Nice People Issue 6

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Editorial: Meg Firth Events and Marketing: Tom Nixon Front cover design by Mike Winnard (@m1k3winnard ) Logo design: Julia Pomeroy (@j.uliapomeroy) Printed by Mortons Print

Community

36 | Party Mom Society

@bfdood

le

54 | “Pop the Kettle On, Let’s Talk”: Tackling the stigma around mental health one brew at a time.

Celebrating one year of Niceness Welcome to Issue 6.

56 | The Brude by Theo Beecroft Music

Starting off as a silly idea one late evening at Brudenell Social Club, Nice People Magazine has now been going for one whole year. People sometimes ask us how we manage to run a magazine and host events alongside full-time jobs, but for us it’s no chore. The vibrant community of nice people doing nice things around us means there’s never a shortage of things to write about and, more importantly, we’re constantly inspired and supported by the kind, multi-faceted artists, musicians, creatives, collectives and friends we share a doorstep with. Although it can be a struggle to keep afloat being DIY and independent, it’s these circles of open, hardworking, inspiriational and supportive people that make what we do so painless. This Issue, bigger and thicker than ever before, is a celebration of these people who are making Leeds such a vibrant place to call home. It’s also an opportunity for us to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so far: thank you to our advertisers for taking a punt on us independents; thank you to the wonderful illustrators and writers who have been so kind to contribute their time; thank you to the musicians who have played our gigs; thank you to anyone who has bought our vinyl, t-shirts or tote bags and repped them with pride; thank you to our mums, dads, siblings and friends, old and new; and thank you to you - yes you - for picking up this copy and reading it, even if you were just thinking about using it to level out a wobbly table. Here’s to the next year.

08 | Otis Mensah 10 | Van Houten 12 | Fielding 14 | The Golden Age of TV 16 | Luna Pines 26 | Come Play With Me Records Art

20 | George Addy 22 | Behind The Cover: Mike Winnard 40 | Pot Yer Tits Away Luv 44 | Let Them Play 48 | Cole’s Gallery

FIND US Facebook: Nice People Magazine Instagram: @allthesenicepeople Email: allthesenicepeople@gmail.com Nice People Magazine October 2019

60 | Time Together by Angelica Krikler

04 | Nice Gigs in the North

50 | Nigel Allison (@unevenedits) Stay nice, Meg and Tom (Co-Founders)

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Poetry

The Nice Team behind Issue 6 Writers Andrea Loftus Hannah Stokes Safi Bugel Yasmine Rahemtulla Alex King Illustrators Joshua Pell Mike Winnard Molly Northcote Maisy Summer Rachel McDermott Becca Jones @beefysquarms Emily Flanagan Rosie Collins Bea Fletcher Photographers Emma Bentley Fox Jacob Whiting Miroslav Kiss Nigel Allison Solay Elibol Sam Joyce

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Follow Nice People Magazine on Spotify for playlists inspired by our gig listings. Discover new music and get yourself to some nice gigs this month.

What’s your flavour? Laid Back

Something New

Leeds Friday 11th October D Double E + Trim Headrow House For fans of: seminal grime, jungle and garage Saturday 12th October Jordan Rakei Leeds University Stylus For fans of: Tom Misch, Sampha, Loyle Carner. Saturday 12th October Pip Blom + Personal Trainer Brudenell Social Club For fans of: unmissable art-pop from Amsterdam Saturday 12th October Lunar Sounds Single Launch + Mr.Sagoo, Bad Idea & DUCK Wharf Chambers For fans of: empowering grrrl punk. Tuesday 15th October Swim Deep The Wardrobe For fans of: being 16 again

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Hot and Sweaty

Vibey

Sunday 20th October Nice People presents: Otis Mensah + Hanibl x Dante & Lady Hyde Park Book Club For fans of: unmissable hip-hop poetry October 30th Lingua Nada + The Shakamoto Investigation & What? Nah Chunk For fans of: bleepy bloopy trashy mathy tunes 31st October VENUS ‘Freaky Friday’ Single Launch Oporto For fans of: grrrl power Friday 1st November B-ahwe Single Launch Headrow House For fans of: luscious vocal harmonies and intelligent nusoul instrumentals Friday 1st November Dead Naked Hippies & HAMER Hyde Park Book Club For fans of: moshing with friendly locals

Wednesday 16th October Bdrmm Headrow House For fans of: gritty dream-pop slackers

Friday 1st November Straight Girl & Team Picture + Roe Green & Vide0 Belgrave Music Hall For fans of: dancing in your underwear

Friday 18th October Francis Lung Hyde Park Book Club For fans of: tender and thoughtful songwriting over post-punk atmospherics

Saturday 23rd November Live at Leeds Ones to Watch The Wardrobe For fans of: discovering the best new bands before anyone else

Nice People Magazine October 2019

Manchester

Sheffield

Wednesday 9th October Hit&Run + The North Quarter present: Abnormal Sleepz Album Launch Mint Lounge For fans of: fresh faced hip-hop flowing over classic trap beats

Monday 14th October Self Esteem Picture House Social For fans of: dancing to intelligent and empowering pop

Tuesday 15th October Hootie and the Blowfish O2 Apollo For fans of: niche Friends references Wednesday 16th October Kara Marni YES For fans of: powerhouse vocals and a clever blend of UK R&B and soul Wednesday 23rd October Babeheaven The Deaf Institute For fans of: Cigarettes After Sex, Art School Girlfriend... Monday 18th November Shura + Rosie Lowe O2 Ritz For fans of: The Japanese House, Marika Hackman, Poppy Adjudah… Thursday 28th November Whitney Albert Hall For fans of: driving around with the windows down

Tuesday 5th November Spector Picture House Social For fans of: Mystery Jets, Superfood, Blaenavon Friday 8th November Willie J Healey The Leadmill For fans of: scrappy garage rock and sumptuous psychedelia Saturday 9th November Kate Tempest O2 Academy For fans of: emotionally visceral and politically charged spoken word hip-hop Tuesday 12th November Bloxx The Leadmill For fans of: grungy undertones fused with classic indieinfluenced melodies Tuesday 3rd December Lewis Capaldi O2 Academy For fans of: hilarious Scottish people

Going out out?

Equaliser and Slut Drop present:

0-160bpm “A real music road trip that’ll take you from 0 BPM to 160 BPM” Featuring Slowcook b2b TACAT Mandy & Friends and Michelle Ul plugkeisha b2b NikNak When: Saturday 19th October, 10pm-Late Where: Wire, 2-8 Call Lane, Leeds

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SUPER FRIENDZ PRESENTS

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM DICE, CRASH AND JUMBO RECORDS

WITH ARTIO IN THE MORNING LIGHTS

SUNDAY 27TH OCTOBER 2019 BELGRAVE MUSIC HALL 8PM / £7 / 14+

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Introducing...

Delivering socially-conscious narratives with impeccable flow, Otis Mensah is the young

@otismensah

hip-hop poet who embraces an experimental take on both hip-hop and poetic-expression. Appointed as Sheffield’s first poet-laureate, Mensah is a champion for the arts with a

unique talent for reflecting on the political and emotional trials and tribulations of life. You’ve been appointed as Sheffield’s first poet laureate. When poetry often has elitist and white-washed connotations, what does this recognition mean to you? For me, the role is all about dismantling those elitist whitewashed connotations and advocating against the ageold oppressive tradition and its ingroup bias exclusivity; I feel poetry should be and is for everyone. I see poetry & art as a vehicle for emotional communication and community, to unite people and uplift people even in shared tribulations. Do you remember when you first started writing? I think it started off as something where I could be free to express, regardless of societal norms. I think at the beginning it was very much about being a provocative or writing from braggadocio, pretending and playing a role as a lot of rappers often do haha. However, at some point I realised that my favourite artists, the poets who resonate with me on the deepest level were those who were vulnerable. I found that in poetic-vulnerability there lies community, when you can unite people through a mutual burden, that burden doesn’t feel

