I have been speaking with Katmaz...

about his recent track, I’m Done, and how it began life. I ask the Brooklyn-based artist what the scene is like there; whether producing for other musicians helps elevate his own sounds and creativity – he selects a few albums that mean a lot to him.

I ask whether there are tour dates coming up and which approaching artists we need to watch; how he relaxes away from music and whether there is a standout memory that springs to mind – Katmaz selects a cool song to end the interview with.


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

Hello. The week has been great! There’s always a weight that is lifted when you release music.

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

My name is Matt Kaz. I go by Katmaz and I make all sorts of music for myself and others. 

Can you tell me about I’m Done and how the track came to you?

The song comes from frustration and letting go of that frustration. I wrote the music for I’m Done almost three years ago but it sat on the shelf until I faced a new challenge; then the lyrics just spilled out.

Is there going to be more coming, do you think, down the line?

Plenty more. I can’t release the details yet, but yes.

You have worked and produced for other artists. Do you feel that experience has made your own material stronger?

Absolutely. I learn something new from each artist I work with. I try to work with every genre of music and all types of artists. As Quincy (Jones) says: “There are only two kinds of music: good music and bad music”. 

When did music hit you growing up? Were you always exposed to a range of sounds?

Almost as soon as I can remember. I was five-years-old when I begged my parents to play an instrument. They presented me with drums or piano. I’m sure they were happy I chose piano. I was fortunate to grow up with music loving parents. My mom would be blasting some Whitney Houston while my father jammed out to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

You are based in Brooklyn. What is the music scene like there right now? Has it changed a lot through the years?

I love Brooklyn. I think the music scene is great and only getting better. I live in a house of music producers we call the WaveCave Studios. I’m trying to bridge some gaps and start throwing backyard concerts called WaveCave Concerts where we feature our artists and the artists we love of every genre. 


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

We performed at venue in Brooklyn called Elsewhere this past summer. I had a few of the artists/incredible singers I produce (and some I don’t) including Rasha Jay, Tan Brown; Griffin Garnett and Terrelle Tipton on stage with me. They sang my music and we covered Prince’s I Would Die 4 U. It was very powerful and awesome time! 

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

That’s a tough question but, off of the top of my head:

Radiohead - In Rainbows

This is my favorite album of all time. It’s perfect. I get excited about music when I can’t be sure what the artist is doing…and Radiohead always keeps you guessing.

Neil YoungLive Rust

Neil Young is one of my favorites and the rawness of his live show is incredibly inspiring.

Blind MelonSoup

One of the first bands I fell in love with as a kid. This album doesn’t have any hits on it, but songs like Mouthful of Cavities and The Duke shaped me. They were extremely underrated and Shannon Hoon was a genius. R.I.P.

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

Right now, I think Foals are on top of the Alt-Rock game; I’d love to open for them. Their show is so energetic and fun. Beck is another one that I think I would fit as support very well.

As far as a least five puppies to roll around with before the show; twenty honey garlic Cajun BBQ chicken wings flown in from Bar-Bill Tavern in Buffalo, N.Y. - and a framed photo of Bill Murray.

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

Working on some local gigs at the moment.   

Might we see you in the U.K. in 2019?

I wish! Soon, though.

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

I prefer performing to everything. There is nothing more fun than being on stage…except maybe being in the studio and coming up with something great collaboratively…yea…

 IN THIS PHOTO: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets/PHOTO CREDIT: Nici Eberl

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

If you haven’t heard of LP, go check out her music now. Her voice is UNDENIABLE. I’m into Foals’ new record and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets rock my world. And then, of course, artists I am producing. Rasha Jay has a single called Red Coats that rocks. On the radar we have Chelsie Denise who is an incredible R&B singer that reminds me of Whitney Houston (the music industry needs Chelsie). For dance we have FAB and on the Hip-Hop side check out Jimi Tents and 718 Spank.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Chelsie Denise

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

Not much time to get away, but I love films and the occasional video game.

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).

Psychedelic Porn CrumpetsDenmark / Van Gogh & Gone


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INTERVIEW: lennixx





THE epic lennixx have been talking to me...

about their new single, Bad Bird, and how it started life. I was eager to know how they formed and how the music comes together – the duo tell me what lies ahead and reveal some albums/artists who mean a lot to them.

I ask the Swedish-based duo what the scene is like for them and whether there will be tour dates; if they have a favourite memory from their career so far; which artist they’d support if they had the time and what advice they’d give to musicians coming through – lennixx pick a great track to end things on.


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

Hi, guys! We are feeling great at the moment. We have been in the studio working on new music this week, so that is always fun. The week gets better straight away.

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

We are a duo called lennixx and we released our debut mix-tape last autumn called hapap. Now, we most-recently released our new single, Bad Bird. We love to play around with our voices and try out different harmonies in different ways. We are very unrestricted when it comes to genres and what our music sounds like - and we like to try different things and see what works for us.

