Delights band photo


Despite the fact that all four of the band members are only 17 and fresh out of college, fledgling quartet Delights have already built up a devoted following in their home city, and the north-west of England, with an indie-rock sound that is familiar and inspired by the likes of the Stone Roses, The Smiths, and Kula Shaker, yet fresh and modern.

In addition to this, the Manchester collective have also brought out a self-titled debut EP, and embarked on a mini UK tour in April.

Now, having unveiled a new single, entitled ‘Naked Heart’, the band spoke to me about what has been an incredible first year for them, as well as what their future aims are.

How did the band form?

We all went to college together, and three of the current band members were in a previous band, and when that ended, we just told Leo to learn the drums, and here we are a year or so later.

How did the name Delights come about?

It’s a pretty dull story, but when we started the band we tried to think of names – we were on the bus home from college one day, and Leo said “the lights“, meaning the street lights (we were kind of at the point of just shouting random things we could see out of the window as potential band names), and Ben misheard him as saying “delights“, and it just kind of stuck.

Ironically now, when people ask us what the band’s called, they usually mishear us as saying The Lights.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

One of us comes up with an idea, usually a riff or something, then at practice, we just mess around with it, each chip in some ideas, and we’ll go from there. We tend to write the song first, then Maxwell will go and write lyrics/melody once we’ve already written the instrumental parts.

What inspires the band lyrically?

When Maxwell writes lyrics, he doesn’t always think of it as a story, but he comes up with hooks and catchy phrases for the verses and choruses to make them more memorable. It also leaves the songs open to interpretation, rather than force-feeding the audience an obvious storyline, to make it seem more personal to them.

Recently, you brought out a single, ‘Naked Heart’, following on from the release of your self-titled debut EP late last year. How were the reactions to them for you personally?

We got a lot of support when we first released the EP, because it came out pretty quickly after we formed the band, and it was self-recorded and produced, so we think people appreciated that.

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback about ‘Naked Heart’ as well, and we think people can see that we’ve developed since the EP, which means a lot to us because we feel ‘Naked Heart’ is much more mature in terms of the songwriting, and was a more creative process when we were at the studio, which we really enjoyed.

In April, the band embarked on a mini UK tour. How was that as an experience for you all?

We really enjoyed it. It was such a good experience to have, and we met a load of quality bands from all over, and we’d got our set a lot tighter by the end of it – we’re really grateful for it. It was nice to get support from other cities too.

And how is it, overall, playing live?

It’s the most fun part about being in a band, and having fans turn up who know the songs means a lot, even if we’re playing to a half-empty room.

What are your plans for the near future?

We’ve got a few songs that are already recorded or that we are in the process of recording, and we’re keen to get them out as soon as possible. We’ve also all just finished college, and are going to be taking some time out next year to graft at the band and get as many gigs in as possible.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

As long as we can keep recording our tunes and playing gigs, we’re happy. We want to play as many gigs as we can, to as many people as possible, and just get about.

We had a little taste of that on our mini-tour, and we think that’s really encouraged us, so that this is something we want to keep doing for as long as we can, and to get as big as we can.

Delights Single Cover









The Vega Bodegas band photo


The lyrical content of Cardiff rock n’ roll four-piece The Vega Bodegas may be surreal and humorous, but they take an altogether more serious approach towards making music.

With melodic hooks and guitar riffs that effectively show off their sublime skills, the quartet have been able to bring out a few successful singles and an EP, as well as getting praise from the likes of Wales Online and BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson.

The band’s vocalist/guitarist, Jimmy Watkins, spoke to me about much of this, as well as their recently-released debut album, ‘A Complete History Of Witchcraft’, and the response that has been getting up to now.

How did the band form?

I’ve been playing music with Marc (guitar/vocals) and Jamie (bass) since we were 14 years old. We had this bonkers band called Orga-Tora when we were in school.

We kinda drifted apart after that and played with other people for a few years, but got back together in 2016 when I left Future of the Left.

I knew Nathan from his drumming in a band called Nine Plan Failed, and he joined us last year.

How did the name The Vega Bodegas come about?

The name was either from a bottle of wine we stole from my parent’s garage when we were 14, or it’s about our love of tapas bars and space, or it’s our secret gang name for when we’re fighting underground crime.

We can’t remember, but not enough bands have a name that almost rhymes, so we felt there was a gap in the market there.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

If you were to see us mucking about in the studio, it would become immediately apparent that we all have wildly different musical influences. It’s almost a miracle that we get anything written at all.

