INTERVIEW: Exiled

INTERVIEW:

Exiled

___________

IN my first interview of this week...

I have been speaking with Exiled about their new song, Lita’s Place, and what it is all about. I wanted to find out how they found one another and which artists they count as influences – they select some albums that mean a lot to them.

I ask whether there are tour dates booked; which rising artists we need to look out for and who they’d support on the road if they could; how they spend their time away from music – the chaps each pick a pretty good song to end the interview with.

____________

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

Hiya! It’s been really exciting. Cheers for asking!

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

Hey, guys. We’re Exiled and we’re a four-piece Indie-Rock band based in Sheffield.

Lita’s Place is your new single. What is the inspiration behind it?

Lita’s Place pays homage to our local pub in which we spend far too much time in our younger years. Our generation spends a lot of time worrying about the future, listening to drab news headlines and doom-and-gloom news reports. Being up the pub is a time when we forget all that stuff and just enjoy being together.

Guess it’s also about girls too, though.

Can you recall when Exiled found one another and how life started for you guys?

Me (Max), Henry and Ethan met at secondary-school. The band was formed during an R.E. lesson via paper aeroplanes - we never enjoyed R.E. much. Six years later, we met Jack during freshers’ week. He joined up after sessioning for us on tour last summer to make us who we are today.

Which artists do you count as influences? 

Catfish and The Bottlemen have a big influence on us. We were all captivated by their sound when they released The Balcony. I (Max) have a love for Surf-Rock and think that comes across in our tunes sometimes. Historically, we’ve enjoyed so many artists from The Smiths to Dire Straits. It’s a mixed bag to be honest. I’m (Max) personally a big fan of The Strokes, Jack loves The Killers. 

Is there going to be more material coming from you down the line?

Yes. 100%. There’s so much of it ready and waiting.

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

Think it would have to be our first sold out show on a Scruff of the Neck bill. That show was nuts. Either that or playing at this year Great Escape in Brighton; that was really special.

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)? 

Max: The StrokesIs This It

That’d be my desert island album. I can burn a day listening to that on-repeat.

Jack: Feeder - The Singles

The first album I ever owned and still one of my all-time favourites.

Henry: Catfish and The Bottlemen - The Balcony

Bangers throughout!

Ethan: Bon Iver - Bon Iver

I love putting that album on and just completely chilling out. Some awesome tracks on there.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Catfish and The Bottlemen, for sure. And it’d have to be Percy Pigs and Long Island ice teas.

As you are called Exiled, if you could exile anyone from Britain/another nation, who would that be?

Oof. Not sure how to deal with that much power! Maybe we'll exile Max to The Bahamas so we have an excuse to visit him.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Keep doing what you’re doing; say ‘yes’ to everything and, if it doesn’t work out, see it as a learning curve. Get your music on Spotify; get into your local BBC Introducing and have fun with it. If it ain’t fun, don’t bother.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

We play at Cafe Totem in Sheffield on 14th June. We open the Main Stage at Nibley Festival on Saturday, 6th July and there will be more exciting announcements down the line.

Is touring something you all love doing?

Love it! So great seeing new places and faces. There’s a real sense of pride in touring and we can’t wait to head out again sometime.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Hockey Dad/PHOTO CREDIT: Alex Wall

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

You should check out Hockey Dad and a band called The Reytons. The First is a sick Australian Surf band and the latter are Indie-Rock; kind of early-Arctics vibe to them, which is really nice to hear.

IN THIS PHOTO: The Reytons

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

Oddly, I actually find writing a very relaxing thing to do. Nice getting lost in spacey sounds and coming up with lyrics and licks. We're all big fans of being outdoors; getting the fire pit lit up and draining a few beers. That and food. Food is our passion.

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).

Max: The Strokes - Under Cover Of Darkness

Jack: The Night Café - Endless Lovers

Henry: Dance a la Plage2 2 2

 

Ethan: Cassia - Small Spaces

Thanks for the opportunity!

___________

Follow Exiled

INTERVIEW: Psyence

INTERVIEW:

lloo.jpg

Psyence

___________

MY weekend interview...

sees me talking with the chaps of Psyence about their recent single, Cold Blooded Killer, and whether there is a story behind it; what they can tell me about their upcoming album and how the boys found each another – I ask which albums are most important to each of them.

I was keen to know whether there are tour dates coming and what advice they’d give to artists coming through; how they relax away from music and which artists they count as influences – they each pick a great song to end the interview with.

____________

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

Our weeks have been busy. Everybody’s working hard behind-the-scenes constantly, preparing for the album release. Gonzo’s been busy pursuing his side hobby as an adult film star. 

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

We are Psyence. Consisting of Wedge, The Colonel; Gonzo, Carty and Piglet. 

How did Psyence form? What is the meaning behind the name?

We formed in a pub over eighty-four pints, a bag of scampi fries and a share-bag of pork scratching.

The single, Cold Blooded Killer, is out at the moment. Is there a story behind it?

The colonel (Jay) is on bail so I can’t comment as it could potentially jeopardise his current case and chance of a Netflix special.

I understand an album is available later in the year. What can you tell me about it?

Yes, finally! We’re really happy with how it turned out. It’s an intense chemical reaction of face-melting riffs and groove-laden tunes. It's been created from us spending many years toiling away in backroom venues and countless hours in vans, working on our songs and our sound. It's a working man’s release.

Which artists do you count as influences?

Led Zeppelin and The Stone Roses.

sdas.jpg

What is the best aspect of being in a band? Is there a brotherhood within the ranks?

Yeah. It’s f*cking banging, especially when we have sleepovers and pillow fights.

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

Played in Paris, dropped some acid - and the rest we can’t discuss.

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Steve: Lonerism - Tame Impala

It just f*cking blows my mind every time I listen to it.

Jay: Revolver - The Beatles

It’s the best Beatles album I.M.O.

Pig: Plastic BeachGorillaz

It’s got a song about jellyfish. HOW AMAZING

Gonzo: Second Coming The Stone Roses              

Cuz Reni is a don.

Carty: T. Rex - Electric Warrior

Cuz I like dinosaurs.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

The Stone Roses…and a framed picture of Ainsley Harriot from his Ready Steady Cook days wearing the green peppers apron.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Be prepared to let everything else in your life suffer for it. It’s worth it, though.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Yeah. All major cities across the U.K. Keep yer eyes peeled on our socials.

Is touring something you all love doing?

Yeah. It’s the best part of it. None of us get holidays cuz of the band so Scunthorpe away is a class day out. You get free chili there, too.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yeah: PSYENCE.

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

Olives and a relaxing bowl of crack.

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).

ScenicOverflow

Viagra BoysDown in the Basement

The ProdigyNeed Some1

UnderworldBorn Slippy

The AnimalsHouse of the Rising Sun

___________

Follow Psyence

INTERVIEW: Maya Killtron

INTERVIEW:

Maya Killtron

___________

AS we move into the new week...

I have been speaking with Maya Killtron about her recent album, Never Dance Alone, and how it began life. I ask whether she has a standout cut from the record and what comes next - she highlights some rising artists we need to get behind.

The songwriter tells me about her favourite memory from her career and which albums she holds dearest; whether there are gigs coming along and what she does when not making music – she selects a classic anthem to end the interview with.

____________

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

Hi, there! It’s been a busy week but good. It’s finally spring in Toronto!

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

My name is Maya Killtron. I’m singer, songwriter; violinist and D.J. based out of Toronto, Canada. My music is Funk, Boogie; R&B - but more easily described as fun, dancey music about break-ups.

Never Dance Alone is your new album. What inspired its creation? Was there a particular moment that provided catalyst?

The album started with the title single. The producer and myself were just writing and trying things and that some just happened in a day - and we went with it 100%.

Is there a song from the album you count as a favourite?

I’m not sure if I have a favourite. That’s like asking a mom who here favourite child is. I guess there’s always a favourite though, isn’t there? I’d have to say Red Dress is a favourite to perform live. It always gets people dancing and that is the greatest achievement for a live show in my opinion.

Has music always been a big part of your life? Were you encouraged to take it up as a child?

I’m adopted and my adoptive parents knew my birth-mother was a violinist. They made sure the violin was a part of my education from age five. Even though I’ve never met her, I get to carry that part of her with me forever.

The fact you are a multi-instrumentalist and D.J. gives your music a certain confidence, breadth and conviction. Does this talent give you more variety and choice a songwriter?

It certainly gives me a unique perspective. As a club D.J., your main objective is to keep people dancing and to keep the party going. I took the same approach with this album. I wanted to keep people dancing, feeling good and smiling from end to end. No slow jams.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2019?

More music in the works already and, now that the album is out, I want to tour it as much as possible. It’s great being in the studio, in your little cave; in sweatpants, many snacks; take after take, working out every detail…but I love performing the music to an audience. Seeing their reaction, partying with them out under the lights. That’s where I want to be for the rest of 2019.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a great career as a musician from performing my own music to recording, writing and touring with other great artists. I’ve had a lot of great moments just being a back-up singer. If I had to pick one, it was the first time I sang my own music and the audience sang the lyrics back to me. I’ll never forget that. It also happened to be my birthday so you can’t beat that as a birthday present.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Purple RainPrince

It’s all the fun, dance, sex and camp you could ever want crammed into one album. And he had strings; bonus. He is perfection.

Voodoo - D’Angelo

A disciple of Prince but entirely unique. D. is a genius and every note of that album is pure effervescence. Nobody sings harmonies like him.

Mariah CareyDaydream

An unmatched voice of my generation. I wore my cassette out and had to buy it twice.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Chaka Khan or Chromeo. Very different but the same Funk family. Both are currently touring and I love them so much. After taking care of my band and crew with some sweet rider food, drink and accom., my only request would be to share a song on stage together every night. I think, if I actually got to sing a song with Chaka Khan, I might burst into flames.

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

Right now, the plan is to tour close to home. Get back on the road locally and then aim for my first solo push overseas this fall and early-2020.

66.jpg

Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?

Yes, absolutely. I’m no different than many other performers. I’m mostly an introvert in day to day life but on stage I can do anything and be the dream version of myself. Confident, daring; brave, magnetic. It’s never not fun. Even if a crowd isn’t really engaging at first, I love the challenge of first getting them to smile, then move; then all out dance, eyes closed with hands in the air. There is nothing better than sharing that.

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Nothing can ever replace good old-fashioned hard work. Sometimes, there are shortcuts but most of time there aren’t. All of those ‘overnight’ success stories were actually years of hard work, planning; trial and error. Work hard, harder than everyone around you. Nobody can ever take that away from you.

8.png

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Tanika Charles is about to release an amazing new album. Maylee Todd is not only an innovator; she’s a community leader, educator and has probably the most creative approach to music I’ve ever seen. Aphrose is working on her first album after the successful release of great singles and videos. Bywater Call is an amazing Canadian Blues act set to tour the E.U. in early-2020. And the enigmatic James Baley - voice, vogue and fashion. He will be the next Gaga but better.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Bywater Call

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

I don’t get a lot of time to chill but, right now, I’m on that GoT (Game of Thrones) bandwagon. I got sucked right in and it’s near-obsession. I think with all the Night King scenes…I wouldn’t call it ‘unwinding’ but it’s definitely not working on music.

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).

The Best - Tina Turner. No explanation needed…

___________

Follow Maya Killtron

INTERVIEW: Juvenal Maze

INTERVIEW:

xxx.jpg

Juvenal Maze

___________

MY last interview until next week...

is with Juvenal Maze, who has been discussing his tracks, In a Place/She Just Wanna, and how they came to mind. I ask what music inspires and whether his Congolese roots have impacted his sounds/music – he reveals some rising artists to watch out for.

I was curious to know if there are gigs coming up and how Juvenal chills away from music; what he has planned for the rest of the year and which albums are most important to him – Juvenal Maze picks a cool song to end things with.  

____________

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

My week has been sweet, thank you. Been trying to keep myself productive and inspired. 

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

My name is Juvenal Maze and I'm a singer-songwriter-producer based in Ilford, London. 

