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22 | August 29, 2013 | | Cambridge News

The critical list: Lodestar special

Words Ella Walker

Ryan Keen He’s toured with Ed Sheeran (more of which later), supported Plan B and Lucy Rose, plus dueted with the dreadlocked Newton Faulkner and has the support of Zane Lowe and Fearne Cotton. In fact, Ryan Keen has been skirting the edges of “made it!” for some time now. A Cambridge Junction and festival circuit regular, he’d always planned a career in the music industry, but it wasn’t until one of his close friends died of heart failure in his final year of university, that Ryan started to seriously pursue singing and songwriting. His debut album Room For Light is due out in September (the countdown has begun) and new single Old Scar (out soon), promises quite a rise for him. We caught up with the everso-charming, ever-so-polite Ryan over email, here are the results: How would you describe your music to someone who hadn’t heard your stuff before? I’m a singer, songwriter, guitarist – I guess it’s kind of folk/pop that I play! Your music is often described as quite introspective and melancholy. Do you agree with that?

I guess that’s fair, [but] it’s also optimistic and some tracks on my debut album are more upbeat. I write with a lot of honesty so I think people can relate to a lot of my lyrics. The way you play the guitar is refreshingly different. Why did a percussive style appeal to you? Thanks! I learnt flamenco from an early age which taught me certain percussive techniques. In more recent years I just got inspired by players such as Eric Roche, Newton Faulkner, Andy McKee etc. You severed the tendons in your right hand before going on tour with Ed Sheeran. First, why didn’t you just go for the corkscrew? And second, how badly did that hurt? I’d been sofa surfing for over a year but had just signed a publishing deal so was finally able to rent my own flat. I

Describing their sound as anthemic rock/pop, Rubylux (playing the main stage on Saturday) are a Brighton based four-piece – lead singer and guitarist Rob Irving, bassist Clark Coslett-Hughes, keyboardist Adam Harris and drummer Mike Hall – who have a knack for hosting street gigs with a difference… Keyboardist Adam explains: How does a “guerrilla street gig” differ from plain old busking? We call them “street gigs” as we aim to do exactly what we do in a regular venue, in the street: full band, huge PA, digital mixing desk, drum kit, synths and guitars. It isn’t busking. In fact, we don’t even put out the hat, which is a standard busking manoeuvre. We’d rather play loud and proud for a short time and be chased off by the authorities than get the acoustic guitars out and play all day. We go for maximum impact, create a scene, and move on. Have you had any near misses with the council/police during one of your gigs? We’d had plenty of run-ins with town councils, environmental health and the police. Our local council in Brighton even started following us on Twitter to try and find out where we’d be playing next so they could catch us and serve us with some sort of papers. So, now when we decide to do something, we are very cagey with publicising

where we will be. Does it add to the excitement of playing live, knowing you could get closed down at any moment? It’s the biggest buzz! We’ve always said our aim is to try and be one of the biggest bands in the world and still do spontaneous street gigs wherever we may find ourselves. The ultimate flash gig would have to be at Trafalgar Square. It’s one we’ve been trying to get our heads around the logistics of for a little while now. The more naughty the area, the more of a buzz we get. There’s no point for us doing it in a place we’re “allowed” to do it! What are you looking forward to at LodeStar? LodeStar Festival was the first festival we had booked for this summer, so it seems to have been a long time coming with so many others in between, but we can’t wait to hit that stage. We’re hoping to get to see Ryan Keen who is someone we’ve been watching from afar lately and also VV Brown who we did a few gigs with back when she was first around, so it’ll be good to see her again too. What are you listening to at the moment? A band called Vintage Trouble who are an incredible live band that’ve been playing in the UK a lot over the summer, and Rob’s been sneaking a lot of Tame Impala on in the van lately so

