Local The creatives issue Issue 01
“As artists, we make contracts to care about each other's work.”
-Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, Public Theatre, New York City
Local magazine brings you the talking points in the city, going behind the scenes of some of your favourite places, events and meeting the brains behind the brands.
A word from the editor
In this, the first issue, Local looks at the creative community in the city, discussing the importance of arts funding, looks at the workspace of beat maker Sertone aka Gareth McAlinden and talks all things nightlife with the guys behind the newest and one of the best club nights around; Pause.
The process of making this first issue has been one full of struggle, worry and total panic. But it’s also been one of great enlightenment, pride and relief. Local has given me the chance to explore all the new and brilliant things going on in the city which I’d been unfortunate to miss out on when I lived away for the past 2 years. I hope like me, you’ll find yourself appreciating all the wonderful things this city has to offer and respect those who are single handedly making it happen. Over the past few months of production, I’ve sent over 40 emails, commissioned artists, learnt how to use a camera (properly), annoyed countless people with my tweets and had the chance to talk to some truly inspirational people who are changing the face of Liverpool. With support, comes success, so we’ll see where Local goes from here. Until next time
Local Page 9
Fancy a cuppa
Editor Lauren Roberts Special thanks to Josh Parkin Andrew Jones Gareth McAlinden Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org Liverpool-London
Scouseisms Everyone loves a Northerner; they are quick witted, have a dry sense of humour and are never afraid of getting their hands dirty. The BBC have their own special Northern Drama series and more recently featured a show centered in Liverpool. Northern characters sound more sincere, people trust a northerner. The North is working class, so tightly bound with nostalgia and women in overalls and headscarfs a la Hilda Ogden in the Corrie Years. Yes, it’s hard to dislike a Northerner. In the corner of the Northern hemisphere, is a little place with a big mouth. A place of bemusement, its own language, style and rituals. It’s a place I’ve been away from for a few years, but upon my return I’ve noticed a few things about the “Pool of Life”. Here’s a guide to all things ‘Scouse’.
Scouse (Skaus) What could possibly be more ‘Scouse’ than a pan of scouse. Well, seeing as though it actually originated in Scandinavia, there’s probably quite a few things, but that hasn’t stopped Liverpool taking on the sailors dish and making it our own. The thick stew has been known to cure a hangover, banish the Winter blues and even bring a family closer together. In a recent ‘Grand National’ special episode of ‘Come Dine With Me’ whilst the other three contestants presented the guests with pigeon, french cuisine and michelin star style meals, one ‘Scouse’ horse trainer shunned a fancy menu and served a hearty pan of scouse to his guests. Scouse is something which has non-Liverpool folk baffled; “It’s just a stew” they say. JUST A STEW?! Scouse is a work of art, something Gordon Ramsey or any other southern chef can only dare to dream they could perfect. It’s a taste of home which is passed down through the generations, the remedy for any ailment and it’s as ‘Scouse‘ as it gets.
the seventies and eighties. She’s worked everywhere as a cleaner from the hospital to the local primary school which I attended as a kid. It’s the stint at the primary school which has left her as a well known and respected woman in her area of the city. It’s a part of Liverpool which has seen better days, where the youths who were once pretending to be Power Rangers in the streets, are now fully grown, have served time in local gangs and are now dressed in their all black North Face attire. Despite their obvious crime ridden or shall we say ‘dodgy’ dealings in life, they all turn to absolute mush whenever face to face with my nan. Having been their dinner lady when they were younger, it’s hard for them to stay composed and keep their ‘scally’ facade when faced with Mrs Baker, when she used to wipe their nose or fasten their laces. Nans of the city accept no rubbish from unruly locals though, oh no, not my Nan. A 1am phone call from ‘our Maureen’ should have been a cause for concern, but through her giggles, she told us her house had been ‘egged’ by some of the local ‘scallywags’ as she called them.
“She put on her slippers, headed out into the night and hit back with eggs of her own”
Nans Born and bred in Liverpool, my nan raised her kids; my uncles and mum in Norris Green throughout
Local Not one to sit back and let them get away with it, she told us how rather than just retire to bed and leave them be, she put on her fur lined slippers, headed out into the night and hit back at the culprits house with some eggs of her own. Dangerous, rebellious and a stellar move from a Liverpool nan.
The Scouse Brow I was sitting in my University house in Surrey when I was first introduced to what turned out to be one of the most embarrassing shows ever. Desperate Scousewives was supposed to rival the success of The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore, but instead left us ‘Scousers’ hiding behind our couches and squirming at the sound and sight of those who they had cast in the epic failure of a show. However, as embarrassing and destined for failure as it was, Desperate Scousewives brought the idea of the ‘power brow’ the nations living rooms. Never one to follow the pack, the so called Scousewives introduced their own unique and somewhat disturbing take on the classic brow to the unsuspecting world and it somehow ‘caught on’. Now, you can’t walk down the street
without seeing scores of women sporting the ‘scouse brow’ look. There’s nowhere in the world where the idea of taking a black crayola and drawing a thick eyebow on your face would work, but against all the odds the people of this fine city have accepted this ‘artistic’ style and embraced it. It’s not even just the wannabe Scousewives who have adopted the comedic brow; magazines and beauty experts are featuring it with classic shapes as one of the ‘must have’ looks. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are girls out there absolutely convinced that supermodel and ‘IT’ girl of the moment Cara Delevigne got the idea of her iconic bushy brows from the ladies of Liverpool; “OH MY GOD, SHE PROPER COPIED THEM OFF ME”.
Forget St Tropez, Marbella who?