 

In a Place/She Just Wanna is your new release. Is there a story behind it all?

Yes, actually, the story behind this involves me and one girl I was cool with at one point in time. The friendship started off well; it was a bit of a weird one but things were cool. I wasn't looking to be exclusive with anyone at the time. We were in contact and that agreement was understood on both sides so it wasn't going anywhere. Well, that was the initial idea until her feelings for me started to grow the more we were in contact. From there, things became complicated but, despite the complications, we were actually still cool.

We didn't mingle from there and things came back to a friendship basis with no intimacy. So, at first, how I wrote She Just Wanna reflected our bond at the time we were cool. Sometime down the line things went left as I guess I felt betrayed (in a way) and some other complications had come up - so with that I rewrote the song from that stance. 

With In a Place, it was more about my feelings and state of mind; looking at myself from a place where I'm now successful (and everything) and question myself about where I came from because, in this industry, a lot of people tend to forget to remind themselves and get lost. It then goes on to touch on when I went through depression at sixteen and my coping mechanism, escaping this reality and entering another one. Playing video games was my vice until one day I woke up and realized - wow, is this life?

It was a moment of clairvoyance for me. Following on is my experience of being afraid to fall in love, being in love and being in denial (of the feeling of love) because it's a new overwhelming feeling that has a hold on me - one that I'm afraid to accept. With these experiences, I find myself struggling to diagnose myself so I just refer to the term ‘in a place’ whenever I'm experiencing something that can't quite be explained or understood. 

I believe there is an E.P. later this year. What can we expect from it?

Yes, there is. Well, it's literally a rollercoaster of thoughts and expressions from experiences I've had or seen and just a leap into different perspectives besides my own. I guess it shows a part of me thus far. 

How did you get into music? When were the seeds sown?

From the age of fourteen.

I was in the playground at school and a group of my classmates were there playing music and just spitting bars…but what intrigued me was how the looney tunes anthem could become a Grime riddim. That pretty much sparked my curiosity and I wanted to figure out how to create my own; from starting out with Grime than experimenting with different sounds. It's become my way of life. 

You have Congolese heritage. How important is that to your music?

I find it pretty important, to be honest. I don't feel as though it's really brought forward like that among our mainstream genres of today like R&B, Hip-Hop and so on. Where I appreciate it, I try to sprinkle it in. That identity and being able to just showcase that - yeah - you can add a lil sauce here and there. That's what I'm here for. Like, don't get me wrong, some people do it a bit but I ain't the type to play it safe. Besides, that's just to show that we are here too and, hopefully, I can inspire other Congolese artists to come out of their shells and show the world what we are about.

I'm just doing it my way. 

Which artists inspired you growing up? Did you have quite eclectic tastes?

There weren't any in particular as I was more focused on actual sounds and instrumentals but I'd say Drake, Kendrick Lamar; J. Cole, Ludacris, Pharrell; T-Pain, Boyz 2 Men; SWV and pretty much every R&B hit under the sun. I listened to a lot of Reggae and Dancehall too so that was thrown into the mix. Linkin Park, Coldplay and, of course, being Congolese: the fro eat was always there. 

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

This whole journey is still a standout memory as it is, but I would say when I first wrote and released my first track, Kitoko. That was the start of a very expressive year and has definitely played a major part and reason as to why I write today. 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Drake - Take Care; Kendrick Lamar - Section 80 and Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. With Drake, I came across him from that album, where music had already started being the voice of my expression. That album really allowed me to tap into that. With the production, I remember always incorporating pads and strings a lot and I believe it's because of that. I'm more of a vibe guy so different instruments and sounds give of different feels to me and that's what I really pay attention to when producing.

Now, with Kendrick ; I discovered him in my late teens. A lot of what he was talking about in his music and how he was expressing himself really made me pay attention to what he was saying. His music has definitely been a heavy influence in terms of my drive and passion when it comes to my part and my purpose but, yeah, I just really appreciate the honesty in his music and how it provokes introspection. 

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

That's a really difficult one because I'm not the type to really follow artists. I really just chill in my own lane and just enjoy whatever is out there but, if it came to it, I'm ready to support a musician that is honest, passionate and is serving a purpose with their art besides the entertainment. Like, what's your soul saying? What impact are you looking to have on someone or the world as a whole? Someone who is working to make a difference for a better future. That's who I'm down for.

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

Definitely looking to perform a lot more. I got a performance at Splash Festival (Germany's biggest Hip-Hop festival) this year that I'm excited about as well as couple others. Just trying to take it all in and connect with people. 

Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?

The stage, at the moment, is something that really challenges me. I'm not the type to be in the spotlight and express myself. Being vulnerable at the same time. So, yeah, that's with that but where I feel most alive is when I'm just out there creating music. The process of creating music is where I feel alive, hands down. 

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Study inwards as well as out; be real with yourself and stay true to yourself. Understand yourself; always work on bettering yourself as a person; find your peace and keep challenging your comfort zones. Live life and experience things; go for a walk or something and just remind yourself that you are you before your art and you define you

ff.jpg

 IN THIS IMAGE: K The Infinite

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

K The Infinite, Jael The Voice; Tazzz P, Okeam Briscoe and Lylo Gold - definitely keep an eye on these guys. 

Also, my SOULUVMUZIQ family: BVRGER, MadD3E and Miko Waye. They've been around for a bit already but they have some sick, sick vibes going on. 

 IN THIS PHOTO: Lylo Gold

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

My unwinding is making music (laughs)! But, I watch anime. I just live life and enjoy each day as it comes, really.  

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 having me. Hmm, if you could play RAYE, Maleek Berry - Confidence (Preditah Remix)

___________

Follow Juvenal Maze

hyyy.jpg

INTERVIEW: Finding Kate

INTERVIEW:

Finding Kate

___________

BRINGING us near the weekend...

is Finding Kate, who has been telling me about her latest single, I Feel Bad. I ask what inspired the song and whether more material is coming; if her Greek and Cypriot roots inspire her music and which albums she counts as favourites.

The songwriter reveals gig plans and whether she has other plans for 2019; if she gets much time to chill away from music and the rising artists we need to be aware of right now – she selects a great track to end the interview with.

____________

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

Hey, Sam. All good, thanks! How about you? This week has been super-hectic. I’ve just released my new single and I feel pretty overwhelmed, stressed; happy and excited at the same time! Haha.

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

My name is Finding Kate and I am a singer/songwriter based in London. My music is Alternative/Rock with undertones of Pop. I would describe it as melodic, emotional and dark yet commercial. In 2016, I released my debut album, If I Fall, and have played lots of shows in the U.K. and Cyprus since then.

I have just released my new single, I Feel Bad. Yay.

What can you tell me about the new single, I Feel Bad, regarding its story?

I Feel Bad is one of my newest tracks I had written about a year ago. I sat down on the piano and the chorus just blasted out of me: same exact melody, lyrics and chords as it is now. It’s a song I hope a lot of people can relate to! I mainly wrote it as a ‘f*** you’ to people/relationships that pull me down or hold me back. It’s about feeling that pain after a relationship is over but also feeling a sort of relief. This track has feelings of anger, sorrow; pity and forgiveness all in one.

Is there likely to be more material later in the year?

Yes, definitely. I am currently sorting out all my tracks with my producer. I have a lot of material ready; some are at demo stages and some are at a solid level ready for recording!

Can you remember what pushed you to get into music? Did you always know it is where you wanted to be?

I think the fact that I grew up in a very musical household pushed me to get into music. I know I keep saying it in every interview, but I grew up listening to so much music because of my dad. We mostly listened to Rock, Alternative and Metal and I am so grateful I was brought up with some of the best bands such as Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi; Stone Temple Pilots, Live and newer artists/bands like Avril Lavigne, Evanescence; Linkin Park, P!nk etc. I think I was about ten/eleven years old when my parents discovered a piano tutor’s flyer on the car and we decided I would try out some piano lessons! Then immediately after I also started singing lessons and then, after that, the rest is pretty much history! I knew I wanted to be a singer and that was it for me.

 PHOTO CREDIT: William Pavli Photography

You have Australian and Cypriot roots. Does that play a role regarding your music and sound?

This is a cool question. I think the Cypriot roots definitely bring a different vibe to my songwriting. I didn’t listen to a lot of Greek music growing up but I used to listen to a few artists/songs which definitely influenced me in one way or another. My producer and I actually laugh at some of my vocal melodies/licks that I do as they have some very Greek influences at times! I wouldn’t say either of these countries plays a huge role in my sound but they definitely help shape me into the artist I am today.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2019?

My plans are to promote I Feel Bad as much as I can by playing lots of shows all around the U.K. I have some great shows coming up and looking forward to supporting some bigger names, hopefully, in the near-future. Then, I am aiming to release a few more singles and build momentum!

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

I have a few standout memories, but the one that I cherish the most is probably the Cyprus Has Talent competition in 2012! I won the Junior section and that’s sort of where my ‘career’ started. I was introduced to Chris who I’ve been working with for the last few years and I met some really great people through that competition.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Picking three albums is so difficult! AAAAHHHH.

Let Go - Avril Lavigne

This is one of those albums I will always, always treasure. So many songs speak out to me to this day! It’s crazy how relatable her lyrics were and still are. I love all the songs and I think the production is sick - especially on Losing Grip, Unwanted; Naked and I’m with You. Avril will always be a huge inspiration to me. I remember locking myself up in my room and singing along to every single album of hers. I had a little portable C.D. player and, after buying her first three albums, I used to sit there reading her lyrics and doing sing-alongs to her entire albums! Every single song, over and over again. Haha. Let Go holds a special place in my heart for its simplicity and honesty.

The Open DoorEvanescence

I always loved all of Evanescence’s albums, but this one is probably my favourite. I think it has some of their best work on it and some of my personal favourite tracks. I love the vibe, aesthetic and feeling of this album; it really resonates with me. I also love the album artwork - Amy looks stunning in that dress!

Nothing But Thieves - Nothing But Thieves. Their debut album title speaks for itself. Nothing But Thieves is exactly what Nothing But Thieves are about. It’s alternative, atmospheric; powerful, exciting; sad and beautiful…and Conor’s voice is otherworldly. No, seriously, one of the best male vocalists I have heard. I just really, really love this album.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d love to support Evanescence! I’ve never had the option to choose my own rider: I’m usually lucky to get some free beers at a show. I think some sushi would be good. Haha. To be honest, I have no idea what I’d request; I’ll cross that bridge when it comes (smiles).

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

I have my single release party on 17th May in London at The Monarch which I am super-excited about. My next London show after that is the Amplified Festival live finals on the 28th June. If I get selected on the night, I will get the chance to play at Amplified Festival, so fingers crossed!

I’ve also got two shows with Hands Off Gretel which I’m really looking forward to - one is on 22nd June in Southampton and the other is on 6th July in Brighton. Besides that, I am in the process of contacting venues and hoping that I will get some more support slots coming up soon. Keep your eyes peeled for my updates!

bb.jpg

Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?

Yes, definitely. I love singing and I love looking into a crowd of people who are there to support live music. I can totally be myself on stage without being scared of what people think of me. I love playing with incredibly talented musicians who have an amazing vibe on stage. Every show has its own beauty. Of course, I still get stressed before some shows. They don’t always go smoothly and the sound isn’t always great but I always make the most of it when I am on stage.

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Yeah! Just keep going. Don’t stop. You have to work hard to make your dreams come true and, most of the time, you have to be the one to get sh*t done. It sounds a little scary, but if you have a vision and you know what you want, go out there and get it. Believe in yourself and be prepared to have a lot of ups and downs. Build a team around you if you can: producers, musicians; photographers, videographers; designers, managers and have a good relationship with them. We all need a hand sometimes and having people who also believe in you and see your vision will really take some weight off your shoulders. I personally do a lot on my own as I like to have control and know what I want but I still have professionals to help me out. I can’t do everything; I’ll go mad if I try.

