Tag Archives: Indie

GLASS PEAKS

Glass Peaks band photo

GLASS PEAKS (from l-r): Grant Tugwell (drums), Alf Jefferies (vocals/guitar), Jake Cox (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by ANT ADAMS

Since forming in 2016, Glass Peaks have been consistently honing a diversely-influenced sound that is harmonic, laden with hooks, and an effective showcase for their musical talents, which has resulted in the band amassing a dedicated and rapidly-growing fan base, as well as plaudits from much of the British music press, and having just unveiled ‘Asbestos‘ – their new single – along with an accompanying video filmed at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, the Kent three-piece spoke to me about all of that, their influences, songwriting approach, future plans, and much more.

How did the band initially form?

ALF JEFFERIES (vocals/bass)Grant and Jake used to be in a band together a few years back. I spotted a video they posted online when they initially formed Glass Peaks, loved the sound they were creating, and I pretty much begged to be involved, and here we are three years later!

JAKE COX (guitar): I had worked out in the US for a few months, and on my return, I knew the first thing I wanted to do was to form a fresh new band, and three years later, here we are.

How did the name Glass Peaks come about?

ALFJake, Grant, and an old member of the band were sat in a chicken shop when they were trying to figure out the name. They had already landed on “Peaks” because of Grant‘s love of the show ‘Twin Peaks‘, and Jake wanting some aspect of nature in the bands name.

They were plucking random words out, and seeing what fit, and then realised they were sat opposite a glass shop. Thus, Glass Peaks was born out of chicken and double glazing. 

JAKE: That’s the true story, but we like to tell people it’s because when you’re at the peak of life, love, your career etc, it’s like walking on glass, so tread carefully, as it could fall through at any point.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

ALFFoals, Radiohead, Reverb, and all things a bit sad.

JAKE: I think we’re all heavily influenced by all things 80’s & 90’s.

GRANT TUGWELL (drums)TEARS FOR FEARS!

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

ALF: It varies, to be honest. I write lyrics/lines/poems all of the time without music, so there’s always ideas knocking about – however musically, we usually approach it as a three. One of us may have a riff, a beat, or a melody in mind, and we’ll then build around it.

More recently, I’ve been bringing almost fully-constructed tracks to the guys, and we’ve tweaked them from there, but that’s not always the case!

GRANT: Musically, I go with what sounds right. If it rolls, it rolls, if not, I try and throw a spanner in, and throw it in a completely different direction.

What inspires the band lyrically?

ALF: I usually write lyrics centered around anything I feel particularly strongly about, or something that has left a profound effect on me, but the downside to that is that it’s usually quite sad and bleak.

I suppose the upshot of that is that I’m able to get things off my chest, and I find songwriting to be a form of therapy, really, because if I didn’t have the ability to get whatever I’m feeling out in music, I wouldn’t know how to release it, so it’s a good thing, ultimately. 

You have just unveiled a new single, entitled ‘Asbestos’. How was the recording process for that?

ALF: We recorded ‘Asbestos‘ with our friend Erim, who is based near to our practice space in Jake and Grant‘s home town. It’s always very nice to work on music with a great friend.

GRANT: The process was smooth. The song really nicely came together, as we had an idea of how we wanted it to sound, and when we added the cherries on top, it was only more sweet.

And the band were invited to the iconic Abbey Road Studios to record a live version of the track. How did that come about?

ALF: Our friend Liam was lucky enough to be studying at the Abbey Road Institute, and kindly invited us along to record a session.

That was really special for us, and we used it as an opportunity to invite the incredible Danny Lowman along to capture footage of the session on the day as well, which you can check out on YouTube

Also, recording at Abbey Road must have been quite an experience for you all.

JAKE: It was truly magical. Such an inspiring place.

GRANT:  It really was, as it’s something not a lot of people get to do. I didn’t think I’d ever walk those hallowed halls.

The band have supported the likes of The Amazons and White Lies, and have also performed at such festivals as Camden Rocks and Isle Of Wight. How were they as experiences?

JAKE: Amazing and very messy. I don’t think we’ve ever just played a show and gone straight home, as we like to make the most out of our gigs, and keep the night going until the early hours until Grant has been sick in his hands, or something rank, but yeah, supporting big bands is always fun, and there’s nothing better then playing festivals.

GRANT: Getting to see Depeche Mode live was a dream I was able to experience, so pretty awesome!

And how is it playing live on stage?

JAKE: Energy, energy, energy. We will always give it 100% up on the stage, and I feel we have such a beautiful connection up there.

GRANT: Euphoric. Getting up there with these two doing something I love is something that I wouldn’t pass up for anything.

ALF: I genuinely love nothing more than playing live on stage, as the adrenaline kick I get from it is like nothing else. We’re very energetic and throw everything into our live show, and if I come off stage and haven’t broken into an intense sweat, then I’ve not done my job properly.

We work incredibly hard up there, and we give it absolutely everything we have every single time. 

Now that ‘Asbestos’ has been released, what are your plans?

ALF: We’re writing a lot at the moment, so we plan to continue writing, recording, and pressing on with releasing new music. We put out our first track of the year back in February, and we vowed that we would make this the year to release a lot more music into the world.

We’re definitely sticking to that, so expect to hear a lot of new material from us before 2020 arrives. 