The Liverpool Tan
Every year, there’s an event that comes around which gives the ladies of the North a chance to glam up, find the perfect dress, the highest shoes and sport the darkest tan. Yes, April sees the return of Ladies Day and The Grand National. Something of a rite of passage in the city for every glamour puss and the occasional
‘wool’. Your dress may be custom made, the shoes stacked so high you can actually see the racecourse, but unless your skin is a glowing orange colour, you might as well stay at home and watch it all on the ‘telly’. Forget Saint Tropez, Marbella who? The only place girls have a year long bronze which makes even the likes of the TOWIE cast look pale is Liverpool. So famous for the luminous glow and the expertise which they have about maintaining the shimmering bronze skin, the ‘Scouse’ girls colour has been affectionately named ‘The Liverpool Tan’.
hear people telling you that their great great great granddad's best friends cousin wash Irish, so you’re drinking for them, or even just declaring “the Irish are just BOSS”. Either way, it’s a tradition in the city and one which isn’t really met in any other part of the country.
St Patrick’s Day Unless you’re Irish, a ‘Scouser’ or a drunk, chances are you don’t give a rats ass about St.Patrick’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the Irish patron. Affectionately called ‘Paddy’s Day’ in the city, it’s one of the most anticipated days/nights of the year, just behind Christmas Eve and your best mates birthday. In the weeks leading up to the date, everyone is asking where’s good to go for ‘bevvies’ and town is overrun, from teenagers in tutu’s just hanging about to grown men and women on Matthew Street, raising a pint of Guinness or shot of tequila to celebrate the Irish. With a long history and ties to Ireland, the city comes alive once a year and for that one day you’ll
North Face We’ve all seen the meme of Willy Wonka; “Oh you wear a North Face Jacket. You must go on so many adventures’. North Face in Liverpool is the staple part of most lads wardrobes and has been since I can remember. Whenever I think of North Face in the city, I think of gangs, or lads who like to think they’re in gangs, when all they really do is ride around on a BMX, waiting for their chip barm from the chippy. The brand is for the lads who want to be ‘inconspicuous’, look mysterious and blend in with the rest of the community so it doesn’t look like they’re up to no good (not that all of them are, may I add). However, I can’t seem to ‘get’ what is so inconspicuous about wearing an all black outfit-from the trainers to the hat in the dead of summer, in the middle of the day in the city centre. There are many people (usually the elderly) who have been programmed to fear, avoid and put up with the youths who wear the brand. For me, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve somehow got lost on the way to the North Pole and has anyone else wondered what on earth they keep down their pants, that they have to keep their hands in them all the time?
Local On March 7th, 2013, councils around the United Kingdom put forward their proposed budgets, along with cuts which would soon be put in to effect. Whilst many areas of funding were affected, none more so than the arts and culture sector in some of the major English cities, resulting in cries of objection and leaving those in creative industries questioning the survival of the arts in Britain.
Art Attack With the Government announcing cuts to one of the most integral parts of the British Culture, the question of whether the Arts can survive is one that is asked with deep concern.
The announcement to cut funds for the arts came after Newcastle City Council confirmed the most dramatic of cuts; declaring it had agreed to stop its regular funding for arts venues and theaters and would be launching a new cultural initiative worth just half the original amount. Announcing their budget, the council stated that the £1.2 million of core arts grants would be scrapped whilst a £600,000 culture fund would be launched instead. With most of the city’s income stemming from the arts, the move was met with confusion and were described as a desperate attempt to save money, highlighting how in some areas of the United Kingdom, the arts are considered disposable. Whilst the case of Newcastle may be the more extreme, the cuts led to fears that other major places would follow suit, and soon after, Westminster Council confirmed a 2 year plan to scrap its £350,000-peryear community arts budget which funds the likes of The English National Ballet and Soho Theatre.
The Council claimed the cuts would provide security, but newly appointed Arts Council chairman Peter Bazalgette said the cuts would have a ‘serious’ impact. Speaking on the morning of the budget, Bazalgette argued that ‘there is no city in Britain that does not understand the importance of the arts and culture, both as a central life to the city and to the local economy’. He is fronting the army objecting any cuts to the arts at The Arts Council. In 1940, the Committee for Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA) was set up by Royal Charter and the establishment have seen the arts in Britain go from strength to strength. However, despite the fact the RSC funded British Plays and despite the fact that the figures of those visiting free museums has doubled in the past decade, it would seem that the British Public are once more having to justify giving money to the arts. Locally, the arts sector in Liverpool has always been one which has struggled but also championed and the arts community in the city is ever growing, with more arts centres, exhibition spaces and independently founded institutions being opened every year. Back in 2011, Liverpool City Council decided to stop funding to the arts organisations such as the Everyman and Playhouse theatres, Tate Liverpool and Liverpool Philharmonic by at least 10% every year, for three years, leading to devastating results (the original Everyman theatre closed its doors in
Local July 2011). For establishments such as Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, any cuts to the arts would end in disastrous results. LIPA, founded by Sir Paul McCartney is a place where creatives and those interested in various mediums of the arts congregate and hope to start their career. Founding Principle and CEO of LIPA Mark-FeatherstoneWitty, fears that without any central government funding, any art form that “wasn’t commercially viable would disappear. Classical music for example, would not, in my view survive”, he says. It’s an issue which is rife in the city which in 2008, was crowned the European Capital of Culture, a title which Mark says gave the city much needed confidence. The lack of financial support reflects in the number of people who aim to start a career in the creative industry; a 2012 study by UCAS showed sharp falls in applications to study for subjects including creative arts. With figures down by 16%, to just 227,729 applicants, there’s a worry creative arts specific education establishments may be without students. When asked if he’s worried prospective creatives may think twice before embarking on such a career, Witty says that whilst everyone in creative arts thinks twice, “they realise that their work matters so much that personal sacrifice is both needed and worth it”. Despite the ever growing creative community, which is successful
Local in it’s own right, Mark thinks the city, according to those overseas is famous for music and football, but acknowledges Liverpool City Council is doing its best to continue to support and encourage their citizens, to hopefully spread the arts from the city a little more further afield. At the recent Sky Arts awards at South Bank London, veteran Brit actress Julie Walters criticised the governments plans to cut funding from the arts, saying she ‘may not have made it as an actor if she was starting out as a performer now because of the lack of grants’. Walters who studied English and Drama at Manchester Polytechnic, joined Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre and has since become one of the most recognisable and respected women actors in the country has featured in films such as the Harry Potter franchise and starred opposte Michael Caine in Educating Rita. Walters said there were no grants now for aspiring actors to attend drama schools, urging the government to rethink their position. After accepting the outstanding achievement award at the ceremony Julie said; “It would have been a really hard journey if I had ever made it at all, because there are no grants for them, it’s really, really difficult.”