The BEST advice I can give you though is always follow your instinct and believe in yourself. Stay true to your vision and goals. Your team might crumble, your manager might leave; your label might drop you but, if you believe in yourself, that’s all that matters.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Hands Off Gretel

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yes! My friends in Hands Off Gretel are absolutely amazing. You might have already heard of them. Highly Suspect are already pretty big but I think you would like them a lot. Also check out the amazing Halflives and Izzy Thomas.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Highly Suspect

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

Honestly, I don’t get much time to chill away from music! If I’m not working on new songs, I am usually working on my social media, marketing; designs, website; shows and fifty other things! But, when I do get time to chill, I love watching T.V. series and eating (haha).

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).

Keep Lying - Donna Missal

___________

Follow Finding Kate

INTERVIEW: The Seige

INTERVIEW:

The Seige

___________

IT has been cool speaking with The Seige...

about their latest track, I’m Coming Home, and what its story is. I ask what inspired their album, Duality, and whether there are any tour plans in the works – and whether the L.A.-based duo are coming to the U.K. at any point.

I discover which music memory stands out from the pack and what sort of music the guys are influenced by; whether they get chance to chill away from music and what advice they’d give to artists coming through – they both pick great songs to end the interview with.

____________

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

Been a good week so far. Can’t complain.

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

Taz Conley, the rapper and Riley Taylor, the producer. Just two dudes from two different walks of life who love music and create with one common goal: to push our own limits and inspire others to do the same.

How did The Seige begin life? Do you recall the moment you met?

We would frequently be in the same place at the same time due to us having a lot of mutual friends. We never worked together back then; kind of had our own individual sh*t going on but, one day, I (Taz) needed someone to help me flesh out some of the tracks I had been working on…so I reached out to Riley who did such a good job bringing my ideas to life.

We just decided to make a band out of it.

What is your new single, I’m Coming Home, all about? What inspired it?

I’m Coming Home is a story about what an individual will do once they are counted out. It’s a revenge story of sorts with success being the best revenge of all. We pulled inspiration for the song from our past lives and relationships; old girlfriends who did us dirty or friends who weren’t loyal.

It is from the album, Duality. What themes inspired the songs?

I’m Coming Home is on the second half of the album. When we were working on Duality, we were really inspired by techno-cyberpunk themes, science fiction movies like Bladerunner and The Matrix and the duality between that world and the natural world of nature, animals and biology. The ultimate duality; where we are all headed as a human race and playing around with ideas on how the fast movie tech of today will affect us in the future.

Did you both grow up around different artists or do you share musical tastes?

We both grew up on a bunch of different types of music and have very eclectic tastes. We generally gravitate towards the same kinds of music today; from Rock and Rap to Jazz music. Just don’t give us any Country.

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

A lot of the syncs we have been getting are really somewhat of a dream come true for both of us. We both grew up playing video games and watching sports and always dreamed of having our music on T.V. and in some of our favourite games. So, it has been crazy to watch that unfold in our lives.

We’ve gotten syncs with the NFL, the NBA; big movies like Mission Impossible and in T.V. shows like Cloak & Dagger. Massive games have even used our songs: Fortnite, FIFA and Madden. Seeing something happen that you’ve literally dreamt about since you were a kid is something truly special.

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Our most recent one, Duality, definitely means the most to both of us because it’s really some of the best music that either of us have made…and it’s a culmination of everything we’ve learned and experienced and accomplished in our lives up to this point. Every song we wrote, every sound we created before was just preparation for this project and it means so much to us.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

We would love to jump on the road with J. Cole, Kanye West or A$AP Mob. Definitely would have to have lots of fruit and water on the rider. And jerky. Lots of beef jerky.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Stay independent as long as you can - and spend every dollar you earn on making yourself better as an artist. Always create honest, positive material and, most importantly, trust yourself and your own intuition.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

We’re going quiet for the next couple seasons to push out some new sounds and challenge ourselves creatively.

Might we catch you in the U.K. this year?

Wouldn’t that be lovely, mate?

XCC.jpg

Is touring something you both love doing?

We’ve both been playing live shows ever since we were kids, so touring will always hold a nice comfortable place in our hearts. How could you not love it? Nothing beats going to meet real fans of the crazy music you create. That’s exactly us musicians we do what we do.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

No. Just listen to the The Seige and shut everything else out.

xse.jpg

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

We usually stay working but, whenever we get a chance to just kick it, we might catch up on a good book we’ve been into or chill with friend, our girlfriends or travel and hang out with family. Since we both live in L.A., we really enjoy catching some live shows around town or seeing one of our artist friend’s shows.

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).

Taz: Wu-Tang ClanProtect Ya Neck

Riley: Michael JacksonWorkin’ Day and Night

___________

Follow The Seige

INTERVIEW: Hannah Scott

INTERVIEW:

sas.jpg

Hannah Scott

___________

I have been speaking with Hannah Scott...

hg.jpg

about her new single, Walk a Wire, and what its story is. She discusses her album, Pieces of the Night (2018), and whether she has a favourite song from the set; the sort of artists/albums that influence her and whether there are plans for gigs this year.

I wanted to know whether the stage is somewhere she loves to be and what advice she’d give to artists coming through; how she spends time away from music and an approaching act to look out for – Scott picks a cool song to end the interview with.

____________

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

Hi, Sam. I’m good, thanks! Busy week as I’ve just released my new single, Walk a Wire!

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

My name’s Hannah Scott. I’m a contemporary Folk artist based in London. I work closely with writer/producer Stefano Della Casa and, together, we write and release music with a story, often about the human condition and human connection.

Walk a Wire is your new single. Is there a story behind the song?

Yes. This is inspired by a friend of mine with a disability who closed herself away for fear of rejection. It invites her to open up and take a risk.

Your album, Pieces of the Night, came out last year. Are there particular themes that united the songs?

As I introduced myself above, I guess.

Lots of its songs tell stories around being human. Is there a track from the album that stands as a personal favourite?

It changes! But I'd probably have to say Boy in the Frame at the moment because it's so personal. We wrote it about my soon to be ninety-eight-year old grandmother losing her seventeen-year-old brother when she was just ten. It's a song which really seems to hit audiences and people often tell me it's made them cry - and they share stories about people they know having lost people lifetimes ago.  

gdfs.jpg

Do songs come naturally to you or is there a set process? Everyone is different and I am interested knowing how your music forms.

Sometimes they can take months, even years, to complete and others just fall out in the space of a few hours! It really depends! Stefano and I often write the music first and then I take the song away and write the lyrics. Sometimes I already have an idea for a topic or a particular phrase and we begin there, but mostly the music is complete before the lyrics are little more than a phrase or idea.

How important were your early music discoveries regarding your passion for music and how you write now?

So, so important. I started writing in my mid-teens and this was the time I also started exploring new artists and music beyond what I heard on the radio. Some of these I still adore today and their music continues to inspire me; an example of this is Counting Crows.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

Probably opening for Madeleine Peyroux at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh last November to an audience of two-thousand. It was an incredible experience in an amazing venue and one which I will carry with me forever!

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Counting Crows - This Desert Life

Alanis MorissetteMTV Unplugged

Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest

Counting Crows were the accompaniment to my mid-teens through to my earl-twenties, both my life and my early songwriting. This Desert Life was the first album I bought and features my favourite C.C. song, Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby.

Alanis Morissette is one of my favourite writers and performers. She’s a lyrical genius and I just love the sound and rawness of her Unplugged album.

Sara Bareilles’ album was one I discovered a couple of years ago at a time when my music consumption had changed, probably due to the ‘Spotify effect’. I realised I’d stopped listening to full albums and becoming totally absorbed by them. This album reminded me how wonderful that feeling is and we mustn’t let it go!

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Probably Counting Crows. My rider would have a bottle of champagne and some chocolate on it but, apart from that, it would be healthy with juice and veggie food and fruit. Touring often means you have to eat on the go so it’s often unhealthy and quick. It would be nice to do the opposite!

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

I’ve got lots of festivals and shows coming up over the summer and am constantly booking gigs; even starting booking for 2020!

Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?

Absolutely. And with the audience chatting after a show. The stage is definitely the place I’m most open and most myself!

rewe.jpg

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Play live as much as you can, write as much as you can (my early songs were rubbish - you need to put the time in before you can write good ones!) and don’t expect your next release to be ‘the one’ - it’s a gradual journey and I’m not sure you ever ‘arrive’! 

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I’ve played a couple of times with Folk-Rock band Merry Hell. They are fantastic and write brilliant, touching songs.

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

My partner is a garden designer and we’ve just taken on an allotment - I love spending time there and getting my hands dirty! It’s such a good activity for being in the moment and I’m looking forward to eating fruit and vegetables which we’ve grown!

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).

How about Bury Me Naked by Merry Hell? This has become a favourite in my family!

___________

Follow Hannah Scott

dsa.jpg

INTERVIEW: Mark Daly

INTERVIEW:

Mark Daly

___________

TAKING us into the middle of the week...

 PHOTO CREDIT: Zyanya Lorenzo

is Mark Daly, as he tells me about his new single, Without You, and his 2018 album, When the Stars Align; the records that matter the most to him and when music came into his life – I ask how important and motivational it is knowing his music has connected with so many people.

Daly reveals his plans regarding touring and the future; whether the stage is somewhere he likes to be and which approaching artists we need to keep an eye out for – the songwriter chooses a great track to end the interview with.

____________

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

Hello, how’s it going? My week has been great, thank you. It’s always very hectic and exciting leading up to a release but all positive.

What is the weather like where you are? Do the conditions inspire songwriting at all?

It’s actually been a nice sunny week in Ireland for a change - but we are being punished with a storm tomorrow that is going to make up for it. I definitely think weather has a big effect on my mood and rainy days at home often lead to new music. Most of my deep songs would come from days like that. I lived in Seattle for a couple of years too and they have the same weather so I guess I am used to it and that’s why I can’t write upbeat, summer Pop songs. Haha.

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

I am a singer/songwriter from Cork in Ireland. I have been playing music full-time for ten years now and I have been loving every minute of it. In my early days, from about twenty to twenty-six, I was frontman for a rock band called The Voodoos and we were lucky enough to tour all over the world and sell a good few albums along the way. I was also a songwriter for Operation:Mindcrime in Seattle who are a supergroup of musicians created by Geoff Tate (formerly of Queensryche) who asked me to contribute some songs for his trilogy record…and I got to work with world-class musicians like John Moyer (Disturbed), Simon Wright (AC/DC); Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy, Whitesnake) and loads more which was an incredible experience.

After working on that record, I moved back home to Cork to focus on my solo career and I released my first single, The Hearts Reminder, in 2016. I also released a charity single in 2017 called Your World for World Autism Awareness Month with a song I wrote about my son.

In 2018, I released my debut solo album, When the Stars Align.

Without You is your new track. What is the inspiration behind it?

This song is like a dramatic love song; one where you write down all your feelings when everything is raw and the pain is at its worst. Then, later, you think I probably should have let the dust settle before writing these lyrics but because of how raw and real it was I wanted to keep it exactly the way it is now to show those emotions.

It is from the album, When the Stars Align. How personal is the album would you say? Did you take a lot of inspiration from your own life?

The whole album is very personal. Most tracks are about my life and personal experiences of dealing with hurt, pain; rejection and loss but also positivity, love; family and looking ahead to the future. To me, this album felt amazing to write and I found myself in a whole new style of songwriting on this record. The producer (Kelly Gray) wanted me to pull back from the Hard-Rock singing on these tracks and to focus on the lyrics - and telling my story -, which I was very grateful to him for making me do as I always used the Hardcore singing to cover up lines in my songs that used to make me feel uncomfortable.

dssq.jpg

Has music always been in your life? Which artists did you follow when young?

I have always loved music and all different styles of music. When I was a kid, I would get obsessed with one particular album for a long time - like ABBA’s greatest hits for example. Haha - and I would listen to it day and night. In my teenage years, I got massively into E.L.O, Pink Floyd; Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

Also, some of my favourite songwriters from when I was young are still my favourite to this day…like Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Justin Furstenfeld (Blue October); so, as you can see, I have a diverse taste in music for sure. Haha. 

Your music has received a lot of praise and support. How important and motivating is that kind of backing?