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

ALF: We want to make this our living, you know. We live for this band, and for the music we create together, so we’ll continue to grow our fan base, play lots of shows, release music, and try to push the boundaries of what is possible as independent artists in today’s industry. 

JAKE: To be sponsored by Nando’s.

GRANT: To keep making music that we love, and to create experiences with people who come and see us.

‘ASBESTOS’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM GLASS PEAKS – IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA THESE BLOODY THIEVES RECORDS, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

 

 

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BUNKERPOP

Bunkerpop band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Comprising of five talented musicians – Mark Blissenden, Carlos Macklin, Paul Sarel, Trevor Simpson, and Jonathan Wainberg – from the city of Hull, Bunkerpop draw from an eclectic range of musical influences to deliver a truly unique, diverse, mostly instrumental sound that leaves the listener free to make their own interpretation of it.

The band have been building up a devoted legion of followers over the past couple of years, initially in their home city, and now spreading across the UK, with this, as well as live performances that actively encourage audience participation.

Having recently brought out a self-titled debut album, the quintet spoke to me about what can be expected from it, as well as a lengthy recording process, which saw them work their fingers to the bone in order to produce the best possible release.

How did the band initially get together?

Bunkerpop came together in the spring of 2016 by a succession of flukes and accidents. We were originally practicing a David Bowie song in preparation for a tribute night to him at the Hull Adelphi, which Jonathan – our keyboard and synth player – had organised.

This led to a couple of new tunes squeaking out of his equipment, which we liked, and that then led to a hastily-arranged recruitment of mates to form a full band practice. The first tune we played all together was ‘Bunkerpop Theme‘, which is on our debut album.

How did the name Bunkerpop come about?

The name comes from a space at the place of work that Paul was working in. It was a windowless concrete room underneath the south stand of the KC Stadium (home of football club Hull City) with flickering strip lighting which caused twitchiness and mental health problems to all who worked there. We called it “The Bunker“.

This was coupled with the fact that Paul was playing a lot of tunes by an artist called Lonelady, who has an excellent tune called ‘Bunkerpop‘, so it seemed to fit the mood of the music too. It’s a terrific name.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We have a three-pronged approach to writing songs. Often, they will start with the five of us playing together at practice. Somebody starts, and the rest of us will then join in, which is sometimes very successful, and occasionally awful.

We are very good listeners, so we are kind to each other and nobody overplays, as we like to keep it simple. Other times, we’ll start from scratch in the studio and build a tune up that way, and then practice it for live performances.

We also combine the two approaches mentioned to come up with a third way, which is to record a live take, then splice it up, add things, take things away, and spew it out the other side.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Most of our tunes have no lyrics, but we do like to have a narrative of sorts running through them on recordings, with things like samples of dialogue or sound effects playing a big part in what we do and how we present ourselves.

Without actual lyrics, the songs are open for interpretation, and we trust the listener to have enough integrity to come up with their own thoughts and feelings.

With our debut album, we hope to capture a mood with each tune. We are quite an upbeat band, but we do have a darker, more cynical side which runs throughout it.

You recently brought out a new single, entitled ‘(Are You Ready) For Something’, to an overwhelmingly positive response. How have you been dealing with that?

The tune is a great track, so we knew it would get a positive response. It was one of the first to be finished for the album, so we had to sit on it for about a year before officially releasing it as a single, and we never got bored of it during that time, so we guess we knew it was a goer for a single.

Also, we made a brilliant video for it with our friends Mark Richardson and Anna Bean, who are both very talented. It only cost £18.80 to make, and it was all shot in around 90 minutes.

And the track was taken from the band’s recently-released first album. How was the recording process for it?

The basic live tracks were recorded over three sessions at Gorilla Studios and the Hull Adelphi. We got our friend Bob Wingfield to engineer and press record whilst the band basically played live.

We then took the recordings and worked, re-worked, and worked on them again, with some stuff being dumped altogether. We then did all that again and again for 12 months, adding extras such as the samples, overdubs and edits, with Mark – who plays percussion in the band – taking hours, days, and eventually months mixing, splicing, sliding, and perfecting until we were all happy with it.

We then had it mastered by Pete Maher – who has done mastering for The White Stripes and U2 – and he gave it a shiny finish. It’s a terrific record.

And for those who have yet to listen to the album, what can they expect?

So far, we’ve had nothing but positive feedback, and a lot of musicians like it. It’s a double album with three tunes on each side, but no numbered sides, as we didn’t want listeners to think which side is best.

Instead, they’re coloured sides which represent a mood, so the listener can choose a mood instead of an order. The sound is gorgeous on it, and there is a lot of space with very clean production, which is perfect for the tunes, as they’re mostly instrumental.

Our influences range from Kraftwerk, to Daft Punk, to Can. It’s groovy and strange, as you can dance to some sides, or you can chill out to others. Some of it is very pretty and nostalgic, whilst other parts are aggressive and fuming with the state of it all.

The band are from Hull. How is the contemporary music scene there?

There are a lot of good people doing great things in Hull, and most folks are more positive about the city nowadays after years of there being a lack of confidence.

Bunkerpop exist in a bit of a vacuum doing our own thing musically, but we’re appreciative of what is going on elsewhere. There seems to be a real vibe, and people are being braver in putting on bands and experimenting with different genres.