I’m pretty straight up and bluesy or poppy. I’ll go from riffs to a clean chord progression, while pretending I’m in Supergrass, Ty Segall’s band, or ‘Holy Bible’ era Manics. Graham Coxon is my guitar hero, but I can’t play anywhere near as well as him.

Nathan loves Sonic Youth (I’ve never heard them), Talking Heads, and Joy Division, Marc gets his kicks from Pearl Jam, the Manics and Faith No More, while Jamie loves a bit of funk. It’s a real mishmash.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

In terms of writing the songs, I’ll come up with an idea and title at home, which I’ll then do a demo of. It’s usually just a riff and some singing. I’ll send it to the boys, and then we’ll build on it down the studio.

‘The Size of Wales’ and ‘Witchcraft’ were totally written together in the same room, and they came out of some crazy jam sessions.

Marc is a real master of arrangement, and he’ll suggest new ways to deliver the song. Him and Jamie are brothers, so they have this almost telepathic understanding. Jamie seems to be the one who decides how a song ends, as he looks at us like a site foreman with a hard hat on, and we know it’s time to stop, and Nathan just wants to hit the drums as hard as he can while I scream my head off. It’s very sophisticated, really.

What inspires the band lyrically?

While there’s no denying that rock n’ roll is my thing, and what I listen to 90% of the time (I listen to house music when cooking or doing the dishes), I’ll be the first to admit that most rock lyrics are truly awful, and that includes the lyrics of some of my favourite bands, but when rock is combined with great lyrics, there’s nothing better: Art Brut, Idles, Primus, The Manic Street Preachers, and Bob Dylan- when he’s not wearing a fedora.

When I sit down to write, I think of rappers like Kendrick Lamar or Danny Brown, as I love how they combine the surreal with the everyday, and that’s what drives me lyrically.

When we started The Vega Bodegas, I invented this place called Slow Cooker (this album was going to be called ‘Welcome To Slow Cooker’). Slow Cooker is loosely based on the Rhondda, where I’m from, the Bethesda in Un Nos Ola Leud and the weirdness of ‘In Watermelon Sugar’ by Richard Brautigan.

I take my mind there when writing lyrics, and it’s a place where absolutely anything is possible, and I’m continually amazed by the people I see there. I’ve also made a conscious effort to leave any negativity out of our songs.

If I feel a lyric is attacking someone or being derogatory, I’ll take it out and replace it with something that comes from a positive state of mind. I don’t want to put anything out there that’s driven by bitterness or anger, because that stuff is better off sweated out in the gym instead.

You recently brought out a debut album, entitled ‘A Complete History Of Witchcraft’. How was the recording process for that?

We recorded this album down Music Box studios in Cardiff. Marc and Bernie, who own that studio, are absolute legends, and it wasn’t for those two and their studio, Cardiff, and indeed South Wales, would not be the musical force it is now.

We recorded with the legend that is Charlie Francis. I worked with him with Future of the Left and Strange News From Another Star. Charlie came to a few gigs, watched us practice, and then told us he had a plan.

We booked two rooms, stuck the drummer in one, and the rest of us gathered around Charlie like he was this magical pagan rocker, and we played the whole album live. We got the drums done on the first morning, and then we built it all up from there.

When you work with Charlie, you don’t have to tell him what you want, as he understands your music instantly, and knows what’s best for each song. It was such a pleasure working with him. It took three days in total, and the whole atmosphere throughout was relaxed and easy-going. I can’t wait to do it all again.

And how has the reaction been to the album so far?

The reaction has been incredible. When we first had the mixes, I would spend hours every night just standing on my decking, listening on a loop as the sun set over the sea. I’m usually a bit apprehensive about releasing music, but this sounded so good, I couldn’t wait to get it out there.

Since the moment it was released, we’ve had nothing but messages of love and support from friends and people we really admire. It’s been very rewarding, and it’s made this band of maniacs very happy.

The album has been bought in America, Canada, Australia, Europe and Doncaster, so what more could you ask for? We also got played on BBC Radio 6 Music for the first time last week, and that’s been something we’ve dreamt about since the band formed.

Also, Adam Walton and Neil Crud have also given us plenty of airtime, and we love them for it.

How is the experience, for the band, of performing live?

Playing live with The Vega Bodegas is very unpredictable. It’s very much like being in a bobsleigh together. If one of us is facing the wrong way, it’s a hard battle to get to the bottom in one piece.

And finally, what are your plans now the album has come out?