What is your new song, Bad Bird, about? How did it come together?

Bad Bird is about a toxic relationship that has come to an end when the person in question tries to ruin things for you because they are overwhelmed by bitterness. Instead of dealing with it in a healthy way, they just try to turn everyone against you and make up dishonest rumors and talk badly about you. In the song, we reply with “I have my real friends who will always have my back/and I couldn’t care less what you have to say about me”. It was written when we just wanted to express our feelings about a certain situation in the studio.

How do songs come to you? Do you set time aside to write or is there a structure to your writing process?

We write both lyrics and melodies both in sessions and outside of sessions. Usually, the song comes together in the studio, though. The writing process can, at times, be that you start on your own on something – like an idea – and then it all comes together when we work at it in the studio. It’s usually easier to capture feelings in action, like if you think about something – it could be on a plane or the Tube or whatever you just write it down.

How did lennixx form and what was it that attracted you to one another?

We fit really well together, both personally and musically. We formed our sound together. So, it wasn’t like we were aiming to sound like a specific genre or anything – we just worked until we found what we wanted to sound like. We complete each other very well both with our voices, in songwriting and our artistry.

Do you think your music and style has changed a lot since the start?

Yeah. We think that it has changed a lot since we first started. We released our first song in 2016 and we didn’t really have a clue about what we wanted to do. It became more natural once we had more involvement in the songwriting process. You also grow up and you get new perspectives about yourself and your artist career so of course the music changes with that.

Being based in Sweden, how strong is the music coming from there right now?

Sweden has always been one of the major actors in music exports and still is today. However, we aren’t really a part of that genre or style that Sweden is mostly known for. It could be negative for us, like people assume that we are two typical Scandi-Pop girls just because we are from Sweden. But, it could also be positive for us since we do something complete different from what most Swedish music usually sounds like.

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

Our favourite memory was when we wrote one of our songs on our first mixtape called HER. It was the first time we felt: this is us. This is our vibe. Then we really found something that was special for us.

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

Andrea: SZA Ctrl

Because you can listen to the album back-to-back and all the songs are great. You don’t skip any of them.

Hanna: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

All the songs work in every situation - and whatever you are feeling. 

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

It would definitely be Frank Ocean and our rider could perhaps contain a bed, a masseur and a juicer. That would be cool!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

To stay true to yourself and continue do what you really believe in. Your gut is ALWAYS right and, if you like it, someone else will too. 

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

Yeah. We are playing different shows all over Sweden this year. You can catch our tour dates on our social media!

Will you be coming to the U.K. at any point?

Yes. We are coming to the U.K. to play in the fall - and hopefully during the summer too!

 IN THIS PHOTO: Summer Walker

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Summer Walker, Little Simz and Ama Lou are all amazing.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Little Simz

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

We don’t really like to chill that much right now because we enjoy working a lot. But, when we do, we like to hang out with friends, watch series and sleep.

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).

Hanna: I Want You AroundSnoh Aalegra

Andrea: Tried UpAma Lou


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PHOTO CREDIT: Ollie Alexander  



MY first interview of the week is...


with the fantastic Luxley. He talks about his new E.P., Chromatics, and a rare condition called chromasthesia; what the music scene is like in New Orleans and the artists/sounds that inspire him – he tells me who he’d support on tour and what his rider would be.

I ask which three albums are most important to him and what he wants people to get from his E.P.’s messages; whether he will come to the U.K. at all and which rising artists we should follow – he selects a great track to end things with.


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

It’s been a great week so far - despite the lack of sleep. I’ve been finishing a record, full-time bartending to support myself and promoting my recent record, Chromatics.   

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

My name is Ryan Gray. Some people just call me Luxley. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. My artist name, Luxley, comes from the word, lux, which means light in Latin. I live with a condition called chromasthesia - where I see music in color. It’s also how I write my music.

PHOTO CREDIT: Joseph Frierson

I started Luxley when I left medical school in 2012. I had been producing music as a creative outlet while studying medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. I wrote my first record E.P., Spirit, while bartending full-time. It was co-produced by Ayad Al-Adhamy (ex-member of Passion Pit, Team Spirit) and engineer/mixer Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes). I had the amazing opportunity to have the E.P. featured in NYLON magazine, among other online blogs like EARMILK, The Huffington Post and Interview Magazine (founded by Andy Warhol).

Chromatics is your new E.P. What inspired its creation and what was it like putting it together?

Chromatics is an expression of my chromasthesia - a condition where I see sound as color. I discovered it when I got into a car accident when I was younger. I didn’t know how to describe the experience until I went to medical school and found literature describing it. This record is much different from my last. Chromatics is a departure from the traditional studio model of working with an outside producer.

After spending a lot of time experimenting on synths, electronics and getting to know myself more as an artist, I realized that I was passionately building a vast library of colorful sounds, textures and Pop-centric melodies that would eventually become the virtual worlds found on the record. The songs are arranged by the colors that I see and the track artwork corresponds to the colors that I see when hearing the songs. The biggest driving force for this new record is having people see the colors that I see and have them experience the feelings created by the color spectrum of the record.

