Dork, December 2022 / January 2023

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Issue 72 | December 2022 / January 2023 | | Down With Boring

GENERATIONAL TALENTS. It’s usually a phrase we leave to football wonderkids (Hi, Alejandro Garnacho), but it applies to musicians too. And if we were going to throw around that ‘band of a generation’ tag, we’d most certainly be slapping it right onto The 1975. Anyone who saw their Reading & Leeds headline set earlier this year would have no arguments. If Arctic Monkeys were the band of the 00s, The 1975 were undoubtedly holders of the title for the 2010s. The way they’re going with new album ‘Being Funny in a Foreign Language’, they’re odds on to make it a double over the rest of this decade too. This month, we gathered the most brilliant, enigmatic, creative band in the UK together in an East London studio for a rare full-band sit-down chat and shoot. We’re all used to hearing from Matty Healy, but with George, Adam and Ross also in attendance, it’s a story of a band all about their internal relationships. Conducted right before they headed out for a North American tour that has everyone talking, we’re taking that community even further, asking the quartet your questions too. It’s a special one. They’re fronting up what truly is the bumper-est of bumper issues. Our annual Hype List is in attendance, as we pick out all the new talent you need to have your eye on as we head into the new year. From the poptastic rock star in waiting Dylan to the brilliant Crawlers, awesome Priestgate (who are heading out on our Hype List Tour in February!) and prodigious flowerovlove, we’ve even had time to include not one, but two bands who don’t even have any recorded material online yet. Tastemakers? You betcha. There’s also time to check out our albums and tracks of the year, and see the results of the Dork Readers’ Poll. We check in with The Amazons, who alongside Courting and She’s In Parties will be playing our Xmas Party bash this December. Plus, there’s DMA’s, Walt Disco, L.S. Dunes, Cavetown and loads, loads more. More than enough to keep you going well into 2023. Have a merry Xmas and a happy new year, Dear Reader. We’ll see you on 13th January. Or ‘the future’, as we like to call it.

#72. DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023.

Associate Editor Ali Shutler Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young Scribblers Abigail Firth, Dan Harrison, Finlay Holden, Jake Hawkes, Jamie MacMillan, Jessica Goodman, Neive McCarthy, Sam Taylor, Siobhain O’Connor, Steven Loftin Snappers Celia Croft, Elena Divincenzo, Em Marcovecchio, Frances Beach, Indy Brewer, Jamie MacMillan, Jennifer McCord, Kalpesh Lathigra, Mark Beemer, Patrick Gunning, Sarah Louise Bennett PUBLISHED FROM WELCOMETOTHEBUNKER.COM





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All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which The Bunker Publishing Ltd holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Dork or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.



The Amazons reflect on an unexpected year ahead of taking the top spot at Dork’s Xmas bash. Words: Jamie Muir. Photos: Elena Divincenzo.



→ THE ROAD TO RELEASING AN ALBUM IS A TRICKY ONE. Everything needs to be set; everything needs to be right - you need to be ready to encounter anything that might come your way as you unveil a body of work to the world you’ve likely been working on for years. That’s precisely where The Amazons found themselves in 2022, set to drop ‘How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me?’. It’s an album that builds on the foundations of their self-titled debut and 2019’s follow-up ‘Future Dust’, and as the fateful day came around, with excitement at an all-time high, The Amazons were ready. Then, something nobody could have foreseen happened. “It was something I was saying onstage,” recalls Matt Thomson, phoning in from the band’s European tour. “You try to factor in releasing your album, so it doesn’t clash on the same week as The 1975 or Wolf Alice, but the Queen dying is stored in the compartment of natural disasters that probably wouldn’t happen, so don’t worry about it. And there we go. That’s what happened.” For The Amazons, 2022 has been a year of rollercoaster emotions. In ‘How Will I Know…’, they returned with a bold and direct album of intent that perfectly captures what has made them a mustsee live force but also finds them at their most earnest and honest. To say it’s The Amazons realised in full cinematic glory would be pretty accurate. Years spent touring the globe has them laser-focused in a manner that calls to their biggest moments to date but also sets eyes on an even grander future. The results speak for themselves. “2022 definitely felt like a bit of a rebirth for us,” explains Matt. “Coming back out of lockdown and reacquainting ourselves with just like how you do things, the road and our audience, as well as just the notion of releasing music that you’ve worked on and seeing how that sits in the world. It’s been… it’s been challenging, but it’s been a thrill. A real thrill.” “I’d say our relationship with our audience is strengthened too. It just found this whole new dimension this year. We’ve got a little bit older, and having done a couple of albums now, we could really understand and contextualise having people coming to fucking listen to us. Something changed, and I think we can appreciate it in a way that we never have done before. That’s definitely been the big takeaway from this year.” Thrown into a week of unprecedented atmosphere, the ‘How Will I Know…’ journey ended up finding the band playing pop-up acoustic shows wherever possible and ultimately resulted in their highest-charting release to date. To happen in such a week is something Matt finds even more extraordinary as a result, stemming from a record of sheer emotion and release. “We wanted to make a brighter record. We just kind of led with our nose for a little bit and let things develop with having this added time to explore different rabbit holes,” lays out Matt. “The narrative that underpins it all is this one between my girlfriend and me being apart in distance and time over lockdown and unable to see each other. It’s exploring that and all the different dimensions that come with it, which was READDORK.COM 5.




It’s a toss-up between ‘2000 Miles’ and… actually, no. It’s not a toss-up. It is ‘2000 Miles’ by The Pretenders.


I’d love to locate or find some sort of like… Official Christmas Fish. I eat fish but don’t eat other meats anymore, so you can put that down. I’ll have everything else when it comes to the roast potatoes… I actually like sprouts. Roast parsnips are God tier. Christmas is definitely more fun if you eat meat, right? I used to love pigs in blankets. I was a turkey guy, too, and would just stuff my face with everything. ACTUALLY, can I have a Christmas salmon? Is that a thing? Yeah, put that down, as it makes me look like I know what I’m talking about. FUCK, you can do it - I’ve just seen a salmon with cranberry and parsley meal. Yeah, that sounds great; we’ll go with that.


FUCK. I spent Christmas in Los Angeles last year with my girlfriend, and I got addicted to Trader Joe’s eggnog. So fucking good, BUT I have to say mulled wine - it’s simply too good.


I can positively say, and I am happy to say, that The Amazons have never given each other Christmas gifts ever. It’s a slippery slope. You don’t want to do it. You don’t want to - it’s just too many people to add to your list. It’s already hard enough, and then you have to work out what these guys want! Jesus, no way. We’d resort to really cheap presents like a pair of scissors or something or a stapler. (Dork: So office supplies would be the choice?) I think it would be that. I think it would just be anything that you get your hands on, like, 10 minutes before band practice starts. Not that we don’t love each other like brothers, but it is because we love each other like brothers that we wouldn’t bother, haha.


That’s a great question. Actually, there’s this really sweet wine that I want to drink. It was apparently Napoleon’s favourite drink. It’s called Vin De Constance. It’s a sweet wine. You know how you like have port and all that crap with cheese afterwards? I’d like to drink a bit of this. I’ll put this in the chat now; I love fucking history so much. Napoleon’s favourite drink! I’d say Santa, go back in time, and I want THE bottle that touched Napoleon’s lips. I want that shit. It has to be history alcohol scienter go back in time, and I want the bottle that touched Napoleon’s lips. I want that shit.


2022 DEFINITELY FELT LIKE A BIT OF A REBIRTH FOR US” M AT T T H O M S O N a completely different proposition.” The sheer scope and variety offered up proved that and more. Tracks like ‘Bloodrush’, ‘Reading For Something’ and ‘One By One’ would sit alongside soaring odes like ‘Northern Star’, which has taken on a life of its own during their latest headline tour. Phone lights held aloft, singalongs and more - all from a track sitting squarely in the middle of ‘How Will I Know…’. “We had a singalong to that in Milan last night, and like… every time we play it, I think oh, maybe this crowd won’t know it. But they fucking do. It’s not had further promotion really, and people have discovered that in a way that’s just amazing to see.” “I think generally, with the whole record, there’s something in the story that has touched people in a way that we aren’t in control of,” reflects Matt. “I know that this is definitely the most vulnerable, or at least the most personal; my lyrics have been across the records we’ve released, so I think that’s like something that people can really tap into. Honestly, we haven’t really experienced an emotional connection quite like this.” Realising that ambition they first set on the table back on their debut album, The Amazons have taken this year to show just how great a band they really are. With each stage and each night, their live act has become as formidable as it is euphoric. A glorious cocktail of scorching riffs and tender heartbreak that has resonated far and wide. If any band is guaranteed to seize every stage they take to, then it’s The Amazons. Kicking off supporting Royal Blood across Europe and the UK set a marker for that live intensity to come. “That was overwhelming, to say the least,” cracks Matt. “We were all kind of sick by the

end of the tour just because we had forgotten how to tour properly and just got too excited and went hard, but yeah, it was like - fuck me, there are 10,000 people here every night after not seeing anyone for years. It was bizarre but absolutely incredible; such a privilege.” Capping off with a rapturous UK headline run, its closing night at the Roundhouse in London proved to be more than just a joyful coronation of their brightest era to date. Matt pauses after reflecting on the highs of the year. “Honestly though…” he starts. “A defining moment of the year has to be Joe leaving the band, y’know?” Announced the morning after the Roundhouse show, it added a whole other element to a night that will live long in The Amazons story, not just as an unforgettable showcase of one of the best live bands going but also for its place in their shared history. “There was such a calmness before we went on stage. Usually, London shows are hectic, but really all that day was very chill, and everything seemed to be working, which was kinda eerie for how good it was all going. Then there was just this moment off-stage before we came back on for the encore, and that was the moment we all broke and just had our moment before coming back on. It was just saying through tears that we’re lucky. This is amazing. This is all we’ve ever wanted, to do this together. It was the best way to jump back on stage for the last couple of songs and to finish it properly. We couldn’t have played a better show to end with. “That was pretty defining. The dust is still settling on that, but it was a long time in the making, I think. We knew that something wasn’t right the moment we came back from the Royal Blood tour, but Joe is definitely the best of us. Like he is way too good of a husband, too good a father, just like too good a man to carry on with this sort of life. It’s not the road for good, consistent, reliable, soulful, lovely people like him.” Now, The Amazons enter a brand new chapter but one thriving with excitement from an album that has touched far and wide as their biggest moment to date - full of that desire to be at the very top and revelling in the love of it all.

IT’S THE DORK XMAS PARTY! Ho. Ho. Ho-w Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me? Yep, we’re rounding out the year in style with the return of our Dork Xmas Party. Taking over London’s legendary The 100 Club on Monday 19th December, The Amazons will be packing in a huge set for one of their smallest headline shows in quite some time. With Special Guests in Dork faves Courting and hot new talents She’s In Parties, you’d be silly to miss out. Just ask Matt! “We can’t wait. We’ve been a couple of times to The 100 Club to see some stuff, and with all its history too, we’ve always thought we would love to play here. It’s got a very unique atmosphere, and yeah, we’re really excited to play and to play around Christmas too. I don’t think we’ve ever done an official Christmas party before, so it’s time! It’s fucking time!

“It’s definitely that [a new chapter]. The album has only been out for a month or so, so there’s so much more work for us to do. Whether it’s touring, festivals and all that sort of thing to promote the record, it’s an interesting time, but I think it’s an opportunity to close one chapter and move onto something new.” Reborn. Refocused. Ready. No preparations are needed; The Amazons are following their nose into a bold new era. ■ The Amazons’ album ‘How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me?’ is out now. They play Dork’s Xmas Party at London’s 100 club on Monday 19th December.

THE 1975

Favourite album


DMA’S are gearing up for their ambitious fourth full-length. Words: Finlay Holden. Photos: Kalpesh Lathigra.

→ ONCE KNOWN MAINLY FOR THEIR INDIESLASH-BRITPOP SOUND, DMA’S began experimenting with dance and pop production on 2020’s ‘THE GLOW’, a throbbing record full of as much bouncing energy as emotional sing-along moments. With their just announced fourth record, ‘How Many Dreams?’, the band are pushing their style further than ever before. Taking a tonal break before throwing listeners into the deep end, four-track EP ‘I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You’ arrived last summer as a way to tide-over fans between records. After the surprising scale of ‘THE GLOW’, its more vulnerable songs – ‘Junk Truck Head Fuck’ being a solid example – leant back towards DMA’S original sound. “We have a love for rock and roll music, and we don’t want to ever leave that behind,” frontman Tommy O’Dell explains. “You can’t do that with every album, though. That EP came from a bunch of songs we wanted to record in a more DIY style. It allowed us more room to be experimental on the new album.” “Those five tracks just seemed to fit together,” guitarist Johnny Took adds. “We went back to where we recorded our first album, Hills End, and self-produced it alongside the same engineer. We just had fun and went ham with it – if we wanted to drench things with delay and fuzz, we wouldn’t hold back. We love that type of music and always will.” While that indie-rock style has undying appeal, the trio are capable of exploring so much more. Through various side-projects and a range of co-writing collaboration sessions, DMA’S are expanding upon their own identity and learning something new every step of the way. “No matter if it’s a younger artist just coming into the scene or someone who’s been around a bit longer, every single time we do a co-write, we pick up on something we didn’t realise before,” Johnny shares, while Tommy reflects that, “everyone has their own individual ways of working. We were working with Nick


Littlemore, and he’d throw idea after idea at just a 30-second part of music. That’s something we started to do more after seeing his working style. That’s the coolest thing about working with other people. “ He goes on to explain that Johnny, Tommy and lead guitarist Matt Mason are all still very much learning from each other and bouncing ideas around within their own group. Incorporating new ideas into their process, previous single ‘I Don’t Need To Hide’ is a potent package that displays how they fuse different facets of inspiration into a fresh trajectory. The song has already found its way into live set lists, making an impression at Reading & Leeds festival earlier this year when their hit ‘Step Up The Morphine’ was actually dropped in favour of their current advancements. Combining rattling percussion and slick guitar lines, Tommy shares that it came together surprisingly easy during rehearsals and gives a good idea of what to expect next. “It’s a perfect indication of the album to follow,” he states. “A mix of our love for pop, dance and rock and roll. That, in particular, is why we wanted to release it first. It’s an introduction to where we want to be going.” It’s a vibe that latest cut ‘Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend’ continues. Bright and bubbling with that dance-tinged pop energy, it’s a universally relatable statement presented with broad horizons. “We’ve all thought it, we’ve all felt it,” Johnny offers of a song “about letting go of the things that weigh us down and embracing the future with a sense of optimism.” That’s precisely the positivity and reassuring confidence they’re carrying through. DMA’S have previously built up a formidable bank of demos to pull from, allowing producers to shape up records from this list and giving them a significant amount of control over the direction of the band’s output. Now, though, they are taking things back into their own hands. “As we’ve got older, we’ve gained more confidence in what we’re releasing as a band,” Tommy

reflects. “It always helps to have a producer who is passionate about your tunes, and there are always songs we like that won’t fit, but this release was driven more by us as a band.” Funnily enough, this process ended up being more sprawling and collaborative than ever before, as the Australian outfit called upon three separate producers to help materialise their vision. “We ended up working with Stuart Price, Rich Costey and Konstantin Kersting – three people with a lot of brains,” Johnny elaborates. “An Englishman, an American and a GermanAustralian. We did the tracking in London, but then Omicron broke out. In Sydney, we were then able to take a little bit more time with it. It’s not an experiment you could do twice just because it was so chaotic, but the fact that we went in and recorded most of the album as a band in a room together, then later we ‘Screamadelica’-ised it… I would like to do that again.” It’s this combination of live recording and studio reworking that gives ‘How Many Dreams?’ its distinctive blare. The extra investment into cutting things up, swapping sections around, piling up synth layers and switching up lyrics was a clear mission on this record. “There’s a lot more detail in this album,” Tommy explains. “Where we would once have


only had one melody going, we’ve layered a lot more sections together, but they’re very clear and thought out rather than just going for a wall of sound for the sake of a wall of sound. We wanted to do that because it makes things a bit more challenging. It’s easier to throw a million guitars on a track; it’s harder to get one guitar to sound really good.” Challenging themselves was another core goal for DMA’S’ fourth album. Having swaggered in with their momentous debut album, recreating that was never on the cards, no matter how many fans it may have accrued. “If they stopped and thought about it for a little bit longer, they’d realise that your favourite bands become your favourite band because you enjoy growing with them,” Johnny emphasises. “When you build rapport with your fans, it’s because they’ve grown with you as your sound has changed, and that’s really important. Stuart Price once said to us: I know we’re moving into different genres here, but even if you guys tried, you couldn’t not sound like DMAS.” Tommy, Johnny and Matt’s DNA is firmly embedded into every challenge they tackle, and Johnny is ready to share some specific moments that push this statement to its limits: “’De Carle’ is pretty much our first one hundred percent dance song. It’s probably my favourite song on the album. There’s maybe one subtle guitar on it. There was a shorter, commercialised version of that before we realised, ‘what the fuck are we doing? This is a dance song’. If we’re doing dance music, let’s do it properly.” Despite the album contending for their shortest to date, this refusal to condense their spirit is a recurring practice. “’Fading Like A Picture’ opens up with a big guitar riff,” he continues. “On pop records these days, they’re always trying to squeeze a song into a threeminute runtime and make things as concise as possible. Instead, we thought - you know what? This is rock and roll. Let’s run that again.” ■ DMA’S new album ‘How Many Dreams?’ is out 31st March.


COVER STORY WALT DISCO are having fun with a brand new covers EP. Words: Martyn Young. Photo: Celia Croft.

→ WALT DISCO ARE AMAZING. You don’t need us to tell you that. We’ve been banging on about them for years, and our Glasgow faves have had a massive year in 2022 with their officially Dork-rated Top 50 debut album and a string of exuberant live shows across the world. To end the year, though, they’re giving us a bit of a treat with a special covers EP called ‘Always Sickening’, so we thought we had to catch up with frontperson Jocelyn to get the low-down. How are you feeling at the end of this year? It’s been a massive year for you, with the album coming out and touring all over the place. It feels good! We only have five more shows. It’s nice to be thinking of having a wee break for December. We haven’t had a break in a while. So why have you decided to cap off the year with this lovely covers EP ‘Always Sickening’? Why is now the right time to do it now? It’s exciting. It’s nice to do one more thing. We wanted something in between albums to give something to our fans and also give us a bit more time to properly consider working on our next album. We wanted a break from writing, but we wanted to keep doing studio stuff.

Associates, who are massive for us, and Stephanie Mills is so inspiring. We’ve also got the modern artists who we really respect, like Aldous Harding and The Japanese House, who are so cool. I really like the selection of songs. A band like The Associates are a major touchstone for Walt Disco, so what was the significance of you covering their song ‘Club Country’, which is also where the title of the EP comes from? The lyrics are so good. They’re so cutting when describing the bourgeois and all that. The song is genius. It modulates keys within the verse, but you don’t hear it. It’s pretty genius writing. What drew you to the work of The Japanese House? She’s so good at crafting a melody in a song. Charlie sings that song, and I always remember him listening to it all the time and playing the bass and the chords, and I was like, let’s have a go. Let’s do something really stripped back. You’ve got a good voice, so let’s put it on the record.

Do you find it liberating and fun to do covers when it’s not as intense as doing your own stuff? In a sense, it was intense because we picked songs that we respected from artists that we respected. In some cases, though, there was less pressure.

Tell us about Aldous Harding? She’s incredibly respected and has been putting out some good albums recently, and she’s delightfully odd. Her lyrics are the same. ‘The Barrel’ is one of her biggest tunes, and despite being quite an abstract artist, slightly avant-garde, when we were covering the song, we realised that it was such a pop song. We give it a bit more poppy production. I mean, the production we gave it is still pretty weird, but it managed to find a chorus that could really drop.

What was the vision for collecting these songs together, then? There are a few older artists who were incredibly inspirational in their time, like Dusty Springfield and especially The

We love that description of ‘delightfully odd’. That’s what we’re here for. So, has immersing yourself in the music of other people had any impact on your own creative process?

10. DORK


Yeah, I think we learnt a lot. Learning other people’s songs is always great, finding out little songwriting tricks. When singing other people’s songs, you learn things about your voice because you’re trying to emulate things. From the production side of it, we got to really dive deep into that. That was the only part we really had control over. We kept learning studio tricks. How did you feel about your debut album ‘Unlearning’ with a little bit of distance from it? We’re feeling great. I’m so glad we’ve got an album out, and we’re proud of it. It gave me a proper addiction to albums, and I never want to stop making them. I’m so grateful. Now that it’s a live living thing, has anything surprised you about the album since people have been experiencing it? Because it was recorded in such a simple set-up and we couldn’t really record in a traditional way, it has been fun giving it a live sound. That’s been enjoyable. Do you have any stories of being out on

tour this year? We flew to New York and had a show that same night, so Jack hadn’t slept the night before either, so he played a show after having not slept for 45 hours. I don’t really know how he got through that.

See, that’s the sort of thing you have to go through once you reach your level. Pure commitment. Have you been thinking of what’s next then for Walt Disco? Yeah, we’re definitely well into writing our next album. We just need to record it, which will happen very soon. What’s the early vibes? Hmm, I won’t say too much, but there’s going to be a lot of flute and clarinet. We love a bit of woodwind action. What’s the timeframe for it, then? I’m not sure. It obviously takes quite a while to get an album out. We’ll see. I don’t know what capacity we’ll be around next year, but we want to be promoting music, so we’ll see. We’re definitely not going to go away. Well, wherever Walt Disco do pop up, we’ll be there. Finally, what would you like for Christmas this year, Jocelyn? I think after quite a while of being in studios and music venues all the time, to not do that would be nice. Some lovely blissful peace and quiet? Yeah, give our ears a rest. What about if you were going to buy one member of Walt Disco a present? What gift would you bestow? I’d buy Finlay a pair of glasses. Quite overthe-top Elton John glasses. ■ Walt Disco’s EP ‘Always Sickening’ is out 25th November.


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Featuring some of rock’s most well-loved faces, L.S. DUNES have taken 2022 by storm - just don’t call them a supergroup. Words: Steven Loftin. Photo: Mark Beemer.

→ TRYING TO GET YOUR MATES TOGETHER IS HARD ENOUGH AT THE BEST OF TIMES, BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU’RE ALL IN BUSY BANDS? Well, L.S. Dunes managed to make it work, with its five pieces all coming together to create a barnstorming mix of emo, post-rock, and hardcore. Consisting of – deep breath – My Chemical Romance’s musical magnate Frank Iero (guitar), Circa Survive’s Anthony Green (vocals), along with emo pioneers Thursday’s rhythm section Tim Payne (bass) and Tucker Rule (drums), and Coheed & Cambria’s Travis Stever (guitar), one thing is certainly clear – there’s an abundance of joy and connection between this pedigree dream team. “You don’t find the connection that we have very often,” says Anthony. “It’s rare. So to have it with these guys, and to have it with this band is such a gift.” It certainly seems as if there’s something in the water amongst these five chaps. Or as Tucker quips, “Some people’s grandma just know how to make sauce; they don’t have to measure anything. They just throw it in…so we are the grandmas of our craft!” Tasty. It’s such a joining of forces, in fact - a Power Rangers morphin’ time situation if you will – that even when telling people, they didn’t believe it. “I told some guys about it that thought I was lying,” Anthony grins. “And I was like, no, I’m in a band with them now! And they were like, ‘No, you’re not...’. And then a year later, we announced that we were a band and I was like, see, I told you!” Not turning up empty-handed, their debut outing – ‘Past Lives’ – found itself being created during the various lockdowns. A pandemic reaction born out of backstage promises in passing between its members over the years, in 2020 emails were finally sent, and text groups were alight. “When Dunes started, it was at the height of it,” starts Frank. “And you had five individuals who all they ever knew was playing music for live audiences. All of a sudden, that gets snatched from you, and you don’t know what to do anymore. The only thing you’ve ever known is gone. So for me, L.S. Dunes has always represented a lifeline. A new lease on life and a new opportunity to figure out how to do the thing you love in a new and exciting way.”

