic and in-your-face, yet undeniably witty and astute, VANT’s set is a perfect example of how to use music to make a statement while still having a good time. ‘Fly-By Alien’ becomes an explosive critique, ‘Karma Seeker’ a potent call-to-arms and their interlude of a stripped-back ‘Peace & Love’ into ‘Birth Certificate’ is brilliant and poignant tonight, with Mattie himself – complete with red smeared across his hands and cheeks - heading into the crowd to perform the politicised anthem. Rounding off the evening with mosh pits and chants of “Fuck Donald Trump!”, the likes of ‘Peace & Love’ and ‘Do You Know Me?’ come packed with much-needed catharsis. Tonight was never going to just be about watching two brilliant bands, but they certainly lived up to blistering expectations anyway. DIY 17
TRAAMS, Husky Loops & Yowl bring grit and guts
The Chichester trio headed up a killer bill for the latest leg of Jäger Curtain Call. Words: Tom Connick. Photos: Emma Swann.
arlier this year, Jäger Curtain Call took over Shoreditch’s Curtain Road, transforming it into a hub of opportunity for new artists. In partnership with Jägermeister, we invited three artists – all who had reached that crucial tipping point in their career - into the studio to record a new track, and to play a show, all on the same stretch of road. Tonight TRAAMS head up a killer triple-bill at the Queen of Hoxton. Peckham newcomers YOWL kick off proceedings with a shrug and a spit. Taking the snotty attitude of Parquet Courts and adding some London snark to the pot, the group tie razor-wire knots around their tales of modern-day drudgery. Leaning on mic stands and flopping about the stage with all the flamboyance of a toddler’s tantrum, their attitude-packed anthems for the disillusioned sound primed for big things. Husky Loops tighten things up somewhat. Looking dapper as hell, the trio’s aural assault is no less biting for their wellironed shirts. Skittish, frantic and gut-wrenchingly fury-filled, they career about the place like their lives are on the line. There’s a considered edge to their chaos, though - the feeling that every move is primed to hit as hard as possible, no energy
left by the wayside. It’s a captivating spectacle. By the time headliners TRAAMS take to the stage, the place is heaving. Their motorik noise has swept up the hearts and minds of thousands in the past few months, and they look set for something huge. Tonight, they’re on blistering form, the masses greeting them with a charged-up performance to rival the one going on on stage. Frontman Stu Hopkins hops and skips about the place, stamping on his array of pedals and gazing out at the crowd like a man possessed, while the one-two rhythm section of bassist Leigh Padley and drummer Adam Stock are locked tight, egging each other on throughout. Their Jäger Curtain Call track ‘A House On Fire’ is the perfect evidence of how the trio’s fusion of brains and brawn could propel them to huge things. Tonight, it’s somehow greeted like an old friend, despite only being a few weeks old. Try getting an explanation out of the moshers down the front, though, and you’ll only be pushed aside - they’re fully succumbed to the hypnotism of TRAAMS, and grinning like loons because of it. DIY
YESTERDAY’S GONE TOUR
FEBRUARY 2017 THU FRI SAT SUN TUE WED THU
02 03 04 05 07 08 09
DUBLIN WORKMANS CLUB GLASGOW GARAGE EDINBURGH LIQUID ROOM NEWCASTLE RIVERSIDE OXFORD O2 ACADEMY LEEDS BELGRAVE MUSIC HALL MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2
SAT 11 SUN 12 MON 13 WED 15 THU 16 FRI 17 SAT 18
NORWICH WATERFRONT BRISTOL MOTION PLYMOUTH THE HUB SOUTHAMPTON ENGINE ROOMS BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE 2 LONDON O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE LONDON O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
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lLOYLECARNER COM •
An S.J.M. Concerts & Friends presentation by arrangement with Primary Talent International 19
The Big Moon Arts Club, Liverpool. Photo: Corey Rid.
t appears every indie kid on Merseyside has headed down to this Liverpool Music Week show to catch a glimpse of The Big Moon pre-album.
With winter approaching and weather getting colder, Juliette Jackson has become one of the many season’s casualties, approaching the stage with a strong case of the sniffles. This doesn’t seem to get the band down though, as they explode into latest single ‘Silent Movie Susie’ to the delight of a crowd who’ve been itching to hear those first dirty chords ring.
All Years Leaving Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
appyness kickstart All Years Leaving’s first night, and the band sound bolder than ever. Fear Of Men’s performance is just as fluid, smooth sailing vocals presented effortlessly. The Big Moon also arrive with no shortage of celebration. With a new album imminent, Gengahr take to the stage in front of a room already flooded with excitement - their performance is as exhilarating as it is intoxicating. It’s the double weighted treat of Yuck and Yak that bring All Years Leaving to a close. Yuck’s set is an effortless crowdpleaser. Then, in typical Yak fashion, it isn’t long after the band reach the stage that members are throwing themselves off it. They bring All Years Leaving to a befittingly screeching close. (Jessica Goodman)
Blowing away the cobwebs, Jules and co hit the room with a remedy the strength of 30 max strength flu tablets.
The room is captivated by a sea of flying ponytails, guitars and boot-clad feet which fail to keep still as the group pirouette and twirl manically, smiling the whole set long. Playing on the very edge of falling to pieces, their unpredictable live presence ignites an air of youthful exuberance and joy reflected in the face of the band and audience members alike. (Matthew Hogarth)
Bruising+Sløtface Fallow Café, Manchester.
nding their mini UK tour with their first ever Manchester performance, Sløtface burst into life, opening with single ‘Take Me Dancing’, utilising it almost as an order to the crowd.
New track ‘Empire Records’ has people from the front to the back singing along with as much ferocity as to final number, ‘Shave My Head’. Their set ends, leaving behind tangible excitement in the air. Bruising have the difficult task of closing the night, but are unfazed as they take to the stage in all-white, stating to the crowd that “you must not have got the memo about the dress code… you all look fucking ridiculous” before beginning their set in impressive synchronisation. It might be the same high level of control that prevents them from reaching their peak until penultimate track and brand new single ‘I Don’t Mind’ sees them relax a little bit and so, in turn, do the crowd, just in time for final song and crowd favourite ‘Emo Friends’ to end the night on a high. (Samantha Daly)
DIY HALL FAME of
BLOOD RED SHOES - BOX OF SECRETS We look back on the Brighton-based duo’s 2008 debut. Words: Will Richards.
fter forming in 2004, Blood Red Shoes shared their early stages with a who’swho of ‘00s British indie, supporting everyone from Maximo Park to Foals on tour. The Brighton-based duo of Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell may not have followed the early hype with a debut full-length until four years later, but while much of ‘Box Of Secrets’ was already long familiar, it wasn’t any less of a thunderous introduction. It’s an age-old cliche to say that two-piece bands make a lot of noise for the amount of members, but when Laura-Mary’s blackened thumps of a Telecaster are laid over Steven’s relentless drumming during the choruses of ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’ and ‘This Is Not For You’, it’s a punch to the gut.
‘Box of Secrets’ is relentless from front to back, and despite its title, keeps nothing unspoken. The title of ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’ says it all for that track in particular, while ‘ADHD’ is as restless and fidgety as its name suggests.
Released: 14th April 2008 Stand-out tracks: ‘It’s Getting Boring by the Sea,’ ‘A.D.H.D,’ ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’ Something to tell your mates: Harriet from Los Campesinos! makes a violin-based cameo, playing the fiddle on closer ‘Hope You’re Holding Up’.
The interplay between the pair is compelling, with voices and instruments slithering in-between each other throughout, no entire song given to just Laura-Mary or Steven. ‘Fire Like This’, the band’s 2010 follow-up, may have shown them as a more complete band, but ‘Box Of Secrets’ has far more bite and enthusiasm. Blood Red Shoes arrived with their ‘Box of Secrets’ as a gritty, grungy alternative to the bands they made their home alongside, and over eight years on, it still feels every ounce as potent. DIY
Little did we know at the time, but Steven Ansell had already seen Stranger Things in 2008.
r Popstag Postba the big moo
We know what you’re like, dear readers. We know you’re just as nosy as we are when it comes to our favourite pop stars: that’s why we’re putting the power back into your hands. Every month, we’re going to ask you to pull out your best questions and aim them at those unsuspecting artists. You don’t even need to pay for postage! This month, The Big Moon are taking on your Qs. e For Soph, what’s it like to be in two bands at the same time? How do you balance your roles in both different bands? Pocky, via email Soph: I’m not. The Our Girl Soph is my evil twin sister. Celia: She has Bernard’s Watch. It’s the only explanation for how she manages to fit so many good things in to all the days. e When and where was The Big Moon’s first ever gig and how did it go? Steven, via email C: Our first ever gig was at The Brixton Windmill on 26th September 2014. We’d been playing together as a foursome for three weeks and we were very nervous/ excited. I think Jules still has the £20 we got as a fee framed somewhere. We were also called Riff Randell after the character in Rock and Roll High School. All our friends came and we played our hearts out and it felt amazing. Jules: Yeah, we got paid a tenner and I framed it and have it in my bedroom. e Do you know if Madonna has heard your cover of
‘Beautiful Stranger’? Bobby, Skipton C: SHE HAS! We sent it to her. Along with a letter. And she gave it the thumbs up. We also got a lovely email from William Orbit saying how much he loved it and everything that Jules did with the arrangement. It was very cool.
very all consuming. It tastes like umami and once you pop you can’t stop.
e What was it like working on your debut album? What was the biggest challenge? Ben, Manchester C: Making the album was a crazy two weeks in which I felt an overwhelming e What are your biggest influences as sense of pride at how the four of us work a band? Jack, via email together as a band and how happy I am C: Tea, jacket potato cheese and beans, to be part of this thing making all the hugs, beer, making very important stuff that we do. In terms of the biggest life-changing decisions whilst deliriously challenge, we started playing this game tired/drunk/hungover/having been stuck called thigh or belly when we were all in in a dark room/van for hours on end. the vocal booths and you had to guess J: All of those things, and music by if the sound you could hear through the Pixies, The Kinks, Weezer, Blur, The mic was someone hitting their thigh or White Stripes, Elvis, and also trips on the their belly. You’d be surprised at how Megabus and Ant and Dec on SMTV:Live. difficult the timbres can be to discern. J: It was interesting to find out the e What is love like in the 4th different timbres of our bellies, and dimension?! James, London record them with some slapback echo. C: This earthly verse would never suffice. My belly has very deep resonant J: Pretty cubic, it’s quite high up so sound, very meaty. But in all a bit of vertigo, seriousness, recording this album was one of the most intense and best experiences of my life.
The Big Loon(s). 23
FESTIVALS In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan - and us look ahead to this lot.
11 Catholic Action 12 Urban Development Industry Takeover 12 Welcome To Wonderland: The Experience - Little Simz & Friends 13 Vant + Zuzu + Isaiah Dreads 14 Festival Producers Project 15 Edges 16 Rising Sounds album launch 17 Rising Soundclash ft. Boko! Boko! + S I S T E R + So Future + In Good Company 18 Festival Producers Day 19 Sumo Chiefs + KOKOROKO 19 Artist Toolkit Day
YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND-HOUSE Vant and Catholic Action head up February’s Roundhouse Rising.
After last year’s shebang hosted The Magic Gang, Black Honey and INHEAVEN, Roundhouse Rising has confirmed its return, taking over the Camden venue between 11th and 18th February for a series of live gigs and workshops. Artists set to appear include DIY faves and Class of 2016 alumni VANT, Glasgow noiseniks Catholic Action, breakthrough rapper Little Simz and newcomer Tom Grennan, while an Artist Toolkit Day will have various industry bods offering advice to young artists.
I’M ALIIIIIIIIVE (AT LEEDS)
Slaves, Black Honey, The Big Moon, The Magic Gang… next year’s LAL is RAMMED. Live at Leeds returns on 29th April 2017, taking over the city’s venues once more, and it looks like a bumper year.
Slaves, Black Honey, The Magic Gang, The Big Moon and Wild Beasts are among the first names for the event, which will also host Jagwar Ma, JAWS, Teleman, White Lies and, making their oh-so-long awaited return, Superfood. Head to diymag.com for the full list of acts confirmed.
Sløtface, Abattoir Blues and Eat Fast among those headed to The Great Escape in May. Celebrated with the ‘First Fifty’ gigs in London in November, The Great Escape have confirmed the first, er, fifty names for next year’s event. Class of 2017 stars Sløtface, Abattoir Blues and Eat Fast are among them, with other hot newcomers heading to Brighton between 18th and 20th May including Goat Girl, Skott, Yonaka and Cabbage. What’s more, they’ve also confirmed Young Adult tickets will be on sale, allowing 16-17 year olds in on the fun. Hooray!
NEWS In Brief
Muse will headline Reading & Leeds (25th - 27th August) with Bastille, Major Lazer, At The Drive-In, Glass Animals, Architects, Against The Current, While She Sleeps and Danny Brown also in the first announcement. Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, The xx and Frank Ocean are the big names headed to Barcelona’s Primavera Sound (31st May - 4th June), with Skepta, Against Me!, Formation, Glass Animals, Run The Jewels, Swet Shop Boys and er, Slayer also playing. Arcade Fire, Solange and Blink-182 lead the latest Roskilde (24th June - 1st July) announcement, with Foo Fighters, Jagwar Ma, Warpaint and Kano also off to the massive Danish bash. Dream Wife, Pixx, Sløtface, Weaves, VANT and Trudy and the Romance are just a handful of the 200+ acts on their way to Texas for SXSW (10th - 19th March), where Nile Rodgers is one of the keynote speakers. Frank Ocean has been confirmed as headlining Lovebox (14th - 15th July) as a ‘London Festival Exclusive’. Aphex Twin will be headlining this year’s Field Day (3rd June), after mysterious scratchcards were left around various London boozers advertising the fact. There won’t be a T in the Park in 2017. The Scottish festival is taking a year out after stating the constraints placed on them by the planning permission required to continue at their Strathallan base is “not workable”. The event moved from its previous home in Kinross in 2015.
