LOUD Bristol Issue Three

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Editor’s Note The time has finally come! More than 18 months since our last edition was released, we’re over the moon to welcome you back to LOUD, a title dedicated to celebrating the very best of the Bristol music scene. It’s been a tough year-and-a-half for everyone involved with Bristol music, but the city is finding its groove again, local nightlife is getting back on track, and there are plenty of new stories to tell. In these pages, we explore the impact of the coronavirus crisis on independent venues across the city, and find out how accessibility project Gig Buddies is working to ensure more people than ever can experience the joy of live music.

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@loudbrstl Editor Matt Robson matt@365bristol.com Staff Writers George Boyle george@365bristol.com Stanley Gray stan@365bristol.com Cover Design

Another stellar selection of artist interviews sees us catch up with a broad range of tastemakers, from the Elder Island trio to celebrated DJ Danielle and the inimitable Ishmael Ensemble. We’re also shining a light on nightlife harm reduction service The Drop, and meeting a Bristol-based creative who’s working tirelessly to provide young and marginalised people with a stepping stone into the music industry. So, without further ado, we’re proud to present the third issue of LOUD. Huge thanks to everyone who’s contributed, and we sincerely hope you enjoy having a flick through.

Dave Bain @davebainuk dave@davebain.com Sales & Marketing Brendan Murphy brendan@365bristol.com With thanks to

Matt, LOUD Editor

6 Nightlife’s New Normal

22 Danielle

40 Grandmas House

10 Gig Buddies

26 Ishmael Ensemble

44 Run Logan Run

14 Livity Sound

30 Elder Island

50 The Drop

18 Strange Brew

36 Concrete Jungyals

54 Keeley Hudd

Exploring the reality of life after lockdown for venues in Bristol

Get to know the project making Bristol gigs more accessible

Label boss Peverelist charts a decade of pushing the envelope

Co-founder Leigh reflects on a tricky start to life on Fairfax Street

The in-demand DJ discusses her post-lockdown comeback

Pete Cunningham chats early influences and new releases

The trio detail the birth of their latest album, Swimming Static

Tiffany SK, Sasha SK and Emmy on creativity and diversity

The all-female punk trio are loving life on the road

New releases and confusing sonics with the hard-hitting duo

Meet the team keeping partygoers safe post-lockdown

The 24-year-old is on a mission to open doors for young people

LOUD Bristol is published by 365 The World Ltd. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without the written permission of 365 The World Ltd. The opinions expressed or advice given in this publication are the views of the individual authors and do not represent the views of 365 The World Ltd. 365 The World Ltd accepts no responsibility for misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.


Nightlife’s New Normal LOUD explores the reality of life after lockdown for independent music venues across Bristol, as owners pick up the pieces following an unprecedented period of closure WORDS: MATT ROBSON PHOTOS: TRINITY CENTRE/ PHOTOS: KHALI ACKFORD; PHOTOS: EXCHANGE/MIKE ALLEN; PHOTOS: LAKOTA BRISTOL

ometimes, things just don’t go the way you think they will. When we sat down to start planning the third issue of LOUD, it was agreed early on that the stories of Bristol music venues – having faced a near-total loss of income for months on end during the pandemic – should be front and centre.

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From punters to artists, promoters, venue owners and staff, events specialists and everyone in between,

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the coronavirus crisis completely decimated music scenes across Bristol and beyond, and left thousands of people with nowhere to create, nowhere to make a living, nowhere to let off steam. It was no surprise, then, that the government’s removal of all Covid-19 restrictions on English music venues was met with open arms in July. Adored venues up and down the country could finally clear out their beer lines and fire up their


“It feels like getting up to speed was hard enough, then more challenges just seem to build up and affect us in different ways” Matt Otridge, Exchange

soundsystems in anticipation of their first full-capacity events in almost 18 months. But now, long after doors have reopened and gigs have returned, what state do venues find themselves in? Slightly prematurely, this feature piece was originally framed as a call to arms, a reminder that while life does appear to be getting ‘back to normal’ for many of us, live music and club spaces across the city aren’t out of the woods yet. Keen to raise awareness of venues’ ongoing struggles, I set about organising interviews to chat with owners and staff to find out exactly how dire the situation was. It wasn’t until I started to chat with those owners and staff I found out that, actually, things aren’t really that dire at all. Mark Davis, owner of long-running city centre venue Basement 45, has enjoyed one of the busiest periods in the club’s history since he was permitted to reopen in July. “We feel secure,” he says. “It feels like there’s still a huge demand for nightlife – of course there have been a few slow days, but we’ve had to turn down a lot of bookings because we just haven’t got the space in the calendar.”

In fact, Basement 45’s postlockdown reopening has been so successful, Mark is considering closing for a full week over Christmas to give him and his team a muchneeded break, something unheard of for a small underground venue pre-pandemic. The last five months have, as he puts it, “been like being open for a year.” Mark’s sentiments are echoed by other independent venue owners across Bristol. Matt Otridge, Director at Exchange and formerly South West Representative of the Music Venue Trust, has seen a major surge in business in recent months, coupled with an encouraging sense of support from returning gig-goers.

ever-changing guidelines throughout the pandemic. Owner Cheryl Brice says that although there’s still a long way to go, she’s optimistic that the venue is on the right track going into the winter season. “It’s been a gradual process, having to keep up with it all, but it’s all going in the right direction. Going back over the past few months things have been a little bit slower than people maybe expected, but if it had gone too crazy straight away it could have been really intense. We survived the last year and a half, which is great, and we’ve got fingers crossed things will be properly back to normal next year.”

“It has generally been really positive,” he tells me. “What we’re noticing is it’s been busier earlier in the evening. Where before people would just turn up for the headline acts, they’re now realising how much they missed live music, and they’re making more of an effort to get down earlier and stay for longer.”

Of course, the post-lockdown period isn’t all sold-out events and healthy bar tills. Back at Exchange, Matt explains that many of the owners he’s spoken to as part of his work with the Music Venue Trust are struggling with cancellations and rescheduled gigs, as tours continue to be scuppered by positive Covid tests among artists and events teams.

Elsewhere, popular BS2 venue Dare2Club are slowly reintroducing the full spectrum of their diverse events programme, having successfully adapted their space to

“While takings do seem to be up across the board, people are still struggling with the challenges presented by Covid,” he continues. “It feels like getting up to speed was

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“Overall, operators have done a remarkable job to reopen their venues safely, and they need support to keep doing that” Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust

hard enough, then more challenges just seem to build up and affect us in different ways. “What does concern me slightly is that venues nationwide were reporting similar levels of success when we first reopened, but by mid-September, owners in smaller cities and towns were saying that things had gone back to how it was pre-pandemic or, in some cases, worse than they were pre-pandemic. Bristol, along with a few other cities, seems to still be doing very well, but if there’s a broader downward trend it may well come to us eventually.” Official reports on the state of the UK’s nightlife sector make for worrying reading, too. In the past few weeks, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have published a report linking close to 90,000 nightlife job losses to the pandemic, while fellow industry group UK Music estimate that one in three British music industry roles have been lost to the Covid-19 crisis. Both organisations have expressed concerns that many of those lost jobs could be gone for good, amid a 46% drop in the sector’s contribution to the UK economy in 2020.

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In Bristol, venues of all shapes and sizes are still struggling to find and keep staff, Brexit is still affecting the supply of everything from cans of beer to CO2, and the potentiallycrippling introduction of Covid passports is still being mooted in parliament. It’s also worth noting here that while government support did eventually arrive last year in the form of the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund, some grassroots venues were offered next to nothing – or, in some cases, literally nothing – to help keep them afloat. In a bid to relieve the strain on independent venues, organisations nationwide have been campaigning for support for the nightlife sector since the very beginning of the pandemic. The Music Venue Trust have been instrumental in fighting for emergency backing, both at government and local level, and have played a pivotal role in securing the futures of beloved grassroots venues nationwide. The team directly supported several key venues in Bristol alone, through tireless campaigning and financial support. Speaking to LOUD, the organisation’s CEO Mark Davyd says

that although there are positives to take from a nationwide reopening, times are still hard for venue teams up and down the country. “Delivering every single show is an entirely new level of risk management for the whole team, exacerbated by the things you can’t control, such as Covid illness among artists or crew,” he explains. “The looming threat of a poorlyconsidered ‘Plan B’ being installed by the government without listening to the sector is still a genuine worry. Overall, operators have done a remarkable job to reopen their venues safely, and they need support to keep doing that.” In any case, grassroots venues are vital components of their local economies, as well as their surrounding communities. They allow people the freedom to create and experiment, providing opportunities for new generations of artists and contributing to a rich cultural offering for music lovers of all ages and backgrounds. IDLES started out at The Louisiana, Eats Everything cut his teeth at Basement 45, and Batu got his


Shots from some of Exchange’s post-lockdown live events. Director Matt Otridge says the venue’s experience has “generally been really positive” since reopening in July. Photos: @bendornanwilson

seminal label, Timedance, off the ground with parties at The Island. All three, having developed their sounds and styles in Bristol, are now globallyrenowned acts in their own right. Venues often act as hubs for community initiatives, too, as has been the case over decades at the Trinity Centre. During the pandemic, we’ve seen what a small venue can do for the community in Easton, as The Plough acted as a distribution centre for an emergency fresh fruit and veg delivery service that supported more than 5,000 vulnerable people. I ask Mark his thoughts on the significance of grassroots venues, both in terms of cultural influence and economic value. “People get tired of hearing this, but some still don’t seem to be listening,” he says, having clearly fielded similar questions repeatedly over the past year-and-a-half. “Nationwide, we have three globally-dominating

artists in Ed Sheeran, Adele and Coldplay, warming up for a winter onslaught of new music that’s generating massive sales, huge economic activity and literally hundreds of millions in taxes. All three of those artists wouldn’t be where they are today if they hadn’t had the chance to hone their skills and their craft in grassroots music venues. They all started somewhere, and the places that gave them those early opportunities were the ignition of their careers.” Speaking to owners, it does feel as though attitudes have shifted since the pandemic hit. People appear have found a renewed sense of appreciation for the independent venues that keep cities like Bristol at the forefront of the UK’s worldrenowned sound. What remains to be seen, however, is how long the post-lockdown honeymoon period will last, and what it could mean for struggling venues if gig-goers fall back into old habits.

For now, Mark adds that there are a number of small but significant changes in behaviour that attendees can make to help secure the futures of their favourite venues. “If everyone attended one extra show a month, took a chance on one new artist a month, or took one extra friend to check out a new artist they just discovered, the economics in this sector would improve drastically,” he says. There’s joy in going to gigs, in sharing experiences with your mates, in discovering new music. Joy that we sorely missed during months of lockdown and associated venue closures. Yes, events are back, artists are back on stages and DJs are populating booths once again, but we’ve only just dipped our toes into what’s sure to be a long and complicated period of recovery. Don’t take anything for granted.

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Gig Buddies Launched in 2013, Gig Buddies is a befriending project set up to tackle loneliness among people with a learning disability. Following its launch in Bristol, we find out how a proactive approach is making nightlife more accessible for music fans across the city WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE

n the late 2000s and early 2010s, punk band Heavy Load hit their zenith. Uniquely comprised of members with and without a learning disability, the group played gigs at Glastonbury and Trafalgar Square alongside releasing three full-length albums – a testament to their talent. Despite this apparent success, however, a persistent source of frustration when playing live lingered. Often and seemingly inexplicably, the densely packed pits at the foot of the stage hollowed out as punters filtered towards the exits well before time.