The first time the gang was able to get together in person was at Frank’s house. But hanging over the group was a sneaking subconscious; “What if this doesn’t work? What if playing the songs together sucks? What if the feeling isn’t there?” As Tucker recalls, “But I think that we just trusted in one another, and then everything just clicked into place for everybody.” Frank remembers, “At first, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be. I knew I loved the songs we were writing, but I wasn’t sure if it was a real band. It wasn’t until I first heard Anthony sing on a demo or two that I realised it was a real band. The second I heard it all come together, I couldn’t wait for people to hear it.” Their first actual IRL performance together was for the video for single ‘Bombsquad’. “I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time that we were hanging out,” Anthony casts back. “I felt like a little kid. I felt so lucky to be in a band with these guys who were able to joke around but also able to get serious and talk about a song in a way that was respectful and loving to everybody.” For a band steeped in emo prestige, it’s only fitting too that their debut public outing came last month at emo-nostalgia festival When We Were Young in Las Vegas Of course, when you’re dealing with such high stakes – after all, between them, they have a musical reputation most bands could only dream of – it means things have to be kept hush-hush until ready. Anthony found this to be quite the challenge. “I had a hard time not just posting and sharing the first demo,” he laughs. “Like, I wanted to tell everybody right away, and I’ve always had a difficult time with that, [but] it needed to be a thing that was more strategic.” Tucker adds his perspective, “It’s insane because this writing process, and this whole thing has been such a huge part of all of our lives, literally for me besides the birth of my daughter and any of that stuff, this is the thing that I’m most proud of and to not be able to talk about it was gut-wrenching.” Once word got out about L.S. Dunes, a certain S-word began being bandied about by the press and fans, allowing another reckoning to set in. “It’s nerve-racking because people throw around that ‘supergroup’ term, so people

have an expectation that the record is going to be a certain way,” admits Tucker. “And I know that we love it the way that it is, so I think there’s a level of excitement to show people what we’ve been doing because it was such an important thing in our lives.” And on that supergroup term, Frank smirkingly adds, “I don’t really think much of that word. It’s kinda silly really. I’d prefer super-handsome group or soup-or-salad group.” It’s evident that ‘Past Lives’ means a lot to its creators. Mostly because it was a chance for each member to reignite that feeling of first stepping into a room with a bunch of your friends and stabbing at instruments until you made a unifying sound – even if it was created “in the cloud” as Tucker puts it. “We joke that the L.S. in L.S. Dunes stands for Low Stress because that’s literally how we wanted to have it,” he explains. “The mantra for this band is like if you’re gonna get stressed, let’s shelve this idea. Let’s make this a place to be talking purely creatively.” Given each member is at a stage in their respective careers where they’ve been around the block a few times, it also gave them a chance to peek behind the curtain of each other’s processes. “It’s like sitting in your living room,” Tucker reasons. “You would never think you


would be able to have two living rooms,like everything is just where you want it to be, everything feels natural. And it’s fun learning about everybody else’s process in their bands too. “I think the surprising part is we’re all cheerleaders of each other’s bands and each other’s careers. It’s interesting to hear all the stories you know about our projects.” Anthony adds, “Something that I think we’ve all learned is that if you keep the vibe respectful and loving, and make sure that the friendships that everybody has are intact, then everything else will fall into place. So we can be good friends to each other, hold space for each other and be respectful of one another in that way, then all the musical stuff is just going to benefit.” And in case you couldn’t tell, the love in L.S. Dunes is palpable. “Me and a couple of the Thursday boys went out to see Anthony play, and I’m sitting there watching like, ‘Oh my god damn, that’s my fucking singer. He’s so fucking handsome. And he’s so good’,” Tucker beams. Returning the compliment, Anthony adds, “I was watching Thursday play the exact same place the night before, and I was having the exact same thought just watching Tucker thinking, damn, I get to be in this band. I get to be in a band with this guy.” What the future holds for L.S. Dunes is anyone’s guess. The pandemic pause allowed its members to seize the day and create this swirling mass of their individual components. “Not to sound cheesy, but it’s time for us to let these songs take us where we’re supposed to go,” reckons Tucker. “People always ask, is this a full-time thing? And it’s like yes, and I think that we’re just gonna follow these songs where they take us.” “Originally, its purpose was to keep us creative and out of a depressed state of not being able to do what we loved,” says Frank on Dunes’ initial intentions. “And now it’s taken on a new life; it’s alive now. And only growing. I’m curious what the future holds, and incredibly excited to actually be in this band that was never meant to be – playing these songs live for people…songs that were written in uncertainty and collective solitude.” And it would seem ‘Past Lives’ is already paying dividends. “The other day I have I was somewhere I was walking and I heard somebody go, that’s the guy in L.S. Dunes, and I was like, ‘Shit, I’m the guy from L.S. Dunes’,” Anthony cackles. The reaction to the band has even surprised Frank, who admits, “You never know what to expect when you put new art out into the world. Are people going to get it? Are they going to like it? Will they care at all? That would be the worst, to be met with indifference. But the response has been overwhelming so far, and they haven’t even heard the whole record yet! It’s very exciting. I really think it’s a fantastic record. I’m excited for people to live with it for a minute.” Circling back to that supergroup tag being pasted over everything they appear near, Tucker chortles, before summing up L.S. Dunes nicely. “The only thing super about it is the fact that we talked about it and made it happen! There are so many times that I would hang out with Anthony in passing and be like, ‘Yo, we should do something together’, and it just never comes to fruition because everybody’s busy… but this is the project that happened. This is the project that’s happening.” ■ L.S. Dunes’ album ‘Past Lives’ is out now.

12. DORK


The Best 2022 has been quite the year for music. Gigantic megastars returning after a pandemic break, new talent taking flight. It’s had it all. Over the next few pages we’ll take you through the best of the last twelve months.

14. DORK






→ Chaos seems to follow Fletcher around. She thrives on doing and saying the unexpected. Anything goes. What could have been an embarrassing encounter online, Fletcher turned into a career defining pop banger in ‘Becky’s So Hot’. There’s complex emotions at work though as well as she deals with it all and that’s what makes her such a resonant pop star. It’s a single that perfectly encapsulates the kind of online angst that everyone can relate to and does it through the prism of a turbocharged anthem powered by raw emotion and unshakeable confidence. Who doesn’t love a bit of drama in their life? MARTYN YOUNG


→ Rarely do debut singles go massive these days. FLO are a deserved exception. A sublime introduction to the next biggest girl group, ‘Cardboard Box’ is deliberately reminiscent of the trios of yesteryear – see TLC, Destiny’s Child, and the original Sugababes – built on heavenly harmonies, tongue-in-cheek lyrics that recall ‘Irreplaceable’, and an R&B beat pulled right into this century by pop mastermind MNEK, there’s no wonder this hit went viral. ABIGAIL FIRTH

Tracks The ultimate bangers






→ Baby Queen has always written Gen-Z underdog anthems, full of heart with the occasional sarcastic snarl. ‘Colours Of You’ has that same rebellious spirit, but rather than trying to take on the world, it sees Baby Queen with a community behind her. The track started off as a romantic love song but, thanks to its use in the beautiful, poignant and real Netflix coming-of-age drama Heartstopper, it quickly grew into an LGBTQ+ anthem. Full of pride and championing togetherness, it’s a quiet moment of strength that’s resonated with millions. ALI SHUTLER


→ Few could evoke Shania Twain as gloriously as Rina Sawayama. Revelling in a sugar rush of country-pop, yet with guitar riffs that practically simmer, ‘This Hell’ takes you on a trip to the underworld so euphoric you definitely won’t want to leave. It’s pure pop excellence, a masterclass in how to create a scorching hot banger that entirely engulfs you. A celebration of love and community in dark times, a track equal parts incisive and glam, ‘This Hell’ is Rina Sawayama at her absolute best. NEIVE MCCARTHY







PARAMORE → Paramore’s 2017 album ‘After Laughter’ saw Hayley Williams trade angst for vulnerability, while two solo albums allowed her to explore rage, anguish, regret and power. Reuniting with Zac Farro, Taylor York and the legacy of one of the most emo-rock bands to ever do, Hayley once again takes Paramore to new places on angular comeback track ‘This Is Why’. With nods to the electro disco stomp of Foals, Bloc Party and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but with its sights firmly set on a news cycle determined to tear communities down, ‘This Is Why’ is a call for community and change. ALI SHUTLER


→ One thing about Harry Styles is that the man knows how to do a comeback single. ‘As It Was’ had a typically feverish arrival, marking a change of direction for the megastar, and quickly becoming a momentous pop moment. From that first call of “come on Harry, we want to say goodnight to you!”, it was clear that whatever came next would be a breath of fresh air for Harry– 80s synth, bedroom pop, a melody that never did leave anyone’s head for the remainder of the year, ‘As It Was’ has it all. NEIVE MCCARTHY


→ If you hadn’t heard, emo is back in a big way in 2022. Two years later than planned, so are My Chemical Romance. ‘The Foundations Of Decay’ is the first (and so far only) new song from the band since they announced their hiatus in 2013 and it sees vocalist Gerard Way wrestling with legacy over brooding stadium rock. A tightly wound anthem that somehow balances flamboyance with intensity, as the band ignores expectations. It feels like the start of something bigger. ALI SHUTLER

s of the Year THE ONE FROM 2021 THAT’S ONE OF THE TRACKS OF 2022







→ Crawlers’ ‘Come Over (Again)’ changed everything for the emo rockers. It was the first song that saw vocalist Holly Minto write about her own experiences, and gave the band the selfconfidence to get vulnerable. Yes, it was originally released last October and quickly went viral on TikTok but you know what the rest of the world is like. A string of high profile festival appearances and their own buzzy headline tours have seen Crawlers own 2022, with that all-important introductory anthem that sums up everything that’s brilliant about them. ALI SHUTLER


→ The second single from MUNA’s glorious self-titled third record is a giddy anthem of escape fuelled by love, not regrets. “You’re going to say that I’m on a high horse, I think that my horse is regular-sized,” sings Katie Gavin at the start of ‘Anything By Me’. As pre-emptive strikes go, it’s a devastating one, with the follow-up blow (Did you ever think, maybe, you’re on a pony going in circles on a carousel ride?”) landing with equal precision, even if there’s not a drop of venom in sight. Fighting fire with joy is just how MUNA do things. ALI SHUTLER


→The first time you listened to ‘Break My Soul’ you maybe thought ‘ok, this is nice but a bit underwhelming’. Then you listen again, and you’re feeling it more. And then again. And again and again. Eventually you’re like ‘OMG this is the best thing ever’. Beyoncé has that effect on people. A house inflected ecstatic explosion, it blossomed into the defining track in the context of ‘Renaissance’ and proved Beyoncé remains untouchable, at the peak of her powers. ‘I’m buildin’ my own foundation,” she sings. Nobody can build it better. MARTYN YOUNG


Albums o 100 of the best albums of 2022.

2022 has had its fill of massive albums - be they from big names or dazzling new talent. We’ve worked out 100 of the best, put them in a list, and printed them so you can complain. ‘Enjoy’.

**PLEASE NOTE** due to print deadlines - we have to write the content in magazines long before you read them - only albums released before 31st October 2022 feature in this list. We can’t put something in here yet if we’ve not heard it in full, now can we? Thank you for your understanding that we are not, in fact, magic time travelling unicorns.


→ When an act makes a record their ‘selftitled’, there’s an expectation that it’ll be their defining statement, right? After MUNA ditched their major label for Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory, they did exactly that. Reemerging with ‘Silk Chiffon’, a collaboration with their new label boss, it felt like MUNA had blown the cobwebs off, ushering in a new era of breezy, carefree pop punctuated with a screechable chorus. As the singles ran on, ‘Anything But Me’ ‘Home By Now’, ‘What I Want’, it became clear that looking back and letting go was on the agenda. Pain and sadness have never been a vice for MUNA, they’ve always used their lows as a tool to craft their own brand of sadbangers; on this album they continue that legacy but in a different way. As Katie sings on ‘Loose Garment’, “Used to wear my sadness like a choker … now I’m draped in it, like a loose garment, I just let it float”. The confidence that’s permeated through their whole career is still present, if not stronger. On ‘MUNA’, the trio feel more connected than ever, less like they’re tied together by an invisible string, but rather that they’re all huddled under the same blanket of bad experiences, making light of them and waking in the morning more optimistic. ABIGAIL FIRTH

16. DORK


→ Nobody quite knew what to expect ahead of The 1975’s fifth record. Their previous album ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ was a dizzying odyssey across sounds and styles. The Music For Cars era was finally done. How could they possibly find a new way forward? By being the most 1975 that The 1975 could possibly be. ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ is provocative and heartbreaking. It’s filled with the kind of vivid vignettes that only they can illustrate and it contains maybe the best song they’ve ever written (you know the one). The ultimate crystallization of the band of a generation. MARTYN YOUNG



→A good pop star can reinvent themselves every time they release a new album. That’s what makes Beyonce one of the greatest of all time. Following up a double bill of cultural juggernaut records in the 2010s with yet another, ‘Renaissance’ signalled Beyoncé’s return to the charts with a homage to the ballroom scene. It’s a record that rarely takes it’s foot off the pedal, one where the peaks are higher than Madonna sniffing poppers on Tiktok and the valleys are sticky club dancefloors lit by a mirrorball. ABIGAIL FIRTH

→ The weight of hype surrounding Wet Leg’s debut would have been enough to buckle most bands. Luckily they’re very much not ‘most bands’. Their first album shrugs off any expectations and sparkles with catchy melodies, great hooks and an overwhelming sense of fun. We love a bit of nonsense here at Dork, so to see the year’s most talked-about band stick two fingers up at po-faced notions of what it means to be a ‘serious’ musician is a joy to behold. Cementing them as more than just a flash in the pan, ‘Wet Leg’ is everything it needed to be and more. JAKE HAWKES






→ With affirming steps already being taken, beabadoobee made her next move forward with a look back at the past. The 22-year-old drew on a world she created as a child, full of diverse ambitions that lunge out in different directions. Jam-packed with sizzling guitars (‘Talk’), sharp production (‘10:36’), and personal realisations (‘See you soon’), each corner is bound to surprise and intrigue. Led by a figurehead who boasts viral moments but could never be defined by them, ‘Beatopia’ was a dazzling reinvention of self that proved beabadoobee’s plans to be far from played out. FINLAY HOLDEN

→ Maggie Rogers’ ‘Surrender’ is such a special album. Tapping into the anxiety, loneliness, uncertainty and fear of the last few years, but coming out the other side with a determination to not be held back by the actions of others, Surrender is about ferocious joy. A happiness with its teeth bared. From the longing of ‘Horses’, the desire of ‘Want Want’ to the fearless optimism of ‘That’s Where I Am’, Rogers blends anger with hope, without a second of sugarcoating. ‘Shatter’ is a ferocious punk number while the closing ‘Different Kind Of World’ is as naked as they come, with Rogers pleading for peace. ALI SHUTLER

→ A beautifully painted portrait of Irishness in London, Fontaines D.C’s third album ‘Skinty Fia’ is shot through with the experiences of a diaspora community that is routinely misrepresented within the UK. Tracks like opener ‘In ár gCroíthe go deo’ turn a mirror on Britain’s continued hostility to the Irish in England, while ‘I Love You’ casts a blistering gaze at the issues facing Ireland itself. It’s a perfectly-crafted and deeply poignant album which isn’t scared of facing up to weighty issues, but one which never descends into polemics or heavy-handed politicisation. JAKE HAWKES




11 - 100 11. PHOEBE GREEN - Lucky Me

56. ALFIE TEMPLEMAN - Mellow Moon

12. RINA SAWAYAMA - Hold The Girl

57. MAYA HAWKE - Moss

13. WALT DISCO - Unlearning

58. CHLOE MORIONDO - Suckerpunch

14. LET’S EAT GRANDMA - Two Ribbons

59. EASY LIFE - Maybe in Another Life...

15. MITSKI - Laurel Hell

60. MEGAN THEE STALLION - Traumazine

16. ALT-J - The Dream

61. SOCCER MOMMY - Sometimes, Forever

17. CHARLI XCX - Crash

62. JULIA JACKLIN - Pre Pleasure

18. JOCKSTRAP - I Love You Jennifer B

63. YEAH YEAH YEAHS - Cool It Down

19. PVA - Blush

64. STATIC DRESS - Rouge Carpet Disaster

20. CAVETOWN - worm food

65. NILUFER YANYA - Painless

21. ROSALIA - Motomami

66. PORRIDGE RADIO - Waterslide, Diving Board,

22. CONFIDENCE MAN - Tilt 23. LOYLE CARNER - Hugo 24. BLOSSOMS - Ribbon Around The Bomb 25. SUNFLOWER BEAN - Headful of Sugar 26. FOALS - Life Is Yours 27. ETHEL CAIN - Preacher’s Daughter 28. SHAMIR - Heterosexuality 29. SORRY - Anywhere But Here 30. NOVA TWINS - Supernova 31. CONNIE CONSTANCE - Miss Power

→ Every late night spent tossing and turning, losing track of time in deeply intimate conversation, dancing until dawn – Taylor Swift remembers them all. ‘Midnights’ is a time capsule of every hazy hour, one that races with spiralling lines of thought. Her shimmering pop beats act as the flicker of lamplight cutting through the dark, her candid lyricism as comforting as the old t-shirt you still sleep in. ‘Midnights’ is a formidable return to the pop Taylor has always done best; the kind that inhabits this dreamy, synth-laden world where Taylor is free to fall apart and then pull herself together again, track by track. NEIVE MCCARTHY

→ ‘Fixer Upper’ is a good song, isn’t it? It’s also not on Yard Act’s self-titled debut, which seems an odd choice. At least it does until you listen to the album, and realise that ‘Fixer Upper’ wasn’t a fluke, but a bar the band would consistently reach with everything they do. Spiky, snarky post-punk tracks are of course here in abundance, but the highlight for our money is ‘100% Endurance’, an introspective wander through existentialism and the meaning of life which also includes a line about wetting your pants. Oh, they also did a version with Elton John, which is Quite a Big Deal Indeed. JAKE HAWKES


→ If there’s any justice in the world, CMAT will go down as one of the greatest lyricists we’ve had. She’s also one of the best personalities in pop, but it’s the way she pulls it into her music that makes ‘If My Wife New I’d Be Dead’ a triumph. Often deeply self-deprecating but funny as fuck all the same, she redefines what is means to be a ‘relatable’ musician, exploring her own flaws behind punchy 70’s country pop. ABIGAIL FIRTH

of Life

72. FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - Dance Fever 73. MALLRAT - Butterfly Blue 74. BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD - Ants From

Up Here

34. HATCHIE - Giving The World Away


35. HARRY STYLES - Harry’s House

78. THE WOMBATS - Fix Yourself Not The World

36. DENZEL CURRY - Melt My Eyez, See Your

79. BARTEES STRANGE - Farm To Table

40. WORKING MEN’S CLUB - Fear Fear

10. CMAT

71. BOB VYLAN - Bob Vylan Presents The Price

76. PALE WAVES - Unwanted


39. MXMTOON - Rising


70. JORDANA - Face The Wall

33. WALLOWS - Tell Me That It’s Over



69. OMAR APOLLO - Ivory

75. FATHER JOHN MISTY - Chloe and the Next

37. ALVVAYS - Blue Rev


68. THE REGRETTES - Further Joy

32. KENDRICK LAMAR - Mr Morale & The Big



Ladder To The Sky

67. PILLOW QUEENS - Leave The Light On

41. COURTING - Guitar Music 42. FKA TWIGS - CAPRISONGS 43. KING PRINCESS - Hold On Baby 44. THE BIG MOON - Here Is Everything 45. DJO - Decide 46. STEVE LACY - Gemini Rights 47. FLETCHER - Girl of my Dreams 48. JAMIE T - The Theory Of Whatever 49. SINEAD O’ BRIEN - Time Bend and Break The


50. CONAN GRAY - Superache 51. SPORTS TEAM - Dig 52. KATY J PEARSON - Sound of the Morning 53. BIG THIEF - Dragon New Warm Mountain I

20th Century

80. BEACH BUNNY - Emotional Creature 81. CHARLIE HICKEY - Nervous at Night 82. SASAMI - Squeeze 83. YEARS & YEARS - Night Call 84. THE MYSTERINES - Reeling 85. LAURAN HIBBERD - Garageband Superstar 86. LOS BITCHOS - Let The Festivities Begin! 87. SHYGIRL - Nymph 88. JUST MUSTARD - Heart Under 89. SAMPA THE GREAT - As Above, So Below 90. FLOHIO - Out of Heart 91. ALEX G - God Save The Animals 92. DAYGLOW - People In Motion 93. TATE MCRAE - I Used To Think I Could Fly 94. DRY CLEANING – Stumpwork 95. GIRLPOOL - Forgiveness 96. TOVE LO - Dirt Femme 97. LIFE - North East Coastal Town

Believe In You

98. CARLY RAE JEPSEN –The Loneliest Time

54. THE LINDA LINDAS - Growing Up

99. BANKS - Serpentina

55. THE WEEKND - Dawn FM

100. BASTILLE - Give Me The Future


We asked you to give us your Big Opinions on what’s gone down in 2022. You answered in your thousands. After a prolonged period of ‘pop science’, we’ve crunched out the all important results.

Album of the Year

Track of the Year

1. THE 1975 -

1. THE 1975 -











Most Anticipated Album for 2023

Best New Act









Most Promising New Act for 2023 1. FLO 2. HOLLY HUMBERSTONE 3. CRAWLERS 4. PRIESTGATE 5. DYLAN

Best Video

Best Haircut



Best at ‘The Socials’

Best ‘Musician’ Who Also Does ‘Acting’










Best TV Show








Hero of the Year

Plonker of the Year

Best Dressed












With their fifth album, ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’, THE 1975 turned inwards to push out. A record that focuses on what makes them so special, playing to strengths to produce quite possibly their best work to date, we gathered all four members for a rare full-band sit down that proves the magic is in those real-life relationships built along the way. WORDS: JAMIE MUIR. PHOTOS: JENNIFER MCCORD.

20. DORK

THE 1975



round a table in East London, four mates while away the day. They’re chatting about anything and everything, cracking jokes, eating a takeaway. Laughing at memes on the day the short-lived prime ministerial reign of Liz Truss comes to a spectacular end - a particular favourite being the fact that ‘Believe’ by Cher was Number 1 for longer than her entire time in office. Recommending the films and TV shows that have caught their eye since they’ve last seen each other, which isn’t very long at all. Catching up on the weekend’s football one jokingly considering supporting Tottenham Hotspur “for the lols”. It sounds like the kind of everyday scene you’ll find in any home, coffee shop, bar or pub. Then again, most mates aren’t at the centre of a storm that has shaped modern alternative culture for the past decade. Most aren’t Matty Healy, George Daniel, Adam Hann and Ross MacDonald. And most aren’t entering a bold new chapter, At Their Very Best. As a wet and windy mid-October afternoon falls outside, The 1975 watch as the world digests ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’. It’s a matter of days since its release, and the ripples of its impact are already plain to see. In just 24 hours, they’ll have their fifth UK Number 1 album, joining an elite club of artists to have every studio album hit the top spot. And 24 hours after that, they’re heading to America ahead of the start of their most ambitious and bold headline tour to date. Yet again, everyone is focused on four childhood friends from Wilmslow, but you wouldn’t know it today. While reinvention and revolution have come with each chapter of their story, consistency is found in their bond. The same dynamic. The same jokes. “Well…” cracks

George as they all laugh at the suggestion. “The jokes have got worse.” It’s rare for all of them to sit down together for something like this. “We haven’t done a chat like this for a while,” notes Ross. They agree that everything would take four times as long. “I think we stopped doing it because we kept laughing at each other, and it descended into nothing. In-jokes and nonsense.” “Exactly,” adds Matty. “And you’ve got to remember that it is a job in itself and the guys aren’t… we are the least work-shy band in the world, but it’s less ‘Matty wants to do all the interviews’ than it is the guys can’t really be arsed to do the interviews.” “WOAH,” George cracks. “THAT IS NOT TRUE!!” The collective laughter that follows from the band again probably indicates it is. “Wait, wait, wait, no, no. I’m sorry, can’t be arsed is the wrong word, but you’re not pining when I’m sat there doing these interviews is all I’m saying,” smiles Matty. “We’re not shy of being a band. The ‘75 is very formal; we’ve got a fucking routine, d’you know what I mean?”

It sounds quite romantic and lofty to say that we never doubted ourselves” MAT T Y HE A LY 22. DORK

For all the in-jokes and nonsense, The 1975 take their position seriously. A band of self-confessed outsiders, they spent years knocking at the music industry’s door before deciding to build and burst through their own entrance. That mentality has remained ever since. ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ is just where everything clicks even more into place. It’s an album that follows the panoramic expansiveness of ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ by turning an eye inwards. What makes The 1975, The 1975? The result is a record Matty sees as “kind of a bigger risk, even though I know that it feels like it’s in service of the fans a bit. It’s braver than another record like ‘Notes…’. It was scarier because we could have been cleverer with it. We could have been fucking mental and obtuse to the point that it can’t be criticised. We had that opportunity, but you need to be a bit fucking nervous about it. It’s like what [David] Bowie said: you need to be a little bit out of your depth. What scared us, and what does scare us, is repeating ourselves.” Nobody could accuse them of that. With every era of The 1975, a line has been drawn in the sand from what came before it. It began with the 80s teen movie black-andwhite of their self-titled debut and earlier EPs, transitioning to the neon-drenched wonderland of ‘I like it when you sleep…’. Then we had the defining digital takedown of ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ moving on to the maximalist, free-flowing, genrehopping punch of ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ (which Matty confirms is his favourite ‘75 album “at this moment”). They have always been set on looking forward. They are a band whose legacy and importance can be seen in the countless fans whose lives have been soundtracked by each step. Yet looking back they find challenging.

THE 1975



24. DORK

THE 1975



26. DORK

THE 1975

The records, the shows, those life milestones - they all intersect with why The 1975 have become synonymous with a generation growing up in the modern world. It’s ‘the box’. June 1st - The 1975. ‘She said’. ‘What a shame’. ‘It’s about time’. It means everything to a community that traverses nationality, age, culture and race. For the band themselves, it’s their personal journey too. “The 1975 has been our entire life,” states Matty. “You can get it, right? People have documented that feeling really well. James Murphy [of LCD Soundsystem] in their documentary [‘Shut Up And Play The Hits’] - when he walks back into the rehearsal room, and it’s the band’s gear, then a photo of a memory. Then the gear and then a photo… I can’t say gear then a photo of a memory more than a couple of times, because I’ll start crying. I think that’s why we’re always moving forward. Do you know what I mean? To look back, I’d have to let myself get nostalgic, and I think the main driving force and why our albums sound so different from each other is continuing to move forward. “I’m a bit scared of being... this is something I’ve only realised recently, maybe this week, is that I’m hyper-nostalgic. That comes out in the meta stuff and the self-referential parts of what we do, but it’s always in something new and moving forward.” “The stuff we’re nostalgic about and the memories we think of is simply us hanging out,” adds Ross. “It’s not like remembering when we achieved something or played this place or this festival; it’s never been that. It’s about laughing at a stupid joke this one time or another.” “If it was answering the question of, ‘How did it feel when you played Shepherd’s Bush Empire at this moment and what was it relative to?’ Well, I can show you,” notes Matty. “We’ve filmed everything, and every time I look at that footage, regardless of how we got it and stuff like that, I don’t like it.” There’s a pause as each member takes a moment to process the emotions of that journey. The one that began with rejection, then acclaim and that is now wrapped into the fabric of their lives. Matty looks up again. “It’s too nostalgic for me to reflect on.”