so heavy to bare and it starts to feel like we’re not so alone but in solidarity. To me this is the highest and most meaningful form of expression. When did you begin using hiphop as a form of expression and storytelling? I think my journey to looking at things beyond the surface and more critically was sparked by artists like The Roots with albums like ‘Things Fall Apart’ & ‘How I got over’. When I was around 17-18 I was listening to a lot of Hip-Hop that hurtled me into self-discovery and personal study. I began to take on a sort of introspective yet outward gaze. You grew up in Sheffield. What are your thoughts on the creative scene there? I’m always in awe of the incredible talent that exists in Sheffield; it’s beautiful to know that there’s artists pushing boundaries, even on a global scale, from your home. I’ve been listening to a lot KOG & The Zongo Brigade, their album ‘Wahala Wahala’ is such an uplifting, high-octane piece of art. I love everything that Steve Edwards does with his band Universal Tree, incredible music for the soul. Artist collectives

like Blancmange Lounge - Jackie Moonbather’s master pieces. There’s a flourishing poetry scene, Warda Yassin is an amazing poet and her debut pamphlet ‘Tea & Cardamon” is a treasure trove of beautiful imagery & poetry about family & community. Raluca de Soleil, another incredible poet from the city, releasing her book for the second time soon. Jack Young one of my favourite spoken word artists. Much needed Nights like Verse Matters are amazing entities for change in the city. Also there’s organisations like Hive which is a amazing hub for young poets & writers in the city, again doing great work. Do you have any projects in the works? I have a new EP, Rap Poetics, out this October. It explores rap as an intellectual art form and potent form of poetry in the face of its constant devaluation as something ‘disposable’ or ‘unintelligent’. Also focusing on the power of vulnerability and artistic expression as emotional communication. I hope to start a festival here in Sheffield dedicated to artists contributing to the Hip-Hop Poetry movement in the new year, as well as a new podcast.

Image by Miroslav Kiss [GRIT MULTIMEDIA]

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

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Introducing...

Disguising tales of loss, destruction and heartbreak under a glistening masquerade of

@_vanhoutenband

woozy dream-pop, Van Houten are the band who will steal your heart and put it back

together again. Blending colourful sonic textures with introspective lyrics, the four-piece effortlessly saunter on the line between lo-fi sound and polished production.

Your self-titled debut album was released on September 13th. What can listeners expect from the album?

of the band because that’s what friends do from time to time. We’re really lucky to have the friendship group we have.

of the band. We still get Van Hooten a lot from people who haven’t watched the Simpsons before, though.

To us, the album sounds like a nice cuddle or a warm cup of Joe ready for a good sipping. Our debut album has an overwhelming sense of honesty, longing and lust, shrouded in dreamy soundscapes and minor 9 chords. Think crooning vocals and warm guitars! All this is complemented by the crisp 70s hifi production of the based God/ Sheffield legend that is Martin Smith. Listeners should expect Daddy pizza jazz that had a baby with an analogue delay pedal, but then daddy left baby and it got really sad and was sick down its bib.

You have a great lo-fi yet developed sound. Are there any creative challenges associated with this?

Do you have any plans for after the album release?

You’re all clearly really good mates. How did you meet and start playing music together? Henry and Louis have known each other since high school; Megan and Jake W met through friends at Leeds college of music; Jake R was a fan of the band prior and managed to weave his way into the starting line up. As a band we all are passionate about making good music and having fun. We’re all best friends now and always hang outside

The challenge of maintaining lofi routes in a studio is difficult. All of us like to record in our bedrooms. Often, simplifying elements tend to sound more natural. We found that in the studio, if you maintain the idea of a raw and natural performance, like how you would perform in your bedroom or your shower, then you can get a natural result. Louis and Jake R like to turn the lights off in the vocal booth, which helps when you wanna give a sexy performance. How does your new album compare to Kirk Van Houten’s mixtape? Drastically inferior, but Kirk only released a single and we have an album so who’s winning?! If he ever wants to collaborate or replace Louis as lead singer then he should hit us up big time stylee! Here’s a bit of VH trivia for ya: the episode which that is from is what inspired the name

We’re doing lots of shows to support the release of the album up and down the country that you all should come to! Hopefully we will be going back into the studio soon to start work on album two which, between me and you, is gonna sound minty fresh! We will also be recording something for Come Play With Me to be released next year. We also have some personal plans: Ribbo has started to write his Christmas list all by himself like a big boy, Henry wants to be in Pixies, Megan is going to learn French, Louis is planning on getting a haircut and Wriggley wants what Wriggley gets.

“Louis and Jake R like to turn the lights off in the vocal booth, which helps when you wanna give a sexy performance...”

Image by Sam Joyce

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Introducing...

@fielding_baby

Fielding are the guitar and drums outfit who are exploding onto the Leeds gigging scene

with their intelligent and seemingly serendipitous grunge sound. The two-piece are unassuming, yet have an undoubtedly muscular sound that drips with potential.

You’re a relatively new band, but have both lived in Leeds for a while. What’s it like playing together in a city you know so well?

You recently played Brudenell Social Club, which for a lot of bands is quite iconic. Where is a place you’d really like to play?

It’s a blessing really, Leeds is a city I’d come to for gigs before I lived here, so being given such opportunity from such a supportive group of people is great.

I really wish The Cockpit in town was still open because I’d of loved to play there haha, but we’ve never played any cities down South so something down there would be cool.

There’s just the two of you - how did you meet and start playing music together? Do you think you’ll adopt more members?

Who would be on your dream line-up to play a gig with?

I think we met through mutual friends and just became gradually closer. Basically, Fielding kind of broke up before Jake played drums in it, but we lived together and it just seemed like a waste to not carry it on with one of your best buds. I’m unsure about more people, I don’t think so. Fielding has always been a two-piece, even in my head before even starting it up. What inspires you and your song writing? I’m not really sure with that; there’s definitely stick-out bands but when writing songs I don’t sit down with the intention of writing a song. We just kind of noodle about and piece bits together.

Recently, we’ve played some gigs which personally I never would’ve thought happening, such as playing with Glitterer and playing the farewell show for Sport. There’s loads of bands we’d love to play with, but we just really like playing with our friends here in Leeds Do you have any plans for the near future? I think our plans for the future are to write more and maybe venture back into the older sound, but that’s uncertain, just play it by ear maybe.

“There’s loads of bands we’d love to play with, but we just really like playing with our friends here in Leeds...” Image by Jacob Whiting

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Introducing...

Comprised of some of Leeds’ finest musicians, The Golden Age of TV deliver luscious,

@thegoldenageoftv

emotive vocals over spiky guitar hooks and intelligent drum patterns. After taking some time off, the LCoM graduates are re-emerging onto the scene with their signature off-kilter guitar pop.

You’ve been a band in Leeds for a while, becoming a household name in some circles. How would you describe the music

personal level means writing is such an easy process; everything comes together so well. You’re all amazing musicians.

Bea: It’s strange, the lyrics may start out personal, but when performed they can have a whole new meaning in front of

scene in Leeds?

How do you write/compose songs together?

an audience. I also try to make my words relatable to anyone, so it’s as if I take on a character and I’m telling a story or describing a feeling, and not necessarily one that has anything to do with me. It can depend on the theme, of course, as some of our songs really hit me every time we perform them. I’ll leave that for you to figure out which ones hehe.

The music scene in Leeds is an absolute buzz; it’s so exciting! No matter what the vibe or genre, there’s always something going on all week. We love it. It’s just nice to get involved with stuff like the Nice People compilation - and what a pleasure to be alongside loadsa reet bloody amazing bands/our mates. You can see from the way you interact on stage that you’re all really great mates. What’s it like playing and writing together? It started out as a project between close friends and, as the band has progressed, our connection has grown too. We’re like a right daft family. Honestly, we’re all a bit weird but have an incredible understanding for each other. Having that understanding on a

Our songwriting process is something that’s more or less stayed the same since we started, and it can really vary! Sometimes one of us will bring in a short idea, and the rest of the band will follow and write around it. Other times, songs will emerge and grow from a jam. Either way, we tend to vet new songs for quite a while before we move on or decide to record them. The understanding of each other mentioned before means we always have to be happy as a unit - if one person isn’t comfortable with the writing or the progress, it won’t work. All about teamwork! Your lyrics hold quite a lot of meaning. Do you find song writing and performing personally therapeutic?

