THE NEXT GENERATION OF TASTEMAKERS
FEVER 333 k-pop punk folk generation next b*witched ldnmix firestarter reviews
FREE FEB 2019
BIMM LONDON - MUSIC JOURNALISM STUDENTS
TOM SCAN ME!
email@example.com LDNmagazine.com @LDNmusicmag
WELCOME NOTE “Great music is in the ear of the beholder” – Noel Gallagher We can’t wait for you to witness what’s in store for this month’s issue. The content is getting broader and bigger, and Team LDN has toiled to bring you not just this fine print magazine, but also exclusive website content over at ldnmagazine.com, and the LDNMIX Spotify playlist too. Interview-wise we have cover stars and punk hybrid newcomers Fever 333 taking centre stage, plus a chat with Essex band False Heads, folk trio Tors and a quarter of B*Witched in the form of Lindsay Armaou for a feature I created called History Lesson (catch up with the mine in last month’s magazine if you missed it). There’s also Abi’s Guide to K-Pop from our resident expert, and all the regular features we hope you are enjoying. The industry is ever-growing and changing; people’s tastes are broadening, artists are topping charts quicker than ever before and the infrastructure is constantly shifting. It’s encouraging to see some of the artists earlier featured on LDN’s platforms turn up as part of industry critics’ tip lists for 2019 – we are the next generation of tastemakers. You can see displayed the versatility of Team LDN’s music tastes. Everybody is encouraged to share the enthusiasm of their specialist field, to help us bring you the finest of every genre. It’s pivotal everything is covered, and we hope you discover a new artist or revisit a familiar one. LDN aims to appeal to everybody, in London and beyond. The team behind this issue have worked extremely hard to put this magazine together, thank you to them and to all of you reading.
CONTENTS 4 FEVER 333 7 PLAYLIST: LDNMIX 8 FALSE HEADS 10 GENERATION NEXT: NEW MUSIC 12 FEATURE: ABI’S GUIDE TO K-POP 15 INTRODUCING: TORS 16 REVIEWS 18 HISTORY LESSON: B*WITCHED 19 FIRESTARTER
[I]n [C]ase [Y]ou [M]issed [I]t LDN’s editor Maria was the star ‘Tastemaker’ on page 10 of the January 21st edition of industryleading print magazine Music Week, tipping Orla Gartland’s comeback single ‘Between My Teeth’. In exciting BIMM London campus shenanigans, Maria attended a masterclass with grime superstar, Stormzy. The artist visited the home of LDN mag as part of his Adidas x Merky campaign and answered students’ questions about music, social media and making it in the business.
4 / COVER FEATURE
FEVER 333 Punk innovators Fever 333 released their debut single in summer 2017, and they’ve already clocked up a Grammy nom for Best Rock Performance, toured globally with Bring Me The Horizon, and put out their debut album Strength In Numb333rs via Roadrunner Records and 333 Wreckords. That’s just the business chat though. Ashley Hall speaks with band frontman Jason Aalon Butler about continuing their politically-charged message, concepts behind the project, and on making the world a better place.
COVER FEATURE / 5 HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE QUICK RISE TO SUCCESS FOR THE BAND? People always want change and to feel like they are represented in some way. We don’t take much credit for this idea or the movement that was already happening. The people had already cultivated it, so we’re just trying to be advocates and allies to the idea. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE THE FEVER 333 CONCEPT? Since I was young, I’ve wanted to explain why my family, and people like me, see things the way we do. My whole sense of being is that sense of duality; being biracial and struggling with finding my identity growing up. I’ve been trying to find a place where I feel comfortable, and that’s Fever 333. When I was young, I didn’t understand how [social engineering] was operating. Now that I’m older and a little more well-read, I feel comfortable enough to speak objectively and experientially and ask people to extend some sort of empathy. DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOUR HIP-HOP AND PUNK SOUND IS A CURRENT REFLECTION OF AMERICAN MUSIC? The genre-less idea of musicianship is getting stronger. Being able to explore the world at a click of a button means we’re able to consume so many different styles of music. Being exposed to that, it’s almost inevitable that exposure will lead to acceptance. Especially with the youth right now, there’s a huge wave happening where they are crushing parameters and boundaries… it’s a beautiful and amazing thing how they are consuming, experiencing and creating music. I hope that [our music] speaks for them. THE THREE C’S IN RELATION TO FEVER 333’S NAME ARE FOR COMMUNITY, CHARITY AND CHANGE. DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE EXPRESSED THESE CONCEPTS? That’s just the foundation. It’s being an example rather than just talking shit on stage. We have to demonstrate that in all of our movements, publicly, artistically and individually. We have things like the Walking In My Shoes Foundation charity that encourages empathy on issues we think are important and offers a platform for people to invest in their activism. Change is trying to be the thing that you want to see. The idea of community is trying to open up this whole thing that is Fever 333 to give everybody a place to