“There’s a certain amount of blind faith that you have as a

16-20-year-old that just wants to play the music that I definitely wouldn’t have now,” explains George, thinking of those early days of what would later become The 1975. A journey through Me And You Versus Them, Forever Drawing Six, Bigsleep and Drive Like I Do, amongst other forms. From age 13, they put on shows to rooms full of mates and family members, playing with their sound and growing from teenagers into young men. Matty recalls that it wasn’t until SXSW 2013 and the band’s first trip to America that he noted that “people stopped us on the street, and it was not our fucking mates from back home.” That’s where they acknowledged things were changing. Before that, “we couldn’t get a record deal,” continues George. “We did a lot of showcases for major record labels, and it just didn’t happen because, retrospectively, we weren’t ready. We didn’t know what kind of band we were, but we did have some good songs. They didn’t want to take a risk.” “People didn’t understand us,” picks up Matty. “At the time, it was like 2008, and the biggest bands in the world were indie. It was indie indie indie indie, and we were not that. We were as genreless, and I was as verbose as I am now, so people were just a bit like,

‘these guys don’t know what they’re doing’. Whereas we felt like we knew exactly what we were doing, just what we were doing was very specific.” The years of different iterations of bands has helped shape the unmistakable formula that is The 1975 to this day. “I always knew I was the frontman, but I didn’t know I was the frontman until it happened. Like, take for examp-” “WAIT,” jumps in Adam. Matty, George and Ross stop in their tracks, turning to him as he leans forward with a curious look. “… I was the frontman,” he cracks with a wry smile. They burst into laughter before jumping back and forth. “See, that sums us up,” pulls back Matty between laughs. “We faced each other every time we played until our band got big and we had to play to an audience, so my job became completely different.” What stood firm was their steadfast determination to make it. If labels and the music industry weren’t going to open the door to them, then The 1975 would kick it down. “It does sound quite romantic and lofty to say that we never doubted ourselves,” explains Matty, “but there was an element there that we were always going to be a band, and you’ve got to remember what our ambition was. If you played the Academy in Manchester, in our heads, you were a big band. The Apollo was really big, like massive bands would play the Apollo. The MEN [Manchester Evening News Arena] is like a football game. It’s like Green Day. That’s not something that you’re thinking about. We were happy touring below the Academy 3 level getting 50 quid a gig.” “There was no wave of success until we were 24,” continues Ross. “That 6-8 years when you’re supposed to be figuring out your career or whatever, we were committed to this happening.” “I remember being like - wait, we’ve sold 300 tickets to a show?!” recalls George. “Yeah, that was at Sound Control,” chips in Matty, recalling the now-defunct Manchester venue. “That’s it,” George says in agreement, “but even in America, it was like, wow - we’ve sold out our first show in Chicago to 400 people?! It was like, wow, this is actually it!” Matty puts that down to the continued surge of interest and availability that the growth of online culture provided. “We’d grown up on the internet. We got what the internet was, but it hadn’t taken the linear music industry form, and then it did. If you were in fucking Chicago, it was just as easy to listen to our music because of YouTube. It had this thing that had a life of its own.” Before long, The 1975 had become more than just ‘a band’. They had devoted fans scribbling lyrics onto tattoos and notebooks alike. Their live shows had an explosive and almost spiritual quality, with the crowd reaching out for them. They had their finger firmly on the pulse of modern millennial culture and its trials and tribulations for those living through it - the world soon became The 1975’s playground. “It happened so quickly,” says Ross. “There wasn’t time to get accustomed to being on a certain level - what we’re achieving or what gigs we were now doing - because the next one was already booked, and it was bigger. We were just doing laps of the world, and it’s growing and growing.” As Matty makes clear, there’s never been a focus on how big a band The 1975 were becoming or are today. It’s something he sees as a conversation that could quickly get in the way of the creativity and drive that has

Other bands don’t really like us, and we don’t really like them. We don’t really get each other” MAT T Y H E A LY



brought them to where they are now. “We’d never have made an album like ‘Notes’ if we focused on that.” “Just wait until we get smaller,” cracks George. “I reckon we’ll have that conversation,” he laughs. “See, I don’t think we will,” Matty answers. “I think everything makes sense. If we started to play theatres now, we wouldn’t be like, ‘oh, where is everyone?’ Then again, like I said, and I’ve been saying before, The 1975 doesn’t really sit next to many ‘bands’, y’know? We came at a time defined by, well, not bands. Basically, everything else. Male solo artists, female solo artists, rappers and stuff like that. The band was a very tried and tested idea. Still is, but there’s a ceiling to how big bands can get because it’s almost like it has to become an imitation of something that has gone before.” There’s an argument to be made that The 1975 are the most ‘outsider’ band to go big and invade the mainstream, as per that oft-repeated phrase that they are the biggest band that nobody has heard of. Trying to place them within a certain box (aside from their own) is a fruitless task and one they show no interest in. As Matty puts it, “we were always outsiders in the scene. We’ve never been part of a scene, ever. Even when we were kids, we were never part of a scene. We’ve always felt like outsiders in the mainstream because the other bands don’t really like us,” he laughs, “and we don’t really like them. We don’t really get each other. I think that’s one of the things we’ve embraced with becoming friends with Phoebe [Bridgers] or Taylor [Swift] or our relationship with Jack [Antonoff] or George’s relationship with that scene of PC Music. We’ve always been on our own, and it’s funny how our bedfellows have all been more modern American artists who have come in the wake of it all.” At this point, we should interject and say that in the going on seven years we’ve been making Dork, there’s no act that other musicians bring up and shower with almost fawning adoration and praise in interviews more than The 1975. Honestly, at times we worry it looks like we’re prompting it. But regardless, we continue. “I think that definitely changed after the second record [‘I like it when you sleep…’] and ‘Brief Inquiry...’,” notes George, as Matty agrees. “During that ‘Brief Inquiry…’ era, we realised that actually, we were an artist for a lot of artists, whereas on the first two albums, we definitely didn’t feel like that and we felt saddened by that sometimes. I did. I was like, why aren’t we in the scene? I mean, there weren’t really any scenes, but still.” “It was weird to be big but kind of homeless,” ponders Matty. “Kinda cool at the same time, though.” With that distance comes freedom. Freedom to build a back catalogue of music which could easily sit as part of a Hollywood blockbuster but then wrenches at the heart like an A24 Oscar-nominated gem. When creating, they are set on the need to trust their instinct - it’s not let them down so far - and be fearless in the directions it takes them. Even the walls around the word ‘band’ are something the four of them enjoy tearing apart. “We definitely think we were fighting against that a bit with ‘Brief Inquiry…’ and ‘Notes…’, like you said,” George notes to Matty. “We were seeing how far we could push it, partly because we felt a bit insecure at the time about just being a band. There are moments when you’re like: it’s not good enough to just be a band. Because we’re always looking forward and we’re always

28. DORK

interested in what’s on the precipice of culture and what was happening - sonically for me, I was always insecure about being a drummer in a band.” “On ‘Notes…’ we subconsciously took what being a band is as far as we can,” explains Matty. “Then again, we’re just not that interested in form. If George didn’t have to, he wouldn’t play drums. If Ross didn’t have to, he wouldn’t play bass. Hann…” Adam looks up with a grin. “…well, he would probably still play guitar,” he laughs.

The transition from ‘Notes..’

to ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ moves them towards something even more exciting. At Their Very Best may seem like a brilliant tagline for a tour, but it perfectly encapsulates this current era too - completely new, but distilling every magical moment that made them a global force into something that almost feels like it could be a Greatest Hits. It has state-of-the-nation addresses (this album’s ‘The 1975’ and ‘Part Of The Band’), gut-punching social commentaries turned into unstoppable dancefloor hits (‘Looking For Somebody (To Love)’), joyful funk-pop grooves (‘Happiness’), and soaring emotional soundtracks taken straight from the heartbreaking moments of an 80s movie (‘About You’). It also finds the band at their most direct. If you were going to play someone who had never heard of The 1975 an album, something that made it clear what they are all about, then ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ might just well be it. Compared to what’s come before, would you call it refined? “Well, it wasn’t really hard to refine down from ‘Notes…’, was it?” George laughs. “I joke, but it was very difficult. The reason we’ve never made a short record - I think, anyway - is because we thought we couldn’t do it. It’s literally as simple as that.” “Yeah, I don’t think we knew we could do it. I didn’t believe that I could be succinct enough, and I kind of convinced you guys of that, too,” Matty admits. “We convinced ourselves that was what we did.” “To be fair,” responds Ross. “We just had loads of good ideas, and we’ve had loads more ideas that aren’t on any of the records.” “That’s a good way of saying it, to be honest with you,” continues Matty. “Sometimes when people talk about how long our records are, we do get a bit like - the reason why that is, is because we want it to be like that. That’s the album we want to fucking make, and we think all those songs are good, or they wouldn’t be there.” ‘Being Funny…’ wasn’t an album that came together at the click of a finger. It took time to figure out in what direction the record and the band would go. And for a band who’ve reached across genre divides countless times, figuring that out wasn’t simple. At one point, conversations were getting pretty lofty. They wondered, “well, if we’ve played with genre, why don’t we try and invent a genre? It was getting fucking insane because it is insane now to try to do anything truly original with so much information,” explains Matty. Instead, ‘Being Funny…’ came from a place of simply looking around at each other. They focussed on who they were, how they’d gotten to this point, and what they’d been through. They used all that to create an album of inward observation, an intimate DNA weaved with everything they’ve come to be both as a band and as people. “What we had was this,” states Matty, pointing around to the four of them, “and no one else has that. The brotherhood, the ability, the musicianship and the confidence to go in and go - no! No! No!

We’re always interested in what’s on the precipice of culture” G E ORG E DA N I E L

THE 1975



30. DORK

THE 1975



32. DORK

THE 1975

I’ve learned to shut the fuck up a bit more now” MAT T Y HE A LY

We’re fresh as fuck. Let’s do this! But it took us a long time to feel like that.” Adam recalls a time when, on a regular basis, they’d be in George’s house, “and you [Matty] were like, ‘all the songs have been written’.” “Honestly, Friday afternoons…” adds George. “It would just be, ‘look, guys, EVERYTHING has been written. Everything good has been done - not just us, but in general.” “Oh yeah, I remember that,” Matty cracks. “There’s a video of me sat there in a hoody, and I’m like ‘guys… I’m out. I’m not doing this anymore’. But then it’s like, why continue then because there’s no fucking record label knocking on the door. Everyone was just like, ‘oh, right then’. And that made me be like, ‘awwww, come on’, because I want a reaction! You have to pick yourself up and be reflective.” Those sessions went from very loose and unscheduled to a more direct approach. Unusually for them, they brought in an outsider, and Jack Antonoff helped them harness what makes The 1975 so great. Turning up at scheduled times with everyone in the studio at once meant a more honed-in look at who they are as a band. When you take it in its purest form, what is The 1975?

Ross are off to prepare for the world tour to come (“seriously, I’ve got to go home and hang the washing up,” admits Ross). Filled with confidence that arrives with growing older, there remains an indescribable magic that happens when four people click together. It’s front and centre for The 1975, now that the world is theirs. Bad jokes and all. With one eye on defining yet another decade, not even criticism can stop The 1975 from owning their legacy. “I mean, we’re not as down for a scrap as we were when we were 18,” laughs Matty. “Nobody criticises The 1975 like I do, anyway. But say, if someone’s calling me a cunt, right? If I were a proper cunt, I wouldn’t have 20 people around me since I was the age of 12 if I was actually not playing up to being an obnoxious person. I’m not an obnoxious person.” He turns to George, Adam and Ross. “I’m not, am I?” Seizing their chance, all three smile back at him before erupting into laughter. Consoling Matty, more jokes are shared. It is like observing an interaction they’ve probably had infinite times over the years. A friendship built on love and history, still as potent and vital today as it ever was. “Fuck sake,” Matty smiles wryly. “You see, again, we’re just messing about! It’s all either make good music and make jokes or shut the fuck up, and I’ve learned to shut the fuck up a bit more now. So I make music, and I make The result is an album that captures everything that pulls people towards jokes. I put my points in my music instead of The 1975. Twenty years on from first meeting just fucking going off on Twitter or onstage. in school classrooms and halls, it’s the story of That era’s done as well. It’s boring. It doesn’t work. That’s not my fucking job anymore”. a band who’ve come to signify that defiance There’s no doubt. The 1975 are At Their in the face of everything modern life throws. Very Best, and for that matter - so are Matty, Those complicated relationships with a George, Adam and Ross. ■ world that can be harsh yet compassionate, relentless yet rewarding. And for the fans who The 1975’s album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign have been around for a while, it all feels so Language’ is out now. They tour the UK in familiar and comforting. January 2023. Here in 2022, Matty, George, Adam and

The 1975, on tour now that’s so well established live with bands. You see it everywhere. We were talking to [Lighting & Conceptual Designer] Tobias Rylander, and we were like this album is so different to the last one that the show needs to be like that, and then we were like, well, what does that mean? Cos it’s all very well me saying this shit, but I have to take - I say I, but in this particular context - take these big concepts and then turn them into what I mean. What I meant was, ok… the last show was very outward. It was like an Adam Curtis documentary with us stood in front of it. You had ME talking to YOU, and it was very front-on. That show didn’t need a roof on it, do you know what I mean? You could pick it up and put it on an iceberg or put it at Reading Festival or inside an arena. It didn’t matter, it was like Close Encounters [Of The Third Kind] and this fucking spaceship thing. So that’s outside and outward, so what’s inward? So then it was like, are we talking about inside? Well, you are inside because you’re in an arena, so what do you mean? It developed into talking about The 1975 and where it’s being consumed. People are listening to it in their cars, and we’re quite an American band with a lot of references to 80s movies and The 1975 on… the beginning of a new live era, all these kinds of things, and we just dreamed and the difference between Reading & Leeds up, well… it’s the inside of a house. Straight and At Their Very Best up. It’s the inside of a house, kinda like how Matty: Reading was very much what the we made up all of our records. Now there’s no second half of the headline show is. Clinical. video. All of the content has been replaced by That show... It’s that analogy I keep on using theatrics and performance. Not even that much about the 100m. You don’t get Quentin theatrics; it’s mainly just… Tarantino to direct the 100m because you George: It’s more set design than content. don’t want a fucking cutting-in and different styles here and there - you just want to watch The 1975 on… separating the show into two someone do something really good. That’s why distinct sections: ‘Being Funny In A Foreign we’re in the era of long-shot action movies Language’ and At Their Very Best where John Wick kicks the shit out of someone Matty: I think of it more like an encore in the for two minutes in one scene. That’s what you middle than an interval. I think people are want to see! expecting an interval, and it’s not that. We’re George: That’s actually what happens in the still going to be playing for a similar amount of show as well [band lights up with laughter]. time; we’re just gonna move stuff around. Matty: Haha, yeah. So, it’s like long-term It just felt like the majority of the songs [from satisfaction versus short-term pleasure, BUT ‘Being Funny…’] we wanted to play! It’s a I think that comes with an element of selften-track record, there are six singles on it, and awareness, and I think that’s why our Reading we love the songs. It was a combination of that, show was like that, and our headline show is and also the album being drastically different. going to be a bit like that. We know that at our shows, we can ask a lot more of an audience The 1975 on… the freedom that comes with than at a festival. At a festival we’ve kind of got At Their Very Best and changing up setlists a job to do, and we love that and that’s fucking Ross: It’s a lot less rigid than the last shows cool and we feel honoured and privileged, but we had been doing and the last tours. That at our shows, we don’t want to get so big that was quite a planned rise-and-fall dynamic of you’re playing the same set for the person at different video screens and visuals and stuff, the front and the same set for the dad at the whereas this is us and the set we’re in. back. That’s not a headline 1975 show. Everyone Matty: I think, especially with this tour, we’ll be in that room needs to have their own moment. playing a more randomised set of songs. It’s going to be fucking mental. George: There are fewer moments that are like time-coded and boring stuff like that, so we can The 1975 on… the origins of the At Their Very just be like THIS SONG NOW. Best show, and how it had to be drastically Matty: Yeah, exactly; we can literally make it up, different to what has come before which is exciting because it’s what this album George: It kinda started from this idea of feels like. Then we go off stage and the doctors bringing a theatre show into an arena. We’ve or lab coat technicians or whatever they’re always toyed with the idea without really called completely make the stage clinical and knowing what that was. devoid of anything personal or romantic, and Matty: There’s always been that theatrical we come back on as… y’know… the baddies. element to our ‘arena rock show’. You have to put in that I was doing the parentheses The 1975 on… the deep cuts there. It was also that we realised that all of our George: The people that have been to the most albums had been complete diversions from the shows and we see the most are the ones who previous album, but our show had kind of been want the most obscure songs, and we’re into a distillation of each previous show. So in that that! We want to give them what they want, sense, the show you’ve come to expect from and we also like fucking things up with some what you’ve seen before would probably be just weird old song we might not have played in a a bigger version of this neon-dreamworld that long time. The 1975 have created, and it’s an aesthetic

We’ve seen the videos. Some of you will have seen the show. The 1975 At Their Very Best tour is everything you’d hope and more from one of the planet’s biggest acts putting on a spectacle like nobody else can. An ambitious new stage set-up that finds the band welcoming fans into their home, it encompasses everything they’ve represented from the beginning, pulling from not only ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’ and the world it builds, but THE. GREATEST. HITS. Bangers from start to finish; there’s nothing quite like it. Want to know more? Well, here are the boys to break down everything you need to know about how the show came to be, what to expect and the road from Reading & Leeds to now. Get ready.



The 1975 vs the fans.

Community has always been key to The 1975. That’s why - in the run up to this issue’s cover interview - we asked you to give us your opinions in Dork’s The 1975 Fan Poll. From there, we asked the band some of your questions. Here are the results.

Has travelling and encountering so many cultures and political environments shaped the way you reflect on social and political issues? If so, in what way? Cloé, France + Spain

which I’d like to play because I think it’s a good song. We don’t play ‘Antichrist’. That’s become a meme in itself, so I want to keep that going… George: We have! We have played it! We did it. A couple of times… Matty: This was before there was anyone filming it, though. Matty: Yes… in the way that there is George: Yeah, like 2009 or something. practically no difference between any Matty: We played ‘This Must Be My show that we’ve ever played apart from Dream’ once, and people were like, ‘oh hair colour or skin tone if you want to superficially recognise it. What I’m saying play it again’, but no. We kinda play what we want to play. You’ll see on this tour. is the question insinuates: ‘Have you been alarmed at how different people are We’ve said before that we’d like to do the ‘era’ shows, y’know? I think the time to around the world?’ When in fact, for us, itch that scratch is when we do thatno - we’ve been alarmed at how fucking Ross + Adam: Itch that scratch? similar everyone is. Our experiences are Matty: What is it? 1975 shows. George: We’re not a great barometer for Ross: Scratch that itch. Matty: Hahaha yeah, that’s it. I’m so bad that question. with my lefts and rights today. Backs and Matty: Whatever The 1975 world is, is fronts and stuff. completely universal. The politics, yeah, sure, I’m sure people can argue about the What is each of your’s favourite gig minutiae of whether we’re a part of the left, and that keeps getting expanded, but ever? Lu, London we’re very obviously on the left. We’ve represented those kinds of ideas for a lot of young people growing up. It [travelling] Ross: Reading this time around, honestly. George: Yeah, I was going to say - either has had an effect, but what it’s really Tokyo Summer Sonic that we just did or done has reaffirmed what we already Reading & Leeds. Because we got pulled thought when the same amount of kids in to replace Rage [Against The Machine], were listening to songs about growing up in Wilmslow in Jakarta as they were in it felt like a lot less pressure, or it was just New York. We were like, oh, maybe that’s less time for the worrying… Ross: We only had two weeks to not not that different. It’s just the weather overthink it! that changes or something. George: That’s still enough time to freak out over it, but there was just something What one song don’t you play enough about it. Also, the shows in Japan were live, and why don’t you? amazing, which gave us the confidence George Dickens, Manchester to do Reading & Leeds. They felt really special. Matty: Well, we’ve never played ‘Mine’

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THE 1975

Matty: It’s a bit like saying, ‘what’s your favourite meal you’ve ever had’? Ross: There was Sziget in 2019… Matty: Oh fuck yeah! Sziget in 2019 was sick! George: How about that first Chicago show? [All nod in agreement] The first time we played in Chicago was like - oh wow, this is crazy. Matty: The first time we played Reading & Leeds, and we played the Festival Republic Stage, and they had to put screens outside. You couldn’t even get in, and that was so fucking exciting. I remember that. We weren’t very good then, so there are also memories of shows where I know we’ve just been really good that might now have been the best. Every album should be your favourite album, and every show should be your favourite show. The best chefs in the world aren’t happy, y’know? The next show you do should be your best show!

gave me weed in America. Matty: There have been lots of shows like that! Listen, we’ve played the MEN now, and every time we play a step-up show in Manchester, it’s always been weird. We’ve been to every one of those venues. I remember the Academy 1 gigs being like… Ross: Yeah, how many Apollos did we do? George: Four Apollos. Matty: Did we even do Academy 1? George: Yeah, a couple of times! Ross: We did three ‘cos the first one we did, the track broke in the intro, and we had to go off. Matty: Oh shit, it did! George: I remember the security guard. Matty: The security guard was a legend. He was Belinda from My Bloody Valentine’s cousin. George: Dunno, mate. Good memory, though!

What was the first gig that made you realise the impact you were having? Mark, United Kingdom

As consumers of music, what’s the first thing you pay attention to when listening to something new? Lyrics? Production? Harmony? Matilde, United Kingdon

Matty: THAT Festival Republic show. Adam: Yeah, that was probably it. George: Chicago or SXSW. Adam: Can you remember where it was, that Chicago show? Matty: It was upstairs, and somebody got shot next door, and George was doing that goat noise downstairs to the band playing down the spiral staircase. [All laugh as various goat impressions are made] George: That was the first time someone

Matty: Ohh, that’s a good question. George: Good name. Ross: I don’t think I’m very similar to you… it takes me a long time to actually pay attention to the lyrics. Matty: Me too! Honestly, me too. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. If you start out with a bad lyric, I’ll notice it, but… George: Also, if you don’t have a vibe, then it doesn’t matter if you have the best lyrics in the world. Not to use the word vibe unnecessarily.



Adam: I think it’s the tone of a song where you know it’s going to be good Matty: It’s taste, isn’t it? How would you describe what a good photograph looks like? George: Or a painting. Matty: Yeah, you can’t because there’s subjectivity to it. That’s why The 1975 are so good, because the four of us… Taste is so complex. Taste is not one thing, and you can see that across The 1975, but we kinda have the same taste. We all have different tastes, but because we learn the world together, we understand the same kind of cultural references. George: It’s just aesthetic, isn’t it. Matty: I know, but what does that mean [clapping]? George: Pallet, tone, vibe, taste. Matty: I’m not happy with any of these words you’re saying [laughs]. George: It’s the same as saying - I don’t know why I like that painting, but I’m looking at it, and it’s speaking to me. It could just be a plain black painting! Adam: The classic thing with a song is, does it meet your expectation of where the song is going to go or does it completely subvert it? Those are the two archetypes for whether you’re going to enjoy something. You can kind of hear what’s going to come next: when that happens, and it’s executed perfectly, then that’s rewarding - and when something completely different happens, you’re like, oh wow, that’s cool! Those are the two big things. George: It’s when you can’t imagine it. Matty: [to Adam] So you think it’s the kinda sense of or somewhere between subversion and complete understanding of form? Adam: Yes.

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Matty: Ah right, yeah. That’s probably a good answer. Adam: We’re gonna get a bit philosophical in a minute. Matty: Nah, that’s a good answer there. George: It’s somewhere between familiarity and absolutely not. Matty: ‘22, A Million’ is a good reference for that.

and school shooters and how that’s only a male problem. Only a problem with men that aren’t being addressed, especially not by the left and they’re being kind of usurped by the right because they have this weird ideal of masculinity, and we don’t have an ideal of masculinity. It’s not a Black problem, it’s not an Asian problem, it’s not a female problem - it’s a white. male. problem. [bangs fist on the table]. Maybe as a white male, I’d feel a bit weirded out by it, so there are You tend to tackle heavy subjects on albums. When and how do you decide you probably those moments when I feel that, want to speak on things bigger than just and it’s also like, write about what you the individual or individual experiences? know or what you care about. I just write about what I know and what I think I know Is it just part of your songwriting that’s right. Sometimes it can be injustice process, feeling as though what is or something that will wind me up. Ermm, I happening around you IS part of you don’t know. already, or is it a process of, do I really Dork: It’s more of a natural reaction? want to speak on this? Matty: By now it is… Faith, Colorado, United States George: It doesn’t always mean that you feel confident doing it. George: Good question Matty: Hmmm. I don’t really… To be honest Matty: No, no, absolutely. Sometimes I feel annoyed - why bother? with you, I have this whole thing of ‘trust George: Like, why am I suitable for this? your instincts’. I’ve been saying this for Matty: I say that all the time, right? But then years, and like George said before, don’t again, that would mean that we start acting over-intellectualise your art, but you’ve like people are listening to our music. If you got to do that [trust your instinct]. That is do a podcast and you start podcasting like a mechanism. That’s not just an idea; it’s a people are listening, then your podcast gets mechanism. Now, if you do that, you have a way of writing. For example, I didn’t want shit. So if you start making music with the acknowledgement that people are listening, to write ‘Be My Mistake’. I wasn’t sat there then you’re fucked. pining to figure that emotion out, and I Try to make every person in the world remember playing it and going [murmurs ‘Be My Mistake’] - and I was like, okay, that’s laugh with a joke. You’re not going to do it. a nice word what does that mean? And then You’re going to write some fucking dogshit, do you know what I mean? So write about I was like, oh fuck, right, well I know what what you know and what you care about. that means, so I either lean into it, or you That’s the thing; I think the reason that I pretend. have these guys is to keep me sincere. If I Songs like ‘Looking For Somebody (To started taking on a subject that they were Love)’, when it started telling me what it like, ‘mate, you’re WAY out of your depth was about with this crisis in masculinity

THE 1975

on this’, then they would tell me that. It would become fucking obvious, wouldn’t it? Because it would be cringe and ego-driven. You can accuse me of loads of shit, and people do, but you can’t accuse me of being insincere. I’m not insincere. I’m not. I’m not pretending. There isn’t a lot of pretence in the band. Any pretence there is a joke. A joke made by me and us. They play into it. See, the more I fall over, the less attention they [George, Adam, Ross] will pay me. There’s a dynamic that makes The 1975, The 1975. Tomorrow you wake up and you have amnesia, and you remember one song (yours or another artist’s) - which one would it be and why? Matt Bisgrove, United Kingdom

Want to know how the rest of our The 1975 Fan Poll worked out? Head to now to read the results.

George: It’d be funny if you picked one of your own songs. Matty: So is this like Desert Island Discs of the mind and I’m allowed one song? Ross: Yeah, like Desert Island Single. George: You’re not going to fucking like it soon. Matty: It would probably have to be something abstract. ‘An Ending (Ascent)’ by Brian Eno would be mine. Adam: So, not like, Black Eyed Peas? [Laughter around the table] Matty: Oh dude, the amount of answers that we want to give you right now, haha. Okay, ermmm. No, no, it would have to be abstract, so... I’d say ‘Hoppipolla’. Ross: That’s funny; I was going to say Sigur Ros. George: I’m going to give a big shoutout to Justin… The British Expeditionary Force. Matty: Ahh FUCK. George: Because it’s the only music video that has ever made me cry. Matty: Is this ‘Back Of The Hand?’ Adam: Isn’t that… George: Nah it’s definitely ‘Back Of The Hand’. So it’s The British Expeditionary Force - ‘Back Of The Hand’ would be mine. Matty: WAIT. No, wait a second. I’m with you on this, but the video… George: The video is a different song; the video is for- [Matty joins in] ‘COMMOTION’. Matty: ‘Commotion’ is the one with the video, but ‘Back Of The Hand’ is up there as one of our favourite songs of all time George: Sorry, the video is ‘Commotion’, and it’s my favourite video of all time. I should really know the name of it [laughs]. Matty: Well, ‘Commotion’ is basically the same song, so I think that’s fine. So there’s ‘Commotion’ by The British Expeditionary Force, ‘Hoppipolla’ by Sigur Ros… Adam: ‘A Thousand Miles’? [All crack into laughter.] Imagine waking up with [sings the famous piano line]. Matty: Haha, every day, you just hear that! He’s fucking right. It’s like ‘Drops Of Jupiter’, the same kinda thing. Ross: It’s so euphoric. Matty: Yeah it would be. George: Evanescence. You’d love that [looking towards Matty]. Matty: Ahaha, ‘Bring Me To Life’ would be sick. It’s difficult to put the last choice on Ross. Ross: Hmmm. Matty: If there’s one from our collective... Like, listen, we’ve got like a list of ten songs everyone knows ‘All My Friends’. Ross: … I guess ‘This Must Be The Place’ by Talking Heads. George: Yeah, good choice. Adam: Great shout. ■ READDORK.COM 37.