You’ve been a little silent recently. What have you got up your sleeves? We just spent some time writing and thinking about all the (kind of boring) admin stuff that goes with being in a band. It was a nice little breather, but we’re super giddy to be gigging again. We can’t wait to share the new tunes we’ve been working on!

“We’re like a right daft family...”

Image by Solay Elibol

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Introducing...

@lunapinesuk

Fusing ambient electronica and heart-melting vocal hooks, Luna Pines’ atmospheric tracks

are addictive, captivating and original. Following the successful release of single ‘Uneven’, synth-player and band co-founder Lotte van den Berg talks about the band’s future.

Your sound is very unique and is continually developing. What inspires your sound? There’s loads of stuff that influences our sound, stemming from bands like The Japanese House, Bon Iver, Tycho and The 1975. I’m a huge fan of producers like Mike Sapone and Mike Crossey, who heavily inspire our production. Films are also a big inspiration for us; a reviewer of one of our tracks said our music was like ‘soundtracks to movies that don’t exist’, which I though was super cool. I love movie soundtracks and I often think about music very visually when we’re creating it, there are certain scenes and colours that come into my head with some songs. What’s your song writing process usually like? I’ll come up with a very basic idea, and then Ryan will come round and layer some guitar and melody ideas. Ryan is such an incredible songwriter and comes up with things I just wouldn’t — together our ideas essentially make our sound. Me and Ryan have written a lot of our tunes

Your production is unreal. How did you learn and when did you discover that it was something you want to pursue? Thank you so much! I really only started properly getting into it in the second year of uni. I became really obsessed with the clean and polished production of 80s music and really wanted to refine my production to sound like that. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily naturally talented at stuff, but I work really hard. If I don’t know how to do something production wise I will work until I the vision in my head for that sound or song becomes a reality. It can become annoying sometimes as I will obsess over

it until it’s right and actually lose sleep over it quite often haha. Is there anyone you would dream of playing with one day? Oooo that’s a good question. I would love to play with all of the influences I mentioned above of course, and also people like Marika Hackman and bands like Explosions In The Sky - they’re an instrumental post rock band who also did soundtracks for movies like Lone Survivor and Friday Night Lights (my favourite movie.) If we could support them one day, that’d be so surreal. What’s next for Luna Pines? We have a load of shows coming up around the UK, and new material ready to go. A month ago we released our last single ‘Uneven’ which did really well for us, so we’d like to release another tune soon for sure. We have an exclusive tune for the Nice People compilation called ‘good luck and do your best’ too. We also have some very exciting tour news coming soon, but I can’t say anything about that just yet!

“I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily naturally talented at stuff, but I work really hard...”

Image by Nigel Allison

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in a couple of hours, I find it so easy and comfortable to write with him. Rob and me are both drummers, which is cool because we always get two perspectives on the beats. I find our music is very drum focussed a lot of the time and we always try to come up with really original beats. Rob is the best drummer I know and a complete beast behind the kit on our live shows; he has a certain style that just brings our tunes to life live.

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NICE PEOPLE MAGAZINE PRESENTS...

5.10.19

COMPILATION I

10 Tracks. 10 Bands. 1 Vinyl.

FEATURING...

Van Houten, Roe Green, Koyo, Jooloosooboo, The Golden Age of TV, jellyskin,

Available at Jumbo Records, Come Play With Me,

Long Legged Creatures, Fielding, Shaku & Luna Pines

Hyde Park Book Club, Eiger Studios and our online shop.

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In conversation with...

“I like sloshing it all about and loosening my grip on design and layout...” Words by Hannah Stokes

I’ve always loved to draw and paint” explains illustrator George Addy, the artist behind the cover of Nice People’s upcoming compilation vinyl. Evolving from this early love of art making, George admits that it was the animated sci-fi film Fantastic Planet (1973) that made him take his work more seriously. After this nudge towards experimenting with new techniques, George was motivated to apply for the Illustration course at Leeds Arts University. Indeed, while scrolling through George’s Instagram you can see the resemblance some of his work bears to the contorted creatures and surreal landscapes of the 1973 film. With Fantastic Planet providing this early source of inspiration, George explains how the ideas behind his work are constantly changing; feeling most inspired when “I’m on my own, my working space is clean and I’ve got nothing else to do”. Alongside changing inspirations, George admits that his way of working is also something that is constantly developing as he continues to play with new methods of art making: “It’s a weird one. I don’t really have a signature style or process, but I have a way I draw things and capture moods and I hope that gets reflected through the work I make.” George elaborates that whilst his creative process follows a logical progression - beginning with research that he then translates into sketches before devising a final composition - he rarely has an end image in mind: “It depends on if there’s a brief or not. If someone wants something quite particular then I usually know how it’s going to go. But if the brief is well open like this album cover has been, then I don’t know what it’s going to be like. That’s the best way to work for me.”

George Addy is a young illustrator in Leeds painting murals (and even bathrooms) across the city. The mind behind the artwork of Nice People Magazine’s Compilation I vinyl, George is an artist with a brilliant imagination and a unique flair.

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

Discussing the research and inspirations behind his artwork for Nice People Compilation I, George explains how he has recently been looking at Buddhist paintings. Inspired not only by their colour palettes and compositional attributes, George appreciates how they are often “Illustrating the meditative state”. Looking at the compilation album

cover, this influence becomes instantly clear. The artwork is a serene, but nevertheless intricate, puzzle of islands connected by bridges and flowing pathways, temple-like structures, winding bonsai trees and dusty pink and purple clouds, scattered with charming illustrations of fish, birds, monkeys and even a flying pig. This focus on nature was what stood out for George in Buddhist paintings,and is something he has obviously tried to replicate within the dreamy world he has created for Nice People Magazine. Whilst working on commissions such as the Compilation I cover, George has also painted a number of murals (and even a bathroom!) around Leeds: “I really love painting large scale.” George reveals. “I like sloshing it all about and loosening my grip on design and layout. It’s hard to get everything onto a piece of paper sometimes, so working bigger gives me freedom and creativity to always try new techniques. It’s ace to work outside too!”. Continuing to work in paint, George divulges that he is working on a series of canvases for an exhibition he would like to organise in the future. When asked more about his future aspirations, George simply explains: “At the minute my practice is just on the side. I’d like one day to just do creative stuff and get by too; what a dream that would be.”. As well as this series of paintings, George is also working on another album cover (for his brother’s album, entitled Adlab-1995) and has also been commissioned to paint another large-scale mural, this time in Armley. Be sure to look out for this if you’re in the area in the coming months. If you’re in the mood for escapism without leaving your room, look no further than George’s hypnotic cover for the Nice People Compilation I, available from October 5th at Hyde Park Book Club, Come Play With Me, Jumbo Records, Eiger Studios and the Nice People online shop.

Hannah Stokes

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Behind The Cover...

Meet Mike Winnard, the Leeds-based illustrator and artist behind this Issue’s cover. Meg Firth asks him about his creative processes, how he takes inspiration from surroundings and how to deal with creative block.