Issue 01 Playlist:
The Hummingbirds Tea Street Band The Beatles CAst James Blake The Lumineers Janet Jackson Pulp X Soulwax Health Almighty Sion De la soul
Back in Liverpool Summer Dreaming Hey Jude Walkaway Take a fall from me Dead Sea If (kaytranada Remix) After You We are Water Basket Me, myself and I
Next issue off the beaten track-69a Pyro Clothing webb watch
Determined not to let the governments lack of funding dictate how creativity runs, there are those
Local ensuring the journey for the likes of aspiring actors have the opportunity to learn and be creative in the way that Julie Walters did. At a recent conference, Liverpool Biennial artistic director Sally Tallant warned that ‘all philanthropy is coercive”. She believes that when it comes to the arts, nobody gives you something for nothing, including the government. But with cuts in a major city like Newcastle, where the arts contribute massively to the income of the city, questions on whether the government understand the arts are on everyone’s lips. Whilst the support is there for those well known and successful names, Sally stresses that the UK is not in a position where donors dictate artistic programming; “We’re one of the places in the world where creativity’s really thriving. We should be proud of that.” The pride of the arts and culture sector in Liverpool came to light in 2008, when the city was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture, welcoming investment from both local and national sources. For Elliot Callard, Press and Marketing Coordinator for FACT, that funding has been crucial to the success of the city, with him saying; “everyone knows money is tight, but the continued support of The Arts Council, Liverpool City Council and all other private sector funders has meant that culture in Liverpool has continued to thrive”. The impending cuts over the next year or so will have devastating impacts
on all major cities, but independent companies such as FACT will “have to keep working hard to find additional money to make sure we can keep our work supporting artists, bringing unique art and film to Liverpool, whilst working with communities across Merseyside.” Speaking outside the cinema in the building, where a mix of new releases and independent films are regularly screened, Elliot stresses the importance of the arts scene in the UK and notes the harsh reality should the funding for the arts cease to exist; “Arts generate income, increase our reputation abroad, promote tourism and improve the standard of life for people in the UK. It is often accepted as a given that it will always be there, if it stopped completely tomorrow a lot of people would suddenly notice how important it is.” FACT always aim to be an international centre but understand the importance of the local community in relation to their survival admitting; “if local people aren’t engaged, interested and a part of everything we do, then we would never be successful”. Aiming to be as open and as accessible as they can, wether that’s exhibitions, projects, engagement, film or the training courses offered, FACT ensures that this is a place for the community, regularly inviting those in the community to ‘get involved’ like in recent weeks when the public were invited to share their musical taste at ‘The Art of Pop Video’ exhibition. When
budgets and cuts are announced, there’s always a fear that it will be the end of some of the creative haunts, but independent businesses are fighting to remain open, helping those who wish to be creative and work in spite of government funding. Compared to many cities in the UK, Liverpool is small and Elliot thinks is ‘punching above our weight’, with many things to see, do and get involved with, a thought which has been echoed from many within the city. “Whether it’s the Kazimier, The Tate, us (FACT), The Walker, The Playhouse/Everyman, AND, MDI, Liverpool Museums, Open Eye, The Biennial, Writing on the Wall, or The Unity, every night of the week, there’s something to do or see in Liverpool’. Whilst the arts may be an integral part to any city in the United Kingdom, with a list that long, it is clear to see it is the heartbeat of Liverpool and it is with upmost importance that despite the growing fear of cuts, they are allowed to continue.
