ISSUE NO 1 | SEPTEMBER 2017 SECTION
PURELY FOR THE SOUND OBSESSIVE
OUR FIRST COVER STAR FEATURE WITH THE SCOTTISH SINGER-SONGWRITER
SPECIAL FEATURES #LETSTALKMUSIC
WHY WE NEED MORE SMALL FESTIVALS
OUR FIRST MUSIC INDUSTRY CAMPAIGN SUPPORTING SAFER SCENES FOR WOMEN
MUSIC GEEKS INDUSTRY | NEW MUSIC | CULTURE | MUSIC BUSINESS
MUSIC GEEKS is finally here!
After more than two years of planning, I am so happy to bring you a jam-packed pilot issue. This issue is special not only because it is our very first, but also thanks to our first cover star, Kat Healy. She is such an amazing soul with a brand new single, ‘Perfect,’ which is out now. Look out for the music video! This is the time of year where coach companies are at their busiest, with queues of people all heading in one direction: festivals. Festivals are an ever growing industry, with many new events popping up each year. In this issue, we spoke to the organisers of the Music Makers Festival, that took place last month.
“This is the time of year where coach companies are at their busiest, with queues of people all heading in one direction: festivals”
These grand events always need people and volunteers. Volunteering can be fun, with Oxfam offering stewarding posts at some of the most popular festivals. You are able to experience new music and meet new people, all whilst ensuring you keep festivalgoers safe - that can’t be an easy task when you’re knee deep in mud!
With that being said, plenty is being done to ensure that women, in particular, are being kept safe. For our first industry campaign #Safety4womenatgigs, we spoke to a number of charities and the Association of Festivals (AIF), who have created a safer space initative for women. But it’s not all doom and gloom in this issue. We have some amazing features stateside with hip-hop and classical ensemble, Mik Nawooj, new music from the likes of Martyn Crocker, Nakamarra Music and much more... I would like to thank EVERY single person who has made this issue possible. We love music. We care about the Industry. We are Music Geeks. Let us know what you think of our pilot issue!
@NicoleAlii FOUNDER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
FOLLOW US MusicGeeksUK MusicGeeksUK MusicGeeksUK
Your new favourite band: Dream Wife. TRACKLISTING STORY: NAKAMARRA TRACKLISTING STORY: MARTYN CROCKER
PEAK AT MUSIC BLOGGER RECORD COLLECTION
NOW, HOW DO I START COLLECTING VINYL?
30 31 59 61
IMAGE: Paul Maple
WHY WE NEED MORE SMALL FESTIVALS
Live Music is a booming industry in the UK, but where are the small festivals?
07 09 12 INDUSTRY 50 legends
STAR POWER ON MAINSTREAM MUSIC HEADLINERS OF THE FUTURE EVOLUTION OF GARAGE BANDS
MUSIC PRODUCERS & THE GAMES APP INDUSTRY
HIP-HOP & CLASSICAL MUSIC ENSEMBLE, MIK NAWOOJ
Mik Nawooj challenges the ‘fine art’ perception of classical musicclassical
WHAT IS TODAY’S MUSIC DOING FOR BLACK CULTURE?
OBITUARY: CHESTER BENNINGTON We give one last encore, for the Linkin Park frontman
72 MUSIC BUSINESS 67
THIS YEAR...IN 1967
THE A-C OF MUSIC LAW
special feature: festivals CAMPAIGN FEATURE:
#SAFETY4WOMENATGIGS IMAGE: People Images/ Istock
VOLUNTEERING FOR YOUR PLACE AT FESTIVALS All you need to know about volunteering at some of the biggest festivals in the UK. INDUSTRY FEATURE: INTERVIEW WITH MUSIC MAKERS FESTIVAL LOW KEY FESTIVALS 10 THOUGHTS WE ALL HAVE AT FESTIVALS FESTIV-MAYHEM NEXT STOP, NORTH EAST FESTIVALS
IMAGE: Sam Baguette/Oxfam
22 24 26 17 27 28
INTERVIEW: THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT FESTIVALS AIF discuss their safer initiative campaign and its efforts to encourage more festivals, to provide safer spaces for women.
WHITE RIBBON CHARITY
The UK Charity against female violence, created by men.
DEBATE: SHOULD THERE BE MORE MALE ACTIVISTS INVOLVED?
MUSIC THAT MADE 2017 FESTIVALS PLAYLIST
RELEASES OF THE MONTH
Lucy Rose ‘Something’s changing’ is nothing short of sheer class. OTHER RELEASES: UNSIGNED & INDEPENDENT
Kat Healy pledged her way and managed to secure backing for her upcoming single, ‘Perfect’ and is now, one of the first artists to be featured on the cover of MUSIC GEEKS. MUSIC GEEKS
email@example.com www.musicgeeks.co.uk EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nicole Alii SUB-EDITOR Aira Bekeryte
MAN-FREE FESTIVAL 2018 WORDS: Ilan Rubens IMAGE: Pekic / iStock A ‘man-free’ music festival is to be organised in Sweden after the cancellation of one of the country’s largest music events, due to a number of rape and sexual abuse reports. Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare wants to organise the event since Bråvalla festival has been cancelled for 2018, following reports of an increase in sexual offences.
These actions come after police in Östergötland, the location for the annual Bråvalla festival, announced that they received four reports of rape and 23 cases of sexual assault during the four days in which the event took place, according to the Guardian.
This is not the first time a festival has a designated women-only space, as back in 2016, Glastonbury created ‘The Knyckare shared this news Sisterhood’, an area from which over Twitter, announcing that men are excluded. only women are welcome, with the disclaimer, “until ALL men The organisers of the festival have learned how to behave.” felt that it was necessary to have women-only spaces, so After confirming the event will that females do not have to go ahead next summer, she fear being groped, sexually plans to coordinate a group of assaulted or experiencing other talented organisers to create behaviour of an inappropriate Sweden’s first man-free festival. nature. 6
CONTRIBUTORS Bec Simpson Emily Young Hayley Millross Ian Rushbury Ben Winter Ilan Rubens Joseph Jacobs Josh Abraham Kate Eldridge Kerri Wynter Lauren Morgan Naomi Penn Sophie Barnden ART TEAM Cory Macleod Charles Hoar Angel Zhang Gemma Davies Alex Cox PUBLISHER Music Geeks UK Ltd. GUEST BLOGGERS Andrew Corry Hollie Ann James Fenney ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) White Ribbon Charity Music Makers Festival Lawdit Music House of Vinyl London
STAR POWER ON MAINSTREAM MUSIC
WORDS: Ilan Rubens
Summer saw the release of albums from two of the world’s biggest music producers, with DJ Khaled’s release, ‘Grateful’, being followed a week later by Calvin Harris with ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1’. Both albums did extremely well, reaching #1 and #2 on The Billboard 200 respectively. From this it would be safe to assume that these are two world-class albums that are totally deserving of their success, right? Once you have read the reviews, you realise that this is, in fact, not true at all. Both albums turned out to be disappointments, eagerly anticipated by the public only for them to be let down. So why the success? The answer is simple. The track-listing is packed full of A-listers, teasing the masses with the biggest names in music. Rhianna, Pharrell, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj and Drake to name but a few. These albums are one Kardashian away from being a party at P Diddy’s house. This highlights a huge issue that the music industry is facing; a big name and a pretty face is prioritised over quality music. Harris’ album was called a ‘star-studded snoozefest’, while ‘Grateful’ shows off the length of Khaled’s contacts list rather than his skill as a producer. Yet the public laps it up. Described as ‘commercial pop on steroids,’ this music reaches out to the fan bases of the artists on the track, boosting the credibility of the song regardless of how good it is. To put it simply, the more artists featured, the more success it will garner. Khaled’s famous phrase is starting to make more sense, and appears to be his philosophy for putting A-listers on his songs; ‘Another one.’ This tactic suggests that the main goal is for the albums is to be commercially successful rather than being good musically. Obviously, the producers want their music to be as popular as possible, but should this be prioritised over quality? Calvin
Harris has been known to push the limits with his music, to experiment with new styles and go out on a limb but with ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1’, he is playing it safe, churning out a repetitive style that is cushioned by the big names who are featured. The Atlantic compared Khaled’s albums with Michael Bay movies and rightly so. Excitement, explosions, an all-star cast and a general wow-factor but, like Harris’ album, ‘Grateful’ only brings so much to the table - radio-ready songs that don’t push the limits of music. This was summed up perfectly by the online publication Entertainment Voice, who said, “DJ Khaled’s Grateful packs star power, but not enough punch.” Despite Khaled’s reputation, the quality just isn’t good enough, and it seems as if he is trying to detract from this with the sheer amount of material released. His album being an astounding 23 tracks long. The star-studded list of artists combined with such a long album creates the world’s most expensive safety net, bouncing Khaled to the top of the Billboard charts. This results in other artists falling short, regardless of how deserving they are or how much better their music is. Many are overshadowed by a towering reputation, a name that is just too big to compete with. Celebrity power is a force that won’t be stopped any time soon, but if this is what the public wants, then this is what the public will get.
“The star studded list combined with that many tracks creates the world’s most expensive safety net” MUSIC GEEKS
HEADLINERS OF THE FUTURE It’s often said that there are only a handful of bands in the world, who are of a high enough calibre to claim those slots. But you just have to look at the rotating list of familiar characters topping Download year after year to realise that things can quickly get stale without the occasional injection of new blood. Many of the remaining legendary bands and artists are long past their prime and may only have a few headline sets left in them. Sure, you have the likes of Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers etc. but they can’t do it all themselves. They’re big shoes to fill, but progress is needed if upand-coming acts are ever going to rise-up to that ‘legend’ status. Who are the worthy few that might end up joining the gold standard of music?
Surely this is a given? They’ve already headlined Reading and Leeds, and T in the Park, earning a well-deserved reputation as one of the best live bands going. It’s a massive oversight that they still haven’t been given a shot at Glastonbury, having to settle for opening for Ed Sheeran instead this year. They are one of Britain’s biggest bands, but their influence doesn’t reach as far as it should. While they are Pyramid Stage headliners-in-waiting, they’ve yet to truly break America, so I doubt we’ll see them at Coachella anytime soon.
One of the most beloved cult bands of the 21st century. Their unique, bittersweet song writing has won them legions of fans across the globe, and many upand-coming bands would kill to be compared with the likes of them. They’ve already headlined Latitude, which is a good litmus test to gauge whether a band would be a good fit for the major festivals. They undoubtedly have the songs, but do they have the necessary stage presence and performance factor?
Another Latitude graduate. Both their eponymous debut and 2013’s ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ are regarded as being amongst the best albums of the 21st century. They have plenty of festivalready indie bangers in their arsenal, but given that it’s been a few years since anyone has heard anything from them, who knows when they’ll be ready to step up to the plate?
“They’re big shoes to fill, but progress is needed if up-and-coming acts are ever going to rise-up to that ‘legend’ status”
again. She’s the dark horse in this race- keep a close eye on her.
This trio has that same universal appeal as bands like Fleetwood Mac. They have an inescapable air of likeability and, once they have another couple of albums at their disposal, they should be a safe bet for any festival organiser. Treading the line between rock and pop, they have fans from all across the spectrum, and I’m sure would draw a surprisingly large crowd, given the chance.
HEADLINERS OF THE FUTURE These days those at the top of the bill on the world’s biggest stages face a lot of criticism. Are they the right fit, do they have enough hits, can they draw a large and diverse enough crowd?
I, very wrongly, had Lorde pegged as a one-hitwonder. With her new album, ‘ M e l o d r a m a , ’ r e l e a s e d t o widespread acclaim, it’s clear that she is here to stay. She’s edgy enough for the music connoisseurs, yet has plenty of pop power to bring in the big crowds. Her career is still very much in the early stages, but she’s not someone I’d make the mistake of underestimating
WORDS: James Fenney
You don’t see many psychedelic bands near the top of the bill these days, but this Antipodean outfit is the exception to the rule. Perhaps their kaleidoscopic soundscapes are exactly what’s been so sorely missing from Britain’s festivals. Whether you prefer their earlier, indie-infused work or their more recent danceable electronic numbers, a headline set from them would certainly be of a high quality and contain something for everyone. MUSIC GEEKS
t’s a peculiar time for the music industry. Streaming services are showing record listening figures, but there are still struggling up-and-coming artists being paid mere pennies. A recent report showed that live music attendance in the UK is at an all time high, yet grassroots venues up and down the country continue to close. Our music industry has experienced a massive boom in recent years, but it seems that only those at the very top are reaping the rewards. New artists face a harder grind than ever, as they wait for their big break. Having a track featured in a popular playlist will increase your visibility, but it will need to go viral in a big way for it to really get your name out there. Festivals are a great place to discover new artists, but with the expensive costs surrounding the likes of Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, many forgo the smaller stages and head straight for the headliners’ sets to get their money’s worth. Small festivals are where you have the best chance of discovering and sharing new artists. You just need one recognisable name to draw a crowd and from there, dozens of new acts can showcase their music and attract new fans. Those that impress and create a buzz can soon graduate to the bigger festivals, and greater opportunities, but that first step is the hardest part. Take a look at boutique festivals such as Barn on the Farm, for 10
instance. Starting life as a few folk with acoustic guitars in a tiny wooden barn, it has served as a springboard for acts such as James Bay, Jack Garratt
to demonstrate this. Introducing more small festivals would help out new artists, bring tourist income to forgotten corners of the country, and just generally
Why we need more small festivals WORDS: JAMES FENNEY MAGE CREDIT: PAUL MAPLE
and Rag’n’Bone Man. It even saw Ed Sheeran’s first ever headline set and just look at him now, living it up on the Pyramid Stage at the world’s greatest festival. There are exciting music scenes and talented people all across the country, but there simply aren’t enough festivals
make our lives that little bit more interesting. I myself have seen a few like-minded individuals try and launch new events with mixed success. There have been logistical complications and problems with organising food, camping and sanitation, as well as land disputes, and, the biggest challenge of them all, noise complaints. I’ve seen
SMALL FESTIVALS hundreds of people’s enjoyment and livelihood challenged by some heartless, mean-spirited neighbour complaining to the local council just
essentials. Take inspiration from Leefest; some 24 karat legend decided to host a music festival in his back garden while his
friends, ask someone to get the drinks in, and before you know it, you have a festival! Maybe if you try it again the following year and it gradually becomes a local tradition, it will “Introducing more small grow and gain festivals would help out new more recognition draw more artists, bring tourist income and well-known to forgotten corners of the artists. Even if it doesn’t, you’ve country” got the chance to hang out with your friends and enjoy some great music. If the opportunity presents itself, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
because they can. It holds back those trying to help their local scene, and indeed the community as a whole.
parents were away, and over the years, it has snowballed into what can only be described as a massive success story. Sometimes the smallest of I think many small events actions can have the greatest make the mistake of trying effect. to run before they can walk. So your friend is in a band? Organisers overcomplicate So that band know a few other things when they can quite bands? Find a place to meet, tell easily get by with just the bare your friends, have them tell their
When it comes to festivals, size doesn’t matter. Bigger festivals are often run as a moneymaking business and lack heart, whereas the smaller ones are more like a family. Here you can meet the artists, and the musicians themselves are offered a deeper, more personal connection with their new fans. Are you more likely to share the story of an intimate “you had to be there” moment with some talented singer-songwriter you had the pleasure of chatting to, or something you saw on a big screen 200 yards away as you were crushed in a crowd of thousands? Exactly. Small festivals have the tremendous power to move the music industry forward. It’s just a shame that there are so many fields standing empty when they could be used to make memories that could last a lifetime. MUSIC GEEKS
RISE & FALL OF GARAGE BANDS
“It had divulged into many other forms; ever more sophisticated. Psychedelic sub-genres emerged as well as 'proto punk' "
The 1960s, an era of rebellion; of social, sexual, artistic liberation with music right at its forefront. Yes, the times were a changing. Whether it was Bob Dylan’s political protests, the ‘psychedelic revolution’ aka The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry’s bluesy influence on British ‘beat group’s like The Who and The Rolling Stones; the new-fangled sounds of counter-culture reverberated proudly in the hearts of the young.