M

ike Winnard has a mesmerising ability to capture the special nuances of people and places within the lines of his artwork. Merging realistic portraits with abstract yet beautifully balanced colours, Winnard has a sharp and observant flair for detail. Growing up on the outskirts of Hastings on the South Coast, Winnard has always had an affinity with making things. During a childhood filled with building Lego worlds, playing with Plasticine and crafting Warhammer models, Winnard muses how he often used drawing as a distraction: “ I always remember drawing being more fun that whatever was being said at school, and got really into it initially through comic books and watching Dragonball Z”. Today, you can find Winnard blissfully hunched over a sketch pad as he works on his next magnum opus. Frequenting venues and bars like Hyde Park Book Club and Brudenell Social Club on rainy evenings, Winnard feeds off the energy in the room when tending to his creative works: “I love working late at night with music on while everything’s still outside. Bigger works are great to do at gigs and in clubs where there’s loads of energy flying around to feed off”. Evidently from this Issue’s cover, which features some of Leeds’ finest musicians, Winnard has a fantastic eye for capturing an individual’s subtle character traits within a sketch. With clever brush strokes and precise colouring, Winnard’s work spans from dystopian landscapes, fantastical utopias and colour-splashed realism. Winnard mentions that his creative process, which starts off with “Waking up, doing some yoga, reading for a bit and drinking

my bodyweight in coffee”, involves reading before starting the day: “I’m really into novels by people like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alejo Carpentier and Mikhail Bulgakov. ones that sometimes get categorised as ‘magical realism’. I just read Omeros by Derek Walcott too; that blending of myth, magic and everyday reality is definitely something that influences my work”. Living in Leeds and working as the Co-director at Assembly House Artist Studios and Project Space, Winnard is certainly a resident of Leeds’ rich creative scene. Alongside working at the artistled gallery and studios, Winnard has also created artwork for independent bands and events across Yorkshire. Having designed the album artwork for collectives and bands such as Tight Lines, Cattle and Sifaka, Winnard is well immersed in the city’s multi-faceted and vibrant DIY creative scene: “There’s a massive history of DIY creativity in Leeds and I think that attitude seeps into loads of what’s going on now; people are starting their own labels, nights, galleries, venues…” Winnard reflects. “Unlike in maybe London, where a lot of people are focussed on their career moves, here there isn’t that same commercial market for a lot of creatives. The ethos here is more about honing your craft and pushing what you do to be the best it can. It’s great seeing collaborations across creative fields too”. It’s no secret that being able to work full time as an artist is often hard to achieve. With high competition and companies typically not valuing artists’ time, making a living as a freelance artist can be challenging. This, hand in hand with the millennial pressure to be constantly busy, is intimidating for many aspiring creatives. “Everyone says working really hard and putting the hours in

Illustration © Mike Winnard

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© Mike Winnard

“It helps me to think of ideas as something that are external, not as a bottomless supply that you can mine without replenishing.They find you when the time and conditions are right...” is crucial, but I see being constantly busy as the enemy not the end-goal,” advises Winnard. “Find a contemplative practice that works for you and use it as an anchor. Whether it’s running, yoga, meditation, swimming, keeping a journal or whatever; if you can find something you love to do that helps build focus and attention, it’ll serve you much more than trying to work yourself ragged for the sake of it”. Another hurdle is creative block, which is something Winnard reckons everyone experiences: “If your creative practice forms your income, it’s easy to slip into seeing it as a switch you can flick on and off. I don’t think there’s one particular fix as sometimes what’s needed is discipline to work through bad results until you get something good - and other times its better to just go sit in a field! It helps me to think of ideas as something that’s external, which can find you when the time and conditions are right, not as a bottomless supply that you can mine without replenishing”. With this year coming to an end, Winnard is exploring other paths of his craft: “I’m really fascinated by the potential of moving image work at the moment. I’ve been learning some animation software and I’m hoping to do a few collaborative projects with dancers and poets this winter”.

Meg Firth

All illustrations used with kind permission from the artist © Mike Winnard

‘John Coltrane’ © Mike Winnard

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Come Play With Me is the independent record label in Leeds signing some of the best rising acts. Andrea Loftus catches up with founder Tony Ereira to find out how his label is switching up the music scene in Leeds.

W

ith the Summer coming to an end, it is likely that every bored youth with a guitar has had ample time to form the next Nirvana. However, with a saturated market and an increasingly competitive music scene, what’s the next step for all of these budding musicians? Tony Ereira, the mastermind behind ‘Come Play With Me’, an independent record label and social enterprise creating opportunities and safe spaces within the music industry is here to recognise those in Leeds. Basing the project in the city was partly circumstantial, with Tony already living here; when the place you live is “Awash with so much amazing talent”, it’s really a no brainer. Basing the label in Yorkshire’s crowning glory paid off, and continues to do so as Tony admits, “We’ve never felt constrained by the quality of new music being made” here, and the creative chaos that cascades through a student based city promises that there is only more to come. Set up as a Community Interest Company, CPWM is a non-profit that reinvests everything “To identify ever more exciting talent”. Bodacious beats and big personalities are aplenty when it comes to the artists that have worked with the label, including the likes of Marsicans, Uncle Buzzard, Faux Pas and Talkboy to name a few. Who knows, maybe your band will be on one of CPWM’s fresh 7” split vinyls sooner rather than later.

Faux Pas

Words by Andrea Loftus

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Illustration by Rosie Collins (@rrosieart) Nice People Magazine October 2019

The music industry is not always a safe space, but Tony believes that progress is being made in Leeds venues and “Hopefully we’ve helped a part of it”. Leeds is a treasure trove of quirky cafes, basement clubs and homely bars all hosting an eclectic mix of artists. However, more recently these venues have made a conscious effort to focus on representation, as Tony notes that even though “There’s always been a rich vein of diverse activity coming out of [places like] Wharf Chambers”, it seems to have trickled through the city’s side streets to reach “all the great folks who are running open, inclusive events”. Along with staff at Brudenell Social Club, CPWM has also organised training events with Music:Leeds and The

Good Night Out campaign to “Arm local promoters, including ourselves, with what to do in the event of inappropriate activity at our gigs”. Nevertheless, the label still recognises the need for a “Truly level playing field” for women and minorities in music, and how “This is an issue that we all need to keep plugging away at”. Tony is quick to add that CPWM works to “Push progression routes and opportunities for all under-represented groups”. For the third successive year, the label is hosting ‘Women in Music’ and ‘LGBTQ The Music’ events to “Create discussion, networking opportunities, signposting and role models for those demographics” in music. Tony was especially proud of the presence of an LGBTQ BAME panel, as “These events can sometimes have a habit of being all a bit too white”. Tony proudly throws in that over the weekend of the 19th and 20th of October, alongside ‘HerFest’ (a full female line-up headlined by The Orielles), CPWM will be hosting ‘Colour Me In’, an alldayer of queer artists in Leeds. Tony’s creative cascades go further than his vinyl club. As a previous trustee for the charity CALM, he found that in music “It was pretty clear that so many of the people we work with were juggling mental health challenges of their own and, refreshingly, often talking about them”. After trying to start a collaborative blog, he instead reigned in photographer Andrew Benge, editor of Counterfeit magazine, and crafted a CPWM publication to “Get under the skin of all things music”. Keen to ensure the magazine wasn’t just another preview / review clog in the machine, Tony wanted to create something that “Looked and felt great” as aesthetics is always “Integral to everything”. Featuring Ad space for the likes of Girl Gang Leeds, Both Sides Now and Her Music PR, the magazine is not only an aesthetic dream with refined shots and content from the likes of Queen Zee, White Lies and Slowthai, it’s an example of how inclusive and innovative print can be in the right hands.

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“Be the positive role models for the change you want to see” So, if you’re in a musical rut and not sure how to go up an octave on the music career scale, this might just be the helping hand you never knew you needed. It’s evident from his hectic schedule that CPWM keeps Tony & Co very busy, so he advises that trying to “Grab us at a gig or one of our events” will save you sitting by your laptop waiting for a reply that might take “A while”. Another option to ping onto their radar is to let your tunes do the talking and “Submit a track to one of our submission rounds” that you can find out about by keeping an eye on their socials [listed below].

> UPCOMING GIGS

Music is a chaotic clash of press, print, previews and performance, leaving you not knowing if you’re coming or going. CPWM piloted a mentoring initiative offering support and guidance to musicians, and despite loss of funding, Tony still believes that “We all benefit from talking through our plans to someone that’s ‘Been there, done that’”. Even for Tony, running the label involves challenging decisions that he hopes will pay off. For instance, streamlining “The Singles Club model to work more closely over a longer term”. This worked between the label and Talkboy, a six piece indie-rock band from Leeds, and was ultimately a decision Tony doesn’t regret “One bit”. As long as “Brexit doesn’t leave the singles pressed and stranded on the wrong side of the Channel tunnel”, the next Singles Club release should land at the end of this year. In terms of what’s next for CPWM, Tony hopes to collaborate even more than he has done this year, which saw the label craft two split releases with under-the-radar Japanese labels. Yet, it’s the community ambience of Leeds, where “Everyone is always so keen and willing to collaborate”, that makes Tony more keen to see where it goes “With the artists we’re currently working with”. A final note that emulates Come Play With Me’s organic and refreshing position in the music business is their belief that inspiring change can only come about if, as an audience and consumer, we all “Engage and initiate more conscious decisions with what we buy and who we see”. As a musician, in order to raise the industry’s representation bar and help everyone up to reach it, it’s essential to “Be the positive role models for the change you want to see”. Andrea Loftus

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... & MANY MORE

Image: Faux Pas by Meg Firth (@megfirthphoto)

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Hosting accessible workshops and the wildest of parties, Party Mom Society provide a safe space for anyone to come together, cut shapes and let their hair down. Meg Firth talks to co-founder Emma about how the collective are recalibrating the party and arts scene here in Leeds and their goals for the future.

