ONE can sense a real closeness…


and intuition in the camp of FRANKIIE. The Vancouver quartet talks to me about their current song, Glory Me, and what it was like putting it together. They tell me what comes next, material-wise, and what it was like working with Jason Corbett on their latest cut; if they have any touring dates cemented – if the U.K. is part of that...

They reveal how they came back from a possible break-up and why, now, they feel stronger than ever; why Vancouver is producing lots of great music; whether, they feel, there needs to be a greater focus on female artists – they take me back to the first days of FRANKIIE….


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

It’s been a great week! Lots of good band hangs. We’ve been in the studio finishing off the last tracks for our upcoming album.a

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

We are a four-piece Dream-Rock band from Vancouver who has been at it for four years. We’ve got Francesca on Vocals and Guitar; Nashlyn on Vocals and Keys, Samantha on Bass and Zoe on Drums.

Glory Me is your new track. What is the background/story of the song?

That song was written by Fran after she got home late one night - and the words just kind of came flowing out. It’s really (just) a contemplation between being present and anticipating the afterlife.

The album of the same name is completed. Are there certain themes that tie the album together?

The album is actually not quite completed…

We are in the final stages of recording and mixing the last tracks. All the songs tend to centre on the feelings of a loss in direction, or contemplating meaning and purpose.

Is it true you worked alongside Jason Corbett on the record? What did he bring to the record?

He really brought a lot of laughter and fun-lovin’ times. Haha. He’s also got a really great ear and very awesome intuition about what to add or take away from each song. He also has a great sense of how we want to sound.

He can capture our true vibe while also pushing us to get it to the next level.

How did FRANKIIE get together? When did you all meet?

We came together as a band two weeks before our first show. Fran had a solo show booked and did a jam with Zoe. They realized it would be more fun to have keys and bass as well - and brought in Nash and Sam.

039e95_302246594298499780186dbc2b10bb84_mv2_d_2400_1602_s_2 (2).jpg

I understand you drifted apart and, after several E.P.s, wondered whether the group would survive. Was that a particularly tough time? What brought you all back together?!

After we put out our E.P.; we played a lot of shows around our hometown and did a bunch of D.I.Y. tours. It was really fun but, after a while, it got tough to keep the momentum up. We all had other things we wanted to explore as well and took some time to travel without each other. It turned out to be a very valuable time for our individual lives and, ultimately, re-energized us when we did start going for it again.

We never really stopped playing together entirely: we, mostly, (just) had a lull in momentum. Looking back at that time; it is probably a natural part of band life - though it was confusing at times.

You must be all looking ahead now. Do you feel you are stronger than you have ever been?

Yes, definitely! Working with Jason Corbett has really given us some fresh energy - as well as our new managers at Tiny Kingdom. Realizing that our team is building and that our songs are sounding better than they ever have before…we are really looking forward to getting back into playing again.

There is loads of great music coming from Vancouver. What is it about the city that produces so many great artists?!

Vancouver has a small community of artists but the ones that are in it seem to be really dedicated.

Our scene could probably, still, use some more collaborative energy - but it is definitely, slowly developing. More and more people are coming out to each other’s show and co-writing or co-producing. It’s really great. Plus; we also have the best mountains and ocean. If we ever need inspiration, it’s not hard to find it out in nature…


It was, recently, International Women’s Day. How important is it to raise awareness of female artists? Do you think there are changes coming into the industry?

It’s definitely an interesting time for women in the entertainment industry, overall. We haven’t really had a lot of issues so far being women in the music industry - and have actually found that people generally treat us as equals.

But; it is nice to have open conversations about some of the awkward things that do happen from time to time. It’s just a nicer environment for everyone when people are able to talk openly about what’s cool and what’s not cool.

Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

We are not planning extensive touring until we put out the full album in the late-summer/early-fall. Though out the summer, we will be playing shows and festivals around our home province and planning out the album release.

Will you come to the U.K. and tour here soon?

I really hope so! If any bookers out there are into some Dream-Rock vibes, please get in touch (smiles).

What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?

Mostly, we all seem to want to find balance and presence in both our individual lives and in our band lives. Sometimes things can seem overwhelming when we are working on both band life and on our own individual projects. For example, Zoe is recording drums this weekend and opening a new clothing store next week. We have to remember to stay in the moment when good things are happening (and not get ahead of ourselves).


Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

It was pretty fun playing at the Todos Santos Music Festival in the Southern Baja of Mexico. We stayed for a week and rented out a place by the beach - did some surfing, sun tanning and drank a bunch of margaritas! The bands at the festival were so great. It was a rare opportunity to meet great bands from Mexico City as well. We hope we can get back down there someday!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Our advice would be (just) jump in and start doing it! We definitely were not perfect when we first started - and we still aren’t. The only way to have fun playing music is to forget about perfection and go for it.



Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Art d’Ecco, Peach Pit and LEATHERS!


IN THIS PHOTO: Peach Pit/PHOTO CREDITLester Lyons-Hookham

Do you guys get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

We still all have day jobs or business to run right now. Haha. So, between that and music; there is not much time left over. We’re really hoping, at some point, we can take some time away from jobs and make music our full-time thing. Seems like we are getting closer to that reality…

At least for a while...

Finally, and for being good sports; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Glory Me is the only one out so far! We have a new single coming out the last week of April as well, so stay tuned!




INTERVIEW: Lauren Ruth Ward



PHOTO CREDIT: Mara Stusser  

Lauren Ruth Ward


THERE is a train of thought that suggests…


PHOTO CREDIT: Victoria Craven

solo artists, for the most part, try to fit into crowds and handy boxes. Whilst that might be true for many out there; songwriters like Lauren Ruth Ward defy convention and predictability – offering something truly special and spirited. I have been speaking to her about the video for Blue Collar Sex Kitten – a song that has garnered a lot of praise and focus. She talks about her debut album, Well, Hell – and, with tour dates forming, she plans on coming to the U.K.

Ward talks about the scene in L.A. – where she is based – and how it feels being compared to artists like Janis Joplin; what she has planned for the rest of this year; new artists worth a shout – ending the interview with a great song choice.


For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I am Lauren Ruth Ward; a musician from Baltimore, MD; currently residing in Los Angeles.

Blue Collar Sex Kitten is your new track. I like the video a lot! It mixes black-and-white vintage with a modern urgency. What is the background of the song?

We actually released (the track) Blue Collar Sex Kitten on May 1, 2017 - we recently released the music video. This song was very stream-of-consciousness for me. Its meaning is about who I am and how I see the world, mixed with some lighter lines. Everything came thru while allowing myself to just write and not think (too hard).

Well, Hell is your recent album. Were there particular events that influenced your songwriting? Is there a song from the album that stands out above the rest?

Well, Hell is our debut album. No particular events triggered the songs: my life, in general, fed the stories. All the songs play a part in the finished product. If I had to single out one song: Staff Only; because it's, currently, my favorite to perform/opening with - I love my band's harmonies in the intro.

Really gets me into it.

Which musician did you grow up on? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?

I grew up predominantly listening to music from the ’60s and ’70s; Classic-Rock, Motown; Disco etc. The first C.D. I bought was Hanson - Middle of Nowhere.

Hattie Watson2.jpeg

PHOTO CREDIT: Hattie Watson

I hear tones of Janis Joplin and Florence Welch! It seems you are compelled by strong female voices. What is it about artists like Joplin that speak to you?

Being compared to Janis is an honor. I don't necessarily pull inspiration from her or one person (or woman). I've always loved to perform. As a child, I danced, cheer-leaded; sang/played guitar in talent shows. My live show is still me loving performance. When I have people’s attention, I feel I need to give them all of me. (I often hear it’s my live performance that makes them think of Janis).

You are based in America. What is the scene like where you are? Are you mostly based in L.A. at the moment?

I live in L.A. The music scene is alive and thriving. I go to two-seven shows a week. The energy is palpable. It’s very special.

Lexi Bonin.jpeg


Will you come to the U.K. and perform this year? Are you a fan of British music?

I WOULD LOVE TO! I am a huge fan of British music (The Beatles - hello!) (Smiles).

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

Many. Opening for my partner (LP) in Italy and France, April of 2017. The crowds were massive and loving. Though it was only four shows, I imagined how great life would be to tour together - doing what I love and being able to be with her.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Believe in yourself. Create something that is true to you. You will never have to ‘reinvent’ or (decide) ‘what to do next’. Just do you.


IN THIS PHOTO: Jen Cloher/PHOTO CREDITTajette O'Halloran

Are there any new acts you advise we check out?

Jen Cloher, The Blank Tapes and Vista Kicks.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?


Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Jen Cloher - Forgot Myself


Follow Lauren Ruth Ward


INTERVIEW: Of Good Nature



Of Good Nature


BASED out of North Carolina…


Of Good Nature are an incredible band that deserve more acclaim. The U.S. group discuss their single, Take Me Anywhere, and its story of frustrated love. The guys give me a glimpse into their upcoming plans and what music they were raised on – and how Reggae has moved on over the years.

The Reggae-Rock-Funk band reveal whether they’ll play the U.K. soon; what it was like working with producer Danny Kalb on their latest track; what the scene is like in North Carolina – they share their best memories from music so far.


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Great! Just got off the Sail Across the Sun cruise - which was completely insane.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Sure! Hi. We are Of Good Nature. It’s hard to pin us down, musically, but we have great influence from Rock to Jazz/Funk to Reggae. In the studio, we try to wrap that into a good radio edit – but, live, you might catch us extending the song into a high-energy jam. We like it all!

Take Me Anywhere is your new single. What is the tale behind the song?

The lyrics speak about a female who is looking for more in life - but, the story can be relatable to anyone striving for more in life and feeling stuck in their passion (ourselves included).

It was recorded at White Star Sound with legendary producer Danny Kalb. How important was the studio space and Kalb to the overall sound?

Danny was a great leader in the whole process. He recommended White Star because of the comfort and space out there. Everyone in the band was relaxed and pushing out their best performance. 

Is there going to be more music coming? Will there be an album out before the end of this year?

Yes! We have three more singles finished and dropping in the upcoming months. This leads us into another recording session with Danny in the summer.

Expect a lot of content coming from us in 2018...


How do you feel you have changed since your debut album, Just Add Water?

We’ve matured as writers and players, for sure. We’ve put in a lot of time on the road, on stage and (with) writing and recording. Also, we are a different larger lineup than the debut album. It’s awesome to feel we are hitting a real stride in the recording and touring processes. 

You guys are based out of North Carolina. Is there quite a big and varied scene there? How did Of Good Nature come together?

North Carolina, and our hometown of Charlotte, has built quite the scene the past years. Bands like Simplified and Sun-Dried Vibes are based in the area - and we have a cool community that is great to be in when off the road. Of Good Nature began (just) playing around in different parts of the town and then just grew from there.

We’ve learned a lot along the way - from working alongside, and looking up to, our friends and bands from the area.

Your music fits with the new wave of East Coast style of Reggae – drawing in other genres and styles. Do you have a close connection with like-minded bands in the area? Is there quite a tight-knight community regarding the type of music you play?

The community of our scene is the best. We have met so many friends - and continue to do so.  Surrounded by the Sound Music Festival is a total capture of the East Coast Reggae scene. (It’s Labor Day weekend in Long Creek, S.C.).


How do you think Reggae has changed and evolved over the past few decades?

Just like all music; Reggae has shaped, shifted and taken many different forms. It has popularized the genre, which is great. I think it’s also very important to recognize the real Roots-Reggae bands and groups who keep true to the Jamaican sound. We are not one of those, nor claim to be, but it’s been great to play alongside bands like The Expanders, Steel Pulse and many others.

Which musician did you all grow up on? Can you remember the first album you ever bought?

Most of us grew up in this transition from radio to the digital age. I think that really shows in our music. I remember buying Offspring (Americana) and Eminem (The Slim Shady LP) at CD Warehouse as my first personal purchases.

What gigs do you have coming up? Where can we catch you play later this year?

Were currently touring all over the U.S. We'll visit the East Coast through spring - and play across the country in the fall.


Will the U.K. be part of your plans? What do you think of the music out this way?

The U.K. is definitely on our wish-list. We would love to get a festival or something out that way. Music out in the U.K. has deep influences - which we relate to.

What do you each hope to achieve in 2018?

We want to get our music to more and more people, all over the world. Our new and upcoming releases are songs that, we believe, are attainable for all types of humans. The Internet is a beautiful way to connect. Through spins and streams, we can reach listeners and get them out to a live show - which is what we love the most.


Have you all got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

The two Sail Across the Sun cruises we’ve done are, probably, the most memorable for us. It’s a five-day music festival packed onto a cruise ship. Train, Robert Randolph; Michael Franti and Gym Class Heroes were there, to name a few. The fans and energy on the boat are unforgettable. We hope to get on many more - and highly recommend any kind of cruise festival Sixthman puts on. 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Learn to manage time for all parts of the business. Put out good content and figure out how to be unique. Talk with your friends, A.K.A. other artists, and do cool stuff!