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THE 1975


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A new year on the horizon always brings with it a spotlight on the best new talent. The HYPE LIST is our annual rundown of who you should be keeping an eye on over the next twelve months. Let’s get started, then...

The pop star that just wants to rock. WORDS: JESSICA GOODMAN. PHOTOS: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.


HERE ARE VIDEOS OF ME, FIVE YEARS OLD, WHERE MY MUM’S GOING, ‘SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU’RE OLDER?’ AND ME JUST GOING, ‘I WANT TO BE A POP STAR, MUM’.” Spend any time with Dylan, and it’s impossible not to feel caught up in an earnest kind of enthusiasm that can only come from someone living out their dream. Having just wrapped up an in-store tour promoting her latest release – mixtape ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’ – and jumped headfirst into a sold-out headline tour, anyone else might be exhausted. If we were to sum up Dylan’s energy right now, it’d be as pure, unabashed excitement. “I feel like something’s changed over the last couple of weeks,” she describes of her ongoing flurry of tour dates. “The genuine love that people have for the songs...” Unable to put into words quite how much that means to her, she

eventually settles on saying, “I just don’t think I was expecting it.” Though she may find it unexpected, it certainly isn’t undeserved. Dylan has been working HARD. Starting the year by teasing the release of her ‘No Romeo’ EP, over the past twelve months, she’s also toured with Bastille, Tate McRae, and Ed Sheeran (including a show at Wembley Stadium with the latter). She’s performed at festivals, recorded and released a mixtape, travelled across the country playing stripped-back sets in record stores, and now she’s mid-way through her second headline tour of the year (honestly, it makes us tired just listing it all - Ed). Asked how it feels, being on the road and playing shows night after night, her beaming grin is a response in itself. “It’s been just incredible,” she states, “especially having people scream your songs with you.” Expressing sheer delight at a newfound inability to hear what’s in her in-ears over the sound of people screaming (her READDORK.COM 41.


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comment that “there was no hope in hell for me hearing the music because people were so loud” might seem like a complaint if it weren’t recalled with such glee), Dylan is every bit in her element. “It’s been mental, the way that everyone seems to be attaching themselves to the songs in the way that I have.” Given how much she’s managed to achieve this year, seeing her name in Dork’s Hype List for 2023 probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. What might, however, is how long she’s been working to get here. “I think I wrote my first song when I was six or seven,” she recalls, quickly clarifying, “my first song that was actually on paper, rather than just making up songs in my head.” Music, it seems, has been calling her name for almost as long as she can remember. Apart from a brief period of wanting to be a helicopter pilot, nothing else has called to her in quite the same way. “It was just one of those things,” she states. “It was the only way I really felt like I could express myself.” While those early songs might be lost to the passing of time (asked about the first song she wrote, she says, “I can’t remember how it goes, but I remember it being called ‘Starlight’ and consisting of three chords”), the influences that shaped them are just as important to her now as they were then. A home video shared on social media from the early 2000s of baby-Dylan standing on the kitchen furniture playing a toy plywood guitar along to Busted’s ‘Air Hostess’ – something she describes as being like most evenings in her family – shows that while a lot has changed over the years, a lot remains the same too. That isn’t to say her journey so far has been an easy one. “I was trying to be what I thought people wanted me to be,” she describes – somehow both critically and fondly – of her early EPs, “which is obviously the biggest mistake that you can make, because immediately it’s not authentic.” Now that she’s found her ground and who she wants to be, it feels like there’s no limit to what she’s capable of. The turning point, she recalls, was writing ‘No Romeo’ EP track ‘Nineteen’. Rediscovering her love for rock and roll through “dance parties in the evening with our guitars out” back at her parents’ house during lockdown was what gave her the determination to play guitar on stage. Doing this for the first time when she opened for Yungblud in late 2021 was a moment she says “changed everything.” “From then on, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be a pop star; I want to be a rock star.’” Trying to sum up her approach to music since, she references her viral hit single ‘You’re Not Harry Styles’ (also from ‘No Romeo’). Specifically, the lyric “to you I’m an overly emotional, easily replaceable, overthinking dumb blonde who never got her shit together”. “I think that is basically what the mixtape is,” she describes. “In putting it out there, it was like I lost the shame in it.” Using her writing to turn her crises of confidence into something she could find strength in – and hearing those sentiments echoed back to her at her live shows – helped her discover what she wanted her music to be. “I’m super self-deprecating,” she portrays

of herself, “and the way that I deal with my self-confidence crises is with humour.” While she admits that’s “not always a great thing,” accepting and taking ownership of those parts of herself brought with it a new sense of empowerment. “I think there’s so much power in feeling everything that you want to feel, and in being overly emotional,” she earnestly expresses. “It’s just life. And life is so much better when you feel everything.” Finding inspiration in self-acceptance is what led her to write the songs that make up ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’. “I spent so long hiding behind smoke screens and things like that, to try to not really say how I felt. It got to a point where I was really losing myself,” she explains. Now, she describes her songwriting as being not unlike word vomit. “You can’t really control it. It’s all coming out. You’re just saying it how it is.” Written from her own real-life experiences and about her real-life emotions, listening to her music feels like talking with a close friend or recognising a diary entry. Sometimes sassy, other times sentimental, and always sincere, if there’s one word to sum up Dylan’s approach to her music – in fact, her approach to everything she does – it’d be genuine. “There’s not much of a filter with me,” she laughs. It might be something she says jokingly, but it’s because of her candid nature that her fans are able to connect with her music, and connect with her, in the heartfelt way that they do. Dramatically lip-syncing along to her own songs on Instagram, demonstrating uninhibited dance moves on TikTok, or inviting listeners to share videos of their first-listen reactions to her music so they can all be in the moment together… This is the world that Dylan has created, not just for herself, but for anyone who wants to be a part of it. “I think there’s no point in trying to hide your personality,” she comments of her approach to social media. “It only lets the fans get to know you more. And I think that’s so important.” It works both ways: not only do her fans love being able to get to know her, but she treasures every moment of getting to know them too. “I love it,” she sighs, “because it means that I can be totally myself. I can be completely idiotic on stage and mess up my words and be over the top and talk too fast, and they’re completely expecting it because that’s just who we are.” “It’s not just about the music anymore,” she earnestly continues. “People want someone to write the music that they need to scream to, to make music personal to

them. They need that vessel. When you have music like that, and have someone that you feel that you really know singing it, that’s when the good stuff happens.” She’s not wrong. Look at her tagged posts on social media and you find a world of excitement. There are meme accounts devoted to Dyl-based in-jokes, and countdown accounts created to celebrate and commemorate every occasion. There are accounts dedicated to photos of Dylan with fans, accounts created by fans to celebrate each other. Talking online, people plan their gig-going outfits like they’re readying for a runway, coordinating cowboy hats and feather boas with passionate flair. They share their experiences of shows and meeting the musician, and bond over their shared love for the same music. People have met for the first time at her shows and gone on to become best friends – Dylan has a group chat with some of them. Asked what it’s like seeing all this happen around her music, she struggles to put it into words. “I feel like I’ve always had a really hard time with friends,” she frowns, “just because I am a bit erratic and all over the place. To have them there...” Talking about the sense of community that she’s found through her music brings a smile to her face that doesn’t falter for a moment. “They are as much a part of this as I am,” she asserts of people who listen to her music. “They’re the driving force of this. So there has to be that connection between me and them, because otherwise, I don’t know who I’m singing for, which I hate the idea of.” Throughout her recent tour dates, she’s been giving transport strike updates and guidance on social media to make it easier for anyone who wants to be part of the shows to be there. She also compiled a book of fan art for the first 25 people through the door each night, both as a thank you to those dedicated enough to be there early and as a way of showcasing her fans’ own talent. Actions like these make it clear that honouring the connection and creativity her music has inspired – both in-person and online – is something Dylan holds incredibly close to her heart. “It really makes me feel like I’m a part of something, which I love so, so much.” During a pause between songs in the middle of her shows, she takes a moment to make sure her appreciation and adoration for her audience is known. “Since coming on this tour, it’s become apparent that you guys are practically my home,” she tells the room. Given the volume of the response her words incite, it seems safe to assume that a lot of her fans feel the same way. Her devotion to them feels like it’s rivalled only by the support they give her. At the time of doing this interview, Dylan has just found out her mixtape has positioned in the mid-week album charts. When asked about the possibility of it staying in the Top 20 come the end-of-week official chart, there’s a moment of frozen silence before a smile starts to grow across her features, until she gives up on suppressing her excitement completely and just starts to scream. “Who’d have fucking thought?!” she yells, practically vibrating on the spot in a combination of excitement and nerves. “We’ve been sort of joking around, being like ‘yeah, we want a Top 20 record’, even though it’s not an album,” she laughs. When she heard the news, she was on the road, mid-journey to Leeds, excitement driving her to her feet in the moving van (don’t try this at home – Ed). Now, she tries to temper that excitement with some realistic expectations.

“I don’t know whether, you know, it’ll stay in the charts before Friday,” she shrugs. “Obviously, I’ve got a lot of promo to do before then in order to keep it there. But even having this, it’s just... It’s making everything worth it, I think.” If you’ve been following Dylan’s journey this year, chances are you already know that this story has a happy resolution. ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’ charted at 19, giving her a Top 20 record before she’s even made an album (along with playing Wembley Stadium while having only released a handful of EPs, she’s racked up some impressive accolades this year). Asked what she has in store for next year (already announced are headline tours of the UK and Europe, as well as US shows with Ed Sheeran), Dylan gives a confident smirk and tells us, “oh, don’t you worry about that.” Breaking character to laugh before adopting her smirk again, she adds, “we’ve got lots of big ‘uns on the way!” At the mention of new music next year and the possibility of a debut album, it takes all of three seconds for her adopted cocky attitude to give way to sheer excitement. “I’m in love with it,” she enthuses of the new music she’s been making. “I love it so, so much. I’m trying really hard to not leak anything at the moment.” Asked when we might be able to hear what she’s been working on, she keeps her cards held close to her chest. “The mixtape needs to have its moment,” she states, “and THEN, then it’s time for the big stuff.” An album, she says, is “hopefully inevitable.” “I’m taking it one day at a time,” she

adds, tethering her excitement back down to earth. “I think, with this kind of career, if you look too far into the future, you miss what’s going on around you as it’s growing.” While she comments that “next year is probably going to be more intense than this year,” right now, her focus is on enjoying the moment she’s in. Currently, that means watching videos from her shows of fans’ “blood-curdling screaming” along with her lyrics on loop. “That’s why you write the songs!” she beams. “Because that’s how I feel about the situation that I wrote about. And I feel like sometimes it’s very hard to let that out. So being able to do that and scream it in a crowd, that’s the kind of stuff that it’s here for.” ■



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The duo bringing the biggest bops.


Hype List inclusion already feels motivation to get involved.” somewhat overdue for Sophie “People online gravitate towards people being McBurnie and Tommy Villers, themselves,” she adds, which tommy reinforces, whose piri & tommy moniker has saying that it’s a principle which extends far beyond already taken the world by storm. social media. From having never played a live Moving on to discuss the cover of their first show to walking the boards of Glastonbury, Reading record, “They’re just really fun to draw, basically,” piri & Leeds, Boomtown and many more within a rapidsays of the amphibian obsession that has taken over fire twelve months, it would seem as if all their dreams her aesthetic, stage shows and now artwork. “When have come true - and they have, although things are we met, I was in a phase of drawing frogs and toads, not always so simple behind closed doors. and we just started calling each other ‘froge’ as a Looking back to the duo’s beginnings, then - piri & nickname, and that’s still going until this day.” tommy met through Instagram DMs while the latter A crocheted frog hat soon became a staple was still a member of genre-bending four-piece Porij. accessory that defines her signature look. When With the former having no experience in recording or filming a music video involving the intrinsically linked releasing music of any kind, things quickly became couple digesting a psychedelic frog (‘on and on’), the overwhelming. chance to continue their vibrant aesthetic proved “I was living in a house with people who went hard to resist. to music college and, as a non-musician, if you just It’s these “it just happened” moments that have walked into that house and heard people playing come to define their music, too, and the whole drums and guitars in every room, it must’ve been project was not something that was envisioned as like… oh god, what am I in for?” tommy admits of the a body of work – hence, the not-quite-debut-album intense induction into his world. terminology. “It wasn’t ever intended to be an album; “I wrote very much as a side hobby,” piri recalls. “I we were just making songs,” piri admits. “We did really liked it, but I was so shit at guitar that I couldn’t what was best for each song and didn’t think about even take myself seriously. I didn’t consider myself a anything else, like how it would fit into a project.” musician. After ‘soft spot’ dropped, I could see that “We didn’t approach it with any broad concept; people liked the songs I could write, and that caused the project just fell into place because we were a big shift in my confidence. Now I feel really good writing loads of tracks and just desperately wanted to about it.” (“Slay” – tommy.) release them,” tommy agrees. “Second time around, It is quickly apparent that the pair’s skills we’ll do it in a more cohesive way. We can make it a and experience perfectly balance each other’s proper experience rather than just loads of songs put weaknesses; tommy’s production prowess gives together.” piri a fluid framework to rely on, while she supplies Never really planned as a body of work, its coming a natural voice for the feelings they both share. This together happened naturally as the couple captured relationship directly translates into song, with ‘easy’ moments throughout their first year of dating. Now, detailing the comfortable moments and ‘words’ though, their schedules are full to the brim, with a big paying tribute to some tougher times. headline tour around the corner. “You’ve just got to “As you’d expect, being this close and making take one thing at a time; thinking about it too much music together can be a double-edged sword,” can cause stressful moments,” piri comments, “but at piri confesses. “We can least we’ve always got each other.” communicate exactly what we Leaning on each other is the mean without any difficulty or key part of any group, but it’s even worry, which is helpful for the more important when you live project but can also be jarring or together, create together and tour frustrating when your intentions together. When tommy’s not taking don’t align.” a break at his parents’ southern One place they’re always farm, he’s getting to know the on the same page is the live strengths and weaknesses that the stage, with a blistering number duo can trade off. As he casually of performances cultivating a phrases it, “you’re the brains, and honed approach to each set. I’m the vibes.” “The first time you got on stage, piri is less keen to take TO M MY VI L L I E R S people already knew your songs ownership of their careers but – that put a lot of weight on your confirms that, “that’s what good shoulders,” tommy converses. “You’re really excited teams are all about, having people with different skills to do gigs now, though; you’ve come so far.” that can make up for each other’s weaknesses - and “The more special moments you can create that we love what we do together.” people can go away and look back on, that’s what Moving forward, both of the dance obsessives are makes a show truly special and memorable,” piri says keen to expand their team with more collaboration. from experience. “The music is the central focus, Having written, recorded, produced, mixed, and and we care a lot about how we sound, but it’s not designed every aspect of their first big statement, all about that – it matters how people experience it they’re ready to open up to the influence of others. as well.” Jax Jones and kkbutterfly27xx are two names These shows have brought the huge TikTok that have already been feeding this hype machine, numbers the pair have racked up into reality, but, beyond rising up the charts, there’s one major morphing formidable digits into countless bodies. ambition in mind for 2023. This isn’t an outcome that either musician were “Working with Disclosure is a big goal,” piri tells. entirely confident would materialise. “One track “They’re aware of us - they put ‘words’ on their record blowing up doesn’t translate into a solid reputation,” bag playlist, so the seed has already been planted. Oh, piri clarifies. “You have to establish yourself by and I want Anthony Fantano to review our next album. releasing a lot of good music so people can back you I have to know what he thinks.” and trust that you’re going to put on a sick show.” piri & tommy struggle to stay still and focus on With their formidable debut project, ‘froge.mp3’, what’s behind them, but when forced to do so, all they piri & tommy have done just that. With twelve bangers see is an ever-growing collection of happy memories. under their belts, there is sufficient material to have ‘froge.mp3’ is fluid, effortless, in-the-moment, a true complete faith in the act going forward. Despite realisation of the freedom the pair have experienced making the most of that long-form format, the two to date and serves as a time capsule of a joyous year, 23-year-olds are still spurred on by the chaos of their perhaps a hint at what might be to come. generation that is evidenced best on social media. “The one track that sticks out for me is ‘sunlight’ Pushing aside any industry pessimism, they connect because it’s the first song we ever wrote, and it really authentically with their fan base and find inspiration just came out of nowhere,” tommy reminisces. “The amongst peers in an arena only the youth are placed memory of us creating that song is so vivid in my to understand. mind.” On this, his counterpart has no qualms: “I got “When you enjoy [TikTok] as a user first and really emotional when the mixtape dropped because foremost, it gives you a different perspective,” the last lyric of that song, the last song on the project, piri states. “You just enjoy using the app as an is: ‘let’s start something / all or nothing’. We had no entertainment source; it has a community vibe idea at the time what we were even saying with that. with these really niche memes. That gives you the It’s mad - we manifested it all.” ■


joey valence & brae

FROM: Pennsylvania, USA LISTEN TO: Tanaka Invigorating duo Joey Valence & Brae have blitzed through 2022 with a scorching streak of hip-hop heavy singles. Throwing in influences from rap, rock, and the entire spectrum bridging the two, they’ve stumbled upon a raw and carefree sound that exists out of time but could easily be adopted by the new generation - famed rapper and recent collaborator Logic is but one of many fans. FH

chilli jesson

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: St. Vitamin Once the bassist of indie icons Palma Violets, Jesson has matured and evolved his creative direction into a loose and high-energy style he has recently dubbed “born-again pop”. His 2022 debut EP offers everything from a pulsating electronic core, thrashing and squirming guitar lines, and a sincere focus on a mental fragility he clearly understands well. FH


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Round The Bend Four tracks in and already stirring up a heated reputation, this eclectic four-piece are slowly carving their place amongst the emerging indie elite - signed to tastemakers Nice Swan and endorsed by Wet Leg, there’s clearly a deceptive appeal to the communal madness Malady find comfort in. With more remixes than songs released, the band are deliberately reinventing themselves at each stage, and it’s an undeniably admirable pursuit. FH


mac wetha

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Play Pretend (feat. spill tab) Nine8 Collective’s resident producer Mac Wetha stepped into the spotlight with a slew of 2021 solo releases, revealing a previously unseen side to the artist. Releasing his EP ‘Cloud Paint’ in 2022, he’s supported the likes of Dirty Hit label mate Beabadoobee and Deb Never, and worked with Aminé, Biig Piig and spill tab. SOC

dora jar

FROM: New York / LA, USA LISTEN TO: Bump Dora’s 2022 saw her dropping Really Very Good singles ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Bump’, and joining Billie Eilish for the Happier Than Ever World Tour in the US, Australia and New Zealand. The 24-year-old has already captured the attention of fans and peers, with co-signs from the likes of Moses Sumney, Grimes and Charli XCX. SOC

FROM: Cardiff, UK LISTEN TO: The Ick Armed with humorous lyricisms and addictive hooks, this Cardiff four-piece are smashing down the barriers of the music industry. Admittedly somewhat unhinged, with recent tracks honing in on ‘the ick’ and poor meal deal choices, Panic Shack are happiest when causing chaos. FH


FROM: Leicester, UK LISTEN TO: Big Talk Reinvigorating the tongue-in-cheek flavour of noughties pop, SOFY embodies the same charming wit and earworm choruses with a loose, conversational tone and subtle influences from the worlds of rap and hip-hop. Commenting on the drama of everyday life, her twelve-month dominance has taken the artist from a Leicester unknown to a tent-filling draw at Glastonbury. FH

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FROM: Galway, Ireland LISTEN TO: I Don’t Recognise You Ireland’s acclaimed dream pop exports may have taken their handle from a random name generator, but their swirling yet pensive sound encompasses a little more premeditated thought. Somehow stormy and bright at the same time, their feedbackdrenched guitar-driven manner runs in the same vein as Soccer Mommy, surprisingly informed by painful shared formative experiences. SOC

medicine cabinet

FROM: Glasgow, UK LISTEN TO: Factor 50! Thrown together by a hairdresser and tattooist, the one thing this rag-tag bonded over immediately was their passion for music. In what can only be described as a five-way-match made in heaven, two joyful hits and a smattering of charisma have caused great intrigue; watch this space to learn more. FH

cat burns The chart sensation.

panic shack


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: people pleaser A phenomenal year for Streatham’s starin-waiting, 2022 saw the release of Cat’s six-track ‘emotionally unavailable’ EP, which includes platinum-selling single ‘go’. She also made her mark on the live stage this summer, including a sold-out headline performance at KOKO. Recently supporting Ed Sheeran on the European leg of his Mathematics Tour, she’ll reunite with him next summer, supporting on the North American leg of his Mathematics Tour alongside Khalid. SOC

The future Brazillian pop superstar. FROM: São Paulo, Brazil / Sheffield, UK LISTEN TO: bugfood Now Sheffield based (you’ve probably heard of her husband, ‘fyi’) having hailed from Brazil, 2022 has seen singer-slashsongwriter-slash-visual-creator Alissic make her live debut at Great Escape and continue her rise at Reading Festival. With over 2 million followers across her socials already and a 6 million streams, she explains that she doesn’t “want to make just a pop sound but to add elements of difference, and create a new style.” SOC


FROM: Texas, USA LISTEN TO: Romantic Homicide Already climbing his way into the top 250 most-streamed artists worldwide, Houston singer David Burke is the very definition of breakout. Dragging his audience from the gaming world into a new-found passion for laid-back indie-pop, penning his dark emotions to the BandLab page has resulted in an accidental career in music. Whoops! Not bad for a 17-year-old, though. FH

sophie may

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: With The Band With a big online following, and fans in superstar names like Billie Eilish, Sophie May is every inch the modern musical prodigy. Her debut EP ‘You Do Not Have To Be Good’ got eyeballs firmly spinning in her direction, she’s written with Matt Maltese and Luca Buccellati - who produced Arlo Parks’ ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’, and supported Inhaler. Big things are afoot. SA


FROM: Text LISTEN TO: Text It’s fair to say VLURE’s appearance on our stage at The Great Escape took up a large amount of our attention at the seaside new music bash back in May. A force of nature, the Glaswegian gang have something that sets them apart from a sea of post-punkers. 2023 should see them blossom.. SA


FROM: Glasgow, Scotland LISTEN TO: Yeah, Mud! Formed together over 2021 lockdowns and quickly moving in together, these five Glaswegians may still be fleshing out their musical infancy, but their sound is very much fully formed; intended as a backdrop for frontman Andreas’ lyrics, a distinctly disoriented signature sound was quickly formed from fragments of off-kilter postpunk, erratic indie-pop and discordant posthardcore. FH

prima queen

FROM: London, UK (via Bristol and Chicago) LISTEN TO: Eclipse Meeting as strangers in the big city and rapidly becoming permanent besties, Louise Macphail and Kristen McFadden have sparked a friendship as unlikely as it is infectious. Hailing from Bristol and Chicago respectively, the duo’s perspectives fused to form one singular voice that speaks bold and brave as easily as it offers an intimate whisper. FH

regressive left

FROM: Bad Faith LISTEN TO: Luton, UK Regressive Left deliver political starkness through a booming disco and post-punk fusion. Twisting modern horror into infectious and witty music, their dire diagnosis of British life is perhaps the most satisfying way to have fun in a world that’s crumbling apart. FH

bonnie kemplay

FROM: Edinburgh, UK LISTEN TO: 19 Taking inspiration from Soccer Mommy, Julien Baker and Clairo, and aged just 20, Bonnie has organically racked up over 1 million streams for her self-described brand of ‘indie sadcore’. Signed to Dirty Hit, the former jazz guitar student released her EP ‘Running Out of Things to Say, Running Out of Things To Do’ in November. SOC