S

tep inside the loving nest of Party Mom Society and you’ll never want to leave. Hosting a roost of inclusive and accessible events, the Party Moms are the mother hens who want you to have the best time possible. From drag nights to valuable skills workshops, the Party Moms are creating a space where anyone can come and learn, party and make friends for life. It all started at a family party at co-founder Caitlin’s home in Stockport: “She’s got this tiny little house and it was just crammed full of all her family. We were the youngest people there, it was all older people - real party moms.” After spending the day drinking home-brewed cocktails and dancing to Madonna, the idea for Party Moms blossomed: “It was just this really wholesome family party vibe and we were just thinking that this is what nights should be like; people not worried about looking cool and just really getting into it, feeling like they can be really silly and have no judgement whatsoever.” It’s this atmosphere of no judgement that influences everything the Party Moms do. Taking a stand against the ‘too-cool-to-really-dance’ vibe of most nights out, Emma, Lily, Caitlin and Courtney provide a space where people from all walks of life can come and really let their hair and wigs - down. Having already hosted an antipageant called Mr Glam Monaco Supreme - Mr Glam for short - the four were inspired to throw more fun and inclusive parties.

Words by Meg Firth Illustration by @beefysquarms

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

Inclusivity and accessibility are at the front of the Party Mom’s minds: “Lily and I both have chronic pain, so in terms of accessibility it’s something we think about. We want to be mums and look after people.” The Party Moms are your mums-away-from home, taking you under their wing and ensuring you are looked after well. They have a safe space policy that ensures that the warm family atmosphere of their events is always upheld: “It’s all about being supportive and listening and being non-judgemental, kind of what a mum should be. Just being empathetic and understanding that everyone has these different experiences,” Emma explains. “We want to create a space where people can experiment as well. I think people are just experimenting with their gender and sexuality, so creating a space where people feel safe and comfortable to try out different things and conform to certain binaries. There’s no right way to be queer, there’s no right way to be a guy or a girl. There are no labels.” Party Moms not only create a space for everyone, but also a platform for first-time performers, artists and musicians to build confidence. Emma explains that this important element isn’t necessarily intentional, but “comes with that supportive environment where people who have never performed before and creating a space where they can do that.” Attracting a crowd of beautiful characters and creatives, the Party Moms showcase the plethora of talent and nice people in Leeds: “Everyone we

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All images © Emma Bentley Fox (@emmabfox)

“We want to create a space where people can experiment...

... There’s no right way to be queer; there’s no right way to be a guy or

Caitlin Gale

Emma Bentley Fox

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work with is so nice. It’s such a community and I love everyone we work with. Emma is quick to mention Mark McDiva (@markmcdiva), formerassociate-editor-at-The Gryphon-turned-partyhost: “He does a lot at Wharf Chambers now. He started DJing with us and now he’s doing lots of his own events which is so nice to see.” Similarly, with the queens and performers who explode onto the stage at their events, Emma also mentions Victoria Boyden (@veedagger): “We met her maybe two years ago, and she had just moved to Leeds from Taiwan so didn’t really know anyone. As soon as we met I just knew she was cool. She’s grown so much since we met her, and our last event where she performed. She did the most amazing performance - she dressed up as a fallen angel, and she had glitter that she was throwing up in these shimmering clouds. It was at a working men’s club and it was just really special.” Their recent event at Hyde Park Book Club - a barn dance-inspired drag night called ‘The Summer Hoe-down Extravaganza’ - encapsulated everything that the Party Moms are about. Descending on the Hyde Park cafe-bar in assless chaps, stetsons and mid-wash jeans, the party folk of Leeds enjoyed a sensational night of Wild West debauchery. Eavesdropping on conversations in the smoking area, you’d hear the most loving and empowering conversations while complete strangers built each other up: “That’s one of the things I love; everyone just has such nice things to say. Sometimes you go out on nights out and everyone’s in the smoking area in their own groups, and what is nice about Party Mom events is that you can go out and people are just chatting to people they’ve never met before. I think that’s important because it’s bringing people together who’ve had different experiences, and providing a space for them to feel comfortable chatting with each other and sharing and then building relationships.”

Nice People Magazine October 2019

a girl. There are no labels.”

Courtney Dobbs

The Party Moms have been relatively quiet over Summer, but they haven’t hung up their party hats just yet. The Summer has been an opportunity for the three of them to reflect on what they’ve achieved so far and what they want to evolve into in the future. “I want to start working more with people who wouldn’t go on nights and getting them to the place where they would feel comfortable going to one,” Emma explains. “We had an email after the last event we put on, and this person was like ‘I’m a fat, non-binary person and I’ve never been on a queer night out before, but I went to yours and it was the best night of my life’”. With ambitions to host a range of creative skills tutorials and open decks workshops, the Party Moms want to branch out into creating a space where people can come and learn and refine their skills. Emma mentions street art workshops: “As a scene that’s quite male-dominated, so taking stuff like that which isn’t maybe isn’t as accessible to trans and non-binary people.” “We also want to do sessions where people bring work - like some poetry or a book or a costume or a persona that they’re developing - and creating a space where people can get feedback in an environment that is positive, offering people encouragement and saying ‘what you’re doing is important and it is valid, it is art, keep doing it.’ Lots of people are doing sidehustles and sometimes people just need a bit of encouragement to continue doing it.” People like the Party Moms are important for a future of a diverse, inclusive and accessible creative scene, where everyone and anyone can grow into and be their best selves. In a world that is becoming increasingly hostile, the Party Moms are loving arms where anyone is welcome. Meg Firth

Lily Lavorato

Photography by Emma Bentley Fox (@emmabfox)

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When public expressions of self-love are on trend and the championing of nudity in popular culture is rife, Emma Low fits in perfectly. Armed with air-drying clay, an array of paints and a sharp attention to detail, the Scottish-born Leeds-based artist has turned crafting ‘tit pots’ into her full-time job.

W

hat started off as a homemade Christmas present for a then-boyfriend has grown into a hugely successful business over just a few years. However, this backstory doesn’t reflect the current nature of her work: “I think that’s kind of opposite to what Pot Yer Tits Away Luv has become. That was very much for the male gaze but that’s actually not at all what I’m about”. In fact, she claimed the pot back when they broke up: “I was like ‘hell no, you’re not keeping that artefact!’”, she laughs. Today, Emma has 74.6k followers on Instagram and her pots sell out almost instantly. In early 2017, Emma started making the pots with a wider audience in mind, before eventually quitting her former job. This transition wasn’t so easy, Emma recalls, as someone with no background of working on their own: “I was super overwhelmed and completely overworked. I’ve never worked for myself before; I don’t have any experience of running a business”, she says. “I’ve always had someone above me telling me what to do, so it was a massive shock to the system”. This, in turn, took its toll: “A lot of people work under pressure well and I’m not one of those people—I find it really disorientating”. Though Emma’s work is laced with humour and light-heartedness (read: selfies with self-deprecating captions, not to mention the brand’s name in itself), she is not shy about discussing her own sometimesturbulent mental health. Her solution? “I just have to listen to what my body is saying and try to do the best I can”.