WORDS: Joseph Jacobs IMAGE: Roxana Gonzalez / Shutterstock
ne of the ironies of counterculture is that it always breeds the same kind of conformity it so passionately opposes; think about the Supreme capped, bearded hipsterism of today. So it was in the sixties as scores of acne-faced, gleeful teenagers all across the United States took 12
to their family garage to imitate their heroes. They’d disturb the suburban peace with their disharmonic angsts, desperate wailings of unrequited high school love, playing to intermittent audiences of perturbed parents returning from a hard day’s work made all the more harder because of chronic sleep deprivation and
sore throats from croaking: ‘Johnny! Turn that racket down’ over and over again. A cliché of hopeless romantic fanaticism was born. It’s an image that’s become part and parcel of rock ’n’ roll’s youthful aesthetic. An enduring motif of popular culture, one that runs unfairly against a surprising array of successful, iconic bands that started in a garage - The Kinks, The Who, Soul Asylum, The Seeds, Them, The Sonics, Nirvana, Creedence Clearwater Revival and many other hugely influential acts. I, with all the appropriate geekiness that the Music Geek ethos calls for, want to reclaim that sense of garage rock’s importance.
EVOLUTION OF GARAGE BANDS It wasn’t until 1964 and our ‘British invasion’, that garage rock truly started to grow into its own distinctions. Although the garage band phenomenon is essentially American, it has British roots. It came into being because of bands like The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Animals, to name but a few. We brought harder, electric sounds across the Atlantic, along with plenty of do-it-yourself gusto. Electric guitars and amplifiers were in turn, adopted by American folk acts like The Byrds and, of course, Bob Dylan, which then inspired even more garagebased imitation. Garages aren’t so ubiquitous in Britain, and we should acknowledge that there is something eminently more downbeat about a British garage. So full credit to bands like The Who or The Troggs or The Kinks.
The Wailers ‘Tall Cool One’ (1959) and The Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’ (1963) were the first major mainstream successes that originated in a garage. Well, I say originated, in the Kingsmen’s case, it was actually a cover of Richard Berry. But as one of the most celebrated songs of the decade and having held the No. 2 spot on the Billboard charts for six weeks, ‘Louie Louie’ in particular, paved a clear, aspirational route from the garage to the mainstream that would inspire many similar trajectories. Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Sonics and the Trashmen were other early garage based bands who found popularity in the early ’60s, all of them influenced by The Beach Boys and surf rock.
It was only in the 1970s that ‘garage rock’ was named by critics as its own genre. It had divulged into many other forms, ever more sophisticated psychedelic sub-genres emerged as well as ‘proto punk’. A hugely popular 1972 compilation album ‘Nuggets’ helped to shape the garage rock, but perhaps to its detriment, after all, death comes before immortality. In the ’70s, culture changed to the detriment of garage rock, a rise in capitalism with a shift in power from independent labels to major record companies, made it a lot harder for one’s earnest garage get-up to go towards the big time. That said, it was a decade that brought us The Cramps and also The Ramones, perhaps the most quintessential garage band of all time. The Ramones were aptly named, their identity was that of an all American family. Their logo was based on the Seal of the
President of the United States with the eagle swinging a baseball bat. They flaunted a brotherly spirit with matching styles, sunglasses, leather jackets and sneakers alike. Theirs is the family the garage belongs to. Their fashion sense was emulated by countless indie acts, that whole NME epoch, and its casualness was akin to any dirty, diesel covered environment. The Ramones sparked many garage band revival acts, they eased the transition of Garage rock to Punk, ensuring that garage rock’s spirit would endure indefinitely. In the decades that ensued, right up to our current modernity, there has still been a fair share of prominent bands that started in a garage. For example, Weezer or Nirvana who first recorded ‘Smells like teen spirit’ into a boom box in their garage. Yet, the family garage has long lost its lustre, and its musical appeal. Its spirit has been digitalised somewhat. What to make of Apple’s music-making tool, GarageBand? Launched in 2004, and embedded on iPhone, iMacs, Ipads, and the majority of apple devices ever since, it is seen as an egalitarian bridging of the gap between hi-tech traditional, professional studio and Joe Blogg’s bedroom. Given that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in a garage in 1976, there is something quite wholesome in that revival of the DIY garage philosophy. As the internet took off, Soundcloud and countless other examples have levelled that sense of access, all the resources are there online to ensure a universal sense of musical meritocracy. Still, it’s not quite the same. Nowadays, there are so many different niches, each with their own dominion. Garage rock belongs to yesteryear, it had a collective power of expression, and its movement was more than the sum of its parts. The first thing you’d see before you enter the proverbial home of rock’n’ roll, is a garage! MUSIC GEEKS
SPECIAL FEATURE: FESTIVALS
MOSH PIT. NEW MUSIC. FOOD TRUCKS. PLENTY OF BOOZE. It’s festival season! A report from UK Music reveals that 30.9 million people in 2016, were enjoying live music events across the UK. Festivalgoers and live music fans together, accumulated on average £4 billion in direct and indirect spending according to the organisation. Although the total number of music tourists from the UK and aboard amounted to 12.5 million people, 11.6 million of these attendees were UK citizens visiting live music events and festivals in various parts of the UK. UK tourism at the close of 2016, saw a 20% increase, with a total of 3.9 million people attending festivals in the UK. 18.4 million were attending local music events, and small music venues managed to have a total spend of £367 million with 6.2 million people attending these venues.
IMAGE: Monkey Business images/ Shutterstock
FESTIV-MAYHEM WORDS: Ilan Rubens | IMAGE: Angel Zhang Summer can only mean one thing. festivals. Your best mates, the sun shining, live music and letting the good times roll. That’s the general idea anyway. But what awaits any festivalgoer, whether it be a one-day, camping or international festival, is a slippery slope of stress, uncertainty and more stress. When did having fun become so hard? After months of discussion, group chats and maybes, the original group of twelve has become six. Tickets paid for, travel sorted, the countdown starts. You now have two months to make sure you’ve got everything you need: enough money, suitable clothing and all the essentials for maximum enjoyment. Fast forward to the day of the festival and you’re having to stick to a strict budget because you didn’t save up enough, you forgot to wash all of your clothes before you left and your bag of essentials has been packed nicely and left on your bed. Good start. Who cares though? Time to have fun with your friends…until you turn around and see half of them are missing. “Where have they gone?” An age-old festival phrase which has only ever been met with one response: a simple shrug. You try ringing them. No signal. You try texting them. It doesn’t send. You stand on your tiptoes and scan the area in the desperate hope you might spot them in the masses. No such luck. Well, you tried, might as well just enjoy it with the remaining few. You’ve had a couple drinks, enjoyed some live performances, overall the day is picking up. Your mates, however, have drunk substantially more, peaked by lunchtime, thus forcing the responsibility of being chaperone onto you. Better try and sober them up. There’s nothing that says festival more than queuing for
“The smell of sweat in the air, tired bodies trudging along the beaten ground. Exhausted, skint, shoes ruined. You are a shell of a person who now must come back to reality” twenty minutes to spend £3.90 on a bottle of water. You look at the bartender in disgust. The bartender looks back at you with a blank expression, completely aware that you are in no position to bargain. You walk away, overpriced bottle in hand. Somehow, you reunite with your mates, and the fun continues. A few more performances under your belt, the sun is still shining and things are looking good. Surrounded by friends, not thinking about the negatives and living in the moment. This is what summer is all about. A feeling of euphoria floods your body as you take in everything around you. Nothing can bring you down from this. You turn to see your mates arguing. Bye-bye euphoria. Turns out there are two acts on at the same time and the group is divided. The reunited pack has once again separated, agreeing to meet up later. The night is coming to an end. The smell of sweat in the air, tired bodies trudging along the beaten ground. Exhausted, skint, shoes ruined. You are a shell of a person who now must come back to reality, leaving with some blurred memories and a hundred more blurry photos. You turn to your mates, a similar drained look on their faces and the same thought running through their minds: “Same time again next year?” MUSIC GEEKS
VOLUNTEERING FOR YOUR PLACE AT FESTIVALS WORDS: Naomi Penn | IMAGE: MARC WEST/OXFAM
There’s no better feeling than sitting in a rickety camping chair surrounded by your friends at 11am. The sun is beaming and you’re clutching that first Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime cider of the day in one hand, the stage times for your favourite artists in the other, just knowing that this is going to be a weekend to remember forever. That’s exactly what festivals are about, but what many people fail to realise is just how many hundreds of people it takes to put together and run these festivals, especially the bigger ones like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and Download. It’s a common misconception that these organisers and workers need specific skills or qualifications to do their jobs. As a matter of fact, almost anyone can volunteer at a music 18
festival, take it from someone who’s done it! Though there are many different types of festival work, such as security, bar work and running stalls. There are many companies that offer the chance to do this, but I have always done my stewarding work with Oxfam. The main benefit of stewarding with Oxfam is simply that through your role as a volunteer, you are raising an incredible amount of money. This goes towards their vital work helping those living in poverty, as well as their most recent campaign, Stand As One, which aims to help reunite refugee families who have been separated. Of course, that’s not the only benefit. As it is such a renowned and influential charity, Oxfam offers
VOLUNTEERING AT FESTIVALS
the opportunity to steward at dozens of festivals across the country throughout the entire festival season- from Bearded Theory at the end of May, all the way through to Bestival in September. And the stewarding role couldn’t be better. The work you could be given is so varied, ensuring that no two shifts are ever the same! This could be anything from working on gates, welcoming punters into the festival and checking their wristbands, to monitoring crowd levels and ensuring crowd safety at one of the festival’s stages. You could even work on the fire towers, overseeing the festival site to watch for fires, thefts and other problems. It’s important work, but it flies by, and you are only required to do three 8-hour shifts across the weekend. All in all, stewarding is a great way to attend a festival.
IMAGE: BEKKIFROST/OXFAM [TOP] IMAGE: SAM BAGUETTE/OXFAM [BOTTOM] MUSIC GEEKS
why not volunteer next year? If you’re after Glastonbury, be prepared! Unsurprisingly, one of the main reasons people choose to steward with Oxfam is because they are one of the main companies who supply stewards to Glastonbury Festival. There are a limited number of steward places for each festival, and only a little over 1000 for Glastonbury.
Icon Credit: www.iconfinder.com/DOTonPAPER
It’s important to complete your pre-application as soon as possible, in order to save valuable time on the morning that applications open. Also, make sure you have your card details to hand, as Glastonbury has the highest deposit of £240 (subject to change each year). This deposit is returned to you at the end of the festival season, assuming you complete all of your shifts.
Attending more than one festival in a season gives you priority
As Oxfam’s festival calendar is so extensive, there are many more options for festivals other than Glastonbury. At Oxfam, you only pay one deposit, which will be for the most expensive of your choices. For example, if you choose to do any other festivals alongside Glastonbury, you won’t have to pay anything extra, as Glastonbury’s deposit is always the most expensive.
Whilst their priority rules are subject to change, at the time of writing, doing two festivals in one summer will guarantee you priority application for the following festival season. However, if you still want to steward at festivals this summer, and want priority for the next Glastonbury in 2019 (2018 is a fallow year), you’ll need to do three, as this guarantees you priority for the next two years. Priority means that your stewarding application opens two weeks before anyone else’s, allowing you to be the first to sign up to the ones that fill up the quickest, such as Glastonbury, Trailwalker, Latitude, and Bestival. 20
VOLUNTEERING AT FESTIVALS
Guaranteed free time with your friends If you plan on applying with friends, be sure to have their full names and dates of birth. That way, you can add them as your shift partner when you apply, and be sure that they’ll have shifts at the same time as you. This means that when you’re not on shift, you can enjoy the festival together. Be aware, you can only add a maximum of five shift partners per festival. Festivals are a great time to make new friends so don’t fret if there’s too many of you to go into one shift partner group. Split up and get chatting to other people. You’re bound to find others who are into the same music as you, who you can spend time with on and off shift.
The Perks Steward campsites
Stewards stay in a separate campsite, which is often better located and has its own car park if you choose to drive. This means a shorter walk carrying your weekend’s worth of clothes and alcohol. The staff campsites have their own caterers, which we get three meal tokens for! This means three free meals which you can use whenever you like over the course of the weekend. My personal recommendation is to
save them up for when you want that hangover-curing fry up!
Need I say more? Each Oxfam steward is given four shower tokens, which definitely come in handy, especially with all of that infamous Glastonbury mud.
Plug sockets! The Oxfield at every festival has ample plug sockets for you to charge your phone and it’s a great place to mingle and meet new people while you wait for your phone to turn back on! At some festivals, your staff wristband will give you access
to special areas. For example, at Glastonbury there are crew bars in Arcadia and ShangriLa with cheaper drinks and nicer toilets!