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What at first glance might have seemed like desertion based on washout performances, was in fact

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indicative of institutional accessibility barriers to gigs for people with a learning disability. Many in the audience were heading for the door early simply because their carer’s shift was finishing. It was a bitter pill for the band. In response, bassist Paul Richards founded Stay Up Late in 2011, campaigning to overcome the prohibitive timetables of social workers and other barriers to nighttime events. In 2013, the charity launched Gig Buddies, a befriending project designed to help people with a learning disability and/or autism enjoy mainstream cultural activities unhindered, by pairing them with a volunteer that has similar interests to attend with. In doing so, the initiative

hopes to confront loneliness in socially isolated people by helping them make meaningful connections. No shifts, just mates hanging out. Since its inception, the project has expanded across the globe, arriving in Bristol via Exchange in 2021 where it has taken off. Leaving night-time events before 21:00 is a reality for many people with a learning disability. But this is not necessarily by choice, as Stay up Late ambassador Daniel Randall-Nason sums up best: “when we go out to gigs, we want to stay for the whole thing, not leave when the carer says it’s time to go.” The need for support is just one of seven barriers to inclusion identified by Stay Up Late and the University of


“When we go out to gigs, we want to stay for the whole thing, not leave when the carer says it’s time to go” Daniel Randall-Nason, Stay Up Late

Brighton, namely transport issues; lack of accessible information about gigs; fears around safety at chosen events; a lack of support; having no one to go with; and crucially, a lack of confidence and motivation. These barriers all intersect, restricting the opportunities and control people with a learning disability get over leisure activities, especially late-night events like gigs. Consequently, their social networks - crucial to health and wellbeing - are often shrunken. Darren Johnson, Campaigns Coordinator at Stay Up Late, explains: “for most of us, we have people in our lives that aren’t paid to be there. We have friendship circles and all kinds of interactions. Often for people with a learning disability, the only people they have social interactions with are those that are paid to be in their lives. Their circle will be their immediate support and healthcare professionals. They might not have any one-toone relationships outside of those professional ones.” Neurotypical people are more likely to have a wide network of social connections, from family to close friends; people with shared interests; familiar faces; and then a small number of people paid to be in their lives. For people with a learning disability, fewer opportunities to grow their social circle can lead to isolation, which is detrimental

to physical and mental health. In a 2017 survey by Sense, over half of disabled people reported feeling lonely, rising to over three quarters among those aged 18-34. The Office for National Statistics revealed in 2019 that the proportion of disabled people who reported feeling lonely “often or always” was four times that of people without a disability. Loneliness is associated with a lower quality of life. Research by Campaign to End Loneliness found social isolation to be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and a study by the British Heart Foundation found it to be a bigger killer than obesity. As Darren outlines, “poor mental health can be far more of a problem than any learning impairment in terms of access and having a good life. It’s not just a nice-to-have, that in an ideal world people with a learning disability can go to gigs. These are crucial, fundamental human rights and well-being issues. If people are socially isolated, so many issues arise as a result. This whole [Gig Buddies] agenda is an integral part of a civilised society.” To confront these barriers to participation and the prevailing loneliness that arises as an offshoot of them, Gig Buddies pairs people with and without a learning disability with similar cultural interests to attend events together and to be friends. Through this process, the

social circles of both parties expand, increasing connections, boosting confidence, and empowering people with a learning disability to take more control over what they do in their leisure time. An evaluation of existing Gig Buddies projects revealed that 90 percent of participants felt less lonely; 86 percent see their buddy as a friend; 79 percent get out to more events, even without their buddy; 76 percent are more aware of how to spend their free time; and 78 percent made new friends in addition to their buddy. With the issues still firmly on Bristol’s doorstep, and with the compounding impact of successive Covid-19 related lockdowns, the project is more vital than ever if a 20-year reversal in accessibility for people with a learning disability is to be avoided, Darren tells me. In May 2021, Gig Buddies Bristol officially launched out of Exchange. “We’re in a unique position and it feels right doing it as a venue,” Iwan Best, Project Coodinator with Gig Buddies Bristol, says. “This is a big thing for us, we really do work hard on improving events here. Our goal as a venue isn’t to turn a profit, it’s to proliferate art and culture in Bristol and to make that accessible. If it’s not for everyone, it’s shit. It’s not punk. “It’s staggering the amount of people who experience loneliness,” Iwan continues. “We’ve seen how excited

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“Our goal as a venue isn’t to turn a profit, it’s to proliferate art and culture in Bristol and to make that accessible. If it’s not for everyone, it’s shit. It’s not punk” Iwan Best, Exchange & Gig Buddies Bristol

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the people we’ve been talking to are, chomping at the bit, upsettingly desperate for us to try and help them find friends. Them, their parents, and their social workers are just over the moon. This doesn’t exist for people usually.” Wesley Belitz has a learning disability. Since moving to Kingsdown in 2018, he’s found it difficult to maintain relationships with people outside of his family and those paid to be in his life. “I haven’t got that many friends. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years,” he says. “I had a few friends in college but it wasn’t really like we could get to a point where we could meet outside of college. It’s really hard to find someone that doesn’t need anyone next to them to go somewhere.” Research by disability support organisation Mencap (2019) suggests that one in three young people with a learning disability will spend less than one hour outside on a Saturday. This is often true for Wesley: “Most weekends I stay at home. It has been lonely. I guess I’ve got used to it now, basically half of my life was already like that. It’s nothing new.” Wesley is no less keen to have the relationships neurotypical people find easier to form. When he moved to Bristol from Portsmouth, his sister was able to build up a social network. “She would go into Bristol and meet her friends and that’s what made me … not jealous, but she had someone to go out with for the whole day and to do stuff with and I was just stuck at home,” he recalls. “I would like to have

a social life as well.” After his social worker tipped him off to Gig Buddies, he signed up over the summer. The project encourages pairs to attend one event or gig per month. But even if you love music, it’s not all about gigs – being part of a social circle is much bigger. Meeting up and having a chat is just as valuable, and Gig Buddies encourages pairs to do so once a month and plan what they want to do. In October, the first batch of Gig Buddies Bristol volunteers were trained, and Wesley was matched with James Chambers. The two have been hanging out regularly, watching rugby, playing foosball, talking about Hip-Hop and the Top40, and planning to catch a Joel Corry gig. “Since I got James, it has helped that I can meet up with him. It’s really nice to do stuff together,” Wesley says. James agrees. “I’ve found it brilliant meeting Wes. Every time we go out, we’re finding a little bit more in common. He’s got some good stories and it’s been refreshing. It’s nice to be able to get out and do things with someone who’s a bit different to what I’m used to.” James says the Gig Buddies team have offered training and support all along the way, making the process that bit more straightforward for both him and Wesley. “Everyone’s been brilliant. I went into it feeling a bit apprehensive because I’ve never done anything like this before, but I left with a feeling of confidence.”

into an opportunity to make a difference in somebody else’s life. Usually, a new branch will target 30 pairs after three years. Many fledgling projects will have long waiting lists or will be at capacity without enough volunteers. Back in Old Market, Iwan says: “we’ve got the opposite problem because of IDLES.” Bristol’s launch has bucked this trend thanks largely to the band’s bassist and patron of the project, Adam ‘Dev’ Devonshire, who called in favours to help raise funds and spread word of its launch. The response has been overwhelming, with over 200 people initially volunteering. Though a portion of this cohort are likely to drop off, it’s safe to say Gig Buddies Bristol is on the right track. “Because it’s Bristol and it’s such a big cultural city, given what we’ve seen so far, we’d like to grow and take on more staff and continue to expand,” Iwan says. “In five years, to be offering jobs to people who are currently using the programme would be a dream. To get to the point where you don’t have a waiting list, where everyone who needs or wants someone gets a volunteer and the whole project is run by neurodivergent people … we’d have completed it then.”

For more information on Gig Buddies Bristol, or to find out how you can get involved with the organisation, head to exchangebristol.com/gig-buddies or get in touch with the team via email on info@gigbuddiesbristol.com

Gig Buddies is volunteering made easy, turning an activity a neurotypical person already enjoys

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Batu Feature (Title/intro)

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Livity Sound In a quick decade, Livity Sound has risen from a vehicle for personal projects to stand at the forefront of a great epoch of experimental electronic music. Label founder and revered producer Peverelist reflects upon ten years of pushing the envelope WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTOS: BETH SHELDRICK

This happens a lot actually,” Tom Ford, better known as Peverelist, laughs during our phone call. Wanting to pin down an appropriate tag for Livity Sound’s output, I’ve asked him to explain the label he set up in 2011 to me like he would an aunt at a family party. It’s Monday morning, granted, but a decade on the question still seems an unsettling one. “I guess it’s a hybrid of lots of different things. It’s good to have a bit of everything.”

Drawing on Bristol’s Soundsystem culture and dub roots alongside a catalogue of expansive styles blurred together, it’s tough to peg it down to any one thing. I suspect, though, that this is intentional. Livity Sound’s journey from a vehicle for personal projects to a global powerhouse of forward-thinking electronic music is as much the offshoot of its ethos as it is about the music. In fact, when Tom released the label’s first 12-inch in collaboration with Kowton, he only wanted to channel the spirit of the early days of dubstep. “A lot of the ideas were like those in the early days of dubstep, in that the

music was very varied and there was this anything goes kind of attitude. As it got bigger, it became narrow and canonized into a very specific sound. That’s when I started to lose interest.” True to form, Bristol was a key playground for the burgeoning scene, and Tom a vital cog at the heart of the city’s budding dubstep community. For 10 years, he worked at local institution Rooted Records, before setting up Punch Drunk (his first label) in 2006. As Peverelist, his track ‘Roll With The Punches’ is regarded as one of the finest to have come out of the city. By 2011, the writing was on the wall. Dubstep’s heady, formative years were a bygone era and the sound that had enraptured the UK’s underground clubs a decade earlier had gone sterile, as a standardised, cut-and-dried recipe became commonplace. Rooted Records closed its doors permanently and Tom was left looking for new avenues to explore. “I needed a fresh start and wanted to focus specifically on my own interests in techno, UK funky and

dark garage and explore those areas,” he says. “When I started Livity Sound, it was very much because I was into lots of different types of music. I was trying to put all of those influences back on the table to have a wide scope of things we could do on the label.” Immediately, a buzz began to follow everything Livity touched as the label’s first releases - all solo and collaborative projects between Tom, Kowton and Asusu - demonstrated a new wave of possibilities postdubstep. “We had similar ideas about what we were into and so those tunes became the first releases. We thought, ‘let’s just put it out there.’” A decade down the line, Livity have released Molten Mirrors, a compilation LP to celebrate 10 years in existence. Featuring 19 artists, the record is a snapshot of where the label is now and the perfect summary of its evolution. The 12-inch features long-time affiliates Hodge and Batu, who were among the first to become part of the Livity family through its sister label. Always open to fresh ideas, in 2012,

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Above: Livity Sound enlisted Ben UFO to headline their most recent party at the Trinity Centre in October, with the world-renowned DJ and long-term Livity affiliate taking the reigns for an extended 3-hour set. Left: A selection of Livity Sound releases, spanning ten years from 2011 to 2021

Tom launched Dnuos Ytivil - better known simply as the reverse label - to focus on giving emerging talent a way in. “That started out as a vehicle for other artists I felt were on a similar tip. I’ve always been interested in giving people their first release.” It was also an indication of the farreaching non-specific realm Livity was heading for. Each artist brings their own flavour to the mix, from Surgeons Girl’s synth-led melodic sonic to Bakongo’s percussionheavy beats and Ido Plumes’ agile dub mechanics - the label thrives on variety. Never afraid of turning a page, Tom’s anything goes approach has resulted in several directional shifts. It’s this procedure that adds to the excitement around a Livity release. In

a sense, the label’s own catalogue is a red herring of itself. “It’s good not to repeat yourself,” Tom says. “You need to change things up a little bit. That’s always been the spirit. The music isn’t tied to a particular genre or a specific scene, it’s joining the dots between lots of different things.” Over time, the lines between the two labels have blurred, and many artists are now main label linchpins. But perhaps the best example of Livity’s growth throughout the years is the international community Molten Mirrors showcases, with the likes of Azu Tiwaline (Tunisia), Toma Kami (France) and DJ Plead (Australia) featuring.

and it’s good to spread our wings. It adds another dimension. It’s healthy,” Tom explains, insisting that he’s never had a plan despite a vague desire to pursue his tastes and interests. “I think if you make a plan, you’re setting traps for yourself. It’s very much just ‘put a record out and see what happens’.” As I ask about the future, it becomes clear Tom is, as ever, sticking to the ethos that’s brought him this far. He’s fully focussed on the present, having marked October with two EP releases and preparing for a busy run of shows through the winter season. For now, as he has been for an incredibly successful decade at the helm of Livity Sound, he intends only to “keep rolling on”.

“I’ve done a lot of travelling and met a lot of people with different ideas

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Strange Brew Co-founder Leigh Dennis takes LOUD through the hard work, helping hands and creative thinking that kept his venue afloat during an inconceivably difficult opening period WORDS: MATT ROBSON

t’s been a tough start to life for Strange Brew. Initially unveiled in 2019 but in the works for several years prior to that, the venue was dreamt up to provide Bristol with a nightlife space it’s been missing for some time: a medium-sized club catering for a broad spectrum of genres, not constrained by potential noise complaints from nearby housing developments.