When it comes to finding a place to work and relax, the city creatives flock to LEAF on Bold Street, for tasty grub and the best selection of tea leaves around. It’s a cold and bitter Liverpool morning when over a cup of steaming Assam leaf tea, I meet Sarah from LEAF and talk about the tea business, the city of Liverpool and of course, Jelly. It’s only 10am and the teashop is already bustling with people enjoying breakfast or finding refuge from the cold air outside. “It was a main objective for us to create a place that was welcoming, and wouldn’t hurry anybody out.” explains Sarah. It’s this objective which has meant that the customers who pop in for a cup of tea have become loyal, choosing to gather here for the morning brew, the afternoon lunch, and even post work drinks on the many open mic nights or LEAF curated gigs. With a collection of teas that range from the classic breakfast tea, Earl Grey and the more exotic flowering teas, the teashop has collected a massive group of devoted customers. Located on the
forever busy Bold Street, the teashop and bar has found itself in the company of some very good neighbors in the form of clothing boutiques and arts and crafts shops. The street has homed creatives since the 60s and has become the must be place for independent businesses to start up because of its distance from the high street. LEAF finds itself close enough to the main high street that they’re not isolated, but far enough from the hustle and bustle that their clientele remains exclusive. The location and ethos of the company has attracted a fan base, which at a glance is comprised of the elite of the city. Virtually unknown creatives are found sipping tea alongside ‘old timers’ who have made a name for themselves in the city, with Liverpool based band The Zutons regularly spotted at the shop. Despite a lengthy creative scene, those on the outside of the city have long overlooked Liverpool, with Manchester receiving the most attention in the North West. For the
new generation of creatives in town to grow, learn and become something on the scene there needed to be a ‘creative base’ which is where LEAF comes in; “Since the beginning’ Sarah beams, ‘it’s been incredibly important for us to be a place for meeting new people, sharing ideas and collaborating”. It’s the importance of collaboration which resulted in the generation of one of the regular events at the shop; JELLY. Liverpool is home to 3 major Universities; Liverpool University, Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool John Moores University, and it’s the latter which approached LEAF to team up for a ‘coffee morning’. JELLY is an event where like minded individuals and creatives come to work twice a month in the vast space of the shop. Describing the University as ‘pioneers’ when it comes to the creation of JELLY, Sarah says; “It has grown into a great mix of regulars and new faces. We provide a relaxed and collaborative space, and of course lots of tea and cake to keep the creative juices flowing”. Wether it is art, fashion, music
or even craft workshops, LEAF has the community of Liverpool covered when it comes to championing the arts. The importance of the identity of the city is one which has grown over the years and Sarah thinks Liverpool is heading in the right direction; “LEAF has provided a platform for creativity to flourish, so I believe we naturally add to the growth of this important aspect of our city.” And grow the city has, with more creatives deciding to situate themselves in the city, Liverpool is fast becoming a creative beacon of the North. The open minded attitude means that LEAF has watched many an idea blossom and now holds monthly evenings where people can go to discuss business ventures and try get the support from financial backers, it’s a far cry from the Liverpool which has so often been reported in the news; “ LEAF fosters innovation and individuality that Liverpool is increasingly becoming known for”. On a street which has over 15 independent food or drink shops and three of the best known coffee chains around, it’s a wonder LEAF hasn’t fallen victim to curse of a city having
too much of a good thing. But with the help of many agencies in Liverpool, such as Vision, TMP and Acme, LEAF is proud of the accolades they have received. “We won Best Bar in Liverpool 2012 at the tourism awards which was a huge achievement and it shows we can compete against our London counterparts”. The teashop have recently teamed up with leading cinema and exhibition space FACT just one street away and opened ‘The Garden at FACT by LEAF’ a summertime cafe which brings fresh food and drinks to those who like to work in a creative workspace. The agencies have been there to help the company and it is that support which has meant they can take advantage of the networks of people and communities they have introduced them to. “We’ve made great friends in our community as well as further afield and have loyal staff who have been with us from the beginning.” And it’s this staff who now have the task of dealing with the flurry of customers who have come bustling in off the street, yearning for some tasty grub from the home away from
home. Whilst there are some choosing to take refuge under the bunting on the long oak benches, others find solace on a more secluded table under the lampshades. “Right I’m up” Sarah says as she goes to help serve the parched customers on the lunch from their 9-5 day.
LEAF ON BOLD STREET 65-67 Bold St Liverpool L1 4EZ 0151 707 7747 @Leafteashop
Decks Appeal At home with Sertone
Local Hailing from Ireland, Sertone whose real name is Gareth McAlinden has recently finished his University degree and in between studying and being a father has found the time to make a name for himself, producing some of the sickest beats around. I first came across the work of DJ and producer Sertone during a browse through Souncloud and immediately became a fan. Soon after, in 2012 we became ‘twitter friends’ and have been in contact ever since. Like many people today, there’s always a thought that you’ll never meet someone who you’ve befriended on social media, so when I received a tweet from the DJ saying “I think we’re on the same train” a flush of awkward panic rushed through me. On a crowded, late night train from London to Liverpool I made my way down the carriage and finally came face to face with the musician and he couldn’t have been nicer. A year later I sit down with Gareth in his home in Liverpool, where he creates his much loved music. “Moving to Liverpool was an easy choice, it’s just so welcoming” he says as he reflects on his move to the city when he was just 18. Now 24, Gareth has finished his stint in education, which started when he came to the city to study at the performing arts school, LIPA, which he left after only a year there. Most of his friends from his hometown went to university in Belfast, 40 miles from where they grew up as children with Gareth saying “they loved it ‘cause they could visit home at the weekend, get their washing done and get fed” but
Moving to Liverpool was an easy choice
that wasn’t the route he wanted to take, explaining he ‘wanted more’. That ‘more’ came in the shape of Liverpool, a place Gareth had visited many times as a child attending the football matches of his beloved L.F.C Gareth was just 14 when he started making beats which he likens to
the sounds of DJ Premier from Gangstarr and Pete Rock and was heavily immersed in the sounds of hip hop. His true musical journey started at the age of 16 when he came across the sounds of legendary J Dilla who Gareth thanks for “expanding my ambitions”. It was when listening to Slum Village he heard Dilla’s
