01 Welcome to B-SIDE, a magazine totally dedicated to showcasing local and undiscovered musical talent, in this issue we will be discovering Birmingham. B-SIDE is a collaborative project between a graphic designer, a photographer and two illustrators. B-SIDE is a project set up to embrace great music and display it through images that not only capture the essence of the vibrant music scene in Birmingham but are also wonderful to look at. We enjoyed this project and hope you enjoy it too. Discover music Birmingham!
contents Tappy the robot interview with Jon Dempsy Places to visit St.pauls gallery The Jam House
MUsical history PLaylist Buskers Take out your headphones
INterview with the life unwritten
photography Nicola onions
graphic design Shaun jones
illustration nikita de souza
i llustration jamal isles
Tappy THE ROBOT
You might have seen Jon Demsy and Tappy the Robot entertaining people in Birmingham along City Centre on the weekends. So what’s so great about Mr Jon and tappy the tap dancingrobot that seems to have stolen everyones heart? Well lets first talk about the man behind the robot Jon Demsy. the 41 year old professional dancer is from Pinfold Way. He has been busking for the last 20 years and loves his work as a creative individual.He states how he loves the crowd’s reaction when he brings Tappy out to dance to classic happy tunes.
Jon Demsy decided to audion for famous television show “Britian’s got talent” in 2009. Since then, Jon Demsy has been busking with Tappy all over the world from London to Hollywood and even Las Vegas. When asked “whats the best advice you can give to other buskers?” his response was: “You need to be different. It does not matter if you’re really great or talented in playing the guitar cause your bound to see another busker with a guitar. The idea is to stick out and be unique”.
Busking started out for Jon Demsy as a means of earning extra money to build up his acts. He would go out to different areas and busk for money.
“The idea is to stick out and be unique”
Places to VIsit
If you’re looking for a place that celebrates music and art in one place, look no further than St. Paul’s Gallery. St. Paul’s Gallery is situated in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham City Centre and entry is free for all! St Paul’s Gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of signed album art work. It also has several other exhibitions taking place at the moment including ‘From Bruises to Brushes’ A collection of paintings by professional footballer Jody Craddock, featuring many legends of music not just Birmingham based artists. These paintings are not just painted on to wood or canvas, he has cleverly painted on instruments too, Painting Jimi Hendrix on to a guitar which is very effective and I think any collector would love to own this piece. In the near future an exhibition will be running
from 11th November – 28th January which consists of photography by the model, actress and photographer Carinthia West. Lucky Carinthia moved in cirles we would only dream of and got to hang out with the likes of Mick Jagger, Oasis and King Husseinto. On display are black and white film photographs capturing the personality of these stars and showing us a side of the musicians that we would not normally see, which, is a real treat as an inside view from a real friend displays a personality a thousand times better than the media ever could. This is an exciting place for any music lover! As a lover of classic rock myself this was a great visit and left me feeling not only nostalgic but wanting to listen to some real good music... luckily for me there’s a local live music venue down the road called The Jam House. The Jam House offers jazz, blues and rock music and has a fanastic atmosphere, here you get a real taste of the Birmingham music.
The Jam House have hosted jazz, blues and rock artists and has featured performances from Chaka Khan, The Stylistics, The Specials, The Beat, Steve Gibbons, Buddy Greco, Pato Banton, Paul Carrick and of course, Jools and his Rhythm ‘n’ Blues orchestra. Celebrity guests at the venue have included Bill Wyman, Ocean Colour Scene and many others. This venue also offers food and drink and is generally a warm inviting place. So, want a day out in Birmingham that gives you a taste of
the vibrant music culture and history? I found the perfect day for you. - Don’t forget to walk through the city centre to get to the jewellery quarter and enjoy all the music provided by buskers first!
JOAN ARMATRADING Me Myself and I The Weakness In Me Love and Affection
Steve Winwood Valerie Cant Find My Way Home
Judas Priest BREAKING THE LAW Painkiller
The Streets Dry Your Eyes Blinded By The Lights
The Wall Wish You Were Here Comfortably Numb
UB40 Red Red Wine Kingston Town
Emerson Lake AND Palmer Promenade AND The Knome Karn Evil 9
BLACK SABBATH WAR PIGS PARANOID
Slade Thanks For The Memories
Electri c Li g ht Orchestra Last Train to London Evil Woman M r. B l u e S k y
Led Zeppelin Stairway To Heaven Immigrant Song Babe im Gunna LeaveYou
Cum On Feel The Noize
Moody blues nights in white satin isnt life strange
Editors papillion munich no sound but the wind
OceanT h eColour Scene Circle River Boat Song The Day We Caught The Train
Black Sabbath P a r a Isn’t Life Strange
n o i d
Nights In White Satin
Know You’re Out There Somewhere
The Racing Rats
Take out Your headphones AND LISTEN
BUSKING Have you ever sat near a young teenager on a bus who insists on playing music from their mobile phone? In case you’re wondering, they make very bad jukeboxes. For this reason among many, I relish the ubiquity of iPods and portable mp3 players. The ability to play your own soundtrack to your day; the convenience of any of your music at any time at any place; the isolation of sound through your headphones, it’s a popular commodity I’m happy to have. Perhaps in some ways this has made us a far colder anti-social generation; we go to and fro in our lives, isolated through sound, zombified in music induced reveries but the pleasure of this modern technology holds an important point. Just as soundtracks and music score are an inherent part of setting the atmosphere in a motion picture piece, the music we listen to directs and moulds the way we see our surroundings. For this reason alone I always carry my iPod on even the shortest of walks. You choose the right song; the right place and in my experience you feel more attentive, more inspired and more likely to value your surroundings. Yet when I moved to Birmingham and strolled through the town centre, my iPod suddenly became redundant. Walking down New Street, I noticed a busker. I was indifferent, I’d seen it before, the odd busker would play back in my home town. This lack of interest didn’t last long; I could barely walk 30 paces without coming across another busker. I