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Early signs for the project were overwhelmingly positive. The venue team – well-known on the local scene thanks to ten years of parties under their brand Dirtytalk – managed to raise more than £50,000 in May 2019 alone through a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign. A location was secured, license was granted and, in early 2020,

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construction was well underway. Eager members of Bristol’s musical community were watching as the city’s newest independent venue took shape. You can probably see where this is going. On a busy afternoon on Fairfax Street, I catch up with Leigh Dennis, one member of the four-person team responsible for getting Strange Brew off the ground. As I walk in I’m met with a lively environment, events professionals and artists buzzing around each other preparing the space for the opening night of Batu’s new festival, En Masse. “It was tough, because we got the keys in January 2020, then in March things started kicking off with Covid,” Leigh recalls. “At first, we didn’t really know what to expect – we thought it would be this short-lived thing, but


“We’re very aware that this is an important community space. That means making sure as many genres, promoters and projects as possible can access it”

it obviously didn’t turn out that way.” After such widespread optimism surrounding the venue’s early days, the months that followed quickly became a fight to stay afloat. Once lockdown restrictions were introduced, the venue received some business grants from the council, Arts Council England and the government, but missed out on others. A chance encounter led to Strange Brew being used for filming of Stephen Merchant’s new BBC sitcom, which secured some extra income, but more unavoidable losses meant the team were forced to launch a second, emergency crowdfunder in November 2020. Reflecting on their perilous situation, Leigh doesn’t pull any punches when he tells me Strange Brew simply would not exist today without the support of a broad community of events professionals, tradespeople, artists and music fans in Bristol. “At times it really couldn’t have been more on a knife edge,” he explains. “We really didn’t want to do that second crowdfunding campaign

because we did one to build the place, so we felt embarrassed to have to go back to people and be like ‘we need some more money’. It ended up being an absolute life saver.” Like their contemporaries, Strange Brew have spent much of the past year-and-a-half adapting and re-adapting their space to accommodate ever-changing social distancing and Covid safety guidelines. Out of lockdown, into ‘tier’ restrictions, back into lockdown and so on, the venue have rearranged their programming and interior space more often than Leigh cares to remember. A virtual launch in August 2020 was followed by Strange Brew’s first-ever in-person event in September: a socially-distanced party that, despite having been a long, long time in the making, was a far cry from the grand opening the team had in mind just months earlier. On-again-off-again lockdown restrictions continued until Leigh and co were finally able to set about

developing their events calendar this year, using lingering travel restrictions as an opportunity to showcase an array of talented hometown musicians and promoters. “A venue of this size, we were expecting to be putting on a lot of international acts by this point,” Leigh says, “but focussing more locally has been really great in so many ways. It’s allowed us to get to know the people on our doorstep and develop a real trust with a new network of artists, and it means there’s an even bigger sense of community around our events.” Now, close to four months post-lockdown, Strange Brew is firmly back in the swing of things. Celebrated local crews like Club Blanco, Livity Sound and Slack Alice (to name a few) have hosted a broad range of parties since the summer, while Snazzback, Viridian Ensemble and Katy J Pearson are among the live acts to have taken the stage so far. In a familiar case of ‘small world’ circumstances in Bristol music,

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Clockwise from top left: Strange Brew pre-construction; the venue starts to take shape in 2020; Leigh (front right) and the full Strange Brew team earlier this year; a plaque dedicated to the 1,082 supporters who donated to the venue’s initial crowdfunding campaign

Pearson was briefly a member of the bar team before the owners saw her musical career taking off and invited her to perform live. Alongside their musical programming, Strange Brew are actively working with a number of Bristol-based social enterprise and educational organisations on a regular basis, from Mix Nights to Black Acre (providing work experience as part of the label’s Youth Development programme), BIMM and DBS. It does, after all, make sense to operate as a practical resource for a community that’s done so much to make the venue a reality. Leigh takes time to list the people and businesses that have offered their time and services during the pandemic, and assuredly outlines how instrumental that support has been.

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Builders, lighting engineers, sound engineers, visual artists, musicians, beer suppliers – “you name it, we’ve had the help” – the Strange Brew project has undeniably been propped up by the outreach and generosity of Bristol’s extensive pool of creative professionals. It becomes clear throughout our interview that there’s a desire at Strange Brew to pay things forward, to contribute to a thriving scene, which motivates the team to weave their venue into the city’s musical fabric. “When we set this place up we knew we were doing it for a specific reason and to support more alternative, underground, DIY electronic music,” Leigh explains. “We knew we wanted a lot of our programming to be oriented that way, but we’re also very aware that this is an

important community space. That means making sure as many genres, promoters and projects as possible can access it.” There is still some apprehension on the dancefloor, because Covid-19 hasn’t just gone away. The financial impact of the pandemic will be felt for months and years to come, and there’s no saying whether or not there are more nationwide restrictions or club closures on the horizon. Strange Brew has been a long time in the making, and will inevitably still run into some issues as a fledgling, independent venue. In any case, the team will continue to do what they have done since finally opening their doors last year: provide a vibrant, welcoming, long-lasting space for a music scene that’s played an integral part in their venue’s survival.


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Danielle Internationally-renowned DJ Danielle was stopped in her tracks when the global club scene came to a grinding halt last year. Here she talks pandemic struggles, postponed shows and picking up where she left off WORDS: MATT ROBSON PHOTO: KASIA ZACHARKO

anielle Doobay is a force. London-born, Bristol-based, the multitalented DJ, illustrator and tutor has carved out a formidable reputation for herself over the past decade with hard-hitting sets, vibrant artwork and contributions to the evergreen Mix Nights project.

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Known to spin everything from ground-shaking techno to electro, dub, house and more, Danielle’s atmospheric sets play out like a fleeting peek into the future, stacked with techy bleeps and beats and seamlessly transcending a broad spectrum of sounds. More often than not, regardless of where the party is, she’ll sneak at least a handful of Bristol-made tracks into the mix. Danielle’s musical journey started in her teenage years, working at London’s Phonica Records when dubstep was permeating underground venues up and down the country. Travelling between the capital and Bristol, two major hubs for the genre in its early days, she was exposed to an innovative new world of music, which left a lasting impression. “I think I’ve always been drawn to that Bristol sound,” Danielle says when we connect for a chat on Zoom. “All

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“Right at the beginning, I was finding it hard to engage with music. I was like ‘I don’t wanna hear a thing’ - just a ‘keep me away’ sort of thing. There was a month or two of taking a real back seat”

the dubstep nights I went to in those days were incredible. There were a lot of artists that I didn’t actually know at that time but always kind of had a connection to.” A permanent move to the Westcountry quickly followed, and Danielle wasted no time diving headfirst into a flourishing Bristol underground. “Once I eventually moved I just became friends with all these people who I’d only known about musically,” she recalls, “then once you’re mates with them and they’re sending you tunes it all just kind of happens.” Simple as that. Today, the in-demand DJ consistently appears on lineups alongside fellow Bristol alumni Hodge, Bruce and Batu among others, and has played some of the UK’s best-loved club venues. Alongside her sets for long-term friends and affiliates Livity Sound, she designs and produces event posters for the label as part of her extensive portfolio of illustration. I’m catching up with Danielle during a busy run of bookings, off the back of a set for revered Berlin radio station HÖR and ahead of a trip to London to appear at Team Love’s new festival, Waterworks. Glad to be back in the swing of things, she tells me that a

sudden lack of direction and routine made lockdown a real challenge in early 2020. “Right at the beginning, I was finding it hard to engage with music. I was like ‘I don’t wanna hear a thing’ – just a ‘keep me away’ sort of thing. There was a month or two of taking a real back seat,” she remembers. “Me and my agent had worked really hard on getting a lot of shows booked in for 2020. After a long time of saying yes to everything, I felt like I’d finally gotten to a point where I could be a bit more picky and try to hold out for certain venues or certain festivals. Once things were just completely put on pause, it was tough to deal with.” Of course, for someone so musicallyminded, a hiatus can only last so long. After those tricky first few weeks, Danielle eased herself back into the mix, keeping up to date with new music and picking up jobs with Bristol’s Idle Hands and Londonbased label Origins Sound. “Eventually I was like ‘actually, there is still music coming out, there’s still loads happening’, and decided that I needed to keep on top of it. After getting over that initial slump I’ve been quite good with consistently looking for new stuff,” she explains.

On to a return to normality, then, and today Danielle is right back in amongst it, playing out on a regular basis. She’s managed to secure rescheduled sets at many of the events she was booked for pre-Covid, and crucially, she’s been able to revive her involvement in Mix Nights, a project set up to address the drastic gender imbalance on Bristol’s electronic music scene. Part of a team of founding members led by Saffron Records, Danielle has adopted a mentoring role, and oversees the development of the graduates taking part in Mix Nights courses. In five years the project has grown from a small, informal community initiative to a fullyfledged, professionally-run music course, and is rightly lauded for its positive influence on the Bristol scene. “It was just an idea at first,” Danielle says, “kind of like a social – we’d get together and have a chat about the DJ equipment and have a practice. Once we realised it was getting really popular and was actually quite necessary, we worked hard to build a proper syllabus and develop it into the eight-week course it is now.” After just half a decade, Mix Nights has expanded into London and Nottingham, helping to launch the

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Danielle is an integral part of Bristol’s Mix Nights initiative. Having helped set up the project in 2016, she’s currently involved as a course tutor and mentor. Photos: Giulia Spadafora

careers of a new generation of female and non-binary DJs and music tech specialists. “A lot of the Bristol scene is really about who you know, especially early on,” Danielle tells me. “The only reason I am where I am is because I got a job in a record shop early on and said yes to all the opportunities that came my way. That doesn’t always happen for everyone. “Those connections can be really hard to come across, especially as a woman, so this sort of project is vital. We’ve had lots of women who have met on the course then go on to start their own collectives, or secured their own gigs at venues and festivals. When we started doing this we had no idea it’d create the amount of opportunities it has.” Danielle says she can see the impact Mix Nights has had on the wider Bristol scene, too, and feels

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the project has played its part in an increased focus on diversity and inclusivity at events and venues across the city. “I think it’s just in people’s consciousness now. At the start it was something we had to tell people, like ‘you should be thinking about this, this is something you should be aware of’. Now, we don’t have to say it - you’ve got all these amazing people out there that know how to DJ. People know that they need more diverse lineups now, and they know they’ll be called out on it if they don’t.” Armed with a renewed sense of direction post-lockdown, Danielle Doobay is fully focussed on making up for lost time. Already recognised as a driving force of British electronic music and poised to embark on an Australian tour and further North American and European tours in 2022, you can be certain her stock will continue to rise in years to come.

Read more about Mix Nights and the people, projects and parties effecting change on Bristol’s electronic music scene in LOUD Issue Two, available online via Issuu

LOUD

BRISTOL

@loudbrstl

www.issuu.com/ loudbristol


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Ishmael Ensemble Pete Cunningham, founder and spearhead of Ishmael Ensemble, dives into the project’s latest album, its origins and the joy of self-releasing WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTOS: JAMES STYLER

ete Cunningham, the multi-faceted stalwart of Ishmael Ensemble, is late for our Zoom meeting. He’s stretched thin, playing catch up after returning from his honeymoon. Understandable, given what’s on his plate.

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Sticking doggedly to his DIY guns and releasing the Ensemble’s second full length album, Visions of Light, to widespread acclaim through his own label in August, the project that has been a lifetime in the making for Pete is in demand. Grand in scale, the record covers a lot of sonic territory, from the sax, electronic and percussive clamour of ‘Wax Werk’ and ‘Empty Hands’ going haywire as they hit their crescendo to the more delicate, expansive synth and string soundscapes of ‘Morning Chorus’ and ‘The Gift’. The album champions local talent and unsettles genre tags from the word go. Embedded in Pete’s past, the roots of Ishmael Ensemble stretch back a long way. Growing up in Midsomer Norton, he was surrounded by music.

His parents kept a classic 70s record collection featuring Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa and Neil Young among others and his father dabbled in playing guitar. Never far from music, Pete’s early years sparked a lifelong obsession and introduced him a vast array of genres, styles, and instruments. During this formative period, he learnt to use vinyl, awakening the DJ in him; he discovered punk, prog-rock and hip-hop playing old skate games, subsequently picking up the guitar; before discovering drum and bass in his late teens - also teaching himself how to produce electronic music. But perhaps the biggest influence of all is the late, great Pee Wee Ellis. In the mid-90s, the world-renowned musician who worked closely with the likes of James Brown and Van Morrison moved to Frome. Pete’s parents regularly took him to catch a glimpse of the icon at a monthly jazz afternoon in a village called Nunney – where he became besotted. “He was a masterful saxophonist. It made me really want to play it. In a way,

he’s the reason I picked up the tenor saxophone.” By his early 20s, Pete was fusing these influences with his skill on various instruments to create what became the first tracks he released as Ishmael – named after the seafaring narrator of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. After dropping a few ‘jazzy house tracks’, Bristol staple Banoffee Pies approached him and suggested that he consider bringing in other musicians. “They sparked the idea of bringing in a drummer. If you have a drummer, you might as well have a bassist and a guitarist. Suddenly it becomes this big thing. They gave me that nudge.” After some old school friends came aboard, Ishmael Ensemble was formed, he adds. “It was like; I’ve already been playing in bands with you for years so why not see if we can make this weird crossover electronic stuff. That was Ishmael Ensemble and still is today.” Banoffee Pies liked what Pete had been releasing and committed

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“To me, record labels evoke big capitalist skyscrapers in London and getting charmed by some A&R people. By doing it myself, I actually have control and that’s really special”

unconditionally to putting out the first tracks created as Ishmael Ensemble. “It was quite an old school way of working as a record label. Just make some music, it doesn’t matter what it sounds like because we like your style,” he says. “It was not a dance record or an electronic record. So, as a predominantly house and techno label, putting something like that out there was bold. Having that freedom really spurred me on.” This proved an eye-opening experience for Pete and led him to set up his own label, Severn Songs - through which he began self-releasing his music. “To me, record labels evoke big capitalist skyscrapers in London and getting charmed by some A&R people. By doing it myself, I actually have control and that’s really special.” Pete carried this DIY ethos into all of Ishmael Ensemble’s subsequent releases, including the project’s two full-length albums A State of Flow (2019) and this year’s Visions of Light. In fact, it was self-releasing that allowed the latter record to be made at all. After flirting with the idea

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of signing to a label before the first lockdown, Pete decided to go it alone once again after they hesitated as Covid hit. Certain freedoms associated with self-releasing favoured Visions of Light, which was recorded over seven months and a string of successive lockdowns. “It weirdly benefited from being made during the pandemic. At first, I thought this is all screwed, we’re never going to make this record. But having that time and space to really think about what needs to be on the record and what makes a good record, not necessarily just what I like, made it more refined and concise.” The recruitment of indie titan Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding) to assist with production and mixing also helped keep the record succinct. “Having someone that’s able to be cutthroat and say ‘I don’t think this song needs to be on the album’ for the first time was really helpful,” Pete says. “He’s good at getting the best out of a song. I think that’s quite noticeable on the record. It’s three- or four-minute

songs instead of these six/sevenminute prog epics.” With the ensemble as open-ended as ever, Visions of Light champions an array of Bristol’s homegrown talent. Hollyseus Fly features heavily, regularly collaborating with Pete and contributing her ethereal vocals and delicate piano motifs to the record, with Stanlæy’s Bethany Stenning and Tiny Chapter (Alun Elliott-Williams of Waldo’s Gift’s solo endeavour) also lending their voices to the album. “That’s how I see it,” Pete says. “Ishmael Ensemble the recording project, which is open-ended. It doesn’t really matter who’s playing and then that gets refined into this band because obviously we can’t take 20 people on the road.” Influenced by each member, Visions of Light is a melange of musical ideas crashing together to form something enchanting and totally unique, easily heard through different lenses, from post-rock to trip-hop and 90s electronica to name a few. It’s a body of work a lifetime in the making authentic top to bottom.