It’s very motivating when people reach out to tell you that they like your music and can relate to lyrics etc. For me, I find there are times as a musician where I end up with loads of self-doubt and question my abilities as a musician and songwriter even more so when it comes to releasing new music. It’s really amazing to hear positive feedback.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

I thought my MTV EMA performance with The Voodoos in 2011 was always going to be my number-one memory but I have to say it was the day I released my charity single for Autism Awareness Month, Your World, as it was such a difficult thing to release such a personal song. But I got messages from parents all over the world to say how much the song meant to them - and that was truly an incredible memory that will be hard to beat.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

August and Everything After - Counting Crows

It was the first album that I really, really listened to the lyrics and felt how powerful they were and, from then on, I was hooked on this band and songwriting.

The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

I just think it’s the greatest album of all time. Everything about this record is incredible and, still to this day, blows my mind.

Higher Truth - Chris Cornell

I have always been a fan of Chris Cornell on all his projects but I really connected with his final solo album and I learned a lot from this particular record.

ff.jpg

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

My own rider would be nice and easy: beer, whiskey and FIFA (smiles.

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

Lots of plans to tour the U.K. and Ireland this year, including a tour with one of my favourite bands, Candlebox, in June across the U.K. Also plans are well underway for a U.S. tour in 2020.

Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?

Yes, indeed. I always love being on stage as it brings out a different side to me - and one where I always feel happy and comfortable in.

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Besides the obvious advice of ‘work hard and find your sound’, I would say just to try and keep it at a level where you love doing it. It can easily stop becoming about writing and performing because of how competitive and hard the music industry is, so I think once you are doing it for the right reasons and work hard, success will come along with that.

lkl.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Better Oblivion Community Centre

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Better Oblivion Community Center - which is Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers together - is a really amazing new band and the album is brilliant. Irish band Fontaines D.C. are now starting to blow up and the album they just released is killer!

 IN THIS PHOTO: Fontaines D.C./PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Topete

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

I do get a nice bit of time to chill away from music. I love hanging out with my two kids and my better half, Claire, and playing/watching football. Although, being a Man Utd fan at the moment isn’t the best way to unwind. Haha.

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’ll go with a Fontaines D.C. tune! Boys in the Better Land…and thanks for having me

___________

Follow Mark Daly

eqw'.jpg

INTERVIEW: Lucy Spraggan

INTERVIEW:

Lucy Spraggan

___________

IN this interview...

I have been speaking with Lucy Spraggan about her new track, End of the World, and how that came together. I ask what we can expect from her upcoming album, Today Was a Good Day, and which records Spraggan holds dearest – she tells me about plans regarding touring.

Spraggan reveals which rising artists we need to watch and which musical memory stands in her mind; when music came into her life and who’d she support on the road if she could – she chooses a great song to end the interview with.

____________

How are you enjoying the weather at the moment? Does the warm conditions inspire songwriting? 

The weather is beautiful! I am definitely in a better mood when the sun is shining, so I guess I write happier songs. My songwriting really can happen anywhere at any time!

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

I am a singer-songwriter/storyteller from the U.K. that writes about life in general; the highs and lows and everything in between.

End of the World is your latest track. What is the story behind it?

My wife and I were in a bar in Cologne that was totally dead. The beer wasn’t so nice and there was a funny smell floating around. I realised, in that moment, that it doesn’t matter what is going on around us - as long as you are with someone you love you can have the best time anywhere. 

It made me think about the end of the world; there’s no person I’d rather be with when it happened.

Today Was a Good Day, your album, is out on 3rd May. What sort of themes and ideas define the music throughout?

This album is quite a positive-sounding album! Which is different to my last couple. It is more up-tempo and outlines the way I feel at the moment. 

Take me back to the start. When did music come into your life and do you recall the first album you bought?

My family are very musical and there’s always been a lot of singing going on at parties and B.B.Q.s in our house. My dad and brothers play guitar and my mum always had music on in the car. 

My first album was Americana - The Offspring.  

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

I played Glastonbury last year and was completely blown away. The tent was so full; everyone was singing along and cheering. I get goosebumps thinking of it. 

z.jpg

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)? 

Americana - The Offspring was the first album I bought so brings back a lot of memories. 

Watsky - Cardboard Castles. I just love this album. I think he is an amazing lyricist. 

The HeistMacklemore & Ryan Lewis. I put this on when I need cheering up!

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d love to support Ed Sheeran. What he has done for music is incredible and I have so much respect for him. I’d be happy with some waters on that rider!

Are you excited about playing Glastonbury for the second time?!

Yes! See above!

fgdf.jpg

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

I am touring the U.K. throughout May and have another tour in June in the U.S.A. After that, I’m back for festival season in the U.K. (a couple of euro festivals too) and then back for an autumn tour! 

Is being on the stage something you really love? Is it possible to describe that feeling?

It’s my favourite thing to do. There really isn’t a way to explain it. It’s such a natural high and I love what I do.

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists? 

Keep being yourself, stick to your guns and do what YOU want to do!

teer.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Andrew Duhon

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out? 

Andrew Duhon, The Dunwells and Watsky. Not new but absolutely amazing. 

gz.jpg

IN THIS PHOTO: The Dunwells

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

I don’t get very much time to be honest but I’m always doing what I love. When I have time off I generally go fishing. 

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).

Lana Del Ray - National Anthem 

___________

Follow Lucy Spraggan

INTERVIEW: Serapha

INTERVIEW:

aa.jpg

Serapha

___________

STARTING off this week is Serapha...

who tells me about her latest song, That Feeling, and its background. I wanted to know how she got started in music and whether there are any particular albums that are especially important to her – she explains the significance of writing and producing her own work.

Serapha tells me about future touring plans and what she does when she has time to chill; a rising act we should watch and whether she’ll come visit us here in the U.K. – she chooses a great song to end things with.

____________

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

Hey! I’ve been doing amazing. This week has been busy with a lot of music industry events going on, but that’s one of the great things about living in Los Angeles.

What is the weather like where you are? Have you got the same sort of warmth we have in the U.K. at the moment?

The weather has been really mild in Los Angeles, which has been nice, though I can empathize with the heat since I lived in the Arizona desert before moving to L.A. last year.

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

Yeah! I’m Serapha, a singer, songwriter; producer and engineer based in Los Angeles. I’ve been creating original music for about six years. After graduating from audio production school last year - when I was seventeen-years-old - I solidified my ‘newstalgic Synth-Pop’ sound.

That Feeling is your new single. Can you explain how it came together and what inspired it?

That Feeling is a song about my experiences leading up to graduating from audio production school and high-school simultaneously. I had to be extremely focused and work a lot more than normal, but there are always times when you sort of mentally block yourself. In order to control That Feeling and not shut down I can always count on making music.

The song talks about how important it is to keep everything in perspective in relation to the future, present and past. The song also mentions lifting others up - it is meaningful for me to mention being kind to everyone, as well as the importance of supporting talented women in the music industry - especially because in music production we are extremely underrepresented.

When I was creating That Feeling, I first came up with the synthesizer sound, which is what everything was based around. I automated its filter, added a decent sustain and kept it simple by using oscillators with square waves and a saw wave. I then added sounds around that. Then, when I finally added the guitar sound in the chorus, I knew that it was the ‘icing on the cake’ sound. When I listened back to the mix, I was, like, ‘yes! This is the sound!’ I then wrote down the lyrics that were on my mind as I simultaneously thought of melodies. The next day, I recorded and mixed the demo. 

Once I moved to L.A. - two months after turning eighteen - I polished the demo then recorded it at the legendary Los Angeles Record Plant. I recorded it and co-mixed it with Alex Layne, who was great to work with! He has a great knowledge of audio production and has worked with artists like CHVRCHES, Marshmello; Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar and ZAYN.

Fast-forward to now…I’m so excited to finally share That Feeling with the world!

Might there be more material coming later in the year?

Yes! I’ll be releasing a single this summer. It’s a really fun song and it’s a great continuation of my ‘newstalgic Synth-Pop sound! I plan on releasing the song title on my Instagram (@seraphamusic) a few weeks before the single is released.

You write, produce and engineer your music. Is it important to have that control and personal input?

Yes. It’s very important for me to have artistic cohesion in my music. I want people who listen to my music to be able to feel that the whole project was born in my thoughts then transferred into a song.

Tell me how you got started in music. Was it something you were always drawn to?

I was always drawn to different types of sounds. When I was three, I started playing around on my grandparent’s organ because I was fascinated by all the different sounds that it made. This led me to learn piano, then I ended up learning ten different instruments throughout middle-school and high-school (I mainly played Classical oboe and Jazz saxophone) as well as singing in choirs. I started to write and produce original songs when I was thirteen; then I took my self-taught production skills up a notch when I attended and graduated from audio production school at seventeen.

Once I turned eighteen, I drove six hours out of the desert in my Mini Cooper into Los Angeles where I’ve been living and been actively involved in the music industry ever since.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

In 2017, I performed throughout Europe in a band - and it was incredible to see first-hand how powerful music can be because of how it connects with people and how it brings people together. 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

One of my first inspirations to begin songwriting and producing when I was thirteen-years-old was Lorde’s album, Pure Heroine. The way that Lorde writes is so poetic and metaphoric - it was and still is inspiring. Billy Joel’s album, 52nd Street, also means a lot to me since my dad would always play Billy Joel’s music. I actually saw Billy Joel live in concert for the first time about a month ago and it was amazing to hear his songs live, decades after my dad had listened to them for the first time. It is amazing how his music is still relevant and great, many years after its creation. Also, CHVRCHES’ use of synthesizers and sound design in their album Love Is Dead is really inspiring since my songs are mainly sculpted around synthesizers.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d support MARINA because I look up to her as an artist and I’d love for her audience to be introduced to my music. I’d probably go pretty simple with my rider and get water, watermelon and Belvita biscuits (they were my lunch almost every day when I completed high-school and audio production school in the same year – at this point they should sponsor me. Haha).

What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?

I’m looking forward to gigging in L.A. The sooner I start gigging with my original songs the better!

Will you come to the U.K. and perform at any point?

I’d love to perform in the U.K. again! I performed in London with a band in 2017 but I’d love to perform my original songs there sometime in the future.

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

I’d give upcoming artists the same advice that I was given a few years back…which is that, if you are serious about something, there are also many other people who are serious about that same thing who are working many times harder than you, so it is important to always do as much as one can towards one’s goal in order to rise above the noise.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Still Woozy/PHOTO CREDIT: Palmer Morse

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yes! I recently saw Still Woozy live in Los Angeles and they were great! Lava came out shortly after I saw their show — it’s equal parts vibey and catchy.

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

On the rare occasion that I get time to unwind, I like to drive to the Venice, Santa Monica or Malibu beaches.

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).

Santa Monica by Evelyn has been the soundtrack of my first year living in Los Angeles. The vocals, lyrics and production have many great elements!

___________

Follow Serapha

INTERVIEW: Nina Luna

INTERVIEW:

Nina Luna

___________

MY interview this weekend is with Nina Luna...

who has been telling me about her new song, Out of My Hands, and what it is all about. I ask what sort of music is important to her and whether the U.S. artist will come and play in the U.K. at some point – she highlights a few albums that mean a lot to her.

Luna talks about playing in small clubs when she studied in New York; when music came into her life and whether there is a standout memory from her career so far – she selects a great modern track to end the interview with.

____________

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

I’m doing well, thanks! It’s been a good week so far.

What is the weather like where you are? Do the conditions inspire songwriting at all?

It finally feels like spring! I haven’t written any new songs in the last few days but the warmth and sunshine certainly helps with inspiring me to get out of bed in the morning and tackle current creative projects. I’ve been waking up with a vague sense of excitement about the future.

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

I’m a singer-songwriter who makes Pop music that sometimes leans towards folk or R&B or Electro - depending on my mood. I write, record; produce and mix all of my music myself.

What is your new single, Out of My Hands, about and what inspired it?