It’s healthy, and after visiting another major city in England only a few weeks ago, we have come to appreciate that we have a vibrant music, arts and creative scene going on in Hull. It’s a unique and brilliant place to live. It’s edgy, and it has its problems, but by jiminy, we love it.

How is the overall experience – for you all – of playing live?

The band are brilliant live. We adore playing live, it’s where it’s at for us all. We will not stand for mediocre, because why should anyone stand for that?

We are visually and sonically on another planet, which is perhaps the moon, or in a shuttle on the way to Mars, when we play live. The audience play a big part in any of our performances, and stage invasions are encouraged. We include the whole room in a performance, as there are no boundaries between us and the audience.

We have our uniforms, as we are a team, and we play together to create joy and happiness. Boom!

Now that the album has been released, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

We have just played the first couple of gigs of a summer tour. The gigs shall see us take our stage show to many other exciting places, including festivals and parties in such exotic places as Nottingham, Rugby, Hull, London, and Barrow-in-Furness.

We’ll be bringing the Bunkerpop dancers to some performances, and we also have a loyal following of friends and fans who often jump on the Bunkerbus to create chaos and joy at gigs.

We’re also continuing to push the album, which has already sold 50% of its first vinyl pressing, and we will also be bringing out a new video out soon, which has been made by our beautiful friend Mr Nicholas Broten of Fonda 500.

We may have a little rest in September, but we are planning another blast of gigs for this autumn, and then we will be moving onto the next batch of recordings. We are totally independent, and we do all of the bookings, promotion, artwork, recordings, social media, and organisation, so it’s pretty full on.

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

I guess the long-term aim is to keep going, and to enjoy it as much as we can. We’d also like to be very rich, so we could concentrate all our efforts on this, but realistically, we’re happy to cover costs, get experiences, and meet incredible people.

We have already met smashing folks who are doing this for the love of it, such as Richard McKerron in Derby, Will and Jason in Nottingham, and the I’m Not From London record label, and it’s always great to see old friends too, like Jimi from Gigantic.

What really makes us happy is being creative and playing. We’ll be moving onto recording new stuff soon, as with the momentum we have, we can’t really afford to stand still.

This time next year, Del Boy

 

Bunkerpop band logo

THE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM FROM BUNKERPOP IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

WILD FRONT

Wild Front band photo

WILD FRONT (from l-r): Joe Connell (guitar), Josh Betteridge (drums), Mike Flowers (bass), Jack Williams (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Over the past couple of years, Wild Front have established themselves as one of the UK’s top emerging bands with a truly distinctive, diversely-influenced, guitar-driven indie sound.

This has won the Southampton four-piece plaudits from critics and fans alike, including BBC Radio 1, the NME, and Emily Eavis – one of the main organisers of the Glastonbury festival, which they played in 2017.

After playing a set in front of a packed crowd at The Hawley Arms in Camden recently – as part of the Camden Rocks Festival – I spoke to frontman Jack Williams and drummer Josh Betteridge about all of this, their soon-to-be-released EP, and a packed schedule of gigs and festivals over this summer, which includes a few slots supporting Sting.

How did the band initially get together?

JACK WILLIAMS (vocals/guitar): Most of us met at college.

JOSH BETTERIDGE (drums): Mine and Joe‘s parents were friends, so we knew each other from when we were born, and we’ve played in bands with each other for a long time.

Jack used to have a solo project, and that’s going back around eight, nine years, which kind of then morphed into something more rocky, so we decided to get together and start a new project.

How did the name Wild Front come about?

JACK: When I was doing my solo project, I was thinking of doing it under an alias, and Wild Front was one of the names I considered, and then when it came around to starting up the band, I went back to looking through those names, and it was one that stood out, as it gave off an image of being a wild place in the middle of nowhere, which I liked.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

JACK: We have a couple, actually. We’ll either start writing a song on an acoustic guitar, and then bounce that between us, or we’ll start writing a track in a room together as a band.

JOSH: That’s fun to do, because we’ll all jam together, creating random guitar riffs, which will then become the basis for a song, and we’ll add to it that way. I think a lot of it is like that.

JACK: Yeah, because me and Josh will then take the song away at that point, and then add some melodies and lyrics to it, because genuinely, that’s where we get most inspired.

What inspires the band lyrically?

JACK: A few different things, really, such as relationships with people – which is a big one – and then also we’ve all grown up having different relationships with faith and things like that, so I think a lot of the lyrics are based around that kind of stuff.

You recently brought out a new single, entitled ‘Confetti’. How was the recording process for that?

JOSH: We kind of just did it all ourselves at home. We’ve always done it like that, with Joe as the main producer, as we know how we want to sound.

JACK: A lot of the time, we will record a blanket of songs, and then we’ll choose which ones we think are the best, which ones work well together, and ‘Confetti‘ was just one of those ones.

This time, we actually had some help with the mixing, from a guy called Eduardo, who I think we’re going to keep working with actually, but prior to that, we would always try to do everything ourselves.

How has the response been to the track so far?

JACK: It’s been pretty good. It’s quite different to what we’ve put out before, as it’s rather heavy, because usually, we will work on a dreamier, funkier sound, and our live sets will often have moments where the music does become heavier, so we wanted to bring out something which showed that, so yeah, the response so far has been really good, as I think people have wanted us to bring out something like that for a while, you know.