Staff Picks Pandemic Releases Plenty has happened since the digital release of our last issue in April 2020. While Covid-19 restrictions forced venues to remain closed for months on end, artists across the city were hard at work in professional and makeshift studios, cooking up a broad spectrum of excellent new music. Here, our editorial team pick out three projects released during the pandemic that made those unprecedented times a bit more manageable Katy J Pearson - Return | Matt, Editor “When we spoke to Katy J Pearson as part of the second issue of LOUD, the fast-rising singer-songwriter was excitedly preparing for the release of her debut album, Return, later in the year. No one could have predicted what was about to happen in the months following that interview, but the record was a rare shining light of the absolute shambles that 2020 turned out to be. Eternally upbeat and optimistic tracks like ‘Fix Me Up’ and ‘Something Real’ remain a real joy to listen to, a year on from the album’s release.”

Grove - Queer + Black | George, Staff Writer “Blurring the lines between punk, hip-hop and dancehall to name a few, Grove’s Queer + Black, released in February 2021, is a captivating and bold debut EP from the vocalist and producer. Chucking various styles into a blender, the genre defying artist has concocted a unique, sincere, and political tour de force, one equally as urgent and energising in an earbud as it is on a club dancefloor. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing - Grove will get you moving.”

Bingo Fury - ‘Big Rain’ | Stan, Staff Writer “It’s difficult to summarise the music of Bingo Fury in so few sentences. Their debut single ‘Big Rain’ is an ambitiously disorientating track that weds frontman Jack Ogborne’s Scott Walker-esque baritone vocals and surreal lyricism with the disjointed yet driving instrumentation of the rest of the band. Amid a wave of punk bands emerging in Bristol, Bingo Fury are radical and inventive. Now, with local avant-jazz legend Harry ‘Iceman’ Furniss involved, Bingo look like a force to be reckoned with.”

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Elder Island Despite a low-key release earlier this year, Elder Island’s sophomore album is one of their most ambitious projects to date. The Bristol-based three-piece sit down between tour dates to discuss how Swimming Static came to be WORDS: MATT ROBSON PHOTOS: @NELLIEFRATELLI & @OC_IMGS

he post-lockdown period has been an exciting time for Elder Island. Having been holed up in their makeshift studio for the majority of the pandemic - recording, tweaking and polishing their eagerlyanticipated second album - the trio emerged earlier this year and are firmly back in the swing of things.

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When we connect for a virtual chat, vocalist Katy Sargent, bassist Luke Thornton and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harvard are regrouping between shows, having kicked off the UK leg of an extensive touring schedule just a few days earlier.

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Formed in Bristol, Elder Island came about while the city was in the grip of the UK’s emergent dubstep scene. Katy and Dave lived together “in a really musical house,” Katy recalls, and would, alongside Luke, cobble money together to buy old instruments and equipment to see what they could come up with. Having started out with late night jam sessions and countless days spent “messing about” with their music, the trio have graduated to increasingly prestigious venues and events across Bristol and around the world in recent years. At the time of writing, they’re touching 200 million streams

on Spotify alone, with pockets of fans in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Sydney. “It still blows my mind that it’s taken off in the way it has,” Katy says. “We had people on our first North American tour telling us they’ve been fans since the first EP came out years ago. You’re like, ‘that was so long ago and you’re on the other side of the world!’ – it’s just incredible.” I’m eager to chat with the band about Swimming Static, a rich, textured record that saw them take their experimental approach to songwriting to new heights


“It was only once we started reflecting on what we were doing that we started going ‘ok, this is nothing like what we were talking about to start off with’”

during successive lockdowns. With influences spanning everything from classic house music to Arthurian mythology, the album sits comfortably between genres, serenading at one moment before introducing stirring dancefloor compositions the next. Dave explains that, having spent the bulk of 2019 and early 2020 “relentlessly” touring their acclaimed debut album, The Omnitone Collection, the band immediately set to work on the follow-up once they returned from an extensive run of live shows. As it turned out, the coronavirus pandemic presented them with a timely opportunity to hide away and immerse themselves in a new project. “We were really hyped up and talking about making a really dancey album, and as soon as we started making music and just seeing what happened it was just a case of going with it,” Dave says. “We were doing five or six jams a day - some were dancey, some were slow, some were just completely out there - it was only once we started reflecting on what we were doing that we started going ‘ok, this is nothing like what we were talking about to start off with’.” The product of months of tweaking and tinkering is an expansive body of music bursting with deep, gradual introductions and shattering

crescendos, tied together beautifully with Katy’s assured vocals. “I think lockdown gave us so much time to work on the songs, and introduced a lot of darkness,” Katy says. “There are these pops of light then also these low, brooding undertones.” The ambitious nature of Swimming Static is most evident in ‘Queen of Kings’, a slow-burning track that was a “full-blown hour long” in its infancy before being whittled down to a much more album-friendly five minutes. Medieval-sounding drums and strings combine to create something that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Game of Thrones, before flittering synths and beats haul you back into the 21st century. The lyrics, and subsequently the composition, were inspired by Morgan le Fay, an Arthurian character twisted from a powerful, positive female figure to a sorceress and a villain over centuries of patriarchal literature. ‘All my good deeds rewritten,’ opens one verse, ‘All I am made forbidden/A woman’s strength now hidden/Say villain le Fay/How they twist my name’. “There were so many parts and ideas that really worked,” Luke says, “and once we were able to break down what Katy was singing about and really get the feel of the track, we found something to focus on.”

Katy laughs and adds: “I’m a bit all over the place with lyrics, but once the track’s more established, we do try and lean into those themes to influence the instrumentation. It’s a really useful guide when you’re looking for a way or a place to use a certain sound.” Like so many of their contemporaries, Elder Island weren’t able to play their new material live until recently, when they finally got their latest UK tour underway with shows in Brighton, Newcastle and Glasgow. A triumphant hometown show at Bristol’s O2 Academy followed, and the band will be going on to perform across Europe and North America in 2022. The return to the stage clearly couldn’t have come soon enough for Katy, Luke and Dave, who beam when I ask about their early shows and first reactions to live performances of their new music. “The shows have been wonderful, crazy, lovely,” Katy tells me with a huge smile drawn across her face. “It’s been a journey to get everything in order – we were really worried about how some of the tracks would translate to the live shows, but we’re getting there and it’s sounding really good. People are enjoying it. We feel very privileged.”

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LICE LOUD meets with the growing Bristol band to discuss their journey from pestering promoters to releasing their debut concept album, Wasteland: What Ails Our People Is Clear WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTOS: ROWAN ALLEN

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peaking via video link from the South of France following a run of gigs across the channel, Alastair Shuttleworth (vocals), Silas Dilkes (guitar), Gareth Johnson (bass), and Bruce Bardsley (drums) are in good spirits.

of Bristol Facebook group that read, simply: ‘looking for people willing to do and say horrible shit’. Wasting no time, the band began writing tracks influenced by 80s post punk reference points listed by Silas, such as The Birthday Party and The Jesus Lizard.

LICE have only done a few standing shows since their debut album, Wasteland: What Ails Our People Is Clear was released in January 2021, but they’re pretty sure they’ve been their best. “People have been going bananas,” Alastair says. “It was fucking mental. We would turn around and the promoters were there shirtless!”

Quickly, they turned their attention to booking gigs. Knowing Fat White Family were coming to town, Alastair launched a brazen phone and email campaign targeting the band’s manager to get on the bill, eventually pestering him into submission, earning them an unofficial 20-minute slot. “The early days of LICE is this charming saga of nobody knowing what they were doing and just very scrappily and shamelessly grovelling to get opportunities,” he explains.

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For the band, it’s a sign of their evolution as a live act. Not so long ago, they were carrying pedals in a Sainsbury’s bag, playing with broken gear, and getting their asses kicked to be better by whoever was headlining. Described by fellow Bristol-based band Squid as sounding ‘like Mad Max at an EBM metal rave’, LICE’s debut album is further evidence of growth. It’s the culmination of a five-year gestation period that’s seen them journey from blagging their way into gigs, becoming disillusioned with lazy labels, and growing apart from their early material to releasing a cohesive, well-realised and original concept record. LICE formed in 2016, when Silas posted an intriguing ad in a University

“In hindsight, we were huge chancers,” Silas laughs. During their 20 minutes, LICE caught the attention of Shame (an official support act), who subsequently brought them to Brixton, where they played the iconic Windmill. Here, the band impressed a friend of Mark E. Smith, who convinced the inimitable frontman to book them as support for a Bristol gig. Alastair’s audacious manoeuvring had paid off in a big way. In no time, they were playing slots they considered endgame when starting out. Heavily informed by Silas’ early tastemakers and the punk world they found themselves living in, the band

released their first EP, It All Worked Out Great in 2018. Soon, however, the initial rewards that came with existing in that space lost their lustre, and a feeling of disillusionment towards their early material and the deluge of punk comparisons attached to them in their early days crept in, Alastair recalls. “We’d hit a point where you’re just surrounded by punk music all of the time and it becomes a little …” “Boring,” Gareth interjects. “Yeah. You start yearning for more.” LICE wound up in a dichotomy between living in Punkland and not wanting to exist there sonically. “We’ve always naturally been curious. Inevitably our interests shifted on, but we were lumped with this association,” Silas says. It’s this disunion that their debut full-length album is rooted in, Alastair adds: “I think that underpinned a lot of what Wasteland is about and a lot of what Wasteland deals with thematically.” Wanting to unsettle the prevailing tropes in popular politicised music that the band argue are insufficient to the task of confronting society’s ills in a constructive way and persuading reactionary voices, they decided to write a concept album designed to challenge these inadequacies. “A lot of punk music amounts to

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“Like Mad Max at an EBM metal rave” Bristol-based band Squid on LICE’s new album, Wasteland

sloganeering; confronting people with a morally correct attitude. It says, this is right, and this is what you should think. It’s not conversational. It doesn’t do anything for anyone that doesn’t already subscribe to that,” Alastair says. “The idea was to have a record where people are constantly undergoing some kind of experience of change, where their moral attitudes are changing, articulated through whimsical stories.” Following a period spent devouring essays and correspondences written by the Italian Futurists and the Nazarenes, he approached the record wanting to create a lyrical set piece. This manifested in a standalone piece of science fiction that accompanies the record, also informing its lyrics and themes. ‘DEATH BLOW TO PREVAILING INADEQUACIES IN SATIRE/ LYRICS’, the cover boldly asserts, reflecting the parallels he drew between the aggressive manifestobased outlooks of the two artistic movements and the band’s feelings of disillusionment towards the punk world. The pamphlet explores ‘the hidden iniquities of the heart’ and presents its transformation through the outlandish and oddball tales of Dr Coehn and his encounters with a sentient penis on a murderous rampage, a scientist orchestrating

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humanity’s downfall and the friendship between a giant spider and a robot, to name a few. Delivered via Alastair’s rhythmic drawls, Wasteland’s flamboyant, theatrical, and madcap themes play out on top of sharp basslines, flurrying drums, distorted guitar and the clamour of an experimental industrial noise instrument.

we always talk in terms of our old reference points and in terms of the milieu they existed in,” Alastair says. “Wasteland feels like us. It’s ambitious.” “Everyone is prouder of it because it’s a more realised, well-thought-out piece where the songs complement each other and are sat in the same space,” Gareth adds.

With the album just a couple of tracks shy of completion, the pandemic suspended production. Gareth’s freelance work dried up as Covid hit, and he was forced to move in with his parents. Taking full advantage of his father’s wood shop, he hand-built an intonarumori - designed by Italian Futurist, Luigi Russolo - working out the design from pictures.