I wrote this song during a recent relationship when I wanted so badly for it to work out but I realized that whatever was going to happen would happen and I just had to go with it. It was both heartbreaking and freeing. I pictured standing out in big, flat open country and feeling this intense sense of surrender. On my Southwest tour last month, I was able to actually capture this vision with photos and film that I’m now using for the single artwork and footage for the single’s music video.

When did music come into your life? Which artists turned your head?

I feel as though music has always been at the forefront of my consciousness. I’ve loved music since I was very little. I knew all the words to all the songs in the Disney movies. Growing up, I was very inspired by powerful female vocalists like Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera…and I loved listening to top-40 radio.

How important was it playing small clubs in New York when you were at university?

It was a really good learning experience. It gave me a thicker skin. I played to a lot of mostly empty rooms. When I was younger I think part of me still thought that I might ‘get discovered’ just by performing - and it made me realize that in reality it was going to take a lot more work than that. 

How do you think your music has changed and evolved since the earliest days?

When I first started making music in high-school, it was much more singer-songwriter acoustic, even slightly Americana. I was listening to artists like Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz, writing songs on acoustic guitar and that influenced the music I made. During my time at NYU, I was exposed to more R&B, Electronic and Hip-Hop, which inspired me to start writing on keyboard and incorporating elements of those genres into my new music. I’d say, right now, I’m at a point where I’m combining all of the above into my songwriting and production style - and it’s probably the most unique music I’ve made yet.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

I remember the Monday after I’d released my first Nina Luna single, Blaze, I woke up early to a text from a friend saying “Check this out, your new song is on Spotify’s Weekly Buzz playlist and already has 10k plays!”. That was a great ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ feeling.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

If I can listen to an album all the way through and not get bored or skip a track, and also connect with it emotionally, then that’s pretty rare and special. I feel that way about Lorde’s Melodrama album. The subtleties of the songwriting and production and the way each part lead into the next and took you through this story was super inspiring to me. Beyoncé’s Lemonade album is another one where I could listen over and over and find new things in it to learn from or study. My third one is Florence + The Machine’s first album, Lungs. Florence created this other magical, haunting world with the imagery in her lyrics and her vocal delivery and I was totally hooked. The songs are Rock songs in a way but they come off as so much more than that.

EA804378-BD94-4DC0-94FA-5B63AEE9BF75.jpg

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I’d either like to open for someone quite serious and legendary like Patti Smith or Bob Dylan…or else a really fun, current band like LANY or The 1975. As for my rider, I think I’d want my green room situation to be like a calming meditation spa space with candles and coconut water and stuff. Maybe some high-end tequila on hand as well.

What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?

Nothing set in stone yet but look out for dates in L.A. and N.Y.C. later this summer.

Might you come to the U.K. to play at some point?

I would love to! I’ve been trying to figure out the right time and way to do it, but I’ll keep you updated (winks).

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Keep improving, keep working hard; keep aiming higher, don’t take any of it too seriously.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Honestly, when I’m working on my own music as I have been recently, during the periods of time when I’m mainly recording and producing, I don’t listen to much new music. I kind of go into a hole for a bit and I feel rather out of touch with what’s new.

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

Being an independent artist, I’ve found you really have to manage your time properly. Over the past few months, I’ve been more intentional about giving myself time to not think about my work at all. To unwind, I usually go out for a walk, meditate or do yoga; cook and watch Netflix.

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).

when the party’s over by Billie Eilish. I know everyone, everywhere is already playing it but it’s just so good and it’s stuck in my head

___________

Follow Nina Luna

INTERVIEW: VICTORS

INTERVIEW:

VICTORS

___________

TAKING us into the weekend...

are VICTORS, who have been discussing their latest track, Big City. I ask about the band’s formation and where they are headed; the music that drives them and how they all got together - I wanted to know whether there is more material coming along later this year.

I was interested to know what the music scene is like in Leeds and whether there are gigs coming; which artist they’d support on the road if they could and if there is much time to chill away from music – the guys each select a song to end the interview with.

____________

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

Hey! We’re doing great, thanks. Our week has been productive - we’ve just come out of the studio.

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

So. We are VICTORS. We’re a Pop/Electronic band from Leeds. In the band, we have Harry Irving (Vocals/Keys/Guitar), Simon Appleson (Guitar/Synth); Dom Brooks (Bass/Synth) and Leon Davies (Drums).

Big City is your new track. Is there a story behind this one?

Big City was literally written in one night in our apartment. I (Harry) wrote about regretting past decisions, staying up all night; sitting in parked cars talking stuff out - just real life, basically.

Is there more material coming later in the year?

Let’s just say....yes. Yes, there is.

How did VICTORS get together? Did you all know each other before starting the band?

Harry first came across Simon using online ads on Gumtree. After meeting up for a drink and having a few rehearsals together, things started happening very quickly and, at the beginning of 2016, ‘VICTORS’ was born. We then found Dom shortly after in the same way, by advertising online. Once we needed a drummer, Dom got in touch with Leon via Facebook and straight-up asked him if he wanted to join - it’s as simple as that!

Do you all share relatively similar musical tastes?

We all have a varied taste in music and I’d say we all appreciate a good song, whatever the genre. Growing up, Harry and Simon listened to artists such as Whitney Houston, Crowded House; Phil Collins and The Beatles. Dom, however, comes from a Metal background: listening to artists such as Black Sabbath and Metallica.

Growing up, Leon was exposed to a wide range of genres from his family so he would listen to Classic Rock (Led Zeppelin) and Jazz (Courtney Pine) which led to him listening to Prog-Rock artists such as Dream Theater, The Mars Volta & Frank Zappa.

What is Leeds like in terms of current music? Do people overlook it a lot do you think?

I’d say Leeds is predominantly based around an Indie/Rock scene - or at least it was during our formative years. Although, as the city grows, the variety of artists emerging range from Electronic, Psychedelic; R&B and Funk - hopefully it’ll continue to grow and thrive. We’ve got our eye on that Leeds arena.

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

That’s a tough one: there have been so many highlights. Leon’s (drummer) first show with us was in front of 20,000 people in Leeds last December. We’ve also been lucky enough to have been played at NFL games, sparking our American fanbase; I guess our favourite moments are when we see people’s tweets about us or videos of them covering our songs and just showing support and love for what we do. It’s so humbling and mind blowing at the same time.

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Harry: Frank OceanBlonde

Not because I necessarily love every song on it, but his art of telling a story made me really check myself as a song writer and storyteller - and the fact his voice is just amazing.

Simon: HONNE - Love Me / Love Me Not

The Jazz/Pop/Electronic elements have inspired me to learn to be a better guitarist and it has completely opened my eyes to new ways in approaching songwriting at a much more mature level.

Dom: Paul SimonGraceland

I just love that chiller Surf-Rock vibe.

Leon: John Mayer Trio Live - TRY!

This album features three players who are really the best of the best. As a drummer, listening to Steve Jordan on this album really helped me develop as a player. No flashy fills needed, just straight up groovy ass playing.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail? Bon Iver is kind of a hero of ours so we’d probably ugly-cry if that opportunity came about. Rider-wise, some gin and ginger ale; a Nespresso coffee machine and an assortment of vegan snacks (three out of four of us are vegan/vegetarian). Oreos are also vegan - so lots of them will do.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

To be honest, we’re still fairly new as an artist but the best advice we could give from our own experiences would be: be prepared to work your ass off for years, constantly improving and bettering yourself; be prepared to be skint a lot of time and prioritise your art over almost everything else; seriously live and breathe it. Don’t get your hopes up too much about potential amazing-sounding opportunities and promises because it’s a fickle industry.

But, most importantly, love what you do and surround yourself with a team that believes in what you’re doing. If you do that then all these difficulties just become small hurdles that won’t even sway you from your path. That got super-deep at the end there.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

We have a few shows all over the country spread out throughout the year. Our next headline show is in our hometown of Leeds on Friday, 24th May at Hyde Park Book Club. Then, we’ll be playing: Huddersfield Uni Festival on Monday, 27th May; Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London (supporting Youth Club) on Wednesday, 19th June EskFest in the Lake District. On Saturday, 6th July Weightless Festival in Wakefield; on Saturday, 3rd August and many more to be announced!

Can you give us a glimpse of what life on the road is like for VICTORS?

We’re usually watching movies and snacking way too much - and laughing way too much at each other’s stupid jokes on the tour bus whilst dealing with sleep deprivation. Can’t complain!

xsas.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: The Hubbards

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

We’ve played with The Hubbards a few times and we absolutely love them; genuinely lovely guys and they’ve got some absolute bangers. We’ve also been working with PIPPA lately which we’re so excited for. Go check out her stuff!

saast.jpg

IN THIS PHOTO: PIPPA

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

You’ll find us doing two things: sipping a flat white or a long black in a coffee shop somewhere and having a Netflix and chill (the non-sexual kind btw).

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

Harry: alt-J - Tesselate

Simon: Shura - BKLYNLDN

Dom: HONNE - Coastal Love

Leon: Tingsek - Let That Go

___________

Follow VICTORS

aqq.jpg

INTERVIEW: The Naked Eye

INTERVIEW:

The Naked Eye

___________

I have enjoyed speaking with The Naked Eye...

about her new E.P., Love’s Grave, and its themes. I ask whether the songwriter has a choice selection from the E.P. and how the music differs from her work with the band, Her Songs – The Naked Eye selects albums important to her.

I ask whether the songwriter gets time to relax away from music and which artists she’d support on the road if she could; if she has a standout memory from her career so far and what it was like working with a range of different artists on her new E.P. – she selects some great tracks to end the interview with.

____________

Hi, The Naked Eye. How are you? How has your week been?

I’m good, thank you! My week has been busy and fabulous.  

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

I’m a half-French, half-English, singer/songwriter based in London. I’m one-fifth of a female artistic collective called Her Songs. I’ve just released my second solo E.P., Love’s Grave

Love’s Grave is your E.P. What kind of themes and inspirations were in mind before you started work?

Themes of a break up and heartbreak. Musically, I was inspired by a mixture of music/artists I was listening to: Puma Blue, Bruno Major; D’Angelo, Lianne La Havas, Emily King; Tom Misch, my friends from the Her Songs collective and Sipprell’s E.P. I also have been learning the guitar for two-and-a-half years; all the songs are written on guitar and the E.P. is very guitar-heavy.  

Is there a track that stands out for you?

That’s a hard question…

Hmm…depends on my mood. When I’m pissed off, definitely See You Later. When I’m nostalgic, Tell Me. When I’m sad, Drifting Away - and Love’s Grave for the groove! 

I understand you worked with different artists and personnel on the E.P. How important were their contributions in terms of giving the music a different angle/new light?

Conor Albert produced the first four tracks on the E.P. And Marie Dahlstrøm produced See You Later. Their contribution was a big part of the project; they are both so talented and individual in their musicality and it gave the songs a new personality. I worked with Marie on a track from her beautiful E.P., Nine, called Before Then. And then we worked together in L.A. for the Her Songs project.

sa.jpg

We are very close friends and we have a very special musical connection. I really wanted her to be a part of the E.P. and to continue our story through the song, See You Later. I first met and worked with Conor Albert last year and it was such a magical moment from the beginning. I knew it was the sound for the E.P. and I couldn’t wait to finish the songs with him. 

Tell me how you got started in music. Was it something you were always drawn to?

I was drawn to music at a very young age. My first musical memory was sitting in front of my family record player and listening obsessively to my dad’s and sister’s records. I started singing at the age of four and my mum put me in this Saturday performing school that I loved. I was always performing in school plays and concerts. I started songwriting as a teenager but didn’t really start taking it seriously until I went to Arts Ed and then to music college. 

You are part of the band, Her Songs. How important is that experience regarding your own music and are there big differences in terms of songwriting and sound?

The beauty of the Her Songs project is that it’s a collaboration of all our artistry and influences. We are all artists who are making music outside of the project. I think you can hear a mix of all our songwriting and styles in the E.P., Los Angeles. If you listen to each artist individually you can hear their personality from the project, which I love! And I think that’s why it’s such a genuine project. I learnt a lot during the experience of creating the E.P. that week. Writing and producing a song a day was incredibly exciting and creatively demanding.

