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Friday 8th December 2006

femm 6

Meet the future of the indies ANNA HALL

Going with our independence theme ths week, James Millen has a word with Jeremy Warmsley, who is on Transgressive Records, after his recent gig at 93 Feet East and Matty Hoban introduces Blood Red Shoes who have released records through many indie labels Blood Red Shoes: Laura-Mary Carter (left) and Steve Ansell (right) and below; Jeremy Warmsley (far-left)

artists in focus


here was that tingle in the air that told me it was time to head out to East London again, a magical land full of curry houses and trendy accountants. The draw was Jeremy Warmsley, a fine singer-songwriter who combines indie with laptop wizardry. I took my children on the green line (daddy loves you), and we avoided the gauntlet of Indian food outlets that is Brick Lane to reach the trendy warehouse-esque arts and experimental music venue 93ft East. The first band on was run by Jeremy’s keyboardist Tom Rodgerson. It was all rather abstract, with Saxamophone and a drummer drumming with pencils. But then at the end it got LOUD, and you, I and apple pie know LOUD is good. So they saved themselves. We missed out on next band Absentee since some brash rogues accosted us from across the street at Vibe Bar. These handsome scoundrels were none other than Future Corpses, Imperial’s only decent band (you heard me Jazz&Rock, what ya gonna do about it eh?) They seem to have upped their game from post-rock-by-numbers-+-violin to rocking a bit like really early (and I mean really early, scenesters) Biffy Clyro, a comment that I was sure was going to bring me pain, but instead found hugs. Aw, youse guys! I chaperoned the kids across the road and back into 93ft East for a nifty £3.50 pint of Asahi (I’m so cool), and awaited Mr. Warmsley. Now I was rather excited, being quite a fan, and was curious as to how he’d reconcile his heavily lap-

top altered music live. Another favourite of mine, Martin Grech, gets over the technology boundary by turning all his live songs into metal. One can but dream. So onto the stage strolls young Jeremy, with his indieboy haircut and black-rimmed rectangular glasses. He launches into the pleasant jangle/marching band song I promise to the delight of the crowd. Live he uses a standard set up, bass guitar, keyboards, drums, an underused laptop and himself switching between keyboard and guitar. The band is very tight, and relies on no fancy effects. The best way to sum up how it sounded was given by Jeremy himself later in our chat: “We do cover versions of Jeremy Warmsley songs”. It was perfectly satisfying in general, due to Jeremy’s great voice and the general musicianship and quality of song writing. It fell down when he decided to do a slightly limp acoustic version of 5 Verses, an otherwise amazing song, that would require some technical gymnastics to pull off live. He’s only one album, an EP and a spattering of singles in, so there wasn’t so much material. Highlights included forthcoming single I believe in the way you move and album opener Dirty Blue Jeans. I was surprised at how perfect his voice was, I suspected that it might be a bit hit-and-miss from record, but a heavy touring schedule has kicked it into shape. There was at least one new song featured, and initial thoughts are that he ain’t gonna be a one album guy. I was ushered into the backstage dressing room for a chat, conducted in a rather jaunty side-by-side fashion since we were being filmed. Turns out that Jeremy grew up in the pleasant London suburb of Kingston. He began writing at the age of 16 on his own, a habit he has stuck to (except recent collaborations with his keyboard player). He wasn’t really exposed to a scene, just schoolmates with whom he formed the odd, and not very good, band. The experience of being in going-nowhere bands, and the freedom of not having to make compromises kept him focused on solo work. He had a quite brilliant club night called Jeremy Sings the Hits where he would do covers of songs by Bob Marley, At the Drive-In and the Smiths. All his composition is now done with your standard bedroom gear and an acoustic guitar for the very cool Transgressive Records. Jeremy doesn’t stick to a set compositional style, little scraps of lyrics build with little scraps of melody and then are thrown together to make something beautiful. He prides himself on never having written a lyric whose purpose he couldn’t explain. You should check out 5 Verses in particular, where quite a beautiful story is spun. I ask Jeremy whom he considers his musical peers and he clearly struggles, in the end deciding to say his music life is too self contained to be thinking about others. He

worries enough about losing inspiration, about the day when the first two barren hours in the studio turn into a barren day, a barren year etc. Perhaps he finds comfort in his supportive fan base, built up on the internet, using forums such as MySpace and a blog. He likes to demystify the concept of a musician up on a stage by familiarising with people, and admires Lilly Allen for her very human blogs (though he is seemingly unaware of the hideousness of her music). Plus a blog gives him something to do when he’s off tour! And it has been quite a tour, starting in the summer with festivals, supporting various bands through September (such as the Mystery Jets), and culminating with his headline tour, of which tonight is his last night. Now he will head back into the studio do some remixes of a Larrakin Love song, and a Tilly and the Wall song. Busy times ahead for this imaginative young man, it’s certainly worth going to the link below. Jeremy’s new single “I believe in the way you move” is out on December the 18th and his debut album “The Art of Friction” is out now


righton knocks out band after band with ease. There is a good chance though that you only know a few of them. You may know the likes of The Eighties Matchbox BLine Disaster – who are apparently still going – and the naughty things they want to do to your mum. There is also Electric Soft Parade who are now releasing records through Truck Records. On the female front, there is Electrelane who had albums recorded by Steve Albini (he recorded Nirvana’s In Utero

and The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa). Along with these better known bands, there was also another great group called Cat On Form (2001-2004). This short-lived band were young, energetic and frankly what everyone needed at that time. They have since produced many off-shoots and here is one of them, Blood Red Shoes. Blood Red Shoes could exceed the popularity and brilliance of Cat On Form, but to compare them to their old bands is besides the point – especially considering that of the two of Blood Red Shoes only one has been in the aforementioned. This duo – Laura-Mary Carter, guitar and vocals and Steve Ansell, drums and also vocals – make music that is simultaneously melodic, raw and accessible. By their own admission they say that, “We don't tend to sit on straightforward structures or ways to play our instruments because we'd get bored and we don't want to make cheapshit predictable music.” They also have an impressive work ethic; I saw them play three times in what must have been a month-and-a-half, and mostly unintentionally. They say, “We've notched up about 120 live shows and 4 singles. We reckon we've worked pretty hard.” I’d agree with them and they’re determined to not rest on the laurels of their former bands. It is also a well-meaning determination when they say, “We want to move people; make them dance or shout or get excited, and we don't want to come off like rock stars or some amazing otherworldy beings!” Otherwordly? Never, when they make this world so much fun. Their latest single, “You Bring Me Down” out now DARKDAZE