LICE have grown more literally than just through evolution, too - they’re a five-piece now. Needing an extra pair of hands to play the new sounds live, Natalie, a long-time friend of the band, has been roped in as a permanent fixture. “I’ve known the boys since uni so I’ve been with them on the journey,” she says. “It’s been absolutely incredible to play.”

It was the piece of the puzzle the band weren’t aware Wasteland was missing and as studios re-opened, Alastair tells me they got busy peppering the intonarumori across the record. “It just became this wonderful unifying thing. I don’t think it’s something we would have been ready to do if we’d finished the album on time. It’s one of those happy accidents.”

To her right, the rest of the band break out into thunderous applause. This is Natalie’s first media appearance. What’s more, LICE have kept their focus for our entire hour together - further cause for celebration as Alistair gives his bandmates a pat on the back.

Nearly a year on, their sense of pride in Wasteland remains deep - their grandiose debut still feels authentically LICE. “When we talk about It All Worked Out Great,

“For us this is pretty good,” Silas says. “We’ve got a horrible tendency to spiral into whimsy.” “Lucky the chickens didn’t come through,” Alastair laughs. “That would have been endgame.”


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Concrete Jungyals The female-led collective are slowly but surely reintegrating themselves into Bristol’s club scene, bringing with them good vibes, a tight-knit support network and an uncompromising commitment to diversity WORDS: MATT ROBSON

nergy. Positivity. Mutual support. Those are the pillars of the Concrete Jungyals ethos, an approach that has seen the collective secure an array of opportunities for minority artists across Bristol and beyond since their inception in 2017.

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Formed initially as a Facebook group for women, LGBTQ+ people and people of colour to share music, skills and ideas, Concrete Jungyals has developed into a bustling community of creatives and tastemakers, led by a three-person core team and a further four resident artists. Over the past four years the collective has become a firm fixture on Bristol’s nightlife scene, hosting their own parties, taking over stages at some of the city’s best-loved venues and festivals, and collaborating with a number of established brands and promoters. Today, Concrete Jungyals’ residents span drum & bass, jungle, dubstep/140, breakbeat and more, with fast-rising, multi-disciplinary live performer and DJ Grove adding yet another dimension to the group’s growing repertoire.

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The secret to Concrete Jungyals’ success, according to co-founder Tiffany SK, is allowing each core member to operate within their own space, maintaining their own unique style and approach to their craft while being supported behind the scenes (and from the dancefloor) by the rest of the team. “We all have a really broad musical taste, and we’ve always wanted to incorporate all of our favourite music rather than sticking to one thing,” Tiffany explains. “So it’s really a reflection of everyone’s taste. We know all the music kind of crosses over and that keeps things fresh.” “We try to support each other as much as we can, when we can,” adds Emmy, another of the group’s core members. “It’s nice to go show our faces and be the little cheerleaders on the side.” Following a lengthy hiatus owing largely to the pandemic, the team are ready to dive back into Bristol’s nightlife scene in 2022 with the launch of a brand-new monthly residency at The Crofters Rights. “I’ve been emailing Crofters for about a year on and off, trying to secure a

date for a night. After a while they actually got in touch with me and asked if we wanted a residency, so it’s actually worked out quite well,” Tiffany says. From January, on every third Wednesday of the month, residents and special guests will be spinning the full spectrum of bass-led electronic music, bringing the group’s one-of-a-kind party atmosphere back to Stokes Croft for the first time in almost two years. Of course, Concrete Jungyals’ remit extends far beyond their role as party starters, as I find out during an extensive interview with Tiffany, Emmy, and fellow co-founder Sasha SK on Zoom. Alongside building a platform to showcase their own musical taste and develop their talent, the collective are dedicated to carving out a viable space for artists from marginalised and minority communities to thrive in Bristol. “Inclusion and diversity is incredibly beneficial to creativity as well as facilitating and delivering unique experiences at events,” Tiffany tells


Clockwise from left: Tiffany SK & Emmy at the helm at Love Saves The Day 2021 (Credit: Sasha SK); Tiffany SK & Sasha SK at Concrete Jungyals’ International Women’s Day 2018 event (Credit: @motchgotwodz); Emmy & Sasha SK (Credit: Tiffany SK); Part of the Concrete Jungyals team at Lakota Gardens (Credit: Wide Eyes)

me. “There’s more to the world than the same cisgendered white men we keep seeing on event lineups.”

involved and show their support it can encourage others who may have fallen by the wayside.”

Moving forwards, alongside their revamped events schedule, the team are eager to set up a series of workshops and panel discussions to stoke conversations around diversity and inclusivity on the nightlife scene.

“There was a lot of talk of inclusion riders and similar initiatives during the pandemic, and we commend people that walk the walk, but there was a lot of performative action where people talked about things but didn’t actually follow through,” Sasha adds.

Having overseen a number of discussions online during the pandemic, they’re looking to move into real-life scenarios to increase accountability and give people a nudge to follow through on statements of support. “There are people doing things for the scene, really pushing the right message, and doing their part,” Tiffany says. “We’re appreciative of them because if more people get

“We want people to really do the work. It’s a matter of actually getting people to make those moves in real life, and not just on social media.” Whatever happens in the weeks and months to come, Concrete Jungyals are wholeheartedly committed to balancing the nightlife landscape and providing opportunities for artists and other projects that have, historically, been overlooked.

Not content with sitting back and reflecting on past success, Sasha explains she and the team are constantly looking at new ways to grow their brand and spread their message. “It’s not like we’ll do something then be like ‘cool, OK we can dust our hands off, that’s it’,” she says. “It’s about what else we can do, what else are we doing, what are we not doing.” For now, the outlook remains the same as it was when Concrete Jungyals was born, just over four years ago. “Creativity, diversity, community and support,” Sasha says, markedly. “We’re trying to bring people together, build a community, educate and learn from one another whilst also showing people a good time, in a safe environment, both online and offline.”

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Waldo’s Gift

Hypnotic, knotty and captivating. Just don’t call it jazz. LOUD catches up with Waldo’s Gift for a chinwag about labels, improvisation, and their second EP, Normflex WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTO: GINA TRATT

I don’t really know how we ended up being labelled a ‘jazz’ band,” James Vine, drummer in Bristol trio Waldo’s Gift, says via Zoom. “What’s funny is that we can play a tech metal festival as easily as we can play Ronnie Scott’s. It’s weird and it works. We don’t have to change the music.” To his right, guitarist Alun Elliott-Williams and bassist Harry Stoneham nod in agreement.

Despite their fondness for the genre, the easiest comparisons they can draw to themselves - Aphex Twin and Flying Lotus - are a world away

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from it. Truthfully, the trio’s catalogue echoes such a vast array of genres and styles it’s hard to pin down a predominant influence.

beside him. Finally, it seems, the trio have found a tag they feel is appropriate. “Weird shit! Yeah! I like that,” Alun continues, excitedly.

Constantly blurring the lines between metal, rock, electronic music and indeed jazz to name a few, the band’s second EP, Normflex, is proof that trying to pigeonhole their music is a fool’s errand. “I feel like we’re almost the perfect example of how sometimes absurd it is to try and categorise music,” Alun says.

To date, nothing about the trio’s journey has been by the book. Ever since 2017 when James locked eyes with Alun across a misty dancefloor at three-in-the-morning in an illegitimate club, Waldo’s have been on a unique trajectory.

“I don’t even try anymore,” James admits. “If anyone asks, I just say weird shit.” His bandmates light up

On beat with this smokey encounter, Harry, a university friend of Alun’s, moved to Bristol. Upon the trio’s assembly, The Gallimaufry offered them a weekly residency, which they


“What’s funny is that we can play a tech metal festival as easily as we can play Ronnie Scott’s. It’s weird and it works”

hastily accepted. Every Wednesday for three years after, Waldo’s were a permanent fixture at the venue – part of the furniture. “We wouldn’t exist without that venue. It’s where we found our sound, got to know each other and got to know each other musically,” James says. The trio immediately got busy embedding themselves at the forefront of Bristol’s musical ecosystem, often playing 90-minute, non-stop slots. Firing off hypnotic improvised tracks with searing intensity, their high-octane, in-yourface, and utterly captivating sets marked them out as one of the most striking acts in the city. These formative years were, at least from the outside, a baptism of fire. “We weren’t one of those bands that were in our bedrooms together shredding until we were ready to go out into the world. We were in the world from the beginning,” Alun says. Did you feel any pressure? “Yeah, loads of pressure!” he says. Not buckling under the strain, Waldo’s learnt to be quick on their feet. “We were there every week and had other projects, so we didn’t have time to think about every slot.” “Fuck no!” James agrees. “That’s how we got into improvising. We were doing shows where we were making it up on the spot.” Playing

over 150 gigs without repeating a single note, the trio got to know each other musically, developing a lasting shared sonic language that informed their most recent material along the way. The emergence of Covid-19 in early 2020 and the subsequent closure of The Gallimaufry proved to be the end of the line for Waldo’s Weekly. Over the next 18 months, opportunities to play gigs were few and far between, but, during a fortuitous juncture in October 2020, a scarce chance to get up on stage presented itself. Seizing the opportunity, the trio played a gig at Trinity Centre, which, through a bootleg recording, laid the foundations for Normflex: the final improv of the set becoming the title track on the EP. “We thought, this is sick! That should be a tune,” James says. “It didn’t take much to slot a few things into place to make it a fourminute song instead of a 15-minute, undulating thing.” Despite this early spark, the transition from three years of live improv to writing a studio recorded EP wasn’t completely smooth sailing. At first, the group assumed the switch meant focussing on what they couldn’t do in improv and quickly wound up in a dichotomy; the written tracks weren’t keeping the off-beat sonic identity they had forged since forming.

By trusting their process rooted in improv, the band hit their stride in no time. The searing four-track EP is authentically Waldo’s, holding all the blistering energy of their old weekly set, blending shared and separate influences, ebbing and flowing between chaotic abandon and poised restraint. “This EP was like, what are the sound worlds that we authentically and naturally evolve towards, and how can we distil and form those into something a little bit more concise and approachable to the average person,” Alun says. “It all comes from improv,” James adds. “In a way because we’re just jamming, just us three, we’ve developed a way to write that still feels respectful to the Waldo’s improv process.” The course of recording Normflex proved to be a revealing one. “When you’re playing live, there’s a lot of scope to let ideas run,” Harry says. “This doesn’t really work on record. It really let us see the core of what we were. It sucked not being able to play live, but I felt like it presented this different shade of the band that we could explore. Definitely something I never want to repeat in my life, though.”

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Grandmas House

Armed with their polished debut EP and a bond so tight it verges on being ‘a bit weird’, the Bristol trio are back on the road and loving every second of it WORDS: MATT ROBSON PHOTOS: ROSIE CARNE & VENDY PALKOVIČOVÁ

We’re very loud, very angry, very sweaty.” That’s how Grandmas House frontwoman Yasmin Berndt describes her band’s sound and style when I connect with them for an interview on Zoom. “Music-wise, we just have a lot of fun.”

No messing about, no pretence. Grandmas House in a nutshell. Formed in late 2018, the trio play snarling punk music that sounds tailor-made for the stage, combining Yasmin’s weighty vocals with Poppy Dodgson’s expansive drumming and razor-sharp lines from bassist Zoë Zinsmeister. Despite releasing a slew of singles since their inception, Grandmas House have carved out a reputation as an explosive live band first and foremost, playing some of Bristol’s best-loved small venues including The Old England, Exchange and The Louisiana during their early days. “We were playing out loads at that point,” Yasmin tells me, “playing Bristol pretty much every week.” But, like so many acts emerging across the city and beyond, their progress came to a grinding halt when Covid-19 started to take hold in early 2020. Suddenly, a band who were making a name for themselves with their head-turning stage shows had no heads to turn and no stages to play on. As it turned out, though, the trio managed to maintain some productivity and keep the ball rolling through successive lockdowns.

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“Going from nothing to playing all these new cities in the past few months has been amazing” Living together for the entirety of the pandemic, Yasmin, Poppy and Zoë spotted an opportunity to come up with ideas and focus their energy on making new music while venue doors were bolted shut. “I think we figured out a really good way of writing songs,” Poppy recalls, “because we were spending so much time together and we’re so comfortable around each other. It was never like ‘oh let’s get together and write a song’ – usually it’s like we’re one brain that comes together and makes something happen.” “One merged brain! We are just the same people – it’s actually a bit weird,” Yasmin laughs. Whatever the dynamic, it was clearly a good fit. From March 2020 to the end of lockdown in July, Grandmas House released four standalone singles and two homemade music videos, showcasing their ability to self-produce and create on their own DIY terms. Yasmin explains they were “gigging so much before [the pandemic] that every time we practiced we’d just play the set for the next gig,” never being able to put time aside to work on a studio-quality release.

In contrast, lockdown presented the band with an opportunity to fine-tune their sound, spend more time writing and put more thought into their production. Now, they’ve released their self-titled debut EP (recorded between Bristol and Bath) and crucially, they’re back on the road.

moment when they were invited to headline The Thunderbolt in August, the same venue that hosted their very first live gig two years earlier. “Since we started all the venues we’ve played have been so supportive of us,” Zoë says. “We’ve been really lucky in that sense.”