IN THIS PHOTO: The Ries Brothers

Who are the new artists we should keep our eyes on? Give us some recommendations...

The Ries Brothers are some young talent. They're a two-piece band that consists of a lead guitarist and a drummer/key bass/lead singer.

Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Cooking and spending time with family and friends is a good way to unwind. Music is always around, though.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Passafire - Growing Up

Trombone Shorty - Here Come the Girls

Bootsy Collins - I’d Rather Be With You



Follow Of Good Nature


INTERVIEW: Phebe Edwards



Phebe Edwards


I have been spending time with Phebe Edwards


who reveals the story behind her latest cut, Space. Edwards talks about working with Cameron Bloomfield and Kadeem Clarke on the song; whether it all came together quite quickly; the incredible artists she has worked with in the past – whether forthcoming gigs with Gabrielle are getting her excited!

I ask what producer Luke ‘G-kid’ Grant brought to her current single; how her tour schedule is shaping up; if music allows her any spare time to reflect – she recommends a new artist we need to get involved with.


Hi, Phebe. How are you? How has your week been?

It’s been good, thank you. Apart from tackling the flu; I’ve enjoyed seeing the response to my new track, Space - so that has, somehow, helped me keep my mind off the achy joints and blocked nose!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Hey there listeners and readers. My name is Phebe Edwards and I am an independent singer-songwriter from London. I’ve worked in this industry for a long time as a backing vocalist and featured for various artists - and now, finally; I have the chance to release my own music...


Can you name some of the other artists you’ve worked with?

I’ve worked with Liam Gallagher, James Brown; Rita Ora, Jessie J and Stormzy, to name a few. Most recently; I featured on the song, Focus - it is on Craig David’s latest album.

What can you tell me about the single, Space? What is the tale behind it?

Space was written about three years ago and features Cameron Bloomfield. It expresses the sentiment of being trapped in a stifling relationship - from both a female and male perspective.

From past performances, I’ve I have been known to sing high and with power. Space shows a very different side of my voice: it’s an emotional ballad that was written from life experience.

It sounds quite natural and personal. Was it easy putting the song together?

It started from talking about different phases people go through in relationships. The process was very organic: the lyrics developed alongside the music.


Cameron Bloomfield and Kadeem Clarke are on the track. What was it like working with them?

These guys are a joy to work with. Such a laugh! Every time we’ve been in a session together, it’s been hard to finish and actually go home as our vibes are so cool. They are so lovely and funny, too! 

Luke ‘G-kid’ Grant produced the song. What, do you feel, he brings to the song?

I’ve worked with Luke on a few songs now and there’s something about his production that excites me. Every time I go to Luke with an idea and he says “leave it with me”; it’s guaranteed that, the moment you hear what he’s put together, you're going to be happy with it. Listening to the growth of the song, from the initial writing session to the production of the track…I couldn’t wait to sing on it!


Is there going to be more material coming before the end of the year?

There sure is! I’m working on the next release as we speak - and keep your eyes peeled for the E.P. 

Which artists did you grow up around? I hear shades of Mary J. Blige in your tones. Is she a big idol?

I have a few idols: Mary J. Blige is one of them! Along with Fantasia Barrino, Coko from SWV (Sisters with Voices) and the great Aretha Franklin. I was brought up listening to a lot of Gospel. I’m a massive Whitney Houston fan, also... 

Her songs, vocals and lyrics are a great inspiration to me.


I believe you are opening for Gabrielle soon! Are you a big fan of her work?!

I’ve worked with Gabrielle for a long time on numerous occasions - and I sure am a big fan of hers! She is a phenomenal artist and a lot of her songs hit home for me, lyrically and emotionally. I’m so excited to have been invited back to the iconic Jazz Café in Camden to open for her album launch on 8th May!

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

Personally; 2017 was a massive learning curve for me, which taught me so much about myself and, also, my music. 2017 redirected my purpose for 2018: take my music to the next level (of what I promised myself and my listeners).


Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

Seeing my first single hit number-fourteen in the R&B charts in 2014 was a memorable moment for me.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

From personal experience; consistency, persistence and patience are key. Try not to miss opportunities to showcase your talent, no matter how big or small. Keep pushing and networking and, with all the highs and lows, keep believing in yourself.



Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

To be honest; I love H.E.R. at the moment. I was gutted that I missed her recent show in London. Love H.E.R. - check her out.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Everyone knows I love a cup of tea. I’m actually a tea-a-holic, in fact!

I also enjoy a good boxing session at the gym. Fitness has become a new focus of mine and, recently, I have gone through a big transition with my health - and I aim to maintain it.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

I’ve currently got H.E.R.’s Focus on-repeat – enjoy (smiles).


Follow Phebe Edwards





Liz Asaro


WITH a new single out…


on 16th April; I was eager to talk to Liz Asaro about Take Me Home – a song that announces her as a serious talent to watch. She discusses her path into music and the artists who influenced her; whether there is going to be more material following; how important New York, and its people, is to her creativity and sound – and, whether she is coming to the U.K.

Asaro talks about her Irish roots and her songwriting process; whether she has a favourite memory from her time in music; how she unwinds when she isn’t recording – ending the interview with an Arctic Monkeys-scented closing song.


Hi, Liz. How are you? How has your week been?

Insane, really…and great! My E.P. is being mixed this week and I am really excited about it! I went to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway and that was a treat. Nothing more inspiring than going to see one of the world’s best songwriters perform in such an intimate venue! Also; I went to a Broadway show with my kids - so a lotta good stuff!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I am an Alternative-Rock artist. I live in New York City and I am a mom of three! As an artist, I am influenced by anything from Classic-Rock, to Grunge; to Metal, to Pop. I love writing lyrics and I try to make them meaningful without being too contrived. I, obviously, have a message I want to convey, but I like to leave room for the listener’s own interpretation. I love cool percussive sounds and a little edge to my music - with the vocal floating on top; often contrasting the instrumentation.

Take Me Home is your new track. What is the story behind it?

This song is about my good friend Mark Martinez, who passed away a few years ago. He embraced life like no other and touched so, so many lives. He always followed his dreams and challenged himself; while he constantly inspired everyone else in his life to do the same. It is about him and his passion for all that this life has to offer.

The track, clearly, has emotional relevance. Was it challenging putting it down on paper and hearing it back?!

Writing it was not hard: it was amazing once I finally had an arrangement, and even some remixes, that I liked! I wrote it in the shower one day and it took a bunch of instrumental arrangements to finally, stylistically, get to one I liked. Now, it makes me smile every time I hear it - and I do hope Mark likes it; wherever he is.

What comes next in terms of material?

I have a five-song E.P. coming out very soon! It’s being mixed as we speak! I’m shooting a video in London in April and booking gigs in the U.S. and U.K.!


Did music come into your life early? What got you hooked on it?

Not really! I mean, I have always been a huge music lover and it’s always been a part of my life that way. Music satisfies whatever emotion I need to be addressed - and I have always been good at utilizing and enjoying it in that capacity. But, I didn’t grow up in a family of musicians or anything like that. I was pretty timid about entering the realm of making music until later in life...

Once I found the first few people that helped me start writing, I just kept networking and pushing forward; working with as many people as I could. I realized, quickly, how attainable this was for me because I was so driven to do it…so I just kept going. I love it.

How inspiring is Manhattan when it comes to writing? Do you take a lot from the people around you?

I love people and I love understanding what makes them tick. So; Manhattan is very inspiring, for better or for worse! It’s a crazy place; it’s infectious and there is nothing like it. I love being surrounded by so many cultures, opinions; tastes, activities etc. I write a lot about human nature - so it works for me!

I know you have Irish roots. Does that heritage play a part in your music would you say?

I think so. Funnily, when my current manager David Rowell heard my music for the first time, he immediately said: “Oh, she’s Irish!”. So, I guess there must be something in my vocal tonality and, also (perhaps), in some of the instrumentation that might make you think that. I love cool percussive beats - and some of them may lean toward Celtic. My music has been likened to The Cranberries on many occasions, which I take as a big compliment!


Which musicians did you grow up on? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?

The first album that I remember buying was In My Tribe by 10,000 Maniacs! I loved Natalie Merchant’s voice and I am honoured that people often tell me I sound like her.

Overall, I am a Rock girl. My favorite music, growing up, was 1990s Rock: Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots; Alice in Chains etc. I am also a huge Led Zeppelin fan and I love most Classic-Rock. I have so many favorite female vocalists: Debby Harry, Doloros O’Riordan, Alanis Morissette and Shirley Manson. I love music. It’s impossible to name all the bands I loved growing up!

Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

I will be booking gigs soon! Just got finished recording an E.P. and it's being mixed. I will be putting together shows very soon!

Do you reckon you’ll come to the U.K. and play? Do you listen to a lot of British music?

Absolutely! We are looking into that soon! I listen to all music! I have been spending a lot of time over there writing and recording - and I love my team in the U.K.! I am happy to be exposed to even more British artists than I would have otherwise been.


What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I am so excited about getting this E.P. out. I can’t wait to play live again with a full band because it’s been a few months focused on writing. I love networking and meeting people, so I hope that the promotion and performances of this new music will help build a bigger audience. I love the give-and-take of music. I love this industry, as nuts as it can be! I’m also not slowing down with writing. I am very inspired right now and I am writing with as many people as I can!

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

So many - but one of those would be the first time I worked in the studio recording with Gerry Leonard; long-time guitarist and M.D. for David Bowie. It was the first time someone of that calibre had played on my music - and it was my first body of work. Gerry is a phenomenally atmospheric player and he adds layers upon layers of beautiful sounds to a song. When we took a minute to play back the takes over the speakers in the studio; there were some moments of ‘Wow, I really have some awesome songs here. Big sounds that will truly move people’.

Never mind the simultaneous feeling - that I had become worthy of people of that calibre working with me and becoming my friends and supporters.


What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Two important things that stick with me, as I move through this journey, are this. First: you have to mean it. You have to be genuine. If you are making music from a genuine place, people will believe you; they will want to work with you and they will want to listen to you. Music reaches people when it is genuine. All humans know this in their core.

Secondly: be in it. Be around music, go to shows; talk to artists…not just about the technical stuff, but about life. Watch shows, learn what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Absorb it all and give back what you can from your soul.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Time away from music: yes! Chill: not so much! Tons of kid’s activities to keep me occupied and in reality! I love being with them!  I also work out. I box and I snowboard.

In the summer, I try to be at the beach or wake-surfing as much as I can! I am also just a huge fan of being with my friends and family: gatherings, dinners; dancing, live music - whatever social stuff I can do with them makes me happy!

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Today, I pick….

Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?


Follow Liz Asaro







RUNNING a music blog…


means, at times, speaking to an artist who hails from a part of the world, one assumes, has a very narrow music scene. I have been talking with Jordan’s Jaafar about his career and the musical culture of his country. He opens up about his latest track, Yara, and the story behind it; how it differs from the mega-successful, Sixteen, and whether more material will come – and the tour dates he has booked.

Jaafar tells me about his influences and why Peter Gabriel is a big draw; whether there is a moment to reflect outside of music; if he will come to the U.K. and see us at some point – also; if he can recall the first album he ever bought!


Hi, Jaafar. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello! It’s been great so far. Tiring but great. We’re half-way through a press tour to promote my new single.. so there’s been a lot of traveling.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Sure. My name is Jaafar. I’m a singer and songwriter from Jordan. I think the best word to describe my sound is ‘fusion’. Listen to my song, Dalia...that’s the best introduction to my music.

Yara is your new track. Can you reveal the story behind the song?

Yara was written very quickly.

I went into the studio with the verse and melody and, within an hour, we had written the whole song and completed the demo in the same session. Sonically, it’s a fun song that’s very much a fusion of World sounds with different Pop and Rock elements. I wrote the song about a girl who I was in to at the time. There are all the themes of a new love interest: declaration, longing; confusion, frustration...

It follows the hugely successful, Sixteen. Was it intimidating following that song?! What has been your reaction to its success?

Sixteen was a turning point in my career. It opened doors for me and introduced me to a much broader audience. Even within the industry, people started to take notice. I guess I was more excited to follow that up than nervous. Now, when I put new music out, people are eager to take a listen.

That song looked at the refugee-crisis in the Middle East. Are the politics and social strife of the area something that compels anger and creative drive?

Injustice is aggravating - especially where youth is involved. When I wrote Sixteen; I was really affected by everything going on - and by what I was seeing on the news. I was living in America at the time and I think, being far from home and far from the region, intensified that feeling.

I was not in a headspace to write love songs….