infamous solo instrumentals that McAlinden decided he wanted to make more than just hip hop beats. His move to the city has been a welcoming one, with his taste in music changing not just through age but also his surroundings. Although he is still a fan of hip hop and rap music, he says the move to the city made him appreciate the electronic genre; “I was exposed to dance and rave culture in a way I never was when I lived in Northern Ireland”. His move to the city at just 18 meant that he found himself in the company of some of the brightest and talented musicians in the city. Now he finds himself surrounded by a circle of friends who are a collective of some of the best DJ’s and producers the city has to offer. With a reputation as a city which is more like a big community Gareth picks up on the fact that despite the size ‘everyone seems to know each other’ with the most recognisable names being Mele and Dawud, Gareth stresses there are ‘tons more’. The music scene in the city is a varied one and with such a vast amount of DJ’s out there it’s often hard to keep track, but Gareth recommends the ‘Sessions Faction’ youtube channel, who have an archive of the ones worth hearing. Despite the growing population of DJ’s and producers around Gareth notes there aren’t many who are similar to him; “Me and my friends find it weird that in six years of being here, there are only three producers who make music like us”. The
aforementioned ‘us’ is Gareth as his Sertone alias along with Mump and Bolts who both tour Ireland, with Bolts being signed to an American label both of whom I’ve become aware of through Gareth and his DJ sets. Along with Bolts and Mump, Gareth has has found himself linked to some of the biggest names in hip hop thanks to his work with Madnice Marauders founded by Adam Mac. Through working in ‘Ran’ shop in the city centre, Mac met Paddy of No Fakin, well known in the North of England for being some of the best DJ’s around. Paddy is responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in hip hop to the city; names such as Lootpack and Maseo of De La Soul. In Gareth’s words, Adam took on the torch to ‘help bring hip hop back to the city’ and along with Sertone has tried to continue the legacy of No Fakin’ with Beat Music. Madnice Marauders have already seen big names such as Ras G, Jehst, Joey Bada$$ and Maseo over the past year alone already going down as a legacy in the city and Gareth has big hopes for the night; “The impact is yet to be seen, perhaps in a few years people will talk about it in the same way we talk about the No Fakin’ nights”. Although he insists he never planned on it, Gareth admits the past two years have been ‘pretty busy’, having released two EP’s and remixes under the CL Moons alias and appearing alongside some of his heroes such as highly respected Kutmah, Samiyam,
Letherette and Solar bears, all of which he describes as ‘fantastic and very surreal’. A massive Liverpool FC fan, Gareth says when he has had the time, he loves nothing more than spending the day at Camp and Furnace watching the match on the big screen whilst ‘enjoying their amazing menu’ but can also be found passing by the hours at FACT for ‘very little money’. Whether at the newly opened Brooklyn Mixer on Seel Street, which Gareth says has a ‘nice decor and loads of good music’ or hanging out at Weavers Door with the ‘really nice bunch of guys’ who work there, Sertone says one of the things he loves about the city is “you can spend a whole day here and not be bored”. With so much love for the city, there’s no risk of him leaving anytime soon and he’s already thrown himself into work with the biggest plans of 2013 concerning him and fellow beatmaker Bolts. Teaming up they have created Almighty Sion and whilst he divulges there’s no major Sertone releases in the pipe works, he reassures me there’ll be a steady stream of remixes and free tracks throughout the year for anyone needing their Sertone fix. As always, my meeting with Gareth is as pleasant as the first time I met him on the train a year ago. With more appearances at Madnice nights a sure thing in the future and touring Ireland and further abroad later this year, there’s big things to be expected from this Liverpool dwelling musician.
City Sound An exploration of music from the city.
Local At the heart of every good city is something for which they are famous; For the city of Liverpool, it’s the vast and impressive music scene. Having been quiet on the commercial music scene for several years, the city of Liverpool is once more making some noise and you’d be a fool to ignore it. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, Liverpool is officially the world capital of popular music, with more number one singles produced here than any other city. In every corner of the city there’s a music legacy to be found, from The Cavern, Penny Lane, infamous spots such as Erics, or the Wall of Fame in the city centre which showcases over fifty of the top hits since 1952. Whilst there’s some absolute classics hanging on the wall, on closer inspection, there’s a few not so worth bragging about (Atomic Kitten) but it’s a legacy that shows the extent of the talent which has blossomed in the city. The most famous musical export may be in the form of four unlikely lads who went on to dominate the world, but there’s more to the music scene than meets the eye. When it comes to taking on the mainstream, it’s all been a bit quite from the city, since LIPA, The Wombats graduates burst onto the scene and declared they were “Moving to New York”, but that was way back in 2008 and quite frankly, I think we can all agree it’s time the city tried again.
The Liverpool Music Awards has brought the sudden surge of new and exciting acts to the media’s attention, making this attempt at dominating the charts a very strong possibility. Local bands The Tea Street Band and double denim loving lads The Hummingbirds are both strong contenders for making it to the charts, both loved and supported from the Liverpool public. Thanks to the backing from Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney, The Hummingbirds have burst onto the scene, making a huge impact on the already infamous music scene of the North West. Taking to his twitter, Wayne Rooney championed the lads, giving them the seal of approval, giving the band an allegiance of fans. As it stands today, the unsigned band has over 16,000 followers on the social networking site and have toured all over the United Kingdom. With the likes of Snow Patrol turning up to their gigs in London, they’re already getting The Hummingbirds sound out to what could be a potentially life changing market. With their distinct skiffle sound, which is so often referred to when commenting on the Merseybeat era, the band
Local have been called “The Beatles of our generation”, with everyone from young teenage girls to men in their 40s seen in the crowds of their sell out gigs in The Cavern. It wasn’t until the 1960s and The Cavern that the sound of the city really came to life, with the sounds of Motown and The Merseybeat Era. Opening in 1957, The Cavern became the place for bands and teenagers who wished they were in bands to play their distinct and unfiltered music to captivated audiences. The sound most popular at the time was Jazz, but throughout the streets of the city the skiffle sound was born; a new form of Jazz with basic instruments; a washboard and a single tea-chest base. The Cavern provided the perfect platform for unknown skiffle bands such as John Lennon’s ‘Quarrymen Skiffle Group’ who made their first appearance in April 1957. When the skiffle trend died almost as quickly as it had started, the nightclub became an iconic venue, hosting everyone from The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Swinging Bluejets. By the time the new decade came around, the swinging sixties came to an end and the hippy generation emerged, bringing with it a new place to be seen. Nightclub ‘Erics’ became the heartbeat of the Northwest in the late 70s and later became the inspiration for Tony Wilson’s ‘Factory’. It is because of Wilson’s ‘Factory’,