Is there a song from the set that you would consider a favourite?

Near Me tends to be my favorite. I always recommend people spinning the Chromatics record while exercising or doing activities that force you to use ear buds. Immersive listening really enhances your experience with the colors of the record.

The tracks are arranged in order of colour - and it is clear the E.P. is very personal. What do you want people to take away from Chromatics?

I want people to take away the colors from the record and have the opportunity to listen to music differently by visualizing colorscapes and experiencing the unique feelings painted by them. I don’t believe you have to have chromasthesia to perceive music this way: it’s something more than that because it’s found in the universal element which I playfully denote as ‘Lx’. Lx is the element that relates to the act or quality of seeing music in color and it’s found outside ourselves. It’s free for all of us who really want it. 


PHOTO CREDIT: Justine Bird

How did you get into music? Was it something you were passionate about from a young age?

When my parents got divorced at a young age, I found solace by teaching myself music by ear. I really couldn’t find happiness outside of music because of the family strife. I taught myself how to play piano when they bought me one before the separation. I immediately became passionate about learning other instruments like guitar, bass; audio electronic devices and vocals. I quickly moved to writing my first songs on guitar and eventually on synthesizers.


Being based in New Orleans, how important is the music of the city and the people regarding your work?

The influence of New Orleans has really grounded me on organic instrumentation because live music is a foundation of the culture. New Orleans’ influence has become more evident in my latest record, Chromatics, as well as my next one (currently untitled). Reggae, Jazz; Blues and Funk are popular genres in the New Orleans music culture and they seep into tracks like Near Me (Reggae), No. 4 (Blues) and Take a Chance (Funk). The next record incorporates more Jazz and brass-band instrumentation, which are both staples of the New Orleans music culture.

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

930 Club in Washington, D.C. on October 20th, 2014. I played to a sold-out crowd on my birthday with Bombay Bicycle Club and Milo Greene.  I never mentioned it to the crowd that night, but I will never forget the celebration that ensued afterwards with Bombay Bicycle Club and Milo Greene in the basement of the 930 Club.

It makes me tear up when I think about that night.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ollie Alexander

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

Friendly FiresPala (a band based out of St. Albans, England)

This record re-instilled my passion for music and how I see it in color. I could literally describe all of the colors of this record in real-time if we did a listening party.

311From Chaos (a band based out of Omaha, Nebraska)

This record taught me so much about how to be confident and believe in yourself as an artist. This is one of the bands playing when I got into the car accident when I was younger. 

Jimmy Eat WorldFutures (a band based out of Arizona)

This record taught me how to tell emotional stories through music and how to express yourself with it in a beautifully raw (Rock) manner.

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

Luxley, Tycho; Pretty Lights, Angele or ZHU.


Craft cocktail mini-bar: I’d like to bartend for all of artists on the bill; stage and production crew and media personnel after the show. They would need to try the You Got the Lux? cocktail.

The bar would need to be stocked so that I could serve my old-fashioned riff:

§  Toasted sesame-infused rye whiskey

§  Banana

§  Rhubarb.


PHOTO CREDIT: Joseph Frierson

o   Additional bar stock: wine selections of old and new world wines (white and red), a few bottles of Dom Perignon and Monkey 47 Gin.

·         A small D.J. booth so that a local artist or musician fan could be featured.

·         Colored lighting.

·         Personal chef who bakes amazing breads.

·         Hummus, charcuterie boards and fine cheese selections.

·         A closet or safe place to store all of my colored jump-suits.

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?


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

In the long-term, I prefer the process of writing more than anything but the momentary experiences of performing live are unparalleled. I have big plans for a really vivid and unique live show in the future.

Will you come to the U.K. during 2019?

Unfortunately I won’t be, but I’ve heard from many people that I should get my music represented more in the U.K. because my style would be most receptive there.


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Angèle, Chris Malinchak; Poolside and Weval.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Chris Malinchak

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

I get very little time to step away from music because I currently work as a full-time bartender to support myself and the Luxley project. When I’m not bartending, I’m writing and promoting music. If I step away from everything to get fresh air, I go for a bike ride; swim, box or indulge in the exquisite food and cocktail culture of New Orleans. From time to time, I’ll try and catch Electronica shows at the Techno Club or Republic in New Orleans.

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).



Follow Luxley


INTERVIEW: Mason Ashley




Mason Ashley


I am ending the week of interviews...

 SINGLE ART: Sophie Mazzaro

by speaking with Mason Ashley about her recent track, Ever Had You, and whether there will be more coming. She reveals whether music provides catharsis and when she decided to follow music; which artists she grew up around and which rising artists are worth exploring.

I ask when the U.S. artist will come to the U.K. and whether she gets time to chill away from music; if she has a standout memory from her career so far – Mason Ashley selects a classic gem to end things with.