The band played at the Glastonbury festival in 2017, and you were actually handpicked to perform there by Emily Eavis, one of its main organisers. That must have been quite an experience.

JACK: Yeah, it was, because it was relatively early days for us.

JOSH: And none of us had – up until that point – ever been to Glastonbury. It had quite a magical atmosphere to it, and it was almost like being in a small city.

JACK: I think on our journey, career, whatever you want to call it, so far, that has been a key highlight for us.

And how is it – for you all – performing live overall?

JACK: Well, we kind of like to think of ourselves as a live band.

JOSH: Really, it’s what we started doing this for.

JACK: Yeah, it’s definitely where we enjoy ourselves the most, as we always want to be playing, we always want to be gigging.

The band have quite a packed gigging schedule over the rest of this summer, including a set supporting Sting.

JACK: We’ve got a few supporting Sting, actually.

How did that come about?

JACK: He’s on the books of our agency.

JOSH: Growing up, Sting was such an inspiration for all of us.

JACK: Yeah, especially Joe. We will regularly talk about our top five albums, and for Joe, Sting will regularly sneak in there.

JOSH: And to get those slots – for all of us – is just amazing.

JACK: We were – and still are – pretty much over the moon with that one.

You will also be playing at festivals such as Isle Of Wight, so when this summer is over, what are your plans?

JACK: I think we’re currently talking about doing another headline tour, as it’s been a couple of years now since we did one. The last tour we did was pretty big, as we went to Ireland, Scotland, and everything, so we’re thinking of maybe doing a smaller, more focused tour. We actually haven’t decided anything yet, as so far, we’ve just talked about it a little bit.

And the band are going to be bringing out an EP soon, is that right?

JACK: Yeah, we will be dropping it later this summer, and I think we’re going to drop another EP after that as well, probably in around the autumn.

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

JACK: We just want to play as many shows as we possibly can.

JOSH: It’s always nice when people come up to you and say, “Your music is really good“, so it would be great if our music is able to help people, and enable us to connect with them on a certain level.

JACK: Yeah, definitely.

JOSH: And in a way that we could never have imagined before we started this band.

JACK: To be fair, the few times where that has happened have personally been my favourite times of being in a band, you know, and that’s definitely an aim for all of us.

JOSH: We would love to play all of the big venues, headline festivals, and stuff, but the reason why we make music in the first place is to be able to connect with an audience.

Wild Front EP Cover

‘ALL THE THINGS I CARED FOR BUT IGNORED’ – THE NEW EP FROM WILD FRONT – WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS SUMMER, AND A FULL LIST OF THE BAND’S GIGS AND FESTIVAL APPEARANCES OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Wild Front tour poster

FURTHER INFO ON WILD FRONT CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

TOP FIVE BANDS/ARTISTS TO SEE AT CAMDEN ROCKS 2019

Camden Rocks 2019 final poster

by JOE WILLIAMS

Next weekend, over 400 emerging and established bands and artists will be descending on 20 venues across the famed London market district of Camden for the 2019 Camden Rocks Festival, and for those who are planning to go, here are the top five acts that you simply don’t want to miss out on:

The Wild Things band photo

THE WILD THINGS – Saturday June 1, 2pm, The Monarch

Reminiscent of Paramore, yet with a melodic, self-cultivated British twist, The Wild Things have been tipped as one of the dark horses of this year’s festival.

Fans of the acclaimed BBC TV show ‘Uncle‘ may well recognise vocalist/guitarist Sydney Rae White, who played Gwen, but on stage, she has a different presence altogether, and with a consistent string of songs in their back pockets, there’s no wonder why this British rock quartet have been tipped as ones to watch by the likes of Kerrang!Classic Rock, and BBC Introducing.

The Blinders band photo

THE BLINDERS – Saturday June 1, 7.30pm, Dingwalls

Replacing Welsh rock outfit Pretty Vicious – who have unfortunately had to pull out of playing at this year’s festival – the Doncaster three-piece are one of the more recognised names amongst the British alternative scene, and have been slowly but surely leaving their mark with some truly unique performances.

Accompanied by the powerful and dark tonal range of bassist Charlie McGough, and drummer Matt Neale, vocalist/lead guitarist Thomas Haywood has a stand-out range in his vocals that has rocked every room they’ve crossed since the band started out in 2016.

Three years on, they have recently been promoting last year’s debut album ‘Colombia‘ with much touring, and will be looking to continue their rise with a strong outing this June.

Frank Turner photo

FRANK TURNER – Saturday June 1, 8.45pm, The Electric Ballroom

Headlining the Saturday, the seven-studio album-producing punk and folk singer-songwriter needs no introduction to those close to the indie scene.

Following his time as part of post-hardcore collective Billion Dead, he ventured into his now-renowned acoustic solo career, and has since provided a taste of uplifting and empowering vocals across the world.

As well as taking to the stage as a solo artist, he has also reunited with his former bandmate, Ben Dawson, to form Mongol Horde, along with guitarist Matt Nasir, and Despite having been born in Bahrain, Turner has always been seen as a Londoner, and he will look to return that favour as he returns to Camden once again.