Staff only transport.
In addition to crew bars, staff-only transport is available at festivals where the staff campsite is located far from where your shift will take place.
For more information on volunteering with Oxfam, visit: oxfam.org.uk/stewarding
@Oxfamstewards WORDS: Naomi Penn IMAGE: Paul Maple/ Oxfam (TOP) IMAGE: Sam Baguette/ Oxfam (BOTTOM) MUSIC GEEKS
MUSIC MAKERS FESTIVAL
xclusive interview with Music Makers Festival organisers, Manoja Ullmann and Albert Man.
WORDS: Naomi Penn Hey guys! So first up, what inspired you to create a music festival that showcases independent artists? Of course, Albert you’re a highly regarded independent artist yourself, was the festival influenced by the opportunities you had when you were starting out?
over the weekend gains equal attention? We did want everyone to be on a level playing field, as each artist on the line-up has had some really amazing successes. We felt they all deserved to be celebrated equally.
The artists we have performing have achieved the following: a doubleplatinum-selling debut album, support slots with the likes of Emeli Sandé, Muse, The Stereophonics, Amy Winehouse, Tori Amos and Dave Stewart, publishing deals with BMG, millions of Spotify plays, support from both BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2, BBC Introducing plays, sold-out headline shows, syncs on popular TV shows and movies, RTE Award and Unsigned Music Award wins and nominations, festival slots at SXSW, Camden Rocks, The Great Escape, Isle Of Wight, Liverpool Sound City and Did either of you have any experience of Reverb Festival, number one songs in the iTunes organising such a large event before? What chart and regular performances with Sofar Sounds. were the first steps that you had to take? How much time goes into organising the This is the biggest music event we’ve organised festival? I’m imagining it takes months of work, so far. We’ve organised EP and album launches booking the acts, booking the venue etc… for Albert including the sold-out EP launch last February at St Pancras Old Church. I think it’s So much work has gone into this! Confirming good to keep pushing yourself and to try and the line-up, venue and promoting the festival are organise bigger and better events. You learn probably the most work. There are also many as you go along and we’ve learnt so much from other little things you need to think about too, such organising the other smaller events, that it just as branding, finding partners, organising merch, felt right to try and run a larger two-day festival. signage for the event, organising volunteers, The first step we took was to reach out to artists arranging the right hosts and much more! we know and like and secure the amazing lineI love that your line-up contains artists from up we have. various genres, and from all over the country. I’m really fascinated by the way that you So, why did you choose London as the location haven’t laid out clear headliners for either for the festival? day of Music Makers festival. Are there any particular reasons for this? Is it in order to Albert and I are based in London. It is the place ensure that each of the 16 artists performing where we met most of the artists who are playing Having been involved in the live music scene both in London and Dublin for the past few years, you get to meet so many people in the industry and get to witness many amazing artists who have played on the same bill as Albert or at other events and music nights we’ve attended. The great thing about organising your own music festival is that you have the opportunity to invite your favourite artists to join the line-up. We have seen almost all of the artists play live at some point and are really excited about everyone who’s playing at the festival.
over the two days (even if they are from elsewhere in the country or from Ireland). There are a lot of festivals and music events happening in London but we really wanted to put on a small festival with one stage and create something intimate and really special. Do you have plans to turn Music Makers into an annual event? If so, would you aim to have a completely new line-up, or allow artists to return? We do aim to make this an annual event. The plan being to keep it small and not let it get too big. We’d like to showcase new acts but would be more than happy to have some of the same artists perform next year too. Do you go to a lot of festivals in your spare time? How do you think Music Makers compares to other small and intimate festivals around the country?
“tHERE ARE A LOT OF FESTIVALS AND MUSIC EVENTS HAPPENING IN LONDON, BUT we really wanted to put on a small festival with one stage and create something intimate and really special.” really love smaller intimate spaces to watch live music, you just feel like you’re personally involved a lot more than at the big stages, so we wanted to create that atmosphere ourselves. Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming artist, what would it be?
You need to do everything yourself and not rely on others to do things for you, especially when you’re just starting out. If you’re not sure how to do Albert has performed at 12 festivals this year, something then head to YouTube and find out how including The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound to do it yourself. It takes time as well, so be patient City, Tramlines, Standon Calling, Reverb, Jimmy’s and keep going. If you work hard then I truly believe Festival and Camden Rocks to name a few. So you can find success in whatever you do. we’ve been busy with that, and it’s been great and www.musicmakersfestival.com really useful seeing how they all operate. We both MUSIC GEEKS
LOW KEY FESTIVALS “Not Quite Glastonbury, is it?” A beginner’s guide to playing a local music festival. Festivals. They’re everywhere. Every village on the outskirts of nowhere, with a park slightly bigger than a tablecloth, is bound to have some kind of summer event. In amongst the “bestdressed piglet” shows and the “guess the weight of the aubergine” stalls, you’ll occasionally find a rickety stage to which certain musicians are inexplicably attracted…
he’ll end up sleeping in the van and the “Eezee-Up Instant ErectoTent” will be set on fire in the middle of a field. The equipment: “Backline provided,” said the promoter. This
Cowpat of the Year competition.” The audience: There is a certain type of person you only see at festivals. They’re dressed entirely in hand-knitted, rainbow-coloured garments and jester hats. They will be barefoot. They will dance to everything, including the humming of the tragically underpowered generator. I dread to think where they go in winter…
Not quite Glastonbury, is it?
The other acts: Eclectic is not the word. You’ll be scheduled between the local school’s recorder ensemble and a thrash metal band from Luxembourg who should have been on three days ago, but they missed their ferry. Both acts will go down way better than you.
Ask a band to travel halfway across the country to play for no money and the answer will probably involve sex and travel. If, however, you say it involves playing at a festival, The catering: The thrash they’ll be scrabbling metal band from Luxembourg around in their attics for have stuffed it all in their van groundsheets faster than and driven off in the middle you can say “Altamont.” of the night. Avoid innocent This is because “festival” looking cakes and brownies to a musician means sold by nice old ladies, as “Glastonbury” – even when they are invariably stuffed the dismal little event is to with narcotics. A band mate WORDS: IAN RUSHBURY | IMAGE: CHARLES HOAR be held in a pub car park of mine accidentally ate two in Stow-on-the-Wold. In of these lethal sweet treats my lengthy “career” as to stave off his hunger, just “Watching a musician a jobbing bassist in a before our set. He’s trying to erect a one-man tent moments variety of beat combos, still in that field to this day, I’ve played loads of these is like watching the first unsteady playing a never-ending viola things. To any musicians solo. Still, the noise keeps steps of a baby giraffe.” contemplating playing a the crows off the rhubarb. festival this year, consider these means that someone was given Festivals. Why do musicians play £50 and told to buy a drum kit, them? Mainly so they can tell people factors: two guitar amps and something that they’ve played at a festival. At Camping: Watching a musician that looks like a bass amp from a my age, it’s not good for me to spend trying to erect a one-man tent is car boot sale. Still, it’s better than a weekend lying in a sleeping bag in like watching the first unsteady nothing, isn’t it? No. It isn’t. The a field, between a drummer making steps of a baby giraffe. After about PA turns out to be the local pub’s noises in his sleep that would terrify 90 minutes, he’ll give up and karaoke system. a Wookie, and a guitarist playing Halfway through the set, someone sleep in the van on top of the bass variations of the “Sweet Child O’Mine” combo. If it’s hot, he’ll attempt the will stride up to the lead vocalist riff all night long. Next summer, I’ll be job stripped to the waist, taking and demand that he hands over in the Algarve. frequent slugs from lukewarm the mic as, “the farmer needs it cans of no-brand lager. Of course, to announce the winner of the Anybody wanna buy some tent pegs? 24
THOUGHTS AT FESTIVALS
“Why did I spend a week’s food budget on this?”
I’ve just mastered drinking two pints whilst wading through mud only to realise it’s time for a toilet break and there isn’t a single one in sight. Fantastic. Where’s the map?
10 THOUGHTS WE HAVE AT FESTIVALS WORDS: Hollie Ann Image: Cory Macleod
Music festivals. Glorious events where we can spend day after day listening to great music, getting covered in goodness knows what and, usually, drinking a little too much overpriced alcohol. You see, I have a love hate relationship with music festivals. I’ve been to some that were absolutely amazing and also a few where I’ve thought: ‘Why did I spend a week’s food budget on this?’ but during every single one, the same thoughts run through my mind. So, whether you’re standing in the biggest of crowds or crouching in the smallest of tents, here are 10 thoughts that go through every festivalgoer’s mind.
This is the point really early in the day when we’ll realise that no one has actually checked stage times. Even though we’ve spent two weeks discussing our mustsees over work emails, no one has actually written them down or even thought to download the app.
What about the clashes?
I’m quite confident that these words leave every festivalgoer’s mouth at least once. This is the point when you decide whether you are going to sacrifice a potentially life changing set or try your best to rally between two – three, perhaps, if you’re daring. It’s a hard decision to make and always leaves me feeling just a tiny bit heartbroken.
Wristbands on, straight to the How is it this muddy? bar! You can pretty much bet that as soon as my friends and I get our wristbands, we’re heading straight to the bar and we treat it like a mission. We stock up on two beers and that keeps us going at least until we find which stage to head to.
Does anyone actually know the 26
So, you’re just figuring out exactly where you need to go when you realise you’re knee-deep in thick mud and it’s only 12pm. How does this happen so quickly?!
Two drinks in and I need a wee. Should I really break the seal when it’s only 1pm?
Today it will be perfectly okay to consume two burgers, chips and the odd street food dish.
Whether it’s because we need to line our stomachs or because everything smells so damn good, food is an essential part of the day!
Wow, how expensive was that food?!
You’ve wolfed down your food and you’re pulling the change out of your back pocket to buy another beer. You then realise that what you’ve just eaten, is the equivalent of a twocourse dinner at Miller and Carter. Great.
Will the rain ever stop? Like, seriously?
Why have I never listened to this band before? There’s no better feeling than standing by a stage listening to bands that you’ve not heard before, and absolutely loving what’s coming out of the speakers. Festivals are such a great way to discover new music and personally, it’s my favourite thing to.
That was brilliant, when do tickets go on sale for next year? Every time you leave those gates at the end of a long weekend, despite all the mud, rain and overpriced food, you feel the same buzz that brings you back year after year. Set your reminders- tickets will be on sale before you know it.
Glastonbury is the pinnacle of the festival season, but what other festivals should make your list if you live in or around the North East of England? To be perfectly honest, there are plenty of different festivals to choose from, each growing in popularity every year. One stand-out festival close to home is Down to the Woods - Hardwick Live. A fantastic line up of recognised names and undiscovered talents will be taking to the stage, with Ocean Colour Scene headlining this year. They are supported by a host of different acts, including Peter Doherty, Soul II Soul, Gabrielle and many more. A wide range of popular DJ’s such as Brandon Block, Danny Rampling
and Allister Whitehead will also be performing. Hardwick Live offers up more than just an amazing musical spectacular, with a variety of comedians also delighting crowds on the day, as well as street entertainers and funfair rides. This is an event that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Hardwick Live is in its fifth year and is now arguably the biggest music festival in the North East of England. The event has three different stages; the Main Stage where the festival headliners will perform, the Discovery Stage, which plays host to the very best in new music, including two bands to look out for in the future Weekend
NORTHSECTION EAST FESTIVALS
WORDS: ANDREW CORRY | IMAGE: GEMMA DAVIES Sun and Soshe, and finally The Dome, where comedy acts and dance performances will take place. Hardwick Live Music Festival takes place in the beautiful grounds of Hardwick Hall Hotel situated in Sedgefield, Durham, with the site overlooking 120 acres of parkland. Another live music event I’d like to introduce to you is The Durham Brass Festival because, as any good music fan will tell you, brass is back!
“For any good music lover they will know that brass is back” Durham area, with standout performances from Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, who are a seven-piece orchestral funk band, hailing from Manchester. They are a super talented band who describe themselves as ‘New Orleans meets 90s club classics’ and if you have the pleasure of watching their work, you won’t fail to be impressed. They are definitely worth seeing live.
T h i s e v e n t t o o k Add these events to your place in July, across festival calendar for 2018 many venues in the you won’t be disappointed!