Words by Safi Bugel Illustration by Emily Flanagan (@flazzle)

40

As a twenty-something with no formal art education, it is impressive that Emma has managed Nice People Magazine October 2019

to singlehandedly transform her hobby of crafting boobs out of clay into a full-time, self-run business. When I ask how she finds being her own boss, Emma flits between the pros and the cons: she likes the independence and the creative freedom but she admits the challenge of it. “It is hard. I have an existential crisis at least once a month”. Improving her time management and finding a new studio space has worked wonders for her motivation, meaning Emma can continue her work more efficiently and productivly. Intricately detailed and often tailored to specific individuals, Emma’s pots are deeply personal. Blemishes, piercings and body hair are noted without censorship. Whilst her business has grown in popularity, this sense of intimacy has not suffered at its expense. The trick? Maintaining an honest relationship between the customers and herself. Whilst Emma believes this trust is inherent due to the nature of her audience, she also follows a series of steps to ensure that confidentiality is kept. Emma is the only person who ever sees the photographs of her subject and they are deleted swiftly after the pot is completed, for example. Emma’s up-front social media presence also helps strengthen her credence: she often posts videos of herself “Talking shit” or recklessly shutting down trolls. The internet has drastically widened Emma’s audience, but it’s not all dandy being an artist in an age of omnipresent social media; from having to navigate technical problems like ‘shadow bans’ to putting up with mansplaining in her DMs. Thankfully, the latter, along with general negativity,

41


remains minimal and debates that ensue are mostly healthy ones. Despite the occasional criticism, Emma’s work has certainly helped to reduce the stigma attached to naked bodies. “Everyone’s body is worthy of recognition, regardless of what it looks like”, she says frankly. She’s keen to represent boobs that aren’t often shown in the mass media, especially not in a positive light. From asymmetrical nipples to cellulite, the pots reflect boobs across the board. Her followers help her to widen this scope, Emma explains: “There’s always someone who will send me a message like ‘I’ve not seen you do this’ or ‘have you thought about doing this?’”. Emma enjoys this interactive aspect and writes a list each month with new suggestions to try. A particularly rewarding commission Emma recalls involved a live session with someone who had had breast cancer and subsequent reconstructive surgery. The subject came to Emma’s house to have her chest emulated in clay before her, instead of just providing a photo. Emma looks forward to following this approach more in the future: “Now that I’ve said it and you’re gonna print it, I’m gonna have to do it”, she laughs. Despite her tremendous success, Emma worries about the trajectory of her craft: “Sometimes I don’t think it’s managed to stay fresh at all—I’m like, ‘is this stale now?’”. Though her follower count and diverse archive of pots clearly demonstrates otherwise, Emma suggests that this is a feeling shared by all creative people and makers. She also expresses a fear of subscribing to the patriarchy and nourishing a capitalist (and inherently misogynistic) system which profits from someone’s insecurity. It’s refreshing to see that there is someone so caring and self-aware behind it all. In the future, Emma looks forward to going beyond her tit pots, making ceramics with new materials. “I want to be more experimental, but I’ve been saying this for years”. In the meantime, though, she is trying to work on her own life beyond the business, exercising a thoughtfulness and sensitivity that is so central to her ethos. Safi Bugel

All images © Emma Low (@potyertitsawayluv)

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

All images © Emma Low (@potyertitsawayluv)

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Meet Let Them Play, the new art collective encouraging people to go back to their childish roots and integrate more play into everyday life. Meg Firth talks to co-founder Melissa Fund about the future of the collective and on the creative scene in the North.

H

ighlighting the importance of creativity, Let

thing for our project is that people are really open

Them Play create inclusive and interactive

to collaborating and there’s a collective energy that

spaces for all to enjoy. Their first event, ‘Starting

we have found really encouraging, especially as new

Steps’, transformed Hyde Park Book Club’s basement

additions to the scene”.

into a playground of music, interactive art and Compared to larger metropolitan cities, such as

gigs reach capacity and pints are lobbed across the

London, Leeds has a unique collaborative quality,

floor, Let Them Play converted the room into a space

where young creatives are eager to meet each other,

where you could spend the evening playing with

share ideas and create spaces that celebrate this

building blocks, drawing with friendly strangers and

ethos of communal creativity. Melissa is quick to

listening to the open decks DJs. It was a celebration

recognise some of the many creative spaces that

of creative thinking: “We all believe that creative

are unique to the city: “Inkwell Arts is a charitable

thinking is important, and should be integrated

organisation dedicated to using the arts for mental

more with every day life,” Melissa explains. “We

wellbeing. The work they do in Chapel Alperton is

found that we were drawn to rethinking event

amazing. There’s also Freehold Projects, which is a

spaces because, as students, these are the public

temporary space ran by Fine Art graduates in the

spaces we visit the most. We experiment with

centre of Leeds that offers free exhibition spaces for

encouraging play and active engagement within

artists. In terms of music and events, the work done

these spaces”.

by Sable radio, Equaliser, Brudenell Groove and Love Muscle have had the most impact on our ideas for

Words by Meg Firth

The minds behind Let Them Play met while studying

Let Them Play”.

at the University of Leeds. Moving in together,

Illustrations by Rachel McDermott (@illustrach)

44

like-minded people. Usually a space where sweaty

Nice People Magazine October 2019

they realised they shared the same enthusiasm for

Inclusivity and accessibility umbrella Let Them

art-making and the processes involved in curating

Play’s ethos as they strive to create spaces where

spaces for creative engagement. With a refreshing

anyone can come for a relaxed evening of play.

community feel, the collective fits in well with

Melissa explains: “We feel that club culture can

the thriving creative scene in Leeds: “Leeds is an

have an exclusive, one-dimensional feel to it.

incredible place to be living as a young creative

Let Them Play aims to create a more inclusive,

person - especially since we originally come from

interactive environment that allows people to

larger, more densely populated cities,” Melissa

have experiences outside of the normalised

reflects. “It feels like there are a lot more space and

boundaries of the standard club night. We

opportunity to experiment with our ideas. The best

are also keen to move outside of the

45 43


university bubble and attract people of all ages in living in Leeds”. When art and the scenes that surround it can often feel elitist and exclusionary, Let Them Play provide young artists with the confidence to showcase their work without fear of critique or judgement. As Melissa explains, “Creativity contributes to a sense of confidence that is completely independent. It pushes the people to learn and relearn things, consider different perspectives and develop a critical voice - all while exploring the things that interest you the most, with no rules or restrictions”. With Let Them Play, it is lovely to see people going back to their childish roots and playing with their creativity without any pressure of expectations. Melissa expresses that the collective are eager to host more events similar to their ‘Starting Steps’ launch night: “We are going to continue to use simple activities that allow people to engage with art and making in a relaxed environment. We’re interested in anything that requires a hands-on approach! We’re considering what could be done with engagements involving Leeds-based artists”. Leeds is certainly not short of artists, illustrators and makers who are keen to share their craft with others. With co-founders Melissa and Caela venturing abroad to Germany and the Netherlands in the next year, it is exciting to think of Let Them Play’s ethos spreading beyond Leeds. With hopes to host more events in the coming year, keep an eye out and an evening free for Let Them Play.

All images © Let Them Play (@weareletthemplay)

46

Meg Firth

Nice People Magazine October 2019

47


L

ike the living room of an eccentric friend, Cole’s Gallery is a nourishing contrast to the sanitised, white-washed art galleries that we’ve come to know and expect. Nestled in the energetic hive of Kirkgate Market, the gallery is a welcome island of tranquility in a sea of bartering, bargaining and trade. Like the living room of an eccentric friend, Cole’s Gallery is a nourishing contrast to the sanitised, white-washed art galleries that we’ve come to know and expect. Nestled in the energetic hive of Kirkgate Market, the gallery is a welcome island of tranquility in a sea of bartering, bargaining and trade. But that’s not to say the market is an inappropriate location for a new art gallery. Joss Cole, the gallery’s founder, picked the location to be a lightning rod for creatives across the region in the beating heart of Leeds city centre. With trademark Yorkshire honesty, Joss is straightforward in his attitude towards the gallery: “It’s somewhere to talk about paintings,” he smiles. He’s being humble. As if plucked from the saltflecked shores of Whitby, this is a gallery with soul. Showcasing some of Yorkshire’s most talented artists, the walls are adorned floor to ceiling in flavours of the county, all composed in different styles, shapes and strokes. There’s a youthful, airy feel to the display space that puts you at ease as soon as you cross the threshold. The many paintings, selected and curated by Joss himself, are what sets this gallery apart. As Joss explains, he’s looking to create a communityfirst, people-over-profit space where everyone can experience art at their own pace: “It’s an antidote to the grandiose commercial gallery,” he says, “This isn’t about intimidating art space, it’s about a wholesome variety that’s inclusive of new artists in the region.”