Best Of Enemies band photo

BEST OF ENEMIES – Sunday June 2, 12pm, The Black Heart

Following off the back of the first day, there will be no better place to get yourself settled back into the spirit of Camden Rocks then by going to The Black Heart to see pop-rock four-piece Best of Enemies, who will be making the short trip north from Croydon.

Showcasing their recently-released EP, the band look to take their ever-growing audience by surprise by encapsulating beautifully-paced vocals, and pairing them with addictive hooks.

Hands Off Gretel band photo

HANDS OFF GRETEL – Sunday June 2, 8.30pm, The Camden Assembly

Stemming shades of the 90’s grunge scene, the colourful South Yorkshire outfit will look to kick into a final night of Camden Rocks with the typical riotous swagger that has become a staple of the current line-up’s fearsome presentations.

Performing across the circuit since forming in 2015, they showed little mercy in releasing their debut album ‘Burn the Beauty Queen‘, which received plaudits from all corners of the UK, including Louder Than War, who stated at the time, “It marks the start of a career that could well see them becoming as big as Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, or Miley Cyrus over time….. given the breaks, and skilful management.

The band will certainly be hoping that their appearance at Camden Rocks will lay down further foundations for them to do just that.

TICKETS FOR CAMDEN ROCKS 2019 ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE SATURDAY, SUNDAY, AND BOTH DAYS, STARTING FROM £40. FURTHER INFO ON THIS CAN BE FOUND AT THE FESTIVAL’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

 

 

 

DAZE

Daze band photo

DAZE (from l-r): Michael White (bass), Daisy Eaton (vocals), Scott Atkins (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having started out as a solo project of Oxfordshire singer-songwriter Daisy EatonDaze has since grown into a three-piece specialising in a dreamy indie-pop sound that truly reflects the laid-back personalities of its members.

However, the band are determined to make a mark on the British music scene, actively focusing on building up a solid fan base with plenty of live sets and single releases, and the following is what the trio had to say to me about all of this – and more:

How did the band initially get together?

The band initially started off as a solo project of Daisy‘s, and as new members joined, the sound began to change and mold into what it is now. We all met each other through college, where we studied music technology. 

How did the name Daze come about?

Originally, Daisy went by the name of Dais, but as more members joined, we decided to change the spelling, as it still looks and sounds good, but isn’t as personal just to Daisy

What are the band’s main musical influences? 

We take influence from many different bands/artists and genres, however, our main influences are Radiohead and The Japanese House

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We all write separately and together, as we either will start a song in a practice session and expand on it straight away, or if one of us has an idea or has written something at home, we will email between ourselves and make it into a complete song. 

What inspires the band lyrically?

We take inspiration from many different things within our own personal lives and the lives around us, tackling subjects ranging from mental health to heartbreak. 

You recently brought out a single, ‘Growing Petals On The Walls’. How was the recording process for that?

It was a very chilled-out recording process, as we actually did it with a good friend of ours in his house. We knew exactly how we wanted it to sound, so we had been going back and forth on it all, and we all had a lot of input into it.

It was almost a little project between us all, and it helped us find a sound where we were really happy, especially as it’s so different to what we were doing this time last year, and this was really where we started experimenting more with our sound. 

And how has the response been to the track up to now?

We’ve had so much positive feedback on this track, which has honestly been amazing, as we honestly don’t think we were really sure what to expect when we released this little tune. 

The band have a few gigs lined up, so what can audiences expect from your live sets?

They can expect a chilled-out dreamy vibe, as we are very laid-back people, which in turn suits the music we write and perform. 

You’ve said on Daze’s social media pages that you’re currently putting together some new material. What will they be in the form of? (singles, EP, album?)

We have so much new stuff to put out, and we are currently recording some more singles. We have been working hard as a band writing so many new songs, and we have a handful that we are really happy with, so over the summer, we will be releasing another single or two, and maybe towards the end of this year, we will look into getting out an EP, but it all depends on how the songwriting goes.

We are really double-checking everything now, and making sure we are all 100% happy with everything we put out! 

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

We really just want to do music, as clichéd as that sounds, but this is what we all love to do, and if people like what we do, then it’s a win-win, so there will be more gigs, releases, and lots more writing for us!

Daze band logo

‘GROWING PETALS ON THE WALLS’ – THE NEW SINGLE FROM DAZE – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND WILL ALSO BE PLAYING SOME GIGS LATER THIS MONTH, MORE DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Daze gig poster

FURTHER INFO ON DAZE CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

MITCHEL EMMS – PART 2

Mitchel Emms photo 2

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In the second part of my interview with singer-songwriter Mitchel Emms, he opens up about such things as leaving The Treatment, his battles with mental health, and his debut solo album, due out later this year.

In the autumn of 2017, you decided to leave The Treatment. What were your reasons for doing that?

Their official word on it in recent interviews is that simply I “wasn’t built for touring“, which is extremely untrue, as I’ve been a performer my entire life, and I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t address that.

Unfortunately for me, a combination of factors led to me going through depression and anxiety at a time when everyone back home was thinking I was living out some kind of dream, and the band didn’t really understand what I was going through due to the stigma surrounding mental health, which became very isolating for me.

Touring in and of itself wasn’t a problem, as I absolutely love going out on the road and travelling, but a lot of personal stress during that time often made me ill, which took away a lot of the joy of performing live with them, which was the first time in my life I’d really experienced this as a musician.