Between supporting IDLES on The Downs in September (playing in front of their biggest crowd to date), taking part in the Music Venue Trust’s Revive Live series and embarking on their first-ever nationwide headline tour, Grandmas House are right back in amongst it, and loving every second.

The story of Grandmas House is one that’s come to define the contemporary Bristol music scene. They’re a hard-working band making the music they love exactly how they want to make it, maintaining positive relationships with fans, grassroots venue owners and fellow artists that make up the city’s flourishing punk community.

“I feel like we actually kind of forgot how to play live,” Poppy says. “We’d only played gigs in Bristol and one in Cardiff before lockdown, so we never got to experience the proper touring thing and playing in different places. “We were a bit scared - we were like ‘oh my god what if we don’t like touring!’ – but going from nothing to playing all these new cities in the past few months has been amazing.”

The band are, as they put it themselves, “perfectly suited” to a relentless touring schedule, and throughout our chat, it’s become abundantly clear they’ve got no plans to slow down any time soon. Returning crowds all over the country are finally getting to know one of the loudest, angriest and sweatiest bands in Bristol right now, and should expect to see and hear plenty more in the months to come.

The band have even found time to maintain their links with hometown venues since emerging from lockdown, having a “crazy” full circle

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BRISTOL This is how we do a great night out.

OUT TOGETHER HOME TOGETHER No.1

CALL IT OUT No.2

bristolnights.co.uk/bristolrules

DON’T BE A CREEP No.3


RULES KEEP AWAY FROM THE EDGE

RESPECT EVERY No.5 ONE No.4

TAKE IT EASY No.6


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Run Logan Run Propulsive, urgent, restrained, reflective. Run Logan Run are a band of poised contrast. The duo discuss their new album, confusing sound engineers, and Bristol’s indelible mark on their music WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTOS: CHRIS LUCAS

un Logan Run have a knack for mystifying all who cross their path. As saxophonist Andrew Neil Hayes and drummer Matt Brown sign into our Zoom call, the dust from the launch party celebrating the release of their latest album is just about settled, and one utterly bewildered punter has taken to social media with something to say. “What is this witchery!” they proclaim, evidently still trying to figure out which way is up.

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The dazed and confused individual isn’t the first to be floored by the duo’s brand of knotty, contemporary jazz. In fact, complete bafflement seems standard fare, even amongst industry professionals. “The poor sound engineers that have to work it out,” Matt laughs. “You do a sound check and when you get to the end, they’re like ‘I didn’t know what was a saxophone or a guitar or bass.’” This dizzying sonic is indicative of a shift in creative direction. For a

Brief Moment We Could Smell The Flowers, Run Logan Run’s third LP, unmasks an altogether different band - one leaning full tilt into alchemical experimentation. “I like the idea of disorienting the audience, sort of hypnotizing them. Just confusing them into submission basically,” Andrew says. Despite the new album being the third released under the Run Logan Run moniker, it’s Matt’s debut fulllength release. Having launched the project in 2016, Andrew was left looking for a drummer in early 2019 after the departure of his first bandmate. “We knew each other from both being on the music scene. I always thought Matt was too busy, but it turned out he had the time,” Andrew recalls. On beat, Matt’s main project had broken up (“this is mad perfect timing”). After a hasty back and forth, the pair connected and got straight down to business, touring briefly and setting aside time to jam and

record new material – much of which became the new album. With most of For a Brief Moment complete before the pandemic struck, the pair were forced to suspend production as it reached its peak, opting to play roller hockey behind a Showcase cinema as they waited for studios to reopen instead of jamming on Zoom. “We had a whole crew of skaters bombing around car parks for a bit. I miss that,” Matt says, longingly. Already set back by Covid-19, the album stalled further as Brexit complicated its release. Finally, in September, after a frustrating period of misfortune they were able to fully unveil the project that had been mothballed for so long. Listening to the record is a journey, one that sees you passing through as many places as the duo can imagine and improvise. It’s a scintillating, dynamic adventure that - across eight tracks - flits between propulsive

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“Squeaky clean things make me want to curl up in a shell. I hate them”

and cosmic body music to more restrained and reflective spaces. “I’m really into variety,” Matt says. “With an album, we want it to be as varied as possible, just for the trip of the listener.” Albeit they’re not keen on variety solely for the sake of the listener, it’s a creative instinct. A glance through Run Logan Run’s back catalogue is evidential of this. “I don’t see the point in just churning out the same stuff. Once you’ve done something, it’s good to do something else,’’ Andrew continues. “I love trying to find new sounds; to see the limitation of starting with two instruments and seeing what you can do with that. I just find it really creative - trying to exhaust all the possibilities and then come out the other side of that with something new and exciting. Also, I like the idea of people hearing a sound and not necessarily associating it with the instrument that made it.” Enter Riaan Vosloo, aka Wise Man Eames (the title of the album’s last track), who assumed production duties on the project. His recruitment gave the duo’s intuitive desire to

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dogleg focus by inspiring them to use the studio more musically. “Before, I was always aiming to capture the live sound and wasn’t bothered about production,” Andrew explains. “Since we couldn’t play live, I was like: what can we do differently with the recording process? It was quite exciting opening up a new direction.” Riaan added new textures to the duo’s music, introducing equipment to “fuck up” sounds as they were recorded - often on tape to eliminate the possibility of cleaning them up. “There are certain aesthetics that I feel deeply allergic to,” Matt says. “Squeaky clean things make me want to curl up in a shell. I hate them.” To accommodate the new sonic makeup, the duo has roped in a third musician to help them play live. “There’s so many new things. Dan Messore plays on guitar, but it doesn’t sound like a guitar. He’s got a pretty mad pedal board and makes a bass synth out of a Telecaster and all kinds of mad stuff.” In another first for the new album, the duo parted ways with label Wizen

Blaum, releasing For A Brief Moment through local label Worm Discs essential drivers of the Bristol ‘jazz’ community’s recent successes. In fact, the city has left its indelible mark on the whole project. The album takes its name from a moment in the first lockdown, when, for the first time, Andrew could smell flowers in Stokes Croft. Bristol’s open-ended community of innovators has also left its imprint on the record. “I love the experimental scene in Bristol. I love the crossovers of all the genres. It’s such a melting pot with strong individual scenes and they all bridge into each other,” Andrew says. Matt agrees. “Bristol has been an amazing hub to meet people and learn; to go out playing and get your ass kicked to be better. There are so many players here. Everyone’s pushing each other. It’s brilliant.” Right now, the duo are getting back to bombing around the country, re-building their gig fitness whilst also gearing up to release their fourth LP in 2022. Keep it locked on Run Logan Run.


5 Bristol Venues to Find Up-and-Coming Talent with Bandista

Bandista, the brainchild of friends Dave Rutledge (left), Ed Strode-Willis (middle) and Jack Ryan (right), is a new crowdfunding platform that harnesses fan power to help emerging artists focus on what matters: the music. Here, Dave picks out five of his top venues to catch burgeoning talent in Bristol

Strange Brew

An amazing newish venue that truly host an eclectic but exciting mix of music, from new bands to relatively established bands. I highly recommend their Bounce Jam nights as a showcase for just how much talent Bristol has to offer.

The Louisiana

A Bristol institution. It’s big enough to have a crowd but still small enough to be intimate. You get a real mix, from emerging artists to established names performing there.

The Gallimaufry

A great pub up Gloucester Road with a friendly relaxed atmosphere. All three of us have spent many evenings enjoying Snazzback and Waldo’s Gift when they had their resident nights. They also host a varied programme spanning pretty much every genre!

The Canteen

Another Bristol institution. A great focus on world music and introducing a global view of what music has to offer. They always have an incredible mix taking inspiration from so many different cultures and places. There’s always something new and amazing to listen to there.

The Jam Jar

Again, a newish venue to Bristol nestled in the back of Old Market, hosting a legendary jam night once a month. Their musical line ups are always amazing and well worth a listen even if you’ve never heard of the bands before - they’re great at getting up and coming artists on stage.

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Wych Elm

Wych Elm founder and nucleus Caitlin Elliman delves into her band’s origins, progression and new EP, Rabbit Wench WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTO: MARTIN THOMPSON

I really like folklore,” Wych Elm frontwoman Caitlin Elliman says when we get our virtual interview underway, settling down beneath two taxidermized polecats fixed to the wall behind her. “I just feel connected to these disgusting, horrible stories. I can’t ignore them.”

Conceptually lured in part by gruesome folk tales, the four-piece have also become renowned for dealing in the macabre. Two years after the release of their debut EP, Rat Blanket, Wych Elm have returned, releasing their sophomore effort Rabbit Wench

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in September. The EP holds all the twisted energy you might expect it to, also demonstrating sonic and lyrical development through seven searingly intense tracks spanning just fifteen minutes.

Originally a vessel for solo projects, she formed a band under the moniker Magic Spells, releasing a single shoegaze track before calling it quits. “I hated it. I thought I was missing the ability to write songs,” she says.

The record sees Caitlin turn her gaze inward, fusing personal experiences with honest, emotive, and bleak lyrics; backed by an arid, melodic, and propulsive soundscape courtesy of a band half comprised of fresh faces.

For Caitlin, the pleasant, chorus laden tones of shoegaze didn’t feel authentic, nor did they suit her emotive lyrics. She wanted to forge a new path through a more dry and distorted landscape - musical terrain she feels significantly more comfortable in and that is far better suited to her gruesome lyrical imagery. “I didn’t want anything superficial. I just wanted to make

Wych Elm has been a somewhat fluid entity since it began formulating when Caitlin was a teenager.


“I just wanted to make what I’ve always wanted to make; songs about mental health that are weird and disturbing”

what I’ve always wanted to make; songs about mental health that are weird and disturbing. I feel like I’ve kept some integrity from that.” Out of the ashes of Magic Spells rose Wych Elm, taking its name from the mysterious case of a murdered Jane Doe found in an eponymous tree. “I felt so connected to it,” Caitlin says. “As soon as I saw those two words, I changed the band name straight away. I felt like I could take on the mystery of it and create music that’s inspired by the folklore of it.” Indeed, folklore is a key conceptual blueprint for Caitlin’s lyrics, which are often constructed around standout words in these stories. “I use it to express how I feel. It’s how the stories are written, that’s where I get my gruesomeness and macabreness from – I literally use their words,” she says. “I really like that language - It makes you feel something. I think that’s what most people are looking for when they listen to music. They want to feel connected to it.”

Rabbit Wench is no exception, as Caitlin weaves folklore into lyrics rooted in personal experience, most notably on ‘Scolds Bridle’, the EP’s second track. Referencing a

medieval torture device used to silence and humiliate women, Caitlin illustrates in gory detail the parallels she drew to her personal accounts of being silenced. Caitlin addresses her experiences more directly than on Rat Blanket, which often disguised them behind subjects confronted generally. Opener ‘Executioner’ is a raw and honest assessment of a dysfunctional relationship, whilst ‘Brute’ examines the aftermath in similarly candid fashion. “You feel really vulnerable thinking people can see every side of you. But it’s liberating in a way because you know you’re not the only person who feels like that. It’s therapeutic, being open,” she says. Wych Elm have spent time developing their sound, too something made abundantly clear within the first few chords of ‘Executioner’. The band have simultaneously tightened the bolts whilst maintaining their unpolished aesthetic as they carry their sonics into new territory. Producer Dom Mitchinson (currently of Spectres, formerly of Velcro Hooks) is partly responsible, lending his Balalaika (a

Russian string instrument) on ‘Feed Me’, adding an eerie feel to the track. Mitchinson’s production duties on Rabbit Wench make him one of the longest serving contributors to Wych Elm, having also produced Rat Blanket. “He is actually a genius,” Caitlin says. “I don’t want to go to anyone else. He knew exactly what we wanted and was always able to deliver because he wanted it too. I don’t think our music would be popular at all if it wasn’t for him.” Finding the right dynamic has proven difficult for Caitlin, with the band shedding its skin on multiple occasions. Guitarist Jack Hitchins is the only surviving member from the iteration that released Rat Blanket in 2019. In fact, it took a global pandemic to finally afford Caitlin the time to search for new bandmates without rushing, eventually bringing in Issy Sharpe on drums and Connie Matthews (niece of Elastica’s Donna Matthews) on bass. “I feel like we’re in a place where we can stick with how we are and build upon that,” she says.

You can catch Wych Elm live at The Louisiana on 18 December for the homecoming leg of their UK headline tour.

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The Drop After close to 18 months of radio silence, Bristol nightlife is making a comeback. LOUD chats to harm reduction non-profit The Drop to find out how they’re keeping people safe at some of the city’s top venues and festivals post-lockdown WORDS: MATT ROBSON

n news that will come as a statement of the glaringly obvious to some, and something of a shock to others, nightlife and party drugs go hand in hand. Bristol events are back, and regardless of your views on the matter, a sizeable portion of attendees will be using some sort of substance – or a combination of several – on the dancefloor.