Now that the album is out digitally, we need to make some physical copies for cars and cruise liners, as we get so many people asking for copies for their cars. It’s crazy, as I’ve never seen a car with ears, apart from some terrible people carriers in the south of France.

The fantastic Libertino Records are releasing ‘A Complete History of Witchcraft’ as a single, and we’re delighted to be working with them, as they’re probably the most exciting label in Wales right now.

We’ll also get a few more videos made. We love making videos, as it’s a way for us to work out what the songs mean.

Tom Robinson said on his BBC Radio 6 Music show that he can understand why we might be the best live band you’ve never seen, and we are really keen to play more shows, as that’s where the true magic of The Vega Bodegas becomes apparent – that is when we become an underground gang of heroes fighting against all that is bland when it comes to live music.

The Vega Bodegas Album Cover









CONCRETE KINGDOMS – ‘Concrete Kingdoms’


Concrete Kingdoms EP Cover


Having had to take a break last year, Scottish hard rock quintet Concrete Kingdoms are now back, bigger, better, and stronger than before with their self-titled debut EP.

The new release comprises of four tracks, all of which provide firm evidence that the band, this time, have opted for a sound that is altogether more powerful and better developed.

For example, there is more of an even balance between the immersing guitar riffs and a melodic vocal delivery that can really reach the higher notes.

This combination moves along at a nice pace, enabling the lyrical content, which is grounded in issues that everybody has had or will have to face at some point in their lives, to be clearly heard, and not be dwarfed by the music, which a few outfits similar to these guys tend to do at times.

Overall, ‘Concrete Kingdoms’ is a solid offering that should appeal, with its good old-fashioned, proper hard rock, to a diverse range of the genre’s devotees, and also should enable the five-piece to keep going the momentum that they have been spending the past few years building up.


TOP TRACK: ‘Time To Play’





Arkdown band photo

Arkdown are a formidable modern metal quintet hailing from Sheffield. Formed in late 2015, the emerging metallers draw from contemporary metalcore and deathcore influences, framed by their own melodic but heavy riff-based style.

The Steel City riff beasts have just revealed a new track, ‘Mirrors’, which is taken from their sophomore EP, ‘The Calling’, out Friday 2nd November.

To date, Arkdown have toured the length and breadth of the UK, self-releasing their debut EP, ‘Paths’, and dropping a stand-alone single. Their debut offering picked up rousing approval from the UK underground, with Gig Radar citing that the band are “A force to be reckoned with on the British metal scene“.

The five-piece have also supported a glut of established artists, ranging from Fit for an Autopsy, Oceans Ate Alaska and Martyr Defiled, to Kingdom of Giants, A Night in Texas, and Shields.

Arkdown’s new EP is a colossal step up for the band. Bursting with five cuts of heavily-driven metalcore, hard-hitting drums, and layered melodic leads, all offset by aggressive and dynamic vocals, the South Yorkshire outfit have crafted a record that will stand the test of time.

Vocalist Kyle Dawson comments about the EP: “‘The Calling’ is a nod to the French term ‘L’appel du vide’ (‘Call of the void’), which is the urge to throw yourself into danger. The record takes a hard look at the lure of self-destruction and trying times.

With further touring currently in the works, along with European shows next year, the future is a very bright one for Kyle and his band mates.

Arkdown EP Cover










Me & Munich band photo


Having already made a name for themselves in their native Denmark with a melodic brand of post-rock, experienced duo Jan Petersen and Marco B∅geh∅j earlier this year decided to develop their sound by making a few tweaks and bringing a fresh approach to songwriting.

As a result, the two-piece have adopted a new moniker of Me & Munich, and with the release of an EP, entitled ‘Knives Of The Sun’, later next month, Jan spoke to me about the recording process, what can be expected from the upcoming offering, and more.

How did the two of you meet?

Three years ago, when playing in Shocking White, we needed a drummer. We had tried out a few candidates through an advert without luck, and we actually for a short time considered having a drum machine.

However, when Marco arrived, there was no doubt that he was our drummer. He played technically and hit hard, and he was just a very nice, down-to-earth guy.

What made you both decide to go into music together?

Our bass player left in January, because he didn’t wanna go to the studio and be that serious anymore about the band. We had these strong songs with a lot of potential that we believed in, so we just wanted to go all in and record them.

It actually made us work harder and become closer to each other – both musically and personally. We hired a bass player for the studio, and had great help from our producer Andres Linnemann, who really understood our vision.

Recently, the two of you decided to change your band’s name to Me & Munich. How did that come about?