feel safe and push the conversation forward, free of judgement and fear. HOW WOULD YOU SAY FEVER 333’S COMMENTARY ON COMMUNITY ISSUES TRANSLATES TO THE UK? It’s all about power - what Fever 333 are representing is a sense of power that we all possess that can make change. The idea here is to empower people with what they are worth in their community. That’s what we carry when we go to Europe, Japan, Australia or South America, or wherever we go in the world. SONICALLY, YOU’RE VERY AGGRESSIVE, ESPECIALLY THE SONG ‘ONE OF US’ WITH THE LYRIC “STAND UP OR DIE ON YOUR KNEES”. IS THIS THE ONLY WAY FORWARD FOR OUR SOCIETY? Yes, unfortunately. I do believe that you must stand up on your own two feet in some way, whether it just be trusting yourself, believing yourself or loving yourself enough to exercise your own voice and your desires. Exercise what you know to be true and your own way forward. You must have this investment in yourself to literally evolve forward. I think that lyric is as much the truth to me. We must find a way to stand up on our own two feet by ourselves, otherwise we’ve just been relegated by that power. THE TRACK ‘INGLEWOOD’ IS MUCH SOFTER, POETIC, AND INTERESTINGLY PLACED ON THE RECORD... The whole idea with Fever 333 is to create a spectrum so wide that there are no parameters. I’m talking about my home, where and how I grew up, and offering an understanding of why I say the things I do. I hope that in my story, people find a sense of it in themselves. If nothing else, a way that I unabashedly discuss things that were beautiful and painful for me, so that song had to be a slower, more hip-hop, almost jungle/house beat. In our theories and ideals, I also want the music to be challenging and confronting. I want to be free and liberated and show that we can do what we want tastefully, and that we honour the craft that is music. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE LISTENED TO THE ALBUM? Understand their power and how much it’s worth when they involve themselves in their community, in any sort of action that is beneficial for someone other than themselves. You can involve yourself in activism, in charity
6 / COVER FEATURE “YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE WORTH AND POWER THAT YOU POSSESS IN ORDER TO CATALYSE THE IDEA OF CHANGE”
or a small group of people that want to see the change that you desire. First though, you have to understand the worth and power that you possess in order to catalyse the idea of change around you. We affect others around us and that if we continue to make decisions based only around ourselves, we will see detrimental consequences - that’s when then change starts.
ASH HOW I GOT INTO FEVER Watching the video to debut single ‘We’re Coming In’ and finally realising why letlive. (Jason’s previous band) had to come to an end. Fever 333 is unquestionably important to the American people. FAVOURITE FOR A FIRST TIME LISTENER ‘One Of Us’ carries a nice blend of the whole Fever concept, breathtaking riffs and incredible vocals whilst employing hard-hitting lyrics. FAVOURITE VIDEO ‘Burn It Down’. It shows their energy of the live show and references historical events with shocking elements of narrative alongside the raw power of the music.
Fever 333’s album Strength In Numb333rs is out now
WHAT ARE THEY LIKE LIVE? Watch the afroPUNK performance from August 2018 and decide for yourself.
PLAYLIST / 7
We brand ourselves as “the next generation of tastemakers”. Let us prove it. Here is a collection of tracks that the editorial team at LDN have been loving. Spanning across a wide range of genres, there is something here for even the most eclectic of preferences. Listen to more Team LDN picks on the LDNMIX spotify playlist.
HARDCORE The two sub1. FADE - CASEY genres ‘melodic’ and ‘post-’ of the 2. ABOVE ME hardcore scene CROOKS UK span a sound 3. LIKE A SHADOW that’s subtly bounced between HOLDING ABSENCE support slots 4. BLIND - CAPSIZE of hardcore or 5. BOUQUET punk, giving me COUNTERPARTS the emotion and melody of emo and pop punk with the drive and aggression of new wave hardcore. Hopefully some of these tracks give you a varied introduction into a more experimental collection of music.
Growing up 1. CROWBAR listening to the FRANK CARTER AND likes of Feeder, THE RATTLESNAKES Guns N’ Roses 2. BURN IT - FEVER 333 and Metallica, 3. JOY - BLACK FOXXES I have always 4. RABBLE ROUSER gravitated ENTER SHIKARI towards rock 5. ENOUGH ENOUGH music and most of its subgenres. ENOUGH - DEAD! Personally, I think the best rock songs are the ones that translate well during live performances. These artists have all put on unforgettably phenomenal live shows in the past and are definitely worth checking out.
Of course I’m referring to the pop music genre. There’s something special about the genre that makes me happy. Maybe it’s the (sometimes cheesy) lyrics, catchy melodies and strong sing-a-long choruses. Here is a selection of five of my current favourite, pure pop songs, all offering promise for a 2019 genre comeback. 1. THANK U, NEXT ARIANA GRANDE 2. BETWEEN MY TEETH ORLA GARTLAND 3. SWEET BUT PSYCHO AVA MAX 4. LOYAL TO ME NINA NESBITT 5. BLOOM - TROYE SIVAN
1. IT GETS FUNKIER IV VULFPECK Ft. LOUIS COLE 2. CHAMELEON HERBIE HANCOCK 3. INTRODUCING THE FEARLESS FLYERS THE FEARLESS FLYERS 4. WISE WILLIS THE FUNKY KNUCKLES 5. WHAT IS HIP TOWER OF POWER
You might think you love funk, but you don’t. Enjoying Stevie Wonder whenever he comes on the radio does not constitute loving funk. Despite my hostile tone, I want people to love it. I think all they need is a nudge. So, here are some tracks that should kick-start a relationship with a woefully neglected genre.