48. DORK


S A BAND VERY MUCH IN THEIR HYPEY, TASTEMAKER ERA, A BUNCH OF LABELS HAVE BEEN ATTACHED TO STONE IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE SENSE OF THEIR ATTITUDES. Some have stuck more than others, with “post-apocalyptic scally rockers” being an adopted favourite, but their selfdeclared tagline seems extremely fitting the more you learn – that being “the underground voice for the lost youth”. The statement originated in their own unstable backgrounds as Fin and Elliot have both been through their share of struggle and mental health issues, but are now making a concentrated effort to support those facing the same problems. The former was a social carer before the band got signed earlier this summer, running his own mental well-being charity on the side, while the lead guitarist worked in youth clubs to support those with turbulent upbringings. “We always been the kind of people to give back,” Fin states matter-of-factly. “That’s us as people – we do care. It’s not something we claim just to sound cool, although obviously it actually is quite a cool statement, but we as a band genuinely do care about the youth and our generation.” It’s a fairly blatant observation to note that times are tough, and no one will be feeling that harder than the new generation of youngsters, struggling to find their own character online, a process Elliot says “can be such an overwhelming environment. We try to reflect that in our music, to give something for people to identify with in such a messy time to grow up.” The ever-changing tool belt that allows us access to increasing quantity and diversity of content is a double-edged sword. “Everyone’s just shouting into a void,” Elliot resigns, “which can be a great way to find meaning and connection alongside others, but –” Fin interrupts, “it’s not a void. Everyone’s just shouting into a fucking echo chamber.” Thoughts magnify and explode beyond control, and STONE have directed this loss of control into their own music. Their summer banger ‘WASTE’ might boast a thrashing instrumental and furious vocal delivery, but the frontman’s words nail a confusion and anger that only come from internal strife. “The guy is sat in a pub telling the bartender, ‘I think I need some help, I’m going under, I’m losing my mind, it’s a matter of

taste, just so you know, I’m waste’. I think that’s pretty dark,” Fin details. “I wrote that when I felt like I was in a videogame, like life wasn’t real. Some of it has to be left to perception, though; I don’t want to go too deep into my life experience. I’ve had some hard times, but music is my outlet; hopefully, we can give that to others.” Although they aspire to uplift, STONE admit some frustration at the way in which other musicians might attempt to do the same. “There’s a really fine line between delivering a message that echoes genuine sentiment which people can relate to, and then marketing, exploiting or fetishising that – making it a token effort,” Elliot explains. “Unfortunately, that is definitely something that happens a lot.” “When people are young and impressionable, you never want to promote sadness,” Fin adds. “I feel like these days, people can be like: ‘If you love depression, you’ll love this!’ You shouldn’t talk like that to younger people. We’re music for all people. People who are trying to find themselves – you’re safe at our gigs, and you’re safe with us. Mental health’s a serious thing; we’ve been through and felt it. It’s not something we want anyone to experience, and definitely not something we want to use to market our music.” Addressing these issues can be a gruelling process, and tackling the negatives in everyday life inevitably becomes exhausting, but STONE never lose sight of life’s silver linings as exemplified on ‘Money (Hope Ain’t Gone)’, the lead single from their diverse debut EP, ‘Punkadonk’. “A change, we want it / I feel it, it’s coming,” Fin promises on the track, reminding us that even the darkest gloom is only temporary. “The government being a fucking arse crack doesn’t stop my local flower shop lady smiling as I walk past,” he declares. “It doesn’t stop the guy serving me coffee from asking how my day was; it doesn’t stop me from going to the gym and thinking positively about myself. Obviously, things aren’t easy for everyone, and some people have a really hard time in life, but happiness comes from within.” The anthemic chorus on that track is just one distinct moment on a record full of left turns. STONE’s sound was initially informed by a conversational, almost spoken-word lyrical approach accompanied by post-punk-inspired guitar jams, but the group haven’t shied away from shaking things up. “We’ve moulded into so much more than that,” the vocalist offers. “When we started, we found ourselves in the post-punk wave, but then we evolved - evolution is natural. I couldn’t put


a finger on what we’ve become now. We make what we love, which can be all kinds of music. ‘Punkadonk’ itself has a big genre mix, but the songs are all on the same wavelength.” Elliot elaborates, “We’ve expanded the sonic palette but kept the STONE ethos right at the centre, and that’s what I find really rewarding about our creative process. We are taking risks sonically, but we’re happy with them, particularly as we’re home-grown and self-produced, which keeps our attitudes right at the core.” For such a buzzy act moving into a pivotal portion of their musical careers, these four Scouse musicians are keeping things noticeably instinctual, which is brought to the forefront with a drum and bass offering on their debut project. Elliot recalls questioning himself on that significant shake-up. “Are we really doing this? I like to be kept on my toes and be in a position where we have the leverage to put out music like that. Putting out any song is inherently a risk as you’re exposing your art to the world, but it’s a risk we’re happy to take.” Clearly, their risks have started to pay off – 2022 has been a year of huge live performances, attracting fans amongst the likes of Yungblud, Sam Fender, and Inhaler. All four band members have made an effort to not take any single opportunity for granted (“If we’d acted like that in the smaller venues, the bigger ones would never have come”), but now the hands being extended are becoming increasingly surprising. Amongst a busy first festival season, it’s the attention of Louis Tomlinson that stands out as a particularly unexpected highlight. The singer hosted his own festival, Home Away From Home, back in August, and STONE were specifically sought out to grace the boards of the Malaga music celebration. “It’s good that he’s using his platform as someone who’s looking at indie grassroots fans and championing them, exposing his audience to bands like us,” Elliot asserts. “It’s a really powerful thing in a world where there are whole generations of legacy musicians who act like, ‘Kids nowadays aren’t doing it like we did it’. It’s good that he’s championing people like us – and we’re obviously happy with it.” The two STONE representatives affirm their gratitude, although flying abroad and back in between sets at Reading & Leeds sounds like a challenge. “Louis is just a genuinely nice dude with a massive platform; that’s all it is,” Fin straightens out. “He decided to get us on stage, and we are grateful for that and grateful for the beer afterwards – he’s a sound fella.” Any external support won’t define their voice, though, and Elliot promises that ‘Punkadonk’ will be a big step forward for the quartet. “We’re offering an eclectic blend of sounds; it is a real statement. It’s a battle line being drawn – we are STONE. Outside of the message of each individual song, it’s a great collection.” Teasing that their sights are already looking towards the debut album, he restates the group’s thirst for an ever-growing slate of live shows moving forward. With a world of inspiration at their feet, “you never know when the next banger is coming around the corner.”


The indie noisenicks leading a charge.


FROM: Text LISTEN TO: Text Growing up on the outskirts of Manchester, Daniella Lubasu feels that the city’s strong indie rock legacy has had an “inevitable” impact on her. Equally significant was the music of her Congolese heritage - with its upbeat rhythms, driving bass and intricate electric guitar riffs a constant presence in her childhood. First writing music at the age of 13, she used it as an emotional outlet during her teenage years. Now 18 and navigating her A Levels, her recent EP ‘The Della Variant’ sets classic coming-of-age concerns to the backdrop of wider social issues. SOC

fat dog

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: You can’t yet - there’s nothing online outside of live videos on YouTube. Sorry. Something of a mystery band until recently for those not keeping an eye on the South London scene, Fat Dog have now firmly been let out to run amok following their recent buzzy support slot with Sports Team - a run where they threatened to outdo the masters of chaos on a nightly basis. From the shades of punk and electro swirling around them, to the cowboy hats and wild crowds, these dogs have got us all barking for more. JM


daisy brain The grunge upstart making a mark.


FROM: Oxford, UK LISTEN TO: I’m Trynna Tell U That I Love U Artemas started 2022 with the release of ‘I’m Sorry’, produced by regular collaborator Two Inch Punch. Quickly followed up with mixtape ‘I’m Sorry I’m Like This’, it spanned his signature blend of styles as he pushed the outer reaches of his sound. On the live front, Artemas earned a slot at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend. SOC


FROM: Dublin, Ireland LISTEN TO: Literary Mind Dublin punks Sprints are a band with stuff to say. Loud and abrasive in the best way possible, they’ve been ticking up the co-signs in impressive style over the last 18 months or so. Unafraid to speak their mind and deliver it with a sharpness more cutting than a wall of knives, run don’t walk to their next show in town. SA

boy bleach

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Toxic Only emerging in the last 12 months, Boy Bleach have already secured support slots with Yungblud and Only The Poets and amassed a dedicated fan base. They’ve just performed two sold out shows at London’s Camden Assembly off the back of their first EP ‘or are you normal’ with a headline UK tour also on the way. SOC

50. DORK

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Small Matters Will Tse’s self-described ‘claustrophobic grunge’ style combined the bright heights of Britpop and the murky pits of garage rock from within his Hackney bedroom, and thus Daisy Brain was born. Emo aesthetics and melodic appeal are all grounded within an unpretentious Gen-Z perspective, making it hard to not meet these songs with wide eyes and immediate awe. Full of angst, crunchy guitars and sticky floor basslines, Daisy Brain is building a discography designed to be screamed at the highest volume. Told his whole life that he would never make it, an outcast rage only enhanced his sense of enthusiasm and ambition as he buried a sense of defiance within the very foundations of this project. Having already trodden the boards of Alexandra Palace alongside YUNGBLUD, it’s safe to say the in-your-face middle finger is somewhat justified. Tapping into stadium-sized memories of key influences My Chemical Romance and Green Day while acting as a conduit for their era-defining rawness, Daisy Brain’s possibilities seem endless. FH

mollie coddled

FROM: Leeds, UK LISTEN TO: Lonely Bitch Alt-popster Mollie Coddled is a professional emotion-splurger, navigating her early 20s as a neurodivergent with extreme attitude and overwhelming cheek in the best way possible. Always providing a unique perspective, this creative force is still getting to know herself and bringing listeners in on a personal but broadly affecting experience impossible to deny. FH

joey maxwell FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: fried This South London indie-popper has a knack for layering down boisterous melodies and buzzing instrumental layers, all while using his songs to explore some serious topics with a joyful grin. Moving on from his ‘trying not to deep it’ EP era, joey is starting to document his coming-of-age experience with relentless satire. Whatever that might go on to encompass, we already know that this DIY musician refuses to play by the rules. FH

lizzie esau

FROM: Newcastle, UK LISTEN TO: Bleak Sublime Born in London but raised in the North East, 23-year-old Lizzie has had a knack for songwriting from an early age, but it’s truly started to shine over the last twelve months. Offering thoughtful and important commentary paired with an ever-expanding range of sonics - indie, alt-rock, and acoustic ballads standing out so far - she’s slowly but surely gearing up towards a true breakout moment. FH


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Overgrown Yaz has been ‘active’ on YouTube since the age of 13 - but this isn’t a case of a backwards fit musical career stapled onto an existing star. Across a run of tracks to date, the North West Londoner has proved herself both fresh and fantastic, but with a flash of pop brilliance to boot. SA

melin melyn

FROM: Cardiff, UK LISTEN TO: Hold The Line Charismatically upbeat attitudes, jangly riffs and a chameleon-like ability to move from surf to folk and back, Welsh wonderboys Melin Melyn are gearing up for a year guaranteed to bring even more smiles from the gang. Fresh from releasing their second EP, ‘Happy Gathering’, Melin Melyn have proven that their gleeful brand of rock can only continue veering in the most unpredictable, joyous of directions. NM

saya gray

FROM: Toronto, Canada LISTEN TO: Wish U Picked Me... Singer-songwriter, producer, musical director, and multi-instrumentalist Saya Gray recently signed to Dirty Hit and released her debut EP ‘19 MASTERS’. A steady stream of releases have gained a recognition for her grunge-infused sound, vivid storytelling and unconventional songwriting. SOC

she’s in parties

FROM: Essex, UK LISTEN TO: Cherish Nabbing their name from a Bauhaus track, She’s In Parties are the talk of the town right now for a reason. This year’s string of goth-pop singles has seen the band cement themselves as one of those bands we just can’t get enough of – breezy, shoegazeheavy and contrastingly radiant guitars and resonant vocals proves to be a winning combination for the four-piece. NM

mimi webb frankie beetlestone

FROM: Sheffield, UK LISTEN TO: Popstar Laidback and lo-fi, warm and soulful, Frankie Beetlestone’s jazz, rock, and funk influences blend into a soft and comforting expose of British youth culture. Drum beats and catchy riffs stimulate a trance only interrupted by occasional rap verses. Rising above lad culture, no dismissal has been able to restrain his ambition. FH

dylan fraser

FROM: Bathgate, UK LISTEN TO: 2030 Revolution This Scottish youngster has already proven his talent through a pair of rattling, extended releases, but has plenty more to serve up yet if his social media presence is anything to go by. With the live talent to back up his genre-deforming tunes - as evidenced by blistering festival performances and stand-out support slots alongside Inhaler and Holly Humberstone - Fraser offers vast potential in a thrilling package. FH

The superstar that’s already arrived.

FROM: Canterbury, UK LISTEN TO: Ghost Of You Offering effortless deep dives into goosebumpinducing emotion, Mimi Webb has stormed onto the scene and made one hell of an impression. Having already entered the UK Top 10 more than once, legions of fans are swarming to celebrate her huge but confessional pop bangers on the big stages. Far from being overwhelmed, Webb has adapted to a hectic new lifestyle with ease, using her vulnerability to offer refuge to those who see the same in themselves. After three years of work, her debut album is set to arrive in March and promises to explore the duality of Amelia’s rural upbringing and the stage dominance a musical persona has gifted her. Deliberately pushing her limits and leaving observers an awestruck mess, Mimi’s true moment of reckoning is almost here. FH



T’S ALL A BIT SILLY,” GRINS HOLLY MINTO, SUMMING UP CRAWLERS’ 2022. Not only have the Liverpool-based four-piece gone out on their very first headline tour and released their brilliant debut mixtape ‘Loud Without Noises’, but the emo rock group have also travelled to America for the first time, played the iconic Reading & Leeds and supported both My Chemical Romance and Maneskin. They’ve never once looked out of their depth, either. Crawlers have been at it for a few years now, with guitarist Amy Woodall, bassist Liv Kettle and vocalist Holly first coming together in 2018 to make angsty, grunge-inspired rock and roll. They’d spend their weekends driving around in Amy’s Fiat Punto, playing every grassroots venue in the North West and soon developed a cult following. Drummer Harry Breen joined a few singles later, then 2021’s ‘Come Over (Again)’ became a sudden viral hit, with 34 million Spotify streams and counting. Holly says that breakthrough track was “a real risk” for the band, who had made a name for themselves with aggy punk-rock that featured sweeping lyrics like “the youth are broken” (2020’s ‘Placebo’). ‘Come Over (Again)’ was written after Holly taught herself to play the guitar, allowing her to sit with her feelings and “get more vulnerable” than she’d previously been able to when she was writing stories over snarling riffs in band practices. “We knew it was a good song,” says Holly. “We obviously weren’t expecting it to do as well as it did, though.” It opened the door for Crawlers to really explore their vulnerabilities and gave Holly the self-belief to take tracks like ‘Fuck Me’ and ‘Hang Me Like Jesus’ (both of which were written before ‘Come Over’) to the band. One year later and Crawlers have just released ‘Loud Without Noise’. “It’s so emotional,” beams Holly. There are a few niggling nerves about “getting a message from my ex, but we move,” she continues. “I just don’t seem to be able to hold back.” ‘Loud Without Noise’ is “different” to their self-titled EP, with the lyrics to the mixtape coming from a far more personal place. “It’s a lot more exposing,” says Holly. “But I know they’re the songs that make fans feel less alone.” She goes on to say that the mixtape tackles the “things I’m anxious about. It’s about the things that are constantly on my mind, that I’m trying to distract myself from. It’s where the title comes from because my thoughts are loud without distractions.” The record explores “bad relationships and the recovery of the mental health crisis I had in 2020,” says Holly. “It also touches on sexual assault and other traumas that I’ve gone through, as well as talking about politics and how I’m a lot more privileged now I’m signed to a major label. I feel quite naked releasing this into the world,” she admits. She goes on to say that playing the songs in practice “does sometimes get a bit much” even though they’ve fostered a safe space between the four of them, but playing big, sold-out rock shows is a completely different vibe. “You’re playing music that evokes such emotion in you, but there are all these people screaming the words back at you. Every person has their own story behind the lyrics resonating with them,” says Holly, who’s had countless fans come up and explain how Crawlers’ music has positively impacted their lives. “There’s such joy in being surrounded by people who understand you, at least a little. It’s really magic.” If you’ve seen Crawlers this year, you know the euphoria they deal in. They’re just getting started as well. A flurry of festival dates has allowed the band to be exposed to a variety of bands at the very top of their game, with Holly listing Charli XCX, The 1975, Rina Sawayama, Self Esteem, Bring Me The Horizon and Olivia Rodrigo as artists that have taught her that “performing can be so much more than playing

52. DORK

The band unafraid to speak their truth.


music and getting people to sing along.” Sure, there’s still imposter syndrome that comes with being thrust onto those big stages, and the band are still getting their heads around meeting their idols backstage, but Crawlers are quickly realising they’re fine to do things their way. “I grew up seeing artists I admired talking about dramatic films or obscure literature as sources for inspiration,” says Holly. “I felt like I needed to be the same, but I’ve realised none of that really inspires me. I like Bojack Horseman, Fleabag and scrolling on Reddit. And that’s fine.” Early this year, The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins posed the question “Are Crawlers the new stadium rock band we’ve been looking for?” on his Rides Again YouTube channel. At first, Holly wasn’t sure. “I’m five foot two; it’d be like a mosquito jumping around on a stage that big,” but recently, she’s coming around to the idea. “Once the songs are good enough, and enough people are singing along,” she starts. “Hand on my heart, I’m in a band with the most talented people ever. Amy is so ambitious and is a great producer as well as being the best, I’ve never seen anyone have as much fun behind a drum kit as Harry, and if I wasn’t onstage, you wouldn’t care because you’d be watching Liv play bass. There’s no reason why we can’t amp things up.” “You always want to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Holly continues, a lifelong fan of bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance who conjured that communal spirit. “It wasn’t just about the music; it was about the community. All I ever dreamed about for Crawlers was making a safe space for people who were like me in school. I didn’t fit in,” she explains. “Yes, I know every artist says that they didn’t fit in because they were so weird or quirky, but I didn’t even know I didn’t fit in. I was so blissfully unaware because I was so busy with music.” The day before Holly speaks to Dork, Amy visited her house to write some new songs and reflect on their barmy journey so far. Amy brought with her a video from four years ago, back when Holly would take to the stage with a “moody, fake badass” persona and a weird Elvis Presley singing voice (“so cringe”). In the clip, Holly can be heard asking, “why have no labels come to us? Why does no one know who we are.” “We never stopped being ambitious, even when we were bad,” she grins today. “If we weren’t ambitious, though, we wouldn’t have improved, and we wouldn’t be where we are today.” Crawlers’ ascent comes at a time when emo has stopped being an insult, and that melodramatic music is now resonating with a new generation. “I think it’s because we’ve all just become a lot more cripplingly self-aware. We’re more in touch with our emotions, and musicians can write about things that are horrible, but true.” “There was definitely a phase in 2020 where everyone became a little more alternative, but that just meant people were free to explore their identities,” she continues. “For some, emo was a trend, but that’s fine. It let them experiment, and that should always be encouraged. Others

discovered a new way of life, and when you’re Holly before going on to explain how she got struggling, it’s nice to have that community that “really lucky” at secondary school. “My teachers relates to you.” gave me free trumpet lessons because I couldn’t With so many great emo bands now thriving, afford them. Those trumpet lessons were the Holly often finds herself asking why so many first drops of music for a working-class person people are making a community around hers. She who probably would have never been able to do reckons it’s ‘cos the four people that make up it otherwise,” she says, with both Liv and Amy Crawlers are so wildly different from one another, having similar stories. but are also so connected. “We also make music “We could never afford new instruments that’s so real and so honest. It’s the sort of thing I either. My dad worked in a charity shop, so if needed to hear when I was 14,” she explains. “We ever a guitar came in, we’d buy that, and I’d give people space to be themselves.” work on setting it up. It’s a different world to “People do use our most people in the music music to help them feel industry,” Holly continues. less alone, and that’s “Now I’m signed to a major huge, but I’m not behind label, I’ve suddenly got all the healing process,” this privilege that I never says Holly, who refuses had before.” Rather than to take credit for the wallowing in how hard band’s music saving they’ve had it, Crawlers any lives. “All we’ve want to “stand up for the done is soundtrack your fact that anyone should own success. Each and be able to do this. Music every person should is a right. It’s not, as the be proud of their own government may think, actions.” a thing just for people As well as a busy with privilege and money. 2023 that’ll see the If you’ve got a creative band turn their eye from interest, you should be becoming Britain’s most able to pursue it.” exciting new rock band It comes as the band to something more refuse to put a limit on global, Crawlers have themselves. As well as also started thinking racking up successes HO L LY M I NTO about new music. within the industry, “A lot of people are Crawlers have also worked asking questions about an album,” starts Holly. with the team behind the new queer play A Billion “It’s coming, it’s happening, but if we rush it, it’s Times I Love You to soundtrack the production. not going to be any good, so we’ve decided to “We watched the actors’ movements and used wait until it’s perfect. Everyone will know when our music to create a story,” says Holly. “It’s gone it’s done anyway because I’ll start hinting on on to inspire our live show.” Twitter cos I have no self-control.” She goes on to The band have always aimed big, but “we’re describe Crawlers as “an album band”, and says more ambitious than ever now,” says Holly. “My they want to create something “inspiring and poor manager gets all sorts of messages from encompassing”. me, with every weird idea that comes to me in The band also have a vision for what Crawlers’ my dreams.” debut album will be, but it’s still new. “Before the Sure, it’s occasionally “politely suggested that mixtape, I was a bit worried because we were maybe we don’t have the money and time just getting pulled in every direction,” says Holly, yet”, but it’s never a no. Over lockdown, Harry with the band taking in rock and pop alongside brought one of Liv’s teddies onto a livestream, singer-songwriter confessionals. “Now, though, and since then, Soup has become something of we’ve settled into this new wave of sound. an unofficial mascot for Crawlers. The band even The mixtape shows off everything that we can suggested they buy the rights to the doll. The do, and now we’ve got space to create a welllabel said yes. Holly cackles at the idea. rounded, sonically cohesive Crawlers album. “Music is obviously the focus, but the sky’s I don’t want to spoil too much, but there are the limit, really,” she continues. Liv really enjoys already songs that are pretty much done for it.” illustrations, and Crawlers have been toying The biggest culture shock for Crawlers has with the idea of doing a series of comic books, been realising “we really do come from nothing. while Holly is excited to finally get to the level of I used to be so unaware of how little we had, touring around in a bus, so she can cook meals and I honestly wasn’t aware of this until we were for the whole band. “If we just limit ourselves to plunged into the music industry,” says Holly. just being a band, how are we going to create the “We’re working class, and no one in our families kind of community and do all the other things had any contacts that could help us chase this that we believe in.” dream. We all just loved music.” So if in the next few years, you see this “silly “I wasn’t trusted in primary school to play an eyeliner band” playing Wembley Stadium with a instrument because they thought I’d break it, giant, inflatable teddy as their backdrop, don’t when really I just had undiagnosed ADHD,” says say we didn’t warn you. ■



been stellar The band keeping NYC the coolest music city on Earth.

bleach lab

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Take It Slow Bleach Lab released their first two EPs in 2021 to wide acclaim for their organic, dreamy sound. This year has seen them release a further EP ‘If You Only Feel It Once’, delving deeper into an immersive world. Having spent the summer appearing at UK festivals, they’re rounding off the year with a run of headline dates. SOC

FROM: New York, USA LISTEN TO: Ohm This NYC five-piece admit to defining their sound within their home, but have already had success in exporting it across the channel. Stepping beyond the boundaries of their obvious influences, Been Stellar balance the tough scale weighing up broad noise and honed melodies. On their self-titled debut EP, toughened grit and organic attitude embody the band’s current surroundings in an excellent first step forward - the next one will be their debut album, which is already in the works. FH

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Play Pretend Originally adopting the moniker ‘dexter’ to hide her musical ventures from her family, the South Londoner initially caught interest with tracks recorded on just on her iPhone. It was on her first project that she upgraded to a MacBook and got her first vocal mic - her debut EP receiving high praise. She’s followed up this year with project ‘Fortune Cookie’, capping it off by touring with Denzel Curry. SOC

FROM: Kilkenny, Ireland LISTEN TO: Never Gonna Stop Producer Ben O’Sullivan and vocalist/multiinstrumentalist Paddy King have been making music together since 2020, when they released their debut project ‘Neon Palm Trees’. Since then, they’ve have been on a roll, selling out their debut headline shows 6 months in advance and amassing over 40 million streams. SOC

FROM: Melbourne, Australia LISTEN TO: New York, Paris and London Currently supporting Sam Fender back home in Australia, the Melbourne trio have already shown every sign of having the world at their collective feet. With their early singles reminiscent of early The Cure and New Order, they are a more than welcome refresher after the recent years of identikit post-punk bands that forgot how to dance. These are classes you’re gonna want to take, trust us. JM

54. DORK

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Take Your Time Fast rising South West London trio Slaney Bay are already making big waves in the capital. With their just released, Really Very Good debut EP ‘A Life Worth Living’, they’ve got the kind of easy to love energy that quickly wins over even the hardest of stone cold hearts. The potential is obvious. SA


49th & main


slaney bay

molly payton FROM: Auckland, New Zealand LISTEN TO: Handle Molly Payton has bounced back and forth between countless homes, leaving her understandably disoriented in the foreign but now homely city of London. The one consistent is the urge to create, expunging evocative lyrics and everevolving songwriting from her constant state of flux. Bittersweet guitar tones and a poignant vocal presence have led to some distressingly impressive tracks and her forward drive refuses to yield. FH

emie nathan

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Better Last year emie released her debut EP ‘white light’ which amassed over 7 million global streams online. She’s taken that momentum into 2022 with a host of singles, culminating in the release of her follow-up EP ‘deep down’. Opening up for Lewis Capaldi and GRACEY, emie has captured the attention of a fast growing fanbase, leading to her own headline show at Camden Assembly. SOC

amelia moore FROM: Georgia, USA LISTEN TO: I Feel Everything 2022 saw Amelia release her debut EP ‘teaching a robot to love’. Her music reflects her move from a sheltered and religious household in Georgia to Los Angeles, and how her need to create was driven by the COVID pandemic. Speaking to Dork earlier this year, Amelia explained that she has “very big plans and very big goals”. SOC


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Binge A group of childhood friends, 2022 has seen DEADLETTER build up to the release of their debut EP ‘Heat!, which suggests there is more to them than being a post-punk band. Touring relentlessly throughout the year, they’ve fostered a reputation as one of the most exciting bands in the UK in the process. SOC

indy yelich

FROM: Auckland, New Zealand LISTEN TO: Threads Despite the ties to her sister Ella (you may have heard of her - Ed), Indy is forging her own path. Her passion for poetry and writing has taken her from Auckland to New York via LA, and embedded a deep sense of universality. Having spent four years honing her words into a distinct sound, Indy’s sudden reveal is taking the world by storm. FH

jessica winter The indiegoth-pop sensation.