We had to do something new with these new songs that we sensed had a more well-composed and catchy sound than earlier. We didn’t wanna be compared to the old sound that was more noisy, lo-fi, and underground. The new song deserved something new, as we had grown as musicians. 

What are your main musical influences?

Marco is very much into the whole metal genre – especially prog – but also jazz, grunge, rock, etc. I am more into noise-rock, post-punk, indie, but also metal from the 90’s.

What inspires you both lyrically?

I write the lyrics, and what inspires me is the whole human psychology – how complex we are and how we react and survive as sensitive people under pressure, just to be accepted for who we are.

We have a lot of strategies to keep our identity strong on the outside, and sometimes unconsciousness on the inside, because it’s too hard to face what we really are. That inspires me a lot.

Next month, you will be unveiling a debut EP under your new name, entitled ‘Knives Of The Sun’. How has the recording process been for that?

We recorded the EP in Aarhus, Denmark in four days. We have had some bad experiences earlier with producers who didn’t understand us or wanted to control too much.

However, this time we had a few meetings with Andreas, where we put the expectation level and made a plan for the process. Andreas is a very kind and patient man, and he had a lot of great ideas that we have used on the record. He really understood our vision and was really respectful about that.

And how will the upcoming release differ to the work you both put out as Shocking White and Ear & Dark?

As I said before, this time we are leaving the underground. With these songs, we think we can go further and reach more people. We haven’t planned the songs like that – they have just came out in that way, and we thought they deserved a better production and more attention.

Therefore, we have also established a good co-operation with a Danish mangement company called Prime Collective, who will be able to push the record worldwide together with our record company, Screamlite Records.

Are there any plans, at the moment, for the band to play live?

We have a few gigs in Denmark – but we hope to go on a tour later, however, the record has to be released first, and thereby hopefully, the bookers will be interested. We hope to get around Europe. Nobody really knows us yet, so we have to build up a new fan group.

You’re both from Denmark. What are your opinions of the current music scene there?

There are a lot of metal bands that are getting signed – both internationally, and in Denmark. There is a strong fan dedication for that genre.

Otherwise, there are a lot of small bands and independent labels. Denmark is a small country – and with many bands around, there is strong competition.

And finally, what are your plans following the EP’s release?

We want to go on tour and promote the EP. That is our dream. Right now, we are working on finding a bass player for our concerts, and the next step is getting ready for some shows we have in Aarhus and Copenhagen.

We hope the EP will get a lot of positive response and reviews, which will bring us new opportunities for the future, for instance, recording a full-length album in the spring of next year would be nice, as we still have a lot of material.

Me & Munich EP Cover




Shallow Pools band photo

SHALLOW POOLS (from l-r): Ali Ajemian (drums), Glynnis Brennan (vocals/bass), Jess Gromada (guitar)


Through a unique combination of rhythmic guitars, catchy melodies, and expressive lyrical content inspired by their own hardships, Boston alternative rock/pop-rock trio shallow pools are striving to promote inclusion, with one of the band’s aims being to establish an environment where anybody, regardless of who or what they are, is welcome.

Having brought out a single, ‘It’s A You Thing’, last month, and with another track and a five-song EP in the pipeline, the emerging three-piece spoke to me about all this and more.


How did the band initially get together?

We met at the end of high school and started playing covers together. A few years later, we decided to start writing our own music!

In April, you changed your name to shallow pools. What was the main reason behind that?

We felt like we had outgrown our old name. After we recorded new music, we realised that we needed a name that fitted our new sound better, and shallow pools was a name we all immediately liked.

And from where did the current band name originate?

The name actually comes from a lyric in a song that we all really like!

What are your main musical influences?

Movements, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, and lots of others!

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

We start with guitars first, then add drums, bass, and melody. The lyrics always come last for the most part, and we usually stick to this approach for each song that we write.

This autumn, the band will be bringing out their debut EP as shallow pools. How has the recording process been for that?

It’s been a lot of fun! We’ve been working with Chris Curran at Reclaim Music Studios. He’s extremely talented, and we’ve learned a lot through recording the first three songs. We’ll be finishing up the last two later this month!

And what can be expected of the upcoming release?

These songs are much more personal than anything we’ve released in the past. We explore topics that we had not addressed in our old songs, and we’ve also experimented with some new sounds and effects. We think we’ve really reached a place that we’re happy with, genre-wise!

You have played some notable venues in your home city of Boston. How is the experience, for the band, playing live?

Playing live is one of our favourite things we get to do as a band! We love seeing the reactions to our music, especially when we play a new song for the first time. We also love meeting all of the different musicians that we get to play with!