had the studio the next day so wasn’t having a big night but I’d invited my brother and a mate round to watch a film and have a drink. I didn’t have a corkscrew so went with the old trick of pushing the cork in – it failed! It didn’t hurt straight away as I’d cut through the nerves as well as everything else... It was very messy though – it looked like a scene from a horror film! How scared were you that you might not recover in time for the tour? Everyone told me that I wouldn’t be able to do the tour. Minimum recovery time was 10 weeks. I was determined to do it though so, with the help from my fantastic physiotherapist, we modified my cast so that I could play with it on, without damaging my severed tendons. What was touring with Ed like? Is he as laid back and cool as he seems? It was awesome. Ed’s a fantastic musician and a great guy too. Is it true you’re also good mates with Ben Howard? Is it

helpful having friends on your side that have tackled the ups and downs of the industry too? Yeah, I’m from the same town as Ben, it’s great having mates doing so well; it’s very inspiring too – although those guys have set the bar high! How excited are you about headlining the Friday night at LodeStar? I’m really excited to play Lodestar again. I’ve played it a few times now. Each time I’ve been a little further up the bill so I’m really excited to be headlining it! Who/what inspires you? It sounds cheesy and generic but it’s true – everyday life! Love, loss, family, friends, experiences. What are you listening to at the moment? I’m loving lots of new emerging talent at the moment; Sam Brookes, Gavin James, Jacob Banks. Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully on album three or four and touring the world. Tell us something surprising about yourself. I studied Wing Chun Kung Fu for seven years.


Cambridge News | | August 29, 2013 | 23


ᔡ Traffic signage will be shown from the A14 turn off for Cambridge / Stow cum Quy and onto Lode ᔡ The site is open from 9am on Friday, August 30 until 11.30pm Sunday, September 1 ᔡ Weekend tickets start from £78 (adult), £68 (15-17 years), under-15s go free ᔡ No glass bottles or fireworks, only disposable barbecues ᔡ Boutique camping available ᔡ For more information visit

Our top 10 acts 1) Deaf Havana: hailing from stick-of-rock central, Hunstanton in Norfolk, the alt-rock band are darlings of Zane Lowe. And did we d mention, they’ve supported Bruce Springsteen. 2) Lonely The Brave: the Cambridge lads have just played Reading and Leeds Festival and are well up for a gig closer to home. 3) Zorbing: jump into a giant plastic ball and see how you’d fare as a hamster on a wheel. 4) Cambridge Improv Factory: enter a bizarre world of unscripted theatre where the audience gets to help shape the plot. 5) Paper Aeroplanes: Pop folk duo Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn, pictured, play heartfelt tunes and have a side line in trance. 6) Dragonette: the Canadian electronic trio specialise in quirky music videos and catchy, synthy hooks. They are pretty

colourful to boot. 7) Myles Sanko: soul lovers will love Myles. The singer songwriter is inspired by the likes of Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Al Green. 8) From The Sticks: the local lads are just focussed on making you dance, don’t disappoint them, eh? 9) VV Brown: the retro fringed singer’s new music is more conceptual and decidedly darker. 10) Rubylux: the Brighton boys used to set up “guerrilla street gigs”, playing until the police or the council turned up to move them on.

Fred’s House

Lodestar essentials

Cambridge band Fred’s House is playing the Aura Stage on Sunday. We had a brief chat with lead singer Vikki about why they can’t wait for the weekend: “We love LodeStar for its eclectic mix of artists, catering for all tastes and ages. It’s local and tickets are very

reasonable so we’ve decided to make a weekend of it with some friends and experience the whole festival by camping too! Although, perhaps we’ll head home for a quick shower before our set... “This will be Fred’s House’s first year performing at LodeStar and although I

haven’t been before, a few members of the band have and our drummer Paul runs the Theatre Stage. I’ve heard it is a very special festival, so friendly and chilled, that’s why we were so keen to play a slot there. We can’t wait to play our set, it’s gonna rock! “The line-up looks amazing.

I’m looking forward to The Vestals and Lonely The Brave very much! It will be great seeing Paper Aeroplanes, Ryan Keen, From the Sticks and Violet Bones again as we have played with them all before and it’s always good to support some fellow musicians.”

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