I have always been quite a perfectionist in my work and hadn’t released any new music of my own due to it. The importance of the experience of Her Songs taught me to be more present and embrace the imperfections as you are catching a feeling in the moment. 

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

Her Songs was definitely the highlight of last year. This year so far, it’s probably when I got the masters back of the Love’s Grave E.P. and heard the whole E.P. in its entirety. Felt very proud. 

ytrew.jpg

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

That’s a very difficult question as there’s so many. 

Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

I listened to that album on-repeat throughout my childhood and, every time I listen again, I find gems. 

Joni MitchellBlue

I discovered this album at music college and it genuinely changed the way I write and craft melodies and lyrics. So masterful and colourful. Genius.  

D’AngeloVoodoo

Everything about this album. 

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Hmm…there’s so many again! Nai Palm, Emily King; Alicia Keys, Lianne La Havas; Puma Blue, Bruno Major - and my rider would be green tea (smiles).

dsdas.jpg

What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?

We are organising a show this summer with Her Songs. T.B.C. 

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Self-initiation. Try to learn as much as you can on your own and continue to develop and range your skill sets. Collaborate. Remember why you fell in love with music and your instrument. Keep that passion and curiosity brewing. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Everyone is on their own path, journey and lesson. Learn from the greats; transcribe and listen. Surround yourself with positive, creative and driven individuals who inspire.

IN THIS PHOTO: Puma Blue

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Conor Albert! He’s making his debut E.P. and I’ve had a sneak preview - it’s mind-blowing! Puma Blue. SIPPRELL. All the artists within Her Songs (Marie Dahlstrøm, Emily Browning; Dani Marcia and Maddie Jay).

 IN THIS PHOTO: SIPPRELL

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

Not that much at the moment to be honest! I unwind by either reading before bed, watching a series or film (loving Chef’s Table at the moment on Netflix). I love cooking and WINE over conversations with friends. 

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).

Sipprell - From Afar 

Puma Blue - Want Me 

(Both songs speak to me deeply at the moment).

___________

Follow The Naked Eye

ssasa.jpg

INTERVIEW: Watercolours

INTERVIEW:

uuyuy.jpg

Watercolours

___________

MY first interview of the week is with Watercolours...

as they have been telling me about their cover of Tove Lo’s track, Habits. I ask what compelled them to cover it and whether they have more material coming up; how they found one another and what sort of music inspires them – they share their favourite career memory so far.

I wanted to know whether they share musical tastes and which rising artists are worth a shout; if they have time to unwind away from music and which artist they’d support on tour if they could choose anyone – they choose some great songs to end the interview with.

____________

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

We’re all really good, thanks - it’s been busy but great!

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

We are a three-piece band called Watercolours from Bristol. We make Indie/Alternative music with synthesisers and plants.

You have covered Tove Lo’s Habits. What was the reason behind that?

Well. We loved the song anyway, as a Pop tune, so decided to put it into our live set (cause everybody loves hearing songs they know at a gig). Over time, we developed it until we liked it so much we wanted to release it as a record!

Not many bands tackle covers these days. Do you think there is a lot of potential regarding relatively untouched/underrated songs?

It seems like it’s definitely a useful tool for new bands to reach a larger audience. There should definitely be a careful balance, as an original artist, when it comes to covers but it can be a very positive thing for bands at our level.

How did Watercolours get together? What bonded you all?

Conal and I (Matt) met through starting another band together whilst we were at uni. We wanted a keyboard player in the band and, knowing Hamish (who we were already friend with from our course) wanted to join a band, it developed from there really. We ended up starting Watercolours as a new project - the music we were coming up with sounded completely different and much more mature; it only felt right that we should give ourselves a fresh start.

Is there more material coming later in the year?

Yes. We have our best music yet to come throughout the year.

Do you all share relatively similar musical tastes?

Fundamentally, yes. We all have our own taste but it overlaps in areas. All our preferences get brought to the table when we write music so every layer and part is formed from what we like as individuals.

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

Collectively, our favourite memory as a band is when we supported Marillion at their sold-out Colston Hall show. It’s been the biggest stage we’ve played on to date; it was definitely nerve-wracking but a really exciting moment for us. We’ve been invited back, to support them for their show at De Montfort Hall, Leicester.

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Conal: The album that means most to me is probably (Pink Floyd’s) The Dark Side of the Moon...it’s the first time I appreciated an ‘album’ rather than a collection of songs!

Matt: Mine is a more recent release: Freudian by Daniel Caesar - it’s one of those albums for me where I enjoy every track. Every time I listen to it, it makes me feel fragile emotionally, yet in complete awe of his songwriting.

Hamish: Like Matt’s, mine is also fairly recent: 22, A Million by Bon Iver. I remember the first time hearing the album and it blew me away. Certain tracks on the record also have significant memories attached to them from a really emotional time in my life.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

We would definitely support Tame Impala and would all have an Honest Burger on our rider (the best burger in the world). Onion rings to share..

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Networking is key. Every opportunity we’ve ever had has come from speaking to people. Being friendly and sociable is the most important thing!

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

We’re currently out on tour at the moment. Our next show is in London at The Finsbury on 26th April, the day before the Marillion show at De Montfort Hall.

How important is it for you all to be on the stage and connecting with the fans?

It’s massively important to connect on stage. Playing live is the only real way to interact properly! Social media is all very well but you can’t beat playing a gig.

 IN THIS PHOTO: James Hymphrys/PHOTO CREDIT: Dominika Scheibinger

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

The Bristol music scene at the moment is full of new exciting acts; James Humphrys, Harvey Causon; Jack Louis Cooper and Joe Probert just to name a few. Also, the Cheltenham scene has some cool upcoming artists: Polary, Andy Oliveri and The Mountaineers and TREE.HAUS are all worth a listen!

cc.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Jack Louis Cooper/PHOTO CREDIT: Rebecca Rees

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

For us, making music is kind of our way of unwinding! We all work jobs to pay rent etc., so playing music is definitely a bit of a relief from all that.

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).

Conal: James Blake (ft. Travis Scott and Metro Boomin) - Mile High

Matt: RVRB - NEED YOU STILL

Hamish: KMBWho

___________

Follow Watercolours

INTERVIEW: James Riley

INTERVIEW:

ewwe.jpg

PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

James Riley

___________

IT has been pretty neat...

 PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

speaking with James Riley about his new track, New York Minute, and its fascinating story. He discusses his musical tastes and who has compelled him; some of the rising artists we need to be aware of and whether there are going to be gigs upcoming.

I ask what we can expect from the upcoming album, Transatlantica, and what it was like to make; which artists Riley grew up around and what he does in his spare time – he picks a great song to end the interview with.

____________

Hi James. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi, guys. Yeah, my week’s been pretty good. I’ve been up at the Extinction Rebellion protest in London a fair bit, which has been interesting and inspiring, if slightly overwhelming.

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

Sure. I’m a transatlantic Folk and Soul songwriter from South London. I say transatlantic because I’m half-American and I lived in Nashville for two years - and those themes tend to influence my music a fair bit.

New York Minute is your latest track. Is there a tale behind it?

There is, indeed, a tale. I had just moved to America and I was spending a lot of time in New York City hanging around BedStuy and Bushwick, where I have a few friends. I kept on seeing these huge clouds of cascading birds flying above the tenements and the subway and just remember thinking how improbable it seemed in such a built-up place that this display of wildness was so present.

Later, I was walking through the Garment District downtown with my partner at the time and a hawk literally fell down (*SLAM*) on its back and died on the sidewalk in front of us. We watched the light go out of its eyes. Seconds later, a sparrow glanced off my shoulder and fell down on the sidewalk, also dead. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever witnessed.

We later worked out that probably the hawk was chasing the bird, and one or both must have panicked and flown straight into the sheer reflective glass of the building we were walking right next to. It was just such a strange moment – apparently it happens quite often in Manhattan –, this mad collision between literally the pinnacle of human civilization and this wild animal energy – it’s one of the things that fascinates me the most about that city.

So, I guess the song was initially inspired by those uncanny encounters and then it developed from there.

If we only had a minute in New York, what should we do?

I would suggest you get a cup of dollar coffee from a one of those bodega booths down by Knickerbocker Av. in Brooklyn; then walk out in front of traffic so just so you could enjoy the authenticity of N.Y.C. traffic honking at you…and you could enjoy shouting back “Hey, buddy! I’m waaaalking heeeeya!” Then, if you still had time, I would try to find some dumplings.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

Your album, Transatlantica, is out soon. Are there themes that define the record?

Yeah, definitely. Most of the record was written whilst I was living in Nashville, working loads of crazy minimum-wage jobs; trying to maintain a long-distance relationship and working harder than I’ve ever worked to develop my voice as a songwriter. It was both an inspiring and quite a hard time…

I was alone a lot, a long way from home; I was feeling simultaneously inspired and disillusioned by my surroundings. I was starting to understand my identity as songwriter more than ever before and understand America and Nashville in a new way - as well as my place in it - as a half-British transplant into the Deep South. It was mostly written in the six months leading up to Trump’s election also, which was a crazy time for obvious reasons - a lot of uncertainty, loneliness and frustration as well as of hope, possibility and inspiration. I think elements of all of that can be heard on the record.

aw.jpg

What was it like to record? Was it a fun process?

It was actually a ‘third time lucky’-type scenario with this record. I had tried to record an album a few months after coming to Nashville, with a producer who loved my sound, but had his own process in mind for making it. We got in the studio with a Memphis Soul band – all of them where amazing players but we had almost no time to work out how I wanted the tracks to sound (the musicians were being paid by the hour) and so we just had to write the charts, roll tape and see what happened. It resulted in something very high-quality but ultimately sounding nothing like what I had imagined.

After much deliberation, I scrapped that project and started again, working with a producer who took an opposite approach; working in a very low-key type way, involving just my acoustic guitar and me. We were getting some good results but sadly his personal world was in crisis and he eventually moved back to New Zealand (where he was from).

PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

Finally, after these two failed attempts and a year and a half in Nashville, by chance I met a fellow songwriter at a writer’s night, a guy called Matt Lovell. We became friends and he asked me to play a show at his producer’s studio. I met his producer, Matthew Odmark, who had previously been in a successful Rock band called Jars of Clay. Myself and Matthew began meeting up for coffee and talking music…he has a very ‘Sherpa-like’ energy and he helped me navigate several challenging scenarios, including my ‘breakup’ with my previous producer.

After my second album attempt fell through, I asked Matthew if he wanted to help me make my record. He said, “agreed”, and after that the whole thing started rolling really quickly. The tracks were demoed, the players chosen and, within a couple of weeks, I had my record. It was a dream.

When did music come into your life? Did you grow up around great sounds?

 It’s a massive cliché but I really did grow up on my parents’ record collection. My mum grew up in seventies California and so I heard a lot of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell; Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor from the time I was young. After my parents divorced, me, my mum and my sisters took a massive road trip through the northern U.S., from the Minneapolis all the way down through the Dakotas and the Badlands; Wyoming, Montana…all the way down to Vegas.

It was the nineties, so we were stopping off in gas stations to pick up cassettes of Country music: stuff like Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Mavericks. I think the combination of that music and all that wild landscape, at such a young age for a little English kid, left quite a profound impression. I think that’s a large part of reason I ended up moving to Nashville in the end.

Are there any other plans in place for 2019? Will you just be looking to get the record out and make an impact?

My plans for the rest of the year include, obviously, to release my record and hopefully to get some people to hear it. There’s going to be several more singles coming out over the summer up until I release the album around September. At the moment, things are in flux and I can’t honestly tell you what the future holds. Of course, I’m really hoping the album is going to make an impact. It’s been a long road getting it to a point where I’m happy to release it, so I can’t wait to hear what people make of it.

I’m playing a few festivals this summer, which I’m really looking forward to. There’s one in particular I’m looking forward to in Portugal…after I’ve played that one I’m planning on walking the Camino Portugues up to northern Spain (which will should be incredible).

PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Tarantino

Which three albums mean the most to you do you reckon?