Now that ‘It’s A You Thing.’ has come out, what are the band’s plans up until the EP release?

We plan to release another single, called ‘Sinking’, on August 24, and we also have a show on August 19, supporting Pollyanna and Walkney at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

We just want to keep playing music together for as long as possible! We hope that our music reaches all different people, and we would also love to release a full-length LP in the future.

Shallow Pools Single Cover









Wildfires band photo

WILDFIRES (from l-r): Nathan Brookes (bass), Poppy-Jo Chester (vocals/keyboards), Si James (drums), Ste Darling (guitar)


Spanning from legendary outfits such as The Smiths and Oasis, to the likes of The 1975 and Blossoms more recently, the city of Manchester can boast of having a rich indie music heritage, and one band eager to join those esteemed ranks are emerging four-piece WILDFIRES.

Since forming last year, the collective have been hard at work perfecting a sound that has so far led to three very well-received singles, favourable comparisons to such outfits as The XX, Bombay Bicycle Club, and The Cardigans, as well as becoming tipped for bigger and better things by much of the underground music press.

Fresh from the successes of latest track, ‘Stuff’, and their set at the recent YNot Festival in Derbyshire, the four-piece had a chat with me, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band form?

We actually all met on a sort-of dating website for bands…we each wanted to meet up with different musicians and jam.

Although we all knew we wanted a band to be the final outcome – we don’t think any of us realised how bad until we had all actually met and started playing together regularly.

Things just started falling into place, as we all clicked instantly, and it felt like we had known each other for years. Shortly afterwards, our goals all became the exact same – get our music heard, and here we are!

From where did the name WILDFIRES originate?

We wish there was a really cool story for this…but we’d been messing around with names for a stupid amount of time, and it was actually just becoming really frustrating – we could hardly decide what pub we wanted to drink in, never mind picking an eternal name that would represent us and our music.

After months of heated debates, Poppy-Jo just happened to be listening to a band called SBTRKT, in which one of her favourite vocalists, Yukimi Nagano (from an outfit called Little Dragon) features on a track.

If you know which one we’re one about, then you’ll know it was ‘Wildfire’, so add an ‘s’, stick it all in caps (to be indie), and you get WILDFIRES.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

When there’s a few of you in a band, all with extremely varied musical tastes, influences pull from absolutely everywhere, and this can either be a really, really good thing (fusing sounds and different genres we like to create music), or can turn out to be a bit too experimental, which is why our jam sessions can be very entertaining (or unproductive) to say the least!

We’re mainly influenced by bands such as The XX, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Vampire Weekend, and have often been compared to the likes of The Sundays and The Cardigans.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

Anything but structure! We don’t think we’ve ever written a song where we’ve walked into a practice going, “Today, we are going to write a song!”, because every time we do that, without fail, we all get instant writer’s block.

All of our songs are written by one of us just playing a simple riff, or maybe a drum beat, someone will join in, and then someone else will also join in, and before we know it, Poppy’s singing lyrics made up on the spot. Boom! A song! (albeit it is all over the place with absolutely no structure, but it’s a start!)

What inspires the band lyrically?

We can’t take any credit for lyrics – that’s all down to Poppy. Nathan might come up with a catchy hook-line now and again, but Poppy is the poet there. She really sticks to her Manchester roots, and is heavily influenced by her favourite lyricists: Guy Garvey and Ian Brown.

If you listen carefully, Poppy’s entire life is within her lyrics, whilst still being vague enough for anyone and everyone to relate.

So far, you have brought out three singles, all to high praise. How have you all personally found the response?

We definitely didn’t expect it to be this well-received. Of course, we’re miles off where we want to be, and we still have a long way to go – but every day we’re getting some kind of recognition, whether it be being played on the local radio stations like Salford City Radio, to BBC Introducing.

Every time someone listens to our songs, or even just reads our name, it’s an achievement.

The band have played at some of Manchester’s top underground music venues, including Night & Day and Band On The Wall. How is the experience, for you all, of performing live?

Performing is our most favourite thing about this. Playing our music to a crowd of people is a feeling that never gets old, and the buzz you get when you walk on stage – even for a small band like us – it’s something else.

At our most recent gigs, we’ve noticed that more people are recognising our songs and singing them back to us – and that is something we never thought we would witness! All we need now is an extra 20,000 people, and we’ll be set!

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

Just to be heard, as fame doesn’t drive us whatsoever. Music is really all that matters to us (and having fun, and having pints).

Wildfires Single Cover



Wildfires gig poster