Not your typical arts space Slap-bang in the centre of Leeds, Cole’s Gallery is a small haven decorated by local artists. Founder Joss Cole talks to Yasmine Rahemtulla about how his new gallery redefines our impression of the art world by placing people, not profit, at the centre of creative places.

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

From North Yorkshire, Joss is a Loughborough School of Art and Design graduate, receiving his MA at Wimbledon before founding the gallery in April this year. His career as an artist complements his curation of this vibrant gallery, in that he’s well aware of the struggles for young creatives to achieve commercial success in the UK. Joss’ art is on the walls, but so is that of talented young people at the beginning of their careers. In October, the gallery will be showcasing the work of Hannah Buchanan, whose soft landscape impressions caught Joss’ eye at the University of Leeds Fine Art degree show this summer. Hannah graduated this year - so Cole’s Gallery has been quick to offer a helping hand to this promising young painter. Cole’s Gallery is a reflection of Joss’ kind-spirited belief in the potential of creative expression as a means to bond new communities together: “There

are a lot of enthusiastic artists in Yorkshire,” he explains, “but a lot of it exists in pockets.” We’re sure Joss would never say this himself, but Cole’s Gallery is a golden opportunity to unite the hodgepodge of makers scattered generously over Yorkshire’s rolling hills. But Joss is clear that his new gallery is as much about the entire community as it is about creatives. Every month, the gallery donates the proceeds from a designated ‘Cause Painting’ to a different charity; during Pride Month, Joss sent the proceeds to LGBT+ support group Stonewall. Cole’s Gallery is also a key part of the grassroots art fair that takes place at the bottom end of Kirkgate Market on the third Saturday of every month. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a haven of colourful inspiration for busy shoppers passing through the city centre. If you want to find this jewel in Kirkgate’s crown, keep an eye out for the emerald frontage and golden lettering that gleams a stone’s throw from the M&S, on the Vicar Lane edge of the Grade-I listed market. A pleasant pit-stop for grocery shoppers or a calm sanctuary for art-lovers, Cole’s Gallery is a welcoming, independent and friendly place to stop by - worth visiting just to have a chat with Joss about his latest finds. Yasmine Rahemtulla and Alex King Illustrations by Joshua Pell (@pelltopsy)

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Behind the lens...

Nigel Allison | @unevenedits

Tom Nixon met Nigel just over a year ago at Hyde Park Book Club. It was raining and he was sat editing some of his images that caught Tom’s eye. He has since become a photographic staple around the Leeds gig scene; it’s rare to a show without seeing him crouched down looking for his unique and unusual angles. TN: When did you start shooting? NA: It was around three or four years ago. I got an iPhone and started taking photos of architecture and realised I have a bit of an eye for symmetry. About six months later, I got a digital camera; six months after that a friend of mine got me into film photography and I’ve never looked back. He also showed me how to develop my own film, which is one of the ways I cut down costs. The developing also adds to me enjoying the process. There is a nice surprise element when you scan the photos in, or when you look at the negative and think ‘Oh I remember that shot’”. Hanibl x Dante playing Nice People’s Issue 4 Party

Why do you dedicate so much to what you do? I think that is something I’m still trying to answer. Initially, I think it’s because I can produce images that I am proud of. Not all of the time, but a lot of the love for it lies in the process of being able to capture something that looks and feels interesting.

Why do you primarily use black & white film? I’m a really big fan of contrast: I love heavy blacks. In the developing process, I’m more attuned to pushing the film to try and get as much contrast as possible. It’s one thing less you have to worry about in comparison to colour; you don’t have to think about how the colours work.

Words by Tom Nixon Illustration by Bea Fletcher (@bfdoodle) Photography by Nigel Allison (@unevenedits)

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

at Hyde Park Book Club

You started mainly doing street photography; what made you start shooting gigs? I first started shooting gigs because I was looking for something different to try. I messaged a few bands and asked if I could go down and take some photos. The first gig I shot was in 2018 and it was Tugboat Captain at The Fox & Newt. The lighting conditions were really bad but some came out actually looking ok, which spurred me on. I think film lends itself quite well to music. It gives me a bit of extra grain and atmosphere. I found that I didn’t get that with digital. I tried digital at a gig once, but the reason I chose film was to get something a bit different. When I started using film, it was a test to see how to do it and if I could. Then when they came out ok I just stuck with that going forward.

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You have chosen two photos to show us, what is this first one? This particular image is of Lowkey, a rapper I’d wanted to see for ages. Some of the images came out too overexposed and bright; but then for some, like this one, the conditions were perfect.

there is a huge difference between them. With MC’s or rap artists, their microphone is generally to their mouth. But with bands, they usually step off away from the mic. When an artist starts playing, you’ll find that they do specific things, whether it’s the way that they dance or the way they move or how the band interacts together, they will generally do that repeatedly. Because I only have a limited number of shots, I will think: ‘Right, that’s the shot I want to get’ and I will wait for it to happen. That’s something I picked up from street photography, waiting for that composition to come into place.

Right: Commuters leaving the New York subway

You recently had a brief visit in New York and you’re currently working on a zine of the images you captured there. Although you were only there for 20 hours in total, how was it to shoot in New York? Because I was only there for a limited time I was dashing through the city. There was no pressure to take amazing photos or to produce something that was fantastic, which I think ended up meaning that I made something better. When I passed through New York, I captured images like a woman on the street in a tutu, a sequence o a fire engine and the picture of people coming out of the station [see overleaf]. It’s simple but I love it. When you go to new places everything just feels different.

Right:

KRS-One at Brudenell

Social Club

Who have been some of your favourite artists/ events to shoot? Lowkey at Belgrave Music Hall Shot on OM1 Film - HP5 @ 160

Because I also do a lot of street photography, I try to bring that element into gigs composition-wise.

At the moment; Morpher, Kojey Radical and Hanibl X Dante. Leeds is full of just great venues and great music. I am really lucky to be in the epicentre of music. Living in Hyde Park is great, music is everywhere. Throw a rock and you will most likely hit a musician. Music was always something I have been into, but more passively. Whereas now I feel like

What angles can I find? What can I use around me: the crowd, or the speakers, or the microphone? Also, when you take photos of bands, as opposed to MC’s,

I have become a lot more interested in it, and all that is because of photography. It’s been great meeting musicians and becoming a fan of their music.

This image demonstrates your great use of angles, is that something you focus on?

Right:

‘Directions’

Communters in Madrid All images used with kind permission from the artist © Nigel Allison

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

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Pop the Kettle on, Let’s Talk. Tackling the stigma around mental health, one brew at a time.

