STU WHISTON

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Stoke-on-Trent indie artist Stu Whiston is definitely a name to watch out for.

His debut EP ‘Take a Stride’, released last year, was critically acclaimed for its infectious and eclectically influenced sound, and his gig performances, where he plays with a live band, has also garnered rave reviews.

With a new single ‘The Ones’ out shortly, I decided to have a chat with him about all of this.

What made you want to become a musician?

Watching Oasis – ‘Live by the Sea’.

How would you describe your sound?

A glorious noise.

What is the inspiration behind your lyrics?

‘The Ones’ lyrics came out of listening to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers quite a lot. Like a snapshot of the everyday person against the world, trying to be their best. A hymn for the underdog was the sentiment really.

‘The Ones’, that’s the new single you have out soon. Tell us more about it.

It started off as an acoustic song, then I wrote this melody for a guitar intro, probably influenced by the Stone Roses or early U2. I had the chorus melody written first and developed the verses around that.

I wanted the track to pump in the verses like an early Kings of Leon tune or The Strokes. The bassline just grooves along with the kick. Love it!

I co-produced the track at the Big Red Studios in Macclesfield with Jake Evans who’s a great artist/producer. He’s worked with Jimi Goodwin from the Doves & Bernard Sumner from Joy Division & New Order, so he knows a thing or two.

We recorded the guitars loud setup through Jake’s vintage Marshall amp, and you can literally hear the lead guitar squealing feedback on the small break section near the end. Mental.

I added a Beatles style Melotron in there which you can really hear at the very end, just my little nod to the masters.

The track was mixed by Gethin Pearson who did the last Enemy album, he really brought the track to a place that sounds fresh and now.

Your debut EP ‘Take a Stride’ came out last year. How well do you think it was received?

I think it was really well received judging by the fact I’ve subsequently built a band around the success of the EP and being lucky enough to be offered some really good shows off the back of it.

The lead track ‘There Was a Time’ really is the charmer, as it introduced people to my sound and songwriting in the right way. First impressions and all that…

You’re from Stoke-on-Trent. What’s your opinion of the current music scene there?

I think there’s some great venues in Stoke who really do support the local talent. The gig-goers really do get behind their local bands/artists and there’s a definite feeling of something big waiting to happen.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Stoke is regarded in the same light as say the Sheffield music scene in past years.

There’s a definitive underlining tone in the indie bands from Stoke that deserve to be on the radio waves as much as any London or Liverpool based artist.

How is it for you playing live?

The best, it’s what I love the most. Very cathartic and you get instant gratification.

You have a live band now. How did that come about?

My old band mates liked the ‘Take a Stride EP’ a lot.

We went to watch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in Manchester and I managed to convince them to come along for the ride.

Do you find it better personally playing solo or with a band behind you?

The band is better for getting the songs across in the intended way, but I do like playing solo shows for the intimacy of it.

However, when you blow the roof off a venue with your mates, it really is the best night out around.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

I’ve got a headline show with the full band at The Underground in Hanley on the 11th November, I’m supporting Shed Seven when they play The Exchange in Hanley on the 30th November, and I should have a new EP out early next year.

What is your long-term aim?

To hear one of my songs on Coronation Street.

STU’S NEW SINGLE ‘THE ONES’ WILL BE DIGITALLY RELEASED ON THE 28TH OCTOBER.

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HERIOT RELEASE NEW VIDEO

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Brit bruisers Heriot are preparing their assault of the UK.

The band exclusively premiered the video for ‘China Lake’ last week via Metal Hammer.

You can now watch the video at youtube.com and look out too for their new EP ‘World Collapse’, out on the 28th October.

Raised on a diverse diet of metal and hardcore, Heriot are a multi-faceted animal.

With a hearty appetite for Black Sabbath’s darkly groove, the Deftones’ dynamism and phrasing, and Code Orange’s vigour, Heriot have a unique and undisputable appeal.

Formed during the middle part of 2014, vocalist and bassist Jake Packer and guitarist Erhan Alman joined forces with drummer Julian Gage, and the result was immediately rewarding.