When I spoke up about it, I was left with the idea that my depression was some kind of character flaw rather than existential sadness which fuelled many feelings of being misunderstood and alienated, the worst is when you’re away from family and close friends for long periods of time.

Despite that, I did my best to put on a good face for everyone, have a laugh, and put on some great shows, but it was never really appreciated or understood how difficult it was at times for me to do that.

Over time, it became clear that a huge factor was that despite the opportunities to perform live, I wasn’t really compatible with the style of management at play and their value systems, as well as there being no foreseeable creative future for me in the band, and I realised that after 15 years of chasing success in music, I’d neglected my own mental health and creative ambitions through trying to please others, and to live up to expectations of me that were the opposite of everything I ever wanted to be.

I had burned myself out, but couldn’t fully process what I was going through at the time, so I decided to leave on the best terms I could, fulfilling my last gig obligations, and took a break from music for the first time.

It was an incredibly profound part of my journey as a musician that led me to many important realisations about myself, other people, the music industry, and life, and it redefined my ideas of what success is, and what personal pitfalls to avoid.

I realised the lesson that sacrificing your personal truth to try and please other people out of fear is the worst, even if it is in the pursuit of success or maintaining the status quo, and having taken a break to do some soul searching, and fully process everything that’s happened, has done my health the world of good, and subsequently lead me to find my passion for making music again, with a brand new sense of authenticity, creativity, and appreciation for myself as this strange, imperfect human being named Mitch.

Currently, you’re putting the finishing touches to your first solo album. How has the recording process for that been?

It’s been a journey of rediscovering myself. I’ve had a bunch of experiences which opened my mind and broadened my horizons into myself, both personally and musically, that helped me begin to overcome a lot of experiences I’ve had.

I’ve not lived a very normal life, so I was carrying around a lot of baggage that I had to work through before I could even think about writing anything. Writing lyrics and music had always been my outlet for all of that stuff, so taking a break and reconnecting with the reasons why I started doing it in the first place has been absolutely revitalising.

I wanted to find my own sound that wasn’t just an emulation of an era gone by or another artist so following that, a lot of the process was spent discovering new music, experimenting in my Ableton DAW, and recording demos that were picking up where I left off creatively with MisterNothing.

Aside from being a singer and guitarist, my skills and passion for recording, mixing and producing, and the creative possibilities that it allows, have blossomed in recent years to the point where I can produce something that not only I feel confident in self-releasing, but that I would personally enjoy listening to and be proud of. 

Last year, I decided to take a leap of faith and start putting songs online again, starting with ‘Jupiter‘, and eventually ‘Rivers Of Ice‘, and took to producing my own artwork and lyric videos.

It was pretty scary putting new things out again, especially for the first time under my own name, but the amazing feedback from that gave me enough confidence to consider writing more, which has now ended up in an album currently titled ‘Vertigo At History’s Edge‘ that I’m currently finishing up.

What can be expected from the album?

I’ve been a guitarist all my life, and have spent many years recording music, so I’ve wanted this album to be a new chapter for me as an artist, and to showcase to people that there’s more to me than just being a singer.

I also didn’t want this to just be a random collection of songs, but to have a musical narrative that flows throughout, something that was reflective and honest on an emotional level. It’s probably the weirdest collection of songs I’ve made so far, hopefully in a good way.

It’s a summation of a lot of my feelings and thoughts, along with musical ideas, themes, and aesthetics that I’ve wanted to combine for a long time, and on a musical level, it’s been inspired by the atmospheres and synth textures of shoegaze, indie, art rock, and progressive rock bands, combined with my love of vocal melody, overdriven guitars, and punchy drums, and I’ve wanted to keep it all as dynamic as possible, so there are moments of explosive guitar work, to reverb-laden mellotrons, and lo-fi acoustic interludes.

Solo/project artists such as Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) have been big creative influences, especially as I’ve written and recorded every part of it, and because of that, my approach to this as a singer comes from a place of wanting to benefit the music, emotion, melody, context of the song, and lyrics.

When I write lyrics, it’s usually a stream-of-consciousness style of whatever comes to mind, which usually comes out as a reflection of what I’m thinking/feeling/going through at the time, as I can only write honestly about what I know first-hand, and with this, I’ve ended up writing something that’s a bit of a loose social commentary about being a millennial from my own life experiences. 

I know that a lot of 90’s kids like myself have felt on the tail-end of a lot of things, experiencing the rise of the internet, and becoming adults in a digital world where opportunities of the past are drying up and our futures are more uncertain than ever, along with the entire fabric of everything we believe in being put into question.

Depression and anxiety is a big problem for most young people, and based on my own experiences with it, I wanted to confront the emotions of that, along with a healthy dose of hope in the form of songs like ‘Rivers Of Ice‘.

At the start of this year, I lost a mate to suicide, which has made every aspect of this more poignant for me to make. He had a massive influence on me as a teenager growing up in the small Midlands town of Burntwood, and it’s had a huge impact on the meaning of the whole album.

The album’s title, ‘Vertigo At History’s Edge‘, is very fitting to the whole vibe of it, and is also a little nod to our shared appreciation for the philosopher, Terence McKenna

However, despite all that, I hope the album is something that people can relate to and can take away their own meanings from, which is what all my favourite bands, artists, and albums have done for me.