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jan 31 2017 o2 forum kentish town london feb 04 2017 o2 institute birmingham
feb 14 2017 hare & hounds birmingham feb 17 2017 soup kitchen manchester
feb 15 2017 o2 shepherd’s bush empire london
feb 24 2017 o2 shepherd’s bush empire london
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mar 28 2017 o2 academy oXford
CL A S S OF 2 0 1 7
Af te r th e do om an d gl oo m of th e pa st tw el ve m on th s, it’s no se cr et we ne ed a fr es h st ar t. As th e ne w ye ar be gi ns , we ’v e pi ck ed ou t se ve nt ee n of th e m os t br ill ia nt 20 17. W he th er be ac ts fo r gi nn in g th e co nv er sa tio n ab ou t po lit ic s, m en ta l he al th or fe it’s no t ju st ab ou mi ni sm , t th e m us ic wi th th is lo t: th es e ar e th e be st ne w ar tis ts , se t to m ak e re al wa ve s ov er th e ne xt ye ar. W e ca n’ t wa it.
:loyle carner He’s not just one of the UK’s most talented rappers; there’s no-one out there with a voice as distinctly honest. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Mike Massaro.
s far as British talents making a gigantic splash go, things don’t get much more exciting than Loyle Carner. Growing up in Croydon, Ben CoyleLarner (his moniker deriving from his own misspelling of his name as a kid) never set out to be a rapper, though rhyme has featured everywhere in his life since he remembers. Using writing as an outlet for his restless nature, and speaking with arresting, candid honesty about his own tight-knit world atop eclectic beats - referencing everything from the jazzy licks of Italian composer Piero Umiliani, to the colourful, richlytextured gospel music spilling out of bustling church services in the process - Loyle Carner’s universe is coloured by family, love, and togetherness. And often – for nothing escapes the grasp of Loyle’s true-to-life storytelling – grief, frustration, and grappling with how to be a man who does the right thing, are dissected with painstaking detail.
however, when his beloved musician stepdad Steven Vengeance – the main male figure in his life, besides his grandad - passed away, quite suddenly, two years ago. He’s the reason that Loyle Carner, a dedicated Liverpool supporter, performs with an Eric Cantona shirt wrapped around his shoulders, while clad in his own Scouse kit. “When my dad passed, we didn’t take on Manchester United, but we got a soft spot for them,” he says. “All the rivalries started to fade after my dad passed. I still hate Arsenal, though,” he grins. Forget about bravado, pretence, or affectation when it comes to Loyle Carner. His music, though ducking and diving with dexterous colliding syllables and carefully weighted words, is about telling the truth, however difficult or raw it may be. “It’s a very important thing, honesty,” he reasons. “Someone was asking me what it takes to be a good rapper, and they were looking for a really straight-edge answer, and I was like, ‘Just have something to say.’ If you have a story to tell, and you tell it, you’re a good rapper. Doesn’t matter how you tell it. For me, that’s the idea, to move someone.”
“From when I can remember, I was rapping.”
“It’s a very small, little universe we have in the house,” Loyle says, rubbing remnants of chlorine out of his eyes after a dip in the pool. “It’s just us three; me, my mum, and my brother, and everything goes through them, because it has to. I’ve got more responsibilities than I used to, and I see them when I come home. They’re all I know,” he nods. “I’m not really up to all the other stuff that other people seem to be up to,” he smiles. “I’m at home.” Growing up with his mum, late stepdad, his younger brother, and gigantic pet poodle Ringo, it was Loyle who sat nearby on the side of the bath while his younger brother shaved for the first time (a scenario the pair recreate in Loyle’s ‘Tierney Terrace’ video), Loyle who cooked dinner for the whole family, and Loyle who attempted to marshal the ongoing football rivalries that divided his house throughout his teenage years. “My dad was a Man Utd fan,” he starts. “My brother is an Arsenal fan, my mum is a Crystal Palace fan, and I am a Liverpool fan,” he explains. All those fierce divisions disappeared,
From the very beginning, Ben’s music has done just that, and people instantly began to connect; either identifying with his experiences directly, or finding themselves caught unawares and off-guard by his honesty. Many videos he’s released so far star his mum (something of a celebrity presence at his recent show at London’s KOKO) and brother Ryan, and they’re all self-directed too. Though it’s a massive creative undertaking, he’s fairly modest about the whole thing. “Otherwise I’d just be walking my dog or playing football,” he laughs. His music gives endless intimate glimpses into his own world, too, reaching the added depths that cameras darting around his Croydon home can’t plume. The laid-bare ‘BFG’ sees him exposing still fresh grief shortly after his stepdad’s passing, atop a sample of Donnie & Joe Emerson’s ‘Baby’, in strained, teared-up vocals. His voice, at times, sounds close to collapsing.
KLOPP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
Our Loyle’s a dedicated Liverpool fan - “99% Liverpool, with a soft spot for Crystal Palace” to be precise – and so obviously we had to have a natter about the great game as the season heats up. Who’s your favourite Liverpool player? Steven Gerrard, without a shadow of a doubt. He’s the only football player I’ve ever cried over. He’s been at Liverpool almost the whole time I’ve really supported them, and as I was growing up, he was the only constant. It’s quite weird in terms of role models, male role models. He was one of the few constant males in my life, was Steven Gerrard. Every weekend he would be on the same pitch, the same place, you’d find him there. Then he left Liverpool, and we were supposed to win the league, but we didn’t, because he slipped and gave away a goal. Everyone’s been ribbing him for it ever since, but he’s an amazing player, one of the best. World class. I watched his last match, and I saw him crying, and I cried. I was on my own though, so it was alright. Can we discuss Jürgen Klopp? What a bloke. He’s almost taken the place of Gerrard, in terms of Liverpool and following them. He’s someone I believe in, and look up to. He seems so calm and composed. He’s been doing brilliant things for Liverpool. He’s a really good guy and it’s infectious. He’s bringing a lot of people who weren’t too sure about football in. He’s so charismatic and genuine, that it takes away the negative connotations that have been there before. You also play football yourself, don’t you? We’re in a little league. Division Three or something, Loyle Carner FC. I am a right midfielder, but I also play on the wing, or up front. Anywhere attacking and quick. There, I’m alright. Not in goal. It’s never been my spot. I’ve got too much energy to be in goal, because I just stand there and get anxious. 29
At first, he thought it might be a bit too much to release, but was thankfully persuaded otherwise by his go-to collaborator and “surrogate big brother” Rebel Kleff. “I put it out, and the response for it was mad,” he remembers. “People were coming back to me very positively, just saying ‘Thanks, I needed to hear this.’ It moved me in ways I can’t really describe. I found it very tricky because it’s so close to home,” Loyle admits. “‘The Isle of Arran’,” he says, referencing a single from his soon-imminent debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ (due out on 20th January), “is the same, it’s also quite raw.” Revisiting snapshots of visiting his late grandad up in Scotland - “the only place I was kind of taught anything remotely manly, by a man. It’s the one time I got any stern advice,” he says – it’s typically, devastatingly honest. “It still scares me to this day,” he admits. “It’s still scary to perform them, because you’ve got to revisit the same stuff. It’s important, though,” he concludes. “It helped me find meaning in a few things that didn’t seem like they had a meaning at the time.” As a kid, a young Ben Coyle-Larner used to watch hip hop music channel Channel U (now Channel AKA) religiously. “Grime was on the rise for the first time ‘round. My biological dad, and my cousins and that, were all listening to American hip hop, 90s stuff.” It didn’t always connect with him easily, he readily admits. “But when I first started hearing grime, there was this London accent,” he smiles. “Grime is people doing things on their own terms. People saying no to things, the considered approach. People offer you the world, and you go, ‘No, I don’t want it yet.’ Carry that weight. It’s how the grime guys do things, and it’s the only way you can run things, my grandad always taught me that. Only ever do things on your own terms. It’s easier.” Rap, and writing in general, has always been the place where Loyle Carner finds both meaning, and the space for reflection. “People would always say, ‘Ben raps, Ben raps,’” he remembers, looking back. “In the playground we used to have rap battles. It was all just for fun. From when I can remember, I was rapping. I really used to struggle at school with essays, or anything that wasn’t creative writing, but creative writing I could do all day,” he says. “It didn’t feel like work to me, so I used to go above and beyond. But yeah, it was either rap or be killed. Everyone I know from when I was young at primary school rapped until they left secondary school. Or at least had a 16 of verse,” he adds. “It’s just what we did. Chill, have a beer, load up a beat.” “I’m very impulsive with writing,” he continues. “I get a chance to think about what I’m going to say. Me writing words and poems and whatnot is the only time I have
There are so many musical talents, crossing all genres, coming out of South London at the moment. What’s the secret? “It’s the Morley’s chicken. I’m actually trying to eat less chicken and chips, because you don’t know where the chicken comes from, but yeah it is. It must be. There it is, man.”
LET’S GET COOKING Because he’s an all round top guy, Loyle Carner runs a pun-filled cookery class in his spare time for kids with ADHD called Chili Con Carner. With this in mind, we asked him to share his favourite recipe. It sounds delicious, FYI. “At the moment I’m cooking the Italian equivalent of a roast. You make a simple tomato sauce – a puttanesca sauce – with some garlic and oil, some chopped tomatoes, and fry it off. There’s herbs, basil, couple of sun-dried tomatoes, finely, finely diced. That’s about it. Dash of balsamic vinegar, a bit of red wine, and just leave that for ages. Take loads of cuts of meat – beef chops, beef ribs, sausages, pork, all of it – and put it all in the pot, and let it cook on a low heat, simmer for three hours. Once the meat’s all super tender take it out and put it all on one plate, and cook lots of spaghetti to serve. Your meat juices will infuse the sauce. Not sure what it’s called. For me, it’s just Ben’s Italian roast equivalent.”
space where I can think about what to say, and say the right thing. I always say the wrong thing, like,” he pauses to crack a wide beam, “in interviews. In my songs, I say the right thing, or at least, I say how I really feel. It’s here to clear up all the things I said wrong, or did wrong. I’m going to right this wrong by writing this right,” he says, rounding things off with usual conciseness. As you might perhaps expect, Loyle’s finished debut album is as close-to-home as ever, and rather than dashing off to a swanky Los Angeles studio to work with the next big thing, he’s made a conscious decision to keep things firmly rooted in the UK. He has a simple but effective ethos when it comes to picking out his collaborators, too. “I felt that ‘Yesterday’s Gone’, as my debut, had to be UK, completely,” he agrees. “Everyone on the album, I could call up and have a chat with; a chat that wasn’t about music, per se. A chat that wasn’t about business. I felt like I was just working with friends. Everyone on there is a mate of mine.” DIY
-SPLASH-O-METERe Before focusing on his music, Loyle Carner won a drama scholarship to the BRIT School, the talented so-and-so. e A chance meeting with Kate Tempest on the street led to Loyle embarrassing himself in front of an idol (so he claims, anyway) and then getting a phone call asking him to collab a few days later. The result was ‘Guts’. e Next year, Loyle wants to get a dog, and win his fivea-side league with LCFC. He fancies releasing his debut album as well. It’s out in January.
Filming for Pumarosa’s Titanic spin-off was going well.
Time for the big question - have you actually tried a pumarosa fruit? Isabel: No! I’ve never even tried one. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous. On tour with Glass Animals, we looked at their rider, and it looked like they had pumarosas, but they weren’t. They were just pink fruit things. I think they’re kind of sweet like a fruit, but they look like an elegant appley-pear thing, and they’re bright pink. When they’re in blossom, it’s beautiful. We’ll have to go and play in Central America basically, and then we can maybe do a gig under some pumarosa trees or something.
s far as legend goes, Pumarosa probably take this year’s unofficial biscuit. The group first formed when they piled into a beat-up van together on a total whim, driving off to set up musical camp at an eccentric Italian bloke’s dilapidated cinema the other side of Europe. As you do. Taking up a residency at Palma Violets’ infamous 180 HQ on their return - slap-bang in the middle of a “super wild, young and drunk” rabble making a right racket in Lambeth - Pumarosa set about concocting their strange, ritualistic rock music with meticulous precision. Fast-forward to 2016, and Isabel Munoz-Newsome is still fresh from the band’s latest pinch-yourself moment; a sell-out show at the cavernous arches of London’s Village Underground. “We loved it,” the mallet-wielding frontwoman enthuses, still recovering from the rammed-to-the-rafters live affair. “It was quite a lot of pressure, I s’pose,” she admits, “because it’s our first really big show. It was quite shocking that there were so many people there. I was not confident about that happening!” she hoots. “That’s probably not the right thing to say, but it’s true.”
Steaming towards destination debut, Pumarosa’s journey so far has taken them to derelict Italian cinemas, on Stateside jaunts, into the studio with Dan Carey, and, er, living in a yurt. Words: El Hunt.
-SPLASH-O-METERe Taking to DIY’s Hello 2016 gig at The Old Blue Last at the very beginning of this year, Pumarosa stood out as one of the slickest new bands around. e That polish has taken a while to hone, mind . “At points in the gig, I was like, ‘Oh no, this isn’t going to happen!’” laughs Isabel, looking back on a chaotic but ace show at London’s ICA. “Fucking hell!” e They’ll be making yet another splash with yet another massive single early next year, along with that hotly-awaited debut of theirs.
Massive rooms like this - y’know, rooms with actual walls and stuff - are certainly a far cry from Pumarosa’s favoured surroundings. Fittingly for a band that bleeds hypnotic tinges of dance music with grating, abrasive noise without a second thought, Isabel and Pumarosa’s other founding member Nicholas Owen met the rest of their tight-knit band when they were living in - or rather, on top of - a Manor House warehouse. “We ended up living on a roof, in a yurt,” starts Isabel, casually. “It was beautiful, and it wasn’t even cold,” she adds cheerily, “we just had a little heater.” Bear Grylls, eat your heart out, Pumarosa’s passion for The Great Outdoors was not without its hazards, Isabel concedes. “One night we were asleep and we suddenly just heard someone climbing up onto the roof and we thought ‘this is it, this is the end,’” she says, a hint of drama in her voice. “Nick suddenly jumped out and grabbed a piece of wood, because someone was trying to get in. Anyway, it was just this guy that was tripping,” she sniggers. “A sweet, very harmless, very dangly-eyed guy.” After giving just a few early glimpses - in the shape of ‘Priestess’, ‘Cecile’ and ‘Honey’ - Pumarosa have already nailed the kind of distinctive, unmistakable hallmark sound many bands spend years shooting for. And in the process of wrapping up their album with production maestro Dan Carey, the band aren’t honing in on polished perfection. Rather, they’re aiming to bottle their potent live energy into their first full-length, and slap the here and now onto black wax. “Usually all at the same time, we feel when a take is good,” Isabel says. ‘We just all know it, and we respect that more than getting a melody utterly perfect, or whatever. You have to be super open and impulsive at the same time, but doing it like that, you can get a perfection of a kind,” she adds, “but not Mozart style. It’s more of a vibey thing.” DIY 33
“Every song has a characteristic that I
sincerely dedicated to.”