Hi, Mason Ashley. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! I’ve had a great week. I got to do some snow skiing in Utah, so I’m happy. 

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

I’m Mason Ashley. I’m twenty-years-old and I’ve been writing songs and playing for half my life now. 

Ever Had You is your new track. Is there a story behind it?

I wrote Ever Had You in a matter of minutes after realizing I was in a toxic relationship. There’s a long, dramatic story behind the song...but let’s just say that the song came right as a realized that I had given out my last, last straw to this person. 

Might there be some more material later in the year?

I am currently back in the studio working on new music right now. You’ll definitely be hearing more from me later in the year and I can’t wait!

Is music a good way of getting out emotions and feelings in a healthy way? How important is music in that respect?

I have always used music as a form of therapy. Even as a kid, I found writing as a way to sort through my emotions and figure myself out in a sense. I think music is a great outlet for getting those feelings out. 


Can you tell me what sort of sounds you grew up around as a child?

I grew up on all kinds of music. I basically listened to whatever my parents were listening to. I loved early John Mayer, Van Morrison and Matchbox Twenty. I really just enjoyed music as a kid. I discovered Bob Dylan when I was twelve or thirteen and I think he heavily influenced my writing for years after that.  

When did you realise you wanted to pursue music? Was it quite an easy process going from there to where you are now?

I honestly think I knew from around the age of twelve. I started recording demos and performing by the time I turned thirteen and then really started taking that passion seriously. It’s definitely been a long road of trial-and-error since then. Trying to make a career in music is by no means easy. There are no certain steps you can follow or things you can do to guarantee success. It’s a lot of just putting yourself out there and hoping that the right person, or people, will hear what you have to say and appreciate it. We can’t all have the Justin Bieber story. 

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

I have a few big milestones so far: over one-million views on YouTube; someone using one of my tracks in their wedding and attending my first award show. I think my favorite story, so far, is the first time I heard myself on the radio. I was sixteen and had just released my debut E.P. I wrote more Folk/Americana music at the time.

My family and I were in Dallas, Texas at a lake house for a min-summer vacation and I remember getting a tweet from a radio D.J. - IN DALLAS of all places - saying that they would be featuring one my songs the next morning at seven. We all woke up early the next day to listen and I remember feeling so overwhelmed and proud. It was one of the most memorable and monumental moments so far.  


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

Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home 

The first Dylan album I ever listened to from start to finish. My thirteen-year-old self sat there on my bedroom floor listening to She Belongs to Me and Mr. Tambourine Man wondering how anyone could ever want to be anything other than a songwriter. 

The 1975The 1975

Shortly after my Bob Dylan movement, I started broadening my musical horizon. I fell in love with all kinds of music and loved listening to anything I could find. The 1975 released their debut, self-titled album and I was hooked. Thoughtful lyrics with Brit-Rock vibes and electric guitar...the album had me listening on-repeat so I could hear all the little aspects in the production that gave it its sound. Robbers is still one of my favorite songs. 

La La Land Soundtrack 

Because...if you haven’t listened to it, you are missing out. Just the most beautifully poetic and bitter sweet soundtrack I’ve heard. If it doesn’t evoke some kind of emotion inside of you, you might be heartless. 

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

Wallows or The 1975. French press coffee and/or chai tea. Just tons of caffeine. I can out-drink anyone when it comes to coffee.  


PHOTO CREDIT: @TheMasonAshley

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

I don’t have any shows on the books at the moment. I’ve mainly been focusing on getting more songs done in the studio, but definitely stay tuned because I plan to start playing live later in the year.  

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

I think performing is so important. It helps solidify who you are as an artist and overall just get more comfortable with your music. I love creating and hearing a song or project come together. I absolutely love being in the studio, but I started on stage at a young age and have a very special place in my heart for performing. I love both for different reasons. 

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

I would love to come to the U.K. and play someday! I’ve never been and that would be a dream. 



Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

One of my favorite bands right now is Wallows. Definitely check them out and try to catch them on tour because they are fantastic. I also love James Vincent McMorrow and Jack Garratt.


IN THIS PHOTO: James Vince McMorrow

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

I do have some free time to chill as of right now. I’ve been into yoga for years but I haven’t been good about sticking with it regularly until recently, so I’ve enjoyed that. I love coffee so sitting in coffee shops and people watching is also very relaxing to me. 

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).

She Belongs to Me - Bob Dylan 


Follow Mason Ashley



PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Burmiston  



MANY thanks to Daniel (DONSKOY) for chatting...

IMAGE CREDIT: Spotify/PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Burmiston 

about his current single, Cry By the River, and I ask what comes next for him; how the German-born artist feels about his music connecting with so many people and the sort of sounds he grew up around – he provides a few new names worth taking a gander at.

I ask whether there will be tour dates and what comes next; whether there have been changes in Germany’s music scene through the years and how important it is for DONSKOY to get onto the stage – he picks a great track to end things with.