John MartynLondon Conversation

Keith JarrettFacing You

Will SmithBig Willie Style

If you could support any artist on the road who would it be?

Probably someone like Sting. Or Dylan. Or Joni Mitchell or maybe Queen. You know, one of those people who changed what people thought was possible with a Pop song.

Might we see you touring later in the year?

Yes sir, yes ma’am. There will be a full U.K. tour when the album comes out, towards the end of summer, and a few bits and pieces in between. Check out www.jamesrileymusic.com/shows for more info.

Is there any advice you’d give to artists emerging right now?

Make sure you are spending enough time doing what you love and not spending most of your time on social media. It’s advice I am constantly trying to give to myself.

hgdd.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Thomas Jane Smith

Which upcoming artists do we need to keep an eye out for?

Thomas James Smith - a gifted singer-songwriter and arranger with a stunning new album coming out this year.

James Patrick Gavin – lovely guy and a world-class fiddle player with a colossally ambitious solo Folk project on the boil. Stay tuned.

Alice Phelps – dazzlingly talented harp player, singer and songwriter with a new album close to completion.

Simeon Hammond Dallas – Pint-sized lady with an enormous voice and a real knack for making words sounds amazing. Also, a busker by trade. Respect.

Hey Buddy – Psych/Funk outfit from Brighton. Monster musicians with a slightly tongue-in-cheek, millennial bent.

Sam Castell-Ward - I work with him through a learning disability charity. Eloquent Psych/Folk with a searingly intense perspective on the world.

fdfw.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Simeon Hammond Dallas

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

Sure. I’ve started to swim a lot recently. I find it very meditative…there’s no distractions and you’re just concentrating on your breathing and processing, basically. It’s actually pretty much helped me lose some baggage. That and therapy, which I also would recommend to everyone. Other than that, I like to go on very long walks and get out of London when I can. I love to read. Poetry especially. I read fiction but my frequent lack of focus means it often takes me a long time to get down to reading a whole book.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can choose any song you like (not one of yours) and I will play it here.

It’s actually one of the ones off my favourite albums which I mentioned earlier: Lalene from Facing You by Keith Jarret. Sublime Gospel/Blues/Soul piano meditation by one of the absolute masters

___________

Follow James Riley

re.jpg

INTERVIEW: Jamie Hannah

INTERVIEW:

Jamie Hannah

___________

THIS is a bit of a hold-over interview...

but it has been nice finding out about Jamie Hannah and his music. He discusses his latest track, Sound of My Youth, and future plans working with Boy George; counting Dame Emma Thompson as a fan and which albums are important to him and which rising artist we need to watch.

I ask Hannah whether there are tour dates coming up and who he’d support on the road if he could choose anyone; how important it is being up on the stage and whether he ever gets chance to chill – he selects a really good track to end the interview with.

____________

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

What a busy week I’ve had. My debut video premiered on Billboard in New York this week. What an amazing reaction I have had. I have also been busy preparing for my first tour. I am the support act for Heather Small on a nine-venue tour around England – so lots of rehearsals with the band, sorting out sessions on the local radio stations and arranging interviews with the press. There is so much to do!

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

I am a classically trained Pop singer writing and performing my music. My music is Pop music with lots of Classical influences.

Sound of My Youth is your current single. Can you reveal its origins?

This song is about memories of first love that ended badly. I use the illusion of water and the feeling of drowning to try and explain how I felt about the break up.

You have famous fans including Boy George and Emma Thompson. How does that feel? Have you met them both?

I met Boy George through my producer, Benny D, as they are long-term friends. George and I then met for lunch and we took it from there. We have worked together writing a new song. He is a great mentor and very generous with his time and advice. My next single, House of Truth, is one he has written and we have collaborated on.

Emma is the mother of one of my very good friends. We have met many times and she is great fun and very supportive.

Might there be more material coming later in the year?

My next single is ready to go and I also have an E.P. of tracks on tape waiting to be released.

Do you think your sound has changed and evolved a lot since the earliest days?

Originally, I was a trained countertenor Opera singer. I still use those techniques to sing Pop music. I sing different types of music and my sound is still evolving.

When you were growing up, which artists/records did you hold dear?

I love all kinds of music: Popular, Music Theatre; Jazz, Classical. If I were to single out any one genre it would be the big pop divas such as Arianna Grande, Elton John and Freddie Mercury.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

So many amazing memories. Probably working with Boy George was a huge highlight. I was also part of a small group of singers that sang with Kylie Minogue at a series of her Christmas concerts at the Royal Albert Hall two years running. She is a superb performer and is really in touch with her audience.  What an experience.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

SongbirdEva Cassidy, SweetenerArianna Grande and Back to Black - Amy Winehouse. Stunning voices, amazing talents; all masters of their genres.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I am touring this month supporting Heather Small. This is such an honour and I am hugely looking forward to it. I would love to do a big arena tour with someone like Rita Ora, Little Mix or Dido. That would be mega.

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

Yes. I have a tour with Heather Small around England until 26th April. In May/June, I will be promoting my new single with Boy George at a variety of gigs, festivals and other events.

How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?

I love both. When I am performing, I am understanding and reacting to the audience itself. When I am in the studio, the band and I are working and combining to get down on track how I want my music to sound. Both are hugely satisfying.

Can you describe the feeling being on stage and feeling the music connect with the crowd?

I just love it. There is no better feeling than when you and your music connect to an audience.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Freya Ridings

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I am always listening to lots of new artists but Freya Ridings really stands out to me.

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

Not at the moment! If I were to take time out it is to go to the gym or walk my dog…and meet up with friends for meals. I also love travelling and sunshine!

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).

Eva CassidyAutumn Leaves. My granddad was an amazing Jazz pianist and he played this. It always brings a lump to my throat

___________

Follow Jamie Hannah

INTERVIEW: Mako

INTERVIEW:

f.jpg

Mako

___________

ON this Good Friday...

vcvc.jpg

I get to present Mako, who has been telling me about his new track, Coyote, and how it came together; a few albums that mean a lot to him and how the music of Mako has changed since they were a duo to now – where Alex is a solo artist.

I ask about Mako’s talents and endeavours in T.V. and film; how he manages to unwind away from music and whether there are going to be tour dates – he ends the interview with a great song selection.

____________

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

I’m good (smiles). I just moved into a new apartment, got on a dating app for the first time; released some new music.

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

Yeah, definitely. I’m sure I’ll butcher this, but picture a Classical French horn player who got distracted by EDM and Pop music for a few years and listens to a lot of Indie Rock.

Coyote is your new single. What is the story behind it?

I was honestly super-burned-out, creatively…

I asked my team for a couple months off just to write purely for love (sadly, it’s not always the case) - and I started thinking about what I really have to bring to the table as an artist. I got on this kick…of ‘What would happen if you crammed your entire life of music into a record?’. Not only was Coyote born soon after, but my entire album materialized right in front of me. I haven’t been this purely happy and focused with my work in years.

Is there going to be an E.P. or album coming later in the year?

Yep (smiles).

I know Mako started life as a duo before just you, Alex. How has the music changed since inception?

The music has changed drastically, but the creative experience has always been the same. Even as a duo, I was always behind the wheel with our material - and my good buddy Logan would pilot our D.J. sets and help navigate the corridors of business for us. My taste in music has shifted so much since then - taking a tour through our discography will reveal it pretty clearly.

Were there particular artists that inspired you to get into music?

I was a diehard Gustav Mahler kid growing up (play along with the recordings to his symphonies in my garage all through high-school, meanwhile speaking with zero girls the entire time). I was caught up in the EDM craze out of college - and now I’ve settled into a strong IDM kick with artists like Moderat, Jon Hopkins; Atoms for Peace/Radiohead and a lot of the cinematic composer/artists like Ólafur Arnolds and Max Richter.

It seems your musical talent extends to T.V. and film. How important and informative is it working across various mediums?

It’s a huge enjoyment for me; the role of music in those mediums shifts dramatically. Everything is generally in service to a larger idea; the scope of collaboration can be immense and a successful day’s work can mean your music won’t be noticed (by design). It brings me a lot of happiness to glide between those projects and the egomania that is a pure artist project.

Can you describe what music does to you? Is it a form of emotional release?

A billion-percent emotional release. I, very sadly, don’t find myself connecting often with lyrics in any form. I don’t use music as a way to feel connected with pop culture. It’s just pure emotion for me.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

So, so many. Recently, working with League of Legends the past two years on their ‘Worlds’ events has been an all-time life highlight for me.

xcxcx.jpg

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

In Rainbows (Radiohead) through-and-through is my favorite artist album: it’s got everything I like about music. Interestingly, John Powell’s score to How to Train Your Dragon is the album that convinced me to quit the French horn and pursue a career in writing music. And I was heavily affected this year by Jon HopkinsSingularity - both in its contents and how captivatingly unique a piece of art can be, led by one singular voice.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Haha, wait. So, a rider…as in like a hospitality rider? I’m gonna give this one to my good mate Charles Yang - one disgustingly talented violin/guitar/singer. He gets infinite gin and tonics in his rider because he just bought me a few and I owe him.

ytty.jpg

What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?

A tour after this new album (smiles).

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Make a ton, ton, ton of music - it’ll get better, I promise. I’d also recommend finding a unique voice but sometimes I get a little pessimistic about that and I’m adventuring for the first time on this bullet - so check back with me in two years if I’m happy about this decision.

fg.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Josin

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I stumbled upon this hauntingly lovely artist called Josin.

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

I’m really super-sh*tty at this. Partial evidence of this is that I’m just typing right now as a means of buying time to think about a decent answer. I run late at night, which is a biggie for me. I can dig myself into some strange pockets of extreme isolation. I do wonder if this is just the reality for people who looove what they do. Balance is important.

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).

You asked...play Romantic Flight from How to Train Your Dragon

___________

Follow Mako

667.jpg

INTERVIEW: Hailey Knox

INTERVIEW:

PHOTO CREDIT: Shervin Lainez

Hailey Knox

___________

TAKING us towards the long Easter weekend...

cd.jpg

 PHOTO CREDIT: Shervin Lainez

is Hailey Knox, who has been discussing her Hardwired Mixtape and what inspired it; whether there are going to be gigs very soon and some of the albums that have made an impact on her – she chooses some approaching artists that are worth investigation.

I ask Knox what music she grew up around and how important touring is; which artist she’d support if she could and what the rest of 2019 holds – Knox selects a great modern track to bring the interview down to a close.

____________

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

Hello! I’m good! I've been working on new music this past week and hanging with family. I’m very excited to release new stuff and get new music out very soon.

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

I’m Hailey Knox! I’ve been singing since I was really young and playing guitar since I was seven. I’ve spent the last few years touring and creating music! My last tour was my first headlining tour which was a really interesting experience. I just released my mixtape, the Hardwired Mixtape, which has songs from a lot of different times in my life. I’m going on tour this summer supporting Bailen on the West Coast which I’m very excited about!

The Hardwired Mixtape is out now. What sort of experiences and stories inspired the music on the collection?

I talk a lot about life as a touring musician, missing home; self-doubt and relationships. A lot of the lyrics talk about emotions that I don’t show.

Is there going to be more material coming later in the year do you reckon?

Yes! I have a lot of songs I’m working on. New music real soon! 

How has 2019 been for you so far? Has it started pretty hectically?

2019 has been awesome! I had my song, Hardwired, on Grey's Anatomy, which was very cool! It was the first time I had a song on T.V. I am working on new music that I’m very excited about and I went on my first headlining tour!

hgftet.jpg

When you were growing up, which artists/records did you hold dear?

So many. I grew up loving Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber; Ingrid Michaelson, Tyler, the Creator and a lot of different artists and genres. My first concert was Hilary Duff!

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far? 

All of my touring experiences have been very cool and different. I feel like I learn something new with every tour and the people I work with. Seeing people online cover my songs always makes my day. It’s so cool that people connect with my lyrics and sing/ create their own versions. 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

I really love DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar. I think the production is unreal and the tone of his voice - and melody/flow in every song is amazing. I am also really into Billie Eilish’s album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? I love the harmonies on all of the songs and the sounds in the production that Finneas uses are so great. I love how she ties in all of the songs at the end. Jon Bellion's album, The Human Condition, is another favorite of mine. He also incorporates all of the songs into one song at the end which I love. His lyrics and melodies really pull you in. 80’s Films and Guillotine are some of my favorites.