And when you are aiming to get it out by?

Currently, I’m in the process of final mixdowns and putting it all together. It’s taken me quite a while to do it, as I’ve been producing it all myself whilst getting on with my personal life, and I haven’t wanted to rush it.

I haven’t currently made any big official announcements on social media yet, but I’m aiming for it to be out later this year, with some singles coming out soon, so watch this space.

How different is it – for you personally – making music solo rather than as part of an ensemble?

I’ve been in a lot of different bands, and every situation is different, but the common situation I’ve not enjoyed is where there is a hierarchy in place that inhibits creativity and new ideas.

Otherwise, I absolutely love collaborating with other musicians on projects, especially if the vibe is right, and recently I’ve done producing and recording for local bands and mates of mine, which is fun to do and gets me out of my own musical headspace.

I also do a lot of session work now, performing with really great musicians, which keeps me in good shape as a performer, and on my new stuff, I’ve had a wonderful friend and singer named Bethany Miles do some ace backing vocals on a few tracks.

Working solo, I do miss bouncing ideas off people, but it means there aren’t any politics or bureaucracy to fight against in order to achieve a creative vision. Having a little home studio set-up allows me to really get myself into the zone of working intensely on a new song, record in the moment of inspiration, and experiment to my heart’s content, without worrying about expensive studio hours, which means I can do all my own mixing as well.

Also, in the modern era of social media and the internet, there are no longer any barriers when it comes to releasing music and reaching people other than your own creativity, so releasing something solo is more achievable than ever. 

Are you planning any live dates to support the album at all?

I would absolutely love to perform these songs live at some point in the near future.

Currently, I’m just going to release music, and see if there is enough interest in what I do to make it worthwhile by putting on a few live shows, and finding great like-minded musicians to perform these songs with.

I’m going with the flow on that front at the moment, but if it does end up happening, I’d love it to be a real treat and experience rather than just another gig.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

It would absolutely be wonderful to have what I’m doing now to become something bigger, as I want to continue to explore and grow as an artist, and hopefully find an audience that wants to go with me on that journey.

The ultimate goal is to be a musician and person that I’m proud of being, and hopefully through the process of that, enrich the lives of the people around me and those who connect with my work, and if anything I do sticks, or has an impact on someone in a positive way, then I think I’ve achieved what I originally set out to do, but right now, I’m just going with the flow of what I’m doing, and seeing where my strange life in music takes me next.

‘VERTIGO AT HISTORY’S EDGE’ – THE DEBUT SOLO ALBUM FROM MITCHEL EMMS – WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR, AND FURTHER INFO CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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MITCHEL EMMS – PART 1

Mitchel Emms photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From a young age, singer-songwriter Mitchel Emms has been devoted to developing a career as a musician.

He began busking in his home town of Burntwood, in Staffordshire, at the tender age of nine, and had already performed live over 500 times by the time he was 15.

Having been a contestant on talent show The Voice UK in its second series in 2013, Mitchel subsequently played in an alternative rock/indie collective called MisterNothing, before becoming the frontman of The Treatment in 2015.

In the first of a two-part interview – his first since leaving the hard rock outfit in the autumn of 2017, Mitchel candidly spoke to me about all of the above experiences, and how they have both helped and personally affected him.

What would you say was your earliest musical memory?

It would probably have been from when I was around eight years old, looking through my dad’s CD collection, and finding ‘The Wall‘ by Pink Floyd.

At the time, I had no idea who they were, or even what they looked like, let alone the adult-oriented lyrical themes that I simply didn’t understand, but it was like experiencing an incredible movie in my mind which laid down the groundwork of all my musical education going forward, so it set the bar pretty high.

After that, it was a discovery of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Rush, into the nu-metal and pop-punk on TV at the time, and eventually to alternative rock bands like Radiohead and Nirvana.

Was there a specific moment when you decided that a career as a musician was for you?

I vividly remember seeing the video for ‘Heart Shaped Box‘ by Nirvana on MTV as a kid, connecting to how visceral, artistic, and aesthetic it was, and also how Kurt Cobain‘s music just spoke to me, and at the time, I was beginning to show interest in singing and playing the guitar, so everything fell into place pretty quickly, as I discovered I had perfect pitch.

Between busking and my dad helping me out, I got a few instruments, along with a Boss 8 track recorder and a Roland drum machine, and began writing and recording songs inspired by grunge and alternative music.

At the age of 10, I ended up auditioning and appearing on Stars In Their Eyes Kids in 2004 as Kurt Cobain (because why not?), and pretty much straight after that, I realised that music and performing was something that I wanted to do with my life.

After that, I ended up performing covers and originals in pubs and clubs around the Midlands with backing tracks, and by the time I was 15, I had racked up over 500 shows, so I had an extremely early start in terms of getting experience, and there was also a part of me that felt it would be an opportunity to prove some people wrong, as I was being bullied lot through school for having long hair, and being a bit different.

In 2013, you took part in the second series of The Voice UK. What made you decide to go on that?

I’d spent my teenage years writing and touring in bands at that point and had developed a good singing voice, but I had also learnt first hand just how difficult it is to be in an original band on the live circuit and get noticed.