8 / INTERVIEW
Picture Credit: Neil McCarty
AFTER FIRST MEETIN ESSE -HAILIN PUNK BAND FALSE HEADS AT LI ERP L’S SOUND CITY TW YEARS A , NOA NEWMAN CATCHES UP WITH FR NTMAN LUKE GRIFFITHS AB UT THEIR E LUTI N SINCE THEN: FR M THE RE I NAL FESTI AL T PACKED UT EUR PEAN ENUES, AND A FIRST ALBUM THAT’S AB UT T DR P.
False Heads are pioneers in modern-day punk. The energetic trio is made up of Luke rif ths (vocals, guitar), Barney Nash (drums, vocals) and Jake Elliott (bass), who have been making waves in the UK and beyond since beginning three years ago. Their achievements in this time include: two EPs, hundreds of live shows and many tours - including their rst headline tour earlier this year. FH have also been supported by Iggy Pop right from their early days and are close friends with former Ramones manager and punk legend, Danny Fields. They’re a band you can’t afford to miss.
FRESH START: FIRST ALBUM & TOURING Despite the impressive preamble, it’s not always been easy for FH with recent behind-the-scenes changes and a relentless schedule adding to stresses, yet they’ve managed to keep their heads above water. The three-piece are feeling positive now with a new management, agent and label team to galvanise this fresh start. A new birth for the musicians who are ready to sail full speed into 2019. Next up is their first album, due for release later this year. “We’d always been hesitant about an album because we wanted it to have maximum impact if we released it but [with this fresh start] we thought we might as well go in and do it,” Luke affirms. FH are going into the studio to finish it off. A taster single, ‘Slease’ will be unleashed in March. This album means touring too, and the guys can’t wait to get back on the road after a successful first headline tour in mid - 2018 where they played 26 dates across the UK and Europe. “Yeah, it was long… but it was brilliant. We did 10 dates in a row... I’m not doing that again,” he jokes before praising the enthusiasm of their fans, especially the Hamburg contingent... “there were lots of mosh pits.” Then there was Amsterdam, Belgium... until it was time to drive back home and a number of issues forced the band to travel in Luke’s broken car. “We had to keep pulling over to pour water in the radiator,” he says, laughing. But they made it back, eventually. There seems to be a silver lining amongst their adventures as ‘Help Yourself’, from their newest EP, Less Is Better (released while they were on tour) was playing on BBC Radio 1 as they were driving back. Nice way to end that milestone.
breakthrough playlists on major streaming platforms as well as getting lots of support from BBC Introducing for their track ‘Less Is Better’.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ALTERNATIVE GENRES Luke shares the band’s experience of Europe being very open; selling out venues and seeing lots of their merch being worn. England can be different for underground bands, he explains. “It’s getting expensive to go out to gigs. Although I think more people should go and see live music because what’s in the charts is so sterile and bland... that has to change.” The overall impression FH got from the tour is that people want something more substantial, something that reflects how they view the world and feel about it. And it’s starting to change: “grime for example, it’s a cultural force and it is quite angry in all the right ways, like our music is,” he adds. It’s hopeful to see frustration move people towards alternative genres. Pop has always existed and always will. Pop is great. The issue is when it infects all other genres, but there is an alternative and False Heads highlight its importance. Last year proved the place their music still has in society after being added to various
This vibe is the heartbeat of their sound. False Heads are an exciting and relevant voice in modern punk and I, for one, am looking forward to their new musical chapter unfolding.
!"# $%&' (" )*+, % -%.%+/' -'(0''+ ($' 1",'2+ %3' %+, ($' 4*..%25 ") 0$%( $%5 %.0%65 -''+ *14"2(%+( ($2"#3$"#( 1#5*/ $*5("267 “Playlists are great,” Luke acknowledges. “But the best form of publicity, even today, is word of mouth.” Algorithms don’t necessarily translate into a fanbase. “You have to find a balance between the modern age and the pillars of what has always been important throughout music history.” Industry wisdom like this has been significantly shaped by [former Ramones manager] Danny Fields, who started out as a mentor and became one of the band’s closest friends. FH SOUND The next False Heads single release promises to show their sound has taken a different approach and their songwriting has evolved after the trials and tribulations of the past year. After the release, the trio will be touring in March. Then comes festival season, the album, and more tours. “Even though I write the majority of the stuff, Barney writes a lot and Jake is active in the whole process. Musically, we create something more original because it’s not only coming through one channel,” Luke says. He describes their lyrics as “a mix of what’s happening on the inside and on the outside, on a political spectrum.”