The trio, being hugely dedicated, spent the next six months writing and rehearsing before undertaking their very first show.

Last year, Heriot began to impact the scene with the release of their debut and free EP, ‘Violence’.

The record received glowing support from Kerrang!, who covered the riff beasts with a Local Heroes feature, and it also spawned two DIY videos, one of which premiered exclusively on BlankTV.

The EP’s success enabled the threesome to hit the country’s highways and byways, as they began their live assault for the remainder of 2015.

With an ever expanding army of followers, an explosive performance at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, a spanking new record on the way and their new video, a higher plane beckons for Heriot.

The band’s forthcoming new EP, entitled ‘World Collapse’, is a statement which cannot be ignored.

Recorded at Monnow Valley Studios, with G1 Productions (Burials, Chronographs, The Soulless), the record is both the heaviest and most expansive piece of work the band has so far produced.

Heriot have also just premiered the stunning new video for ‘China Lake’ with Metal Hammer.

The track is stocked with stout riffery and webbed layering that will hammer your senses beyond repair.

With shows planned for this autumn, Heriot are destined to be heard.

STU WHISTON NEW SINGLE

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Stu Whiston is an indie artist from Stoke-on-Trent.

His influences include Neil Young, The Beatles, Stone Roses, Nick Cave, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo & the Bunnymen, Oasis, The Verve, Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac.

Following up from 2015’s debut ‘Take a Stride’ EP co-produced with Rich Turvey (Blossoms), Stu has being very busy forming a live band and touring his debut EP up and down the UK including a hometown headline show at The Sugarmill, Stoke and festival slots at Tramlines 2016 and Rec Rock Festival 2016.

Quickly turning heads both on the live scene and in the media. Buzzfeed featured the Stu Whiston Band as one of ‘Stoke-on-Trent’s Must See Live Acts’ as well as Artrocker Magazine proclaiming the ‘Take a Stride’ EP “A stunning debut. Echoes of The Beatles, Neil Young and early Oasis. Catchy as hell.”

Brand new single ‘The Ones’ was recorded at The Big Red Studios in Macclesfield and co-produced with New Order/Doves guitarist and solo artist Jake Evans. Additional production and mixing duties were done by Gethin Pearson who’s credits include The Enemy, Clay, Jaws and The Hearts.

STU WHISTON – ‘THE ONES’ IS SET FOR DIGITAL RELEASE ON iTUNES, AMAZON AND SPOTIFY ON 28TH OCTOBER.

YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN TO IT NOW AT STU WHISTON’S OFFICIAL SOUNDCLOUD PAGE soundcloud.com/stuwhiston, FACEBOOK PAGE facebook.com/stuwhistonmusic AND ON YOUTUBE AT youtube.com

 

THE HONEY BOX

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Honey Box is a new Internet music show that aims to showcase the diverse riches of musical talent in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Ahead of the first live edition on the 6th November, I spoke to Leah Hamer, one of the presenters, to find out more about this exciting new project.

What is The Honey Box?

The Honey Box is a brand new live music experience.

It’s a live streamed Internet music show that will feature interviews and performances from three local acts in one hour.

It will be filmed at King Street Studios in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and will be broadcast live and then later edited and put on the website so you can watch it again if you missed it.

There will be a live audience on the day as well who will watch from behind the cameras. Bottlecraft will also be there to keep us all refreshed!

How did it come about?

The idea was cooked up by producers Lee Barber and Peter Herbert, who met after Lee created the Music Awards of Staffordshire and Cheshire in February.

Lee came to me with the concept and asked if I’d like to co-present it with Benedict McManus, and I couldn’t refuse!

I thought it was a brilliant idea and so different to anything else we have in this scene.

So over the last few months, we’ve all been working to make it a reality.

The Honey Box, the name sounds interesting. Where did it come from?

The name was inspired by the Rebel Bear Precinct, we tried to think of something that could relate to Rebel Bear- and as bears like honey, it kind of came from that!

What is the main aim?

The aim is to promote the talent local musicians, showcasing their original material and reflecting what a wonderful batch of artists we have in the area.

It’s a different and fun way of showing that to the public.

What genres of music shall we expect?