FROM: Hampshire, UK LISTEN TO: Choreograph Moving from the quiet southern isles to the overwhelming multiculturalism of England’s capital, Winter’s chameleon tendencies were brought to the surface as the amiable and upbeat singer-slash-producer absorbed all sorts of weirdness around here. Settling on a style described as goth-meets-indiepop, the newcomer stands proud with her small but growing community of misfits. FH


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Bitter Beginning his musical education on his brother’s guitar at age 12, Deyaz’ new found passion led him into a scholarship at London’s esteemed Guildhall music school, but after a while, this felt too confined and he returned to pursue his self-education. After nearly a decade, he began releasing his own music - the first of which was ‘WHY NOT’ - a debut mixtape that saw great success (10 million+ streams, ‘FYI’). His follow up single ‘Bitter’ is an honest tale of his battles with addiction. SOC

hannah jadagu

FROM: Texas, USA LISTEN TO: Say It Now In late 2022, Hannah shared ‘Say It Now’, the excellent first single from her debut album due next spring. She’s also supported the likes of Arlo Parks, Bartees Strange, Frankie Cosmos, Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing, Wet and more out in the States. Living in New York and studying at NYU, 20 year old Hannah produced her early music all through her iPhone 7 using Garageband iOS, an iRig, microphone and guitar. SOC


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Pressure Tendai has established his voice with a flurry of singles over the last eighteen months; one that is outwardly cinematic, but not afraid to be pensive and introspective either. Extending natural instrumentation with his formidably sharp production talent, tendai’s soundscapes mirror both the chaos and loneliness of city life - the result is unmistakably appealing. FH

brooke combe FROM: Edinburgh, UK LISTEN TO: Miss Me Now Brooke Combe’s music is inspired by heroes of soul music - icons like Diana Ross, Gladys Knight & Whitney Houston who were introduced to her by her mum and grandma when she was a child. Adopted by ‘the indies’ - she supported The Snuts on tour, ‘FYI’ - her recent single ‘Miss Me Now’ marks out the multi-instrumentalist (she can play six instruments, the show off) as one to watch very closely indeed. SA

girl scout

FROM: Stockholm, Sweden LISTEN TO: All The Time And Everywhere Swedish four-piece Girl Scout formed while studying jazz at Stockholm’s Royal College of Music, but feeling homebound through the pandemic had the band playing for their own pleasure and reverting to the bands of their youth. Reinventing themselves to fit the guitar-driven band format, they bring a new, exciting passion to an old sound. FH

the rills

FROM: Lincoln, UK LISTEN TO: Landslide Signed to hot new band incubator Nice Swan Records, Buzzy indie upstarts The Rills have had a big old 2022. With a headline tour, a long list of key tastemaker attention, and a heavily active TikTok following (how modern Ed), they’ve also got a new EP coming early in 2023. SA



abby roberts

FROM: Leeds, UK LISTEN TO: Pink Champagne Rising to fame through social media and make up vids, Abby is now carving out a path through music. She kicked off with the release of her debut single ‘Paramaniac’ and shortly followed with her first EP ‘Ashes’. On the live front, she supported Halsey on tour earlier this year and is about to hit the road with Pale Waves. SOC


FROM: Nottingham, UK LISTEN TO: Checking Out Citing a wide range of influences such as LCD Soundsystem, Mitski, Big Thief and Wilco, Divorce led 2022 with their singles ‘Services’ and ‘Pretty’, following up with the release of their first EP ‘Get Mean’. Over the summer, they hit the festival circuit and also embarked on a UK tour of their own, including sold out shows in their home of Nottingham. SOC

ellie dixon

FROM: Cambridge, UK LISTEN TO: Swing! Ellie creates self-aware alt-pop from her bedroom studio – playing and recording all instruments, layering her vocals, producing and sampling anything else she can find around the house (including saucepans, mugs and more). Reaching more than 15 million streams across her catalogue so far, it seems to be going rather well. SOC

56. DORK

grandmas house

FROM: Bristol, UK LISTEN TO: Body This Bristol based trio are one of the leading lights in the current queer punk scene, following a year where they have not-soquietly built a following worthy of their punchy shows that can feel like ten buckets of ice cold water chucked straight in your face. After several impressive support slots, 2023 is looking like the year where they set the pace at the front of an already impressive scene. JM

wesley joseph

FROM: Birmingham, UK LISTEN TO: Cold Summer With a feature on Loyle Carner’s new album, an AIM Award, nd more tastemaker press than you could shake a very big stick at, Wesley Joseph looks primed for very big things in 2023. Regularly collaborating with the likes of Jorja Smith and A.K. Paul, it’s easy to see why too. SA


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Dithyramb Debuting in 2021 with a collection of spoken-word jams, this London outfit have since sought to grow into a less traditional and rigid approach, dispersing their identity across diverse fields. Led by co-frontmen Jesse Hitchman and Lennon Gallagher (yes, rkid’s kid), the quartet aspire to creative and intellectual heights with little consideration of accessibility. FH

THERE COMES A TIME FOR ALL EXCITING POP STARS WHEN THEY HAVE A REAL BREAKTHROUGH YEAR. A time when everything crystallises, and they become sure of who they are and who they want to be and exactly what they want to do. Elio had already made her presence felt with her striking leftfield pop hits in the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, but this year things feel a little different. With her stunning mixtape ‘Elio’s Inferno’, the temperature started to rise, and the world realised that Elio is a pop star who just never misses. Hit after hit, banger after banger, it has been a relentless rise. “I’ve done a lot of things this year which were really fun,” begins Elio as she reflects on a year that has placed her firmly in the top tier of new pop icons. Perhaps the main change has been the importance of actually getting out properly into the world. It’s hard to understate just what a difference it makes to actually put the work in and be inspired by faces and bodies and real people. “The best part was obviously going out and getting to meet fans and perform live,” she exclaims. “I’m dying to do that again. That was the biggest part that was different from 2020 and 2021, actually being able to meet people who listen to my music.” As we entered 2022, Elio was still riding the wave of the success of her first two EPs that introduced the world to her sharp and playful songwriting, which was adept at capturing feelings and moods. These two releases, particularly 2021’s ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’, were pivotal in establishing Elio as an artist, but once she had done that, she was in the mood to really cut loose. Here was where the fun could really begin. “I wanted to make pop songs,” she says passionately. This desire to make capital P pop in the biggest sense possible informed everything she did this year. “It ELIO wasn’t as serious as maybe my past two EPs,” she explains. “My first was an introduction to the world, so I had to put some really personal songs on there, and then I think ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ was really cohesive. I’m refining what kind of music I really love making. It was really fun to do ‘Elio’s Inferno’.” With ‘Elio’s Inferno’, she found herself on a run that most artists can only dream of. Every song seemed to top the last one. From the supremely self-assured swagger of ‘Read The Room’ to the bubbling playfulness of ‘Vitamins’ to the inspiring introspection of ‘I Luv My Brain!’ Elio was highlighting every facet of what makes her such a vibrant new talent. “It was nice to just be able to throw them out there,” she laughs. The songs seemed to flow easily, but despite changes in mood, tone or texture, they were all born from the same impetus. “The goal was to experiment with what a pop song is,” she explains. “I just wanted to be able to have fun with music again.” The songs contained on ‘Elio’s Inferno’ feel like her own distinct realisation of what makes a perfect pop song in the genre-fluid, no-boundaries world of 21st-century pop. “I feel like the perfect pop song for me, every melody has to be just top tier, the best melody you can come up with for that song,” she says. “I like it to be a little dark but still fun. Lyrically it can go either way. I really love when it’s dark lyrics with a really boppy instrumental or just like a fun song.”

Fuelled by the confidence of her pandemicera bangers like ‘Charger’ which had an added remix by her co-manager, longtime collaborator and undisputed pop legend Charli XCX, Elio looked to develop her sound in a way that emphasised directness and attitude and the fact that, y’know, she’s really really really good at this whole pop thing. “I was trying to expand on things,” she reflects. “The EP before I had ‘Charger’, which was the most pop song on the EP. I wanted to prove myself as a pop writer as well as the other side of me, which is almost singer-songwriter. I wanted to prove to myself and other people that I can write a pop song.” With a focus on fun and a licence to let loose and experiment freely, Elio and her team found themselves in a blissful state of creativity. “We were screaming at every part because it kept getting better and better,” she laughs as she remembers recording mixtape highlight ‘Godly Behaviour’. In a further sign of the prolific vein that Elio and her close-knit group of collaborators were in, she’s still got more amazing songs to release and has collected them all on a new super swish deluxe edition of ‘Elio’s Inferno’. One song, in particular, the super boppy bounce of ‘Accidental Icon’ feels like a prescient way to sum up the times. “I love writing those types of songs,” she enthuses. “The really sarcastic cocky songs. I don’t necessarily believe a lot of it, but it’s really fun for sure. Most icons are accidental. Nobody sets out knowing that they’re going to be an icon.” From accidental icons to bonafide rule-theworld icons, Elio takes clear inspiration from the top tier of pop artists who understand what it takes to make truly resonant pop music to connect on the deepest level. “Right now, the most authentic and genuine people who make music are the most interesting to me,” she explains about the attributes her own pop heroes have.” It doesn’t matter if you are a pop artist or a singersongwriter or an indie artist; it’s really nice to be invited into their world and their thoughts and feelings and realise that everyone is in the same boat. I love that now that’s a thing, and it’s not so much based around people singing pop songs for the sake of pop songs. I feel a magnetic pull towards those kinds of pop stars like Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift because they’re so open and honest with their own feelings and thoughts.” Of course, Elio has a strong bond with one of our own pop icons in Charli XCX. Where in previous years their relationship felt a bit more like an established artist and up-and-coming protegee, this year it feels like the dynamic is more akin to both of them pushing each other to new heights. The two artists have been touring together all year and are both thriving like never before. “Being able to be on the road with her and see her kill it every night was really inspiring for me,” says Elio. “It was the perfect support tour.” The next year promises even more shows on an even bigger level, with a headline US tour in the works and work possibly beginning on a new project that seeks to open up even more of Elio’s world. “I like to think that there are different sides to me as an artist,” she considers. “I’m definitely thinking about something more cohesive,” she adds of her future plans. “It has mostly been me at home writing which has been really nice. I want to put out music that’s more reflective of me and really telling my story, whether it’s from childhood experiences or current experiences and relationships. I’m really excited to have those kinds of songs come out now.” ■


The XCXendorsed future popster set to become iconic. WORDS: MARTYN YOUNG.


l’objectif efé

FROM: Dublin, Ireland LISTEN TO: Kiwi EFÉ is Dublin-based Anita Ikharo, whose 2020 self-released debut EP ‘What Should We Do This Summer?’ set off a chain of events that saw her quickly navigating an unfamiliar and often overwhelming new industry. Her ‘VITAMIN - C’ EP captures the aftermath of this chapter in Anita’s life. EFÉ recently supported JPEGMAFIA in Dublin, played at The Great Escape Festival and twice at Glastonbury. SOC

FROM: Leeds, UK LISTEN TO: The Dance You Sell Forming their band in Year 8 and dropping a debut EP in the midst of their A-Levels, L’objectif may be the not-so-new kids on the block but don’t let their youth fool you. The teenage quartet can inspire feelings of familiarity in one moment while being entirely unrecognisable in the next; beginning with an easy-to-define post-punk sound on ‘Have It Your Way’, the Leeds outfit have since shifted into something more

The wonderkids growing up quick.

inventive and playful with their second project, ‘We Aren’t Getting Out But Tonight We Might’. Frontman Saul Kane leads drummer Louis Bullock, guitarist Dan Richardson and bassist Ezra Glennon forward with barrelling momentum, with a year of raucous live shows under their belt - now allowed to enter venues with an age limit, the band easily translate their passion for chaos into a stimulating performance.

The band’s newest single, ‘The Dance You Sell’, even address this desire to move on, freeing themselves from any false nostalgia for a comforting time that featured handcuffs only visible with rose-tinted glasses removed. Desperate to express their ever-evolving tastes and thoughts through a medium they’ve grown up around, L’objectif consistently display a thoughtfulness far beyond their years. FH


FROM: Abbotsford, Canada LISTEN TO: Ruler Raised on the music of Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, country music was Canadian Cate Canning’s first love. Having moved to London right before the pandemic hit, she’s followed the wise words of ‘living more than you write’, absorbing every corner of every street and sunlit park of the city alongside her rag-tag, adopted community of musicians - including Maisie Peters (yes, she’s Cate as in ‘Cate’s Brother’), Rory Adams and Dylan Fraser. SOC


FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Consistent Dedication Debuting with a thrashing goth-rock track, musician and poet Jojo Orme is a perplexing but beguiling individual. Darkness and dexterity reek from the metronomic music and meticulous fashion of her core influences, Interpol and Kraftwerk, and her own off-kilter grooves serve as a lifeaffirming, avant-garde expulsion of self. FH

58. DORK

dolores forever

FROM: Yorkshire, UK / Copenhagen, Denmark LISTEN TO: Baby Teeth Formed by close friends and songwriters Hannah Wilson (from Yorkshire) and Julia Fabrin (from Copenhagen), Dolores Forever met at a house party in London, connecting over their love of Mitski, Sharon Van Etten, Stevie Nicks and the Spice Girls. The duo broke through this year with the release of their debut EP ‘Baby Teeth’ and follow up tracks ‘Funeral’ and ‘Rothko’. SOC


FROM: New York, USA LISTEN TO: Olympus Blondshell, otherwise known as New-Yorker Sabrina Teitelbaum, grew up finding comfort in legends such as Patti Smith, Joy Division and the Velvet Underground. She later graduated to open mic nights around Manhattan, discovering her sexuality and developing her confidence in telling her own stories. SOC

rose gray

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Cupid If you’ve had a song on a FIFA soundtrack, you know you’re going places. Rose Gray has already scored that win with her track ‘Prettier Than You’. Add to that loads of Radio 1 play, tastemaker press and other hype, and it’s no wonder she’s seen as one of the UK’s most-likely-to. SA

swim school

FROM: Edinburgh, UK LISTEN TO: Kill You Having spent the majority of 2022 either on the road or recording in the studio, Edinburgh’s Swim School are starting to make serious waves on indie’s rugged shores. The band’s first new music of 2022, ‘Kill You’, is a fuzzy, grungy delight that tips its hat at their undoubted potential still to come. SA

etta marcus

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Nosebleed Etta Marcus makes the kind of soaring widescreen pop that feels like it can soundtrack the film of your dreams. Beautifully evocative and full of vivid imagery illuminated by a gorgeous yearning voice, Etta’s songs so far are perfectly crafted sketches that offer pure introspection as you lose yourself in the London singer’s atmospheric world. MY


FROM: Norwich, UK LISTEN TO: XO lozeak has ticked off the big online checkpoints already - 48 million likes on TikTok?! - but its her diverse, emo-influenced music that’s grabbing the attention. With fans including Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes and Frank Carter, she’s definitely a star in waiting. SA

caity baser

FROM: Southampton, UK LISTEN TO: X&Y Not long ago Caity was an average student working at her local Co-Op, before she posted a TikTok of her singing and went to bed. The next morning she woke to millions of likes. Now, she’s signed to EMI and dubbed “the Gen Z Lily Allen”. Recent tracks ‘Friendly Sex’ and ‘X&Y’ both became runaway viral hits, with the latter entering the UK’s Official Singles Chart. SOC

louis culture

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Being Me Louis Culture made his name known in London’s burgeoning underground scene, his upward mobility surging when his anthem ‘Being Me’ was selected by fashion house Louis Vuitton to soundtrack their 2021 summer campaign. With an eclectic sound, thoughtful lyrics and a loyal squad behind him, Louis Culture is on the cusp of great things, for himself and for London’s music and culture scenes at large. SOC

nell mescal

FROM: Kildare, Ireland LISTEN TO: Graduating There’s no need to mention Nell’s brother (yes, it is) when her musical output is so fucking brilliant. Dueting with future sis-in-law Phoebe Bridgers at Brixton Academy and heading off on the road with Phoebe Green, her debut single ‘Graduating’ is stunning. More, immediately please. SA

The biggest band you might not know (yet). FROM: Brighton, UK LISTEN TO: Perfume Best known as the face of the SootHouse YouTube channel and for leading the storyline of Dream’s Minecraft series, Wilbur Soot is now a very different frontman indeed. Sonically operating safely within the walls of British indie, his style is lent to commonplace topics such as failed romance, frustrating politics and general loss. There’s a reason this commentary is so relatable, though, and an intense following across the country has elevated Lovejoy’s live shows into a true cult experience. Sardonic lyricism and deafening applause have shadowed the group’s journey, even through a year with no releases - their next step is sure to cause an indie implosion. FH



60. DORK


HERE’S LITTLE MORE EXCITING THAN BEING THERE AT THE START OF SOMETHING SPECIAL. Seeing those early steps from a band that will soon be the talk of the music world. A phenomenon-inwaiting that will evoke bragging rights for those lucky enough to catch on before everyone else. With no songs released, just over a year of live shows behind them, and only a tiny pocket of information online, that band is The Dinner Party. Otherwise known as your next favourite band. Looking back on 12 months that have sowed the seeds for the glorious blossom about to come, Abigail, Georgia, Lizzie, Emily, and Aurora are reflecting on just that. “I don’t think any of us expected to be in the position we are in right now,” beams bassist Georgia. “It’s been the best year ever. It’s quite an old-school way of doing it, just word of mouth travelling about before we’ve even released a song. We’re such fans of music and the London music scene, and we’d always observe the bands we were most excited about were the ones you’d hear whispers about from friends of friends.” “Yeah,” adds singer Abigail. “Rather than you put out music, nobody knows who you are, people find you online and then come to a gig after knowing you - it feels more organic and fun to start as a live band, and I think that’s what we’ve not only really missed but also something we wanted to do.” With mystery and intrigue around their every step, The Dinner Party have become a mainstay of the London music scene. Their appearances through the year - whether supporting the likes of Walt Disco, headlining shows at famed haunts such as The Windmill in Brixton or roadblock shows at new music festivals - are the stuff of legend. Melding together a range of styles from new-wave and swaggering glam-pop to soaring pop and choppy punk undertones, the result is a band arriving to stage and immediately sounding like nobody else going right now. It’s an excitement that bursts from the band themselves as they reflect on a year far surpassing anything they thought possible. “I think from the beginning all we wanted, and our priority, was to play live as much as possible,” lays out Abigail. “We didn’t want to record or put music out; we just wanted to gig as much as possible and have that be what we were about. That was where all the fun and the passion was. Honestly, our goal started out just to play The Windmill!” It’s understandable why live music sits at their core when you trace how The Dinner Party came to be. Three friends from university, Abigail, Georgia and guitarist Lizzie, alongside keyboardist Aurora and guitarist Emily, forged their bond within the live London music scene, spurring on inspiration with their own creative passions. “Our friendship was consolidated there,” explains Abigail. “It was going to The Windmill every week. Being in that energy after lockdown, it really blossomed from there.” With all or most of the band still at university at the time, they quickly locked together to form the sort of bond impossible to break. Early tracks written by Abigail acted as a basis for

The band who haven’t even released a single yet, but will blow your mind. WORDS: JAMIE MUIR. PHOTOS: PATRICK GUNNING.

the vision they all shared. “It’s always had a very clear aesthetic, right from the music that Abi was writing back in the day. It definitely has a world to it that I feel like we can all find a home in. We all bring our own style to it when we’re playing onstage, and coming towards the album we’ve been able to open that up even more. It’s expansive enough that we can all have a place in it.” “We’d come up with the name The Dinner Party ages ago before we’d even rehearsed or anything,” explains Georgia. “I think that’s a really good representation of what we are. It’s people coming together and discussing both aesthetically and philosophically, with everyone having a seat at the table. This big debaucherous Dinner Party!” “I mean, we do LOVE to drink,” cracks Abigail. From the very beginning, all eyes have G E ORGI A been on The Dinner Party. Their live shows have become exactly that - a communal release of jaw-dropping energy and hits ready to be sung back at the highest volume. The response has proven just how big things are about to get. “The response just really amazed me,” admits Emily. “I’ve been in lots of bands previously with just like no success at all, so it was amazing and weird to suddenly experience people starting to notice us and wanting to come to our shows like, what is this about?!” When a couple of their shows were filmed and uploaded online, attention grew even more. “We’ve always wanted to be the band that we didn’t have as teenage girls,” lays out Georgia. “We always idolised musicians and were obsessed with music our whole lives but also wanted to be a band that I feel like there was a blank space for.” With 2022 bringing plenty of live moments, the word-of-mouth nods now look to those opening statements of music. Releasing that music after such a year is set to be one of the first great moments of 2023. “It feels like it’s about time to put something out,” admits Aurora, “but how is that going to exist in relation to this live thing that we’ve created? There are definitely some nerves there, but also excitement. It’s a different beast.” “I’m excited to see what the songs become when we get into the studio,” continues Lizzie. “When we have them fully produced and made all nice and shiny, but also hopefully if it goes well and it gets some traction, I think it’ll just be so cool to see where we are in a year’s time. I just want to hear people singing the words. I’m

so excited for that first gig once the music is out where we’ll get a good four people singing the words to the choruses, haha.” As the conversation turns to whether they actually already have had a singalong (courtesy of Georgia’s brothers at Live At Leeds and their waving arms as Abigail demonstrates), one thing is certain: The Dinner Party aren’t just here to steal the live show world. They’re here for something greater. Some bands are here to fit nicely into people’s music libraries and gig diaries, but The Dinner Party have the power to be so much more. It’s something Abigail outlines when thinking about what’s to come for them. “Personally, the thing I’m most excited about when it comes to putting music out is the opportunity to reach people. There’s only a certain amount of people you can reach at a show because we play shows where you can’t get in unless you’re over 18 or something. What I’m really excited about is being a band for younger people, all ages, of course, but I want to reach 13-year-old girls in their bedrooms who are miserable. That first time in your life when you start to really choose what music you listen to and connect to a vision and a song. That’s my ambition, to reach those people and have some kind of effect on making


lexie caroll

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: If I Built My Home From Petrol Already inspiring a fanbase of likeminded teens, 17-year-old Lexie Carroll excels at detailing the heart-wrenching experience of growing up in such an uncertain world. Her indie-folk-pop fusion offers raw vocals and melancholic soundscapes, but a vulnerable sensibility above all. Still taking time to celebrate the hopeful moments, her kind-hearted magic is totally enchanting. FH people feel part of something and feel inspired.” Call them London’s best-kept secret or the greatest new band you may not have heard of - one thing is for certain. The Dinner Party are taking over. The stage is theirs. ■


YOU KNOW THAT BIG FIRST 12 MONTHS WE’VE TALKED ABOUT WITH THE DINNER PARTY? WELL, THERE WAS A SMALL DATE IN THAT RUN OF LIVE SHOWS WHERE THEY SUPPORTED THE ROLLING STONES. HEARD OF THEM? WELL, THEY’RE A BIT OF A BIG DEAL - SO HOW WAS THAT DAY? Abigail: Not quite as good as the Windmill, hahaha. Emily: I think it weirdly did feel quite natural, and I don’t know why. I felt like we were all very supportive of each other on the Rolling Stones day, and it didn’t feel that much different to playing another gig. Obviously, it was a lot more exciting, but yeah. Lizzie: Probably because we were all a bit ‘what the fuck are we doing here?’, ‘how have we managed to sneak in here? Courtney Barnett is over there; what is going on?’ Once we were onstage and playing the tunes, we knew what we were doing. Nobody knew who we were; it was all Rolling Stones fans like 50-60 years old, so surprisingly not as terrifying as I thought it was going to be. Abigail: I’ve had worse stage fright for pub gigs. It’s weird because that’s the kind of show you wouldn’t play until you were like 30 years into your career, so it’s a weird opportunity. We went from that back into the festival circuit playing to ten men and a dog. It’s a weird blip! It’s not gone to our head at all. Lizzie: We’re so grounded…



FROM: Portsmouth, UK LISTEN TO: Gmaps cowboyy are a musical collective formed by vocalist, lead guitarist, producer and songwriter Stanley Powell, bassist Reubin Yarnold, guitarist Kai Smith and drummer Rhys Teal. Pulling inspiration across everything from math rock all the way to jazz, post-punk and electronic music, they strive to create a unique sound. SOC

balancing act

FROM: Manchester, UK LISTEN TO: A Little More Time Balancing Act have been ramping up to the release of their debut EP across 2022, finally arriving this November. ‘Malice In Town’, produced by East London production duo Sunglasses For Jaws, sees the group confront the risks and anxieties of leaving home in search of something bigger. They recently performed their first two headline shows, one at London’s Sebright Arms and one at Manchester’s Castle Hotel, both of which sold out. SOC

armani white

FROM: Philadephia, USA LISTEN TO: Billie Eilish It’s unlikely that anyone’s TikTok FYP didn’t feature Armani White this year. Inspired by the sounds of Ludacris, State Property and Eminem, he’s been creating tracks since age 11. After taking a couple of years out due to personal tragedies, 2022 has seen a massive return for the MC. “The reason why I call my songs happy hood music is because I went through a lot of trauma and pain,” Armani says, “and I take that dark, murky color, throw it at the wall and watch a rainbow come out.” SOC

62. DORK

katie gregsonmacleod FROM: Inverness, UK LISTEN TO: complex (demo) Until recently working in a coffee shop, Katie’s songwriting and vocal abilities have kicked up a bit of a fuss. Following the independently released single ‘Second Single Bed’ and her 2021 debut EP ‘Games I Play’, her major label debut ‘complex (demo)’ quickly became a TikTok phenomenon, earning her a deal with Columbia Records and critical acclaim around the world. SOC

victoria canal FROM: Munich, Germany LISTEN TO: Text 24 year old singer, songwriter, producer and activist Victoria Canal has lived everywhere from Shanghai, Tokyo, Amsterdam, London, and Dubai to Atlanta, New York, and Forth Worth. A queer, disabled, mixed-heritage activist, in 2022 Canal shared her emotive EP ‘Elegy’. She toured the project with her first headline tour across the UK, Europe and US, and also appeared on Later… with Jools Holland alongside The 1975, Self Esteem and more. SOC


The girl band most likely to go supernova.

alice low

FROM: Cardiff, UK LISTEN TO: Show Business Debuting in 2021 with track ‘Ladydaddy’, 2022 has seen Alice follow up in style. On the live front, she’s toured with Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and performed a special show with Black Midi and Cate Le Bon. Her work has seen massive support from BBC Wales, including an ‘artist of the week’ spot. SOC

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Cardboard Box When Little Mix parted ways earlier this year, they left a girl band shaped hole in the UK. Hot on their heels were FLO, three London girls with a love for 90s R&B and years of friendship behind them, who were quickly pinned as the ones who’d bring back British girl groups. Damn right they will. Within a few months they’d had a viral debut single and an EP under their belts that’d prove they’re not merely a placeholder, but the ones who’ll be stepping up to the big leagues. At just 19 and 20 years old, Renée, Stella and Jorja’s careers are off to a flying start, and they’re only set to go higher. With their debut EP titled ‘The Lead’, they’re undoubtedly the ones taking it. AF

nia archives The one-person rave revival.