Picture Credit: Neil McCarty
10 / GENERATION NEXT: NEW MUSIC Top track: SANCTUARY
TIPPED BY LDN’s ABI
Fuelled by youth and pure passion, BIMM Manchester attendees Charli White recreate our idea of what it means to be a songwriter. With their single ‘Sanctuary’ these new talents tell a story far beyond their years. Soulfully performed, chillingly executed; lead singer, songwriter and face of the group, Charli’s vocals inspire an emotional response with every rise and fall of her voice. One of six semi-finalists chosen for Firestone’s 2018 ‘Road to the Main Stage’ competition, the young talents demonstrate, in life and in music, an intense passion that serves to propel them into a 2019 full of promise.
Top track: MOON
TIPPED BY LDN’s TOM
London-based R&B artist [w]hy-ponder may only have one EP under his belt, but he has already proven to be a heavy player in London’s R&B scene. The Observatory Archives is a six-track journey through the mind of the Peterborough born artist, better known to his friends and family as Liam Pridie. It explores hapless heartbreak and his quest for well-being, plucking influences from the likes of cross-Atlantic contemporaries. With a second project now more than just speculation, 2019 is set to be a big year for this new kid on the block.
Top track: BURN UP
TIPPED BY LDN’s NOA
For Sussex-born singer-songwriter Tim Newman, it all started with busking in his local town, until his raw sound hit the streets of London when he was just 15 years old. It wasn’t long before Tim’s powerful vocals and mesmerising charisma reached some of the city’s music top dogs and he was signed to Platoon. Since then, he’s been writing with Nick Mulvey, recording in Mark Ronson’s Tileyard studio and released his debut single ‘Burn Up’ in December. The track is a perfect smooth pop tune topped with grand-sounding arrangements and has already reached breakthrough playlists across the world.
GENERATION NEXT: NEW MUSIC / 11 Top Track: BUSY DOING NOTHING
TIPPED BY LDN’s JACK
At first glance of their name, you may perceive Mummy as benevolent, innocent and caring. Their combination of adrenaline fuelled psych-punk, grunge and stoner rock would indicate otherwise. The London-based band have released two EPs and are set to release their third soon. In the meantime, they’re annihilating the underground rock scene with their vigorous live performances, combining the sound from the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Slaves and Weezer with the attitude of Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and Ramones. If you love anarchy combined with modern British rock, this is your band.
Top track: YOUNG & FREE
TIPPED BY LDN’s LARISSA
Dublin-born Dermot Kennedy creates raw romantic folk-pop with the slight Irish twist that is currently sweeping the industry. In 2016, his single ‘After Rain’ managed to gain 19 million streams on Spotify. His success with streaming has helped him sell out shows in Dublin and London. With R&B influences in percussions, slick harmonies and a voice as smooth as honey leaves goosebumps across your skin. With his debut self-titled album released in January and a UK tour in the pipeline for 2019, this year is looking like another successful one.
Top track: MICHIGAN FOR THE WINTER
TIPPED BY LDN’s JOHN
Success from behind the lights to centre stage hasn’t been easy for songwriter-turned-singer Ryan Hurd; but his latest effort is one to watch. Striking a perfect balance between strong production and emotionally-driven lyrics, he teeters on the edge of country while having a universally accessible sound. The moody yet endearing sonic landscape he creates is one only rivalled by counterpart Dierks Bentley. Hurd avoids clichés and offers fresh perspective on the traditional love song. With husky vocals, progressive melodic lines and irresistibly tranquil hooks, he is driving the genre forward as a needed addition to the country music scene.
12 / ABI'S GUIDE TO K-POP
Abi's Guide to K-Pop Whether you like pop or opera, classical or metal, musical theatre or cock rock, there is one genre that stormed the music scene in 2018 that cannot have escaped your notice – K-Pop. If it doesn’t sound familiar, you may recognise names such as: BLACKPINK, NCT, or BTS. Let me break it down for you... “But Abi! (generally), Where did stuff in Korean “There is something for they come everyone, no matter the (mostly), from? type of music you usually it is good What music. There love, or the type that are they is something usually irks you.” saying? out there for Why everyone, no should I care?” matter the type of music you All great questions. The usually love, or the type that short answers: South Korea usually irks you.
K-Pop is based on a multitude of genres; absorbed, combined and built upon by artists since the 50s, when Western culture was introduced to South Korea. However, ‘modern K-Pop’ did not emerge until the 90s. At that time, artists were taking inspiration from Europop and mixing it with
ABI'S GUIDE TO K-POP / 13 YG Entertainment, home to even more revolutionary K-Pop acts. These include BLACKPINK and Epik High, the first female and male K-Pop groups respectively to perform on stage at Coachella, as well as G-Dragon, who would become one of the first K-Pop ‘idols’ to compose, produce and write lyrics for his own material.