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

My week has been incredible. I spent it in London, where I haven’t been home in a while due to filming in Germany and my studio being in Berlin. I got my indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. sorted and had some very inspirational songwriting sessions.

Could I even ask for more?

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

Well. Seeing that usually everyone’s first question would be “Where are you from?”, I’ll start with that. I’ve had the privilege to grow up, live and love in so many different countries. I was born in Moscow, grew up in Berlin and Tel Aviv and spent the majority of the last eight years in London. All the moving in-between countries and cities, different languages and cultures have inspired my music majorly.

Privately, I am a bit of a loner who loves to eat out and spend my Sundays a little bit hungover; writing songs whilst drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.

Cry By the River is your latest track. Is there a story behind it?

It truly is a song about me meeting up with somebody close to my heart, taking our time to sit down and cry with no fear of it being construed as weakness; never scared to be vulnerable with each other. In this day and age, when everyone is trying to scream their positivity to the world and tell us how wonderful their lives are, it is not easy to show your weaknesses.

But, I know that I feel so much better if I have a good cry. Our bodies were designed to let frustration out through tears. It’s a wonderful, near-genius mechanism - and I’ve had the privilege to have someone to cry with.

Might we see more music later in the year?

Yes. I am so excited as I just finished recording my E.P. called Didn’t I Say So with Berlin-based producer Mic Schröder. It’s coming out on 3rd May. In autumn, I’m expecting to go on tour for the first time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This year is all about music and I am full of inspiration to keep working on my first album.


Your music has gained a lot of love from fans around the world. Does that make you feel good?

The beauty of music is that it connects people regardless of their mother tongue, sexuality; gender or heritage. It is a way for me to express my deepest and most honest feelings and thoughts. I am so thankful for every listen, share and concert ticket bought. My first concert in Berlin earlier this year filled me with enough energy I couldn’t sleep for two days. I very much hope to play my first gigs in the U.K. soon, too.

What sort of music did you grow up around as a child?

A very varied catalogue, indeed…

My parents listened to Sting and Queen obsessively. From very early age, Classical music played a big part in my life as my grandmother was also my first piano teacher. Chopin still makes me cry. But, the different countries I got to live in also left a big stamp on my musical taste. I love Russian Folk songs (they give me goosebumps!); old Yiddish songs I heard my great-grandmother hum. It was wonderful to get so much musical variety from a very early age.


PHOTO CREDIT: Ray Burmiston  

In terms of Germany’s music, do you think there have been changes and evolution through the years?

Yes, absolutely. There has been a move towards many more acts singing in German. German Hip-Hop/Rap rules the German Spotify playlists. German Pop is on the rise again. I have to say I prefer the Neue Deutsche Welle, but it’s great that the market is full of young and aspiring talent that gets to sing in their mother tongue.

However, my heart beats for music in English.

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

The first time I got to hear the master of Cry by the River was such a special moment. We had worked on the most freakish deadlines; I left my Christmas visit at my dad’s in Switzerland after just one day to finish recording the track and when it was all done, it felt glorious. Everything from writing the song in the summer during the Munich Film Festival to recording it with my amazing band was such a fulfilling process. I cannot wait to go into the studio again to start working on my first album.


 PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Serkis

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

Wrong Crowd (East 1st Street Piano Tapes) by Tom Odell

A true masterpiece of songwriting. One rarely hears true and honest storytelling like that with such gripping melodies. I felt like I was sitting right by his piano when I first heard it. Truly amazing.

Horses by Patti Smith

Every time I’m in a new city, I put this album on and start walking the streets. It inspires me so much. I’d love to meet her one day and ask her all about the time back in Hotel Chelsea with Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Times They Are a-Changin’ by Bob Dylan

Can’t explain why but I never could stop listening to it.

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

I’d love to support so many amazing artists. I’ve recently been to a Justin Timberlake concert and I can only say he is a true entertainment king. The audience was so remarkable. I’d have loved to support him. Also supporting The Rolling Stones, Tom Odell; James Bay, Tash Sultana…oh man, what a question - now I can’t stop dreaming!

Might we see you on tour in 2019?

Yes. I am going on tour in autumn. I just signed with a booking agency in Berlin and I am so psyched for it. It’s going to be my first tour so I’m also slightly scared to lose my tour virginity. Can it be autumn now, please?

 PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Serkis

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

Although I started my music career in Germany, I have been living in London since 2011 – so, of course the goal is to come to the U.K. to play - and I hope 2020 will be all about that.

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

I think it’s the combination that is the most important. The songs get developed in the studio to make them the versions I get to play on stage, so one thing couldn’t exist without the other for me. The studio is the safe space where I get to explore the essence of the music - the stage is my playing field where I explore the music’s effect on the audience and me. Playing live is, of course, the best feeling in the I hope there will be much more of that soon!