Ben Gregory making
Proving themselves a band constantly evolving, this Hampshire trio are heading into the new year ready to take listeners on a journey. Words: Will Richards. Photo: Emma Swann.
e played the show of our lives,” Ben Gregory begins, talking about his band’s biggest headline show yet, at a sold-out Scala in London. The Blaenavon frontman is currently enjoying a few days of downtime, sandwiched between the band’s two biggest moments to date. A good time to reflect on a madcap year. “We’d been touring for about six weeks building up to it and that was the pièce de resistance. So many of our friends came from all over the country to see us, and we packed the room out with kids going crazy.” But looking back is far from Ben’s mind. He and his bandmates - bassist Frank Wright and drummer Harris McMillan - have eyes fixed firmly on 2017, and the release of their debut album. “You can offer people a slight insight into what you do through your EPs and your live show,” he says, “but your debut
album is such a bold statement, and because it’s been so long for us, it’s massively significant.” It’s one which Ben believes is “the moment when you become a ‘proper band.’ I’ll feel like we’re a proper band with that LP in our hands.” The three singles showcased from the album so far show a darker, more sinister turn, and the slow but steady drift away from the indie-pop of 2013 debut EP ‘KOSO’ has been a deliberate move from the trio. “With our old EPs, though we’re very proud of them, if we’d released a full-length album of that style and songwriting standard, we’d have had a bit of hype for a while and then been quickly disregarded,” Ben ponders, believing an album that flows between styles and states will allow the band to “not be pigeonholed by our debut album later in our career.” “We were very much a teenage indie band, and I’m very glad
Blaenavon are all dreamboats, are you jelly?
we’ve taken our time about it, because now we’ve made something that’s very broad and diverse and rich, with lots of different sentiments and emotions,” he says. The trio ended the writing sessions for their upcoming LP with over a hundred songs in the mix. Ben says those that made the final cut did so because they make “a nice emotional journey. Every song has a characteristic that I feel sincerely dedicated to, and the album’s a really nice journey that you swim through.” “‘Swans’, a song on the record, was written back in 2011 when I was basically a child,” he explains, “and it’s refreshing to revisit my old songwriting and see that it wasn’t hiding behind any kind of barriers. I don’t want to do my former self any disservice by revisiting these songs and re-writing every lyric, which is strange because it’s what some of my idols have done.” He cites an old demo tape of Elliott Smith’s, with identical melodies and structure to his later, most successful songs, but with vastly different lyrics. “Maybe I’ll end up doing that too, one day,” he wonders, “but for now, I wanted to be faithful to the way I was feeling when I originally wrote these songs five years ago.” New singles ‘Let’s Pray’ and ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ show Blaenavon as a band constantly adapting and evolving, and Ben consistently refers to the album as a “trip” and a “journey”, front loaded with sugary indie pop, revealing a darker, more twisted side in its second half. “It was a deliberate decision to be bolder and darker,” he says. That said, repeating the phrase “let’s pray for death” over and over might be considered a bit overbearing. “I added in the lyric ‘pray for Ben my mopey friend’ to let a bit of light and humour in.” DIY
-SPLASH-O-METERe The band started while all three were still at school, juggling new tracks with exams, only getting serious once they’d left. e 2016’s festivals were massive for the band, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the weekend to Latitude’s Lake Stage. e With album one not even out yet, work on its follow-up is in full swing, with ninety(!) songs in the bag. 35
:declan mckenna “I
Fearless with putting his politics forward and a sucker for crowdsurfing, calling 17 year old Declan McKenna “gutsy” would be a massive understatement. Words: Jamie Milton. Photos: Emma Swann.
f you can’t walk then run!” declares Declan McKenna on recent single ‘Isombard’. This call to arms acts as an appropriate mantra for the 17-year-old. Picked up as Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent winner last year with nothing but a loop pedal and some scrappy halffinished songs by his side, this unknown entity was then whisked off, placed centre stage and encouraged to become a star. And boy, did he embrace the challenge. One year later, he’s racing past a frazzled Jools Holland and pacing towards BBC cameras while sporting a striking ‘GIVE 17 YEAR OLDS THE VOTE’ t-shirt. In no time at all, Declan’s gone from a shy prospect just out of school, to an all-out fearless performer. “I can’t go on national TV in the UK on a show I’ve been watching forever and just play a song,” he says like it’s no big deal, a couple of months on from a telly performance that certified his imminent stardom. He was close to wearing a ‘KEEP THE HUNTING BAN’ tee instead, but he settled on campaigning for the youth vote. “17 year olds should get the vote,” he
states firmly. “And 16 year olds. But one step at a time, right?” He’s never seen himself as a bold and brazen social activist, mind you. Instead, he insists he’s simply reflecting the conversations he has with mates back home. “I can’t really think of any friends who wouldn’t vote, if they had the opportunity to,” he states. “There is an issue with younger people maybe not feeling as invested in voting as older people. Maybe they don’t realise the genuine effect one party to another could have. A lot of people don’t have faith in any parties. At the minute I’m more so like that than ever. But I still see the importance of voting, even to stop another party who I don’t like. No names mentioned,” he grins. Even when addressing his own life, Declan doesn’t beat around the bush. You’d wage that he’s never told a white lie in his life. Last year, he was proclaimed a guaranteed star, signing a big-money major label deal within a couple of months of rising to prominence with anti-FIFA single ‘Brazil’. But he’s unafraid of admitting 2015
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AN AMERICAN TRUCK SHOP
To combat endless days on the road, Declan and his band have developed an expensive habit. “We stop at truck stops and buy weird items of clothing,” he laughs. Fair enough. “You’ve gotta look for those five dollar logo shirts. That’s a coping mechanism. But it is dangerous. You can spend a lot more money than you want to at a truck stop. I got one of those studded diamante ‘America’ hats. The American truck stop is one of the greatest things.”
wasn’t the rosiest of years. “There was a lot of pressure on me, I couldn’t really perform,” he says, addressing early gigs where he played without a backing band. “I didn’t really think any of the shows sounded good. I’d do it and then go off stage. I feel like I’m a performer. I’ve always been into performing, since I was young - I always did drama - and I like being able to do that. Before, it was just me standing still, having to focus on all these things happening, and it didn’t really sound that great anyway. That’s me being honest about it.” In January this year, he finally put together a full band. They’ve since toured the world, forming a tight-knit bond along the way. “And I feel like we’re improving with every show,” he beams. He’s also made progress on a full-length, recorded with James Ford. “It’s almost been like me figuring out what I’d do differently next!” he laughs, again incapable of sugar-coating an experience. “For the next one, I’d want a period of time where I properly work on an album. Because I managed to spread out this process over two years, which I never intended to do. The songs are vastly different, but I’m kind of OK with that.” Peer closer at this year’s Class of..., and there’s a host of young, exciting acts incapable of putting their values and politics to one side. Loyle Carner tackles family values with serious lyrical depth. Jorja Smith’s debut track took aim at police brutality. And across a couple of years, Declan’s music has explored corruption, backwards-thinking religion, teen suicide and sexual identity. “People don’t want some stale song about something they can’t even relate to, because they’re not old enough to get into a club,” he jokes. “They wanna hear something they can engage with and get rallied up about. There are a lot of things people want to speak about. And to see it being put into art as much now as it was, dare I say, in 1978 - that’s an amazing thing for music and for politics and for young people.” DIY
e Aged 15, he appeared on Sky News to chat about ‘Brazil’ and the scorching hot topic of Sepp Blatter and corruption within FIFA. He’s the next Robert Peston, if you ask us.
e Right after winning Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition, he signed to Columbia. No pressure mate... e This year’s ‘Isombard’ single scoops our wholly unofficial award for ‘song on the FIFA 17 Soundtrack that sounds best when you score a great goal.’
22.12.16 UT SOLD O CARDIFF MOTORPOINT ARENA
BILLY BRAGG & JOE HENRY
16.01.17 UT SOLD O LONDON UNION CHAPEL
25.01.17 THE CAMDEN ASSEMBLY
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01.02.2017 GLASGOW BROADCAST 04.02.2017 MANCHESTER SOUP KITCHEN 08.02.2017 BRISTOL EXCHANGE
FUFANU 22.02.17 LONDON KAMIO @ RED GALLERY
ELBOW 01.03.17 & 02.03.17 BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY UT SOLD O 04.03.17, 05.03.17 & 06.03.17 LONDON HAMMERSMITH EVENTIM APOLLO
08.03.17 BOURNEMOUTH BIC 09.03.17 PLYMOUTH PAVILIONS 10.03.17 UT SOLD O NEWPORT CENTRE
T T T T 11.03.17 08.03.17, 09.03.17, 10.03.17, SOLD OU SOLD OU SOLD OU SOLD OU T T T 13.03.17, 14.03.17 & 15.03.17 SOLD OU SOLD OU SOLD OU
LONDON O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON
HIGHLY SUSPECT 04.03.17 GLASGOW ST. LUKES
06.03.17 O2 INSTITUTE2 BIRMINGHAM 07.03.17 MANCHESTER SOUND CONTROL 09.03.17 LONDON KOKO
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15.02.17 LONDON OMEARA
03.05.17 LONDON HEAVEN
11.12.2016 MANCHESTER ACADEMY 1 14.12.16 UT SOLD O LONDON O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON 15.12.16 O2 INSTITUTE BIRMINGHAM
DEC - MAY
GIRLI channels Britney’s ‘Everytime’ video, with an added splat of neon pink.
-SPLASH-O-METERe Back in January 2016, GIRLI whipped up a real frenzy at our Hello 2016 shows, quite literally chucking tampons in the air and dancing around the Old Blue Last. e She released the furious ‘Girls Get Angry Too’, proving that no one gets away with the line ‘sassy songstress’ and doesn’t love to regret it. e In between making mew music, she found time to continue GIRLI FM, aka “the greatest, the sickest, the GIRLIest, the best radio show around!” 40 diymag.com 40 diymag.com
peaking to GIRLI just days after Donald Trump’s US election victory, it’s clear there’s a bit of an anger hangover. “I feel like the last couple of months have just shown how all over the world the baby boomers have been fucking over young people with Brexit and Donald Trump,” she starts up, before setting her sights a bit closer to home. “It’s just so fucking expensive. London is amazing to live in but in a couple of years, when my friends and I would like to just live there, without our parents, how the fuck do we do that?”
“The world is so fucked right now,” GIRLI says plainly, “I feel like 2017 has to be better because 2016 has sucked balls.” Words: Alim Kheraj. Photo: Mike Massaro.
was gonna be just another politically correct, quiet, little conservative girl and I’m not’,” she says, before shifting her stance on the quieter offerings in life. “I probably would do a ballad, though. Not a Westlife ballad, but I’ve definitely written songs that are emotional.”
Likewise, the monstrously abrasive ‘Girls Get Angry Too’ is the 18-year-old’s fuck you to gender stereotypes, conformity and the ridiculousness of how women are treated in modern society. “I think it’s alright to make music that doesn’t Given that GIRLI - real make a massive name Milly Toomey - is point, but I feel 18 years old, these are that if you get legitimate worries. But somewhere she isn’t about to just where you’re let it wash over her: in fact, chaos is known it’s your social responsibility inherent to GIRLI’s ethos. “I love the idea to raise awareness of things that are of shaking things up a bit,” she admits, important. Any time you’re going to say “For me, the way I make music and the something divisive, you’re gonna get shows I put on are all chaotic. It’s how hate. But I think the world is too fucked I like it.” to care about stuff like that anymore now. Fuck the haterz!” Citing artists like The Slits and Poly Styrene for awakening While she insists her music is grounded her to an alternative way of in self-experience, underneath thinking, she’s hell bent on the glitchy electronics and brash deconstructing expectations. production, GIRLI is a pop star Starting her musical concerned with society writ large. “One offensive last year with thing the internet has helped with, is ‘So You Think You Can that you’re not aware of reality,” she Fuck With Me Do Ya’, declares. “With the US election and GIRLI’s humour was Brexit our reality was completely wrong. prevalent from the off. It’s scary because you think, ‘Oh fuck! Purposefully opening Everyone I know could be completely the song with a singopen and great, but I don’t know what song-y intro, within 30 the world is anymore.’ It’s weird.” seconds she’s shouting, ‘You thought I was Uncertainty is, of course, just one part gonna do a ballad? of being young, and 2017 is sure to Never!’ hold more of it. New songs like ‘Find My Friends’, ‘Catcall’ and ‘Fuck Right Back “The point of the Off to L.A.’ are just further explorations line in that song into the concerns and world of GIRLI. And is to be like, if that fails? “Maybe I’ll do a full Westlife ‘You thought I covers album,” she laughs. DIY
“The way I make music and the shows I put on
are all chaotic.”
mad on Twitter.” -
“We’re fucking Brad Mullins making
:trudy and the romance
Explosive tracks, one legal wrangle and a heck of a lot of gigs: the doo-wop loving rockers look forward to a bumper 2017. Words: Eugenie Johnson. Photo: Mike Massaro.