All genres! Everything from rap to rock to grime to indie to folk, whatever!

There are so many artists in Staffordshire of so many varieties and that deserves to be celebrated.

Who will be on the first show then?

On the first show will be The Kings Pistol, Mumbo Jimbo and Macious.

What are your hopes for The Honey Box?

I hope that it will be something that people look forward to, and something that will get everyone interested in our local music scene.

FROM SUNDAY NOVEMBER 6TH, YOU CAN VIEW THE HONEY BOX LIVE OR CATCH UP AT www.honeyboxlive.co.uk

IAN CARVALHO

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Brazilian born, Italian raised and now British resident Ian Carvalho was, until recently, the vocalist and percussionist for rock three-piece NOVONADA.

After several albums and tours, the band have decided to take a break, giving Ian the opportunity to develop his solo career.

I sat down and chatted with him about his musical journey so far, and what he hopes to get out of his forthcoming EP ‘Morpheo In Eros’.

You’ve decided to embark on a solo project. How did that come about?

It came into place after the band I used to play with decided to take a break, and for once, I decided to use my real name and surname instead of a pseudonym.

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it?

It’s a melting pot of cultural and musical influences going from traditional South American sonorities to hardcore and punk rock.

What are your musical influences?

In terms of song writing, my major influences came from Fabrizio De André, Raul Seixas and Sid Barrett (funnily enough one for each country I have lived in).

In terms of music, most probably Nine Inch Nails, Tool and At the Drive-in.

What is your approach to songwriting?

Most times, I start from an idea, a sentence from a book I find peculiarly intriguing etc.

That works as an incipit, as something that gives me some food for thought, and from there I develop my writings and lyrics.

Other times I simply get struck by sudden inspiration and the song will come flowing out of my head.

Where does the inspiration come from for your lyrics?

My own heritage is often a part of my lyrics. I’m half Italian, half Brazilian and I had a quite confusing but funny childhood living and travelling between two continents.

That always made me the “new kid”, so to speak, I always saw the relationships and the society from a different perspective and that gave me the chance to develop a certain sensibility toward different lives (in terms of society, traditions, religions and way of living).

I write in English, Italian and Portuguese, sometimes mixing the languages in the same song, because each of them have a slightly different way to express a feeling or an idea.

I’m fascinated by the evocative power of words and by how much a language can describe the history and the type of approach to life of the people using it.

Your debut solo EP is coming out soon. How was the process of recording it?

I wrote the lyrics during the past year or so and then started working on the music.

I spent several months in Florence working with Andrea Nardoni from Relaxo Studio(www.relaxostudio.com), who’s also the co-producer of my 2 EPs.

How is it for you playing live?

My first experience with this new project will be in November.

With my previous band, I toured Italy and South America (mainly Brazil but also Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) and I’m working in order to use the contacts I created back then to go and tour overseas again.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

I’m organising a tour in South America for next year and I’m also getting ready for the gigs that are coming up shortly, next one is the 12th of November at the Finsbury in London.

What is your long-term aim?

Well, to release some new albums and obviously to keep on touring. I’m working towards the organisation of a tour in the U.S. and I would love to tour in Japan one day.

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SCORCHING WINTER

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SCORCHING WINTER (from l-r): Natalie Bellio (keyboards), Rafael Katigbak (guitar), Tina Papadimitriou (vocals), Glenn Treasure (bass), Nick James (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Scorching Winter are a female-fronted hard rock band from the Australian city of Melbourne.

Since forming four years ago, they have had their compositions played on radio stations around the world and have gained an ever-expanding global fanbase.

Their debut EP ‘Peripheral’ was released last year to rave reviews, and they have been hard at work in the studio putting together their forthcoming album ‘Victim’.

I chatted to guitarist Rafael Katigbak about what to expect, as well as their success so far.

How did the band get together?

RAFAEL KATIGBAK (GUITAR): The band started in 2012 when I got together with Nick to jam on a few songs I had written.

We liked the way it sounded, so we decided to put a band together.

The band has gone through a few line-up changes since but we’ve had our current line-up for almost two years now and the chemistry is the best it has ever been.

How did the name Scorching Winter come about?