Will there be an E.P. or album later in the year, perhaps?

Yes - a full-length album. My first one! I can’t wait to share it with everyone.


You are a Jordanian songwriter. Is there a lot of good new music in the country? How much of the music scene is comprised of Western sounds?

Sure; there’s good music. It’s not necessarily at the forefront, though. It’s tough to be a musician in Jordan. There’s still not a fully-formed industry. Hopefully, I can be one of the people who helps change that.

How much of the scene is comprised of Western music? Very little.

I hear hints of Peter Gabriel in your music. Which artists influence your own sounds?

I love Peter Gabriel!

The list is so long and varied: The Police, Cheb Khaled; Sayyid Darwish, Cat name a few.

Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?

No; but I can remember some of the very first records I listened too - they were my dad’s. Like, for example, 1, 2, 3 Soleil (Live à Bercy) by Khaled, Faudel and Rachid Taha.


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

Yes! I can’t wait. We’ll start touring early-summer. We’re doing a mixture of festival dates as well as headlining shows - and I’ll also be the opening act at a couple of shows.

Do you reckon you’ll come to the U.K. and play? Do you listen to a lot of British music?

Yes. We’ll be playing in London in June! I’m very excited. I’ve never played the U.K. before.

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I hope, just, to be able to be on stage and share my music with the world...and have a good time doing it.


Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

There are so many. Most of them are (of) memories on stage or preparing for a show. I love performing live and putting together a show. I also have so many great memories traveling the world in order to perform or promote my music. That’s one of the blessings of this job: it takes you around the world and you get to experience so much.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

This is a brutal industry and, so, be honest with yourself. Refine your craft and surround yourself with people you can trust - and who give you positive energy and tell you the truth.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Yes, I do. I think it’s important.

At the end of 2016, I was completely spent because it had been, like, three years of non-stop work. So; I took some time off and recharged. I unwind by doing nothing! Just hanging out with friends…

Traveling anywhere there’s a beach.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds) - Peter Gabriel


Follow Jaafar


INTERVIEW: Charlie Grant


Cristobal Rey.jpg

PHOTO CREDITCristobal Rey 

Charlie Grant


I have been talking to Charlie Grant


about his move to Berlin - and why he decided to head to the city. Grant talks about his new work, The Astronaut EP, and some of the themes that go into it; what sort of music got him started and hooked; how he transitioned from writing songs for big names (including Melanie C) and embarking on his own career – and what tour dates we can look forward to.

I discover how The Astronaut EP differs from his past work; what advice Grant would give new musicians; what his treasured memories of music are; how he spends time away from music – and what the next steps of his career will entail.


Hi, Charlie. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! I’m good, thanks. I played a gig in Berlin last night and did a couple of new songs that went down a storm. So, I’m still buzzing from that. I’m also recording a song for my next E.P. next week, so was rehearsing it with my band. It’s a very energetic and up-tempo tune where everyone gets to rock-out - so that’s going to be a lot of fun.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I guess the obvious phrase to describe what I do is ‘singer/songwriter’, but I’d say there are also elements of Rock, Blues; Americana and straight-up Pop in there, too. I’m a fan of the craft of songwriting and I like storytelling in songs. Being able to work with great musicians never fails to be exciting and inspiring for me. Especially great drummers - I’m in awe of them.



Tell me about your new work, The Astronaut EP. What themes and ideas compelled the creation?

Well. The song, Astronaut, was inspired, lyrically, by becoming a dad for the first time. I wrote it with two other artists, Jonathan Kluth and Flavian Graber from the band, We Invented Paris. Flavian has a daughter - and I’d just found out I was going to be a father. It’s about how it can be hard not to let the disappointments and losses that come with life shut down the part of you that can be touched by simple things. That kind of innocence and joy that is natural for children: everything is new and amazing to them.

Other than that; there is a song about wishing you could talk to the future version of yourself and get some reassurance that everything is going to be ok - and one called Blood Don’t Lie that talks about how, sometimes, your body won’t let you keep secrets, in the context of being around someone who you have strong feelings for but they doesn’t necessarily know about it. I think my favourite song on the E.P., lyrically, is Born Broken. It’s inspired by those times when someone you care about is in a weird relationship. Like, when a person, deep down, doesn’t believe they are worthy of being loved; so they keep choosing people who treat them badly.

How do you think the E.P. differs from your previous work? Are you more adventurous as a songwriter would you say?

I’d say I’m getting more adventurous as far as experimenting with different sounds goes but, in all honesty; I’m not that interested in trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to songwriting. I am interested in breaking free from traditional song structure more but it’s hard - and the trouble is it (just) works brilliantly; so it’s a bit of a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’…

The more I write, I feel (like) simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, so I don’t know how that fits in with being adventurous yet.

The single, Astronaut, is out. It is an uplifting and compelling track. What was the decision behind releasing the track to the world?

It connects with me a lot because it’s inspired by a huge recent event in my life; so it resonates with me at the moment - and I felt that it could do that with other people too. I like the energy of the track and, yeah, I think it has an uplifting quality to it and a kind of innocence to it in a way. Maybe people could use some of that with all the grim stuff going on in the world…

I know the 1970s plays a part in your tastes and music choices. What sort of music were you raised on?

My parents were both, mostly, into Classical music but really loved a few 1960s and 1970s bands like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, ABBA: things like that. I remember being five or six and (just) wanting to listen to A Hard Day’s Night and Help! over and over again. It was overwhelming in a way: the energy and the amazing melodies. We lived in a remote part of Scotland with an ancient T.V. that could only pick up two channels in black-and-white, but we watched Top of the Pops religiously and enjoyed passing judgement on who was great and who was crap.

Later on, my dad lived in the U.S., so my brother and I would visit him in the school holidays and I got exposed to lots of the greats from the 1980s like Prince and The Police via MTV – and, really, that’s when my music obsession started properly. Much later on, I got really into 1970s Soft-Rock: stuff like Fleetwood Mac, Bread; the Eagles and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Also, The Beach Boys - stuff that came after Pet Sounds. I don’t know why it speaks to me so much; it’s just undeniable somehow. It’s funny that Yacht-Rock is finally considered cool nowadays. I consider the fact that my daughter Coco asks to hear Steely Dan to comfort her if she’s upset (to be) a huge parenting achievement.

You started in the U.K. - and wrote songs for big names such as Mel C! Was that quite an enjoyable time? Do you feel you were honing songwriting skills whilst penning for others – or was it quite a stale time?

It was great because, when I got my first publishing deal as a songwriter in London, it was the first time I’d ever felt acknowledged, and actually got it meant a lot. I could finally give up the day job. It was definitely a time of honing my skills, working with some great people and learning all the time.

It did get stale though in some ways, eventually. I made the mistake of neglecting the part of me that is an artist by nature.

What was the reason for embarking on your own music? How come you decided to move to Berlin?

When you are writing for others, you are more there to provide a service than to satisfy your own muse. It’s rewarding in its own way, but I missed the freedom of being able to express myself without having to think of anyone else. That, eventually, led me to start work on my own artist project, though; so I guess it was all part of the big picture. I also had a stockpile of songs that I really liked that were kind of just sitting around - so I thought I’d do them my way and have some fun with them.

I came to Berlin for a songwriting camp in 2010 and had an amazing time here. I met enough like-minded musicians and writers to start coming back a few times a year. Meeting my now-wife here in 2012 sealed the deal as far as moving over goes…and I’ve never looked back.

Charlie Grant (-¬ Crist+¦bal Rey) 8525.jpg

PHOTO CREDITCristobal Rey 

Is there a very different pace in the German capital? Would you advise other artists to come over there?

Compared to London; I find Berlin actually very laid-back and the music scene is on a much smaller scale - in a good way. It’s kind of more manageable and everyone knows everyone. It feels pretty friendly and communal in that way. London is way more competitive, as surviving there as a musician is bloody hard - which makes people more ruthless almost by necessity. That pressure can push people to do their best work, though: things being too cushy isn’t always conducive to digging deep.

Generally, though, I do prefer it here and it’s an exciting time to be part of it as Berlin is, more and more, becoming a creative hub on a global level. So, yeah; I would recommend it.

Which musicians did you grow up on? Can you remember the first album you ever bought?

Apart from the ones I mentioned before; I went through a massive Rock and Metal phase. My older brother got me into Led Zeppelin and I loved some of the poodle-hair bands of the 1980s like Van Halen and Def Leppard and, then, eventually Nirvana and lots of 1990s Alternative-Rock bands. Also, Beck, Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith…I got heavily into soul artists like Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers at some point, too.

The first album I bought was Queen’s Greatest Hits on cassette.

Charlie Grant (-¬ Diogo Castro) IMG_2267.jpg

PHOTO CREDIT: Diogo Castro

Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

I’m in the early planning stages of a German tour in the autumn but, right now, I’m mostly focussed on getting the next E.P. ready to release – it will come out in late-May. I do have some Berlin and London gigs coming up, though:

24th April: Prachtwerk Berlin (with Dorothy Bird and Adam Wendler)

18th/19th August: London Express Live (support for Lee Mead)

23rd August: Artliners Berlin (with Mike Featherstone)

20th September: Be’kech Berlin

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I’d love to keep building on the great start we’ve made getting Astronaut out there on the radio in Germany; start playing more gigs further afield and getting some songs on some well-known Spotify playlists. My big dream for this year, though, is to put out a fourth E.P. and, then, compile them all together on a double vinyl album. That would feel like an amazing way of wrapping up all the work I’ve done so far as an artist.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

That’s a tricky one: there are lots…

One of the best was a couple of years ago when I was touring in the U.K. as support for my friend, Ben Montague. We played at a venue in Newcastle called The Cluny and it was packed. I was, basically, unknown to everyone there but the reaction when I played was overwhelming. People really got it and were singing along with songs by the last chorus - it was magical. It was such a great feeling and it gave me a huge boost in confidence to keep doing what I’m doing.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Don’t be too precious about your work: all artists are in love with what they create to an extent and that can blind them to whether it’s actually any good or not. Play live a lot. Open mic nights are a brilliant way to start. I still enjoy doing them pretty regularly. If you are an introvert like me, it can be hard to put yourself out there and risk being criticised (or worse); no-one giving a sh*t either way, but you have to be seen and heard.

You end up meeting like-minded souls along the way and you can support each other - it can feel like a lonely path, but it doesn’t have to be. Feeling like you are part of a community of fellow musicians can really sustain you through difficult times when it feels like nothing’s working out, I think.

Everyone’s been there at some point.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Um; not really, to be honest! My daughter is two so, the last couple of years have been full-on. It’s wonderful, though, and I love my life. I still have a lot I want to achieve - so chilling out is hold for a while longer, I expect.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

One of my favourite songs of last year was For What It’s Worth - from Liam Gallagher’s solo album. It’s great to have him back - and it’s got everything going on that a great song should do, in my opinion


Follow Charlie Grant

Charlie Grant (-¬ Crist+¦bal Rey) raw0009.jpg

INTERVIEW: Bend Sinister


BENDSINISTER-17 (Custom).jpg

Bend Sinister


IT might be obvious to most…


but I was not too sure where that name, ‘Bend Sinister’, came from. I ask the guys about the derivation and what the new single, Heard It All Before, is about. They talk about their music and how it comes together; when they found one another – I ask if there is any new talent we need to get our ears around.

Bend Sinister chat about gigs and whether politics affects their songwriting; if the Canadian band will come to the U.K. soon; what sort of music drives and compels them – and, whether, they ever get a chance to de-stress away from music.


Hi, Bend Sinister. How are you all? How has your week been?

We are SO good! Spring is in the air; Rock ‘n’ Roll is in our soul…can’t complain!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Why, hello those who are new to our music. We are Vancouver’s own Bend Sinister! (We’re) a Rock ‘n’ Roll-fueled, music-making machine filled with classic and modern tones to delight your ears! If you enjoy the ’70s with modern Pop sensibility, look no further!

Can I ask about that name - and where ‘Bend Sinister’ comes from?

It comes from a Vladimir Nabakov novel titled, you guessed it, Bend Sinister!

Heard It All Before is your new one. What is the tale behind it?

It’s a tale as old as time! Living life is always a beautiful challenge; everyone has their demons knocking at their door - and Heard it All Before follows that internal monologue, struggling with the constant conversation in your head; trying to find a way out; looking for answers and attempting to be better every day.

Do you think, given the political climate, there is more cynicism levied towards leaders right now?!

With social media taking a forefront (of how) we digest our news; it’s hard not to feel a bit cynical, watching politics unfold like a bad reality show. But, with cynicism comes great art and a push for change. I think we are already seeing that blossom as we wade through the swamp.

Do you guys plan on releasing more material this year?