WORDS: Hollie Ann | iMAGE: GEMMA DAVIES
“ The 60,000 strong crowd,
usic Geeks, will say this every year, but we belted their heart out to ‘I can’t deny that 2017 has been a brilliant Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” year for live music, not to mention festival music. There’s been so much diversity, so many comebacks, new releases and sell out tours. It’s been amazing! So, here are my thoughts on the incredible music. I caught them at Slam Dunk and music that made festivals in 2017. on their comeback tour earlier in the year and, as always, they were brilliant. Foo Fighters This year Glastonbury was witness to the incredible Neck Deep return of the Foo Fighters. After being forced to pull Neck Deep is a band whose name has been floating out in 2015, due to Dave Grohl’s broken leg, it was around the music scene for a few years now. Over fantastic to see them come back with a bang and the last twelve months, they’ve really been cooking play an undeniably good set. The conversations up a storm. From their own headline tours to Slam surrounding the comeback over social media were Dunk, Reading and Leeds, and Warped Tour, it that wonderful, and it seemed that no-one had a bad there’s nothing these guys can’t handle right now. word to say about these gents. They were bloody great. Sigma Sigma, for me, are the staple of a great music festival. Aerosmith I danced away to them at Parklife and Reading and Aerosmith managed to squeeze Download Festival Leeds last year, and in 2017 they’ll be taking to the into their farewell tour and, from what I hear, it was stage at V Festival. They are a group whose music a particularly emotional show. The 60,000-strong translates incredibly well live and you may not think crowd sang their heart out to ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss it at first, but they’re well worth the watch. a Thing’ and I’m actually a little gutted inside that I may never be able to catch them live myself. Pink Pink headlining V Fest is a great thing. Not only does Deaf Havana she have an excellent back catalogue of music, but These guys came back after four years, apparently she’s now officially become somewhat of a living not knowing whether any fans had even stuck legend. I’d absolutely love to catch her there and I’m around to give their new music the time of day. Of jealous of anyone heading out to see her. Brilliant course they did! Why? Because Deaf Havana writes choice, what a weekend it will be! 28
WORDS: Kate Eldridge | IMAGE: HOLLIE FERNANDO If you’re looking for your new favourite band, look no further; Dream Wife has officially arrived on the indie music scene. Comprised of Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals) and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals), the band met whilst studying Fine and Visual Art at college in Brighton. Rakel is originally from Reykjavik, while Alice and Bella both hail from Somerset. Forming a fictional band as part of a project for an art exhibition, Dream Wife recorded a mockumentary, wrote a collection of songs, and performed together live at the start of the show. It went so well that life began to imitate art and they took the music industry by storm. Having released an EP on Cannibal Hymns in 2016, Dream Wife went on to sign to Lucky Number Music where they are set to release their debut album. Despite the focus of the group now shifting from art to music, the trio’s creative influences are still evident throughout their work. Dream Wife’s music videos narrate a series of stories, from Sam Boullier and Eleanor Hardwick’s ‘The Craft’ inspired video for ‘Lolita’, to Meg Lavender’s ‘FUU’ neon nightmare. There’s a hint of Sofia Coppola and David Lynch evident in these visual creations and their aesthetic is extremely important to the band, even down to the colour of their vinyl releases. Concerning the pastel pinks and purples so common in their imagery, Bella has previously commented in a conversation with Lazy Oaf, ‘We’re showing that we
can find strength in the feminine – because the stereotypical association is that feminine traits are seen as weak.’ The band’s music combines feminist lyrics, killer guitar riffs and sassy vocals, advocating female power and women’s rights. Having released one EP last year and two consecutive singles in the meantime, the band’s style screams teenage angst, rebellion and protestperfectly demonstrated by their most recent single, ‘Somebody.’ Reflecting society’s problems with the objectification of women, the lyrics ‘I am not my body / I am somebody,’ demonstrate the desire to be heard and valued for
more than appearance. The almost violent imagery in ‘FUU,’ meanwhile, conveys female strength, and anger at gender prejudice. Having toured with the likes of indie favourites Black Honey towards the end of last year, Dream Wife will next be playing at the Reeperbahn Festival in Germany in September. If you saw them at Latitude or Truck and can’t wait to catch again, you are in luck. Announcing a number of UK headline dates this autumn, Dream Wife will be gracing the stage at London’s Scala, King Tut’s in Glasgow and Bristol’s The Louisiana to name just a few. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait long for their full-length studio album!
Dreamwifedream MUSIC GEEKS
The Isle of Wight may be famous for its legendary festival, but despite having a lively music scene of its own, very few musicians from the island ever make the transition to mainland success. One band that is hoping to make that leap is Nakamarra. The five-piece indie electro band, who combine influences such as Bonobo and Foals with a 90s, trip-hop feel, formed just last year. Wasting no time, they released the Zacapa EP and this year, the band made a main stage appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival. If you missed them there, you’ll get another chance to see them at Bestival in September. Their current single ‘Temptress’ is shaping up to be an underground hit this summer.
TRACKLIST STORY: NAKAMARRA
WORDS: Ian Rushbury | IMAGE CREDIT: Tobias Penner
Music Geeks wanted to know the inspiration behind the bands purposeful and atmospheric, dream-like pop. Nakamarra were happy to share… ‘Little Bit’: This was originally written as an opener to our set. Not only does the gentle instrumental intro draw the listener in, but the lyrics present an overview of many of the themes in our other songs such as youth, transitions and relationships. ‘Back II Front’: This track is one of our more upbeat numbers with a slightly unusual structure to link with the song’s title. The guitar melodies are very intricate and counteract each other in a slightly jarring but intriguing way. The lyrical content hints towards a modern day romantic style. ’Double Shot Scotch’: The music to this came together very naturally and the slow pace and ambient 30
feel has made it a really solid live track. During the recording, we massively emphasised the drum sound to get the fullest sound possible. The title will give you an insight into the lyrical meaning- the words initially stemmed from a drinking game, which intertwined with the issue of alcoholism. This became the theme of our debut EP – Zacapa. ‘Porcupine’: The first track we ever wrote. It paved the way for the inclusion of electronics which we have moved towards gradually in our more recent tracks. The delicate instrumental and poignant lyrics are also key features. This was also our first self-produced and recorded track. ‘Temptress’: This is the most ambitious track we’ve recorded so far, with our influences from Bonobo and Foals clearly
displayed. The song features samples and synth lines and makes for an exciting mix of electronic soundscapes and dreamy guitar lines. Coupled with the powerful dynamic build in the track, it gives an idea of the future musical progression for the band. ‘Honey, I’: This is the simple story of unrequited love, in an ever more complicated world. Reminiscent of a summer haze, ‘Honey I’ sends an intimate message through both the lyrics and instrumental arrangement of the song. The array of dreamy guitars and warm synths, accompanied by the exciting dynamism of the track, further connects the piece’s message with the listener. The band have already been praised by Rob Da Bank, citing their “soul, power and instrumental dexterity” and by Steph Nieuwenhuys of BBC Introducing Solent, who said “dreamy and soulful, you can’t help but be drawn in.” Resistance is futile. Give in to Nakamarra. Nakamarramusic
WORDS: Aira Bekeryte IMAGE CREDIT: Taylor Harford
‘Favouritism,’ is the second album by indie rock Plymouth-based singer-songwriter Martyn Crocker. Martyn worked together with Ant Thornton from Black Foxxes and Josiah Manning from Momentum Studios to mesh indie rock with pop lyrics to produce his new material. The previous album, ‘Honesty and Ambition,’ centred around an acoustic guitar and stripped down vocals, while ‘Favouritism’ offers up an entirely different sound thanks to the introduction of a band. Describing this transition, Martyn said: “I think my sound and approach has changed a lot since ‘Honesty and Ambition.’ The time and experiences between recordings means I’ve become better as a singer, player, writer, and performer and through gigging and learning, I’ve honed my craft more. If I were to record the acoustic album again now, it would sound massively different, just because of how much I’ve changed and developed (this is actually something I’ve considered doing). In a sense though, I’ve always written on an acoustic guitar and with this album, I had the opportunity to record with others and grow what I’m doing naturally.” Being a music teacher and a genuine music lover, it is not surprising that Martyn’s list of influences ranges from Fleetwood Mac and Aphex Twin to Miles Davis and Neurosis. There is a great emphasis on rock, obviously, with some of his highlights being LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Sound of Silver’ and Brand New’s ‘The God and The Devil are Raging Inside Me.’ MUSIC GEEKS
‘Abacus’ Presented as a single, the track was noticed and featured on BBC Introducing Devon as upload of the week.
‘Hope’ Martyn is in his element with an acoustic song that offers the listener an intimate singersongwriter vibe.
“I had the line, ‘Things aren’t adding up on my side of the Abacus,’ in another, abandoned track and I thought it was a good chorus. I instantly knew it would be first on the CD’ - favouritism much!”
“I work in a school and work with a lot of teenagers who have a lot going on in their lives and the song is about saying, no matter how bad life can feel, time, love and hard work can be incredibly transformative.”
‘Out Of The Dark’ is about a romance that turns bad and deals with rising from the ashes of that experience.
‘If Only He Knew,’ was the first song written for the album and also one of the last to be recorded. It has an airy sound, multiple textures and lyrically is a bit vague playing around with dark imagery and metaphors.
“It was written completely as an acoustic track and sounds great performed solo and with the band.”
“A friend and I were working on some harmonies for the ‘Wishful Thinking,’ is a song song the day after the Brexit about wanting to be successful referendum and the lyrics and appreciated as an artist. seemed to lend themselves to that situation so well. I’m a big “The chorus ‘I want to be your fan of the lyrics “Be Careful love’ could be from a heartbreak what you wish for first, cause song, but to me, it’s about wanting you might find yourself feeling to be appreciated and respected worse.” as a songwriter and performer.” ‘Stick Around For Good,’ is ‘The Places That We’re From,’ a song from a fictional point is a reflection on living in a small of view about someone not town and the temptations of wanting to commit to their family boredom. and life. It’s someone saying “give me 100% or get out”. This “It’s about recognising that there is probably the heaviest on the were some things I got up to that album. I wouldn’t want my kids to, but those experiences have in some “I love to play this song live. Big part shaped who I am today.” rock songs with huge hooks
that allow us to gel as a band and impress and entertain audiences.” ‘Hold Your Hand,’ the last song of the album, ‘is another single and offers an emotional ending. The song is a pledge of love, not the burning and then easily extinguished kind, but rather a committed love. Starting with a guitar it later adds a piano and an electric guitar which adds depth to the sound. Martyn does a great job in conveying meaning and emotion with relatively simple lyrics, stating that: “It came together the quickest I’ve ever had a song come together and is incredibly simple.” ‘Favouritism’ is out now. Available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.
www.martyncrocker.co.uk @martyncrockermusic @_MartynCrocker
“I genuinely love every song on this album. I’ve never had an album that I’m proud of back to front.”
KAT HEALY WORDS: EMILY YOUNG IMAGES: JANNICA HONEY
he Scottish singer-songwriter is now set to release her single, ‘Perfect,’ having raised 156% of her Pledge Campaign. Charitable and talented, we were more than happy to have her as our first cover star. 15% of her target will be donated to the Scottish Refugee Council. Music Geeks caught up with Kat to chat about her own song-writing process, musicians’ roles in society and her fondest musical experiences. ‘Perfect’ can be pre-ordered on iTunes and Amazon later this month. The single will be available on all digital stores from 8th September 2017.
“I thought inspiration had to come to me, where as now, I look to create inspiration and seek to find it all around me wherever AND whenever I can.”
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST How did you get your foot in the music business? I sang from a young age, mostly in theatre or performing at school for various events. I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I hit my early 20’s and was unsure how to approach a ‘career’ in music and singing. I decided to go back to college to study music, full time. I spent two years focusing on my voice and also learning about popular music including the industry. When I finished, I had a handful of songs and my guitar and hit the live circuit. It was a real struggle to break my nerve. Eventually, in 2012, I released my first album ‘Be Still Gentle Kind,’ and that’s when I started to get booked more frequently for gigs and tours and visited small, local radio stations. It’s been hard work-a challenge at times, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself and have finally found confidence in my work and performances as an artist. It feels great! What influenced you to create your folkesque musical style? Early on, I listened to Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. It was random – they were both on a soundtrack to a movie that I loved, ‘Practical Magic’. There were so many songs and artists on there that I fell in love with, purely by chance! Artists like Stevie Nicks, Lisa Hall, Michelle Lewis – it was literally ‘magic!’ I was particularly taken with the folksy sound of Joni Mitchell and her stunning, pure tone. The feeling you get when she hits the ‘centre’ of a note- it’s incredible. When I listened to Joni M, I felt I could practise shifting from theatrical singing to folk singing more easily than I could when singing along to pop music. It was captivating and opened the door to discovering a whole new world of music and songs. Do you have a particular song writing process? I’m fairly flexible, but I do have a solid practice of writing ‘morning pages’ every day. This helps clear space in my head for any kind of creative writing that I might visit afterwards or later in the
day. I have always been driven by lyrics and tend to work melodies around words. But sometimes I do find a simple melody or loop that I really like and focus on bringing the story into the song that way around. Mostly, I find it incredibly important to practise writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘good’ or not. I never used to be strict about writing. I thought inspiration had to come to me, where as now, I look to create inspiration and seek to find it all around me wherever and whenever I can. I don’t think writing should be seen as ‘easy’ – as joyous as it is when that happens. It can be challenging and that’s not a bad thing. You’ve chosen to go with a PledgeMusic campaign to deal with pre-orders for your upcoming single, Perfect. Why did you decide to use this platform rather than other services? I chose Pledge as I’ve used it to pledge for artists, myself. I think the platform is extremely well supported and the process of engaging with it, as a fan, is easy and straightforward. I was also able to offer a percentage of each pledge to the charity of my choice, Scottish Refugee Council. Pledge gives you the opportunity to create a wider focus throughout the campaign, and you can offer content and support that isn’t always about ‘you’. I’m a strong believer that music is one of the greatest ways to bring people together in the community, to offer encouragement and warmth and a space to be creative and have fun. PledgeMusic allows you the opportunity to do this via their platform. What’s the story behind the single? It’s simple- be kinder to yourself, see the good in you and everyone around you. Appreciate all of your successes and what you can accomplish, no matter how big or small. Avoid directing any negative commentary at yourself as it gets in the way and can be incredibly debilitating. Often people, (myself included), hold themselves back because they’re too scared to aim high or take a leap of faith. As humans we’re programmed to protect ourselves from any kind of pain or
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST discomfort. It’s important to push through and have fun. Who cares if you mess up? You can try again, or head in a new direction. Life’s too short. With this campaign, you are raising funds for the Scottish Refugee Council. Could you tell us what they do and why you have chosen to get involved with this charity? The Scottish Refugee Charity work to ensure that all refugees in Scotland are treated fairly, with dignity and that their human rights are respected. They provide essential information and advice to people seeking asylum in Scotland wherever they can, and campaign for political change and help raise awareness about issues that affect refugees. I have chosen to support them as I think there is a need for people to better understand the plight of refugees, particularly at the moment, and what it means – how hard it can be – to actually obtain refugee status. I am proud that Scotland is open, supportive and welcoming to people seeking refugee protection. However, we shouldn’t be complacent. It’s too easy to show support on social media and not actually make a difference in the local community. Do you think it is important for musicians to speak up about issues such as this which are prevalent in society? Absolutely – apathy is the worst. But so is feeling frightened to speak out about issues. Being too concerned about your ‘brand’ and offending others. We should all be able to voice our thoughts and share our views with respect and tolerance. Throughout history, the arts have always been a way to do this. Music is a fantastic way to show freedom of expression, political narratives etc. We should encourage colourful, abstract, interesting, disruptive and challenging dialogue! You’ve released two EPs now, Wolf and When You Are Gone. With this in mind, is Perfect a single leading up to another EP or are you branching out into a full-length album this time? 38
I am going to release another 1 or 2 singles between now and March 2018. They will have slightly different tones. The next one is going to be more electronic. This is mainly to help me focus on my next fulllength project, which I’m currently planning and researching. I’ll be working on it throughout 2018 – I’m excited! You’ve had the opportunity to work with several notable artists, such as Joshua Radin and Passenger. Do you have a favourite experience? Opening for Joshua Radin is probably my favourite experience. As a fan of his, it was an honour – and as an Edinburgh girl? It was the greatest feeling to perform at the Queens Hall. When you have watched so many of your favourite bands and artists perform in such a beautiful and memorable venue, and you find yourself treading in their footsteps, there’s nothing like it. It’s one enormous, warm, beautiful hug. I was so proud and felt immense gratitude. I’m smiling writing about it. For those who haven’t seen you perform, what can they expect from live shows? Believe it or not, I’m quite silly and light-hearted on stage. I like to break the emotion in between the ballads with good humour and bad jokes. I try to stay authentic and fun on stage – sharing observations from the day or previous weeks. Emotional singersongwriter gigs can be wearing and a little dry at times. I’m conscious of this and like to lift the energy. I’m happy to make mistakes and enjoy any banter that comes my way. I pour my heart and soul into singing and work with the most incredible band. I’m extremely grateful. This is something I try to share with the room at gigs; how fortunate I am to be able to do this, to create music and share it with an audience. It feels pretty special and wonderful.