that the face of popular culture changed in Manchester and throughout the North of England with the sounds of Motown and Northern Soul. In keeping with the social and economical decay in Liverpool, Erics was shut down by the authorities in the late 70s and with it, the music in the city was paused once more. With the turn of each decade comes a new trend in music, fashion and in culture. By the time the 1990s started, the grunge era had taken over the rest of England, but live music in Liverpool became massively overlooked. Whilst bands such as Pulp, Blur and The Stone Roses were causing waves, Liverpool took a different turn and nightclubs had taken over the landscape. The city’s population and that of the surrounding areas flocked to clubs such as Cream to ‘get smashed and listen to Scouse House’. The 90s for Liverpool, was all about one thing; clubbing. Many say it was the ‘clubbing’ experience, not the university courses that attracted students in their hundreds to the city throughout the decade. Not unlike the image New York possesses today, Liverpool was a youthful and energetic place, it was the original city that didn’t sleep. Clubs such as Cream and Garlands dominated the city in the late 90s and the city became fixed as glam house central in most people’s minds. Serving as a place of worship for the most devoted of
‘clubbers’, relatively diverse groups from around the country arrived to absorb the atmosphere and music in the once confined spaces of the clubs. DJ’s such as Yousef and Moby came to the city, gracing the decks of the most famous venues, with Moby once joking about his experience saying; “We went down to Cream last night and were refused entry. Which was kind of ironic as they were playing one of my songs at the time!” It’s a scene which is still going strong today with Yousef taking the reigns for Cricus which back in 2010 was “the biggest house event in Liverpool”. Now with the rise of nights such as Abandon Silence, Waxxx and Chibuku taking place in the city, the scene has changed dramatically, with clubbers wanting
new music and big acts. Now in it’s twelfth year, Chibuku has grown from a small student night to what promotor Richard McGinnis called a ‘multi-genre musical experience’. Despite the growing demand for clubs and dance music back in the 90s, there were still those live bands who were busy on the music circuit with the likes of The Lightening Seeds, Cast and Shack managing to gain some recognition on the charts bringing the idea of the Liverpool band back into the spotlight. It’s a trend which is occurring today in the city with another up and coming band bridging the gap between dance and live music. The Tea Street Band are, in their own words ‘a set of 5 lads living
Local life trying to make sound waves for people to dance to’. Of the current five members, four were originally members of The Maybes? but following a dream keyboard player had about a new band, The Tea Street Band was born. It’s a move which has proved pivotal for the band, whose euphoric beats and vocals are a breath of fresh air and has everyone excited. With the power of technology and twitter, the band have been urging their followers to pledge to their music and “Pass the Feeling On” a sentiment which has seen everyone from members of the public to Melanie C pledging to the lads. They recently took to the stage in the Big Apple as part of the Sound City Festival and alongside The Enemy and Reverend and the Makers showcased the best of British in the most famous city in the world. What’s interesting about the mentioned bands and musicians is the level to which they appose the image the city has so often been tarnished with. Compared to the rough talking ‘scally’ image so often associated with the city, history and indeed modern day musicians are fighting against this view with their often upbeat. witty songs which you can’t help but dance to. Having faced such hardships throughout the years, this wonderful city has developed a thick skin and music has been an escapism from the economical and political problems everyday life has brought it.
Local band manager and promotor Stevie Law once described the music scene here ‘like no other in the country’. It’s a place where behind the sweet and soothing tunes about love at first sight or love of home, is a couple of lads in trainers and tracksuits. It’s a place where despite being so vast and populated you can be certain you’ll always see somebody you know wherever you may find yourself, something virtually unheard of in Manchester or London. It’s this sense of ‘community’ or ‘togetherness’ which so many people have called it that means for local talent, there’s already a support system who will back them to success. Wether you walk down Bold Street throughout the day or indeed along Church Street after hours you’ll be greeted by 10 or more buskers, music pumping from the bars and a couple of people intent on making you dance to the sounds of the street. In a recent interview in ‘Another Man’, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner said; “Liverpool has produced many bands, but they all have the same Liverpool sound”, which although true of the sound of the past, couldn’t be further from the truth of the present. The Liverpool sound of which he speaks is the one The Beatles provided in the 60s, or indeed The La’s of the 90s, it’s the sound which made the city famous. Now, with all that success to live up to, what’s clear to see is that the musicians of Liverpool march to the beat of their own drum,
taking inspiration, not from the charts, but their surroundings and peers, in turn influencing the music they so passionately create. It’s the city’s avoidance of mimicking those around the United Kingdom which meant that whilst boys were squeezing into skinny jeans and sporting shaggy hair quickly formed bands during the ‘indie’ phase, the Liverpool music scene watched and listened rather than participate. Throughout these years, those hoping to be “The Next Big Thing” watched as countless bands were churned out up and down the country, but Liverpool remained quiet. The Wombats made the only noise from the city, but there was a distinct, almost obvious separation and lack of appreciation from Liverpool for the lads, as they did not represent the genuine music scene our city had so long tried to build. Upon seeing the commercial success many of these self made bands were gaining, anyone who could play a few chords on a guitar took to the stage every five minutes in pubs clubs and even the vegan cafes. Whilst many of the student population flocked to see the latest craze, the rest sat back waiting for it to end. Like with any trend, the ‘indie’ scene which had for so long lacked any form of passion, diminished and those temporary bands closed their guitar cases and headed back home. It gave the ‘real musicians’ of the city, the chance to rediscover the sound of Liverpool.
was the catalyst for the first ever Liverpool Music Awards which took place in 2012 and saw up and coming bands and artists take to the stage, celebrating everything Liverpool had to offer the music industry. It’s a city which, musically has never conformed to the norm, but has instead challenged the norm providing the country with a new and exciting sound. It’s something the Fab Four did way back in the 60s and it’s something The Hummingbirds and Tea Street Band are doing today. What the bands of Liverpool seem to have in an abundance is support; not only from the city and the fans, but also from fellow musicians who are all competing for the same success. Maybe it’s because in every aspect, the city has never sought to fit in with the rest of society and maybe it’s because to the rest of England, Scousers are a bit of an anomaly, but Liverpool is different, it’s daring and it always has been and always will be the original home of music.