t was a very good year,” bassist Lewis Rollinson begins. In 2016 Trudy and the Romance followed up their debut single ‘Behave’ - produced by Spring King’s Tarek Musa, no less - with a string of thunderous tracks. They upped the ante with fiery, adrenaline-fuelled slices of their patented “mutant 50s pop,” including the incendiary cut ‘Wild’ and brooding ‘My Baby’s Gone Away.’ It’s a year that’s proved there’s a heck of a lot more to the trio than just doe-eyed doo-wop. But as lead singer Oliver Taylor points out, “it’s been a really weird year actually, because we’ve just gigged a lot more really!” The band have just rounded off a jaunt around the country with The Big Moon, which is the cherry on the cake for their touring schedule. Lewis cites playing at Gold Sounds in Leeds as one of their highlights, as well as their set at The Great Escape in May. The coastal town left a big impression on Oliver. “If we can afford it I think we’re going to live in Brighton,” he says. “I do feel like I’d want to be beside the seaside.” Back then they were known simply as Trudy, but after some
legal wrangles, they were forced to add “and the Romance” to their moniker. Helpfully, it’s a suffix that’s the perfect fit to describe their doo-wop-tinged rock, but surprisingly that’s not always how things begin. “We start off where the tracks sound quite different and quite niche and then we make it more poppy as we go. It’s a weird one,” Oliver explains. “It all starts quite lo-fi and with a B-movie vibe to it, and it’s kind of trashy and odd. Then we kind of rein it in a bit. That’s where it gets the quirk from.” Their latest track ‘Sandman’ is a blustery number that typifies that off-the-wall edge, echoing The Cordettes’ 1954 classic ‘Mr Sandman’ in its call-and-response structure, albeit smothered in ramshackle guitars and fevered vocals. Nevertheless, its roots do partially lie with the sound of classic girl groups. “It was inspired by 60s groups like The Shirelles and The Ronettes,” Oliver says. Producing the track helped the trio consolidate their sound, and offers a taste of what to expect from them in 2017. “I think everything came together then, because it was the sound that we wanted to move forward with as a band. It was a big step for us,” Oliver explains. “We’ve actually started to realise that we can do an album.” But if you think they couldn’t get any rougher around the edges,
e At DIY’s very own The Great Escape gig in May 2016, Oliver Taylor managed to play his guitar so violently he drew actual blood. Calm down, pal! e They’ve already hit the road with our faves The Big Moon this year. What a line-up. e There are deep divisions in the band when it comes to pets. “Olly’s a cat guy, Lew’s a cat guy and I’m a dog guy... what about you?” says Brad. Blimey.
think again: “We maybe want to be a bit more ramshackle. You get tempted to rein it in a bit for radio and things and then realise that’s a bit daft.” Holding back definitely isn’t on the cards for Trudy, so unsurprisingly they’ve got some pretty ambitious goals for next year. “We want to go to Texas and we want to release an album and an EP,” says Oliver. “We want to make loads of music videos and do a few dates around Europe, that’d be cool. And doing more headline shows!” Lewis confirms that that the EP is already in the works: “We’re going to start recording it at some point soon.” One thing that isn’t on the cards anytime soon is changing their personality-filled Twitter
presence. As drummer Brad Mullins eloquently puts it. “We’re fucking mad on Twitter.” “I like being silly on it and not taking it too seriously,” Lewis chips in. Apparently, their antics on social media have gained them a few high profile fans: they’ve allegedly had interest from Chloë Grace Moretz, Abbey Clancy and Tay Zonday. You know, the guy who did ‘Chocolate Rain’ on YouTube. Lewis is particularly proud of that one. Not that the group really cares for the attention. “We keep getting these big Hollywood names but we don’t care,” says Oliver. “We just keep blocking them!” Lewis adds. Let’s be honest; when you’ve got a sound as gloriously bombastic as Trudy and the Romance, you probably don’t need the support of the ‘Chocolate Rain’ guy anyway... DIY 43
“I have too many expectations.”
Jorja Smith’s concocting another helping of ‘sure-fire hit’ potion as we speak.
MOBO-nominated for her debut track, from Walsall-via-London, Jorja is already one of 2017’s dead-cert stars, adored by the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Stormzy. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Emma Swann.
his time last year, Jorja Smith had one outright fan - her dad. Before turning heads this past January with ‘Blue Lights’, outside of industry know-it-alls, he was the only one who’d heard her debut track. “I wrote that song back in Walsall, played it to him, he really liked it, and then I went to bed,” she remembers, matter-of-factly. Little did she know what was coming next.
e Jorja likes to keep things old school. On recent song ‘A Prince’, she reinterpreted a Henry Purcell composition that dates back to the 17th century. Blimey. e Back in June, she was handpicked by Disclosure to play Wild Life. Not bad for a first festival slot. e ‘Blue Lights’ was then nominated for the Best Song MOBO, losing out to Abra Cadraba at a November ceremony. Chances are that won’t be her last shot at a big gong.
Sampling and reinterpreting Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Sirens’, ‘Blue Lights’ is one hell of an opening statement. It flips the subject of police brutality on its head: an accompanying video takes the perspective of both sides - someone targeted, and someone working in the force itself. And it’s led by Jorja’s rich vocal, flooring and completely untampered by effects. The song was nominated for a MOBO earlier this year, and Dizzee’s already declared himself a big fan (just as well, really). “I didn’t think it would explode as much as it did,” she says. Stormzy has also been quick to heap praise on the 19-year-old, who remains tight-lipped on whether a debut will see the light of day in 2017. First, she’s seeing in the year with ‘Project 11’, an EP that showcases the range of her potential. Stand-out ‘Something In The Way’ is an old school, soul-infused eureka moment. Without putting too much on her shoulders, at times it’s reminiscent of her hero, Amy Winehouse, and the way she’d effortlessly glide between audacious notes. Amy’s ‘Frank’ is Jorja’s favourite album of all
time, and once she gets a record player, that’s the first record she’s purchasing on vinyl. “She had no other choice. [Music] was her outlet. There was no other way,” she remembers. For the time being, there’s no stepby-step plan for 2017. “I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions,” she claims, although that’s only because she makes up new goals every day; “I have too many expectations.” But she looks sure to follow ‘Blue Lights’’ high standard. Recent song ‘Imperfect Circle’ is similarly forthright in taking on big topics, and Jorja says it’s hard not to be inspired politically as a songwriter. “I’m an observer,” she says. “I’m writing about what I’m seeing and what’s going on. Everyone interprets things differently, but everywhere you look - on social media - it’s all politics. It’s hard to escape from being political because it’s in your face. 2016 hasn’t been all bad. But because of social media, it’s easy for the bad to be visible. We see a lot more of it now. And it gets to us a lot quicker.” For all the plaudits, big-name fans and insider hype, Jorja doesn’t seem remotely fazed. “Next year I’m looking forward to making more music, putting it out and letting people feel something,” she says. What she loves about songwriting is how someone can approach her in person and say “‘This song makes me feel like this’”, individuals drawing their own interpretations from her music. “That’s all I want, to be honest.” DIY 45
This riotous Brighton bunch are swapping brawn for brains, and opening a dialogue on the darker corners of their psyche in the process. Words: Tom Connick. Photos: Mike Massaro.
harging out from the stormiest of Brighton’s seas, Abattoir Blues’ earliest days were ruled by riotous behaviour. A flurry of snarling early tracks - thrashed out in their home studio and cast out on compilations - paved the way for their numerous road miles. As they dragged their sweat-drenched, captivating live show across the country, they notched up dates alongside everyone from grime wunderkind Elf Kid to The Big Moon. Debut single proper ‘Sense’ was the heel-turn moment.
2017. They’ve curbed the boozing they were fearful of getting pigeonholed with – “When we realised we actually wanted to make a statement, we didn’t want the statement to be ‘getting fucked’,” admits vocalist Harry Waugh – and they’re venturing out of the seaside home studio they share with members of The Magic Gang, too. Harry’s eyeing up a new pad, complete with a “retreat” they can all hole up to fine-tune their piles of new material. “When you’re starting out, the fact that recording is so accessible is obviously really good,” George admits, “but it comes to a point where you need to try and be a bit more ambitious with it.”
big stigma around depression that “There is a
people need to lift.” Harry Waugh
“The songwriting has definitely become more considered, and I think we’ve all generally just become better musicians,” says guitarist George Boorman. “We do spend longer on the songs now than we used to… which is definitely a good thing.” Bassist Ed Williams agrees. “I think we all just used to want to get it finished, as well,” he shrugs. “That was more important than getting it right – that’s definitely changed.” Trading caterwauling anger for something more pensive, ‘Sense’ is indicative of the reborn Abattoir Blues who are eyeing up
Ambition spurs the five of them on as they head towards a new year. Completed by guitarist Sam Pitman and Scott Kennedy and huddled around a pub garden bench as winter descends, they’re a comic bunch – a world away from those furrowed-brow, on-stage spectres. Scott prompts peels of laughter as he emphasises his GarageBand “side-project”. “Bits of it go from country and bhangra, into garage and stuff,” explains an
-SPLASHO-METERe When recording ‘Sense’, they swapped their home studio for time with Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell, recording almost everything live to capture the spirit of their shows. “We were worried about him getting the vibe,” admits Harry, “but he straight away knew what we wanted.” e Harry and George co-run Brighton collective Echochamp, putting on shows and releasing exciting first works from the likes of Beachtape, Manuka Honeys, Sulky Boy, Posture and more. e Scott’s got some slightly leftfield future plans for the Blues. “The plan is to get as many musicians in as possible. Trying to get a crossover of West Indian soundsystem culture with like post-punk,” he states without so much as a cracked smile. “So we have like a carnival – big vans with fuck off speakers. That’s what 2017’s gonna be, that’s what we’re gonna introduce. We’ve been working on it for a year. Soundsystem culture and punk. It’s done now, we just can’t put it out yet.”
exasperated Harry. “In a year it’ll be big,” Scott assures. “For some people it clicks, but for others it takes time.” “It’ll get unearthed in years,” Harry smiles, Ed backing him up. “They’ll be like, ‘Yeah, they were right.’” Their mutual support for each other’s oddities is clear, not least through ‘Sense’’s open-wound depiction of Harry’s struggles with depression. It’s something they’re collectively keen to speak out on. “I think it’s an important thing, if you feel able to, to share it. It’s quite clear from watching the band that I’m quite… unstable, mentally,” Harry admits with a nervous laugh. “There is a big stigma around depression that people need to lift, and writing songs about it definitely helps. Everyone has to help encourage the debate, and traditionally art and music have played a role in doing that.” “Even though we may have been painted as a ‘laddy’ band, we do care about stuff, and we do care about each other, and we do care about other people,” George insists. “It’s not just about getting fucked, or whatever – we do want people to raise awareness of certain things, and engage people emotionally but also intellectually at the same
time.” Looking to the future, the ragtag bunch clearly feel much more comfortable in their collective skin – “I understand depression and myself a lot more than I did when I wrote those lyrics,” Harry admits, noting that the line-up has changed almost entirely since he first put them to paper. “Harry’s the Axl Rose,” states Ed with a giggle. Now that they’ve put in the graft, they’ve got big plans too. “Supporting U2” is top of Scott’s list, while Ed pins the “Oasis reunion” as his ideal support slot. “I’m glad that we’ve managed to find a voice musically and lyrically before we’re at a point where we’re getting put forward to more people,” states George on a more serious note, before Ed brings it all tumbling back down – “No one’s seen us be really shit!” “Yeah,” Harry smiles, “every shit gig we played was just to our mates.” DIY
Oi, Pixx! Wrong photoshoot! You’re on the next page, silly…
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT MYTICKET.CO.UK 49
:pixx 50 diymag.com
This self-professed â€œover-thinkerâ€? writes complex, imaginative pop that explores just how ridiculous human beings really are. Words: Jamie Milton. Photos: Mike Massaro.
ixx likes to poke fun at her own thoughts. Everything she says is interrupted with a selfknowing chuckle. She proudly boasts about how she’s jammily winning her Fantasy Football league (“I put my team up in August and I haven’t changed it!”). She has no problem declaring the foundations of her imminent debut album somewhat “psychotic”.
often angry about something.”
“I was quite
-SPLASH-O-METERe Before starting Pixx, Hannah studied at the BRIT School, learning the ropes a few miles away from where she grew up. e After releasing ‘Fall In’, she toured the UK with Daughter. And this past summer, she played one of the standout sets on Latitude’s Lake Stage. e Alongside single ‘Grip’, she released a gravity-defying video where she clings on to objects in the middle of a hurricane. “The day after I just couldn’t move. I felt like Stretch Armstrong.”
“On these songs, I’m kind of talking to myself as somebody else,” she expands. Not really psychotic, then. More just curious about what other people do and how they think. Real name Hannah Rodgers, Pixx has always had an eye for the strange. She grew up in Chipstead, Surrey, a world away from the hectic schedule of London. A lot of the time, she only has herself for company. Sometimes, she confesses, she has a habit of following dog walkers so she can take a closer look at canines in all their resplendence. Yeah, bit weird. But she’s not the only one. “As people, we are kind of ridiculous, aren’t we?” she laughs. Her yet-to-beannounced first work looks set to explore the more peculiar sides of humanity. “I’m definitely an over-thinker. If I look at something for too long I’ll go crazy. I do like thinking about other people, [because] most of the time you’ll never see them again.” After signing to 4AD, Pixx has been given licence to explore her eccentricities. Songs like the pop-leaning ‘Grip’ and the forest-dwelling ‘Baboo’ exist somewhere between everyday consciousness and an alternate state. They’re both escapist and rooted in real life - because on closer inspection, real life tends to be weirder than what the wildest imaginations conjure up. “A lot of these songs are written about a depressing few years,” she says. “Politically and environmentally, especially. I mean maybe it’s not worse than ever. I’m just more aware of these things and wasn’t until the last few years.” She’s speaking having just watched Adam Curtis’ ‘Hypernormalisation’ documentary, an abstract three-hour film that isn’t exactly laugh-a-minute. “I think that’s sent me a bit more loopy. It is a real shocker. It’s a hard-hitter,” she laughs, wryly. “When I was writing the album, I was quite often angry about something. Not something inflicting upon me, but just things I was seeing. Thinking, ‘This is ludicrous!’ Obviously, I’m a feminist, as everyone should be. There’s a few songs I’ve written from that perspective.” On 2015 debut EP ‘Fall In’, Pixx wound complex, floaty guitar lines around stark observations. Her songs always threaten to drift away into nothingness, but there’s a sharp pop thread gluing everything together. It’s a side that’s been exposed more recently through ‘Grip’, which borders on the stratospheric. In fact, it has plenty in common with recent tour buddies Glass Animals. “Those dates were great. I mean I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get a pineapple,” she jokes, looking back on the October tour. “It was also great to be in a support slot and to see people going for it.” 2017 will see her going beyond a supporting role. That debut full-length is being given finishing touches, and it looks set to come out in the first half of next year. “It’s all feeling very real now,” she says, nervously. “It’s drawing close! I’m just so buzzed to have a whole album out and be able to have more than a few songs online.” With an eye for the odd, Pixx is already inhabiting a world of her own. Now she’s on the brink of opening the doors, allowing others to peer in. DIY
Life’s a beach for Diet Cig.