@kathealymusic @kathealymusic @katheaAlymusic
“I’m a strong believer that SECTION music is one of the greatest ways to bring people together in the community, to offer encouragement and warmth and a space to be creative and have fun.”
WORDS: NAOMI PENN | IMAGE: CORY MACLEOD On the 8th of May, over twenty-five music festivals, including Bestival, Parklife, and Boomtown Fair, took a stand and â€˜blacked outâ€™ their websites for a day. This was in order to raise awareness of sexual assault at gigs and festivals, and to promote the charities working towards increasing safety for women at gigs. This is such an important issue, especially within the music industry. That is why we, at Music Geeks, chose this as the first of many campaigns to be featured in our magazine, in order to show our appreciation for the amazing work that is continually being done, to end the assault that so many women experience.
he combination of these three aims was to encourage co-operation. The festivals ensure that appropriate measures are taken to deal with any potential harassment cases, the witnesses feel safe to report the crimes and the abusers themselves are aware that there will be consequences to their actions. The AIF guarantees that campaigners such as Girls Against, Safe Gigs for Women, and the White Ribbon Campaign are available at their festivals to offer guidance to victims, bystanders and festival organisers so that the issue can be tackled in an impactful way. It’s such an important campaign because sexual assault has been occurring for decades at gigs, finally becoming a more recognised problem. Increased awareness will hopefully lead to a future where women no longer feel afraid. Artists themselves are becoming increasingly aware of the problem. Following their headline slot in 2016, Mumford and Sons were shocked to hear about the number of reports and stated, “We won’t play at this festival again until we’ve had assurances from the police and organisers that they’re doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence.” More and more artists are beginning to show their support for the issue and promote the campaigns that are trying to put a stop to it. In Bråvalla Festival’s case, the situation was so bad in 2017 that the organisers issued a press release announcing the cancellation of the festival in 2018.
The ‘black out’ campaign was launched by The Association of Independent Festivals, and its three key messages were: • • •
Zero tolerance to sexual assault Hands off unless consent Don’t be a bystander
Emma Knyckare suggested a women’s only event. The idea received such a positive response that she later declared, “Sweden’s first man-free rock festival, will take place next summer.” She adds, “In the coming days, I’ll bring together a solid group of talented organisers and project leaders to form the festival planning team, then you’ll hear from everyone again when it’s time to move forward.” So with the possibility of a 50,000 capacity allwomen’s festival on the cards for next summer, it’s clear that safety for women at gigs is of upmost importance. Whether it be at small local shows or sizable festivals, sexual harassment and assault are never acceptable. Now victims can feel safe in the knowledge that something is being done to protect them and there is the promise of increased safety for everyone.
As a result of this, following a discussion on the Bråvalla situation in early July, radio presenter
DEBATE: MALE ACTIVISTS
WAYS THAT MEN ARE GETTING INVOLVED
WORDS: Naomi Penn Image: Charles Hoar
he tireless campaigning efforts of gig-goers themselves towards increased safety for women at live events, has been significantly on the increase over the last year, as more and more women are finding the confidence to speak up about the assaults that they have endured at shows. Safe Gigs for Women (SGFW), is an official initiative created by these people, with three main aims:
from women after one of his own shows, who had been harassed by male members of the crowd. He admitted that, regrettably, this was not the first he’d heard of such things happening. He went on to praise the works of charities such as SGFW and Girls Against, and mentioned a blogpost he’d written a few months earlier, which further tackled the subject. In it he pleaded directly to the men who commit the acts to, “just be a f*****g human.” And I believe this is one of the best ways to approach this matter. It’s amazing to me that
‘crowd-surfing song,’ Modern Ruin, to address the issue of women being reluctant to crowd surf for fear of being groped. Therefore, the rules of the crowd-surfing are as follows: women only. He’ll often stop and deliver a short speech, apologising for the fact that despite being in the music industry for ten years, it’s taken this long for him to realise the extent to which this inappropriate behaviour occurs. Lo and behold, every time without fail, the audience obliges, and a sea of females floats over the crowd, creating an inclusive and safe atmosphere.
1. To work together with gig-goers to spread the message that is is not okay to grope and harass It poses the question as to and to ‘encourage victims and whether male artists should supporters to work together to “Male artists are helping even have to apologise for advocate that this behaviour will the appalling acts of others the cause by not only not be tolerated.’ at their shows. It’s difficult, 2. To unite with music venues to supporting the victims, as on the one hand it’s an make certain that they take but shaming the offenderS” important issue that should reports of sexual harassment be addressed to raise seriously. awareness, but similarly, 3. To enlist the help of artists and bands to use their influence male artists are helping the cause is it fair for every one who identifies to promote the initiative to their by not only supporting the victims, with one gender to be forced to but shaming the offenders, as it’s take responsibility for the actions audiences. so common today for men to only of only a few people? That’s not to say that Carter’s apologies are not Their final aim seems to be working, stick up for one another. appreciated, but Turner’s approach as I actually first heard about SGFW There are also fun and pro-active seems to be what we need - shaming and the work that they do, from musician Frank Turner at his 2000th ways that male artists are getting the petty few people who cause the show in Nottingham last December. involved. At many of his gigs, issue, whilst promoting the efforts of He spoke about receiving emails Frank Carter will pause before his those who are trying to help. 42
THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT FESTIVALS
Safer Spaces at Festivals is an initiative spearheaded by The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF). The aim of their campaign is to raise greater awareness with regards to sexual violence and assault at festivals, spreading key messages about consent and zero tolerance. WORDS: BEC SIMPSON IMAGE CREDIT: Emmy Buckingham/ Festibelly
campaign and to look into what else could be done. We also wanted to highlight the good work already being undertaken by some festivals and inspire other organisers to follow suit.
MUSIC INDUSTRY CAMPAIGN SPECIAL
hen any woman goes to a festival, she wants to have a good time with her friends, watch some awesome music, maybe go in the pit if she’s feeling brave enough. The last thing she wants to be worrying about is sexual assault. Unfortunately, this is the shocking reality for a worrying number of festivalgoers. We caught up with them for a quick chat about Safer Spaces and what they’re trying to achieve with this national campaign. What inspired you to start the campaign? Was there a specific incident or news article you heard about that made you think ‘someone has to do something’ or was it a variety of reasons?
We officially launched the campaign in early May, with support and guidance from Girls Against, Safe Gigs for Women, Rape Crisis England & Wales and the White Ribbon Campaign. We had 30 festivals blackout their websites for 24 hours on the 8th May with our campaign GIF, displaying key messages including, ‘Hands off unless consent’, ‘Don’t be a bystander’ and ‘Zero tolerance to sexual assault.’
We had 30 festivals participate in the website blackout and 71 signed up to our Charter of Best Practice, and we very much hope to see that number increasing each year. The response to the campaign has been incredibly positive so far. That’s amazing! Aside from that, how else do you campaign and further your cause? We’ve been in talks with venues about working with them on the next phase of the campaign. We also hope to include artists so that the same message is promoted wherever audiences are experiencing live music.
we work hard to keep our festival safe but we need your help
It’s an incredibly important and sensitive issue that we’ve been discussing in AIF member meetings for over a year . After a handful of highly publicised incidents, our members felt it was time to reiterate their zero-tolerance stance through a meaningful and impactful 46
How long has it been running and how did you first go about starting it?
resources and guidance with event organisers, as well as encouraging them to spread our campaign messaging/GIF.
You’ve been targeting a lot of the festivals and trying to spread awareness. What kind of a response have you had from people so far? Do you attend the festivals yourselves and run a stand? We don’t have a stand at festivals but we share
We’ve noticed a definite increase in these types of campaigns recently, especially regarding the safety of women at shows. How do Safer Spaces differ and is it inclusive of all genders?
It’s great to see that this issue is being discussed more, and more. It’s a fact that when you raise awareness around issues like sexual violence, it leads to more reporting. Victims feel like they can talk about it and report it if they know the right support is available and that they will be
#SAFETY4WOMENATGIGS treated from a place of trust. Our campaign is quite like an umbrella campaign built around the knowledge and experience of several different groups including Safe Gigs for Women, Girls Against, The White Ribbon Campaign and Rape Crisis England & Wales. We made sure to use a gender-neutral stick figure in the GIF, so it was inclusive of all genders as sexual violence can happen to anyone. According to Rape Crisis, more than half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales each year. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped. Shocking figures… Aside from the ones you’ve just mentioned, have you worked alongside any other campaigns and organisations, and would you consider doing so in the future? We have also met with Drink Aware, The Mix and a few other organisations about possible connections across different campaigns. How long do you see Safer Spaces being around for, what is the ultimate end goal and what would you like to achieve? Our launch in May was very much a starting point and we are going to keep the conversation going, as long as it’s needed. We’re hosting a Rape Crisis England & Wales training workshop at our
annual conference in Cardiff in October, for event organisers, and hope to have at least one team member from every festival complete this training before next summer.
“Gigs and festivals should be fun, inclusive and safe spaces for everyone regardless of gender, race or anything else”
Our campaign GIF will be shown on the big screens at Reading & Leeds and we’ve encouraged festivals who participated in our campaign to continue sharing the messaging on social media and where they can onsite. We’re also working on a sexual violence policy for festivals to include on their websites, alongside their safety and drugs policies.
This summer you’ll see the White Ribbon Campaign and Safe Gigs for Women at several festivals offering a safe space, support and information for anyone who might have experienced sexual assault. The ultimate goal is for no one to experience any kind of sexual assault or harassment at festivals. Finally, if there was one message you’d like to give out to our readers, what would that be? Festivals are safe and fun spaces but if something were to happen, know that there is
always some sort of support available and you should report any incidents onsite so they can be dealt with efficiently. It’s a positive message, and one that we hope will spread across the board. Although it’s sad that we even need to have campaigns and organisations such as this one. Gigs and festivals should be fun, inclusive and safe spaces for everyone regardless of gender, race or anything else. Assault and violence have no place in our music scene. It’s not cool and it’s not just, ‘something that happens’ and it’s not ‘punk’, so let’s all work together and kick it out while we can.
adies this one is for us! It’s time to talk about consent and our safety. I’m going to make this clear though before I go any further, the aim of this article isn’t to demonise men. This is to celebrate the ones stepping up to make a change such as The White Ribbon Campaign. As the years go by, an increasing number of women have reported a rape or sexual assault whilst attending UK music festival. Now despite rape and sexual assault being one of the most severely under-reported crimes, the actual number of reports per year is at an all-time high. In 2016, official figures showed that over the previous four years, the reporting of rape had doubled, yet prosecution ﬁgures were still relatively low. With bands, artists and festivals alike uniting for what has always been a taboo subject; I want to introduce you to The White Ribbon Campaign UK (WRC). Before I delve any further, I would just like to state that those at the WRC are in no way anti-male (it was founded by a group of men). It’s more a case of getting everyone on the same team. First launched in Canada in 1991, the WRC has now become a global movement. In 1998, the ﬁrst White Ribbon day in the UK took place raising the proﬁle of gender based violence towards women and girls. Now the largest WRC in Europe, it was set up with the intention of involving men in the efforts to combat violence against women. In subsequent years, the organisation has ﬂourished and gained mass support. Garnering such a large following, they are now proud supporters of the Association of Independent Festivals’ (AIF) Safe Spaces Initiative. 48
With one of the ﬁrst major festivals, Boomtown, partnering up with their cause in 2016, the guys over at WRC were on hand to provide support, advice and training to music venues and festivals. They aim to engage men, with the end result being that they are part of the solution - not the problem. In 2016, Dave Boardman published, ‘Safe Music: Making gigs and festivals safer for women.’ It features a ten-point checklist, plan and tips for staff and volunteers. Of course, this is only a drop in the ocean in terms of what they really do to support women. They offer training for staff, security and stewards at music festivals, so that they can appropriately respond to relevant situations. Direct statistics taken from WRC research show that 25% of the women that they interviewed have previously felt unsafe at a festival. Over 50% of those women asked, felt that festival organisers could do more to improve their safety. 90% of festival attendees were unaware of what steps, if any, that organisers had taken to protect women from a potential threat or assault. With Paul McCartney and Harry Styles being among the many performers who have already worn a white ribbon on stage, more support has been shown over the past few months from the likes of The Proclaimers, Barbara Dickson and BBC Radio DJ and drummer Mark Radcliffe. Having gained the support of musicians, performers, and music venues,
“They aim to engage men, with the end result being that they are part of the solution - not the problem.” the WRC has acquired pledges from many other high-proﬁle men, including Amir Khan and Carl Froch. Even the United Nations stands alongside them in their bid to highlight these imperative issues and put an end to gender-based violence. A WRC stall, space or workshop provides an opportunity for men to explore their behaviours and attitudes towards women, in both a safe and supportive environment. The campaigners have years of experience. Stalls provide added advice for men and women, helping them to spot problematic behaviour and providing them with information on how to report the incident. We shouldn’t have to alter what we wear or simply put our thumbs over bottled drinks and hope for the best. Serious education is needed. Practical steps must be taken to ensure a zero-tolerance policy is implemented throughout not only the UK, but elsewhere too. This group of men, along with those that have pledged and are continuously supporting them, are building a solid foundation. They have put in the groundwork to ensure women’s safety, not only at music venues and festivals, but in schools and the workplace too. I’ll leave you with this. There are no separate sides when it comes to the well-being of women. Let’s unite and continue to support our male counterparts such as WRC, to educate, train and create a better and equal society for both men and women.