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I recently discovered Hamzaa and Celeste. I love their soulful sound and lyrics that truly go under the skin. Especially You by Hamzaa and Lately by Celeste. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve also listened a lot to Tommy Cash - totally different but it makes me happy.


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

Not really: I am also a working actor and just finished shooting for a German T.V. show called Sankt Maik and a feature film called Crescendo (about an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra whilst being in the studio) so, sadly, there wasn’t much time off during that.

But, I’d love to go visit my family soon. They live in five different countries, so it would make quite a trip! I need a week in Tel Aviv on the beach to see my mom and little sister and a trip to Swiss mountains to see my dad and little brothers.

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).

Let’s go with Lately by Celeste. Love it!

Thank you for the interview. Daniel.




INTERVIEW: Night House


Night House


I have been speaking with Night House...

about his new single, Unfold, and how he arrived at that interesting moniker. I ask whether there is more material coming and what the scene is like in Brighton right now; which approaching artists we need to watch and what sort of music he grew up around.

I wanted to know how he feels his music has developed through the years and if there are gigs coming up; which artist he’d support if he could and whether there is a standout memory from his career so far – he selects a cool song to end things with.


Hi, Night House. How are you? How has your week been?

I've just been attempting to jump-start my friend and fellow musician Michael Baker's van - sadly, unsuccessfully. Other than that, great week so far planning tours and the next releases.

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

I'm Nick Williams, A.K.A. producer and songwriter, Night House. I adopted the name, Night House, after my Folk songwriting took a turn for the more electronic. I love blurring the lines between electronic and acoustic sounds. There are two other key players in the Night House family: Amy Squirrel on cello and Alfie Weedon our double-double bassist.

Where did the moniker, Night House, come from?

Searching for a name that fits your sound is a real challenge. I decided to turn to my favourite albums and artists for inspiration. I've always been a huge Joni Mitchell fan and, strumming through her records, I saw the track, Rainy Night House...well, you can guess the rest.

Unfold is your new single. Did it stem from a personal story?

I wrote Unfold for my best friend who was going through a very tough break-up. I wanted the song to comfort him and let him know that pain he was feeling was only temporary. Both the lyrics and the video - directed by Elliot Tatler - draw from this breakup.

Might there be an E.P. later in the year?

I'll raise you an album! We were lucky to work with producer Dan Brown (Massive Attack, Jerry Williams) on our debut-album, Everyone Is Watching from Afar, which will be out later in the year.

How do you think your music has mutated and developed since 2015?

One of the biggest changes was embracing electronic drums and the new orchestral sound brought by Alfie and Amy. Our Night House E.P. had more of an Indie band line-up, whereas this new album is far more adventurous with its arrangements. Despite embracing synths and drum machines, it still has Folk songwriting at its core with a real focus on lyrics.

Is Brighton a pretty great place when it comes to music, inspiration and people?

Brighton has an incredible music scene; one I feel fully emerged in! I could recommend hundreds of acts who deserve to be huge. It really does have that much talent here but I'll keep it to just three. Ellie Ford, harpist songwriter and all-round Brighton musical hero. We collaborated on my previous single, The Roots in the Wires. Michael Baker. We run a small promotions company together, Back in the Woods, putting on shows in Brighton - and he is one of the best songwriters out there. He's releasing his second album this year. I've been lucky enough to hear it all and it's incredible.

I've been addicted to Trip-Hop/Jazz band Bledig's debut E.P. which came out last month. We were lucky to have them as our main support for the Unfold single launch show at St. Nicholas' church and they blew everyone away!

When did music enter your life? Can you remember the first album you bought?

My parents were really into Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel, so this really influenced my early years. I remember when all my friends were getting into heavy Metal and Rap, I was singing the praises of Rumours and Bridge Over Troubled Water - not cool at the time but they have definitely stood the test of time.

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

Supporting both Willy Mason and Ben Howard on the same night was a big highlight! But, really, often the smallest shows are the most memorable. There's a tiny town in Germany called Sohren, which we've played every time we toured Europe. They put on an incredible show and we're always so warmly welcomed back - and it's amazing to see the same faces and catch up with their lives.


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

That's a really hard one, as there is too much music that I love, but today it would be...

Joni MichellHejira

This is a very special album to me; lyrically it's perfect. It documents Joni's solo road trip across America, reflecting on relationships; growing older and the deeper meanings of life. Musically, Joni's Jazz-tinged atmospheric guitar work, mixed with Jaco Pastorius' fretless bass, is impeccable.

RadioheadIn Rainbows

I was just listening to this whilst trying to jump-start Michael Baker’s van. On this album, I think they perfectly combined the electronic elements of Kid A with their more classic Prog-Rock sounds of OK Computer. The final track, Videotape, with its simple piano and swirling electronics was a huge inspiration to me.