Turning negative experiences into catharsis, and getting possessed by a rock ‘n’ roll ghost in the process, this New Paltz duo are seizing back the power. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Drew Reynolds.
urrounded by multiple cats and the remnants of an eggy breakfast (served ‘Over Easy’ style in the spirit of their debut EP, natch) Diet Cig are finally back in their villagey New Paltz hometown after a non-stop year of high-kicking their way around the world. Today, they’re at a pal’s studio, in the middle of putting the finishing touches to their debut album. It’d be understandable to find Alex Luciano particularly a bit worn out; over the last 12 months she’s found herself morphing into a guitar-wielding Tigger, leaping around in a manner that defies physics, and soaring towards the sweat-coated ceilings of dive bars from Brighton to Kentucky. This band are pop-punk’s own Duracell bunnies, though, and show no such signs of flagging. Chattering at breakneck speed - Alex peppering quieter bandmate Noah Bowman’s sentences with dramatic whispers and well-timed exclamations - Diet Cig are full with all the heady, pinch-me-to-checkit’s-not-a-dream momentum of a band taking over the world.
just want to dust off their own demons. They want to help oust yours, too. “We’re just trying to create a safe space,” says Noah. “A place you can go and let your guard down, and feel like you’re in this big group of people who are maybe feeling the same things you’re feeling.” As they zoom towards debut record land, Diet Cig’s songs have taken a “more emotional” turn. Both Alex and Noah are especially proud of one newer song, which they’ve been airing live this year with raucous results. Informally referred to as ‘Skirt’ by Diet Cig’s fans (it’s actually called ‘Tummy Ache’, confirms Noah) it bottles up all of Alex’s dilemmas as she grapples with the idea of “radical softness” in the world of punk. And, in the light of the very real threats facing marginalised folk in the States with Donald Trump as president, radical softness, and supporting one another, has become ever more vital. “It has a message which is really important to me and other femme people,” Alex explains. “It’s biting back from a place of sexism in the music industry, and dealing with trying to be punk, hard and tough, but also being soft and empathetic. It’s really hard to be seen as a soft person in punk,” she points out, “even though being soft is actually so much harder and more radical.”
“We wanna make people
forget they’re sad for a minute.” Alex Luciano
“I’m probably one of the least agile, flexible people I know,” snorts Alex, pondering her slightly disarming ability to jump the height of a small car while midguitar solo. “I feel like a rock ‘n’ roll ghost just takes over me and it’s a blackout.” Rock ‘n’ roll ghosts feature frequently in Diet Cig, incidentally. Along with apparently possessing the band’s frontwoman at live shows, spectres from the past frequently find themselves viciously exorcised on record, too. ‘Harvard’ sees Alex laying into a boring ex who’s shacked up with an even more tiresome “Ivy League girlfriend”, while ‘Dinner Date’ takes aim at a lame evening filled with dry conversation, and even drier turkey dinner. As Alex puts it, she’s bundling up all the shitty people who crossed her in the past, and getting the sweetest revenge possible. “I’m a very positive person,” she starts. “I’m not the kind of person who wears my heart on my sleeve in regular conversation. I never really told a lot of these people that the way they treated me was upsetting or bad, but I could kind of say it through these songs,” she explains. “Getting to play them all the time is very cathartic,” she nods, “and it kind of puts meaning into those experiences. It’s a cool way I’ve taken them back. ‘OK, you treated me badly, but now I’ve written this song about it, and now I get to turn it into the best thing in my life.’” Collectively seizing back the power, Diet Cig don’t
“Punk is just seen as so angry,” she reasons. “It’s hard to show that it is so much more important to be radically soft, and hold people close, and get your point across – and not in a testosterone-fuelled angry way.” Looking ahead to 2017, Diet Cig “wanna make people forget they’re sad for a minute.” They’ve also got that first album of theirs to crack on with. “We’re in the mixing stage now,” beams Noah, “so we’re so close to the end. We see the light! We’ve been working since the beginning of October, and every day we get a little bit closer. It’s looking like the spring of 2017,” he adds, Alex chipping in with one of her customary gasps. “So exciting!” DIY
-SPLASH-O-METERe Diet Cig first met when Alex Luciano interrupted Noah Bowman’s band mid-set to ask him for a lighter. Not the best gig etiquette, Alex, but we’re glad you did it. e The band chose to blast, erm, John Mayer in their tour van during a massive road-trip across the US earlier this year. e On their first ever run of shows in the UK, Alex almost broke through the ceiling of Brighton’s Hope & Ruin. She’s got quite the high-jump on her. 53
:eat fast a
This Newcastle-based bunch aren’t hanging about. With two albums’ worth of fuzz-pop bangers in the bank, they’re charging ahead. Words: Tom Connick. Photo: Emma Swann.
oaming the streets of Newcastle with a flagrant disregard for their livers, Eat Fast are a gang. Like all the best, they’ve got a headquarters, too. “We all work in the same pub,” frontman and songwriter supreme Adam Pearson tells us. “It’s kind of a blessing, really.”
Between serving the drunken masses, the four-piece - completed by bassist Mark Brown, guitarist John Edgar and drummer James King - have been not-so-quietly racing to the top of the pack, one blown-out, punk-pop hit after another. New single ‘Public Display Of Affection’ is the perfect indicator of their fuzz-bomb frivolity – “on the radgy side, but within that pop song remit!” laughs Adam. That North East slang term for the more deranged side of life feels best placed for
A few weeks on and Eat Fast still can’t find that iPhone cable.
RADGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Eat Fast decided to deal with US election night the same way as most – drowning their sorrows. Only this lot decided to do it with rounds of ladyboys – that’s a Baileys, G&T and a pint of lager, in one. As you do. “Fuckin’ horrible,” admits Adam, “I might as well have poured two pints of sick. It tasted the way it comes back out, fuckin’ awful.” Eat Fast’s approach. Ditching a fully-funded poetry PhD which saw him invest a little too much in “death, and… a load of goth stuff” to the detriment of his health, after writing just one chapter of his thesis Adam hurled himself into penning track after track. “I feel like I’m mature enough now to be able to write all the songs that I’ve always wanted to listen to,” he admits. “I feel like I could work today, and write a tune that I want to listen to. I think that’s the best way to write – just write a song that you would love to dance to, or headbang to.” Churning out new material whenever inspiration struck, their debut album’s been written and scrappily recorded since before debut track ‘Byker Drone’ had even seen daylight. The second’s nearly done, to boot. “The record’s gonna come out next year,” says Adam decisively. “We released five songs this year, but I’d have been happier if we’d done ten, or fifteen.”
“I want to write and release as much as possible, so when I’m in my inevitable midlife crisis, I can look back and be like, OK, that’s pretty cool…’” he only half-jokes. “I think I’d rather make songs than babies, so I’m just gonna stick with that.” While Adam emphasises the pop immediacy of Eat Fast’s hooky, sugar rush tunes to date, they’re anything but jolly. ‘Public Display Of Affection’ finds them framing romance around bleak modernity (“If you really love me won’t you fuck me like you hate me / Let’s get married in a corner shop”), while their Instagram account is packed with the crazed, scrawled graffiti of their local area’s more rundown corners. “I’m gonna sound like a proper fuckin’ hippy, but the world is beautiful, it’s just really bleak at times,” he laughs. “Right now, it’s very bleak. Our generation, who’ve had so much fuckin’ shit thrown at us – from recession, to losing election after election – I think that everyone’s got a really good bullshit detector now. I want to write pop songs, I want to write songs about love and things, but I want to do it in a matter-of-fact way which represents how fucked up it can be, as much as wonderful.” “This is all I want to do,” Adam states firmly. “I’ll do it for the rest of my life, even if I have to work in a pub, pulling pints ‘til I’m like 60.” He trails off with an audible grin: “I’d at least hope that I’m a supervisor at that point. Y’know – have a little bit of weight in the place.” DIY
-SPLASHO-METERe Originally called EAT, they were forced to change it after a bunch of 80s crusties with the same band name got the hump. e Their earliest material came masked by mysterious, dayglo artwork in lieu of a band photo. “No press shots because we’re minging”, they told us back in April. Charming. e Their debut tour alongside Honeyblood wasn’t all fun and games – drummer Kingy sat “in human shit in [his] nice coat” halfway through. Probably best not to ask.
:mura masa a
Guernsey upstart turned electronic superhero (roll with it) Alex Crossan is shooting for the stars, with a queue of collaborators - from A.K. Paul to A$AP Rocky - lining up behind him. Words: Grant Rindner.
Mura Masa, mate. Your phoneâ€™s over there. 56 diymag.com
n a galaxy far away, a dormant musical talent stirs on an isolated island, thirsty for creative inspiration. He plays in a handful of bands, but finds his world opened up by the Internet instead, taking on the name of an iconic Japanese swordsmith in the process. He hones a sound that manages to blend bedroom pop with a global palette, where texturised flutes and strings mix with sleek synths and vocal samples chopped and distorted beyond recognition. In short, the origin story of Guernsey’s Mura Masa sounds sort of like the far-fetched fable of how an electronic music superhero might emerge.
“I feel like people yearn for that lonely bedroom sound.”
that’s exchanging emails with Jay Prince to craft the menacing ‘Low,’ or sitting for hours in Shura’s bedroom for their tender collaboration ‘Love For That’. In the case of ‘Love$ick’ - the A$AP Rockybolstered remix of his single ‘Lovesick’ - Mura Masa’s malleability manifested itself in a speedy Abbey Road recording session during the handful of hours Rocky had available in London. “The first thing he said was that it made him feel really tropical, like he was in Ibiza or something and I was like, OK let’s roll with that,’” he remembers. “But then I said to him that it was about being stupid and feeling lovesick and hanging over a girl and he brought that to it as well.”Crossan says. “It was super fun, we hung out, smoked cigarettes, talked about fashion and Tame Impala.”
Now living in London, Alex Crossan is putting the finishing touches – or, as he describes it, “doing the Rick Rubin ‘Yeezus’ thing” - on full-length debut, ‘To Fall Out of Love To’. It Despite the promises to expand raised stakes, on the rich textures Alex has stayed and dynamite true to his roots that fuelled 2015’s e Things got off to a great start for as he works on mesmerising his debut. He Crossan - he managed to bagsy joint ‘Someday rarely writes fifth place on the BBC Sound Of poll Somewhere’ EP; in studios, last year. He shared the spot with which featured preferring to WSTRN and celebrated by eating fellow U.K. upstarts develop his tunes some Mexican with Nao, n’awwwh. Nao and Jay Prince, in the nooks and also showcases e After releasing a slew of tracks and crevices Alex’s unique ability between actual throughout the year, he offered up to inject dashes of recording. “The a rather blistering set at this year’s live instrumentation studio is hailed Latitude. “Mura Masa is doing a fine into his dense as the place job of going for the jugular,” we compositions. where music said, back in July. gets created “I think it comes out e Back in September, he released but really it’s all of an appreciation over the place, another certified banger. This time, for live music,” he it’s in the homes featuring none other than A$AP reasons. “I grew of musicians Rocky! Next on the agenda is a up playing in and on the bus hook-up with A.K Paul. Casual. quite a few bands. or wherever,” I started from he says. “I feel that point before like people yearn for that lonely bedroom I crossed over to the production side. sound, that’s why I chose not to upgrade It was kind of intentional as well, there myself too much for the album.” were a few threads I picked to focus on,” he adds, “Japanese culture, hip Over the past decade, plenty of artists, hop, real instrumentation and samples, from Passion Pit to The Weeknd, have manipulation.” emerged from the cozy confines of DIY anonymity upwards, garnering much The 20-year-old producer’s profile has commercial success but mixed critical risen exponentially in just a few years. He reception. Mura Masa’s tracks are describes some of his early work as “more capable of being just as massive, but they instant-grat type music-making’ (though never lose that sense of intimacy and even his ‘bangers’ sound more suited vulnerability that makes him so refreshing. for quiet reflection rather than, say, an After all, he’s already brought the sound EDM festival), but Mura Masa has quickly of the world into his bedroom, so getting established himself as a first-rate writer a global audience there shouldn’t be too and musical sidekick. Today, he stresses the much of a challenge. DIY importance of flexibility and being able
to adapt to a collaborator’s style, whether
:dream wife a
From getting banned from Matalan to letting rip on stage, Dream Wife are out to prove that sometimes darkness can be the brightest colour of all. Words: El Hunt. Photos: Mike Massaro. Stylist: Ione Gamble. Makeup: Jender Anomie. Set design: Marlena Synchyshyn.
ream Wife don’t do things by halves. Rocking up for the morning with a gigantic, pastel pink handmade clam in tow (as you do), and dodging multiple papier-mâché sea creatures to emerge for a chat later on, the band are buzzing from their debut as mermaids. “Mermaids are really scary and mean, and lure sailors to their death!” exclaims bassist Bella Podpadec, with a glint in her eye. “It’s this juxtaposition of being ultra-femme, but also, really bad and mean. It’s something we like to play with a lot.” From the very beginning, Dream Wife have always been interested in these sorts of colliding opposites. The blaring-out-theradio ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ – nodding towards The Cars and Blondie in fairly equal measure – is far grittier, and more obsessive, than its chant-laden sherbert coating may suggest, while ‘Lolita’ sees a frequent pop culture trope, a damsel in distress, getting her unsavoury revenge. With the arrival of ‘F.U.U.’ – a solid sonic indicator of the band’s in-progress debut record, apparently – Dream Wife’s love of barely-honed, dangerous tension grows
ever stronger. “Gonna fuck you up, gonna cut you up, gonna fuck you up,” chants Rakel Mjöll cheerfully, with a fixed grin, before plunging headlong into a brief, and slightly menacing take on The Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe,’ midway through. It’s enough to prompt Scary Spice to hand over her crown, to be honest. Fresh off the road, Dream Wife have been supporting the formidable Black Honey around the country, and as you can perhaps imagine, it was eventful for everyone involved. “Jerry got stolen!” announces a grief-stricken Alice Go, the wounds still fresh from the disappearance of Black Honey’s flamingo sidekick. “And also, our silver lady got stolen on the same night,” adds Rakel sombrely, “Glasgow. It was quite sad.” The same visit to Glasgow also saw Dream Wife banned from Matalan (they won’t share specifics) and generally behaving like “outlaws.” “We had these two silver mannequins we send out in ‘F.U.U.’ to crowdsurf,” details Alice. “That night, one never came back. She’s moved to Glasgow.
capture that intensity.” Alice Go
“It’s about trying to
Dream Wife took it upon themselves to audition dogs for their latest single cover. Bella: Me and Meg Lavender, who took the photos, spent an afternoon at Nunhead Cemetery looking at all these dogs, eying them up, and picking the ones we liked. We sort of asked the owners if they’d allow them to be in a photoshoot if we bought them a bottle of wine. Yogi’s the dog that made it in, and Yogi’s owner Christine describes him as a ‘Peckham Shepherd’ because one of his ears is always wonky. When we said it would be gothic styling she got really excited. Alice: She wore a little special dress actually. Bella: Yeah, a proper gothic dress. So many good dogs! We sat on this bench, and it was like a conveyor belt of dogs. Different breeds, different sizes. Rakel: Wow. It feels like how men watch us.