WORDS: Lauren Morganam/ Festibelly
MUSIC & THE GAMING INDUSTRY: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE INSIDER
We all know that cliché of the impoverished artist – writers, painters, and especially musicians fall prey to its categorisation. Call it the buskers’ spirit; there is still something sweet and heart-warming, albeit doomed, in that stubborn, never-say-die-I’m-gonna-make it romanticism of many a wannabe rock’n’roll star. You have to admire the purists, who may well have the talent to more than adequately make a good living, but refuse to adapt, are not interested in producing music for games, apps, adverts, websites, or anything other than their arena-filling dream. For that surely that would mean selling their souls. WORDS: Joseph Jacobs IMAGE CREDIT: Alex Cox
o these idealists have a point? Can music still maintain artistic integrity, be meaningful and valuable in, and of, itself when designed for another commercial end? Music produced for the gaming industry has always intrigued me in this regard. Across consoles, from arcade machines to bricklike Gameboys to the ultra-slick phones and play stations of today; from Tetris to Super Mario to GTA, music has always been a vital part of any game’s success. It’s not an arbitrary accompaniment but part of a game’s enduring nostalgia. I was eager to gain insight into the gaming industry; I wanted to see how well it accommodates musicians. So, it was over some hastily prepared Pimms (In lieu of anything else being in the drinking cabinet), mixed unceremoniously with flat Tesco lemonade, I interviewed James Valencia, on the music he has 50
produced for various digital games. I wanted to find out how music for gaming/apps operates, whether it’s a fair industry, how much creative freedom there is, and whether the music can stand alone or can only work in conjunction with the games. Tell me about yourself and your musical background. What first got you interested in making music for games? Well, growing up, I’ve always had a love for music, both listening to it and making it. I learnt guitar and was in several bands as a teenager. My first musical loves were the Beastie boys, Black flag and David Bowie. I immediately dreamt of emulating my heroes’ successes, being at a school where I was surrounded by like-minded, aspirational musicians. I wanted to be in a famous band, all trappings included, groupies, hedonistic tours, burning lighters, so forth. I’m 28 years old now, and it was from my early twenties onwards, that I’ve adopted a
more practical view of how to progress as a musician. It doesn’t mean I’ve lost any of my creative spirit or ambition, just over time I’d find myself producing tracks for others, helping out with indie projects or a friend’s club playlist. I guess I got to a certain stage where I realized that it didn’t have to be a case of make or break, I could still make a living out of music and put my talents to good use, without having to immediately fill arenas and poster space in adolescent bedrooms. I knew Greg kythreotis, the now, owner of the digital gaming agency Shedworks. He lived near me in Finchley, and when he was starting up the agency, he asked me if I wanted to write the music for their games. It was useful that I already had lots of examples of my music uploaded online. Greg, might not have approached me, had he not already had access to my music. I saw the move into gaming as an exciting challenge.
MUSIC & GAMING
So, did you also have a keen interest in gaming? Yes, I should say, I was also a gaming fanatic growing up, and always thought that music was a vital element of any game’s success. It creates the mood. I’d love when you’d face a ‘boss’ or reach any dramatic conclusion in a game, there’d always be an enticing changeup in the music. There have been some stunning game soundtracks, my favourites include, those of Fez, Super Meat Boy & Final Fantasy VII. Tell me about the music you have produced for the games — or apps — industry? What actual games have you worked on? I produced the music for three of Shedworks’ games – Weird
Orb, Cloud Critters and the recently released Swing King & the Temple of Bling. They’re all app-based games for Android and IOS. Each game has a different theme and I produced the music accordingly. Weird Orb is set in space, and I came up with a cosmic beat, inspired by Brian Eno, Mike Oakfield and the respective soundtracks to Star Trek and Star Wars. Cloud Critters is set in the Sky, and so I came up with something suitably uplifting with jangling tones to go with the coin collecting objective. With our latest game, Swing King & the Temple of Bling, an action puzzle game whereby a monkey glides through ancient landscapes and temples to find hidden treasures, I was inspired by Kraftwerk, 80s synth and chiptune. The
games all have retro charm, a rich array of graphics, and are endlessly compulsive. I think you definitely have to love the product. How did you design the music to suit how the game is played? Talk me through the creative process. Greg will initially give me a list of references, music that’s worked well with similar types of games. Originality is always a must, but it’s also useful to have a general knowledge of your market and the kind of musical arrangements that complement game-play. I always have to arrange the music to fit with the pace of the game. I quite like having a brief, some specificity, a structure to work with when I MUSIC GEEKS
MUSIC & GAMING sit down and make the music. When I produce music for my own ends, I procrastinate, deliberate, and generally take a lot longer to finish a track. Working to a deadline has been very valuable, there is serendipity in having to make quick decisions.
challenge to create music to distinctly fit the features of a particular game. Maybe if the games had been less imaginative then there would have been less of an opportunity for the music to be sophisticated enough to be good on its own merits.
After receiving the references and off the back of my own research, I’d use Logic Pro X and start producing. I’ll run a few beats by Greg, and get his feedback. I definitely get a good deal of creative freedom, and enjoy a non-judgmental environment, so that I can confidently execute different ideas and then run them by our team in a trial-and-error fashion.
Do you think the games industry is fair to producers who want to create music for games/apps? What insights did you gain about the industry, and how music for gaming/apps purposes operates?
Is that essential, then? That when making music for a commercial end, employers give you space to experiment? Yes, exactly, anything creative is about a free flow of expression. It’s about a collaborative spirit. I loved that part of the process, using Greg and the team as a sounding board. I could never make good music if I feared being reprimanded for it. Do the songs you’ve produced have value in their own right or do they only work alongside the game? By and large, I think they do still work well on their own. Each game had its own vibrant aesthetic and feel, and so it was always a rewarding 52
It has been very fair to me so far. I mean, we didn’t negotiate any wages from the get go because there was initially no money. I wanted to help them get off the ground, but once profits were generated, I’ve always got a decent, honest cut. I think salary expectations should depend on both the gaming company and your own level of experience. Of course, if the company you worked for is already a big fish, then you might expect and probably would get good sums of money for the music. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but I do believe the gaming industry is generally good to musicians. I feel that working in the games industry has given me a bit more substance as a musician. It’s nice to have had an impact, to put my creativity into the business world. It opens doors. I’m now working on some new demos for Shedworks, and also have other gaming offers to pursue. The experience will also help me if I go on to
“IT WAS ALWAYS A REWARDING CHALLENGE TO CREATE MUSIC TO DISTINCTLY FIT THE FEATURES OF A PARTICULAR GAME” produce music for advertising. Conclusion When it comes to the business of music, of producing music for secondary, commercial aims, it’s all about picking and choosing wisely. It was clear from our discussion, that James was also excited about the games themselves, and that the people he worked for, valued and nurtured his creativity. It would be a different story, if he was making music for say, a haemorrhoid cream infomercial or for an insurance company’s lobby. We live in a technological age. The gaming industry is certainly ever evolving, its genres and boundaries expanding. In the not so distant future, gaming may become full-blown virtual reality, the demand for powerful utilizations of sound and music will only increase. Certainly, in James Valencia’s experience, the gaming industry has been fair so far, and he has good reason to believe it is so generally. Music is a too valuable and intrinsic part of gaming success for musicians not to get their due. Both the gaming and music industries are becoming more and more meritocratic and democratic; there is more access to technology enabling social mobility for startup businesses. Game (and music) on!
CLASSICAL MEETS HIP-HOP T
he notion that Beethoven is amazing and Dr. Dre isn’t, was, to put it mildly, rubbish for the founder of Ensemble Mik Nawooj. So, he created a new genre to challenge the “fine art” perception of classical music – New Concert Music - which as you probably have guessed combines classical music and hip hop. The hip hop orchestra consists of flute, violin, clarinet, piano, cello, drum, bass, 2 MCs and a lyric soprano. WORDS: AIRA BEKERYTE | IMAGE: PAT MAZZERA
CLASSICAL MEETS HIP-HOP Since their creation back in 2010, EMN managed to get noticed on the other side of the Atlantic by the Huffington Post and Upworthy wrapping up almost 400,000 views under their belt. The San Francisco based ensemble has reconstructed legendary songs such as ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ by the Wu-Tang Clan using classical composition techniques. Last year ESPN, a US-based global cable, and satellite sports television channel commissioned Ensemble Mik Nawooj to create a new version of Marlena Shaw’s ‘California Soul’ to be featured during ESPN’s 2016 NFL Super Bowl programming. Just to be clear though, they believe it is the classical scene rather than hip hop that needs to be reinvented. Aira Bekeryte spoke to the Artistic Director and founder of EMN JooWan Kim about their unconventional approach to music. Tell me a bit about yourself, who you are, what you do, and what’s your story? I grew up in South Korea and when I was 20 years old, immigrated to the US to study classical composition. For the past seven years, my focus has been on creating a new concert music aesthetic using Hip-Hop and classical rationales. While I was doing my master’s at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, I presented a novelty piece featuring a chamber ensemble and an MC. My MC at the time suggested that we make an album together, so I spent the next six months writing about an hour of music which combined chamber music and Hip-Hop
with an idea of creating a more cohesive structure. I just kept writing similar pieces afterwards for the next seven years making improvements with each subsequent work. How did your teachers react to you bringing an MC to your performances?
been hemorrhaging money and can’t really appeal to the modern audience anymore. ‘So, they try to amend the problems by coming up with film night, alternative presentations and so on. Meanwhile, the real issue is actually the aesthetic which these institutions have been following, is no longer working. Symphonies have become museums of old pieces or they play weird stuff no one really cares to understand because it has absolutely nothing to do with anything meaningful in the world. Here at EMN, we aim to provide new content based on the materials that closely reflect modern life and endeavor to render an entirely new aesthetic which is free from the postcolonial and antiquated European ideals.
As expected, it got a horrible reception from my composition teachers and colleagues but an equally wonderful response from the audience and media. This has been an issue for us in general. When I say I’m incorporating Hip-Hop rationales to create concert music, people either think it’s an ironic thing or a novelty. But when I say, no, it’s not ironic but I’m serious, then they get all confused. This reveals the level of subconscious bias people have here in “SYMPHONIES HAVE BECOME the US. On the MUSEUMS OF OLD PIECES OR THEY other hand, some people PLAY WEIRD STUFF NO ONE REALLY think that it’s an CARES TO UNDERSTAND” appropriation of black culture, which is also not true. What appeals to you particularly What we’re doing is actually about hip hop rather any other rendering something new by genre? Would you consider using two foreign things. Because working with songs from other I’m only using classical rationales genres? to make Hip-Hop tracks, I fail to make an exact replica but instead, This whole process of discovering end up with something that is Hip-Hop and incorporating it into neither classical nor Hip-Hop. I my music has been organic and call this process Hybridization. gradual. At first, I didn’t like Hip-Hop at all. I just didn’t get it. However, Coming from a classical music by listening to a lot of 90s Hipbackground, what do you think Hop, I connected with N.W.A., is the state of the genre? Wu-Tang, and finally discovered J Dilla, which convinced me that It’s not Hip-Hop or pop music there’s an enormous potential for which needs help but rather musical explorations to be done in the concert music (especially the genre. It almost feels like I was classical) that needs to supposed to write the kind of music redefine itself. Organizations I’m writing now. like Metropolitan Opera have Having said that, I think HipMUSIC GEEKS
ENSEMBLE MIK NAWOOJ Hop was, and still is, seemingly the least compatible genre of pop music with classical. This extreme disposition was one of the main reasons I was attracted to it in the beginning. In regards to incorporating other genres of pop music - sure, why not? Representing both the classical
I hate practicing the piano, I’d figure out the piano part on the instrument. Then, I input the piece into a notation program, generate a MIDI mockup which sounds really sh*tty, hand the MIDI mock up to my MCs along with the parts indicating their entrances, rehearse with them with just piano, then rehearse with the
I stopped working with them. What are you currently working on and what should we expect to hear from EMN next? We just finished a commission from Oakland-based AXIS Dance Company for their 30-year anniversary, working closely with their new artistic director,
“...I THINK HIP-HOP WAS, AND STILL IS, THE LEAST COMPATIBLE GENRE OF POP MUSIC WITH CLASSICAL.” genre as well as hip hop, who would you say are your musical inspirations? J Dilla, Beethoven, Dre, WuTang, Mozart, Andriessen, Part, Piazzolla, Reich, Glass... What is your creative process? How do you choose songs and reshape them? In general, when I write, I’m pretty classical ‘composer-y’. I tend to write everything on my desk with pen and paper without using instruments and relying on my internal hearing, except when I’m writing the piano part. Because 56
other musicians, and record/perform the piece. For deconstructions of other pieces, I have been mainly commissioned to do them, so they stipulated specific pieces. I’d identify fundamental musical elements, and then tweak them to make something which sounds familiar but very different. Think GMO or chimera. How did the musicians you approached react to your proposal to do this joint venture? They all loved it. And if they didn’t,
Marc Brew. He has been pioneering physically integrated dance in the UK and moved to Oakland this spring. I wrote a three movement piece for string quartet with a healthy dose of Trap music and Boom bap in it. There are no MCs rhyming but you can clearly hear that it is based on Hip-Hop. AXIS Dance will be premiering the piece in Oakland this October, then taking the piece to Gibney Dance in NYC, November, and finally presenting it at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in February 2018. Miknawooj
CULTURE: BLACK MUSIC
WHAT IS TODAY’S MUSIC DOING FOR BLACK CULTURE
WORDS: Kerri Wynter IMAGE: Alex Bond /Shutterstock
Joey Bada$$’ ‘Land of the Free’ is the perfect example of harrowing hip-hop that cuts deep, communicates to its roots, and is unafraid to spill the truth about being black in America today. ‘Land of the Free’ from Bada$$’ latest album, ‘All-Amerikkkan Bada$$’, starts by addressing how the rapper is misunderstood – often due to his choice of stage name – ‘…sometimes I don’t think they truly understand me’. Undoubtedly, people are quick to assume the twenty-twoyear-old rapper would express the mundane topics often found in modern rap. However, this is not the case. The rapper’s ‘Land of the Free’ speaks of a serious topic in a powerful and moving manner. Discussing the current condition of American politics, Bada$$ raps: ‘Obama just wasn’t enough/I just need some more closure’. This lyric alone speaks out about how racism is still a very real issue in America today; and although Obama was a step forward, his presidency did not represent the end of racism. In an interview with Genius, Bada$$ revealed his belief that ‘Just because you gave me a black president/ Don’t mean that all our problems are resolved’. The most prominent lyrics from the track include: ‘Leave us dead in the street to be their 58
organ donors’, which paints the picture of African Americans being less important, and that their own value is to serve/meet the needs of others. Alongside the line: ‘...still got the last name of our slave owners’, which highlights how the past is still impacting people of colour today. Finally, ‘Three K’s, two A’s in AmeriKKKa…’ cleverly reminds the listener of the KKK, the movement for the “purification” of American society. Overall, Bada$$ speaks out of the mistreatment of the black community throughout history in the United States. Bada$$’ goal may not be to intentionally make his listeners feel uncomfortable, but ‘Land of the Free’ is hard-hitting from the moment play is pressed. The track deserves to be viewed as a call for change, and this can be seen in Bada$$’ lyric: ‘…everything I do or say today that’s worthwhile will for sure inspire actions in your first child’, which shows that Bada$$’ is hoping to do something meaningful: inspire change, and see the alteration of actions and beliefs in the future. Not only does Bada$$ educate the listener, he shows faith in the idea that we can develop from the past.