Sun Kil Moon - Benji

I was introduced to this album by my friend Paul Murray, the singer-songwriter of Bee and Jackrabbit (an incredible Brighton Queer-Folk band). We were both supporting Warsaw Radio on an Irish tour and Paul put this on as we were driving home to Brighton. I was completely blown away by the naked, diary-style lyrics and it's had a big impact on my own writing.

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

I saw James Blake live a few years back and I think he's one of the most brilliant and underrated live acts. I don't really like to drink too much when performing but a good whiskey never goes wrong.

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

I'm going on a short joint-headline U.K. tour with Ellie Ford in April. We're playing:

03/04/2019: Sofar Sounds Southampton (venue not yet announced).

05/04/2019: St Martin’s Church, East Horsley, Guildford.

06/04/2019: The Space, Keynsham, Bristol.

Tickets available now. Head over to for ticket links

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

I often feel I can't really get into a song until I’ve played it live, so I often book in shows to try out new material. However, this being said, the title-track of the album, Everyone Is Watching from Afar, was made completely in the studio. We cut-and-pasted beats, synth and piano parts then overlayed so many intricate cello and string parts; so much so that it's almost impossible to play live without an orchestra! The time signatures for the verses is a technical nightmare!

 IN THIS PHOTO: Ellie Ford

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

From Brighton, my top picks are Michael Baker, Ellie Ford; Bledig, Bee & Jackrabbit; AK Patterson, Jouis and Yumi and the Weather. Not a new artist, but one I've just discovered is Lucy Dacus. I've been listening to Night Shift on-repeat all week.


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

Not really! I've always been pretty bad at taking time off but, in the summer, I live to swim in the sea.

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).

Let's go for my good friend and touring buddy, Michael Baker, and my one of my favourite tracks from his first album, Anywhere Anytime Soon. Thanks!


Follow Night House



Anin Rose


THE fantastic Anin Rose has been telling me...


about her new single, No Apologies, and how it came together. I ask what the reason was for featuring an all-female choir on the song and whether there is new material/gigs coming later in the year – Anin Rose selects a few albums that mean a lot to her.

I ask whether there are any approaching musicians we need to look out for and how the German-born artist unwinds; what the differences are between the music of Hamburg and London – she selects a great song to end the interview with.


Hi, Anin Rose. How are you? How has your week been?

I am very well, thanks, and my week has been filled so far with some wonderful things. So, happy days!

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

I am a London-based, German-born singer-songwriter and am obsessed with choirs. I started singing in gospel choirs at the age of fifteen, so my style is Pop with a Gospel twist!

No Apologies is a great track. How did it come to you?

I had a very intense period of writing with and for a friend of mine, Jamie Grey. At that time, I wrote songs on the bus, in the train and in every free minute I had cause it felt like we were on a mission. But, we could never be sure if what we were writing was good enough and actually presenting Jamie’s most authentic self. So, in one evening, I wrote the chords and the first line, “Heaven knows we fall”, at home and brought it into the next session. It was like saying; that we have got nothing to lose and that we can just be ourselves and do what we are good at - and we might fall, but at least we fell sticking to who we are. Everyone loved the idea but, as much as we tried, we couldn’t continue writing this particular melody.

So, the beginnings of the song were on my laptop for another nine months until I went into a session with Anders Hojer alone, who was part of the songwriting team. He is an incredible writer and producer with whom I had a lot of talks about my artist identity and style. We both have strong opinions about what kind of music we want to be doing and what not, which was pretty much the inspiration for No Apologies. From a young age, I was judged for my height, my loud voice and my inability to keep opinions to myself. This song was like standing up to my past but also to my future; promising myself that I wouldn’t let anyone reform who I am and that it’s time to stop questioning myself.

It features an all-female choir – one does not see that much in music. What was the reason for that incorporation?

I am one of the musical directors of the London International Gospel Choir. I am working with them now for three-and-a-half years and gotten pretty close to a lot of the singers. But, during that time, I was also involved in a lot of female-led projects or met feministic role models like that time when I was the stand in for Gwendoline Christie in Star Wars and saw a tall woman in shining armour float over the film-set like she owns the place.

My photographer and closest friend started the project, Too Much of a Person, where she interviewed one-hundred women and non-binary people to speak about what they have been called too much of and how they might have turned those stories into their power. I got involved in the project and hearing the stories whilst watching the new Wonder Woman movie made me want to create my own female army. That’s how the all-female group came to life and I put on a headline show with just them and a pianist backing me. Our chosen cover was, of course, a mash-up from Destiny’s Child.

You clearly have a love of vocals and harmonies. Has that always been the case?

Yes. I started singing in a Gospel choir at the age of fifteen and sang in a vocal band (just voices) for years in Germany. We had a beatboxer and used effects so we were able to imitate guitar sounds, but we also sang Jazz harmonies and were touring through Germany, kind of like Pentatonix. At the age of nineteen, I lead my first choir in a school for special education and these days I conduct several choirs whilst arranging and performing for other artists.

Do you think there will be more singles coming later in the year?