The rediscovery of this sound
On the 14th March, music loves and culture boffins alike gathered at FACT for the launch of one of the most innovative exhibitions to date. The Art of Pop Video exhibits over 100 iconic music videos along with short films, waiting to be discovered by people if all ages, with videos from the past lined up along those which represent the future.
When I found myself dancing alone to Daft Punk in a room full of strangers, I knew it was time to leave...
As a child obsessed with music and learning the dance moves of my favourite girl bands, music videos were an exciting part of growing up for me. Now at 22 years of ages, I’ve stopped replicating those dance moves (most of the time) and after years of nagging from my mum, I’ve stopped sitting so close to the television out of fear of missing a single hair flick or step sequence from the likes of S Club 7 or The Spice Girls (I was only 10, remember) but I’m still excited by music videos, only now I’m appreciating them in a different kind of way. On my most recent visit to the exhibition, which I
think is the fourth time I’ve been, I found myself talking to an employee who summed up the reason why the exhibition is so important in the first sentence he spoke to me; “I’ve never really thought of a music video as a piece of art, it’s like I’ve taken it for granted all these years” he said, and I couldn’t agree more.
For those who have satellite television, there are now more than 20 channels dedicated to the showing of new and old music videos, from the likes of Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, Rihanna and Professor Green. With the majority of these channels on a loop for 24 hours a day, there’s no shortage in discovering new releases or hidden gems. It’s this concept of discovery and sharing which brought the idea of the latest exhibition to be shown at FACT in the heart of the city. The exhibition highlights the development of the music video as not only a significant part of cultural society, but also an artistic genre, paying homage to a medium which is unlike any other, bringing together music, cinematography, performance and history. Curators of the exhibition, film producer Michael P. Aust and film critic Daniel Kothenschulte introduced the crowd to the exhibition as they
gathered in The Box at FACT on the night of the launch, which was sponsored by the Liverpool Organic Brewery. Championing the space which FACT had supplied, Aust said the exhibition is a chance for ‘parents to show their kids what they like and vice versa’. With over 10% of the videos selected originating from the North West, whether by directors or musicians, the exhibition concept comes from a love of music and art, and is a chance to bring the music video into
a different environment, allowing for the medium to be shared and appreciated amongst an array of people. There are many different aspects to the exhibition, with each particular area concentrating on a different concept from film and cinema, history, abstraction and dance. FIlm and Cinema: Having been permanently fixed to the television screen from an early age and with a deep routed (and
rather concerning) knowledge of popular culture and film, the first part of the exhibition which focuses on Film and Cinema is certainly one I couldn’t miss. Many say MTV is the original purveyor of the music video, and whilst there’s no doubt MTV changed the face of music on television, there is a long running history with the music video well before the channel launched in 1981 with Video Killed the Radio Star. From the live orchestral pieces
which once accompanied the silent movies of years gone by, to the every progressing soundtracks which are now a staple part of the film industry today, the music video’s long historical connection to film and the influences they have had, along with the potential for the future are shown in the exhibition. The genre of Rock ‘n’ Roll is now looked upon as being one of the best genres in music history, but before it hit the big time, television was reluctant to embrace the genre
and so it moved to the big screen. For the likes of Richard Lester, who created the infamous films of The Beatles, it became clear that the big screen was the best place to explore the Rock ‘n’ Roll genre and the stars who were and had worked so hard to create it, such as The Fab Four and Elvis. In this specific part of the exhibition, The Art of Pop Video gives the public the opportunity to see the crossover between music and film, from those making short clips, to the videos which use classic movies to entice the audience who, like me are interested in popular culture. Amateur: Popular Culture was born in correlation of the launch of MTV and in those early years, the channel was the first place to see a new music video. Nowadays, with the development and constant updates of the internet means that the mass public are able to create their own video style, as did the creation of one of the biggest video sites in the world, Youtube. The amateur style of video emerged at the start of the new millennium, initially fed from the context of art and now with the ever growing Youtube community, there is a platform for amateur filmmakers to create their own art. Youtube and other video sites have given amateur filmmakers a platform for self expression, to play with the idea of celebrity culture, mocking and documentation of the publics obsession with online profiling. The
endless possibilities of the internet has given directors and filmmakers free reign and there are no longer the limitations of which television provided. Directors, using music and video are able to discuss political themes and social criticism, like in Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, and are able to present it online in a more open minded environment. These political videos do not feel as cliched as they once did, but are now seen as accurate reflections, initiating debate on a global platform. Dance: Many videos are there to present a visual for the often powerful and emotive lyrics of a song, but most videos have always relied upon dance; from the choreographed moves from girl groups I used to try and copy, to those Michael Jackson provided to narrate his popular and iconic videos such as Thriller and Bad. The rise of technology and special effects has made the possibilities of human movement and skill within music videos much more advanced than the early days of the video. In a particular section of the exhibition, the ways in which dance videos have adapted for the developing audiences are explored and looks towards the new and changing interpretations of the word ‘dance’. The medium is the message: In the midst of the launch, journalist and broadcaster Paul Morley took to the mic to discuss the importance of
the music video to popular culture, both in the past and in todays society. The exhibition has brought the concept of the music video into a new context allowing the audience to see it as an art form outside the comfort of our own homes, in which we are so used to experiencing it. Presenting it in this way means that those who attend The Art of Pop Video exhibition have a chance to view the videos in a way it was first intended to be shown. In a world where we’ve been subjected to the MTV way of life, we’re now too used to seeing the music videos repeated on a daily basis on the so called music channels or we can quickly search for them on the internet. This unique exhibition, which is open until the end of May, puts the medium of the music video back into original context, and according to Morley allows us to enter our ‘dream’ like state and consume what we see as we choose to see it; whether that be as a reflection of the lyrics or a piece of art form in itself.