STRUCTURE AND DEVELOPMENT
‘Idol groups’ are groups of artists who sing/rap and dance when performing as opposed to playing instruments the way traditional bands to do.
American popular music styles including EDM, jazz, rock and, most prevalently, hip-hop.
THE BIG PLAYERS
The year of 1992 marked a revolution within Korean popular music with the emergence of Seo Taiji & Boys, a trio who incorporated new jack swing beats. In itself, the product was of a fusion genre and introduced the incorporation of rap in Korean pop music. Significantly, one member of this group went on to form a record label now recognised as one of the ‘big three’ in K-Pop music:
"Idols must train for an average of two years and group concepts will often change over time." Before debuting, idols must train for an average of two years, usually signed to a label, who will launch them as and when they see fit. The training period varies depending on the age and skill level they are at when signed, as well as the label’s plans for introducing new artists, groups and concepts - something the idols themselves will usually have very little say in. Within debuted groups, idols are given positions based on their skillset (e.g. lead vocalist, main rapper) and, occasionally, sub-units.
While these can be fixed, sometimes the company will choose for them to remain flexible. As if it weren’t already complicated enough, group concepts will often change over time or even with each comeback. While some groups hold true to their core abstraction, others will change tack at the drop of a hat, going from sweet and innocent to mature and sexy, like it’s nothing. This makes defining a group sound like a nightmare; but it also means you’ve got a pretty good chance at liking something by a group, even if the next comeback isn’t necessarily your cup of tea. All this information doesn’t do you any good if you don’t really know where to start your K-Pop education and/or new-found fandom. Nowadays, there are so many artists that it’s hard to remember them all. Add to that the insane amount of group members (NCT takes the cake with 21 so far and the promise of an ‘unlimited’ number), an average of three Korean comebacks a year (not including Japanese comebacks, solo projects, sub-unit projects and OSTs) and new groups debuting every month. But fret not! As a veteran K-Pop listener, I have compiled an instruction manual - a dummies guide to K-Pop, if you will - to ease you gently into this genre and its many subsections, whatever your regular musical leaning. Let me know what you think. Tweet me at: @scaifeabi
14 / ABI'S GUIDE TO K-POP
for the hip-hop fan CLC - Hobgoblin
for the r&b fan Suran - So Far Away
NCT 127 - Regular
Dean - love
iKon - Killing Me
Lee Sora - Song Request
for the pop fan KARD - Oh NaNa
for the pop-rock fan The Rose - Sorry
Akdong Musician - Dinosaur Sunmi - Heroine
DAY6 - I Smile F.T. Island - Take Me Now
for the rap fan CL - Hello Bitches Jessi - Gucci Jay Park - All I Wanna Do
for the girl band fan Red Velvet - Bad Boy i.o.i - Whatta Man BLACKPINK - DDU-DU DDU-DU
for the dance fan GOT7 - Never Ever Seventeen - Donâ€™t Wanna Cry Monsta X - Shoot Out KARD
INTRODUCING / 15 Photo credit: Dani Willgress
Before playing a sold out, co-headline gig at The Camden Assembly, harmonic folk trio Tors speak to Nargis Borhan about their latest single, ‘Don’t Cry’, as well as what the Devon band has up their sleeves for the rest of the year. How did the name ‘Tors’ come about? Theo: We grew up in Devon, around this place called Dartmoor where there are huge rock formations called Tors that we used to climb on and it felt like a decent name to use. Matt: It’s a good place for us to go. Dartmoor means a lot to us. Plus Tors was nice and short; we hate long band names.
How would you describe your sound? Jack: I’d say we’re a mix between The Lumineers and Kings of Leon, or a bit rockier than Mumford and Sons. You can’t really fit our sound in a box. T: We’re kind of harmony-based. M: British guitar music with American harmonies.
What has been your highlight for the band so far? T: For me, it was our last gig. We sold out Omeara and it was packed, which was amazing. We got a couple of Jack’s mates - these string players - and got them to play with us. It’s the first time we’ve HHHHHHH ibeen in a room and everyone was HHHHHHHHH singing. It blew my head off. HHHHHHHHHH HiJ: When you start playing gigs, HHHHHHHHHHyou’reibegging your family and HHHHHHHHHHfriends to come up, but then you HHHHHHHHHHstart getting bigger and you get to a HHH A stage where most of the audience are people you’ve never seen before, they’ve just heard you supporting someone else. It’s incredible. T: We took selfies for an hour. It was incredible. M: Yeah (laughs). That was our highlight!
“YOU CAN’T REALLY FIT OUR SOUND IN A BOX”
What are your favourite Tors songs? M: ‘Seventeen’ - it’s simple; just a guitar and some voices. My favourite one to play live is ‘We Say No’ because it’s quite ballsy. T: My favourite is our most recent single, ‘Don’t Cry’ - I enjoyed the production side as we expanded our sound. To play live: ‘Wilder Days’. J: They’re the two I would’ve gone with [intertwines pinkies with Theo]. Can you write that this happened?