T

alking about your mental health can seem

health issues and are less likely to seek help. Within

intimidating; vulnerability and a fear of

the LGBTQI+ community, people can be at a higher

judgement are menacing enough to prevent anyone

risk of experiencing a mental health problem than

from opening up about their feelings, especially if

the wider population. Stonewall found that 52%

they’ve never talked about them before. There’s no

of LGBTQI+ people experienced depression in the

better way to talk about your feelings than over a

past year, with one in seven LGBTQI+ people (14%)

cuppa, and that’s where Ground Up Coffee Co. steps

avoiding professional help for fear of discrimination

in. With the aim to break down mental health stigma

from staff. Meanwhile, people from BAME

by offering support over one shared brew at a time,

backgrounds are more likely to hesitate seeking help

Ground Up is a safe space to open up about your

(Mind), while asylum seekers and refugees are more

mental health.

likely to experience higher rates of depression, PTSD and other anxiety disorders (Independent) and don’t

Situated in the Corn Exchange, the not-for-profit

always have access to professional help.

cafe is just an ideal coffee spot at first glance. Yet, the aim behind the project is to encourage people

These statistics show that it is important for

who are struggling with their mental health to talk

a society to talk about mental health. Through

about what’s on their mind. Whether you need to

conversation, empathy and understanding, mental

express your feelings to a kind and understanding

health issues are normalised and, for some,

stranger, or just need a quiet break around some

diminished. If you feel that a conversation will

friendly faces, Ground Up is the place to visit.

help with what’s on your mind, pop in for a brew at Ground Up

Everyday life has a big impact on our mental health:

or pop the kettle on with an

approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience

understanding loved one.

a mental health problem each year (Mind). It is also

Words by Meg Firth

For more help and information

ideals play a large role in individuals avoiding

on recognising and coping with

talking about their problems. Due to a range of

mental health issues,

factors, such as discrimination and inequalities,

visit mind.org.uk.

those who are unemployed or identify as LGBTQI+

Illustrations by Maisy Lewin-Sanderson (@maisysummer)

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important to recognise that cultural and religious

Nice People Magazine October 2019

or BAME are particularly susceptible to mental

Meg Firth

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The rude, the crude, the blessed Brude The hostage of our multitude. Vodka ‘O’s’ on nervous benches Bar mat draughts and bathroom stenches Here’s carpet chintz, and pool room stints But glints and hints of student prints. Amongst the leathered, older patrons Spot the washed out denim aprons The dungarees, the ripped jean knees, Pink hair, piercings, rolled up sleeves. This club was for old working men But, then again, It’s said that when The young themselves are brought to working They may adopt a certain lurking Tendency for boozy slurping (Not usurping) In hideaways of 70’s buffets With disco light dances, scotch egg romances, Pie and mash passions, and ill thought-out fashions.

The Brude by Theo Beecroft

Illustrations by Joshua Pell (@pelltopsy)

The tongue’s rusty, the gutter’s gusty, The wander lust, we really must be Getting along, jetting along, Shoes on, cruise on, moving on, hon. Down by the hills and the tarmac glitter Down with the dogs and the swirling litter. Cross the road, and past the park, cross the lights, and through the dark. By moaners, groaners, out-on-their-owners, Loners, stoners, cold-to-the-boners, Who loom in gloom And bark of doom By uber cruisers, Student boozers, Off licenced neon, These pavements to be on. Beneath the sky, that sullen bully, Beneath the moon, all slapped up fully, We wind towards the shuttered light, The smoking crowd, the gig tonight. Spy that thin, fluorescent glare Of burger joints? We’re nearly there.

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

Now here’s my man, the pimpled spider, Teenaged, tattooed, pulling cider, Ale, and bitter, brownish goop, For the clientele, a motley group. Sweet faces, braces, Braced for beauty yet to come Though some have found they’ve found someone: People’s daughters, people’s sons. The panel of flannel all lined up to trammel The hearts and parts of nervous men. Oh, how they bawl and hate it when Their heaters burn their best wife beaters. Here are barista’s, check out drones Here’s service workers, some sell phones, Or shuffle stock, and watch the clock As they hawk frocks and smocks and socks. Yet here are painters, singers, dancers, Mathematician’s checking answers. Here sit chemists, linguistic specialists, Columnists, pianists, journalists, hedonists. Twenty somethings on the march. Come on, Let’s get a drink, I’m parched

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Rolling in, here’s your mate Justin, Just in time for the drummer dusting Off his sticks. His kick drum kicks And keys chime ‘gainst the exposed bricks Whilst the bassist makes calm faces, The strings and brass take up their places. Umbro-ed angels harmonize, And rhapsodise of love and lies, And mull about mens vital bones Their snowflake flesh, their muscle tones. This rathole soul, this backroom glee. Let’s break off, shake off, come with me. We’ll smoke cheap cigarettes, Our epithets ‘ll fit us yet Or better yet You better get Another set Of tinnies, pet While I sing arias of amber leaves, Menthol melodies, Camel thieves. My lighter shrugs its shoulders, “click”. But a quick, stick man has his match stick lit. The flies whirl by, complicit demons, Fat and squat, they list and dream on Wet lipped rims and ash tray pools, The booji ones on vacant stools.

You’re back, thank Christ, and with libations May I voice my expectations? I’ve a theory ‘bout this place: It’s regulars, what they may face. In buildings, thus, we’ll match our parents Live their lives, get drunk, and pay rents. The days, the years, the hopes, the fears They stretch out further than we peer. See these girls with legs in zig zags? Their big bad eyes, their rag tag glad rags? See the way they holds their glasses Passive after too long classes? See the nebbish, coated boys? Their hand held toys, their scarves and ploys? See the old, the bright eyed new, Seedlings ripe-ning soon into Mendacious mendicants that bay and bray They’ll growl, aprowl, fallen astray, Or others, mothers, smothered in tots Assaulted by domestic rots, Or rotters, darlings, bo-ho starlings, Ones soon hooked to mid-day carlings. These future pacifists of future wars Their 2 legs tangled into fours, Four eyed, spectacled, outward bound On locomotives run to ground, They’ll be shot, trackside, through steam billows. These kids’ll lay ‘neath weeping willows. And yet, tonight, we drink and sit, in rooms the shade of tobacco spit, And all the world may be taken from us All the things that most become us, But tonight, This rare, un-common, nothing night, It is glorious to be alive.

Theo Beecroft

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Time Together by Angelica Krikler

She sometimes worked the night shift, waiting tables where people traced dicks in ketchup, thoughts wandering like clouds passing over the sun And then the light could be seen again. To the five minute cigarette break, and then to the ice cracking the world over, a shaken, not stirred, snow globe The different bins in their different locations, sugar packets that needed arranging, some tragedy somewhere else – or maybe here Past the shadows of a corner table was a window which showed a bridge, and beyond that a canal, which threw itself into invisible alleys Or else her face looked down to the left of the till, copying blocks of thick textbook into her mind, singing small songs Every daydream was another train she would never board – she longed for the uninterrupted, if that really existed She waited until the bitter end of her shift to close the blinds, where outside birds fucked each other on telephone wires It was that time of year, which felt familiar, for she too was born in a storm, although it didn’t say that on her name badge The last customer had not yet left; he watched her as she absentmindedly turned the pages of her textbook And the rain fell whilst she made her way to his end of the room, collecting spurned newspapers, as if she was walking on an overnight train They talked and moved with the same energy that made the universe, but most connections were made in silence: Hearts beat out of earshot, whilst the town froze, and hairy writers asked for another cup, ordered breakfast for people they had not made vows to She wanted to be any one of these characters, her arms wrapped around the breast of a dragon, floating above receipts Before the alarm sounded, she whispered softly ‘Stay with me, let’s move through time together’ Illustration by Becca Jones (@boneidol)

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Angelica Krikler Nice People Magazine October 2019

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Thank you to our backers. Here at Nice People, we’re all about spotlighting nice people doing nice things. There’s nothing nicer than the multi-faceted and vibrant DIY music scene here in Leeds, so we decided to celebrate our 1st birthday by bringing out a compilation vinyl featuring 10 of our favourite local bands. This silly dream was made possible by the support of our wonderful Kickstarter backers. Thank you all for your kindness and for taking a punt on under-the-radar music in Leeds.

Thank you to: Caroline Meyer, Joanne Nixon, Hannah Platt, Janet Jones, Ben King, Amy Hall, Amber, Hannah Stokes, Nigel Allison, Jemima Skala, Jembo, Abbie, Sasha, Tony Ereira, Joanna Tibbles, Sarah Oglesby, Tim Wheeler, Olivia Andrews, Rachel Flannagan, Joe Kenway, Lois Jones, Neil Hodgson, Jason Sadler, Andy Mills, Elžbieta Vilkelytė, Joseph Stimpson, Ellie, Buster, Andrew Lane, Nathan, Sandra Allum, Alison Brooks, Jayne, Ian Russell, Keira Lyons and to everyone who has bought a copy since our campaign ended.

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Nice People Magazine October 2019

Stay Nice x



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