BIG TIME! We have a brand-new record coming out around May 25th-ish, titled Foolish Games. We are very excited to share this record with the world as it has a lot of gems we are proud to call our own!


How did you all get together? What attracted you to one another?

We all (just) couldn’t resist Dan Moxon’s dreamy vocals and savvy eye for vintage furniture (smiles).

I think great music attracts great players - and the vicious cycle of touring in a Rock ‘n’ Roll band caters to a certain type of person and, luckily, we are all cut from that rug!

Do you all share similar musical tastes? Which artists did you grow up around?

‘Yes’ and ‘no’. I think, what makes us such an interesting band, is we do share similar musical taste to a point - but we all have such a wide spectrum. Each of us brings a unique flavour that pushes the music in a new direction.

Our van playlists usually consist of everything from Queen, Supertramp; Elton John, Huey Lewis and the News; Hall & Oates, to Kendrick Lamar; Dr. Dre, Daft Punk; Vulfpeck, BadBadNotGood; Shania Twain, Nick Cave - all the way to the Jurassic Park score; massively slowed down to weirdness. We will listen to anything once!

Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

Of course! We haven’t stopped touring in years!

We will be hitting up Canadian festivals and cities throughout the summer, supporting our new album, Foolish Games. I believe we are working on a West Coast tour of the U.S. and are, very much, hoping to be back out in Europe by the end of the year…the key-word is ‘HOPING’, on that one!


Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. and play here?

I sure hope so. We love the U.K. - the crowds, fans; venues and atmosphere. We are dying to get back as soon as possible!

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

World domination, obviously!


Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

There’s so many! I imagine playing to Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Josh Homme in Toronto for a private show is up there! We’ve had the pleasure of touring around Europe with the legendary Mike Portnoy, which was a blast. Having a fifty-six-piece symphony behind us playing a set was surreal...

We’ve definitely had our fair share of great memories - especially while creating the music!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Write good music…or go be a dentist.


IN THIS PHOTO: The Lemon Twigs

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

The Lemon Twigs. Couple of young dudes killing it right now!

As for local Vancouver bands we love: Youngblood, Little Destroyer; Peach Pit and JP Maurice to name a few!


IN THIS PHOTO: Youngblood/PHOTO CREDIT: Mandy-Lyn Antoniou

Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Dan has a hot-tub in his backyard; Matt golfs and walks his dog; Nick is vegan (I heard it’s the best way to unwind) and Joseph finds a spike to sleep on!

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Matt’s Pick: Steve Winwood - Valerie

Nick's Pick: The Garth Experience - Papa Loved Mama

Dan’s Pick: Loverboy - Turn Me Loose

Joseph’s Pick: Black Sabbath - It’s Alright


Follow Bend Sinister

55210015-3 (1).jpg

INTERVIEW: spudd cannon



 spudd cannon


THERE is another band…


out there with a very similar spelling to that of spudd cannon. To be fair; their (the other band) music is not as fiery, interesting and full-on as the lower-case-spelt alternative. I have been talking with the trio – Mikey and JJ take up most of the answers – about their E.P., Dude, Where’s My Boat, Man?, and the themes that inspired the songs. They talk about their formation and where they head next; new artists worth a shot; whether, they feel, too many groups are avoiding a D.I.Y. approach to music-making – they provide advice to new artists.

I discover what music makes them tick; how they spend their time away from music; the sounds and artists who made an impact on them growing up; what the inspiration behind their name is – and what the vibe is like in their part of the world, Bishop’s Stortford.


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Mikey (Vocals/Guitar): It's been good. Well, mixed, I guess. We did a photoshoot and made a video at the weekend but, then, it's back to the harsh reality of day-jobs until, hopefully, someday we can do this sh*t full-time…

JJ (Bass): …But, on the whole, it's been quite productive, actually.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Mikey: We're spudd cannon. We like to play energetic, no-nonsense Punk-Rock music. Our sound has been likened to early-Green Day; Cheshire Cat-era Blink-182; the Sex Pistols and FIDLAR. To be honest: we're pretty okay with that.

Can I ask whether there is a special story behind the name, ‘spudd cannon’?

JJ: Mikey came up with the name…

Mikey: It's from a video game called Bully that came out years ago. The protagonist is a teenager attending boarding school and a ‘spud cannon’ was one of the weapons you could use. I just thought it sounded kinda cool for the band.

Dude, Where’s My Boat, Man? is your new E.P. What sort of themes inspired it?

I guess you could say that In My Back Yard is written a little tongue-in-cheek - but it's primarily about boredom. Shy Guy Says follows a similar theme: although, more specifically, it describes social anxiety as well. Magic Stars is about having good memories of a relationship; albeit you're glad it's over. A to Z is a song about lust.

JJ: Our best work is usually based on events or people.

Life is pretty swell right now, so the songs are generally uplifting. We've written songs in the past with quite a sour taste - but they're not working for us right now. 

Will there be any singles from the E.P. arriving? 

Shy Guy Says is, probably, the single we'd pick. We've just shot a video for it that we're super-excited about. We do have a couple more tracks on the way, though, that we are planning on releasing as singles

The E.P. was recorded in a basement and has that D.I.Y. feel. Was it important to keep things raw and ‘proper’?!

It was important to keep it cheap...!

Mikey: Seriously though: incredibly important. In previous bands, I've gone down the route of paying for people who claim to be engineers or producers; doing hours upon hours in studios and thinking the end result/mix sucked. By recording and mixing our E.P. ourselves, we gave ourselves the freedom to showcase a handful of songs that properly replicate who we are and how we sound live: three guys, one drum track; one bass track, one guitar track and one vocal: no dumb effects, no Auto-Tune; no bullsh*t.

Sometimes, that feels lost in music today

JJ: Mikey was the main guy behind mixing. He has no training or experience as such - but we're stoked with how it turned out

Bishop’s Stortford is where you hail from. How did you find one another? What is the scene like where you are?

Mike's dad used to be Charlie's cricket coach and knew Charlie was a drummer. Mikey was starting up his first band at the time. Me and Charlie went to high-school together and started doing bits and bobs musically there. I met Mikey through him. Our eyes met across the room; instantly there were sparks. 

Mikey: Unfortunately, we're at a point where we feel the local music scene is dissolving. We've seen a lot of our favourite venues close in recent years, such as The Square in Harlow.


I can hear Punk bands like Green Day and Ramones in your sound. Which artists did you all grow up with?

JJ: There was a time when I exclusively listened to AC/DC. They're a huge Rock influence of mine. I guess the Punk side of things came from when I was an angsty teenager…and it never really went away.

Mikey: None of our parents really listened to Punk. My dad played a lot of Genesis and things like that when I was growing up; so there was always music in the house. But, discovering bands like Rancid, Sum 41; Nirvana and Silverchair when I was a teenager was a huge eye-opener. 

What do you think of the band scene right now? Do you think the best band-made music is coming from the underground?

JJ: I think I've seen a lot of 'underground' bands that I think should be making headlines. I don't think the majority of this generation enjoy going to small gigs like I used to when I was growing up - so these new bands aren't getting the recognition.

Which is a damn shame. 


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

Mikey: We've been so focused on getting the E.P. finished and our material up-to-scratch that we've stepped away from the live scene for the time being… 

Charlie (Drums): …We will always primarily be a live band, though.

JJ: We have been known to throw our own shows in the past. We're looking to play as much as we can this year. 

How does your music change when you bring it on the stage?! Is it somewhere you all feel very comfortable?

Mikey: Our music doesn't change that much: we intentionally recorded our E.P. fast to replicate the live sound. We keep things simple in recording: plug in and go.

JJ: It took me ages to get comfortable on stage. It's always harder when it's your music - because you're worried about what people will think.

Mikey: Being on stage isn't something that fazes me, personally. I have confidence in our music and our songs. It is nice when a new audience seems to appreciate it as well, though. 


Which new artists do you recommend we check out?

Charlie: Us...

Mikey: Any band looking to do things a little differently to what currently seems to be mainstream Rock. I'm really into WAVVES, SWMRS; MT. EDDY and THE FEVER 333 at the moment.



What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?

In terms of music; I think the sky is the limit for all three of us. But, personally? Not sure. Maybe I'll finally get a decent haircut. 

JJ: I compete in powerlifting. I'd like to hit some big numbers this year.

Charlie: I'd like to successfully orbit the sun. Just once.

Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

Mikey: The bad ones, as well as the good, seems to stay with you. Playing the O2 Academy in Islington was a cool experience a few years ago. But, then you have times like when the stage collapsed mid-show at a festival gig. 

JJ: I got thrown out of one of our gigs once - for shenanigans. That memory will stick with me. I think my favourite memory would have to be the first time we played live together. I wasn't new to gigging at that point; it was just really comfortable on stage. We had a lot of fun.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Pick a sound you love. Don't go with the trend. Don't necessarily be in a band with someone just because they're talented.

It's tricky to explain but you need to find people on the same wavelength as you. Me and Charlie have so much chemistry that we complement each other and know what direction we're going in when we play together. We can look at each other and know what to do next to give a song a twist.

Mikey: I would also say not to believe all the people who claim they can promote, grow or better your band - especially if there's money involved. There's nothing you can't do on your own.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

JJ: Music is probably how I unwind, actually. Work is frustrating. My other hobbies are frustrating. When we're all in a room together, it just works. 

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Social Distortion - Don't Drag Me Down

Charlie: Sham 69 - If the Kids Are United

Mikey: Wavves - No Shade


Follow spudd cannon





Matt LeGrand


IT is rare…


that I get to go to America and chat with an artist there. In digital terms; I have 'driven' to Chicago to talk with Matt LeGrand about his track, All Good. It is now up on Spotify – a perfect excuse to talk about the song, future material and how music came into his life.

I ask LeGrand whether we will see him in Britain soon; how his songwriting has changed since 2015; why he moved from France to Chicago; how this week has been treating him; whether he spends any time away from making music – he ends the interview with a classic anthem!


Hi, Matt. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello! I’m fantastic! I have had another week filled with music - so I really can’t complain! Thanks for having me!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Absolutely! My name is Matt LeGrand. I love what I get to do every single day! Being surrounded by sounds and music is the only way I see myself living my life. I love being a student of music and taking pieces from my favorite artists to create something that I can call my own!

Look for me on Spotify and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

Tell me about the track, All Good. What is the background and inspiration behind it?

So. The funny thing about All Good is that the song wasn’t really intended for me...

We had been invited to a studio session to listen to some ideas for my project. The atmosphere of the studio was great! As we were walking out the door, All Good was playing softly in the background and we stopped in our tracks. We asked what that was - and the rest is history!

All Good became my first single in almost two years! I didn’t write the song, but I did connect with it immediately! I loved the message. I find it to be a song about self-care and self-love. 


What was it like putting the song together in the studio?

This song was an absolute breeze because it was easy for me to catch the emotion that was needed. I feel that the song found me in certain ways. I was going through a period in my life when everything that this song was saying (just) made complete sense. I almost felt that I could have written it, but…. I didn’t!

Recording (the song) was a great time!


I believe you grew up in France. Was there a lot of music around? What sort of music did you grow up on?

I was in France at a very young age - almost from birth to six-years-old. I was born in Chicago and moved across the pond right away. With that said, I have very faint memories of my time there. I was able to pick up some of the language, which I try to hold onto as much as I can today! I’ve been asked before if I would do a song in French - and I said that I couldn’t wait for that day! I know that it’s on the horizon and I am really looking forward to having a musical connection with my French heritage!

I do love the classic French jazz from La Belle Époque! (Also, the musical geniuses, Daft Punk!).

Why did you relocate to Chicago? How different was the city and its vibe (compared with France)?!

We relocated to be with family. It was a culture shock for me. Again, I was young; so I have faint memories - but I do recall having my older brother translate everything I said. I didn’t know a word of English. Looking back on it now, I loved growing up in Chicago. It has everything! The winters are brutal, but we are rewarded in the summers! Freshwater beaches, which are, sometimes, completely frozen - and tons of great music waiting to be discovered! Doesn’t really get better than that...

Go Blackhawks!

What comes next in terms of new material? Are you working on stuff right now?

We have a BRAND NEW SINGLE AND VIDEO coming very shortly that I’m extremely excited for! It’s going to be a very fun Dance, feel-good record! Perfect timing with spring and summer rolling around! We are planning to release an E.P. this year as well - so I can get out on tour to see all my fans!


Do you notice a change in your music and songwriting? What are the main changes you have brought in since, say, 2015’s Spring Break Girl?

To me, the changes are night and day...

Not only have I matured and grown as an artist, but as an individual. That’s the great thing about evolution: we are always learning, changing and growing. We have the freedom to try different things and make mistakes. We have the opportunity to experience new things and learn from them. Most importantly, we get to have the opportunity to live and spread good, positive love (and I value that).

The only change that I have made is, simply, (just) accepting things for what they are.

Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

The goal this year is to perform, perform, perform - and then perform again! We will have tons of performance lined up very shortly! Stay connected on my Instagram for details!


Do you think you’ll play the U.K. at all? Have you been over here before?

I love the U.K. so much! I have been plenty of times, actually! One of my favorite places to go in the world is the Cotswolds! To play a gig in England would be surreal - and I would have to continually pinch myself to wake up!

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I hope to continue developing myself, personally, and as an artist! Taking it one day at a time. I’d love to tag onto a tour and gain tons of performing experience! I will be recording much more music (hoping one HITS it big!). I hope to (just) keep doing what I’ve been doing: work hard.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

I was in a three-piece band with my brother when I was in middle-school! We played the talent-show. I played bass and, at the time, I so small that if you stood the bass upright, it was taller than me.

I felt so cool playing Rock and Roll in front of my whole school.


What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

This is a strange question for me because I’m a new artist myself - but I will gladly answer it to the best of my ability. Be patient or you’ll end up being one yourself; have your values/morals set in stone; accept the things you cannot change…and learn how to say 'NO'!


IN THIS PHOTO: Charlie Puth

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

If we can, maybe, consider Charlie Puth to be a new artist, then I would definitely say go check him out if you haven’t already. Extremely talented guy - and I hope to work with him one day!

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I don’t really want to chill away from music, to be honest: it’s part of me and it’s part of every single day. I love learning new things and playing as much as I can. Don’t get me wrong, though: I do love my free time where I can, maybe, rock-climb; practice some yoga or go to the movies. It’s all about balancing the ‘work and play’ so you don’t burn yourself out.

Though, in my case, I am a very lucky person - because my work is my play as well! If I were to choose one thing to do for the rest of my life, it would simply be music. I love what I do!

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Thank you very much for the great questions! I really enjoyed answering them and thanks for having me!

With or Without You - U2


Follow Matt LeGrand


INTERVIEW: Nikhil D'Souza


very top.jpg

Nikhil D'Souza


WE move on to investigate and expose…


a great young artist with a lot of talent. Nikhil D'Souza tells me about his new single, Silver and Gold, and what the story behind it is. The Indian-born artist discusses his upcoming album and what we can expect from it; when music came into his life – and what it was like working with producer Jonathan Quarmby on his latest song.

D'Souza discusses future gigs and recommends new artists to watch; how he spends his time away from music; if there is a favourite memory from his time in music – how important Bollywood in regards his cultural outlook and musical creativity.


Hi, Nikhil. How are you? How has your week been?

It’s been crazy with the new single release, Silver and Gold, and the work around that; coupled with traveling halfway across the world to play a gig. Crazy.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a singer-songwriter from Mumbai, India. My music, if I had to describe it, occupies a place between Alternative and Pop - with some influences of where I’m from. As a soundscape, imagine Jeff Buckley, Damien Rice and Ray LaMontagne - and then some more...

Silver and Gold is out now. What is the story behind the song?

At one point, a lot of the conversations I was having with friends were about how modern-day relationships are hard to sustain. The song is a hopeful cry out to falling, and staying, in love; about making it last, knowing there will be problems - and a tribute to the ones who have made it last over the years.

It was produced by Jonathan Quarmby. He has worked with, among others, Benjamin Clementine. Was it a fun experience working alongside him?

Jonathan is probably the hardest working producer I have ever seen. It was amazing working with him because he has a rare talent. He takes a song that you feel is lacking something and then he figures out what it needs - either a new chord progression or a new lyrical part. Also, he’s a super pianist; which is what I’ve wanted to work with for a while now.

Can you explain the video and how the concept came together? How involved are you with video treatments?

We worked with Toby Warren of The Blind Club before for the Beautiful Mind video. It was his idea to shoot at this fantastic, abandoned palace in the middle of the jungle. Old, but still standing strong, which in a way reflects the sentiment of the song: growing old but staying together despite the cracks. I liked the idea and, when I visited the location, it was obvious that this was the right visual approach for the song.

I’m usually involved with my video treatments - but I left this one in Toby’s very capable hands.


I know you have an album out later in the year. Can you reveal any songs and subjects that will feature?

Love, as a theme, is the common thread – sometimes, about the innocent and wide-eyed, simplistic hope of new love. Also, you’ll hear some notes on a secret relationship I was in and the resulting heartbreak. Beautiful Mind, already released, is about being torn between someone you’re in love with and your best friend (who’s seeing her).

When did music come into your life? What sort of sounds did you grow up around?

I lived in an area of Mumbai where there were a lot of musicians and there were talent contests – that’s where I first started singing and playing. I remember my older sister would play tapes of the music popular then - mostly Pop princesses! Then, the boys in my apartment building would come by and play other stuff: Heavy Metal…anything. Tom and Jerry - I grew up watching that and fascinated by the musical score – I would remember every note. Later on, I got into Sting and the Police, U2 and many others.


How important is Bollywood, and your heritage, to your musical direction and creativity?

My musical direction was more influenced by Western music through my early years, although we would watch Bolly films every other day and, by default, we would hear the songs that played in those films and sing a few of them.

Of course, since 2010, I’ve been singing in Indian films and some elements of that style have made their way into my overall singing style – every now and then you will hear in a subtle vocal inflexion (or musically). Instrumentally, we’ve used a few ethnic instruments in the recordings.


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

A little gig at The Social, London on 26th March; then a support tour with Lissie in early-April,  followed by Live at Leeds on 5th May; The Great Escape, Brighton in mid-May - and a headline show at The Waiting Room, London on 21st May

You have played to all sorts of crowds. Is there anything that compared to the thrill of being on stage and watching people react to your music?!

Few things in life can compare with the feeling of singing to a huge crowd and having them sing your lyrics back to you. I guess it’s the full-circle feeling: from writing the song in your little bedroom, to playing it to a big crowd at a festival.

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

My goal is to have as many people as possible listen to my songs and hear (from them about) what it means to them. The achievement would lie in hearing that it changed someone’s life in some way, big or small.


Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

Spending time in Nashville with my co-writer Jeff Cohen: our aim was to eat as well as we wrote. So, we would reward ourselves with eating out at some of the fantastic restaurants over there every time we thought we’d written a great tune...

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Write songs based on what you honestly feel. When you’re singing them on stage every other day for a year; that is the only thing that’ll keep it fresh.


IN THIS PHOTO: Isaac Gracie

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Quite enjoying some music by Isaac Gracie and Matt Maltese. Check them out!


IN THIS PHOTO: Matt Maltese

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Over the last few weeks, my friend and I discovered the best pub for ales in Barnet. L.O.L. I quite look forward to that most evenings. I also like (just) walking around London with some good music in my ears…it’s beautiful.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Last WordsIsaac Gracie


YAH. Kendrick Lamar


Motel BluesLoudon Wainwright III


Follow Nikhil D'Souza







IT is about time I had a female artist…


back on my blog! I get so many requests from male artists – as the rest of the week will attest – so I am very pleased to chat with INBAL. She discusses her latest single, Right Mistakes, and why the filming of its video was a memorable, if cold, experience. I ask about the E.P., INBAL 1, and its multi-city recording – and what she has planned in terms of future gigs.

INBAL talks about her hometown of Tel Aviv (Israel) and what the people are like; how her life has changed since she moved from there (to London); what she hopes to accomplish in the remainder of the year; the artists she grew up around -  whether there is any time to relax away from the demands of music.


Hi, INBAL. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi, there. I’m great, thanks! It’s been quite of a hectic week, but can’t complain too much (smiles).

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m INBAL; a London-based singer-songwriter, originally from warm and sunny Tel Aviv. I’ve recently released my first two singles from my debut E.P. - which is exciting.

Right Mistakes is out. Can you reveal the story behind the song?

The song refers to the mistakes we make with us often knowing we’re making the wrong decision, and yet, choosing to do it anyway. The song takes the relationship angle of the subject; though, I do feel that this can be applied to many situations in life (or at least in my own!)

Tell me about the video. Where was that shot? Was it a good shoot?

The video was shot at the beginning of February this year, on a boat on the South Bank. It was one of the coldest days of the year and it was, obviously, shot outside - as you can see from the video. Although I couldn’t feel my feet, it was one of (the most) hilarious days as the cold really was insufferable, which led us to massive laughing fits.

Aaron Dolby, Alon (Didi); Danan and Gonçalo Malafaya Almeida were really lifting my stone-cold (literal) heart.


Right Mistakes is from the E.P., INBAL 1. Are there connected themes that go into the E.P.? What was it like putting it all together?

I’d say the connection between the four songs is that they evoke autobiographical experiences and stories from my day-to-day life - each revealing different elements of the various genres that inspired my songwriting. I really wanted to create a versatile E.P. that wouldn’t be bound to (just) the mainstream Pop structure - and play within the Prog. and Alternative genres melody and structure-wise, but with a more Indie-Pop attitude to production.


The E.P. was produced, mixed and made in a few different cities. Did you get to travel a lot whilst creating it? What was your highlight destination?

The E.P. was composed, produced and mixed in Brazil, Helsinki; London, Tel Aviv; Seoul and the United States.

So it happens that, at the time, I was going back to visit my hometown, Tel Aviv, and had to go to the States for a good few weeks as well; while Andreas, my producer and dear friend, was moving from London to his hometown in Brazil and, shortly after, followed his heart (and his girlfriend) to South Korea. While I returned to London, he was moving to Helsinki. Although it was physically challenging to work apart, I think it contributed a lot to the song and its production overall. 


My personal highlight was definitely Austin, Texas. It was my first visit in the city and I absolutely fell in love. I’ve got a lot of family living in the area and seeing the city through their eyes really made me feel like spending more time there. The dancehalls, Tex-Mex; the thriving music scene and the Barton Springs are just a few of my recommendations. 

Tel Aviv is where you hail from. Is the city quite busy with great new music? Do you take a lot from the people there?

Tel Aviv, like the rest of Israel, is quite of a ‘young’ city. It, therefore, carries the influence of many cultures from which inhabitants past and present arrived from - mostly European and Middle Eastern combined. This also reflects on the music scene, too. I take a lot of inspiration from local artists, as I believe this middle ground between culture enriches both sides and lets you have some sort of freedom to spice things up and experiment. 


Which musicians did you grow up around? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?

My biggest influences are Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and Björk, but I think the first album I purchased by choice was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I just really liked Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (at the age of six, I didn’t exactly know what it talked about...).

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I hope the third single and the E.P. will get as much support as the first two singles got - and I plan to gig a lot and start working on the second E.P.! 

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

When I was living in Tel Aviv, I joined one of my best friend’s tours around the country. We drove for hours and, basically, spent the summer around Israel gigging from the South to the North. It’s such a strong memory as, retrospectively, I think that was the moment I had a deep realisation that music is my path. Meeting new people; that music was the only thing in common between us was a really engaging experience.


What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

The biggest (piece of) advice I can personally give is to trust your instincts. The more you grow, the more you’ll hear lots of different and contradictory opinions. At the end of the day, it’s your creation and you should follow your guidelines.

The best route for someone isn’t necessarily best for the other.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I do, actually. I believe part of the creation process is also knowing when to put it aside to gain a fresh perspective. I really enjoy photography, playing with my pooch, Daisy (she’s the real famous one in our family - her Instagram is more popular than mine!) and practising Yoga.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

One of my latest musical obsessions is a band called ANIMA! The song, Blood, is a real gem in my opinion.


Follow INBAL







THIS must be another first…


in terms of my interviews and geographical exposure. I do not think I have ever featured a Russian band on my site! As it is; I have been finding out about Hospital and their stunning single, In the Evening. They talk about moving on from their past material and why they have changed their sound; whether there is a healthy music scene in Russia – and whether we might see them come over to the U.K. and play here.

I ask about their upcoming third album (Memory Waves); what it is about the 1980s that inspires a lot of their music; what it is like supporting huge artists like Lana Del Rey; if the band has ambitions for the rest of this year – how Hospital came together and started making music.


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey! I just came back from short vacation in Helsinki. It was kinda a ‘buy-as-many-vinyl-records-as-you-can’ tour. But, a pretty nice city, though.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Of course. We are a four-piece Russian Indie-Rock band. Crazy about 1980s synths and guitars - and songs with melodies. Because; there must be something you can do while taking a shower...

In the Evening is your latest single. What is the story behind the song?

Well. In the Evening is the first song we started to record for the Memory Waves album. It was (recorded) back in 2016. Not the best time for the band, because we were not sure if we should record anything at all. We were at the edge of a split, to be honest...but after the first half of the song was done, we decided that it might be the right sound for us.

A little bit noir kind of stuff.

It is taken from your third album, Memory Waves. Can you reveal the stories and ideas that go into the album? Is there a song from the album you would highlight?