We wanted a name that is ironic because our music and our artworks are somewhat like that.

It is heavy music with melodic female vocals, beautiful and evil, brutal and elegant, and it also has a bit of medieval / gothic sound to it which we really liked.

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

As a one line response, our music is hard rock/heavy metal with melodic female vocals.

I can’t tell you what exact genre we play though, we’ve been called prog, symphonic metal, old school metal, etc.

I think we’re unique in that I can’t really name a band that sounds exactly like us. We have been compared to Evanescence and Lacuna Coil for obvious reasons but I think everyone will agree that the music is totally different.

What are the band’s musical influences?

We all love metal so there are bands like Dream Theater, Metallica and Iron Maiden who are a common influence among us.

Individually however, each one has a more specific genre /style that they are in to.

Tina is into shock rock and theatrical groups like Theatres des Vampires, Marilyn Manson and Slipknot, so she brings a certain theatre to our music.

Glenn is a totally committed prog man so mostly Rush, Ayreon, and Yes.

Nick listens to a wide variety of music but is mostly an old school rock/metal fan so bands like Megadeth and Iron Maiden, and I like epic sounding bands like Dream Theater and Kamelot.

Natalie is different because she is a classical pianist / musician, so most of her influences we have never heard of. However, she is still a metalhead and is into Opeth, DT and Tool.

What’s your approach to songwriting?

Our songs normally start out as instrumentals. I write a song and send a demo out to the other guys who then add their bits to it. The singer then writes the lyrics and vocal melody for it.

Where does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?

With our previous releases, the singer normally wrote songs about personal experiences but on this upcoming album, we started out with a main storyline, the music was written around that storyline and subsequently, the lyrics.

What’s the experience for the band playing live?

Our setlist is quite dynamic. We arrange the songs so we take our audience on a journey from start to finish instead of staying at one level throughout.

We like to start with something a bit soft and eerie to get the mood going and then we come in loud and heavy to let everyone know this is the start of a rock show.

It then goes through different levels throughout the show.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

We are about to release an album so our main focus is on that and getting it out there.

In the near future, we really want to better engage with all of our fans across the globe, so we expect to do more things online like videos, online gigs etc.

You just said there that you have an album coming out soon. How was the process of recording it, from initial idea to completion?

The writing process was very different on this album. As the main composer for the band, I used to just write songs whenever inspiration hit me.

With this project, I first came up with the storyline, then divided that into chapters and then wrote the music for each chapter, and Tina then wrote the lyrics for the songs.

As a result, I think the songs are a lot more cohesive and flow better from one song to the next.

The recording was also a little different, this time we were a lot more prepared as musicians and we had a clearer vision of what we wanted the record to sound like.

We also worked with engineer Troy McCosker of Pony Music for the first time. He is the audio ninja and what he can do in the studio is simply mind blowing.

What is the long-term aim for the band?

We have a little bucket list of things we want to achieve with our musical career and we are just ticking things off one by one.

We’re not looking for world domination, we just want to make music and perform it to as many people as we can.

SCORCHING WINTER’S NEW ALBUM ‘VICTIM’ IS AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW FROM THE BAND’S OFFICIAL BANDCAMP PAGE www.scorchingwinter.bandcamp.com

WE FEW – ‘Morse Factory’ VIDEO

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

With the recent release of their debut EP ‘Morse Factory’, Stoke-on-Trent indie five-piece We Few have now also brought out a video to accompany the title track.

The band have said that the main aim of this was to capture the look and feel of how they record their music.

By filming in monochrome, used for almost all of their promotional materials, and at the same recording studios where they put the EP together, this is exactly what they have done.

There is a lack of narrative, but by just showing them naturally, it’s a much more productive way of presenting themselves to any potential additions to the fanbase.

You can also tell that the band have worked closely with the video’s director Tony Wooliscroft, perhaps better known for his photography work with groups such as Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers, in bringing their vision to life.

Overall, the video is simple but very well put together, and it proves that you don’t need to resort to an all singing, all dancing visual spectacular just to get something across.

YOU CAN VIEW THE VIDEO AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hugWWkGJjHI