FROM: Leeds, UK LISTEN TO: Baianá Nia Archives isn’t so much a ‘might be’, but more an ‘already is, do catch up’. She’s already won the BBC’s Introducing Artist of the Year award for 2022, and the AIM gong for One to Watch. She’s been on the BBC Radio 1, 6Music and 1Xtra playlists, and sold out her first headline dates in under twelve hours. All a very big deal, them. Bringing rave culture back in a big way, the last 18-months have proved Nia an artist that’s coming through fast. SA

FROM: Belfast, Northern Ireland LISTEN TO: To You Tonight Charlie Loane’s experiences with mental health, substance abuse, trans life, and much more might sound like quite the pitfall, but ultimately the songs resulting from that journey are celebratory. Breaking stigmatised topics down into heartfelt bops, piglet removes expectations in the hope of reflecting his love in its most genuine form whether he succeeded is up to you. FH

tommy lefroy

FROM: London, UK / Los Angeles, USA LISTEN TO: Dog Eat Dog Tommy Lefroy are Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis, a name born from Jane Austen’s real life Mr Darcy. Inspired to start a band after watching boygenius live, they moved to London and released their debut EP ‘Flight Risk’ in 2021, which amassed over 20 million streams. With queues around the block for their performance at The Great Escape, and a summer of sold-out tours and festival triumphs, they completed a headline run across the US and announced their firstever UK headline tour for December. SOC

eli smart

FROM: Hawaii, USA LISTEN TO: See Through Originally hailing from Kauai, where he was raised by a family of musicians and grew up on a diet of soul legends such as Gladys Knight, Jimi Hendrix, Prince and The Beatles, Eli made the move to the UK this year. He’s since been cutting his teeth with some of the UK’s most exciting artists, with EP ‘Aloha Soul’ reflecting his blend of tropicana, timeless guitar pop and soul. SOC

the queen’s head

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Your God Owes You Money The brainchild of childhood friends Joel Douglas and Tom Butler, and with a name inspired by a make believe pub, 2022 saw The Queens Head release their debut EP ‘Haunt’. The band draw influence from 70s alt-pillars Talking Heads and Ian Dury & the Blockheads, groups that took ‘pop’ forms and twisted them into new pathways. They’ve also been selling out London’s Sebright Arms, The Lexington, The Social and Windmill Brixton, where they had a summer residency. SOC

cathy jain

FROM: Cheshire, UK LISTEN TO: Gaslight Cathy released her debut EP ‘artificial’ in 2021, all whilst juggling her A Levels. Her 2022 follow up ‘spacegirl’ sees her navigate the rocky terrain of adolescence through parameters of pop, multi-instrumental indie and shimmering electronics. As runner-up in BBC’s Radio 1’s Live Lounge Introducing competition, and with fans such as Ellie Rowsell and Arlo Parks, it is clear that Cathy Jain is going places fast. SOC

ellie bleach

FROM: Southend, UK LISTEN TO: Tupperware Party Ellie Bleach is a proper pop star name - so it’s lucky for us that the musician attached to it more than fits the bill. Taught piano by a pet healer at an early age... actually, do we need to go further? Probably not. That alone is enough to get any decent person listening to her razor sharp wit. SA



moa moa

FROM: London, UK LISTEN TO: Boy Girl With only a handful of tracks to their name, moa moa’s discography already offers a roller coaster of sonics; rapturous basslines, thick drum layers, slick synths and nonchalant vocals. Operating in a highenergy style that’s as forward-thinking as it is nostalgic, their off-kilter tunes are hard to pin down but will grasp every aspect of your attention as you try to do so. FH


FROM: Kildare, Ireland LISTEN TO: Impossible April debuted in 2020 with EPs ‘New Conditions’and ‘Luna’ This year’s mixtape ‘Starlane’, released in October, saw her inspired by her move from Kildare in Ireland to London and learning to love by being herself. Her music sees threads of UK garage and drum’n’bass that pulsed through the countless nights spent exploring her new city, inspired by the eclectic,genrehopping pop of artists like PinkPantheress and Shygirl. SOC


+ Flowerovlove is 17-year-old Joyce Cisse. + She’s multi-talented and super creative in many fields. + She’s really into fashion and says that the maximum platform heel to go for is no more than 4 inches. + She Likes to do yoga. But only in private “ Oh, I just do it in my room. I’m not doing that in public. + She’s obsessed with primary colours, which you can see from her amazing pop videos.

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LOWEROVLOVE PERFECTLY ENCAPSULATES WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GEN Z POP STAR, MAKING MUSIC ON YOUR OWN TERMS WITH A SINGULAR VISION STEEPED IN THE POP CULTURAL WONDERLAND IN WHICH YOU’VE GROWN UP, WARPING AND BLENDING IT INTO A COMPELLING AND IDIOSYNCRATIC CONFECTION. Joyce Cisse is a true generational talent. Incredibly driven, sharp and perceptive, the 17-year-old musician knows exactly who she is, what she wants to do and how she is here to spread the ethos of Flowerovlove. The south Londoner’s rise has been swift and striking. “It’s only really been a year of consistently releasing music,” she tells us. “I released two songs in 2020, but then I took a break because I was like, I want to be a model. Then I decided I don’t want to be a model anymore because it’s not what I thought it was, and then in 2021, I was like, do you know what? I want to make music.” There’s a carefree breeziness to Joyce that belies her innate confidence and her grounded nature as she relays that the life of a pop star in 2022 isn’t all just immediate glamour. “I would characterise my journey so far as a lot more work than you think because there’s a lot of things that go into being a musician,” she explains. “You’re not just a musician; you’re also a marketer and, in a way, a model too because you have to do all this magazine stuff like photos all the time. You also have to push your outfits as well. You’re basically an influencer because you do the whole social media thing. There’s so much that goes into being a musician. You’re also a creative because you come up with the ideas.” Despite all these demands, there’s one constant for Joyce. “The outcome is always fun,” she beams. That fun, playful spirit is at the heart of Flowerovlove’s music. The music itself is wonderfully fluid and dynamic as her sound morphs and changes from song to song. And she’s released a lot of songs. Joyce is incredibly prolific, with 14 singles already released, including the stunning ‘Think Flower’ EP in 2021 and the odd pop viral smash of this year’s ‘Hannah Montana’. There’s a restlessness to her and a desire to just constantly make things happen. “I’m always in a rush when I write music,” she laughs. “I’m in a rush to get things done. I work well under pressure. There’s no one pressuring me, though. I just like to get it done so I can make another one quickly. I like to listen to it at the end, and I’m just so excited for that, so it’s like, let me write this thing really quickly.” Joyce’s ability to write quickly and create sounds and styles seemingly with ease comes from finding the clarity of what Flowerovlove is and developing the skills and confidence to realise her vision. “I used to be quite shy,” she confesses. “I’ve gotten a lot more confident in songwriting specifically. I know what sounds good and what doesn’t. I’m just a better musician. It’s more of a practice thing where every time you do something, you get more comfortable, and you fall into the routine of ‘I am a musician’ and not just I’m making songs. There’s a massive difference between that.” With that inspired mindset, endless possibilities opened up for an artist with a

gloriously creative feeling to dance alone. No imagination. Her whole one’s watching you. You process is akin to just feel free. You can go something elemental crazy and pretend you’re and beautiful. “I’ve at a concert or you’re the learned that I’m a lot one performing. I always more talented than envision that with my I thought I was,” she song playing.” reflects. “I never go in There’s always a with an idea; I usually sense of dynamics just do it on the spot. and playfulness in I always say I’m a Flowerovlove’s music subconscious writer. that makes her stand out I never have an idea from the crowd. She does of what kind of song things other artists don’t, I’m going to make. If and it’s all the little quirks someone said, ‘write and side steps that make a song right now in her so special. “I listen to ten minutes’, I could most songs in a sped-up definitely do that.” version,” she laughs as an FLOWE ROVLOVE Over the past year example of how she does of hype and attention, things a bit differently. Joyce has had to adapt to the new music “I don’t like songs that are too long because I economy of virality and numbers and just don’t want to get lost in the song. I feel like the generally being always on. Something that’s shorter the story, the better. You can listen to important for any new artist in an incredibly it again and come up with a different meaning, pressured and crowded environment. “Being or it just hits more because you’re like, I need confident and secure in yourself is a big thing,” to replay this. I really like songs that just get she explains. “I’ve learnt to separate myself and straight to the point.” It’s little wonder then my self-esteem from numbers. There’s no point that with this gift for brevity, she’s become in connecting it to you. It’s so easy when you so popular on TikTok. “I think they’re great have a different name from your music. Having platforms to promote music, and they do crazy Flowerovlove, I just see her as my company. I things for musicians,” she says about her want my company to do well, but it’s not going various social platforms. to affect my self-esteem if the company is Despite the amorphousness of her music not doing well. I just have to make sure the and the way her songs can change from one company is doing well.” single to the next, there is a consistency to her Every company has a mission statement, music in its spirit of invention and freedom. “I so what’s the vision for Flowerovlove, then? definitely feel like there are no boundaries,” “World domination, but that’s just for the she says excitedly. “I don’t think it would be company,” she answers with an ease that makes such a surprise if I released a Bossa nova song you feel there is absolutely no way this is not or something. The thing is, if I was to do that, it going to happen. Aside from taking over the wouldn’t be all over the place like she doesn’t world, though, there’s a softer, more holistic know what kind of music she wants to make, so goal to Flowerovlove that you can hear in the she makes everything; it’s more like this is the gentle tenderness that can be found in a lot feeling, and this works but it always still feels of her sweet and wide-eyed songs. “For the like Flowerovlove.” fans, it’s mainly for them to feel nostalgia and Perhaps the most exciting thing about to hopefully gain more love for themselves,” Flowerovlove is that she still has barely she says. “That’s always my intention with scratched the surface of her potential. “I don’t every single song. You know when you watch a know when the first album will come out, but Christmas movie growing up, and you wait until I’m not in any rush for it,” she explains. “It’s the end of the year to rewatch it, and you look definitely ready. I always pre-make music, and forward to it and then go outside, and there’s there’s a certain sound I’m going for for next all these Christmas decorations up and lights year, which is already done now. It feels like a everywhere, and everyone’s happy? It’s that home.” sort of nostalgia. Whatever that warm and fuzzy One of the songs she has ready to go could feeling is.” be one to truly take Flowerovlove to the next Nostalgia and evoking feelings that hit you level. Joyce herself describes it as a song that right in the sweetest of sweet spots is the magic encapsulates everything about Flowerovlove of Flowerovlove’s music. You can really hear and what she is trying to say. “There’s this it in her latest release, the ‘A Moshpit In The one song that will 100% be on the first album; Clouds’ EP. It’s a title that also has a deeper it’s called ‘Love You’,” she reveals. “I’m very context within the wider Flowerovlove world. connected to this song, and when it was made “When I listen to my music, I always think of the in the room, we all said that this is my stadium phrase ‘A Mosh Pit In The Clouds’,” says Joyce. song. It’s the type of song that has to be sung “I always see those words. It’s not actually in a stadium, and it expresses a lot of my reflecting a moshpit because I’m not promoting personality and what I want to say. It’s not sad, aggression or anything, but it’s just the feeling but it has an element of turmoil in it but also of dancing in your room is what it feels like to absolutely gorgeously nostalgic. This is the me what the clouds can be. No one knows what most nostalgic song I’ve ever made. The feeling the clouds feel like. It could be like candy floss, of it is exactly what I want to portray.” or they could evaporate, and you could just fall It sounds like 2023 for Flowerovlove then right through. I like the mystery of that. When is going to be pretty damn special. Get those you’re dancing in your room, it’s such a good stadiums booked. ■


The teen prodigy set to bloom in 2023. WORDS: MARTYN YOUNG. PHOTO: PATRICK GUNNING.


The Dork Hype List Tour stars set to become your new favourite band. WORDS: JAMIE MUIR. PHOTOS: PATRICK GUNNING.

66. DORK


HE BEST NEW LIVE BAND ON THE PLANET IS PERHAPS A BIT OF A LOFTY TITLE, DEAR READER. We know. But for Priestgate, it’s pretty damn accurate. Their shows have you falling into their glorious world of spinning new-wave, dream-pop, punk, indie-pop, and so much more. “It’s funny because when I’m onstage, that’s when I’m the most calm,” explains frontman Rob Schofield, reflecting on a live show full of barnstorming energy. “Being animated onstage and stuff felt right for us and our music. Some bands can do the whole headdown, sunglasses-on vibe for an hour, and it’s the best thing ever. We tried that, and it didn’t feel organic at all - we just looked like a band trying to be The Strokes!” If there’s anything Priestgate are not, it’s heads-down and sunglasses-on. “Some bands can do that, and it’s amazing,” continues Rob, “but we’re not like that as people, either. I feel like there’s this whole thing about being in a band where people feel like it has to take over your entire life, but I don’t think it should be like that.” Instead, Priestgate is very much an extension of five mates dreaming of something bigger. They’re not here to wait for you to stumble across them; instead, with one simple click, they’ll be your next favourite band and leading their own glorious revolution. That larger-than-life energy serves as a reaction to the years growing up in Driffield, a small market town in Yorkshire where “there’s stuff to do if you like playing pool and drinking pints of piss”. The idea of being in a band together, something that doesn’t happen in a town like Driffield, was spurred on by a dream that bound Rob, Bridie, Connor, Isaac and Kai together. “It was such a weird thing to happen in Driffield,” recalls Rob. “We liked that idea of being in a band together - of making something of it and doing it together. It was an excuse to just get off my arse and do something.” The reality that’s come from it has been life-changing. “For all of us, it really helped us to learn to like socialise with people, y’know? In a band, a lot of it is speaking to each other and different people, and we’ve all grown a lot in the sense that through this band, we’ve all become more confident. I think that’s the case for a lot of other people - they don’t have this confidence about them, but they can find confidence through the music.” Not knowing how to play an instrument at the time, Rob quickly found himself as the singer. Bonding over acts like DIIV and the blending worlds of two lead guitars, it opened a box for which Priestgate could form and morph. Trading off natural instinct, they’ve gone about carving out their own special place on Planet Pop. After early singles ‘NOW’ and ‘Summ(air)’, debut EP ‘Eyes Closed For The Winter’ arrived early in 2022 like an opening pick-and-mix box of

every flavour and ingredient which makes up devotion. their ever-expanding world. Tracks written “It’s slowly but surely turned into what it from one-liners heard when out and about, is now,” details Rob, recalling homecoming or stories they’ve garnered from modern shows at The Polar Bear in nearby Hull, life melded with sheer exhilarating release. Wild Paths festival in Norwich and a slot at It’s mirrored in a drive which catches them Brighton’s Green Door Store at The Great always looking forward and always looking Escape being particular highlights. “There’s for the new. been a lot of practising stuff in the mirror and “It’s weird because when you first start a asking Isaac - does this look cool when I do band, you’re like - one day, we’re gonna do this? We’re gonna write a book at some point. this stuff, and it’s gonna be amazing. And ‘A Guide To Priestgate: 5 Yoga Moves With then when it comes, you’re sort of thinking Rob Schofield’. That’s where the money is at.” about the other stuff. Stuff keeps happening!” There’s a place for all in the world of explains Rob. “Looking ahead to next year and Priestgate. A band continually learning but doing this and that possessing that elusive and then what’s next. sense of magic in their You’ve always got to every move. “It can be be looking at what’s really easy to get caught next and what we up on accolades and all can bring to the table that stuff, but that can now.” get quite unhealthy, For Priestgate, it’s y’know?” Rob notes. “I about breaking away feel like that’s where from any boxes or ego comes from. When expected standards you start thinking that may come their we’re a band. We’ve way. With a melting done this, you owe us pot of music tastes this, when actually we comes the freedom owe everything we to explore anything have to people who they want. It’s shown are checking us out in every release and coming to the they’ve put out so far shows. They’re the ones for a band that have listening to the music, RO B SCHO FI E L D “always just tried and if nobody was exhausting all our listening, then well… we options for the most part. It’d be really nice to wouldn’t be a band, would we?” do the whole Nirvana thing where you write As word spreads, the possibilities of a song in 10 minutes, and it be like the best Priestgate feel endless. At the moment, the song ever,” laughs Rob. “But as a band, we band are writing “some slower stuff, so it very much like to marinate songs in a sense. might get a bit weird if I started doing like Put them in a fridge and let them sit for quite karate kicks to them live,” laughs Rob. “I’m a while.” going to need to practice some slower-paced After a year that has seen them take to moves for that. Maybe a really slow roly-poly stages up and down the UK, they’re absorbing or army crawl over the stage for 10 minutes. I’ll every moment. “The band we are now, we have a think.” don’t want to be this band in two years, Until then, it’s all about showcasing to the y’know? We always want to push ourselves.” world a journey that began as a way to reach Take latest single ‘Some Things Never for more than their small-town surroundings. Change’. While that shining Priestgate DNA “I guess we want people to just see that we’re is there, it’s yet another tweak and evolution enjoying it. It’s an unbelievable privilege to be for a band aiming to keep the world firmly on able to do what we do, and for people to want its toes - a pumping 80s drive-time groover to come along and see us - even when they’re that sits somewhere between Depeche Mode not there to see us, we don’t take that for and Blur. granted ever,” states Rob. “I want people to get “Each song has this reason to exist; that’s that both from us playing live and through our definitely what we’ve realised. We never saw recorded music too. It’s fun for us to play with it as a single, unlike something like ‘Bedtime what Priestgate could be or what Priestgate Story’, which felt like a single from the start. is, or what Priestgate will be. We don’t know We feel songs should exist in a variety of where any of these places are yet or what different ways and for a variety of different they’ll sound like, and I think that’s the fun. The reasons. We’ll always try and turn over as mystery of what Priestgate will be in a year. many leaves as possible to get there. To get to That’s what’s fun about bands. That’s why that next step.” bands are so interesting. Plus… if you don’t like Watching them live, you’re left with no it, there’s always the old stuff!” he laughs. doubt. With enough ripped vests already in “I read an interview with Kevin Parker from their gig history, it comes from a feeling that Tame Impala, and he was like - the fact I don’t very few new bands have right now. Each know what I’m doing is what makes this really show is another step towards the big leagues, interesting,” Rob continues. “It’s that sort of a blistering tour-de-force of energy and mystery I really like.” ■




WHAT DO THE SCORES MEAN? ★ Rubbish ★★ Not Great ★★★ Fair ★★★★ Good ★★★★★ Amazing

back, it really stands front and centre. The chopped, warped vocal on ‘Midnight Rain’ adds a new layer of interest to an otherwise pretty sparse instrumental, again bringing the songwriting to the forefront. The allusions to her own fame fill ‘Midnights’ middle section, MIDNIGHTS peaking at the lyric “he never thinks of me, except ★★★★★ when I’m on TV”. Matty Out now. Healy might’ve joked that → “Midnight, you come Taylor would never have and pick me up”. “2am, and him on her album, but that I’m cursing your name”. hasn’t stopped her nabbing “Lit through the darkness his train of thought style at 1:58”. “4am the second of lyricism on ‘Question…?’, day”. Taylor Swift always playing the verses out like becomes someone else tipsy slurring down the when the clock strikes phone in the early hours. twelve. She snatches a couple The middle of the night of ‘gotcha’ moments (RIP is when she confesses her Scooter Braun) – once deepest secrets, indulges on ‘Vigilante Shit’, which in her impulses and drives wouldn’t be out of place herself crazy overthinking. as a ‘reputation’ ‘(From Staying up into the next day The Vault)’ track and has with someone is Taylor’s the most unfortunate love language, but it’s also opening lyric on the whole when she’s out for blood. album (she’s allowed to do On her tenth studio album, cringey lyrics sometimes we spend the night with though, she’s earned them), an artist who often lets and once on ‘Karma’, the you know everything and ultimate carefree “Look! I nothing at the same time as got what I wanted in the she ruminates on the things end!” number. that keep her up at night. The record’s softer “Meet me at midnight”, she moments feel like they invites. Any time, Taylor. were born in the ‘folklore’ After spending her last sessions and grew into two albums in the forest, something poppier. writing whimsical partAlthough Lana Del Rey fact, part-fiction fairytales only seems to provide a and dropping them at a backing vocal on ‘Snow On moment’s notice, ‘Midnights’ The Beach’, the track still signals Taylor’s return to harnesses a twinkly magic the pop world, picking up only the two of them could where ‘reputation’ and create. Then there’s ‘Sweet ‘Lover’ left off. Largely Nothing’, a quiet delight pulling thematically from that has the same warmth tracks like ‘Call It What You and intimacy of ‘reputation’s Want’ and ‘End Game’, as ‘New Year’s Day’; it’s the well as exploring themes in small hours’ admissions of a song that had, until now, affection to the person who only been revealed in her is home to you. When the Netflix documentary Miss horns blossom in its final Americana. third, it’s the sun cracking Ushering in the era with through the blinds. ‘Lavender Haze’, it’s the Obvious standouts are most sultry track she’s done ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘You’re On since ‘Dress’, the themes Your Own, Kid’, two of her following those introduced most personal songs ever. on ‘reputation’, a storyline The latter, a slow-burning, where Taylor can ignore the almost autobiographical slating if she’s got her other look back at her own life, half. ‘Maroon’ follows suit, feels like a response to keeping that buzzy, lamp-lit ‘Red’s ‘The Lucky One’ instrumental but twisting it written ten years prior, in more melancholic. The ways which she’s become its Taylor layers her vocals and titular character. ‘Antipractically harmonises with Hero’, on the other hand, herself has always been a takes a more upbeat, strong suit, but with the on-the-nose approach. It’ll production here so pulled rocket into all-time top


68. DORK

tens, a Frankenstein of the best Taylor-isms: the selfanalytical, satirical lyrics that made tracks like ‘Blank Space’ and ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ so fun, the Jack Antonoff modern retro production that arrived with ‘1989’, the stripped back pop learned from the ‘folklore’/‘evermore’ era, polished off with a new, reflective, grown-up approach just when you thought she might’ve run out of things to write about. It’s always the little things that make Taylor Swift’s albums extra special. Cheesy quirks like the cheers in the last chorus of ‘Question…?’, and the “nice!” in ‘Bejewelled’, you’re hardpressed to think of another major pop star who’d get away with that. There’s the double-entendre on “tea time” in ‘Anti-Hero’, nodding to the rather British way of saying ‘dinner’ (she’s dating a Brit, you see) and referencing ‘spilling the tea’ as it were. She knows her devotees will listen to the record front to back, so of course there’s a link in the final track right back to the lead single (catch the “scheming like a criminal” in ‘Mastermind’ and the “you’ll get tired of my scheming” in ‘Anti-Hero?). There are the callbacks to previous records; “splashed your wine into me” on ‘Maroon’ recalls the “you’re all over me like a wine-stained dress” from ‘1989’s ‘Clean’ (and note the ways she avoids saying “red” here too), likewise the “I remember” in ‘Question…?’ seems to be pulled directly from ‘Out Of The Woods’. What sets ‘Midnights’ apart from its predecessors – ‘1989’, ‘reputation’ and ‘Lover’ – is how it’s not deliberately capital P pop. It’s pared back, leaning into its title as a late-night record and delivering an album’s worth of the hazy, fluorescent moments that peppered her big pop trio before. Ahead of its release, Taylor teased that the record was inspired by self-loathing, revenge, wondering what could’ve been, falling in love and falling apart. She’s consistently confessional, but ‘Midnights’ finds Taylor Swift at her most human. ABIGAIL FIRTH


WORM FOOD ★★★★ Out Now.

→ The world would be better if there were more artists like Robin Skinner. There’s something so relentlessly brilliant and wholesome about Cavetown’s back catalogue of bedroom-pop indie that, even when dealing with downbeat subjects, it could still be sold as a lifeimproving supplement. New album ‘Worm Food’ keeps that trait up, but expands out the horizons to be something more. An album that deals with responsibility, community, happiness and heartbreak, from single ‘1994’ onwards, it feels like a record that’s saturated in growth, selfacceptance and hope. There’s love (‘Frog’), angst (Vic Fuentes team up ‘A Kind Thing To Do’), and a customary collab with fellow bedroom-pop superstar Chloe Moriondo on ‘Grey Space’. While Robin may never be an easy pop star, that’s more pop’s problem than his. When it comes to Cavetown, you’d not change a thing. DAN HARRISON




→ ‘Here Is Everything’ does exactly what it promises as Jules reveals the excitement, the fear and the worries of impending parenthood in a world that was still hunkering down under lockdown. The result is another string of indie bangers from the heart. JAMIE MACMILLAN


BLUSH ★★★★★

→ London-based trio PVA had a significant challenge upping the ante with a reintroduction to their world on their first proper album. With an almost inevitably anxiety-ridden 11-tracker, they’ve managed an exemplary job. It makes for an accessible but rich invigoration of the group’s style. FINLAY HOLDEN


HUGO ★★★★★

→ On ‘hugo’, Loyle Carner takes a closer look at pain. He tears it open, and shares it, sparking conversation and shedding light on the need for change. It’s a call to arms – a means of setting that anger and hurt alight and basking in the glow of letting it burn. ‘hugo’ sees Loyle Carner standing in the shadows of those flames and glimpsing a flicker of hope in their light. NEIVE MCCARTHY





→ Capturing deep emotions in a super accessible and riotously fun way is hard, but Charlie has nailed it. MARTYN YOUNG

→ Finding your voice as an artist is no easy feat. Finding it anew after half a decade spent establishing yourself as something else might be even harder. After distancing himself from the pop-centric output of One Direction and the dancier sound of his early singles to make his

debut album following in the footsteps of the indie-rock he grew up listening to, with his second record Louis Tomlinson has scrapped his self-imposed restraints and he’s never sounded more comfortable in his own skin. ‘Faith In The Future’ is an album with arena-sized energy in its bloodstream. Both larger than life and more intimate than ever, this is how he was meant to be heard. If ‘Walls’ was Louis defining who he wants to be, ‘Faith In The Future’ is him refusing to pin himself down. Whether he’s rallying through the euphoria of staying up and staying out on ‘Silver Tongues’ or finding a sense of post-heartache peace on ‘Saturdays’, Louis is at his best when he goes all out. The most immediate example of this is album stand-out and certified banger, ‘Written All Over Your Face’. Purpose-built for

throwing shapes under dancefloor strobe lights, the track is an indie disco anthem that comes complete with its own battle cry. Bigger and bolder in scope though the album is (did we mention there’s a string section involved? – Ed), his lyrics remain characteristically grounded. The songs resound with the same kind of warmth and sincerity that you find when you’re a couple of drinks in with good friends at the pub. Heading out to “grab some food then meet the lads for one” on ‘Lucky Again’, or recalling the “house full of terraced dreams” he grew up in on ‘Common People’, there’s a sense of familiarity to his words that makes them almost instinctively relatable. He’s pretty adept at tugging on the heartstrings too. With its steadfast reassurance that “you’ll be okay, we can talk tomorrow,” for those times

when conversation might feel too heavy, ‘Angels Fly’ is almost certain to become a fan favourite. Closing number ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’ takes a different approach to a similar sense of reassurance. Complete with earnest advice, heartfelt support, and a shameless comment to lighten the load, the track feels so much like a conversation with a close friend it’s impossible not to feel endeared. Eclectic, electric, and always energetic, ‘Faith In The Future’ is an album crafted for the stage, a collection of songs purposemade for pints-in-the-air, arms-around-shoulders, voicesto-the-rafters sing-alongs. But more than that, it’s an album made for the nighttime, a soundtrack to losing and finding yourself in the dark, the people you meet and the adventures that happen along the way. JESSICA GOODMAN


Words: Abigail Firth. Photos: Patrick Gunning.