T: It’s about a relationship. When you’re in a van as a travelling artist, it’s that kind of relationship where it’s long-distance and can partly strain, but it can last. M: We’re chuffed with how it’s come out so far. It’s opened up for us to try out other stuff and be different this year, so we’ve got a whole bunch of releases that sound quite different to stuff we’ve done. So that’s cool, but scary.
Tell us about the new single, ‘Don’t Cry’? M: We’ve all just moved back to Devon. We wanted to get away, so we set up our own studio. I saw this guitar in a charity shop, bought it, came back, it was the first song I wrote when I went down there, and Theo and Jack liked it. Then we did a session with a guy called Joseph Wander who’s great. He turned our song around because the middle eight and the chorus were switched originally. It was weird because it’s not the song I wrote, but I like that he came in and produced something different.
What’s next for the band? M: We’re touring with Only The Poets, so going around the UK with them should be fun. Then, we’ll be finishing up a new EP. We’ve recorded loads of new songs, so we’re picking what we should go with. We can’t say when yet, but we’re going to do another tour, when that goes live, we’ll put the single out. We just want to put out a lot of music. Single ‘Don’t Cry’ is out now. Tors support Only The Poets at London’s Dingwalls on 28th February.
16 / REVIEWS
L I V E
THE 1975 The O2 Arena, London
An almost nervous anticipation fills London’s O2 Arena as the eerie piano of ‘Love Theme’ gets steadily louder, then suddenly stops. The lights flicker and a sound so dense breaks the prolonged silence and makes your heart drop right through the pit of your stomach. The A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships version of ‘The 1975’ interlude ricochets through the air as the band finally enter, pleasing the thundering crowd. Charismatic frontman Matt Healy has fun playing on the treadmill-like moving stage, whilst two backing dancers strut rather distractingly around him. An eclectic blend of the old and the new sees that the energy never drops, even throughout gentler tracks such as ‘ omebody lse’ and ‘ obbers’. A touching moment occurs when the crowd fall silent for a haunting rendition of ‘Medicine’, with the room lit tenderly with a modern imitation of lighters. Healy becomes emotional as the bulk of the set comes to an end, putting his all into the anthemic ‘ Always anna ie ometimes ’. The indie-pop uartet save the best for the encore, with fans encouraged to ump along to ‘The ound’. reakthrough hits ‘Chocolate’ and ‘ e ’ prove favourites, as the The 1975 regretfully disappear and iri bids the crowd goodbye .
There’s something for everyone in ulfpeck’s Hill Climber album. ell, anyone who appreciates a well-written tune and Hill Climber some e ceptional musicianship. Lovers of any sort of M are therefore, obviously, e empt. The four-piece seem to have e panded their repertoire yet again, opening with s influenced pop ballad, ‘Half of the ay’. The record is set up as a traditional L would be the A-side contains tracks with vocals and the -side is e clusively instrumentals. This structure is ust that structure. t gives the album a tempo, like it’s come along with a blueprint, and it follows that tempo without faltering. ‘ isco lysses nstrumental’ is a stand-out track. t would bring the house down at any disco night, featuring ulfpeck’s signature funk guitar sound clean and crispy, like a orito dropped in a vat of disinfectant. n a good way, of course. rapping up the record on ‘ t ets unkier feat. Louis Cole ’ is a masterstroke. t is a finale worthy of such a fantastic album disgustingly tight, dripping in funk, stinking of groove. Truthfully, these words can’t e plain the oy of Hill Climber, so this review was either a waste of time, or a small teaser that breeds anticipation. Let’s go with the latter, please.
PHILIP ogers was first discovered all the way back in 2 1 when she made Pharrell cry during a visit to her university. nfa ed by all the hype, she’s spent the past three years Heard It In A Past Life crafting her wondrous debut. She ingeniously mixes folk and electronic sounds to create beautiful and emotive music, which uni uely touches upon sub ects like an iety and pressure unlike any modern artist. However, don’t be fooled by all the e perimentation, ogers is certainly no stranger to a big pop hit. The electrifying ‘Light On’ blends the best parts of Lorde and Mumford ons to create a oyous ode to splitting up. arly singles ‘ allingwater’ and ‘Alaska’ are still as heartachingly beautiful as ever. ewer tracks, such as ‘ ive A Little’, see the young American asking for compassion and compromise in her home nation which is coincidentally locked in a political standstill. hat’s most impressive is the singer’s natural connection to the listener. very word and emotion can be felt as she sings. y the end of the record, like harrell, you’ll be reaching for the tissues.