Keep clam and carry on.
She’s spreading the word of Dream Wife.” “I hope she’s in the art university somewhere,” shrugs Rakel. “They were our bad bitches,” finalises Alice. “We’ve now only got one bad bitch.” Pilfered band mascots, potential criminal behaviour and bad bitch shortages aside, that tour was also ripe ground for Dream Wife to test out tons of new material. “We saw what worked,” Rakel says, “and what we liked. Now we’re recording and trying out with studio sessions. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out.”
recording room,” picks up Alice, “and bringing strobe and disco lights into the space, making it like it is a show. It’s coming out in that way live, and we’re trying to capture that. A show is fun, but it’s also intense. It’s about trying to capture that intensity. We want that vibrancy.” “It is what it is at the live show,” nods Bella. “It’s the truest form of the band.” Speaking of live shows, Dream Wife are raring to head out on DIY’s very own Hello 2017 tour next year, too. Taking them all around the country, flanked by top-notch local bands along the way, there’s just one piece of unfinished business to deal with before hitting the road.
First priority is harnessing the vibrancy and kinetic energy of a live show, and the often chaotic excitement of a band’s early outings, and cramming it all onto tape. Citing The Strokes’ ‘Is This It’ as the quality-bar, the band are focused on bottling e Dream Wife originally formed while the trio the here and now. “It might were at art college in Brighton. They needed an sound corny,” Rakel starts, “but excuse to go to Canada, and a band seemed like a what’s happening in London reasonable enough excuse. right now, being here at this age, coming from different places in e The band have inked a deal with Lucky the world, and coming together Number, making them label-mates with Sleigh to make stuff - and being broke Bells and Hinds. Not bad. while doing it - we want to grasp that atmosphere, and what’s e Bella, Alice and Rakel rarely go halves with happening around us.” their live shows. For their Halloween Moth Club gig, they made an entire graveyard of fake “We’ve been talking about the tombstones for the occasion.
“Get her back for the tour!” pleads Alice suddenly. Of course, she’s referring to that missing silver mannequin once again. “Get our baby back. We’re excited!” she says, before composing herself. “On the UK tour with Black Honey we got to go to these places in the country we’d never been to before, and to go back again with the DIY tour is great.”DIY
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This lot are making waves.
Dodging flying cartons of chocolate milkshake, and touring the world with their mums and four sweaty wigs in tow, SlĂ¸tface are also readying their debut album. Just a few plates to spin, then. Words: El Hunt. Photo: Emma Swann.
“I think we’re better at cutting dead flesh and bits we don’t need,” says drummer Halvard Skeie Wiencke, “We cut them right away now.” Bandmate Lasse Lokøy nods in agreement while sourcing the nearest ketchup bottle. “We’re a bit more confident in ourselves,” he chips in, “so we dare to do things. We take more risks.” Indeed, as of late, Sløtface have been straying beyond their gritty beginnings, and venturing into far punk-poppier climes. Moments like the snare-rolling ‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness’ and ‘Take Me Dancing’ are clear step-ups, melding Haley’s knack for lyrical anger and angst with something chargedup, potent, and rollicking. “We’re from the generation that grew up on American Pie,” laughs Haley, ”which is an interesting thing to grow up on, I guess. Just the whole vibe of the soundtracks has been a big inspiration for us. We talk about it a lot. I love high school rom-coms. We write a lot about that kind of world.” Make no mistake, though. Their bite still remains. Whether refusing to fear a walk home alone, or extending a middle finger in the direction of people who police others’ appearances, Sløtface have an axe to grind, more than ever. “I’m just really inspired by feeling angry about things,” says Haley. “I think that anger is obviously really powerful emotionally, and writing from an angry place. I’m not a very angry person in general, I’m pretty balanced, so to have that outlet on stage and in music is great, to have this place to go crazy and write about all the things
“We had tiny
Norwegian girls stage-diving for the first time.” Haley Shea
ver in London to play approximately four million live shows in the capital (well, four shows to be exact, but still enough to count as a city residency, right?) Norwegian rabble Sløtface are getting into the swing of living out of a suitcase by now. Their last night marked a sombre moment as the four-piece had to cast aside a set of incredibly sweaty wigs that didn’t quite make it through Halloween festivities. “There’s room for like, two t-shirts in a wig space,” reasons pragmatic vocalist Haley Shea. Today, they’re tucking into chips in a boozer, while guitarist Tor-Arne Vikingstad attempts to soldier through a nasty strain of mid-tour lurgy. Coughs and colds aside, though, Sløtface are in high spirits, with a finished debut up their sleeves, and the experience that comes with relentless touring powering them forward.
e After releasing ‘Empire Records,’ Sløtface were contacted on Twitter by the Actual Cast of the film Empire Records, which inspired the song. Brushes with greatness. e Sløtface have already lived the rock n’ roll dream; performing inside an empty swimming pool in Norway, and then trashing it. e If their social media accounts are anything to believe, they’ve been hanging out with Tre Cool, and Zooey Deschanel lately. Our advice? Take it all with a liberal pinch of salt.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to tour the world with their mum in tow?! Haley: You know how you have soccer moms? Ours call themselves band moms. Now we get to travel outside Norway, they use it as an excuse to go on weekends away. They came to see us in London and Berlin, and took us out for dinner. We have our first tour of the States in December, and my family are all American, so we have a family member coming to every one of our shows. My grandmother, who’s 85, is going to come and see us in this punk club in Chicago!
that make me really, really mad.” Growing up slap-bang-wallop of the middle of Norway’s straight-edge metal scene - “which is obviously underage open, being straight-edge,” Haley points out - opened Sløtface’s eyes to violent, hot, energy-packed rock, and the possibilities of blending it with cool, cold Scandi pop. “It was a lot more punk than anything else we had access to,” she says of their first gig experiences. “It was in run-down buildings and they would be making vegan milkshakes at the door,” she laughs. Lasse and Halvard played together in death metal bands around town as teenagers, too, and Haley would join them whenever she could. “I went straight from prom to play this metal show with you guys,” laughs Haley, remembering. “You were, like, 15. There were all these dudes who got us a crate of beer, and no-one checked. Way more fun than prom,” she smirks. Shortly after polishing off a handful of European dates, the band are Norway-bound again to finish their debut, with a view to releasing it next spring. Itching to get back out on stage with oodles of new material, they’re also feeling fairly relaxed having faced the toughest audience out there. No, really - the band toured schools all around their home city of Stavanger, playing to, being honest, a mixed bag. “We had tiny Norwegian girls stage-diving for the first time,” Haley enthuses. “Always my favourite thing. We try to be really accommodating so it’s a safe space to do that. That was cool.” Not every gig went swimmingly, though, she admits. “We would also get days when the kids would stand 50 metres away and look at their phones the whole time and not clap between songs.” “They were trying to throw drinks at us,” she marvels, recounting another encounter, “and then our sound technician gave them the look of death.” A short debate about the precise kinds of hurled drinks that made it to the stage ensues. “It was chocolate milk,” confirms Halvard. “I don’t think we’ll meet anyone in the audience who hates us as much as those kids,” adds Lasse, ever one to find the silver lining. The way Sløtface are carrying on, their days of dodging milk cartons should be well behind them. DIY
A big moment for Will, as he finally learns to tie his own shoelaces.
will joseph cook
Cooking up a storm, 2017 is his chance to stamp his own agenda. Words: Jamie Milton. Photo: Mike Massaro.
rowing up, Will Joseph Cook couldn’t sing for shit. Luckily, his parents were supportive “but not gushy”, so when they sort-of told him he needed to work on his vocal delivery (“If you’re enjoying it, that’s good!” or something to that effect), he got the message. “Don’t lie to your kids” is the moral of this story. These days, Will’s performing vocal backflips, pendulum-swinging from low register to impassioned falsetto. On recent singles ‘Take Me Dancing’ and ‘Sweet Dreamer’, he sounds like he’s trying to cram in as much as possible into three minutes of pop gold. Genres don’t matter, either. Will was raised on a diet of late-00s indie, ranging from Spoon to Phoenix, through to Vampire Weekend. And he doesn’t give a fuck about an Oxford comma, to be honest. In his last DIY interview, he damned the term
“singer-songwriter,” after being incorrectly tagged as an earnest, acoustic guitar-hugging-type in his early days. “I definitely said the words,” he says, uneasily. “But you know when things look so different when blown up in capitals? ‘ I FUCKING HATE IT, ALRIGHT? AND NOBODY FUCKING HATES IT MORE THAN I DO.’ It was more of a jovial tone,” he insists. “If any word gets used loads and it has heavy connotations, and you don’t necessarily fit those connotations, it can be annoying.” On an upcoming debut album, he has a chance to set the record straight. “I don’t think debuts should have a concept,” he says. Instead, these tracks are a “backdated” glimpse at how he’s progressed as a musician since 2015 EP ‘You Jump I Run’. “I just wanted to fill it with songs I’m really pleased with, not worrying about having some edgy interlude. It’s all written. We just need to record it.” DIY
-SPLASHO-METERe In 2015, he released two EPs of moody, acousticled numbers (not “singer-songwriter” though, honest) rich in invention. e This year’s ‘Take Me Dancing’ single was a massive step up, picking up a remix from Joel Wolf Alice. e This October, he appeared at the DIY All-Dayer, alongside Trudy & the Romance and Eat Fast.
PALACE UK TOUR APRIL 2017 MON 03 LEICESTER THE COOKIE TUE 04 NOTTINGHAM BODEGA
WED 05 SHEFFIELD THE HARLEY
THU 06 LEEDS BELGRAVE MUSIC HALL FRI 07 NEWCASTLE CLUNY 2
SAT 08 EDINBURGH ELECTRIC CIRCUS
MON 10 MANCHESTER RUBY LOUNGE TUE 11 LIVERPOOL BUYERS CLUB WED 12 DUBLIN WHELANS
THU 13 BELFAST VOODOO
TUE 18 BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE 3 WED 19 BRISTOL THEKLA
THU 20 CARDIFF CLWB IFOR BACH FRI 21 OXFORD THE BULLINGDON TUE 25 GUILDFORD BOILEROOM WED 26 READING SOUTH STREET ARTS CENTRE
THU 27 LONDON O2 SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE
THURS 9 MARCH EDINBURGH LIQUID ROOM FRI 10 MARCH BIRMINGHAM 02 INSTITUTE SAT 11 MARCH LEEDS BECKETT UNIVERSITY MON 13 MARCH CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION WED 15 MARCH BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY THURS 16 MARCH LONDON O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON FRI 17 MARCH NORWICH THE WATERFRONT SAT 18 MARCH MANCHESTER ALBERT HALL glassanimals.eu
W E A R E PA L A C E . C O M PARALLELLINESPROMOTIONS.COM
Somewhere between boy band and a Danish spin on Prince, Liss are breaking the mould. Words: Dan Jeakins. Photo: Emma Swann. 66 diymag.com
tarting life “in a garage with some school friends,” Liss possess the chart-conquering potential of Years & Years, alongside exuberant electronic beats lifted from another world. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more exciting band to come from Denmark since Iceage burst out of Copenhagen at the start of the decade. The four-piece formed last year in Aarhus, bonding over a love of “Prince, pretty old school stuff and lot of really dark music”. Guitarist Vilhelm Strange recalls those early days: “We started out just meeting up and playing music, and what we were making sounded good so we decided to play again. It kind of evolved from there. We didn’t really know how the music scene worked in Denmark. We didn’t even know how to produce music – I had to borrow a [computer] sound card from my Dad just so we could start to record things.” Things have certainly changed since. The pristine, soulful pop showcased on their ‘First’ EP hints at a band in complete control of their sound. Heads are already turning around the world. “We saw on Spotify that the city we are popular in is Mexico City – which is absolutely mad to us. The first show we played in London was at Electrowerkz, which was a crazy eyeopener because at that point we didn’t know anyone outside of Denmark listened to our music.”
“We all got together with pretty different
-SPLASHO-METERe Played their debut gig in March 2015, supporting Jungle. e Shared debut track ‘Try’ in August 2015, coupled with a surreal video of frontman Søren Holm singing into his webcam. e After signing to XL, they released debut EP ‘First’ in May 2016.
Liss’ sound, which borrows from eighties new romantic pop, synth-led indie and classic soul, comes from the quartet’s own different tastes. “We all got together with pretty different music backgrounds,” says Vilhelm, “so I think what we ended up with is a blend of a lot of stuff.” As for next year, an album isn’t quite on the agenda just yet. “In 2017 we’re going to finish new music and get it out, and start to think about doing a record. We’ve had a really busy summer so now we’re just thinking about writing and recording.” Liss’ first work is going to be entirely separate from the band’s other releases. “It’s going to be conceptual,” Vilhelm explains. “We want to write it all together with no songs we’ve already put out. We’ve talked a lot about the writing process and we want to make it really old-school, with entirely live instruments.” With Yung and Off Bloom leading a Danish charge elsewhere, Liss’ synth-laden pop is primed and ready to make a big impression. While it might be some time until their debut album is unleashed, the wait promises to be more than worth it. DIY 67
Razor sharp and hard-working to boot, this incendiary quartet are intent on building their empire from the ground up. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photo: Emma Swann.
ver the past twelve months, Welsh four-piece Estrons have truly gone from strength to strength. Having emerged in the dying embers of 2015 with their hard-hitting, razor sharp first single ‘Make A Man’, the then-duo of Tali Källström and Rhodri Daniel proved they had little time to waste on the faint-hearted. Since then, they’ve knuckled down and begun the hard work: joined by James Keeley and Tobias Murray, they’ve spent most nights hitting the stage for explosive shows, making their mark on punters across the country.
e Released in late 2015, their incendiary stomper of a debut track ‘Make A Man’ provided quite the opening statement for Estrons.