MUSIC BLOGGER COLLECTION If you’ve ever tapped your toes to Teenage Fanclub or had a cheeky boogie to Big Star, then Don Valentine is a man you need to know. For the last nine years, he’s curated a number of hugely successful blogs all dedicated to power pop – a hard rocking yet melodic style of music that started with the Kinks, the Who, and the Beatles and is still flourishing to this day. His current blog ‘I Don’t Hear a Single’ is your onestop-shop for all your power pop needs. Music Geeks caught up with Don and learned about his blogs, eighties keyboard sounds and why it’s OK to like Britney Spears. Sort of...
Anything You Wanna Do”. That was my teenage anthem. No other single makes me want to jump up and belt the words out. I lived my life by the lyrics for a few years.
What’s your musical “eureka!” moment? Buying “Propaganda” by Sparks with a five pound record token I got for my birthday. I knew every word on that album and sang them on the way to school, not realising what the lyrics meant. I’ve stuck with them ever What made you start blogging? since through the good, Initially, it was to tell people the bad and the ugly. how fantastic the music I liked was and to gather fellow music Do you have a go-to feel fans, but it took off. I got tired of good album? people saying all new music was ”Grace Under Pressure” rubbish, so put together “I Don’t by Rush always perks me Hear a Single” and it’s really up, an unusual choice I doing well. know. It’s a hook laden album, spoiled only by the …and what’s ‘I Don’t Hear a 80s keyboard sound and Single’ blog all about? the fact that Alex Lifeson was It’s a blog which celebrates the going through a mini-mal stage new and underappreciated artists wanting to be Andy Summers, in power pop, indie pop, rock, so Geddy Lee compensated by and pop rock to name a few. buying ten more keyboards and loads of bass pedals. What’s your favourite album? It would have to be XTC’s C a r e t o c o n f e s s a g u i l t y “Orange And Lemons”. They pleasure…? were so different, essentially I’d go with Britney Spears and English, but the music and “Piece of Me”. For attitude and subjects came from such strange self-effacement, you can’t beat angles. I followed the band it. I’m also a big Belinda Carlisle around Europe on that final tour fan, but that followed on from and when the touring ended they The Go-Go’s. just got better and better. Your current favourite thing …and favourite single? is… Eddie And the Hot Rods “Do ‘The Sunset Spirit’s “From
PEAK AT MUSIC BLOGGER COLLECTION WORDS: Ian Rushbury Image: Dmitry Naumov/ Shutterstock the Top” is an amazing debut album. Great classic pop that compares to prime-time Squeeze. They are creating a lot of interest in the United States at the moment and plan-ning to record the follow-up album. It’s a cracking, feel good.’ https://hearasingle. blogspot.co.uk Weekly Podcast: https://www.mixcloud.com/ don-valentine/
To get your vinyl collection started House of Vinyl are offering Music Geeks readers 15% off until December with code MUSICGEEKS15.
LONDON AN INDEPENDENT ONLINE RECORD STORE, SUPPLYING DJS, CLUBBERS AND ALL-ROUND MUSIC LOVERS WITH VINYL FROM THE LATEST RELEASES TO RARE VINTAGE FINDS
60 MUSICSTOCKIST GEEKS OFFICIAL
LATEST RELEASE ON VINYL VINYL BOXSETS CASSETTES DVDS MERCHANDISE VINYL CARE PRODUCTS
houseofvinyl.london n houseofvinyl.london n houseofvinyl.londonn 0208 891 4585
Store visits by appointment only
NOW, HOW DO I START COLLECTING VINYL?
Keith Matthews, the owner of House of Vinyl, an independent online record store, started his business a couple of years ago after leaving his job in Ibiza and needing cash to pay the bills fast. Keith, a self-confessed vinyl addict, had a collection so impressive the storage of it was spread far and wide. From the living room, to the spare room onto his girlfriend’s and parent’s houses, the spoils of his decades long hunt for vinyl could be found. Deciding the only way to raise some money was to sell part of his collection off, Keith started a Discogs account and when the records he was selling flew out of the door, Keith reinvested the money into more wax. A lifetime of collecting vinyl had lead to the creation of House of Vinyl.
If you think this could be the addiction for you then Keith has laid down his top tips for getting started:
1 2 3 4 5
Parents – go through their music collection. Mine were into Talking Heads, New Order, B52s, Eagles, Bowie, The Beatles and Prince and this shaped my initial foray into music.
Clean the records - buy a cleaning machine, like the Spin Clean. Some people change the inlays to keep them pristine. But also remember vinyl is durable and crackles and hiss add to the record. Recently a guy bought an old techno record from me that had crackle. The buyer was using this £500 cleaning machine to try and get rid of it. But to me it’s a record played in clubs around the world like DC10 (Ibiza nightclub famous for underground music) and the crackle adds to the authenticity, it wasn’t meant to be completely perfect. That’s exactly why people like vinyl now as the digital sound is way to polished.
Be open minded - back in the day if you liked Hip Hop you liked Hip Hop and if you liked the Smiths you liked the Smiths. No one liked Morrisey AND Chuck D. Now its badge of honour to like everything.
Keep away from commercial radio – They will brainwash you into submission and before you know it you’ll be singing Ed Sheeran and Adele songs all day long.
Get out amongst it - clubs, gigs, keep your ears open. Always listen to stuff people recommend. I have over 20,000 records and four hundred GB of music and I’m still striving to hear more. Start searching in record shops – your local record shop will recommend and play stuff to you. Use social media to follow artists and labels you like. Sign up to newsletters so you know when the new releases are coming out. Store your vinyl in shelves - records need to go into a specific shelving unit. When I was younger I put my records in plastic crates and they got bent and damaged. You don’t want them leaning on each other or getting discoloured. Discogs is great for searching for rare vinyl.
Creative legal solutions to benefit creative people. Lawdit Solicitors provide a full range of legal services to the music industry, and the entertainment industry as a whole. We pride ourselves on bringing creative legal solutions to creative people. You will never receive a surprise bill through the post from us for what you thought was a casual conversation. We keep you updated every step of the way and try to arrange fixed fees where possible. lawditmusic.co.uk
+44(0)23 8023 5979
RELEASE OF THE MONTH
LUCY ROSE ‘Somethings Changing’
Singer-songwriters are everywhere you turn these days, each with their own story to tell and all trying to find their own unique way in which to tell it. Until now Lucy Rose was just a name floating around in the back of my mind, someone I was aware of but not someone that really stood out. Her third album, however, feels like a graduation into the big leagues. 'Something’s Changing' feels refined and sophisticated, a record composed by someone with wisdom beyond their years. Nothing short of sheer class, this album is like a fine wine, bringing an air of maturity and purpose that many of her contemporaries, as well as some of her earlier work, have been lacking. Just shy of forty minutes in length, the record is perfectly succinct and devoid of filler tracks. The guitar work at the beginning of ‘Is This Called Home’ is reminiscent of Ben Howard’s ‘I Forget Where We Were’, while ‘Second Chance’ has all the hallmarks of Carole King. The Staves lend their emotive harmonies to ‘Floral Dresses’ but it’s the gorgeous, albeit unimaginatively titled, ‘Love Song’ that stands out as the album highlight. Showcasing Lucy’s lilting vocals at their most moving, it also builds a delightful Americana tone with its subtle hints of slide guitar. Lucy wears her influences on her sleeve, both classic and contemporary, with these songs, but it never feels like an imitation. The record has a great flow, a real cohesive feel that you wouldn’t get from a cheap pastiche of some 70s songwriters. Lucy has persisted in following her own path, and with this record, her hard work has borne fruit and the true extent of her talent shines through. WORDS: James Fenney MUSIC GEEKS
KESHA ‘Rainbow’ WORDS: Lauren Morgan Kesha’s comeback is compelling, emotive and sure to be the anthem for all independent women. We all know the recent events surrounding Kesha with her battle for freedom and this album is a direct nod to her success. Her vocal range shines and her regained enthusiasm is evident within the depth of her Jesse Sheehan brings a beautiful mix of musical and vocal elements in his EP ‘In this Dance’. This EP is an upbeat nod to all of his loyal supporters. ‘Break Away’ makes for a chilled and easy listen and begins with a fine tuned electric guitar, with a gentle but sonically pleasing sound throughout.
JESSE SHEEhAN ‘In this Dance’
'Real Love Evolution' really shows off Sheehan’s vocal ability, with a gentle gravel tone that is reminiscent of James Morrison. The incorporation of strings and layered vocals add a lovely touch
They may be on the verge of releasing their highly-anticipated debut album in early 2018, but Fickle Friends’ are showing no sign of wanting to slow down. In fact, ‘Glue’ presents fans with a snapshot of their upcoming LP (to be released early 2018) in the form of three new songs, finished off with a dreamy acoustic version of the EP’s title track.
FICKLE FRIENDS ‘Glue’
Following on from their first EP ‘Velvet’ (2015), ‘Glue’ is an exciting taste of what the future holds for
lyrics. ‘Praying’ proves to be an incredibly evocative track that oozes empowerment, self-love and growth. When you take a listen to ‘Woman,’ the track for every self sufﬁcient and strong female, you’ll deﬁnitely feel its impact and vibrant nature. Not one to be predictable, Kesha reminds us that not only is ‘Rainbow’ a deeply impassioned album but playful too. A spiritual and dynamic production, ﬁve years on from her last album release, ‘Rainbow’ is available to stream or purchase now. to this track. An element of vocal influence from Ryan Tedder seems evident in this juxtaposition - a gentle vibe but a lively soundtrack at that. The overall instrumental arrangement and musical style is what makes this EP one to watch in the pop genre. With Sheehan taking a break for a period of time, this EP ends on a joyful note and is an audible testimony of his musical ability. This EP is definitely one to boost your spirits.
WORDS: Lauren Morgan the Brighton-based band. With tracks like ‘Sugar’ and ‘Vanilla’, it’s no surprise that this delight-ful indie-pop group have produced such a sweet collection of songs; it’s certainly one to indulge your ears in to more than once too. With sounds reminiscent of NEIKED’s ‘Sexual’, mixed with a bit of CHVRCHES and Panama Wedding, ‘Glue’ is a solid body of work you need to get your hands on.
WORDS: Ben Winter
REVIEWS grandeur welcomes the album perfectly. ‘Higher’ has a level of sass and a U2-esque twang that makes it utterly irresistible. ‘It started with a look’ is the spoken word that introduces album closer ‘Chemical Dream’ before transcending into a The album ‘Plastic Soul’ juggles a smooth electric guitar riff. medley of genres, mimicking the and captivating, likes of Beck, Bob Dylan, and U2, Infectious all whilst carrying its own level of ‘Plastic Soul’ infuses the working individuality. Album opener ‘Plastic class sounds of the top bands Soul’ is finalised by a beautiful from the 90’s, whilst carrying a crescendo of piano, drums, and new-age, American swagger. guitar. Loud and chaotic, its WORDS: Hayley Millross Joshua Ostrander has been given another chance. After varying success with his music under different aliases throughout the ‘00s, Ostrander is back as Mondo Cozmo, delivering an album that proves that he is third time lucky.
MONDO COZMO ‘Plastic Soul’
JAMILA WOODS ‘Heavn’
diggs duke ‘Gravity’
Jamila Woods’ debut album ‘HEAVN’ oozes soul and meaning. With her sound resembling the likes of Jhene Aiko and Corinne Bailey Rae, Woods encapsulates resilience and protest in such a melodious way. Helped by Chance The Rapper and Saba, the singer probes into the calamity of today’s society with particular assiduity to its racial contentions. The album’s second track ‘VERY BLK’ encapsulates the magic of the black community whilst addressing the all-important issue of police brutality. It links beautifully to the second interlude ‘Assata’s
Daughters’ - an organisation of African American women who, amongst other things, protest against the American police force. The album contains 4 interludes altogether; they simply empower and inspire through the art of poetic expression, honing in on the deepest of emotional torment.
Multi-instrumentalist, Diggs Duke, has a clear talent for mixing in jazz and R’n’B. Some tracks such as ‘Funky Overdose’ and ‘Welcome’ have a simple beat and vocals, but this works well for the artist.
Although it’s a short album of seven tracks, ‘Gravity’ offers us not only jazz, but also brings the R’n’B feel with songs like ‘Last Night’.
The album offers a variation from seemingly calm vocals on one track to a very creative jazz-like vibe in others, such as ‘Holding On’.
Woods has certainly made a statement with her debut, using her soulful voice and melodic rhythms to build a semblance of hope in a society of tribulation.
WORDS: Sophie Barnden
Diggs Duke’s ‘Funky Overdose’ brought some serious funk to our ears!
WORDS: Josh Abraham MUSIC GEEKS
Michael Rosenberg (singer-songwriter) is known for his poetic ditties about love, life, travel, and heartbreak. And not much has changed as Passenger (Rosenberg alongside his band) release their ninth album. Having announced a break from music following their 2017 tour, ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ is a parting gift. The 10-track album showcases Rosenberg’s strong grasp of the English language. Be it his ability to create powerful similes (‘And I Love Her’), present a gentle form of motivation through poetry (‘In The End’), utilise pathetic fallacy (‘Thunder and Lightning’), or convey raw emotion (‘Lanterns’).
passenger ‘The boy who cried wolf’
jehst ‘Billy Green is dead’
The self-released album’s standout track is ‘Sweet Louise’, a folk song infused with a powerful blues guitar solo. In this optimal expression of love, Rosenberg quite literally sings the praises of ‘Louise’. And after the success of ‘Let Her Go’ released in 2012, Passenger’s strongest work clearly lies within heartfelt love songs.