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The long-awaited reopening of music venues and events has been a huge boost to party goers who spent close to a year-and-a-half away from the club during the pandemic, and while we’re rightly welcoming a recovery

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period for the nightlife sector, it’s been no surprise to see a string of drug-related health incidents reported nationwide since lockdown was lifted. These unprecedented times we find ourselves in have thrown up an array of new challenges when approaching drug use in nightlife environments. Thousands of people who have turned 18 since March 2020 will have never used drugs in a club before. After such a long time stuck indoors, tolerances are at an all-time low for even the most seasoned drug users. Supply and transportation issues linked to Brexit

are affecting the quality of drugs in circulation at venues and events of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, though, there are organisations working to make sure attendees at club nights and festivals are using drugs as safely as possible post-lockdown. In Bristol, harm reduction service The Drop are leading the way in offering practical, on-site advice at some of the city’s most popular nightlife venues. Part of the Bristol Drugs Project, The Drop act as a one-stop shop of information and support for people who use party drugs in club and


festival environments. The team operate on the premise that the more knowledge attendees have about the effects and potential risks of party drugs, the more informed their decisions will be when it comes to taking them. Since the summer, the organisation have been on-site at Love Saves The Day and Tokyo World, as well as major venues like Motion and Lakota, offering harm reduction advice for attendees and chatting to people about what they’ve taken or are planning to take. Sorcha Ryan, The Drop’s Festival & Nightclub Harm Reduction Lead, says the service has already seen plenty of uptake since lockdown restrictions were lifted, and that its advice can be vital for first-time or relatively inexperienced users. “At events over the summer we spoke to almost a thousand individuals,” Sorcha explains, “and the most important thing about that is that the majority of those people will have never spoken to a professional about their drug use before. “They might have spoken to their mates or their older siblings, but doing that early harm reduction work can be really important to prevent more problematic drug use in the future. We kind of see our role as stopping that harm as well as reducing the risk of acute harms, such as overdose.” The Drop’s on-site spaces are set up to be as welcoming as possible, offering physical resources like ear plugs and clean snorting equipment –

particularly useful during a pandemic – alongside posters and information booklets. The team also operate a small chillout space at venues and festivals, creating a calming environment for people who may have taken too much of something, had an intense come-up or are just in need of a breather. “We do hope to be a relatable service,” Sorcha says. “We’re not there to pass judgement on what drugs a person decides to use or to repeat the ‘Just Say No’ approach to drugs education that many people will have received at school.” Instead, on-site staff are looking to get a good understanding of a person’s knowledge or experience with substances so they can cater their conversations accordingly. If it becomes apparent that someone’s spent hours researching MDMA before taking it, for example, the team won’t spend time explaining to them what a dose is. That same person, however, might not know how one drug interacts with another, or may have questions about using drugs while on prescription medication. “We try to pitch the information appropriately to whoever’s trying to ask those questions,” Sorcha explains. Services like The Drop can, of course, encounter a range of hurdles when it comes to approaching drug use on licensed premises. Ultimately, prohibition-style UK policy means that councils, police and licensing committees can take

issue with an on-site harm reduction service, because it relies on a mutual acknowledgement that illegal substances are finding their way into venues. Sorcha and The Drop, on the other hand, have managed to establish and maintain constructive relationships with local authorities and nighttime economy stakeholders in Bristol. “Venues and events are in a really tricky position,” Sorcha says, “because they do have a responsibility for their customers and they need to be seen to be taking measures to prevent drugs from getting onto the premises. “We’re really lucky here that a lot of the bigger events and venues are on board already. They’ve run venues for decades and they know what they’re dealing with. We’re also massively supported by the council, and public health, and the police force in the area which is great – they’re all incredibly supportive of what we do.” Over the coming weeks, The Drop will be present at a number of Bristol venues as part of a busy winter season. Facing all kinds of challenges post-lockdown, the team remain as dedicated as ever to keeping people as safe as possible on the dancefloor.

To find out more about The Drop, access up-to-date advice or explore volunteering opportunities, head to www.bdp.com/thedrop or find the team on Instagram @thedrop_bdp

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Where local information matters


Keeley Hudd Hardwired to help, at just 24 years old Keeley Hudd has been working with young people for half of her life. Here, the Bristolbased activist discusses her passion for youth community work and her latest projects WORDS: GEORGE BOYLE PHOTOS: ADAM CANNING

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hen we meet for a coffee at The Social, Keeley Hudd is not long back from Berlin. The DJ, activist, vocalist, and community musician has been to visit university mentor and producer Yosa Peit to gain insight into Error Music – don’t delete!, a youth experimental sound and tech education programme for girls and non-binary people.

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The project bears a resemblance to Cause A Scene, Keeley’s latest Bristol-based venture. Informed by her personal history and her work with young people as a teenager, the initiative is tailored to give 14–17-yearolds from marginalised identities and disadvantaged socio-economic groups a fair shake in creative musicmaking. The project is her second launched in the city after Longthrow, a collective and radio station giving people from the same communities a look in. Born and raised in Pembrokeshire, Southwest Wales, she grew up in a deprived area with a strong counterculture on a diet of bootleg happy hardcore recordings, 80s soft-rock ballads and 90s pop. Despite her burgeoning passion for music, opportunities were scarce. “I was into music but there wasn’t much going on at home in terms of schooling and education and I was really poor. I couldn’t afford any instruments or lessons.” Despite the lack of resources, Keeley began singing in bands at local gigs thanks to an inclusive community of musicians, before eventually teaching herself to play guitar after being gifted one by her father. Buoyed by the support, she began giving back aged just 12, amplifying the voices of young people in the region to the Welsh Government and local safeguarding bodies. After briefly studying law, Keeley enrolled on a vocals course at BIMM Bristol in 2017, immediately immersing herself in the city’s music community, joining bands and learning to DJ – which she still does today. Then, following her graduation

in 2020, she continued at BIMM studying for a master’s degree in Professional Music Practise, where she launched Cause A Scene as her final project. Whilst there, she became fascinated by sociological and cultural studies, developing a particular interest in feminism. “I’m interested in how it ties in with music; how much culture and sociology has developed and how music represents this,” she says. “A lot of my academic studies looking into feminism and the impact that it and music have on each other took me to the point where I really wanted to set up a community project.” Circling back to her work with young people, she combined the two threads to envisage an inclusive space for anyone who needs it, but especially women, people of colour, non-binary, and transgender people. Although still in its formative days, the blueprint for Cause A Scene has been formulating in Keeley’s head for years – its roots embedded in her first-hand encounters with misogyny and patriarchy. “It’s so prominent. I see it all the time. When people make an assumption, it irritates me. Most of those assumptions are based on your gender and how people interpret your gender. It can literally fuck up your whole life,” she explains. “People can see you and within 10 seconds think you’re incapable of something or you don’t deserve a booking, or you can’t do this job because you’re wearing this or doing that.” Cause A Scene is designed to overcome barriers to participation in creative music making anchored in systemic misogyny and patriarchy, especially within electronic music. “It’s a big discussion, promoting gender equality in the scene. People are putting short term solutions over long term problems. You’re not resolving the issue by putting a woman on the line up, we need to look at the root of the problem, which starts with young people,” Keeley says. “Girls have always been told that they can’t use technology, so

how about we tell young people that they can – that music is open.” The issue is buttressed by classism. In 2020, Youth Music reported that 92% of people who make money in the creative industries are from advantaged socio-economic groups. By introducing participants to free resources and educating young people on the roots of popular music, not just western music theory, Keeley hopes to contribute to removing class related barriers. “A lot of talented artists have setups that are worth thousands of pounds and music education that they took privately. When you start putting everything up against that standard, even if you’re talented, it’s not worth it,” she says. “We’re also trying to show that the roots of a lot of popular music comes from people being poor and disadvantaged. It’s weird now when the standard is that you should have expensive equipment. The people that made the root of this music did it on barely anything. That’s what we’re trying to instil - these guys did it with fuck all, so can you.” Her other project, Longthrow - a collective and online radio station she set up alongside Pembrokeshire pal Jake Howard and DJ Aaron Bush, aka Lluvia - provides a stepping stone for aspiring DJs, producers, podcasters, and radio hosts on their way to bigger things. Influenced by and celebrating Bristol’s rich musical tapestry, Longthrow aims to build an inclusive and equal space that celebrates creativity and individualism, keeping the city’s music community invigorated. “We want to see the scene thriving, to be refreshed and to see people get excited about things,” Keeley says. “We want to build a community.”

Keeley and Longthrow Radio are always on the lookout for new contributors. Find out more at www.longthrow.live and @longthrow, or get in touch with the team on longthrowradio@gmail.com

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Spiking Safety WORDS: STANLEY GRAY

f you’ve been on a night out in Bristol in recent weeks, you may have noticed Stop Spiking and Bristol Rules posters in venues and across the city centre. Everyone deserves to be safe on a night out, and these campaigns support that notion through strong partnerships. The Bristol Rules campaign – organised collaboratively between Bristol City Council, local universities and local music venues – promotes safety in nightlife environments through five clear messages:

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- Check in with your friends - Call it out - Don’t be a creep - Respect everyone - Keep away from the edge Awareness of these safety messages has become more vital than ever recently, in the wake of a high-profile, nationwide rise in reports of drink spiking.

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Drink spiking is a premeditated act, a personal violation and a crime which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Building on the Bristol Rules, the campaign against drink spiking has a clear focus on the perpetrators. This has been produced by a partnership of Bristol City Centre BID, Avon and Somerset Police and the City Council’s Night Time Economy Advisor and night time businesses. This concerted and united effort targets the perpetrators of this crime, raises awareness of what to do if you suspect spiking has occurred, and provides guidance to venues on how to support those customers who believe they have been spiked. All these resources can be found at bristolnights.co.uk/drinkspiking. Over 200 nightlife venues have been provided with posters, a Drink Spiking Procedure Guide and drink

testing kits, while a public-facing campaign has seen hard-hitting, eye-catching posters put up in key areas across the city. In addition, the campaign helps to protect against spiking by providing key information surrounding the types of spiking that can occur, the effects of spiking and the importance of believing victims. For example, drugs can leave the body in as little as 12 hours after consumption, so it’s important that the individual gets tested quickly. Reporting incidents to the police within this period gives the best chance of catching perpetrators and police have tests available to provide an instant indicative test. If you think you, or someone else, may have been spiked, report it to venue management. Or, if you have left the venue, report it to the police. We can all help tackle spiking by taking the following action:


Watch Out Spiking can come in various forms: slipping drugs into someone’s drink, adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink, adding additional alcohol to a drink or, as has been widely reported recently, injected spiking. Someone’s drink can be spiked to increase vulnerability for a variety of reasons including sexual assault, robbery or an attempted joke. Symptoms can vary massively depending on the type and amount of drugs/alcohol administered, which substances have been consumed in what quantities prior to the incident, if the victim takes medication, and the age and size of the victim. Spiking symptoms can include confusion, nausea or vomiting, hallucinations, disorientation, inability to communicate clearly, paranoia, poor coordination, poor visibility and unconsciousness.

Listen Up If you believe someone may have been spiked, stop what you’re doing, pay attention and focus on the information the person is giving you. Avoid judgement: it can be difficult to judge whether someone has consumed too much alcohol or has been spiked. Always believe the person who has approached you. Be supportive, and avoid phrases that suggest that you don’t believe them. Venue employees should know their venue’s procedure and, in the event of a spiking incident, should gather as much information as possible for the police ahead of their arrival.

Act Ensure everyone’s safety: help the individual to a safe space away from crowds. Make sure a friend/trusted individual accompanies the victim. Drink spiking is a scary experience, and the victim needs to be reassured they are safe. If it appears an assault has taken place, a specially trained police officer can be called to the scene. Call an ambulance if they require medical attention (especially if the individual is unconscious) and advise the attending medical professional(s) that they may have been spiked. When the victim leaves a venue, ensure that they are not alone or with anyone you are suspicious about. Confirm whether they have a planned journey home and are with someone that they trust.

SPONSORED BY:

Useful Contacts Avon & Somerset Police The Police should always be the first point of call in the instance of suspected drink spiking. If the incident is ongoing call 999, or if some time has passed after the incident, call 101 The Bridge Bristol’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides emotional, medical and practical care/support for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Victims are able to have evidence collected without the pressure to make an immediate decision about calling the police. 24hr support is available on 0117 342 6999 The Survivor Pathway The Bristol Survivor Pathway is a guide for anyone wanting to know more about specialist sexual violence support services in Bristol. Visit www.survivor pathway.org.uk/bristol for more information Bristol Mind The Bristol arm of nationwide charity Mind are on hand for anyone looking to look after their emotional and mental health. Find out more at bristolmind.org.uk

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PHOTOS: APHELION

Prolific DJ Alya L has carved out a stellar reputation for herself in Bristol in recent years, spanning a multitude of genres and breathing life into small venues across the city with her head-turning sets. Here she talks musical inspirations, personal highlights and her involvement with a number of esteemed local crews

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Alya L Who were your early musical influences?

And what got you into electronic music?

I was exposed to a lot of music growing up. My mum loved singing along to Duran Duran or Enya while going about her business at home. My dad was involved in the nightlife and events scene in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He has a deep appreciation for what Jamaica has contributed to the world of music and made sure to educate me on the cultural importance of Reggae and the counterculture that developed after.