It’s all about escapism, I guess. Of course, there are a lot of ‘typical’ love songs. But, love could be the best way to escape your fears, you know? For us, this album is about being strong whatever road you take in life. It’s about the value of friendship and fighting your demons. It’s a kind of escape from the modern world which, we know, is rubbish.

Cheers, Damon!


How did ‘Hospital’ come to be? When did you meet one another?

The three of us knew each other from a very long time ago.

Me and Aleksey met when we were about fourteen. I first met him at the bus-stop in our hometown, Komsomolsk-on-Amur. He was standing there with a pile of books and we just started talking about these books and, then, about bands. So, that was it: we became friends. We then met Andrey while we were studying at uni. and Vova joined us when we moved to Moscow.

That was in 2007 - and we started playing together in 2011.

I hear the 1980s in your music and ethos. Is it a decade you all relate to?

Well. It’s not because we were born in the 1980s: we are actually (more) children of the 1990s. I think it all started from our love of The Cure and 1980s Space-Rock. We are all pretty tired of some of the faceless bands of the ’00s; you know I mean? To be honest, on our first two albums, we were one of them...

It’s like when you press 'play' and have no idea who the hell is playing in your headphones. So, we decided that it does not matter if someone thinks our music is sh*t – we just want them to know that this is OUR music (smiles).


What sort of music did you all grow up around? When did you decide music is what you wanted to do?

I grew up listening to my father’s huge vinyl collection. There was a lot of Hard-Rock in there: stuff like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple but, also, a lot of things like Ray Charles and Elton John. Then, after I watched the T.V. version of The Beatles Anthology, I became a fan of their music, too.

But, what really change my mind was The Doors…my heroes! From the first seconds of Break on Through (to the Other Side), I decided that I wanna be a musician. Then, when I was a teenager, I discovered all this Britpop and New-Wave bands and Grunge and so on.

Now; I prefer to listen to something like Chet Baker singing. Ha-ha.

Is Moscow quite up-and-coming in terms of music? What is the scene like there?

Oh, you know; I feel a little bit out of modern Russian scene but, as I see it: Garage-Punk-Rock and Lil-Peep-kind-of-Rap is very now.


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

We have planned only one small gig in Moscow - just to test the new material. We don’t have any concrete plans beyond that, for the moment.

Will you play the U.K. at all? Do you get out this way a lot?

We hope so! Maybe someday. Hope our politics will not fu*k everything up. We don’t want another Iron Curtain situation: we wanna tour all over the world and play our music. This is all we want, actually: to love and play music.

You have supported huge artists like Lana Del Rey! Do those big shows give confidence and teach you things as a band?!

It was such a great experience!

The main thing is how much energy you can get while playing in front of 7000 people. It’s an unbelievable feeling.


What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?

Me, personally: I want to present a vinyl version of our new album to my parents - and see The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

Those three gigs with The Neighbourhood. Oh, man; it was terrific!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Prepare to be refused!

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Not as much as we want to - because we all work in our day jobs. Me, personally; I love to read and ride my Kick scooter. PS4 is good stuff, too. Haha.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Let it be Leaves - Catch


Follow Hospital


INTERVIEW: Thayler Rhys


Shoot 2.jpg

Thayler Rhys


MY mind has been on the hunt…

10K POST UP 1.png

for an artist who has the qualities and fabrics of Thayler Rhys. I have been chatting with the Toronto-based artist about his debut single, 10K Post Up, and how a rat-infested flat proved to be conducive, somehow, to songwriting – and what it was like living in such conditions.

The talented newcomer talks about his process and how his influences impact his own sound; whether we will see him in the U.K. at all; if there is time for him to relax away from music; how important Toronto and its people are – ending the interview with some great song choices.


Hi, Thayler Rhys. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey, Sam. It’s been exciting and stressful, but well worth it. My first single is out!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a twenty-four-year-old artist from Montreal, Quebec – now, a four-year native of Toronto.

10K Post Up is your new single. Is there a story behind the song? How did it come together?

I made the song with the producer, friend and old (rat-infested) crib mate of mine, Quin. It’s one of many songs we have cooked up together. Some took hours; some aren’t even close to being done and it’s been months - and a few were did in less than fifteen minutes.

10K Post Up was one of those few.

It was a rainy day; I came over to work on some heat, did that. Quin played this beat near the end. I was like: “JHEEZ”. I got up and he looped it for a few minutes until I started to put together some melodies and words. I left not long after and, when he sent it back to me, we were like: “Hey; damn, this last thing we did is pretty sick, man”.

Things started to come together in 2016 – when you were living in a rat-infested flat with a friend! How did that environment and condition lead to songwriting impetus?!

Rats, mould; non-functioning electro. The best yet was when the kitchen ceiling flooded…and not drops, like…I’m talking shower-game-level. We lived in a house with all the familiar symptoms of a trap house.

Consequently, we had to make some dope beats.

It seems music has been a constant – but you have tried a number of jobs and lifestyles. Did you always know, when going through these phases, music was what you were meant to be doing?!

No, I didn’t: I still don’t. But, f*ck it, I love it - so let’s do it, ya know.

Shoot 1.jpg

Was there a moment when a lightbulb came on and you focused?

When I saw Wiz Khalifa’s Name on a Cloud video in my senior year of high-school, I knew I needed to mob with my homies and make music I would, hopefully, release some day…

Is Toronto a great city to make music and perform? What are the people like there?

Toronto is great! People are confident, hub-committed; open to all kinds of music and proud about Toronto! I really have enjoyed it here. I have been progressively meeting a lot of up-and-coming talent and everyone is really supportive of whatever your vision may be - as long as you’re passionate about it.

Adelaide Hall 2.jpg

Can we see any more material from you later in the year? Will there be an E.P. or album down the line?

Yep; all of those…and more!

Which musicians did you grow up on? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?

Jheez. Uh…

Pink polo-backpack Kanye (West) had me shook, so I think that was my first album purchase on that lucrative pocket money and chores-for-change-income back in the day! My big brother got me on the 1990s classics: Pack (Tupac), Biggie (Smalls) etc. My sister was on soulful stuff: TLC and more. 

I’m pretty sure Quin would say Radiohead and more Radiohead - and Frank Ocean, since his first project.


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

Gigs are being planned for the summer! All are Toronto-orientated for now.

Do you think you’ll come to the U.K. this year? Have you played over this way?

Hell, yeah! When the expansion allows it.

Not sure if that will be this year but my mom was born in London, so one has to represent and come to show love! (Smiles).

You are quite ‘new’ to social media, it seems – Facebook and Twitter accounts are fairly recent. Was there a reason for being away from these sites for a bit?! How important are they, do you think, regards exposure and recruiting fans?

Ya. Just thought I’d hop on the social media thing when we started the wave. Wave be small now, but stay chuned (sic.). Social media also requires a lot of effort, engagement-wise, so I’ve heard, when you’re starting out. So; I figured, when I’m ready, I’d get to it…

I’m ready!

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

A very clear sense of direction of where the wave is heading and a happy fan-base to ride the wave with (Q and I and the close group of amazingly supportive and talented artist were working with) (Smiles).


Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

Yeah. When I first sang at my high-school talent show and had ladies, who didn’t know I existed beforehand, come see what’s really good with me right after I performed...

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

I mean; I’m a really new artist, so for all the hella newer artists: patience, bare patience; then much more patience…and even more; a good work ethic (while working in a state of patience).

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I’m still a student for a little longer - and I work as well. When Quin sends me something we’ve done and I can listen to it – and think up more ideas – well…that’s my unwinding!

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Never by Dear Pressure

…or Roaches (Punken) by Maxo Kream


Follow Thayler Rhys

Adelaide Hall.jpg

INTERVIEW: Coralcrown





I have been investigating Coralcrown auteur Luis Gotor…


and asking about his move to the U.K. (Gotor was born in Spain). I learn more about the new track, Between the Lights, and what we can expect in the future. Coralcrown discusses the vintage sound of his music – and how he mixes that with modern ideals.

I learn more about his debut E.P., Birth (where his latest single is from), and the artists who inspire him; what gigs are coming up; if there is time away from music to detach and reflect – Coralcrown provides some handy advice for new artists.


Hi, Coralcrown. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! This is Luis. Feeling good! My week is been busy. Trying to get some time in-between my job to sit down and write some new music and ideas (locked in my bedroom).

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

My name is Luis Gotor. I am from Spain. I moved to London in 2014 and, since then, I have been writing lots of music and trying to find my sound - coming from a bunch of different styles.

Can I ask where ‘Coralcrown’ came from? That name seems rather intriguing…

Haha, well, to be honest; I spent weeks trying to find a name...

I am terrible with that stuff and none of them convinced me...and then I asked Dani - the keyboardist - what he thought about a few and, with half of a name that I had he suggested (Coralcrow – ‘all together’); that’s it: one of the best gifts that I have ever had. At first, I felt a bit disappointed not be able to find the name by myself - but now I love it and I wouldn’t change it.

Between the Lights is out. Can you tell me about the story behind the song?

I think it was in a time when I felt a bit down and I needed a story to believe in love in a certain way. That kind of feeling when you want to be with someone and, when you get it, nothing else is important - and that becomes your unique and real world.

The production gives the song a vintage-cum-modern vibe. Was it important giving the song that balance and mix?

Wow, thanks. Well. It wasn’t premeditated really: my head gets bits from everywhere and makes its own mix. It seemed natural to me doing it that way. I love both and I think it’s rewarding to combine them.

The song is from your debut E.P., Birth. What sort of themes and ideas can we expect to see in the E.P.? Can you tease any others songs that will appear on it?

Birth is, you can figure from its name, all about a beginning.

It’s the start of all I want to share with people; it’s a selection of the songs that I think represented - by the time that I recorded it - the kind of sound that I wanted to show. They all are very dreamy and talk about desire. I haven’t thought much about it but, yeah, they all talk in a different way of wanting someone (in this or that way).

Whoever is coming out soon and it is a bit creepy but very true (not the murderer thing. God).

Luis. You started Coralcrown after the end of your former band. Was it quite hard transitioning from life in a band to a solo existence?

I was terrified at first with the idea of being alone and exposed - but it is a relief when nobody is stopping you and you can let flow all your ideas and, if you have to change everything a hundred times, you just do it and nobody is gonna get upset. Also, I must say, I am very particular (a pain) sometimes and I like to do things on my way.

There you go: pure honesty.


How important was London, and its nightlife, to your decision to keep going with music?

Well. When I first came, it all seemed a bit overwhelming because everyone was having fun and all these bands were playing gigs. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore but then, as time passed, I was feeling more and more excited about the idea of coming back. Then all my passion took over and I recovered the energy to pursue it.

Which artists did you grow up listening to? Did music arrive in your life early?

I grew up listening lots of Spanish bands (Pereza, ECDL...) at first and then I became more interested in English-speaking music. I used to listen to British and American Pop-Punk bands (Blink-182, Busted...) like every teenager in the 2000s - but then I discovered the R&B from the 1950s (Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley…) and the Pop from the 1960s (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones; Pink Floyd, The Who...) and that blew my mind and put me on the road to where I am now.

However, at this point, I am a bit obsessed with the Disco-Funk from the 1970s – especially the Synth-Pop from the 1980s.

Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

Yes. We’ll be at The Finsbury on 4th May presenting Birth. We can’t wait.

How important is the stage and performing live? Is there a big difference between your studio sound and live set?

I am extremely perfectionist and I like to work hard to get the best possible sound performing live.

I, personally, do like to notice the difference between studio and the live set when I go to gigs and I like to do it as well. But, at this early stage, we are happy to reproduce the songs as they are recorded.


What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

I’d like to play as much as we can, maybe in a few small festivals. Obviously, I’ll see people liking the songs and share them with their friends: I love the idea of the songs being passed by word-of-mouth.

Also, I am planning to record a few more songs at the end of the year.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

I do, and it is not a particular one: it is more a feeling that, when you are performing live with your friends (and musicians), there is a sort of magic and connection that is really addictive.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

I’d say do not ever give up if you believe in it.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I don’t chill away much, really: it is a bit unhealthy and, yeah, I should. I should leave the cave more often than I do.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Me and MichaelMGMT


Follow Coralcrown


FEATURE: April Showers: The Best Albums Due Next Month



April Showers


IN THIS PHOTO: Janelle Monáe

The Best Albums Due Next Month


EVERY month has those albums that…


IN THIS PHOTO: Kylie Minogue

will challenge for the end-of-year medal places. April is no exception, for sure. Janelle Monáe, Manic Street Preachers and Laura Veirs release albums, I feel, will wrestle for the high positions come the end of 2018. I have been looking through the announced releases and collated the ten records you need to put in your April collection – guaranteed to put a smile on the face and remain in the memory.