A L M
REVIEWS / 17
“Greetings carbon-based life forms” shouts frontman Rou Reynolds as he stares out onto the chaotic crowd. The Stop The Clocks tour has seen nter hikari at their finest, reliving their early days playing small venues and older songs. This set is a perfect mix of blisteringly heavy with songs like ‘ onked’, played e clusively for orwich, and a tear- erkingly beautiful piano rendition of ‘Airfield’. The band are restless with energy and the production is insane considering they are playing smaller venues. ans will be finding confetti everywhere for days. have The LCR - UEA Norwich brought their all. Few acts can perform such a seamless and energetic set, all whilst ou e hibits his erratic dancing, somehow keeping it up for an entire hour and a half. t looks like there may be a new era for the band on the hori on with the uni ueness of unreleased new single, ‘ top The Clocks’, debuted on this tour. nter hikari are undoubtedly one of the best live outfits in their genre and tonight is one of the greatest sets ’ve seen from them.
VEGA - Musikkens Hus, København V (Copenhagen) Aurora is the light the world needs right now. An ethereal soul, she delicately asks the audience’s permission to speak in her native orwegian to a crowd of fellow candi’s there was no doubt in their response) before throwing her hands towards the heavens and leaping around the stage in her signature reverie state of performance, channelling power beyond her si e and fully embodying the ‘ arrior’ spirit. n a flurry of yellow lace, this otherworldly artist dominates with a setlist that ranges from new material off her forthcoming double release, such as the hypnotically earthly ‘Churchyard’ to the longstanding fan favourite ‘ unning ith The olves’ a closing number with a pulse that drives the room into an ecstatic da e. Audience interaction is second nature as she tenderly accepts gifts from the crowd and says that toy owls are her new obsession. Aurora is a charged wonder as she draws the night to a close with ‘Through the yes of a Child’, an entrancing lullaby that lingers beyond the final note, creating her very own ‘ oft niverse’.
Off the back of a tour with Lotus Eater and on a European leg with Neck Deep at the time of writing, Parting Gift stopped off at The Black Heart to smother you with their melodic power, generating incredible energy. Energy which had surely been brewing after colourful performances from supporting bands Coast To Coast, Coldbones and standout newcomers uperlove. A dreamy smoke-filled room allows to walk on stage as they drop ‘ ein’. The massive arena sound struggles to stay contained within such a small venue but it shows the potential and need for the band to play bigger shows. As they finish ‘ ensing’, the quintet move forward to perform two unreleased songs, showing an impressive and more extreme version of their previous projects. The venerable and angelic voice of the frontman puts us through our paces with his impressive range which is complemented by driving guitar tones. A short break commences to allow the audience to soak in the sound before a conclusive and final-ever performance of the band’s breakout single ‘ e till’. A set that certainly summarises the band’s encapsulating aesthetic and future progression. Parting Gift have only just begun their thrilling The Black Heart, Camden adventure.
L I V E
L I V E
L I V E
REVIEWS REVIEWS REVIEWS
Lindsay Armaou B*Witched
B*Witched were essential in a golden era of boy and girl bands. Connor Winyard chats to one quarter of the Irish foursome, Lindsay Armaou, about her journey of global pop stardom. “I think the motivation is to touch somebody and to entertain them,” says Lindsay. “While at the same time, fulfilling that craving to perform.” That craving was surely unignorable; B*Witched were adored in the UK - alongside the likes of All Saints, Spice Girls, 5ive and Boyzone. Defying odds, they saw their first four singles go to No.1 (platinum across global territories) and were taking on huge tours, playing with acts such as Britney Spears and *NSYNC. However, the beginnings for the Irish quartet were modest to say the least. “I met the girls and we had a chat,” Lindsay begins. “It was very informal; there was no management on board. I played them a song I wrote and they said, ‘Would you like to be in our band?’ and I went, ‘Yeah, alright then!’” Lindsay was aware of the risk, especially with the regular changing of members of girl groups: “There was no guarantee, no promises, no record deal; there was nothing other than a connection between us that felt right.” The jump from chit chat to worldwide fame was a swift one. B*Witched released their biggest single, ‘C’est La Vie’, before playing their first show at a primary school, no less. The track hit No.1 and they were thrust into stardom. “We saved our money and rehearsed for hours in the evenings, all for something I didn’t know. We weren’t working towards anything in particular; we
just knew that we had to be ready when an opportunity came and lo and behold, one did.” The ladies found themselves in the right place at the right time, thanks to the popularity surrounding the Spice Girls and light-hearted, optimistic pop. Although their second album Awake and Breathe went platinum, the group were dropped before the third album was finished, prompting member Sinéad to leave. The split provoked a mixed reaction, Lindsay reveals. “My Mum passed away around that time, so that eclipsed the weight of the breakup. When the split came, it felt right, because I wasn’t ready to deal with a new album and another world tour. It was a bit of an adjustment,” she says. “One minute, you’re flying to different countries every day and you’re living in a bubble, but you go from that to being spat out into the real world. You find yourself lost for a few years.” Lindsay continued with music, opting for the production and writing aspects and becoming a member of country act Clayton, but found herself enrolled in a shortterm course after taking a long, hard look at the music industry: “I became disheartened with the way the industry had changed; by that time, music revolved around The X Factor and Pop Idol. There didn’t seem to be much room for anybody to come through organically; TV acts were plucked as they already
“We started with nothing but a connection between us that felt right.”