“When we released ‘Make A Man’ right at the of 2015, that was when this sort of whirlwind began,” begins Tali, ahead of one of their final live shows of the year, opening up for Circa Waves at their frenzied live return to London.
“We kinda got touring straight away because we didn’t want to put the cart before the horse, so to speak. We had to build up some grassroots.” Earn themselves a following is exactly what they’ve done. Having appeared at a whole load of festivals over the summer, it was when they joined pummelling noiseniks Slaves on the road earlier this year that things really clicked into place. “It was really intense,” Tali admits. “We’d been on tours before but never anything like that. We were playing to packed-out venues, with a band who are a lot more established, but we learned a lot.” Now, with a whole host of new weapons in their arsenal, they’re ready to tear down 2017. DIY
e After stints at Live at Leeds and Latitude this summer, the band hopped on tour with Slaves for a tour of tiny UK venues that don’t often get visited. As you can imagine, things got a bit crazy… e The band headed out on the DIY Presents tour with The Bay Rays back in October and, unsurprisingly, absolutely slayed it.
Ice, ice, baby.
Pssst! All of the song titles from ‘I See You’ are hidden on this page. Try and figure them out...
NEED TO KNOW
Illustration: Marlena Synchyshyn • mrdroplet.com
• They started making the record in April 2013, before jetting off for sessions in Texas and a remote cabin in Reykjavik. Alright for some. • Things were put ‘On Hold’ when Jamie xx’s solo debut, ‘In Colour’, went stratospheric. But they still found time to record new material in Los Angeles. • Back in 2015, Jamie xx told DIY new material was a “lot more fun” “there’s less rules and we’re being a lot more open about it. We’re playing it to everyone. We’re happier, too.”
ithout losing sight of their subdued, awkward charm, The xx have bit-by-bit become one of the biggest bands in the UK - both as a unit and on their own individual terms. Once pinned to the back of a stage, gadget-hugger Jamie xx has become especially huge, last year’s ‘In Colour’ solo debut putting him on the map for penning crossover, universal electronic music. Third album 70 diymag.com
I See You
‘I See You’ sees the trio taking full advantage of Jamie’s big league status, applying his trademark to their traditionally gloomy, loved-up pop. But it’s also a record that sees covocalists Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim taking on bold new territory. Previously, Romy was a reluctant star under the spotlight, just like the rest of her bandmates. ‘I See You’ sees her embracing a role at the front. Album highlights even find her referring back to terrifying early days, when these three teenagers were thrust forward as the UK’s next great hope. ‘Brave For You’ sees her going it alone, determined to make a loved one
proud (“I will be brave for you, stand on a stage for you, do the things that I’m afraid to do”) while ‘Performance’ puts the trio’s shy status under the microscope. Oli is in similarly fine form, his baritone vocals being several steps more confident than those on 2012 LP ‘Coexist’. On the reverb-drenched, gorgeous ‘Say Something Loving’, both members sound like strangers compared to their former selves. Jamie, meanwhile, peppers the record with the same swelling instrumentals that defined ‘In Colour’. Party-starting hooks open the record through ‘Dangerous’, and ‘On Hold’’s Hall & Oates sample is a stroke of genius, even if it sounds like
the producer’s turned up to a seance with some disco biscuits. Occasionally, these strides of confidence take on parallel paths. ‘Lips’ has the makings of a classic, only to be tarnished by a limp, twisted chorus that gives too much room to Jamie’s electronics. On ‘I Dare You’, however, a meeting of minds produces fireworks. Simple, to-the-point, with a heartswelling chorus worthy of the Drive soundtrack, it’s a purified version of the trio’s biggest strengths. All three members are now capable of operating on a different standing, and when ‘I See You’ strikes best, it’s when these level-ups lock limbs. (Jamie Milton) 71
eee MARIKA HACKMAN
Wonderland EP (Self-released)
Without pouring any further gloom on 2016, Christmas isn’t endless vibes, leftover sandwiches and Home Alone repeats for everyone. There’s a different side to the season of goodwill, a gloomy chill captured in its essence on Marika Hackman’s ‘Wonderland’. On her similarly dark 2015 debut ‘We Slept At Last’, Marika found inspiration in fogswept forests, ivy overgrowth and bleak nothingness. She applies the same to ‘Wonderland’, which prefers to drown under an avalanche than piece together a charming snowman. On the 80s-nodding ‘Driving Under Stars’, she sings a disdainful “tra-la-la-la-la!” like she’s watching Santa drive his reindeers into a ditch. A closing cover of ‘Winter Wonderland’ gladly bathes in bleakness, having more in common with Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’ than Noddy Holder on repeat. For those who’d prefer to reserve Christmas for cheerier times, stick to the classics. But there’s two sides to every story, and ‘Wonderland’ perfectly captures the season’s darker side. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Driving Under Stars’
eee ALEX IZENBERG
Harlequin (Weird World)
Undisputed oddball Alex Izenberg likes to coat his songs with a hearty splash of the surreal. He’s a storyteller in the manner of Tobias Jesso, Jr, but there’s an endearingly unhinged quality to his tunes. ‘Harlequin’ may be his debut, but it feels like the product of someone fully fed up with musical convention in all its forms. And yet, Alex manages to never feel inaccessible or too caught up in his own eccentricity. Album closer ‘People’ is a heartfelt call to action and a criticism of the vicious cycle of nostalgia that takes people hoping to make change and spits them out jaded and fixated on the past, only to be judged by the next generation. He’s a smart cookie, but not in an overbearing way. (Grant Rindner) LISTEN: ‘People’, ‘To Move On’
Near to the Wild Heart of Life (ANTI-)
After years in hiding, you could forgive Japandroids for thrashing their way back into life. On the whole though, ‘Near To The Wild Heart Of Life’ finds the desert drag-racing duo letting off the gas a little. ‘North East South West’ is the best marker of that new route, their guitars given space to swell. There are moments where this new mindset backfires, though. The slow-building one-two of ‘True Love And A Free Life Of Free Will’ and ‘I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner)’ quickly sags into a plod towards the finish line. By contrast, the seven-minute-plus ‘Arc Of Bar’ is perfectly paced. While Japandroids have always walked a tightrope between classic rock and straight up punk, album three finds their footing wobbling for the first time. (Tom Connick) LISTEN: ‘North East South West’, ‘Arc Of Bar’
eeee SUNDARA KARMA
Youth is only ever fun in retrospect (RCA/Chess
It feels like we’ve been waiting an age for Sundara Karma to put out an album, such has been their meteoric rise. ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ has them aiming to right where their anthemic indie belongs - this is a record made for the cavernous expanse of Brixton Academy, fancy light show in tow, chant-a-long choruses guaranteed. Recent single ‘She Said’ - the record’s standout moment - is something of a curveball when placed in the middle, its textbook-perfect pilfering of 90s Britpop (storytelling, great chorus, smidgen of melancholy) a clever contrast to the rest. Crossing over with that are nods to Kings of Leon with the Americana stomp of ‘Happy Family’ and the bleak ‘Be Nobody’. These touchstones are not necessarily those of Sundara Karma’s peers: there’s a more subtle infectiousness to their songs that has echoes of later Maccabees, and with that band bowing out, that’s one crown 2017 may well have heading these boys’ way. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Happy Family’, ‘She Said’ 72 diymag.com
Not Even Happiness (Bada Bing
Julie Byrne’s debut, ‘Rooms With Walls And Windows’, was inspired by her time spent in a Chicago apartment with no mobile phone or landline. But Julie has spent the better part of the last few years living a nomadic lifestyle, calling everywhere from Chicago and Pittsburgh to Buffalo and New Orleans home. As she puts it herself on ‘Sleepwalker,’ “I crossed the country and carried no key.” Half the time, ‘Not Even Happiness’ finds her painting the American landscape in vivid colours. At other times, she’s more reflective and even mournful about her wandering lifestyle, commenting on her search for an “anchor.” Caught between places, she paints a stunning journey of life on the road. (Eugenie Johnson) LISTEN: ‘Natural Blue’, ‘Morning Dove’
Julie Byrne makes great music, but apparently she doesn’t listen to anyone else’s. Here, she chats about ‘Not Even Happiness’. Interview: Eugenie Johnson. Why did you want to document your travels over the last couple of years on the record? It seemed a natural thing. The songs were finished before I moved to New York so this album is very much an archive of those years of travel. I’ve been slowly writing over the past three years; it never feels like much of a decision though. I write whenever it comes. Is it true that you don’t really listen to anyone else’s music? Yes, but it’s something I’d like to change. I just never got into the habit of it and I still don’t own a record player because I can’t afford one which also means that I haven’t prioritised it. I only really listen to music when I’m driving.
Night People ( Infectious Music)
Upon first listen to the opening track of You Me At Six’s new album, it’s easy to see its potential for polarising opinion. The euphoric sheen of their last record ‘Cavalier Youth’ has been swapped for something altogether darker, groovier, and it sounds like nothing they’ve ever dared to try before. Yet, by the end of ‘Night People’s succinct ten tracks, it’s clear they’ve navigated their new musical direction very well. Confident and self-assured, their fifth album is more about feeling than pop-rock riffs, and their live performance on the record - recorded in Nashville with Jacquire King, don’tchaknow - adds a depth they’ve never quite managed to nail before. A little bit cocky, sure, but with the tightness to back it up, ‘Night People’ is a You Me At Six most people will never have seen before. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN ‘Give’, ‘Plus One’
BRANDON CAN’T DANCE Graveyard of Good Times (Lucky Number)
Brandon Can’t Dance, real name Brandon Ayres, is the latest in a line of selfproduced, lo-fi singers coming out of Philadelphia. Alex G has dubbed him “the only applicable example of someone that I really admired,” and, like his contemporary, he has a vast collection of Bandcamp releases to bathe in. This first full-length proper tries everything across its sixteen tracks. ‘Where My Boys At’ borders on absurd but is consistently self-aware. There’s an awful lot of promise housed here, but its scale and constant shape-shifting makes it difficult to consume and process. Some refinement though, and the future’s bright for Brandon. (Will Richards) LISTEN: ‘Angelina’
Q&A Brandon Can’t Dance? More like Brandon Can Answer Some Questions About His New Album. Interview: Cady Siregar. What do you think of the current Philadelphia music scene? It’s churned out the likes of Kurt Vile, Hop Along, Alex G, Modern Baseball in recent years. It’s great. I’ve known all the Alex G guys for a while now. I’ve known their current drummer since he was six. The sports never do well, so at least the music is doing something right now. I feel like we all know each other. We all support each other. Everyone comes out to the shows. What’s it been like on the road with LVL UP and Alex G? It’s amazing. Like, that makes me want to do my bit. They kill it every night,
and I try to bring my best as well, even though it’s hard. They definitely make me want to bring my A-game. How do you tackle songwriting? Is it mostly autobiographical, or entirely creative? It’s half and half. I like to sort of just make up stories and random stuff. But there are some descriptions and feelings that I’m putting in that are maybe something that’s going on with me at the time, and I’m putting it into another character or someone I’m talking about. Some of it’s pretty personal, and straightforward, and some stuff’s kind of subtle, and maybe have you think on it a little bit.
MISSED THE BOAT ON THE BEST ALBUMS FROM THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS? KEEP UP, MATE.
eeee YOU ME AT SIX
Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis goes solo with a glitter-soaked, uncompromising triumph.
Solange A Seat at the Table
Lusciously written, produced and arranged, ‘A Seat at the Table’ is Solange at her angry, firebreathing best.
The Birmingham bunch have stepped it up several gears, their second album being a dose of heady, grungy bliss. 73
COMING Up LOYLE CARNER Yesterday’s Gone
Our Class of 2017 cover star takes his first big step with a brilliant debut. It’s out 20th January.
DUTCH UNCLES Big Balloon
Manchester arty-types’ fifth effort is full of their trademark wit and sass, with some added electric guitars. It’s out 17th February.
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD Flying Microtonal Banana
The first of five (!) albums to come from the berserk, unstoppable Aussies next year. This comes out 24th February.
eeee CHILDISH GAMBINO
Awaken, my Love! (glassnote)
Does Donald Glover ever sleep?! Somehow cramming rap, music, film direction, an acting career, and stand-up comedy into the picture, as soon as he seems to master something, he’s racing onto the next medium or form. It’s a quality that makes Childish Gambino a hugely exciting presence, but at times, it’s a struggle to keep up. An all-out celebration of funk and soul’s most oddball strains, his third album ‘Awaken, My Love!’ sees Glover dusting off some incredibly formidable vocal chords, and unleashing a grit-flecked, wide-ranged yowl. Nodding to some classic influences – notably The Isley Brothers, George Clinton and Prince - ‘Awaken, My Love!’ cleverly dodges the trap of sounding old-hat in the process. Childish Gambino’s most soulful record yet is flecked with eccentricities to counter every more straightforward reference point. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Redbone’ ‘Baby Boy’ ‘Boogieman’
eee PETER DOHERTY
Hamburg Demonstrations (BMG /
Either the most pleasing or the most unappealing thing about Peter Doherty - re-adopted Libertine, sometime ‘Shamble’ and constant disappointment to your Nan - and his musical output is its predictability. His latest effort sounds very much like a solid Peter solo album; rambling studio chat snippets, mentions of Arcadia and all. Best is a re-worked version of ‘The Whole World Is Our Playground’ that rings with all the playful witticisms and hazy romanticism that’s kept fans with him despite so many reasons over the years to jack it all in. When Pete’s on form, there’s few who can match him. (Lisa Wright) LISTEN: ‘The Whole World Is Our Playground’
THE WEEKND Starboy (Republic)
For all the chart-eyeing fireworks of last year’s ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’, it didn’t seem as if Abel Tesfaye had any idea what kind of record he actually wanted to make. Anybody hoping for clarity of creative vision on ‘Starboy’ will be sorely disappointed. Big stars marry gold discs with genuine ambition. ‘Starboy’’s title-track, on the other hand, is lyrically vapid, featuring the sort of identikit ‘moody’ production job that Daft Punk would’ve been thoroughly embarrassed to put their name to in a pre-’Random Access Memories’ world. There are glimpses of redemption, especially on ‘Sidewalks’, on which a gloriously languid nineties beat becomes the real star. These moments aren’t enough. This is a man who used to rely on devastating emotional incision as his primary songwriting weapon; he could touch nerves, and he could cut through to the bone, all in a manner accompanied by beats and arrangements that suggested the same sort of vital nervousness that the lyrics did. Now, he’s crossed over to the other side of that equation. (Joe Goggins) LISTEN: ‘Sidewalks’ FALSE ALAAAAAAAAAAAAARM! 74 diymag.com
MIRRORS Various venues, London. Photos: Carolina Faruolo.