 PHOTO CREDIT: Shervin Lainez

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I would love to support Billie Eilish! On my rider, I would put grilled chicken, sea salt and vinegar chips and tea!

What does the rest of this year hold for you?

Releasing new music, writing more music and heading out on tour during summer!

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

I am going on tour during June! I’ll be supporting Bailen on the West Coast. I’m very excited!

 PHOTO CREDIT: Shervin Lainez

Might you come to the U.K. and play for us here? 

I would love to! I have never been but would love to travel there. 

How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio? 

I really love both. I love creating in the studio and just jamming, coming up with new ideas. However, playing live is also really cool. I get to meet the people who listen and relate to my lyrics. A lot of my songs are emotional and the lyrics are very personal so if you come to my show. I hope you feel that. 

sss.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Tierra Whack/PHOTO CREDIT: Notion

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out? 

I love Tierra Whack, Jack Harlow and Atticus Thatcher!

 IN THIS PHOTO: Jack Harlow

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

I feel like I’m always creating wherever I am. I think my way of unwinding is other forms of art. I love drawing, watching movies and exploring.

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).

ilomilo by Billie Eilish is one of my favorite songs right now. The melodies, lyrics and production are all so interesting. She’s the coolest

___________

Follow Hailey Knox

INTERVIEW: Phildel

INTERVIEW:

Phildel

___________

TAKING us into the middle of the week...

sss.jpg

is the mighty Phildel. She has been telling me about her latest track, Glide Dog, and her upcoming album, Wave Your Flags – she tells me about some albums that are important to her and whether there are rising acts we need to look for.

I ask how a strict childhood impacted her and what effect music has; whether there are tour dates coming up and how she manages to unwind away from her busy career – Phildel chooses a great Elbow track to end the interview with.

____________

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

Great, thank you. I've spent most of it wrapping string around a life-size mannequin. It’s a prop for my next music video…. 

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

I’m a British music artist who focuses on creating unique sonic landscapes. My songs are emotionally driven - inspired by my experiences. 

What can you tell me about Glide Dog? How did the song come together?

Glide Dog arose from a number of things...

For a while I’d had an image in my mind of a song. It was like an abstract diagram where each line represented a different instrument in the arrangement. It was a sparse image. I’ve sketched it below…

lkkl.png

I translated the image into music and assigned different instruments to each part. For example, the blue represents the consistent foundation of the bass-line; the black are the toms; the red is the striking programmed snare; yellow for the piano - minimally placed and green for the vocals. 

Then, when it came to vocal recording, I was sitting improving at the microphone and, for some reason, the music lead me into a playful, vampiric zone...and from that place I wrote the verses. The choruses were written in a different mindset. I think, on one hand, I was finding the darkest places within myself where there is an enjoyment of destruction and carnage. I think, especially as a woman, the playful, dominant power-play of the song, with a mix of sinister yet sexual overtones, feels like an interesting space to embody. It has a sentiment of ‘I’ve been sexually objectified all my life by casual onlookers’. It has been painful and horrible. And now, deep down, I just want to inflict f**kloads of pain on people who have any sexual interest: “Skin don’t mean a thing/your skin don’t mean a thing, no”. “I need more blood than you could pour, love”; “I need more pain to remember your name”. 

It’s easy to assume I might be talking about myself wanting to feel more pain - but the pain I’m looking for is the pain I can successfully inflict in others. 

Just to point out, this isn’t me in my day-to -day life! (I’m in a solid, fifteen-year loving relationship with a wonderful man - we have two kids and plenty of harmony). But, this is some deeper, darker part of myself that has been injured and carries this voice which I’m expressing in this song. 

Wave Your Flags is your upcoming album. What sort of ideas are expressed throughout the record?

There’s some incredibly reflective and philosophical moments in the album. Glorious is about moving on and thriving despite some of the worse injustices and betrayals. Lamb is about being there to take responsibility for and heal the wounds of your inner-self. I think, to sum it up, the album is about human resilience. 

It is your first album in five years. What was the reason for the slight gap?

It usually takes me about eight years to put an album together (I spend a long time experimenting with arrangements and sometimes I need to wait to grow as a person before I can, say, write a middle-eight), so, actually, this is fast work for me. In the five years I also had my twin boys, Dylan and Finn. That’s been an amazing new journey.  

Is it true you had quite a strict childhood? Were musical and artistic desires not encouraged?

Yes. My mother re-married a religious man when I was eight. He believed music was against his religion and all music was banished from our home. I left there at seventeen to pursue music. 

Can you describe what music does to you? Is it a form of emotional release?

Absolutely. And I think it’s the most effective way in which I can communicate. Which is why it feels so satisfying. We all want to be heard, empathised with and understood. And I feel with the complexity of both difficult and euphoric life experiences, music is one of the best mediums to convey the full feeling in a way that others will deeply feel also.

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

There have been so many. I think going to the album signing table at Vancouver Festival after playing to a completely new audience of about one-hundred people and then seeing a hundred people line up to buy my C.D. and get it signed was a truly touching experience. 

I know you have been supported by various stations and outlets. How does it make you feel knowing your music resonates and connects with people?

It feels wonderful to know it’s out there being heard. Although, I should mention that music is more a creative journey for me, as opposed to a fame-seeking thing. The audience/exposure aspect is not nearly as significant as the process of creating. I think where I find real reward, though, in terms of reception, is when someone lets me know the music has helped them through a difficult time. 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

I tend to take a year to listen to an album and I’ve probably only heard about ten in my lifetime. I loved Elbow’s The Seldom Seen Kid. There were a few songs in that I felt represented a real milestone. Such as the loving intimate caring communication between two men that are friends in Friend of Ours. Most of all I loved the musical arrangements and lyric writing in the album. I think it’s the best album ever to win the Mercury award. I enjoyed Imogen Heap’s album, Speak for Yourself, for her unique production. And I also loved The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, again for songwriting and production. 

2ww.jpg

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Elbow. In terms of rider: loads of chocolate. 

What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?

We’ll be playing a U.K. tour later this year with a possible couple of U.S.A. dates too. 

Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Enjoy and savour every moment of the journey. No matter what level you are at. 

1.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Richard Fairlie

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Richard Fairlie, Cub Sport

444.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Cub Sport/PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Andersen Jnr

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

Nope, I never stop really. When I’m not working I’m chasing my two-year-old twinados around. A few times a year I like to visit the spa...

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).

Thanks! I’d choose Elbow’s The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

___________

Follow Phildel

INTERVIEW: CHARLOTTE

INTERVIEW:

fdf.jpg

CHARLOTTE

___________

MY Tuesday interview is with CHARLOTTE...

who has been talking about her track, Nervous, and why it holds personal weight; what we can expect from the E.P., Nowhere to Hide, and which albums mean a lot to her – CHARLOTTE selects a few artists we need to look out for.

I ask what it was like putting her E.P. together and whether music came into her life from an early age; what she does away from music and whether there will be gigs approaching – she picks a great track to end the album with.

____________

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

Hey! I’m great, thanks. I’ve been in L.A. for the past week so I am very much enjoying the sunny weather.

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

Sure. I’m from Hull in East Yorkshire, England. I released my first single, I Tell Lies, on 22nd Feb which was also my twenty-first birthday. I’ve been writing for myself and other artists since I was seventeen, so I’ve spent a while crafting my sound. It feels really great to finally be releasing stuff now.

Nervous is your latest track. Can you talk about the story behind it?

It’s inspired by my pretty appalling excuse for a love life. I’ve found myself completely incapable of letting anyone close enough to get into a relationship with them. This song specifically talks about those people I’ve pushed away or potential relationships that I’ve single-handedly screwed up before they could blossom into anything serious, despite still having feelings towards those people.

It is from the E.P., Nowhere to Hide. What sort of themes inspired the E.P.?

Growing up, insecurity and loneliness. Learning how to navigate becoming an adult and learning how to love myself. Releasing this music is scary as it’s all such personal stuff.

What was it like putting the E.P. together? Did the songs come pretty naturally?

Each of the songs are attached to really intense emotions that were all written in the moment. There were definitely some incredibly tough sessions. I was not a happy person at all when I wrote these songs but writing each of them helped me begin figuring things out.               

Do you remember when music came to you? Did you always grow up around different sounds?

I grew up watching my grandparents perform Soul music. I’d join in their rehearsals and invite myself up onstage from as young as four. I was completely captured by the music they played. I feel really lucky to be from a family of music lovers. I was exposed to so many amazing artists from all different genres. That’s definitely given me a great sonic foundation to draw inspiration from when I’m creating.

Which modern artists do you take guidance from? Do you listen to a lot of current music?

I listen to old and new music in equal measure. I think there are some unbelievably exciting artists making music at the moment. I’m a huge fan of Leon Bridges, Maggie Rogers; Bon Iver, Sam Fender; Frank Ocean, Lewis Capaldi; Ry X, H.E.R. and Billie Eilish. I’m taking huge inspiration from seeing authenticity getting the recognition it deserves. It makes me feel like I can be braver with the things I share in both my music and online when I see other artists baring their souls.

bvbv.jpg

Are there any ambitions for the rest of 2019 in terms of music and plans?

There are plenty of things I wanted to achieve - although I’m trying to make the most of every moment as it happens rather than falling into the vicious cycle of always chasing something better. I’d love to get to the end of this year and be able to say that I’ve played over one-hundred shows. I’m playing show number thirty-eight tonight, so I’ve made a good start on that I think. 

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

I do. I had the most unforgettable weekend in Ireland last week. I was asked, last-minute, to guest appear on a song with a band called Picture This for five nights at the 3Arena in Dublin. I got to sing for a total of 65,000 people over the five nights. The story is a bit longer and more complicated than that but a series of weird and wonderful events led to it all happening and I will carry the memories with me for the rest of my life.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?           

The albums that mean the most to me are the ones that have sentimental value. Hand Built by Robots - Newton Faulkner reminds me of car journeys with my mum; O - Damien Rice reminds me of my first festival experience and it’s an album I listened to a lot with my brother. Then pretty much every memory I’ve made in the last year and a half has been soundtracked by Leon Bridges - Good Thing…because it’s pretty much all I’ve listened to. Haha.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I am THE most low-maintenance person ever. It takes very little to make me very happy. All I require is carbs and hummus. I also love taking naps. Maybe I’d ask for a sleeping pod like they have at the Google offices. Oh…and I’d ask for my dog to be transported to wherever I’m performing.

yt.jpg

What are your plans regarding gigs/touring?

I have more tours coming up that I’ll be able to announce soon. Including some headline shows that I am SO excited about.

Is the stage somewhere you love to be? How important is it being up there?

Being onstage feels vital. I start to feel a build-up of energy and weight on my shoulders that can only be released by performing if I don’t have shows for a while. I don’t even have an explanation for why that is. Playing my own songs instead of covers has added another level to shows for me. Singing my own lyrics and having crowds connect with what I have to say is amazing.

22.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Koffee

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I doubt I’m listening to stuff you haven’t already discovered but I highly recommend Koffee, Joesef and a band called Vistas.

bbv.jpg

 IN THIS PHOTO: Vistas/PHOTO CREDIT: Ellen Offredy Photography

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

At the moment, no. It’s been properly hectic since the beginning of this year.

I’m scheduling in a week off at the end of May where I plan to go home and just establish a bit of routine for myself again. Go to the gym, eat proper meals; walk my dog and spend time with my family. They’re all things that I’ve missed out on whilst touring over the last few months. I tend to operate at 100 m.p.h. until I can feel that I’m physically or mentally struggling a bit, then I make sure I take some time to reset.

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).

Saturday Night - Whigfield. I listen to this before I go onstage. Do the dance. It’s a banger

___________

Follow CHARLOTTE

sasa.jpg