Despite the fact there is snow on the ground and a chill in the air: some big April releases will get the spirits up and warm the heart, for sure…

ALL PHOTOS: Getty Images


Eels The Deconstruction


Release Date: 6th April

Label: E Works Records

Genres: Alternative; Indie-Rock


HindsI Don't Run


Release Date: 6th April

Label: Mom + Pop Music

Genres: Garage-Pop; Alternative; Indie-Rock

Kylie MinogueGolden 


Release Date: 6th April

Label: Liberator Music

Genre: Pop

Manic Street PreachersResistance Is Futile 


Release Date: 6th April

Label: Columbia Records

Genres: Rock; Alternative

Unknown Mortal OrchestraSex & Food


Release Date: 6th April

Label: Jagjaguwar

Genre: Alternative

Confidence Man Confidence Music for Confidence People 


Release Date: 13th April

Label: Heavenly

Genres: Indie; Alternative; Pop

Laura VeirsThe Lookout 


Release Date: 13th April

Label: Bella Union

Genre: Folk

KimbraPrimal Heart 


Release Date: 20th April

Label: Warner Bros. Records

Genre: Pop

Janelle Monáe Dirty Computer 


Release Date: 27th April

Labels: Bad Boy Records; Wondaland Arts Society; Epic Records

Genres: R&B; Soul

Twin Shadow Caer 


Release Date: 27th April

Labels: Warner Bros. Records; Reprise

Genres: Synth-Pop; New-Wave

INTERVIEW: The Great Dictators



The Great Dictators


MY recent interviewing has taken me…


all over the world. Although I have travelled a lot and featured artists from various parts; it has been a while since I included a Danish act. The Great Dictators are a fantastic band who discuss their latest single, Killing Fields, and how it came to be. I was interested knowing how the group formed and what the scene is like in Denmark right now – and whether the guys are coming to the U.K. to play.

I ask how the music has moved on since When I Waltz (their debut E.P.) and what their musical tastes are; how all the disparate sounds and genres formulate into something cohesive; if they get time away from music to reflect – what they would say to any new artists emerging.


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Great, thanks. Our week’s been pretty hectic with the release of our single and working on new music but, all in all, very good.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Well. We’re The Great Dictator; we’re from Denmark and we love beer. We also love to explore as many genres as possible - as long as the end result is something that will subtly rock our worlds. The overall genre is definitely some kind of melancholic Rock, though.

Killing Fields is your new song. Can you tell me what the inspiration behind it is?

Killing Fields, first of all, marks a step in a new direction for us; both genre-wise and as a band. We’ve been listening to a lot of, mostly, Electronic acts lately: Porches, Blanck Mass; Zola Jesus etc. Then, Dragut bought a drum machine - and, then, the rest is history.

The song, itself, is about the difficulties we as humans can have communicating with each other. The world is a dark but, also, a beautiful mess. There’s a lot of crap going on but hope tends to pop up; even though it’s only through small glimpses.

It is cinematic and dark; it mixes different shades together. Did the song come together naturally? How does a (The) Great Dictators song come together?

Dragut wrote the song and played around with it at his flat. Later on, we all brought our ideas; played around with it in our studio and made it sound like it does. That’s, basically, the standard procedure for every song.


Is there going to be more material arriving? What are you working on?

There sure is.

As of now, we have the groundwork for an E.P. - that is set to be released late-2018. Killing Fields is the only finished track, but we’re working our butts off with the rest of the songs. We also hope to have one or two more singles ready before the E.P.-release.

How do you think you have changed since your debut E.P., When I Waltz?

We’ve definitely grown more as musicians - and the band constellation has changed a lot. All in all, we’ve grown more secure in what we do and stopped minding all the B.S. that tags along with being an underground act – that, sometimes, tickle the surface of local fame. We’re also more open to constantly exploring new musical directions and, hopefully, keeping our melancholic vibe intact.

How did The Great Dictators come to be? When did you meet one another?

Dragut started the project in 2011 as a musical collective, where Jakob was one of the first band members. Chris joined later on - and then it all made sense being a trio.


I hear shades of Country and Folk; some Metal and Indie strands. Which artists inspire you all? Did you all grow up around music?

None of us grew up with musicians in the family, so it probably has more to do with our own discoveries and equally-music-interested people around us. We’re all (just) passionate music lovers with different backgrounds. Chris’ favorite genre is probably Math Rock; Jakob is into Electronic music and Dragut is a complete sucker for all genres.

Denmark is where you are based. What is the scene like there now? How does it differ to the likes of the U.S. and U.K.?

The scene, right now, is pretty standard and ordinary. It’s not necessarily a bad thing...

It seems like it’s imitating what’s going on in the rest of the world; also the U.S. and U.K. Streaming services, Pop singles and short attention-spans seem like they’re dominating, but still, there’s a cool and vivid underground scene of great acts. But, they don’t get the attention, support and money they deserve.


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

We’re planning on (playing) gigs sometime after the summer; plus, a grand release show and a tour in early-2019.

Will you play the U.K. at all? Do you get out this way a lot?

No promises, but we’d love to have some gigs in the U.K. We have it in mind so, hopefully, next year.

Any ideas?

What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?

We’d like to drink more wine instead of beer. We still love beer but wine seems more sophisticated. Adult fluids, you know.


Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

We supported Daniel Lanois when he played in Denmark a couple of years ago. He was an extremely cool dude and, fortunately, he was up for a really awkward selfie. But, in general, the band is about friendship, constantly meeting and working with new people and delivering new tunes that resonate with our fans. We’ll continue the journey and we’re up for more adventures.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Write some good songs, make some good music: it might take a while, perhaps a whole fuc*ing lot of years, but keep on working on your own voice and then all the hard work  suddenly begins - with all the boring mail-writing and mingling; spending money you won’t see again but, hey: believe in yourself and then all the rest is quite unimportant.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

We really dig movies, so that’s a common panic room. We also like the soothing voice of Sir David Attenborough. But, music is our biggest passion - so almost everything has something to do with music…

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Christoffer: G Is for Jaile by Gallops

Jakob: Emerald Rush by Jon Hopkins

Dragut: Metal Gods by Judas Priest


Follow The Great Dictators


FEATURE: Still Waters Run Shallow: Where Has the ‘Fizz’ Gone?!



Still Waters Run Shallow


ALL PHOTOS: Unsplash 

Where Has the ‘Fizz’ Gone?!


I realise I spent a lot of my…


music-listening existence harking to the past and what I grew up around. I love looking back and seeing where music has come from. It would be a fool’s bet thinking music is not going to get any better: there is a world of sound out there; who knows what possibilities and breakthroughs will happen?! Whilst I am open-minded to the possibility of reinvention and development – will we ever get the same quality and genius as years gone by? One can argue the toss regards quality and how the new stuff stacks against the older material. I am in the camp that suggests, although music is more open and variegated than when I was growing up; we have seen fewer world-class, genre-lasting records released. I do not know what the reason behind the split is. Maybe we have seen all the major developments and accomplishments: it is harder to achieve new wonder and break ground. I am not disappointed with new music because there is a wonderful spread of artists available. Anyone can get into the industry and there are sub-genres and little cultures all over the place. Why one can quibble about quality and legacy; there is one thing, I feel, is beyond doubt: music has lost a lot of its pop and punch. There is a certain irony given the fact Pop music is, well, supposed pop.

I yearn for those big R&B anthems and the classic Pop anthems. I only need to go back to the 1990s – or the early part of the last decade – to see where things changed. If you look at the way, say, girl groups have developed and died – that is a glaring sign things are changing for the worse. There have been some half-arsed girl groups through time but we must consider the great ones. All Saints, En Vogue and Destiny’s Child, between them, produced some sensational music in the 1990s. I listen to belters like Free Your Mind (En Vogue) and Bills, Bills, Bills (Destiny’s Child); a stunner such as Black Coffee (All Saints) and Overload (Sugarbabes). We have girl groups like Little Mix – but they are in the minority. We lack the great black girl groups (En Vogue, Destiny’s Child and Salt-N-Pepa) of the 1990s and the pioneers such as Diana Ross and the Supremes. Sister Sledge are gone and, well, look at modern Pop and things have become so predictable. There are explosive cuts but I wonder whether we can ever get back that excitement that arrived a couple of decades back. From Disco and Pop to R&B and Soul – genres, at their best, have created timeless and enduring songs. I have named female artists who, during their time, showed they were as powerful and potent as the boys. Aaliyah can be added to the list; go back to bands like Garbage and Republica.

I have been listening back to songs from Sugarbabes and En Vogue and wondering why we no longer put panache and passion at the forefront. Maybe there is that missing carbonation but, if anything, it has changed forms and become more gentrified. Girl groups are gone and Pop places more emphasis on artists who channel personal concerns and deliver accessible messages – rather than look outwards and produce more complicated numbers. Rock and Alternative have produced heroes through the years: bands who provided mass-celebration anthems and peerless songs. I think about Oasis, Pulp and Blur. I know I keep returning to this well – older music and what it has done to the world – but my angle here is around fun and energy. One cannot be too harsh at the Pop world and the best R&B acts of the moment. Whilst Pop giants like Lady Gaga and Rihanna can still pack them in; Electronic artists such as M83 are capable of giving us some bliss; Dutch Uncles and Field Music capable of firing on all cylinders – they are in the minority. Not only have past wonders given the music world fireworks and body-slamming stunners; the artists providing that material have inspired others and delivered strong messages. It is not only women of the past who I miss and feel left a big gap: some great male-made music remains in my mind and obsesses me soon.

A lot of that comes from the Dance music that was being produced from the late-1980s to the early-2000s. From Basement Jaxx and The Avalanches to Spiller and Arrested Development (not Dance-based, I know) – we have been spoiled. That is not to mention icons like Madonna and Kylie Minogue. Things are not bleak but I do not feel there is the same motivation there was years ago. Call it ‘fun’ or ‘fizz’: whatever you label it, you cannot argue against the fact it is somewhat lacking nowadays. I have been diving into the past because there is that guarantee of release and substance. I love music now but my attention has focused inwards. Rather than look for that demented Dance wizard and Trance fizzer; the Pop injection and the sunshine high – now, something more emotional and level-headed comes to the fore. I admire artists who try to bring optimism and catchiness into music but, a lot of the time, it can come off as overly-processed and generic. I wonder why music has lost a lot of its fun and positivity. You might argue some of those older anthems – from girl groups, Dance music and Rock – have carried some heaviness or were part of a scene that demanded that type of music. The world is darker and more endangered than it was back in the 1990s – even as recently as last decade.

We all need to find some hope and discover music that puts us in a better mood. Maybe artists are truthfully reflecting the feelings of the people and the strain we all feel. Rather than fight against this and create something scintillating; artists are taking a different approach. Perhaps the fact we don’t have girl groups and the same Pop configuration has done its damage. Club music and Dance has changed formats and become less popular – not as memorable as it was back in my day. I would like to think there is a way we can revise that bliss and, even for a short time, capture the fizz. I know there has never been a time where the majority of songs coming out write positive: the glorious songs and catchy anthems have been spread out for the past two or three decades, say – take it back to the 1960s if you want. There is no suggestion music has completely lost its edge and become too serious. The fact so many artists have come along means it is harder filtering those big tunes and bubbling tracks – maybe we have plenty out there being obscured by everything else. My point is, besides being a bit nostalgic, is for new artists to remember why certain artists/songs have survived this long. We are more likely to remember and connect with songs that have urgency, hooks and uplifted spirits. I do not mind looking back for that release and relief – I would like to stay in the current time and get that fulfilment from the modern breed. I am a huge fan of what is happening now but once in a while, more often than I hear now, I’d love to discover a song/band that…


GETS every part of my involved and engaged.

FEATURE: Don’t Blame Canada: How Musicians from the Great White North Are Changing the Game



Don’t Blame Canada


ALL PHOTOS (unless credited otherwise): Unsplash 

How Musicians from the Great White North Are Changing the Game


MANY people assume I am a Canadian journalist…


IN THIS PHOTO: A shot of Vancouver

because so many of my interviews focus on artists from there. I have been doing this gig for over six years and, over the past few months, I have noticed an influx of requests coming from Canada. I am not sure why so many Canadian artists flock my way. I am aware I am on the radar of popular Canadian P.R. sites and record labels – things shared by one artist is then seen by another; that leads to a chain of requests. The national stereotype seems to hold true: they are awfully nice people. It would be too long naming all the Canadian artists worth recommending – and my memory is pretty lousy! – but there is a general vibe that is very pleasing. I have reviewed a lot of artists who are taking music back to its roots. There are artists everywhere who record and release their material to cassette. We see fewer and fewer tape-released material at this time. Here, it is seen as retro and nostalgic: in Canada, it is part of many artists’ process. I have seen bands that put out a double-cassette release: one song on each side of the tape. Once or twice; I have seen bands collaborate on a double-release – where they would take lead on one song each and backing on the other. Emails and requests I get from artists are friendly, warm and informative.