I didn’t really like talent shows, but when I got offered an opportunity to audition, I thought, “Why not?“, and from what I had seen with the first series, my impression was that it would be different from The X Factor in that it had some level of credibility, and that the singers on the show were very talented, but as far as I was aware, nobody representing the alternative had done it at that time.

I honestly never thought I would get through because I felt so far removed from that kind of world and was expecting just to appear briefly on an episode but when the chair turned, it was an “Oh shit, here we go…” moment. A complete surprise.

You were mentored on the programme by The Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue. How was it working with him?

I got to spend a little time with Danny, and he was extremely kind in inviting me backstage to a few of The Script arena shows that year, which was a great experience.

We exchanged a few text messages here and there, and bounced some cool ideas off each other, and there was even a suggestion that I should perform ‘Hurt‘ by Nine Inch Nails for the quarter-finals, which was a pretty surreal thing to hear from him, but he eventually suggested a track called ‘Radioactive‘ by a band he was close with that he predicted would be a big song by the time of the live shows, and thought I would do a great job of.

However, the “mentoring” aspect of the show was more for the cameras, as it was all filmed, and took place in a very short amount of time.

And how was the overall experience of being on The Voice UK?

Overall, it was an absolutely ridiculous life experience that I didn’t see coming. The moment of seeing my phone vibrate endlessly with follows for hours after the blind audition aired on the BBC was surreal.

I was 19 at the time and a little naive, therefore I believed a lot of people around me at the time who were basically saying that this was my “huge break” / “we’re going to sign you” etc, however, after the show I was dropped back to square one, with very little guidance as to how to make the most of my time on there.

That being said, I enjoyed the whole experience massively, the production team were really lovely people, as well as the musicians in the band, it also allowed me to form my own band off the back of it, and it eventually opened up many doors for me, as well as bringing a lot of attention and views to my YouTube channel covers and music.

In retrospect, I never gave myself enough credit at the time, because I was so wrapped up in the hype of just doing it and because of how it all unexpectedly turned out. I’d often cringe when I saw my face pop up on TV, which just seemed kind of mad, despite it being an incredible achievement for me.

Did you ever get criticised by some for going on a reality programme?

Of course, and it was to be expected. I’d been part of a lot of musical scenes that obviously shunned that kind of thing, but I didn’t give it much energy.

However, there were more people who celebrated someone like myself going on national TV and representing alternative music. For myself, I have an absurdist sense of humour, so I thought it was funny on a cosmic level that this weird guy from the Midlands has managed to make it onto one of the top BBC television shows.

There was a push from the producers on the show to make me out as the token rock guy, even though the last thing I wanted to be was to be put in a box and that meant that I had some identity of “that long-haired rock guy off of The Voice” being put out there, that wasn’t representative of who I wanted to be.

Releasing my own music online was an opportunity to show people that there was more to me than that, and subsequently, I released a self-recorded album, ‘All My Favourite Bands Are Dead‘, under the band name of MisterNothing, got a band together, and we hit the road playing shows.

Having already played in various bands, in 2015, you became the vocalist of hard rock outfit The Treatment. How did that come about?

At 21, I had been performing and writing with my band for two years, which at that point had been a lot of fun, however, the pressure of being the songwriter/frontman/creative drive of the whole thing had started to take its toll on me, given the fact that we had unstable lineups, and the future was beginning to look uncertain.

I took it all very personally, so I took a short break in January 2015, and in that time I was contacted by the band, after seeing my Voice audition on YouTube, to stand in for a few shows, which would later turn out to be an audition for a full-time replacement.

I’d been conditioned from a young age to not turn down opportunities, and at the time, it looked like an exciting prospect to be part of a signed touring band, but there was a second-guessing of myself at play.

Despite The Voice, I hadn’t always identified myself as solely a singer, so there was the thought of “Am I actually better off being just a rock singer?“, because I had been previously successful at it, despite having a lot of different musical ambitions and wide influences which began to appear more and more like a pipe dream; as if the universe on some ridiculous level was endlessly pushing me into doing rock.

However, I’m a massive nerd when it comes to music history, and I have a big appreciation for a lot of the rock music I grew up listening to, so that helped ease me into it, and I’d hoped that I’d find something incredibly worthwhile in joining the band and experience something new and positive.

What would you say were the standout moments of your time as part of The Treatment?

There were many fun moments with the band, and getting to travel and tour abroad in European countries was a dream of mine and something that I’d not done a lot of before.

We did some pretty killer shows, and I think one of my final ones with them was playing a last-minute slot on the main stage at Hellfest in the scorching heat, in front of an ocean of people, which was absolutely mental. 

I also became a much better vocalist from having to tackle such difficult material to sing, as everything was written in a consistently extremely high range, so doing 80-minute shows every night was an intense physical and vocal workout.

I always consider myself grateful for the laughs and experiences that were had, but on a personal level, I think I’m most proud of myself for getting through tours; the nights when I was sleeping on van floors with barely any money to my name, when I wasn’t doing so well, and in the face of all that, not failing to put on an adrenaline-fuelled show every night for the fans. 

IN PART 2 OF THIS INTERVIEW, MITCHEL TALKS ABOUT SUCH THINGS AS DEPARTING THE TREATMENT, AND THE EXPERIENCES OF WORKING ON HIS UPCOMING DEBUT SOLO ALBUM.