making it a prominent part of popular culture, it is up to the audience of the videos young and old to preserve them and keep them alive, fresh and exciting and most importantly present them in their true form; as a piece of art.
88 Wood St Liverpool, Merseyside L1 4DQ 0151 707 4444
Powered by Raspberry Pi technology, there are over 100 videos for the audience to dissect and enjoy, from Daft Punk, Amy Winehouse, Ladytron, Marianne Faithful and much much more. It’s an interesting exhibition and one which provides a lot of insight into the music video, an artistic medium which can sometimes be overlooked due to the volume of those which are already out there. Whilst MTV brought the music video to the attention of the mass audience,
PAUSE For the likes of Bristol, London and Manchester, the electro and bass scene has long been popular, but only recently has it slowly found a way to the North West. Never one to sit back and let others experience something incredible, Liverpool has created a thriving and eclectic nightlife with new and established promotors, DJ’s and Club nights popping up all over the city. Promotors such as Abandon Silence, Waxxx and the newest of the bunch Pause, have created a self made community, bringing a new tribe and wave of music to the streets after hours. Promotor, DJ and Club Night organiser John McAndrew, talks about how the clubbing scene is taking over the city and has got people dancing again. As a Sports Science student at John Moores University, John McAndrew isn’t the typical image of someone who would create a club night, but seeing a gap on the market, he has put together Pause, a grime and bass night in the city, which only started in January this year. Already proving to be a success, John counts the electro and DJ scene as the reason why they’re already doing so well; “The biggest nights now are headed by DJ’s, not bands” he says. With this sudden shift on the music scene, club nights are
often overlooking live bands, but nights such as Waxxx still try and promote live bands, such as The Tea Street Band who performed at their “In Dreams” night earlier this year, but as McAndrew points out, the bands usually have a one hour slot, saying the nights book bands but “incorporate the modern format by providing DJ’s to take you into the early hours of the morning”. Following in the footsteps of venues such as The Nest in Dalston, who have seen the likes of Brenmar and Loefah play to the masses, Abandon Silence started in the hope to bring same vibe to the North West. It’s so far so good and credited as being one of the most ‘forward thinking’ nights in the city, it has seen the likes of Oneman and Ben UFO take to the decks and has witnessed SBTRKT and Disclosure perform live with the use of keyboards and drum machines, something which is quite rare on the club night circuit. McAndrew thinks the way in which these acts have played show real innovation for the city saying; “some of these acts have blown up to be massive, Liverpool should be proud of how forward thinking it is”. In order to get a better understanding of the club scene in the city at the moment, John thinks the resident DJ’s of these big nights provide the best representation, describing Harry Sheehan and Rich Furness of Abandon Silence as “extremely talented”. Sheehan, who has only been with the promotors
Local since September but already has a loyal and strong following, with a reputation amongst students as being the best about. Furness on the other hand has a reputation as one of the best in the city, with a residency at Chibuku one of the biggest and most anticipated nights in Liverpool and London. The club night has just signed an exclusive deal with new and improved venue; The East Village Arts Club, which opened in late April. The venue, formerly much loved The Masque has been taken over by the MAMA group who own The Ritz in Manchester and The Jazz Cafe in London, so there are big things to be expected from the newly named arts club, who according to the restaurant and bar manager Jason Maidwell, are hoping to bring a ‘new vibe and much excitement to the city’ with not one but two stages in the newly renovated building. When it comes to the music scene developing in the city, John says venues will be the ‘big turning point’, claiming he’s very excited by Camp and Furnace in the Baltic Triangle who are constantly ‘reinvesting into itself for development’. Even Waxxx promotors bought a warehouse on the same street with similar intentions. There is one place that John thinks you won’t find anywhere else; The Kazimier, owned by a collective of art and creative enthusiasts; “it is possibly my favourite venue I have ever been to” he says, “It hosts an array of eclectic events, from Abandon
Silence, to live bands, then in the summer they open up the garden and is always changing their art installations, I’ve never experienced anywhere else like it”. This new venue may be the first Liverpool has which can transform the face of the modern music scene in the North West. The current lack of iconic venues means that there’s a risk independent club nights will slowly lose momentum without a permanent home. McAndrew stresses the importance of having an iconic venue in the city which offers the “best in both audio and visual”, listing Sankeys and Victoria Warehouse in Manchester and Mint Club in Leeds as rival venues, believing “The first place in Liverpool to achieve something similar will be cemented into the city’s history”. ohn hopes that Pause will have a place in this history, assuring that Pause will continue to develop and reveals they already have lots of ideas for September, catering for the gaps in the nightlife; “we’re going to star low on the list and build up”. Just as the promotors have started small, they’ve created something big in the city and for now, they’re keeping the nightlife alive. @PauseLiverpool
keeping it [Local]
Published on Nov 27, 2013