However, the title track ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ confirms there is only so many ways to tell the same story as the musical reenactment of the fallacy falls short. Thankfully, Rosenberg states that in his time off he is going to focus on learning the piano to bring something new to his music.
Six years after the successful release of ‘The Dragon of an Ordinary Family’, the longstanding UK hip hop virtuoso William G. ‘Billy’ Shields, AKA Jhest, is back, ambitious as ever. With ‘Billy Green Is Dead’, Jhest gives us fictional, eponymous Billy Green, a downtrodden everyman, as he crosses the chaotic, unnerving terrains of our hi-tech, coldly capitalistic and nihilistic world.
the economy’ (‘Good Robot’), ‘Surely I’m alive for something more than 9-to-5ing’ (‘City Streets’).
WORDS: Kerri Wynter
The album’s lead track and first single, ‘44th Floor’ presents us with Billy Green’s apparent suicide, a grasp at individuality by leaping from an appropriately anonymous building.
For the most part, Jhest delivers on his high-concept, urban trawl Arch conformist Billy Green is agenda, set within a compact, just ‘another cog in the machine’ gritty musical arrangement. Yet who Jhest inhabits for musical there is, at times, a lingering and political purposes: ‘I’m just sense of style over substance, tryna be a good robot / Keep a sense that Billy Green was my head down and do what I dying to say just a little bit more. gotta do / Money is god, I serve WORDS: Joseph Jacobs
MUSIC LEGAL SERVICES
Seeking a career in the music industry, but struggling with the legal terms? We’ve partnered with Lawdit Music, to provide you an a-z guide of music industry legal terms.
An Assignment is a term that many people in the music industry may already know. The right to assign or sell copyright in the UK is permitted by sections 87 and 205 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. If I create something that is afforded protection by way of copyright, I have the right to assign or sell the copyright to a third party. Now a bit of legal language for you, if it is my copyright that I am assigning to a third party, I am what we lawyers call the ‘assignor’ and the third party is called the ‘assignee’. For an assignment of copyright to be legally effective, it must be in writing and signed by the assignor or someone acting on behalf of the assignor. However, and here is a pub fact for you, whilst for the assignment to be legally effective it must be in writing but there is not a need for the words ‘assignment’ or ‘copyright’ to be used. What is needed is that ‘on a true construction of the document, copyright was intended to pass’. So for example:
IS FOR ASSIGNMENT
I am the assignor and I assign my copyright to the assignee, the assignee must give me something in return for my copyright. Quite often the copyright is assigned for £1.00 there must be some consideration (ie money) if the assignment is going to be valid. For example: “In consideration of the sum of £1 (receipt of which the Assignor expressly acknowledges), the Assignor hereby assigns to the Assignee all its right, title and interest in the copyright” In regards to exploitation, this means that it is possible to assign the right to distribute a sound recording in CD format to one assignee and the right for online download to a different assignee.
For more information on music industry legal advice: www.lawditmusic.co.uk
I hear you ask, why would a prospective assignor want to assign or transfer its copyright to a third party? Well this can be explained with one little symbol: ‘£’. It may be a condition of your recording contract that you assign the copyright in the sound recording for the life of the copyright and in consideration you will receive royalties. MUSIC GEEKS
to personally use the name but not the current band members the right to use the name. Now if I was in that situation I would be very grateful if there was a band agreement that set out exactly what could or could not be done with the band name.
A band agreement is a document in which musicians will agree to form a partnership for the purposes of performing and playing as a band. But what does this really mean? In short when things are going well the agreement will provide for how the band is to be run day-to-day. It will also detail that all members of the band are equal or some have more weight than others, and it should also take into account if any members have put in money into the band. When things go bad, think of it like a prenuptial agreement, the agreement will have provisions for the dissolution of the band, it should set out what is going to happen to the band name and what will happen to the finances of the band. In May 2017, a founding member of Jefferson Starship entered into legal action aimed to prevent the current version of the band from using the name Jefferson Starship. Craig Chaquico, brought the action because he said that he, through litigation and arbitration, gave Paul Kantner the right
Legally speaking, whilst there are other ways of running a band (for example, a limited company) a partnership is perhaps the easiest. This is because of the Partnership Act 1890, the Act provides that a partnership is automatically created when two or more people carry on business in common with a view of profit and profits and debts will be split equally. Let’s take this practically; my friend and I go out busking, in the eyes of the law and the Act, we are a partnership. But what if my friend contributed to the partnership with an amp and guitar but I didn’t contribute anything? Well as it stands we would both be entitled to an equal share of the profits, notwithstanding the fact that I haven’t contributed anything to the band. I know that this doesn’t sound very rock’ n roll but it is important to agree on how decisions are made in the band. For example, what is going to happen if, after the band splits, a record company wants to put out a greatest hits album or if someone wants to use your music for a cause that you are not too fond of. Well if you have a band agreement, it could state that either decisions can be made unanimously or decisions can be made by majority. A band agreement is something that is not often thought about until things go sour. The agreement could be very simple and short or very complex and long. One thing it should be is a provision for the good times and the bad. Lawdit Music can assist you in creating a band agreement which allows all involved to know clearly where they stand. With our years of experience, the process will be straightforward and allow you to focus on following your band dreams.
MUSIC LEGAL SERVICES
IS FOR COPYRIGHT Copyright is arguably the backbone of the music industry. In the context of music, copyright protects: original literary works (ie words and lyrics), musical works, sound recordings and films. Largely, copyright protection allows the copyright owner to deal with the work in any way they wish, which includes replicating the work and providing copies of it to the public. This right is not restricted to the producer or publisher of a piece of music. It is able to be given to someone who attains a licence. In order to attain a piece of music, one must obtain two separate licences for it, depending on the nature of their use of it; the composition of the music and the performance of the music. The composition of a piece of music accounts for the written lyrics and production of the music. This element of music copyright would be owned by either the songwriter or the publisher. One would obtain a licence for the composition of a piece of music if they wanted to produce a cover of it, using the same lyrics, but by changing the way the song is sung and performed.
The recording, however, refers to the performance of a song. This is typically owned by the performer. More commonly, the performer grants a publisher, such as a record label, with copyright to the recording of a piece of music. The publisher then manages people who wish to purchase a licence of the recording, for example a director of a movie, and takes the money from them. In return, the artist receives a percentage of the profits made from people obtaining licences. According to Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act, for both the distribution and performance of musical works and distribution and performance of sound recordings, the copyright owner has the right to allow others to reproduce the work; distribute copies of the work to the public, through sales, rental, lease and lending; and perform the work publicly. To summarise, holding copyright in a work means holding exclusive rights to the reproduction of a work; the distribution of a work (to the public); derivative works (produced from the original work); and public performance of a piece of work. There is a lot of money to be gained and lost within music copyright. To name a few recent examples, Ed Sheeran has recently settled for £13.8 million after he was accused of copyright infringement with his song ‘Photograph’, and Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have had to pay £4.8 million for imitating Marvin Gaye’s song ‘Got To Give It Up’. Recently, there have been challenges to music copyright laws, from the likes of Burt Bacharach, who believes that, with only one octave and a small number of usable notes, many similarities between different pieces of music have become inevitable. He believes that there should be a handful of music experts judging music copyright cases, because each case should be considered on an individual basis.
OBITUARY: CHESTER BENNINGTON SECTION
WORDS: Ilan Rubens | IMAGE: Jeffrey Fulgencio
inkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington was found dead in his home on 20 July, marking a tragic day for the music industry. Linkin Park is a significant pillar in the US rock scene and a spearhead for nu metal music, combining elements of punk, rock, electronica, and rap. Since their first studio album release in 2000, the group has sold over 70,000,000 albums worldwide. The band is famously known for their first album ‘Hybrid Theory’, which not only introduced Linkin Park to the public but was a huge commercial success, storming to number two on the US Billboard 200. Featuring the singles ‘One Step Closer’, ‘Papercut’ and ‘In the End’, it is argued to be their best album, having sold 30,000,000 copies worldwide and was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Their follow-up album ‘Meteora’ sold 27,000,000 copies and was the third best-selling album of 2003, sparking the interest of rapper Jay-Z. This collaboration resulted in ‘Collision Course’, an EP of the group’s songs mashed up with the rapper’s biggest hits, including ‘99 Problems’, ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ and ‘Big Pimpin’. A pivotal track on the album was ‘Numb/Encore’, which won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2006 Grammy Awards. This album opened Linkin Park to a completely new demographic, bringing the iconic nu metal sound to rap and hip-hop fans across the world. Bennington was known to speak from the heart, and with a troubled life that started early on, including sexual abuse, serious drugs issues and divorce, he used this to fuel the passion and emotion in his lyrics. After divorcing his first wife in 2005 Bennington spiralled into depression and addiction, but got clean in 70
2006 and married a former model Talinda Bentley. He was deeply affected by the loss of his close friend Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, who committed suicide earlier this year. Bennington was found in his home on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Fans everywhere were heartbroken by the loss of this great musician! The issues addressed in Linkin Park’s songs resonated with so many people who could relate to their portrayal of deepfelt pain. The band acted as a voice for those going through an emotional struggle, depression, and mental torment. Linkin Park took negativity and sadness and created beautiful and fierce music that was filled with passion and honesty. In honour of Chester Bennington, the band launched a suicide prevention site, chester. linkinpark.com, providing information for individuals in distress including phone numbers of the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line. In addition to that, the page also shows fan messages on social media paying tribute to the singer. Bennington had six children; Lily, Lila, and Tyler Lee with wife Talinda; a son, Draven Sebastian, from his first marriage; and two other sons, Isaiah and Jaime, from a relationship with Elka Brand. Chester Bennington was born 20 March 1976; died 20 July 2017.
OBITUARY: C. BENNINGTON
THIS YEAR... IN 1967 WORDS: Ian Rushbury
1967 is unquestionably one of the most important years in pop music history – it’s a year of landmark albums, dazzling debuts, legendary performances, and a few surprises. So – what were the movers and shakers of ’67 movin’ and shakin’ to…? Debut albums: In the mid-sixties, there was a movement away from “beat music” – pop and rock became, stranger, darker and more eclectic. Just to prove the point, two of the most influential debut albums of all time was released in ‘67 – the eponymous albums by the Doors and The Velvet Underground and Nico. Also making their first appearances on LPs were Jimi Hendrix (“Are You Experienced”), Pink Floyd (“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”), Leonard Cohen (“Songs of Leonard Cohen”), David Bowie (“David Bowie”) and a host of others. US Psychedelia is well represented with first albums by The Grateful Dead, The Electric Prunes and Moby Grape.
Births: We said “hello” to these musicians in 1967: Dave Matthews Kurt Cobain Evan Dando Billy Corgan Sarah Cracknell Liz Phair Noel Gallagher Deaths: …and “goodbye” to: Otis Redding Brian Epstein (Beatles manager) John Coltrane Joe Meek (Producer)
The Charts: Arnold Dorsey, better known as balladeer Engelbert Humperdinck, managed to beat the Fabs to the top of the charts in March with “Release Me”. That meant that the single which many critics believe to be the greatest 45 ever released – “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever” – had to settle for number two. Keeping Englebert company at the top of the UK charts were The Monkees, Petula Clark, Procol Harum and The BeeGees. The Beatles made it to the top twice with “All You Need is Love” and “Hello Goodbye”. On the album chart, The Monkees slugged it out with The Beatles – “More of The Monkees”, “The Monkees” and “Sgt Peppers…” alternated with the soundtrack to “The Sound of Music” at the top of the charts. Bizarrely, the album at number one at the end of this most groundbreaking year was “Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently”. Far out, man….
so Jagger sang “Let’s spend some time together” to appease the advertisers. Ed asked The Doors to tone down a line from “Light My Fire” when they appeared on the show in September – Jim Morrison however, refused, resulting in a lifetime ban from the show. On Valentine’s Day, Aretha Franklin recorded “Respect” in Atlantic Studios in New York, and makes a new benchmark for a soul vocal performance. In June, the first large scale outdoor music festival, The Monterey Pop Festival is held in California. Artists appearing included The Byrds, The Who, Otis Redding, Jefferson Airplane and a showstopping performance by Jimi Hendrix. It’s also a busy month for The Beatles as they release “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“ on June 1st and appear on Our World – the first worldwide TV broadcast on June 25. They sing “All You Need is Love” surrounded by members of the Rolling Stones, The Who and Eric Clapton. Just a few days later, Jagger and Richards of the Stones were briefly imprisoned for drug offences. They lasted three nights in the slammer before the sentences were overturned. Radio One begins broadcasting in the UK on September 30th – the first DJ was Tony Blackburn and the first song played was “Flowers in the Rain” by Birmingham band, The Move. In December, The Beatles psychedelic road movie “Magical Mystery Tour” is shown on UK TV to largely negative reviews.
Events: The Rolling Stones appeared on the prestigious US TV programme “The Ed Sullivan Show” in January. The host asked the Stones to tone down the lyric,
So, 1967 was way more than just “Sgt Peppers…” It was a year when popular music grew into something strange and beautiful. The world was never the same again.
WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR NEXT ISSUE? Maybe, you would like to write or produce artwork for our next issue? We are open to submissions from graphic designers, illustrators and photographers. All submissions to us will be fully credited. If you have already produced work and would like to see it in our magazine, then please get in touch. Here, at Music Geeks we are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with other brands and services in the music industry, to share with our readers. The music industry is an exciting place to work in, and it would be great to hear from music professionals to feature in our upcoming issues.
If you would like to contribute to our next issue, please visit our website www.musicgeeks.co.uk for more details.
â€ SUPPORT OUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN for issue #2 74
IMAGE: Angel Zhang
Our crowdfunding campaign will help raise money for our second issue. Our team did an amazing job putting this magazine together, as volunteers. Now, itâ€™s only fair we pay them for their contributions in the next issue. The money will also help towards print and distribution, allowing us to have our magazine in a selected number of independent shops. For more details, please visit www.musicgeeks.co.uk MUSIC GEEKS
The pilot issue of our music industry magazine, featuring Scottish singer-songwriter Kat Healy, our first campaign feature #safety4womenatgi...
Published on Sep 11, 2017
The pilot issue of our music industry magazine, featuring Scottish singer-songwriter Kat Healy, our first campaign feature #safety4womenatgi...