There is less work involved when it comes to Canadian acts. They produce great photos and the information I need; they get their answers back in a timely manner – always producing full and interesting responses. That might sound like general administration stuff and genial insignificance: to me, it is a great reason to feature an artist and follow like-minded sorts. I find, with Canadian artists, they have a more ambitious approach and direction. Maybe it is their political landscape – more secure and settled than the U.S. and U.K. – or a natural way of life. There are loads of great artists coming from Canada but, to me, Ontario is providing the best music. So much of my time is spent looking at musicians from Toronto. It is a big city, yes, but I wonder how so many great artists from a place that isn’t the size of a small planet. I have noticed great music from Vancouver and Quebec but this is true: there is something extra-special about Ontario. You have Vancouver in B.C. and Toronto to the south of Ontario; there’s Red Deer in Alberta and Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island. It is interesting seeing all the different music coming from various areas. I have mentioned Ontario but there are so many productive areas of the nation. What I find is, unlike some smaller nations, there is not a reliance on one genre.



Here in the U.K., we have musicians representing everything music has to offer. To me, Canada is more reliable right across the board. The nation is flying when it comes to Alternative and Indie; they produce fantastic Pop artists and some incredible Soul. Maybe they are not as prolific when it comes to Rap and Urban avenues – perhaps the U.S. does that better. Established Toronto bands like Broken Social Scene, Weaves and Alvvays are putting the nation on the map; same goes for city-mates Crystal Castles and BadBadNotGood. We all, whether we know it or not, listen to new Canadian artists. I will bring in another article soon – and conclude with my thoughts – but, to me, the best of Canada always has one part of their mind in the past. They appreciate physical formats and are keen to see them continue; they have that passion for older technologies and fuse it with the modern and new. I know other nations love where music has come from: few have the same fondness and intensity as Canada. Published last year; a great article explored Canadian record labels and how music got made:

The making of a Canadian music star is no small feat – beyond talent and luck, there are multiple organizations, players and stakeholders. In this unstable mix of fans and audiences, live music venues, multinational music corporations, local radio stations and key taste-making DJs on both the club and radio circuits, there are innumerable variables”.


IN THIS PHOTO: Union Station, Toronto

There is great success and profitability in Canada right now. The music landscape is bustling but, compared to wealthier, more popular nations; I wonder whether they are being overlooked. We know most people look at U.S. and U.K.-made music. We have big labels here; the U.S. has the most commercial and wealthy acts. Although there is incredible music all around Canada, I wonder whether we are doing enough to promote it. Maybe I should put out a list of the best Canadian acts. Look at my blog and scan through the interviews there. You will see a whole host of Canadian artists who have huge strengths and compelling stories. We all know about the strong American and British stars – huge acts like Drake and The Weeknd are scoring massively on streaming sites. Another part of the article highlights some concerns and ironies:

The paradox in Canadian music is that we have so many superstars and very few developmental channels to build future superstars. We cannot expect to continue to have globally relevant Canadian pop stars without examining (or creating) the mechanisms needed to sustain pop chart ascension. In the music industry, technological disruption came early, and solutions such as streaming and 360 record deals – in which labels take a cut of an artist's other money-making activities, such as touring – have temporarily plugged the hemorrhaging of profits. Superstars such as Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, the Weeknd and Drake keep Canada in the global spotlight, even if we haven't perfected a star-making formula”.


IN THIS PHOTO: Alessia Cara/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I know there are so many wonderful Canadian musicians working hard and trying to get their stuff out there. The native followers are supportive and kind: Canada needs the support of the wider world and those bigger musical nations. The final point I will bring in from the article looks at music venues in Toronto and dangers facing some of its artists:

Two panels focused on some of Toronto's local infrastructure promise to be informative and important to the evolution of the city's music strategy. With the threat earlier this year of disappearing live music venues across Toronto, there is much to discuss, especially with the city's condo-filled skyline affecting the affordability of those venues. And cultural spaces such as the former site of the 416 Graffiti Expo, at Queen and Portland Streets, are the reasons why local hip-hop artists of two generations ago could imagine Toronto as a hip-hop city, a place to affectionately name and represent as the T-dot-O-dot in the mid-1990s”.

It seems the same issues facing Britain’s music scene afflicts Canada. Despite the warnings and the musical snow; Canadian artists are fighting and, free from the pressures of international eyes and expectation; they are providing more original and special music. I have mentioned the cassettes and hardware artists record to. Platforms such as BandCamp are more popular in Canada than anywhere else. It is interesting discovering new Canadian music because, with every offering, I learn something I did not know before.


Going forward; I feel Canada, alongside the U.S. and U.K., should be part of your regular rotation. Nations like Sweden, Australia and Germany are housing terrific musicians and burgeoning scenes. I feel Canada mixes the best aspects of British and American music – diverse and genre-spanning; able to mix commercial and unique – and has its own dynamic. The warm and fascinating personalities of the musicians, added to the work mentality and inventiveness of their releases, stands Canada out. It is a nation that deserves more funding and attention. From recent inclusions such as Mute Choir and old favourites like Emily Mac – there is something for everyone. I cannot fit all the great Canadian music onto a single playlist. I am not surprised so many Canadian artists come my way: I am less surprised I am hooked by the country and what is coming from there. I know there are so many Canadian artists who want to perform over here. It can be hard enough getting dates in the U.K. – a lack of finance and the country preferring its own artists – so we need to find a way of putting more Canadian artists into the fore. It is a growing and amazing nation that does not get the same credit and exposure as America – despite the fact there is a richer scene and friendlier, more engaged artists. One of my hopes is the world opens its eyes and realises what fantastic sounds are coming…


IN THIS PHOTO: A shot of Chilliwack, British Columbia

FROM Canada.






FROM the working-class neighbourhoods of Brooklyn…


it is to Belgium – where I get to discuss music with Statue. The band has released the video for the track, E. I was interested knowing more about them and the inspirations that go into their L.P., Kasper. They talk about their formation and fond memories from music; whether there are any dates in the dairy – and whether they are coming to the U.K.

The band talk about the scene in Belgium; the artists who inspired them to get into music; what they all hope to achieve throughout this year – I learn how a typical Statue song comes together.


Hi, Statue. How are you? How has your week been?

Bart: Had a good dinner on Monday with some friends.

Emiel/Toni: Crazy-awesome! Just played our first shows of this year. Feels very good to play again.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Bart: Think Matrix fight scene music played by guitars not sounding anything like a guitar...

Lennart: ...oh...and please leave those vocals out.

E is out now. What is the story behind the single?

Antoni: It started out as a jam with a nice melody, wide-loud guitars and Rock-kinda drums. But, in the studio, we completely destroyed it...

Made it a bit more dumpster-Rock.

The video is quite quirky and fun! How was it putting it together?

While working on the song in the studio, we realised it would become a very nervous song. We couldn’t stop dancing and talked about fast cars and sports.The guys of Visual Internationals - who’ve worked out the video - came up with a crazy ping pong video-clip idea - and we immediately jumped on it.

Lennart: The recording of the video we’re pretty crazy. We rented the sports hall for a night. So, we had nine hours, a great crew and 480 ping pong balls to put it all together. Afterwards, we went to the swimming pool for two underwater shots. Pretty exhausting but loads of fun. We started at 11 P.M. and we’ve ended at 10.30 A.M. So, we were pretty fuc*ed - but we had to celebrate with some rum and red wine.

Kasper is your new album. What can you reveal about the themes and ideas that inspired its creation?

Bart: The tracks on the album started off, originally, in the likes of our previous album - Calexico Point - and originated naturally in our rehearsal space. Once in the studio, the great interaction with producer Micha Volders and Micha’s take on song structure and sound, triggered us to the more aggressive, robot-like danceable tracks you can hear on the album.


How do songs come together for you? Do you write songs together - or does one person write the songs?

Every song started with one of the guys trying some riff, beat; a groove or whatever you want to name it. Then, the band picks in and start adding where others start toning down again; until the main theme of a song has grown. We start playing it regularly at rehearsals; from there it grows into a song that kept evolving - only taking a final form from the moment it’s recorded for the album (it will appear on).

Jan: Hours and hours of jams. For Kasper, we’ve selected ten ideas out of a-hundred-plus-hours of jams. Then, we come together; go completely insane listening to these crazy jams. Once we’ve selected the most interesting ideas, we start jamming and working on these songs for hours and hours.

Lennart: Every song is a team effort.

Did music come into your lives early? What got you hooked on it?

Bart: I can only speak for myself, but it didn’t come that early. As with many kids of my age, my interest was triggered at the age of sixteen; because I liked ‘guitar’ music - mostly Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana. For me, the reason picking up the bass instead of the guitar - like any sixteen-year-old would do - was that Lennart (yes, the same guy I’m still in with Statue) played in a Nirvana cover band and didn’t have a bass player.

Antoni: As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to play music and it never changed. So; I’m not sure what hooked me up. It’s just the most fun thing to do in the world!


Which musicians did you all grow up around? Can you each remember the first album you ever bought?

We listen to very different kinds of music. But, living in Belgium; I think we all listened to bands like dEUS, Millionaire; Evil Superstars…

Emiel: I can’t remember the first album I bought. But; I think it should be something like Rammstein, Papa Roach; Slipknot, Sum 41; Metallica...

When I was fourteen, I started listening to Sonic Youth, Q.O.T.S.A.; Hüsker Du, Radiohead and Dinosaur Jr.

Bart: I didn’t grow up on a certain musician. I have been discovering new music from the moment I started consciously listening to music. The first album I ever bought was Blood on the Dancefloor - Michael Jackson.

Lennart: The first album I ever bought was By the Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers. It got me into guitar-playing. I liked the way John Frusciante approached the guitar. Afterwards, I really got into Tom Verlaine (Television), David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Feist. Oh, Feist...

She has an extraordinary way of playing the guitar. She wants to comfort you and cut your throat at the same time.

Joos: The first album I bought was Purple Pills by D12.

Jan: The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute.

You are based out of Belgium. Is the country quite active in terms of new music?!

Emiel: I believe Belgium is becoming very active in terms of new music. The last five years, the bands have been tripled. So much new music, new bands. Quite interesting but...

Lennart: ...there is a great underground scene with lots of bands with their own sound and vibe. More importantly, some of these bands find their way into the more popular circuits giving the edge to mainstream music (it’s craving for).


Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?

Emiel: We’ll be playing most of the time in Belgium and the Netherlands. We’re slowly working on a team throughout Europe, so we can start playing other countries.

Will you come to the U.K. and play? What do you think of the music here?

Jezusfacory Records will distribute our album in the U.K. I think there are a lot more pubs, venues and bands in the U.K. This increases the creativity and level of the musicians.

Bart: Book us: we will tear down your club.

Antoni: We will come and visit you guys, but your E.U. exit doesn’t make it easy, though.

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

Emiel: Play nice venues, go on tour; play a lot, play cool audiences; make a lot of fun with the band and the people we get to know on our way!

Jan: Start working on next year’s album!


Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music - the one that sticks in the mind?

Emiel: I think we have a lot of fantastic memories. But, there is one I still remember it was like yesterday. One time, we played and we stayed at the venue all night partying our heads off. When the morning came, we were all too drunk to drive. Only one of us could, so we all had to get in one little van with all the instruments. Someone got pressed in the trunk and another one had to sit on the roof of the car. Luckily, it was only a ten-minute drive.

Antoni: Playing at Pukkelpop was definitely one of the highlights. But, just playing the music I like with my friends just turns a big smile on my face.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Antoni: Play as much with as many people as you can and do whatever you like.

Bart: You’re the musician: make the music you want to make. Don’t do it for anybody but yourself. Don’t give up.

Joos: Get out there and try to construct a sound of your own.

Lennart: Try. Fail. Fail again. Win.


Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Antoni: I don’t have much time to chill away or unwind. I don’t think any of us. If we’re not playing with Statue we’re playing in our other bands.

Lennart: As Antoni mentions, we don’t have much time left to listen to music. But, I truly enjoy listening to music on our way to a gig. In the best case; I’d love to dream away to some new albums on my couch with my headphones on...

But that’s pretty rare.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Bart Weyens (Bass): The Fall - The Classical

Emiel Van Den Abbeele (Guitar): Hüsker Dü - Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely

Joos Houwen (Guitar): Serge Gainsbourg - En Melody

Antoni Foscez (Drums): Holy Fuck - Tom Tom

Jan Viggria (Guitar): Fu Manchu - Evil Eye

Lennart Janssen (Guitar): Ought - Habit


Follow Statue






 Anton Coene


Jasper Dufraing and Philip Vermeesen