removed my headphones, carried on my journey, enjoying the diverse sounds of Birmingham city centre. Nowadays my iPod sits at home gathering dust, when I’m out in the centre of the city I just don’t need it. The various street performers provide the soundtrack to my travels, well, providing it isn’t raining. Perhaps I’m being biased. Maybe my existing interest in the arts has blinded my opinion. A cynic might well describe a busker as nothing but a bollard with an instrument, an inconvenient obstacle on ones way to work. Personally I commend such incongruity in the hustle and bustle of the UK’s second city. A lone performer amidst passing pedestrians busy with their everyday affairs is in my eyes a welcome sight. Furthermore, street performers bring a much more down to earth experience than the commercialised music we’re sold today. They lack the arrogance of rock stars, the pretentiousness of art-rock, the swagger and artificial facade of hip-hop. The whole thing sits much more closely to traditional folk sensibilities. The songs don’t depend production to tidy things up, the artists income is laid out right before you to see. Street performers have bare bones sincerity to them that you struggle to find in any other places. To add to this, does the performance not have it’s own intimacy? No stage, no barrier, no burly security guards making the performance a tad more intangible. My view is this: how can we
stay immersed in our digital playlists and portable albums when buskers stand performing at our mercy? Street performing provides an accessible gateway for potential musicians. The culture of busking provides opportunities to earn confidence and self-assurance, money and even fans in a profession that is so very hard to break into. The music of buskers enriches our streets; they give a release from the dull monotonous blocks of brick and concrete. So when those dismal rainy days come to Birmingham and the buskers are scarce, I know i’m far less likely to have a smile brought to my face whilst on my travels and, unless you’re some sort of android, I imagine you are too. So why not leave your iPod in its docking station next time you’re out and if you’re feeling generous, spare a few coins for the buskers of Birmingham.
with the life unwritten
Life unwritten are a five piece metal band that hail from Birmingham and their music is set to take the Birmingham metal scene by storm! I met up with them during their practice session where they were working on some new material, I managed to have a chat with their lead guitarist Sal.
Okay, first things first can you give us a brief
and Lemar (vocalist) went around asking people around the city center if they knew any guitarists drummers etc. and somehow that worked out and we got Alec (drummer), Sam (bassist) and Joe (guitarist) and that’s how we got our full line up.
How would you describe your style/genre? Sal: I think it would be best described as metal core but we do take influence from other genres such as hardcore, death-metal and technical deathmetal. Our aim is to create good music whether you like metal or not, for the non-metal lovers we have clean instrumentals and for the metal lovers we have a range of heavy and melodic, we try and create music that is catchy and will stick in your head.
What other bands do you up to and who inspires
history of the band and how you all met? Sal: I met our vocalist Lemar through a mutual friend he was looking to start up a band and needed a guitarist and I just so happened to be one. So we eventually met up and I then two weeks later we had recorded our first song lost in the dark which was made by just the two of us. As for the other members we met kind of randomly me
Sal: As a band we are all huge fans of “The eyes of a traitor” just because of the way they sound and everything they do is amazing, they also have a great blend of being both melodic and heavy and we take that into consideration when we’re writing. Another band we take influence from is “Lamb of god” simply because of their heaviness and their technical ability and we hope to one day be as good as they are.
Could you talk us through the processes you go through as a band when you’re writing a song? Sal: basically what I do, is when I’m on the bus I’ll listen to a song and pick out the scale/sound after that when I get home I will try and write something using that scale, another thing is that the riffs we write
depend a lot on our mood for example when we write a breakdown or something heavy we’ll have to be angry and when we’re in more of a chilled out mood we’ll write something that’s melodic.
the meaning that you
Well our most of our songs have a meaning to us all for example our first song lost in the dark is about our parents being opposed to us creating music, in many parts of the song there is a constant battle between two personas (The vocalist and “Metal”) where they argue back and forth explaining why each is better than the other. We also have a second song called last tears; last tears was written because a friend of the vocalist had passed away and it’s about how he doesn’t want to wallow in his own sorrow and that he wants to try and move on to remember the good times. And our newest song that we’re recording at the moment “This disease” was written about memories, and how some memories that people have they want to let go of but they can’t so it remains there like a cancer however, in later parts of the song it lightens up. Not all memories are bad and that the good ones out-weigh the bad in most cases. But not all or songs have a deep meaning we have a song called “skinning the eyes” which has no meaning whatsoever and we wrote it when we got bored at practice.
"Not all memories are bad and that the good ones out weigh the bad in most cases"
How has the band developed since you all started? Well we’ve developed in a lot of ways; we’ve become good friends through the band, as the band was formed by asking around if anyone knew a guitarist a drummer etc. Also our style has become set, and we’ve found the sound that we want to keep that isn’t your typical “heavy” metal sound which has been taken by more or less everyone else, we have a wide range of influences and we also try to add bits of our own personas into the music that we write.
And finally when can fans expect the E.P to be out? Firstly we want to start gigging which will be around January, then after that we we’ll write one more song and release our E.P sometime in March and it will also be available for download.
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"we have a range of heavy and melodic we try and create music that is catchy and will stick in your head"
discover music in birmingham
Published on Dec 16, 2011
I made a few changes to my original version, just added a couple more pages to the back and links... Birmingham local music magazine by BCU...