I’ve been heavily into video games throughout my life. Soundtracks to games like Ridge Racer, Donkey Kong, Dance Dance Revolution and Pokemon always bounced around in my head and led to an early appreciation for stuff outside of what you might hear on the radio.

It’s fortunate to have parents who have differing tastes - I’ve inherited what they like and it has definitely informed what I listen to today.

How did you get into DJing? In school and teen years, I was obsessed with discovering new music through Last FM, making playlists and making mix CDs. It was something I did for myself and for those close to me, and was another


“I think of DJing as a form of communication. The way I play is very much a conversation that I’m having with whoever’s listening” way of communicating. I guess that curatorial aspect has always been there somewhere.

black diaspora, in a space that has largely existed to cater for white middle class people.

After moving to Bristol to study I found myself around friends who were regularly DJing and producing music for a club environment. I started mixing on vinyl at first, covering mostly D&B and Swamp 81 era UK Bass. That in turn led to me delving more into stuff like Martyn/2562, Locked Grooved and Om Unit, before Night Slugs and UK club came in fast, which I thought was incredibly futuristic.

Opening and closing for Scalping at the Island was pretty otherworldly too. Scalping offer a truly unique experience sound wise, especially in that space, and the crowd were absolutely in the moment for the whole night. A really intense, positive, sweaty experience.

Do you tend to stick to particular genres in your sets or keep things quite broad?

Absolutely. Bristol has an incredibly rich history and is home to a lot of iconic labels and artists. There’s a lot to take inspiration from within the city, but at the moment I’m definitely looking outwards to explore my interests further.

I weave tracks together in a way that makes sense to me. There’s a lot of diversity in electronic music and I would say it’s quite difficult to stick in a particular genre. What I play now in part feels like a derivative of what I was listening to when I first got into mixing, and the sound has changed and developed in some crazy ways since then. And what’s your approach when it comes to DJing? My approach is to play what I like! I think of DJing as a form of communication. The way I play is very much a conversation that I’m having with whoever is listening. What’s been a standout moment as a DJ so far? I think it would be playing at the NTS x Uniqlo Tate Lates in 2019. I found it to be a powerful experience, playing music on the outer fringes of the

Do you feel like Bristol has influenced your music taste and DJ sets?

How and when did you get involved with Psychotherapy Sessions? Scott Linton (the brain behind PTS) happened to be at my second gig at Take 5 Cafe. He approached me after my set and asked if I would like to guest on his radio show. After that I was invited to play at one of their parties, which led to an invite to the crew, which was very humbling for someone at the very beginning of their journey. I’ve come to watch each resident play during my time in the collective and it’s amazing to see how skilled each PTS resident is. We all bring something different and unique to the dance floor. Shouts to Ye Ye, Jurango, Aphelion, k means, Roy Bar, VIO_L3T and of course Scott!

What’s your favourite Bristol venue to play at? Cosies 1,000,000%. It’s where I’ve played the most as a PTS resident and I love the small enclosed space it’s really intimate. I’ve had great times down in that cellar. It’s home to so many carefully curated events that have enriched the Bristol scene, and it’s great to be part of that. And your favourite Bristol parties when you’re not playing? Young Echo, Club Djembe, Pressure Dome, Better Days, Illegal Data, 1020 Radio and Noods have great socials every now and then. I’ve been to so many amazing events at Strange Brew - it’s one of my favourite places to be in the city. You’ve recorded sets for Noods Radio, 1020 and SWU.fm - how important are those stations for emerging DJs like yourself? It’s a symbiotic relationship, one can’t flourish without the other. 1020 Radio was where I had my first monthly show. Sean and Joelie were instrumental in my development which I’m really grateful for. The Noods team are very supportive too - both stations have done a lot for the community in Bristol and have really backed a lot of emerging DJs and artists. Finally, where can we expect to see you over the coming weeks? Winter is a very restorative time for me, I think. I’ll be at shows, both as a listener and as a DJ, but I value taking time to stay grounded and keep well rested!

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Don’t Lose It Bristol venues of all shapes and sizes were thrown into chaos last year when they were forced to close their doors due to the pandemic. In response, local action group Save Bristol Nightlife and Bristol photographer Colin Moody set to work on Lose It, a series of short documentaries catching up with owners and staff as they tried to stay afloat during a turbulent few months. Here, Colin picks out a selection of still shots from the series, exploring some of the city’s most cherished cultural institutions and the people keeping them alive

The Cloak & Dagger, Stokes Croft “This is Jenna, mid-lockdown, taking time out of re-working The Cloak and Dagger to make it safe, to get it ready. But this was at a time when it was impossible to say when we would be able to return to live events, or to even walk in the door at all. That’s dust on the glasses and hard work and determination writ large on her face.”

Eastville Social Club, Eastville “Eastville Social Club was the first place we visited as part of our short film series. One thing that kept coming up was concern about all their elder regulars, and how vital this club is, even for those who visit just once a week. The team were working so hard to make it safe, and to keep it safe.”

The Gryphon, City Centre “Bands from all over the world come to this place to perform. The door was thick with the stickers from the metal and heavy duty bands that loved it and were loved here. So many regulars were ordering cans of beer from here because they wanted to show support, to be supportive of their local. “

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Queenshilling, City Centre “Paul and Andy. Maybe of all the clubs I’ve visited making these films, these two gents reached me most of all. Their passion for a place that is not just a club but a lifeline to so many in the community gives me hope that trumps the fear.”

St Anne’s Board Mill Social Club, Redfield “The shutters were down for so long, how many lockdowns was it? And all the time the bar’s notice board was promising big bands, waiting for an opportunity to return. “

The Bristol Fringe, Clifton “A member of staff, who had only just taken up the bar job when the pandemic hit, mops the floor. The lockdowns and brief intermissions were spent working hard, shifting from one side of the bar to the other, to keep a place going that already meant so much to him.”

The Plough, Easton “Tom. Look him in the eye and believe. Fresh fruit and veg boxes, efforts to keep the staff on, so much hard hard work for the pub, for the community, for everyone.”

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Bristol Promoters’ Index Looking to put on a gig or start a party? Whether it’s an expansive, multi-room complex, a deep, dark basement or a tried and tested live music space, you’re sure to find what you’re after in Bristol. Check out our listings below to get in touch with the perfect venue for your next event Motion / The Marble Factory | 74-78 Avon Street, Bristol BS2 0PX 200-4000 (Multiple Spaces) | info@motion-bristol.com | motion-bristol.com Lakota | 6 Upper York Street, Bristol BS2 8QN 500-1200 (Multiple Spaces) | info@lakotabristol.co.uk | lakota.co.uk Strange Brew | 10-12 Fairfax Street, Broadmead, BS1 3DB 300 | events@strangebrewbristol.com | strangebrewbristol.com Thekla | The Grove, East Mud Dock, Bristol BS1 4RB 500 | office@theklabristol.co.uk | theklabristol.co.uk The Love Inn | 84 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY 150 | enquiries@teamlove.org | theloveinn.com Basement 45 | 8 Frogmore Street, Bristol BS1 5NA 300 | mark@basement45.co.uk | basement45.co.uk O2 Academy Bristol | Frogmore Street, Bristol BS1 5NA 1800 | mail@o2academybristol.co.uk | academymusicgroup.com/o2academybristol The Crofters Rights | 117-119 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3RW 300 | music@croftersrights.co.uk | croftersrights.co.uk Cosies! | 34 Portland Square, Bristol BS2 8RG 110 | cosies@live.co.uk | facebook.com/cosiesbristoll The Island | Bridewell Street, Bristol BS1 2QD 250 | dina@theislandbristol.com | theislandbristol.com The Loco Klub | Clock Tower Yard, Bristol BS1 6QH 360 | bookings@locobristol.com | locoklub.com Trinity Centre | Trinity Road, Bristol BS2 0NW 50 - 600 (Multiple Spaces) | info@trinitybristol.org.uk | trinitybristol.org.uk

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The Fleece | 12 St Thomas Street, Bristol BS1 6JJ 450 | chris@thefleece.co.uk | thefleece.co.uk Propyard | Feeder Studios, 39-46 Feeder Rd, Bristol, BS2 0SE 500-3000 (Multiple Spaces) | info@propyard.co.uk | propyard.co.uk The Lanes | 22 Nelson Street, Bristol BS1 2LE 500 | info@thelanesbristol.com | thelanesbristol.com Exchange | 72-73 Old Market Street, Bristol BS2 0EJ 250 | iwan@exchangebristol.com | exchangebristol.com The Mother’s Ruin | 7-9 St Nicholas Street, Bristol BS1 1UE 100 | mothersruinbristol@gmail.com | mothersruinbristol.co.uk Full Moon & Attic Bar | 1 North Street, Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3PR 240 | info@fullmoonbristol.co.uk | fmbristol.co.uk Fiddlers | Willway Street, Bristol BS3 4BG 500 | info@fiddlers.co.uk | fiddlers.co.uk Lost Horizon | 1-3 Elton St, St Jude’s, Bristol BS2 9EH 330 | info@losthorizonlive.com | losthorizonlive.com Mr Wolf’s | 32 St Nicholas Street, Bristol BS1 1TG 270 | musicbookings@mrwolfs.com | mrwolfs.com Rough Trade Bristol | 3 New Bridewell, Nelson Street, Bristol BS1 2QD 150 | adriand@roughtrade.com | roughtrade.com/gb/events/store/rough-trade-bristol The Louisiana | Wapping Road, Bathurst Terrace, Bristol BS1 6UA 140 | thelouisiana@gmail.com | thelouisiana.net Take Five Cafe | 72 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY 100 | take5cafe.co.uk Arnolfini | 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA 200 | programme@arnolfini.org.uk | arnolfini.org.uk The Jam Jar | Unit 4a, Little Anne Street, Bristol BS2 9EB 220 | hq@thejamjarbristol.com | thejamjarbristol.com Dare2Club | 1 Alfred St, Bristol BS2 0RF 250 | daretoclub@gmail.com | daretoclub.co.uk Thunderbolt | 124 Bath Rd, Totterdown, Bristol BS4 3ED 150 | info@thethunderbolt.net | thethunderbolt.net Dareshack | Wine Street, BS1 2BD 140 | hello@dareshack.com | dareshack.com The Cloak & Dagger | 182/184 Cheltenham Road, Bristol,BS6 5RB 70 - 150 (Multiple Spaces) | daggerbookings@outlook.com | thecloakanddagger.co.uk Winter 2021

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Peachin’

Composed of friends and Bristol-based DJs LEXXI, SafeSoul and Ella-Sian, Peachin’ have been throwing it back to the 90s and early 00s since 2018.

Selectors of a vast array of the finest R&B, dancehall, hip-hop and more, the trio will take you away to an Ibiza poolside on even the coldest of nights When and why did you set Peachin’ up?

the river in the sun, can’t get much better right?

Peachin’ was formed in the summer of 2018. I (LEXXI) had been involved in the dub scene under my alias Bliss Zion, running events like Bristol Dub Club and Dub To Dubstep since 2012, and wanted to start mixing other genres. Ella-Sian had just finished the DJ course with Mix Nights, so the timing worked quite well.

Also, we hosted a St. Pauls Carnival after-party at The Plough which we all love so were honored when we were asked. We had Dancehall Generals headlining which was amazing - and very sweaty.

We were both already fans of SafeSoul from the days of Dutty Girl and their 90s house party events at Start The Bus.

SS: In life it’s gotta be Chaka Khan Ain’t Nobody, but in my DJ set it has to be Kelis & Andre 3000 - Millionaire. It’s a guaranteed party starter or set finisher!

What does Peachin’ bring to the Bristol scene?

As a collective of women, we started Peachin’ as we didn’t feel there was a space for us to dance and sing-along to throwback R&B, hip hop etc outside of Park St and other ‘mainstream’ venues. Have there been any standout moments so far?

It has to be our Birthday boat party in August 2019. Basically 3 hours of great tunes on a moving boat down

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Name some tracks you can’t live without.

L: Nasty Girl by The Notorious B.I.G or Where I Wanna Be by Donell Jones E-S: Gyptian - Hold Yuh or Heartbroken by T2 The Covid period must have been tough on you guys – how has Peachin’ fared?

At the start of the pandemic it was quite hard to get motivated, especially as there were no gigs or anything to work towards. We tried

to keep up the Peachin’ buzz alive by sharing mixes and things like that, but it was quite hard to have that connection with people like we would in the club. SWU.fm starting up gave us the motivation to get back to it and to start mixing again with new tunes and classic bangers. How are you feeling about starting to throw parties again?

It’s been incredible to be able to play in clubs again and we can’t wait to put our own parties on. We often have a mixture of ages at our events, and understandably not everyone feels comfortable to be in a club environment just yet. Since September 2021 we’ve had a weekly residency at BUMP roller disco which is super fun! We’re down there every Wednesday 7-10pm providing a 90s/00s soundtrack whilst people skate around. Anything in the pipeline for 2021?

We’ll be putting on an extra special party in March 2022 - keep an eye on @peachin.bristol for updates!