AS POTENT AND POWERFUL AS EVER.
ackney is buzzing as the second edition of Mirrors gets ready to kick off. Following on from last year’s inaugural Halloween bash, 2016’s leg of the event promises to be bigger – quite literally, with more venues taking part this year – and more jam-packed full of bands. By the time Babeheaven take to the stage, Oslo is packed out. Led by the mesmerising vocals of Nancy Anderson, the band waste little time in casting a hazy spell upon the crowd. Their trip-hop inflected efforts are both delicate and bold – with the gorgeous ‘Heaven’ getting an early airing and they provide an atmospheric start to a night that’s guaranteed to get much more chaotic. Glittering brilliantly, the Moth Club - a new addition to Mirrors’ list of venues for this year’s event, and DIY’s own hub for the evening - is another treasure trove tonight. Drawing to the close of their first UK tour, Hoops are a brilliant tangle of lazy summer pop and shimmering guitars that light up the room on a cold London evening. Meanwhile, back over the road at Oslo, there’s an honest brilliance to the tales of normal life that Martha tell that’s
bat for lashes
bat for lashes
infectious. The Pity Me pop punks may be rough around the edges, but therein lies their charm; tracks like ‘Precarious (Supermarket Song)’ – “I’m like an unexpected item in your bagging area” is still an incredible lyric - are both relatable and anthemic in their own measure, making their set one of the stand-outs of today. There’s a real buzz around Miya Folick right now, and from her appearance at Moth Club this evening, it’s easy to see why. There are few airs and graces to the singer, who gleefully looks around at the glitter-covered walls on the venue, while warbling an impromptu rendition of The Lion King’s infamous ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. Fun, insatiable and infectious, her set proves her as a real star in the making. After an introduction from the scuzzed-up stylings of Cherry Glazerr, Oslo’s main attraction are as brilliant as expected. Fucked Up have always had a reputation for their incendiary live shows and their set in the capital tonight is no different. Ripping headfirst into ‘Hidden World’ – their few UK shows have included a full run-through of the record - it takes little time for pits to break out throughout the packed room, thanks to furious leader Damian Abraham. While their debut may be celebrating its tenth birthday this year, it’s lost none of its original punch and this headlining slot is as potent and powerful as ever. In almost complete contrast, Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan is gearing up to close Mirrors over at St. John-at-Hackney Church. While no stranger to playing in churches – after her ‘The Bride’ shows across the UK earlier this year - tonight’s setting feels somewhat more grandiose than her previous festival spots this summer. Emerging on stage in her red wedding dress with black lace veil, she still thrives on the dramatics of her newest record and its themes. Haunting and gorgeous, her set delves into cuts from previous albums too - with a spine-tingling rendition of ‘Laura’ hushing the crowd - offering up a striking conclusion to a brilliant day. (Sarah Jamieson)
LI Sleigh VE Bells
Tufnell Park Dome, London. Photo: Caroline Quinn.
t’s just water, I promise!” jokes Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss to London’s Tufnell Park Dome as she takes a sip of her drink. “I’m a boring person.” Sleigh Bells are about halfway into their set – their first London show in over two years – and they’ve already left a smoking, scorching trail of debris in their wake with their deadly breed of noise-pop. The show comes as a one-off special in time for the group’s fourth album ‘Jessica Rabbit’. Tonight, the Brooklyn duo seem intent on dismantling the Dome, taking North London by the jugular, raising heart rates by a thousand, and performing until anything and everything in the room is burnt down by their intoxicating electro-punk. From the moment Alexis and bandmate Derek Miller begin the set with ‘Tell ‘Em’, one of many tracks pulled from the still-thrilling debut ‘Treats’, there’s no pause, no release, no mercy for the sold-out Dome. Alexis takes to the stage with masterclass charisma, commanding the mic stand as if it’s a weapon in warfare. The pandemonium continues with new single ‘It’s Just Us Now’, keeping the signature fearsome instrumentation of Sleigh Bells alongside Alexis’ pop-laced verses. The set pulls on classic favourites from the band’s discography, ‘Kids’, ‘Bitter Rivals’, and ‘You Don’t Get Me Twice’ played with ever increasing riotous anarchy. By the time the end of the night comes, there’s nothing left but a pile of smoking ash that was once the Tufnell Park Dome. (Cady Siregar)
Japandroids Birthdays, London. Photo: Andy Ford.
t’s been three long years since Japandroids last set foot on this side of the Atlantic, and Birthdays in Dalston is at fever pitch. “This one’s a warm up!”, guitarist Brian King offers to the heaving room before launching into ‘Adrenaline Nightshift’. Not that one was ever needed. As that song’s final chords ring out, the audience are deemed ready, and the duo obligingly launch into ‘Fire’s Highway’ to get things going. The entire room surges forward as soon as David Prowse’s sticks meet snare, and the sheer kinetic energy of the 250 bouncing bodies in the room feels like it could lift the basement venue into the sky. Not once, neither for well-worn hit nor brand new track, do the energy levels drop. The band are near-flawless tonight – well, barring one slip up that sees Brian missing a cue during one of those newbies – but credit goes to every single person in attendance for the sheer euphoria of the night. Tearing through a setlist of hit (‘Evil’s Sway’) after banger (‘Sovereignty’) after banging hit (‘The House That Heaven Built’), before closing on an explosive rendition of ‘For The Love Of Ivy’, it feels like the band are on stage for only a fraction of the hour and fifteen minutes they actually play, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that Japandroids are back – and what a re-introduction this is. (Ryan De Freitas)
Christine and The Queens Brixton Academy, London. Photos: Poppy Marriott.
QUEUE “I saw her set from Glastonbury on the TV, so ever since then I’ve been trying to see her. Her dancers are amazing, all in white t-shirts. I love her album, too. That’s why I’m here” - Joe “I love her! She’s a tiny little French woman, and her dancing is incredible. I want her to be my pal, what an absolute dreamboat.” Laura “I like the gender-fluid aspect of it, it’s really interesting how she’s bringing that to the mainstream” - Nye
o say its been a slightly bonkers year for Christine and The Queens is something of an understatement. It all started to go a bit mad when Héloïse Letissier filled in for a drop-out at late notice, and did what’s commonly known as ‘a Future Islands’ on The Graham Norton show; that is, she changed everything with a single flooring telly performance. Standing ovations from Elton John, sold-out Roundhouses, gold-cert debut albums and… erm, on-stage spankings from Madonna also featured in a whirlwind 2016. Now, a whole two years on from releasing her debut ’Chaleur Humaine’ in her native France, Héloïse is still riding the momentum of her breakthrough, and she’s got two sell-out nights at Brixton (and the frenzied crowds’ screams) to match it. Her repertoire might be tiny - to match her height, she quips - but a little old thing like that isn’t going to hold back Christine and The Queens. Last time she headlined London back in February, she showed all the potential of a top-league superstar. Tonight, she makes good on all of that kinetic promise. Though many of her live staples remain untampered with - the flawlessly choreographed dance routines for ‘Tilted’ and ‘iT’, her note-perfect delivery, cheery proclamation that the room is a “free zone,” and heartfelt dedication to ‘Saint Claude’ - Héloïse has been making subtle changes to her show that pay off in dividends, all the same. With her silhouette flung behind her onto a blank white wall, Christine and The Queens play shadow puppets at times; trading in pixelated big screens for something far bolder and starker. Though those roses of hers appear knowingly front of stage again, she doesn’t just dedicate her flowers to Beyoncé. Instead, she throws all caution to the wind and begins her encore with an headspinning take on Bey’s own song ‘Sorry’, zooming back to the 80s in a gust of flamboyant synths. And why shouldn’t she? By now, Christine and The Queens is very much part of the same pop bouquet. Last time Christine and The Queens was in London, she danced so hard she tore her trousers clean in two. This time, her suit survives intact, and instead, Brixton sees her ripping down every last expectation and boundary. Being already at work on her second album, and with a show with this much wiggle-room for innovation, ’Chaleur Humaine’ looks like being just the beginning. (El Hunt)
christine makes good on all her promise. 79
Various venues, Reykjavík. Photo: Emma Swann.
celand Airwaves, Reykjavík’s biggest musical week of the year, often signifies either the beginning or the end of a band’s autumn European tour. As such, the hectic five-day multi-venue serves as a celebration for a barrage of acts off the back of huge summers. After Dizzee Rascal fills in for a cancelled Stormzy set on the opening night, Dream Wife begin their first of six (!) appearances. Rocking up everywhere from hotel lobbies to ramshackle whiskey bars to a cavernous room of the Harpa concert hall, the trio shine wherever they tread. Joined for the majority of the sets by Fever Dream for collaboration ‘FUU’, their sets career from fidgety postpunk riffs to something gloriously brutal by their conclusion. Thursday night tones things down significantly, beginning with a Julia Holter set that’s compelling if inconsistent. Her backing band serve to take her music to darker, weirder places than its recorded self, working well in parts, though the sound barely travels to the back of the long, thin room. Following her is Margaret Glaspy, hot on the heels of debut album ‘Emotions & Math’. The New Yorker’s mesmeric guitar work carries the set, with off-kilter chords colliding with chunky choruses. Warpaint prove themselves punchier than ever. ‘Love Is To Die’ and closer ‘Disco//Very’ are now completely different beasts, and the confidence and harmony seeping through the four-piece is more evident tonight than ever. On Saturday all eyes are on Björk. Two incredible and predictably strange outfits aside, her penchant for outlandishness is scaled back tonight - it’s a show fuelled by heartbreak. Stripping the production back to a strings and voice only affair allows the sorrow to scream out of the songs. Björk and her musicians intertwine seamlessly, and the crowd live every second. The aggression that Björk usually carries around with her is provided by others on this occasion. Beginning the one-two is Anna Meredith, who puts in a rollicking show, no drop of energy left unspent. Kate Tempest is next, and ‘Europe Is Lost’ feels particularly potent tonight, exclaimed to a crowd assembled from all over the continent. The country’s most famous daughter may have stolen the show this Airwaves, but its new breed is coming on strong. (Will Richards)
LI VE dream wife
A celebration for a barrage of acts.
Boston Music Room, London. Photo: Ellen Offredy.
ntimate and unapologetically local, Boston Music Room offers the threadbare essentials – a stage, a bar, some tables, and lights – all this South London four-piece need to build a riot. Long haired, lusty-eyed frontman James Taylor is as boundless in his energy as the crowd beneath him. “Right, let’s get this fucking started,” he states with serious intent, urging the band forward with ‘Baby’s Alright’, a fast-paced spasm that decries the Trump-ridden state of America, Western civilisation and the failures of our times and implores us to live wilder in response. It’s unclear if the political references reach tonight’s crowd, but it matters little as the end result – losing all sense in the biggest mosh pit possible – represents a mission accomplished. Closer ‘Regeneration’, like the hazy ‘Drift’, uses an insanely catchy chorus as its foundation. But more than this, it perfectly encapsulates the sound that the band are aiming for – a punky, uplifting, swaggering rock number that has the potential to become an anthem for those in attendance. “I don’t wanna bring you down, I just wanna fuck around,” screams James at a crowd trying to find a thrill ride. “Is this my generation?” he asks. Who knows the age this originally referred to, but the throng are happy to adopt the lot as their own - storming the stage in blissful minutes of joyous, almost heavenly, mayhem that almost knocks guitarist Jake Lucas off his feet. The riot is happening, just as INHEAVEN demanded. (Alex Taylor)
Scala, London. Photo: Lindsay Melbourne.
onight, Yak come with a sax player in tow, making the introduction of ‘Harbour the Feeling’ feel complete, and acting as a nice foil as the band hurdle into a set rife with clattering percussion and frantic riffs. Frontman Oli Burslem dashes between two mics, his long hair falling in his eyes while delivering his snarling vocal. Yak have gained a reputation as one of the UK’s most riotous rock ’n’ roll bands, and their performance this evening makes it easy to believe the hype. During tracks like ‘Curtain Twitcher’ and recent single ‘Heavens Above’ the rhythm section hold the fort with a tight groove while Oli dives out into the crowd. When he isn’t being passed around the room, he switches rapidly between hacking out chords on his guitar and playing sharp bursts on his synth. As encore closer ‘No’ comes to its shattering conclusion, the stage crew reel Oli back from the mob in front of the stage by his mic lead. Back onstage, he hauls his guitar up over his head and drives the headstock squarely into the ground. The much abused instrument cracks in half and is cast aside, and Oli takes his place in front of his keys again, which is thankfully spared a similar fate. The drum kit isn’t so lucky. As Yak traipse off stage, drummer Elliot Rawson tips it over with a crash, bringing an end to the night. Here at Scala, Yak more than live up to their reputation. (Liam Konemann)
“I just wanted to get a pint!”
INDIE DREAMBOAT Of the Month
oscar lulu Sundara Karma
Full name: Oscar William Anthony Pollock Nickname: O Dawg Star Sign: Sagittarius Pets? My dad and his boyfriend have a cat called Kitty, she’s a real sweetie Favourite Film? Wanderlust Favourite Food? Falafel Drink of choice? A pint of Snakebite Signature scent? Women’s deodorant and unwashed hair Favourite hair product? Silver Shampoo What song would you play to woo someone? ‘Do You Realize??’ - The Flaming Lips If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing? A bucketload of therapy Chat up line of choice? “I might not be Fred Flintstone, but I can sure make your Bedrock” - it’s awful and reeks of sleaziness and 100% has never worked 82 diymag.com
Published on Dec 9, 2016
It's our bumper December / January double issue, which means it's time to discover which new acts will be making your musical world go round...