had a profile and a lot of the advertising had been done. It was easy for a record company to just say, ‘Here you go, there’s an album, release it.’” That short-term course resulted in Lindsay performing in multiple plays and starring in 2014 crime film, The Smoke. “The owner of the school offered me a place on the full course once I’d finished, so I had a decision to make, because that was a whole two years. I thought, ‘Gosh, that’s commitment’ but I went for it and don’t regret it at all. It was life-changing for me. [The film] was brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I was thrown in the deep end because I had to do nudity! But I thought that’s part and parcel of it sometimes. Everyone was very professional and I even wrote the theme tune for the picture.” Nowadays, Lindsay balances the joys of parenting with the recent B*Witched reunion, to the delight of thousands of fans. The group recently performed their first show of 2019 and Lindsay is planning to stick around: “Life changed massively after my daughter was born. I’m pregnant again so I’m in a mummyhood bubble at the moment! But it’s been nice because I can dip out of it and do gigs with the girls. That’s been a real tonic for me. I’ll be taking some time out when the baby comes, but I’m going to waddle around on stage for as long as I can!”
FIRESTARTER / 19
50/50 GENDER BALANCE SCHEMES FOR FESTIVALS ARE RUBBISH; GOOD MUSIC SHOULD RULE REGARDLESS Music is universal. Every being from every walk of life should be free to love or loathe a sound, a festival, a style, a contrived slogan on a cheaplymade-but-expensively-sold piece of merch. With this element of choice and freedom in mind, Dom Gargyan questions if having a forced quota is really the best way to go about fixing gender imbalance at festivals. Last year, Reading and Leeds Festival received an excessive amount of online criticism due to the lack of female artists (and bands with female members) in their line up. One Twitter user even shared an alternative version of the festival’s line up poster, blanking out all-male artists, leaving only a handful of names, which was without a doubt a powerful image. Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn said to the BBC: “Festivals have to be a reflection of what the public are listening to” as he shrugged off negative comments and noted ticket sales were satisfactory. In 2017, he launched ‘ReBalance’ – a three-year project aiming to “create a bigger pool of female acts” with the promise of a festival slot part of the initiative but has expressed scepticism of a 50/50 gender balance scheme that a number of European festivals signed up to. Let me make something clear before I get lynched. I’m all for equal opportunities in music, as well as in any other part of society. Then, you ask, why am I obviously not okay with this? Read on. First of all, there is something that critics of the male-heavy R&L line up ignored: there are hardly any female-fronted rock bands that are big enough to headline this festival. It’s quite visible that R&L intends to remain rock-focused while incorporating more pop and urban music into their repertoire. Pop appears effectively ruled by admired and powerful women, so there are plenty of acts to choose from. On the contrary, rock is a very male-dominated scene, even despite definite progress. The headliners of today started out in a time when the rock world - and unfortunately, music in general - was way less inclusive. Do I think Foo Fighters were a predictable and somewhat boring choice? Yes.
Would I rather see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs headline? Absolutely. But it’s not going to happen because thousands of teens, who either want to celebrate their GCSEs or forget about them, would rather party to ’The Pretender’ and ’Learn To Fly’. As long as the R&L music profile remains, so does the majority of male headliners. As for the forced 50/50 gender split ratio thing: I dislike this policy for the same reason I dislike it when political parties start similar initiatives. It implies that despite equal opportunities, women are somehow incapable of achieving the same as men, therefore need to have their parliament seats/line up slots guaranteed by some stupid quota like this. In an age when the UK and Germany, as well the IMF, are led by women, I struggle to believe that they need some sort of institutional help to achieve their goals, be it a headline slot at a major festival, or a president’s seat. Let me say this wholeheartedly: gender doesn’t matter, not in this case anyway. Let me direct your attention to something more essential. Instead of genders, I would like to propose the highest possible representation for good music at Reading and Leeds Festival. I couldn’t care less whether that good music is played by women or men. One of the things that make great art stand out is its universal nature. Would I like to see more women in the rock scene? Of course! In fact, a study from last year showed that half of first-time guitar buyers are girls, which is amazing - and encouraging - news. Progress takes time, and this is something the Internet generation struggles to grasp. In their mind, all you should do is sign up for your favoured cause on change.org or write a couple of tweets. And if your angry tweeting doesn’t solve such complicated issues like gender imbalance in music, then the system must be wrong... right?
“LET ME SAY THIS WHOLEHEARTEDLY: GENDER DOESN’T MATTER, NOT IN THIS CASE ANYWAY”
TURN YOUR PASSION INTO YOUR CAREER A MUSIC JOURNALISM DEGREE FROM BIMM EQUIPS YOU WITH THE SKILLS YOU NEED FOR A SUCCESSFUL CAREER DEVELOP SKILLS IN BROADCAST, PRINT, & DIGITAL MEDIA BUILD UNRIVALLED INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS
EUROPEâ€™S MOST CONNECTED MUSIC COLLEGE