LIVE MUSIC, FROM THE FRONT. → WHY ISN’T RINA SAWAYAMA THE BIGGEST POP STAR ON EARTH? It’s a question that keeps coming around, but more frequently than ever on her ‘Hold The Girl’ tour. Conquering Brixton Academy on the closing night of a tremendous UK and Ireland run, she guarantees a “fucking hell” from anyone who’s seen it. Her last tour, the ‘Dynasty’ tour in support of her lauded debut album ‘SAWAYAMA’, which finally went ahead little under a year ago thanks to Covidrelated pushbacks, gave us a glimpse into what Rina was capable of. The ‘Hold The Girl’ tour is an immediate level up, delivering the kind of artistic growth very few could achieve in 12 months. Atop an elevated metal platform and framed in a circle of spotlights, Rina steps out to a completely rammed Brixton Academy, a stage clearly designed with those at the back in mind (and trust us, the crowd goes as far as it possibly can). Caped in denim, she kicks off ‘Act 1’ with the affecting album opener ‘Minor Feelings’, her voice better than ever, and plunges straight into ‘Hold The Girl’, physically embraced by her two backing dancers. Dropping into a more intense ‘Act 2’, Rina showcases her unmatchable versatility. Running through the rock driven tracks from ‘Hold The Girl’, she builds the bridge between this record and her debut, sandwiching ‘STFU!’ (led in with the iconic intro from Korn’s ‘Blind’) between ‘Imagining’ and newest single ‘Frankenstein’. Clearly an artist who doesn’t halfarse her live shows, there’s moments on ‘Hold The Girl’ that seem engineered for crowds, like the “AYYY AYYY” in ‘Your Age’, or the clapping and stompy kick drum in the bridge of the title track, which prompts a major ‘We Will Rock You’ moment. Rina is a performer down to her bones. She’s got the kind of wow factor that made Lady Gaga so special in her early days, a real understanding of what it is to be a pop star and how to deliver a proper

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spectacle of a show. The tour was worked on by WFB Live – the team behind Dua Lipa’s triumphant ‘Future Nostalgia’ tour and K-pop superstars Blackpink’s ‘Born Pink’ tour, just so we’re understanding the scale of the show here – it’s an ambitious production that Rina naturally rises to. Transitions that might otherwise feel clunky just work. An extended outro to ‘Holy (Til You Let Me Go)’ makes way for her rebirth as, in her words, “a couture jellyfish”, as she takes on four ballads for ‘Act 3’. It’s a welcome break from the intensity of the show so far, and a testament to both the production of the show and Rina’s artistry that she can make the venue feel like a stadium or an intimate room depending on the song. The tracks here are the emotional heart of ‘Hold The Girl’, hitting hardest on the spacious, mostly acoustic ‘Send My Love To John’ and soaring at ‘Phantom’. She takes a moment to explain the themes of the album, how she took the time making it to heal her inner child. After that weight is lifted, the final act is pure euphoria, a dance party to shake it all off. It’s a section that only further proves Rina can do everything, and do it well. A mashup of Eurodance banger ‘LUCID’ and Charli XCX collaboration ‘Beg For You’ indicates her main pop girl capabilities, while ‘SAWAYAMA’s biggest hit ‘XS’ beckons an encore. Sadly omitting usual staples ‘Cherry’ and ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’, she makes room for a final song in the form of ‘This Hell’ – a point at which Brixton Academy was reaching boiling point, something even Rina on stage with her multiple wind machines had noticed as she mentions how hot it is. Rina’s songwriting has long focused on feeling like an outsider, and it’s likely a feeling shared by her audience, so it’s incredibly rewarding to see how she brings them together. Defiant, campy and jubilant, ‘This Hell’ live is a perfect demonstration of how Rina Sawayama is able to create a community, one that’s growing by the day. ■


Photos: Indy Brewer.

→ HERE’S A QUESTION FOR YOU, DEAR READER. What do you get when you cross the spookiest time of year, incredible bands packing a tiny venue, enough decorations to make the local Big Shop have to re-order their seasonal stock and the decapitated head of the night’s headliners? Yes, you’ve got it right in one – it’s Night Of The Living Dork! A special night celebrating all things Halloween headlined by former Dork cover stars and Friends Of The Magazine Black Honey – there are no half-measures and all the hits for the sort of night that will live long in the memory. It’s set from the moment openers King No-One take to the stage to kickstart a night that even Dracula himself would be flinging his cloak around to get into. Blending an anthemic heart with that unspoken magic that comes when a band puts everything they have into a live setting, it’s a blistering set that shows just how widescreen their ambition truly is. Taking time to tell stories, dive around the room and pull the sold-out crowd in, it’s a statement of intent. Latest single ‘Dead Hotel’ captures that promise perfectly, a swaggering firecracker that revels in the darkness by making it bold and bright. It’s one of many highlights from a band whose potential goes far beyond these walls – blending the raw and real with something much bigger. Since the very beginning, Black Honey have pointed to something special. Whether it’s the feverish world they’ve created around them, the ridiculous ratio of bangers or that show-stopping presence – they’re a band whose every move is always a twist on what’s come before. It’s why tonight’s show, a one-off headline turn within Colours Hoxton’s intimate walls, is a must. Fans queue around the block to get in, and from the moment they take the stage, it’s an unstoppable ride. Most importantly, though, it’s embracing the here and now. After revealing ‘Out Of My Mind’ and ‘Charlie Bronson’, Act 3 of the Black Honey story is one filled with some of their most direct and emphatic anthems to date. Complete with Izzy’s decapitated head mould staring out to the filled-to-the-brim room (before making its way around it), tonight Black Honey celebrate the past and look ahead in equal measure. Brand new cuts like ‘Up Against It’, ‘Heavy’ and the whipping ‘OK’ are full of hunger and earn immediate adoration. Immediately feeling at ease, a Black Honey show is an invitation to shed any fears or worries and dive into that indescribable feeling that comes with watching a band tear apart a stage. They perfectly complement hits like ‘All My Pride’, ‘Beaches’, ‘I Like The Way You Die’ and ‘Corinne’ – bouncing off one another for a night of celebration. A band that continue to grow and grow, deeply connected to those around them and searing with determination – Black Honey serve up mosh pits, fans cramming to get a view and more. That’s what we call ‘pumpkin incredible’ (Sorry – Ed).


→ CONVENIENTLY PLACED JUST 1300KM FROM THE UK, ICELAND IS ABOUT AS REMOTE A LOCATION AS YOU CAN GET WITHOUT STUMBLING INTO PEOPLE ON THEIR WAY TO THE NORTH POLE. With this geographical isolation, it’s impressive that Iceland Airwaves, a multi-venue festival held every November in capital city Reykjavik, manages to be so international. This isn’t an event put on to tide locals through the cold, dark winter months, although we can confirm it is both cold and dark (so very cold and so very dark). Bands from across the world play in venues and bars to audiences filled with a mix of curious locals and committed tourists, and the snarling punk of Amyl & The Sniffers is as well received as the trap-influenced hip-hop of 18-year-old Faroese rapper Marius DC. Speaking of Amyl & The Sniffers, they rip through their Thursday headline slot in the city’s main art gallery like they were born for it. Lead singer Amy Taylor stomps around stage as she belts out hit after hit, pausing between songs to compliment the quality of the Icelandic tap water and the energy of the crowd. Two albums in, the band have evolved from scrappy mullet-clad punk upstarts to something more nuanced. ‘I Got You’ and ‘Balaclava’ still feel like taking a brick to the head, but it’s on new album cut ‘Guided By Angels’ that everything really clicks into place. Following hot on their heels are Icelandic hip-hop group Daughters of Reykjavik, a changeover seemingly made just to hammer home how eclectic the festival can be. Lyrical themes include feminism and motherhood, best encapsulated by the track ‘Hot Milf Summer’ and the pantomimed ritual sacrifice of a man pulled up from the front of the crowd. Powerful and never not entertaining, their set is easily one of the best across the whole weekend. Venue number two is in an old

Words: Jake Hawkes.


converted cinema down the road, just past the hot dog stand Bill Clinton once visited (yes, really). Inside, Canadian collective Crack Cloud are doing their best to see just how many people and instruments can fit on one stage. The harpist, in particular, must have had a hell of a time getting through customs, but the result is more than worth the hassle. Kicking day two off with a bang, Kóboykex are the Faroese electrocowboys you never knew you needed in your life. Lone rangers of the Faroese prairie (a place which we assume is just south of the salmon fishery), they’re exactly the kind of sideways booking that every festival should make, on the strength of their matching pastelcoloured cowboy suits alone. From the eclectic to the massive, Metronomy draw by far the biggest crowd of the festival, with a queue that snakes so far back it’s a wonder people don’t give up and go for a hot dog instead. Inside, the crowd is one jumping mass of limbs, especially when the band dip into their back catalogue for timeless megahit ‘The Look’. It’s not all nostalgia though, with cuts from new album ‘Small World’ causing nearly as much movement as the classics. Some lo-fi alt-pop from the Deep South of America welcomes in the weary on the festival’s final day, with certified online sensation Yot Club masterfully translating internet fame into mesmerising live music. The main hall doesn’t stay tranquil for long, though, with Ukrainian almostEurovisioners Go_A whipping up a frenzy as soon as they step on stage. Booked to play Eurovision in 2020 before it was cancelled, their set is exactly the kind of over-the-top bombast that thrives at the song contest. Luckily this energy also goes down well in Iceland, and the crowd alternates between sweaty mosh-pits during songs and heartfelt

cheers in between as Go_A deride Russia as a ‘terrorist state’. True to their message, information on how to donate to Ukrainian humanitarian causes is prominently located at every exit. Mercury Prize-nominated Friends of the Magazine Porridge Radio are up next. Cuts from new album ‘Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky’ jostle against the well-worn favourites from their debut, but the mood throughout is emotional, expressive, and at times incredibly poignant. In a similar vein is final headliner Arlo Parks’ set, especially as she pauses to tell the crowd that tonight is her final show of the year. The feeling is more one of a melancholy farewell than a celebratory party, but it’s no small feat to make a cavernous main stage show feel as beautifully intimate as Arlo does throughout. Instead of winding down after the headliner finishes, it feels like the entirety of Iceland stuffs themselves into Húrra, a ramshackle bar hosting Icelandic pop / dance act Inspector Spacetime. There’s no light show and barely even a stage, but the entire venue dances like it’s 3am at Fabric on a Friday night. Their track ‘Dansa og Bánsa’ in particular is so catchy that we’re pretty sure people were still humming it on the flight back home. Iceland Airwaves takes place in a country with geothermal springs, active volcanoes, and the Northern Lights. Despite this, it’s the music which is the real draw at a showcase festival which is as genre-defying as it is fun. Sure, the alcohol costs more than most terraced houses, but the lineup is great, the people are friendly, and the hot dogs are really, really, really good. ■ Dates for Iceland Airwaves 2023 have been announced, with the festival returning to Reykjavik 2nd-4th November. Limited Super Early Bird tickets for 2023 are also available now. READDORK.COM 71.


→ MAGGIE ROGERS’ HEADLINE SHOW AT BRIGHTON DOME STARTS WITH THE RUMBLING ‘OVERDRIVE’ THAT MANAGES TO KEEP ITS COMPOSURE FOR JUST A COUPLE OF MINUTES BEFORE IT EXPLODES IN TRIUMPHANT CATHARSIS WHILE THE EVENING ENDS WITH A PAINED YET HOPEFUL SONG FOR PEACE, ‘A DIFFERENT KIND OF WORLD’.“It’s about being together,” Maggie tells the crowd. “It’s about taking a second to remember how absolutely sacred and special it is that we can come together in this room and have a release.” In between, there are outlandish anthems of desire and sweeping questions about the world. ‘Shatter’ is twisted around fiery punk venom, ‘Say It’ ends like a Whitney Houston classic, while a giddy performance of ‘Honey’ sees brilliant support act Samia bounding onto the stage and trading verses with Maggie. Feral joy? You bet. Understandably, a lot of artists have tried to find celebration from a time of emotional unrest over the past couple

of years, but few have done it as well as Maggie Rogers. Released earlier this year, ‘Surrender’ offers escapism, understanding and jubilance without sugar-coating the tough times that have created such widespread anxiety. It’s urgent, fierce and resolutely focused on finding reasons to smile. Onstage, Maggie admits that she’s been thinking of playing ‘Surrender’ for the best part of three years, but tonight’s show never feels rigid. Backed by a six-piece band who seem to have been given free rein to do whatever they want, there’s a sense of spontaneity throughout. Extended outros take the form of snarling post-rock breakdowns or delicate, piano-driven moments of reflection. A cover of The Blue Nile’s ‘Let’s Go Out Tonight’ breaks hearts “but in the best way possible”, while the folksy ‘I’ve Got A Friend’ sees Maggie play the air-piano with utter commitment. Cycling through tightly wound moments of intensity and ramshackle, free-form jams, Maggie and her band are constantly in pursuit of joy. It’s an infectious game.

After about an hour of turbulent cheer, Maggie takes a second to explain to the crowd how weird it is to be playing a show so far from home when back in America, the midterm elections are taking place. “We were talking backstage, holding our breath and hoping for some sort of peace in the United States,” says Maggie. “Looking out at all of you together, that gives me hope.” “We’re a little more than halfway through, so if you have something you need to move through, it’s now. This is your time,” she adds before a thundering ‘Back In My Body’ kickstarted a powerful run of visceral bangers. ‘Alaska’, ‘Begging For Rain’ and ‘Horses’ saw Maggie reaching new, emotional heights as the crowd purged fear and uncertainty while the closing trio of ‘Anywhere With You’, ‘Light On’ and ‘That’s Where I Am’ took all the hope in the room, and supercharged it. It’s impossible to argue with nearly 2000 people screaming, “It all works out in the end”, and believing it, if only for a moment.

Words: Ali Shutler. Photos: Frances Beach.


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however, things are getting rabid already. There are fluorescent green Build-A-Bear frogs and a sea of the same t-shirts, which can only mean one thing: Lovejoy have descended upon the city. With devoted fans having gathered from the early hours of Saturday morning to catch their set, there’s some pressure to deliver. Lovejoy shoulder that with ease. Lizzie Esau graces her first Leeds outing with a stunning rock onslaught, while Warmduscher invade the stage at Leeds Beckett clad in futuristic glasses and prepared to leave everyone in attendance reeling. Fresh from releasing their ‘At The Hotspot’ EP earlier this year, they delve into that explosive, synth-laden world in an enthralling set. Over at O2 Academy, however,

STONE, BABY QUEEN AND MORE BRING THE MAYHEM TO NEIGHBOURHOOD FESTIVAL → IF THERE’S ONE QUESTION THAT MANCHESTER’S NEIGHBOURHOOD FESTIVAL GRABS WITH BOTH HANDS AND MAKES SURE YOU GET AN ANSWER FOR, IT’S ‘WHAT’S NEXT?’. A living, breathing jukebox of new music playlists, Dork favourites and standout discoveries alike – Neighbourhood 2022 embraces every direction, brought together for a melting pot of new music goodness. It’s the sort of festival that plays perfectly for those ‘I was there’ moments. Opening up not only the Dork Stage at Gorilla but basically the festival itself, Lovejoy are phenomenon the world needs to catch onto fast. Led by frontman Wilbur Soot, what first exploded with a feverish online fanbase is now front and centre live – today’s set notably their first outside of Brighton. Snaking queues across the city prove it, and from the moment they kick off a frenzied set – it’s nothing short

of emphatic. Drowned-out singalongs, pogoing masses and arena-sized screams welcome a group who already stand out from the pack. ‘You’ll Understand When You’re Older’ and ‘It’s All Futile! It’s All Pointless!’ are but two examples of a band already creating their own distinct world – and with another roadblock gig at the festival in the books for later in the day, Lovejoy’s blend of mid-00s Los Campesinos-styled indie-pop has them primed to be THE band of a whole new wave. The rumours are indeed true. The Dinner Party are another new band you need to have on your radar right now. Taking to the upstairs stage at YES, their show and sound can’t be pinned down. Swaggering glam-pop that hops between Kate Bush, post-punk, 80s new wave – hell, even that feeling of the classic that could be anywhere between modern Arctic Monkeys and the Grease

soundtrack. What underpins it is this sense that music can be a show and serious at the same time. ‘The Feminine Urge’ shines as a banger in waiting, like today is a preview of how encompassing they are about to become. This is the band a hell of a lot of people have been waiting for, and it’s going to be a glorious ride. Commanding sheer presence from the very start, The Murder Capital‘s Special Guests slot on the Dork stage at Gorilla is a thrilling ride through an already rich discography that makes them a band like no other. Delving into the depths of darkness and the highs of release in equal measure, it’s on the live stage they become untouchable – storming an opening one-two of ‘More, More, More’ and ‘Green & Blue’ that grips Gorilla in the palm of their hands. If there were any midday fans lagging in the energy department, The Murder Capital take on that challenge to have them reborn

grab you in the pit of your stomach and make you feel. What can we say about Priestgate that we haven’t said before? A live tour-de-force – check. A band that will pull you into their every move – check. An experience that revels in turning the intimate moments into the grandest – check. It’s all of that and more downstairs at YES. One listen to ‘Eyes Closed For The Winter’, ‘By The Door’, and ‘Bedtime Story’ says it all. They’re real, raw and ready. In the past six months, Baby Queen has toured with global superstars, soundtracked a smash TV show, and continued to drop banger after banger – and that megastar status is undeniable the moment she steps on stage tonight. A jam-packed Academy is taken for a journey through the Baby Queen world – ‘Buzzkill’, ‘Raw Thoughs’ and ‘Wannabe’ lighting fuses here, there and everywhere. But, it’s latest drops ‘Nobody Really Cares’, ‘Colours Of You’ and ‘Lazy’ that define the ambition of where Baby Queen is heading. More than anything, tonight’s turn at Neighbourhood is proof that it’s coming sooner than you think. Dylan’s already shaking things up with storming bangers and big show moments alike. Rounding out Neighbourhood, it’s a widescreen rock star showcase of the highest order. Effortlessly show-stopping, tonight is a chance for Dylan to not only seize the crowd gathered but also point to the huge smashes to come. Through it all, there’s that air that what Neighbourhood is witnessing is an artist firmly storming ahead – and as a way to close out a full festival day across Manchester, it’s a jaw-dropping statement. So what’s next, you’re asking? Where do we begin?

Words: Jamie Muir.

→ AFTER A ROARING SUCCESS AT TEMPLE NEWSAM OVER THE SUMMER, LIVE AT LEEDS: IN THE CITY RETURNS WITH ITS TYPICAL BEDRAGGLED ESCAPADES ACROSS THE CITY. Back to its usual haunts, the mad dash from Hyde Park to Call Lane and everywhere in between is the only way to spend a rainy Saturday in October. From old-time favourites to the freshest artists around right now, Live at Leeds has always been a festival brimming with mind-blowing sets that both affirm and highlight an array of talent – this year is no exception. Usually, an earlier-in-the-day set equates to a far more relaxed crowd – a time to ease yourself in before mayhem ensues later on in the day. Over at Leeds Beckett Student Union,

Words: Finlay Holden, Nieve McCarthy. Photos: Patrick Gunning.


an unmissable event. Transforming Dork’s very own stage at Brudenell into a decadently glam and grungy idyll, the six-piece launch into a breathless, captivating set that leaves the room in awe. Every proper festival must come with its fair share of indie sweethearts, and Hyde Park Book Club play host to some of the most beloved of them all. Swim Deep take hold of the basement room to deliver a set that glistens with a certain magic only they could conjure. Will Joseph Cook treads the boards of Dork’s stage within the Brudenell Social Club for his first UK show after touring the US alongside Tessa Violet, and it’s good to have him back on home turf – “they’re a bit bizarre over there,” he admits. Insanely catchy melodies soon entrance the room with intimate crowd interactions making for both a personal and ambitious show where just a simple gesture contains immense power; this concentrated set passes by only too fast. Connie Constance arrives energetic and charged up despite the late set time, and her small but potent discography is able to “dispel [her] Leeds curse” as people show up in droves. The title-track of her 2021 EP, ‘Prim & Propa’, is a great moment to exercise some fan interaction as she has the room on its knees and back several times. Offering not just a great vocal or attitude, Connie’s entire band exercise concentration, yes, but sheer enthusiasm above all else throughout the thrashing gig. It falls to Los Bitchos at Brudenell to close the show. They step up to the task effortlessly; a searing, cackling adventure into the world of their debut album, ‘Let The Festivities Begin!’ ensures the night ends in good spirits. Their instrumental rock invites non-stop groove, and after the emotional highs and lows of the day, we wouldn’t want to wrap things up any other way.

it’s a slightly more peaceful affair as Palace swathe the venue in tranquil shades of blue. Frontman Leo Wyndham’s vocals float across the room, wistful whisperings on a breeze that assures you all will be okay. The Pale White‘s hefty experience soon dominates the basement room they play, with their huge rhythm section shaking the venue from the first fills of set opener, ‘Glue’. The Pale White appear to be kings of catchy and unpretentious rock choruses, leaving a substantial impact. Over at Oporto’s BBC Introducing Stage, Pop Vulture have the packedout room in the palm of their hands. Still bouncing from the release of latest single ‘Lionel’s Big Problem’, this is a set in which they demonstrate complete control – commandeering their sound from the riotous to the subdued within seconds; it’s a showcase of deft capability. Thomas Headon dances happily along to his pop bangers, claiming Leeds as his favourite city to play in. Although ‘Strawberry Kisses’ rings out to a surprisingly docile crowd, this is not a mood that sustains for long, particularly after the Londonbased singer jumps into the bit for the warm encouragement of ‘Butterflies’. A detour for ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ only cements the irresistibility of Headon’s gleeful charm. Working Men’s Club take to the stage back at O2 Academy and immediately make it clear that the sheer force of this band cannot be contained by these walls. It quickly becomes a haven for dark dance, pounding synth and forbidding bass never failing to strike with menacing force. Frontman Syd Minsky-Sargeant crouches, leering into the faces of the crowd before quickly contorting himself around the stage, a figure completely lost to each and every beat. A summons to The Dinner Party is an invite we just can’t quite turn down, and it quickly proves to be

with a set that wears emotion firmly on their sleeves. ‘For Everything’ and ‘Don’t Cling To Life’ erupt, but it’s the looks at what comes from second album ‘Gigi’s Recovery’ that make today feel even more essential. “We’re usually in Gorilla, so to see you all here is amazing,” proclaims Alfie Templeman, overseeing a packed O2 Ritz enraptured with every tone and groove he makes. Settling in as the evening begins, it’s a feel-good set full of nothing but bangers. ‘Broken’, ‘Obvious Guy’, ‘3D Feelings’ – the list goes on. Over at Canvas, STONE are hellbent on slinging what they do best. There’s no moment to pause – it’s nothing short of a takeover that makes you wonder how STONE were ever not on your favourite new music party playlist. Just one listen to their bulldozing new single signifies their intentions – this isn’t just a band content with having a good time; they want to



CAVETOWN Yes, Dear Reader. We enjoy those ‘in depth’ interviews as much as anyone else. But - BUT - we also enjoy the lighter side of music, too. We simply cannot go on any longer without knowing that Robin Skinner, aka Cavetown, wants to be mates with Snoopy and is always losing hats. WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE NEW BAND? I don’t know how new they are, but I met the singer of a band called diehorsecocks at a show I went to in Germany recently. Their music is really cool and chill, despite what the name would suggest. ARE ANY OF YOUR LYRICS SECRETLY RUDE? Maybe??? I think some of them are a bit passive-aggressive or sarcastic, but they wouldn’t be secretly so if I told you which ones. TELL US A SECRET ABOUT YOURSELF? No!!!!!! IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? I think it would’ve been fun to be a veterinarian, or some other profession looking after animals WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR? Oat milk obviously IF A GENIE GRANTED YOU THREE WISHES, WHAT WOULD YOU ASK FOR? My cat to live a healthy happy life forever and ever, to be able to sing and perform perfectly all the time, and to not care at all about what I look like WHAT FASHION WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO MAKE A COMEBACK? Medieval tunics seem mad comfy IF YOU COULD BE BEST FRIENDS WITH A CELEBRITY YOU DO NOT KNOW, WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Snoopy WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TIME OF DAY? Like, 8am if I wake up naturally. Morning time is nice when you choose

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to be awake for it HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SECRET HANDSHAKE? I think as a kid, yeah, but I don’t remember it anymore. IF YOU COULD LEARN ONE SKILL INSTANTLY, WITHOUT NEEDING TO PRACTICE, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK? It would be really convenient if I knew how to drive without having to take lessons. I’ve been meaning to learn for years and never got around to it. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? My cat!! Although I’m probably her possession, actually. DO YOU BELIEVE IN ALIENS? For sure. WHICH SUPERMARKET DO YOU SHOP AT? Sainsbury’s in the UK, Whole Foods in the US. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A MEMBER OF A CLUB? I was in a chess club in primary school and took it very seriously. WHAT’S YOUR LUCKY NUMBER? 5. IF YOU HAD TO GET A TATTOO TODAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE OF? I’ve been wanting to get a junebug with its wings spread. Junebug is one of my nicknames for my cat Juno. WHAT DID YOU LAST DREAM ABOUT? Last night I actually had a really long nightmare where my band and I were exploring some caves, and we ended up slipping into an underground pool which turned us into amphibian creatures which forgot about our human lives. I watched them all fall in

and wasn’t able to save them without slipping in too, so I ended up giving in and becoming a creature too, but then they all managed to escape somehow and left me behind. I lived down there for years and years, all alone, until some cave rescue people came and scooped me up and took me home, and I had a big emotional reunion with my buddies, and we all cried and hugged. Then there was a second part to the dream where people dragged me back into a cave and were making fun of my cave trauma and wouldn’t let me leave. And then I was in a racecar or something trying to find my way home. I woke up very confused and stressed out. WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST LIE YOU’VE EVER TOLD? I don’t really lie much, but I remember

one of the first lies I ever told. I was like 5, and my mum asked if I’d cleaned my room, and I said yes, then immediately started crying because that wasn’t true. I felt so bad. IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY, WHAT WOULD YOU SPEND THE CASH ON? I would probably put it into the This is Home foundation; I don’t really need anything.


One thing that stands out is from when I was in secondary school - I was figuring out my gender and came out to my Twitter friends as agender, but someone from my school found my coming out post and decided to show everyone at school. They said

they were trying to help me out and get everyone to call me by my new pronouns and stuff, but I wasn’t ready for everyone to know. Not cool.


Lots, probably, but I always lose them.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’RE BRILLIANT AT, BUT NOBODY ELSE KNOWS? I found out recently that I’m really good at making filters out of cardboard.


Cavetown’s album’ worm food’ is out now.