Yes. My second single, Stand for Something, is on its way - to be released in April before the E.P. comes out, hopefully, in May!

You were born in Hamburg but are based in London. Are there big differences between the cities in terms of music?!

Yes. I believe London is very unique. Not always in a good sense. The living costs are enormous so you struggle more as a musician here and well-paid gigs as an artist are less usual here than in Germany. So, when I meet my musician friends in Germany, they ‘hassle’ less and they generally don’t play in a corner of a pub where no one listens. In Hamburg, people go to concerts and give their full attention - and I’d say you are respected a lot more as an upcoming artist.

Can you tell me what sort of music you grew up around as a child?

I grew up with parents, who are obsessed with music. I got C.D.s for every occasion and our house was never quite. At times, it was Sting, Tower of Power or Michael McDonald but, at other times, I’d turn the volume right up and sing along to S Club 7, Alicia Keys or Natalie Cole. We always had a massive C.D. collection and my mum still asks me at times where some of her dearest pieces went. I was very blessed to be taken to gigs from a very young age: from Jazz concerts I didn’t like back then to Soul and Funk concerts like Incognito.

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

I think performing at the O2 Shepherds Bush and throwing roses in the audience was a stand-out moment as well as the headline show last year at St. Giles-in-the-Fields.

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

Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys

Because it was the perfect mixture of musicianship, vocal excellence; harmonies and good Pop melodies.

Sting - All This Time

It’s a collection of songs with incredible lyrics. Sting is a storyteller and he is excellent when translating those stories into music and the most breathtaking arrangements.

The ScriptThe Script

When I heard those songs I knew this would be something I could do. Everything else I listened to I loved and admired but would not strive to be or replicate. Those guys are seriously underestimated and undervalued in the music industry I believe.


 PHOTO CREDIT: Marina Chichi

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

A German needs efficiency and a working stage set up, so I think my rider would implement tech specs but in absolute detail. Besides that, I think food makes people happy and a place to breathe before a show. A musician to support would be One Republic, cause who doesn’t want to get to know the master of songwriting, Ryan Tedder? But, personally, I think I could connect well with Maggie Rogers, Jessie J or Tori Kelly as these are some kickass women I could learn a lot from.

Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

I am performing at the launch of Too Much of a Person on the 27th April at Omved Gardens, which is an incredible venue and I am super-excited about the event. Otherwise, I am planning a couple of female-led showcases - which are sadly still in progress - but which will happen in May. October will be my usual headline show, so watch out for that!

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

I think both are essential and important for me. A good balance is perfect I’d say. Writing songs is most rewarding, but performing is the most magical experience. When you write a song, you’ve written something off your chest and it feels often very therapeutic. Playing the songs live is sharing that message and shouting it out in the world; until it becomes several people’s message and then the magic happens; when people connect with what you say. I could cry every time I feel it in the room, when people tune in with what you are singing.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Rothwell

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yes! I am a big fan of Rothwell. I had a writing session with her and her voice is unbelievable! Great songwriter. If you like harmonies and Folk, check out I’m With Her. I will see those three wonder-women live this month and am massively excited!


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

I unfortunately don’t have that figured out yet. I really have to force myself to book a holiday or a weekend off. But, I am very strict with my morning Yoga sessions - to start the day in the right way - and we started playing board-games recently. I think it’s a great and social way to get your mind stuck on something else then melodies.

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).

Maggie RogersLight On


Follow Anin Rose



Reeps One


HUGE appreciation to Harry Yeff (Reeps One)...

for talking about his involvement with the docuseries, We Speak Music, and its concept; working alongside Nokia Bell Labs’ Experiments in Art and Technology and what it is all about – he also recommends an artist that is worth watching out for.

I ask him about his beatboxing career and how he got started in music; what he has planned coming next and, indeed, whether it is easy to get into beatboxing – Reeps One selects a precious memory from his time in music.


Hi, Reeps One. How are you? How has your week been?

Good. I was in N.Y. at the start of the week and now I’ve just arrived in Seoul Korea – it’s beautiful here.

How are you enjoying the weather right now? Does the warmer climate inspire you, creatively?

I love the cold. That truth tends to confuse people but my mind and body just work better in a cold climate. You don't have time to be anxious and lazy in the cold: you zone in and hyper-focus on your goals. That’s as true for myself as it is in nature: the cold inspires survival and precision. I like that.

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

My artist name is Reeps One. I'm a multi-disciplinary based in London - most of my work centers around the human voice and the lateral technologies surrounding it. The last two years my job has been to do two things: push my voice as far as it can possibly go and explore how the human voice is evolving on a global level. Last year, I completed my third Harvard Uni residency and have since become and E.A.T. artist with Nokia Bell Labs and a Culture Leader with The World Economic Forum.

But, the short answer is I make music and art.

We Speak Music is a docuseries you are involved with? What is the concept behind it?

The strange thing is the human voice is that it’s as old as humanity itself; you would think it would have been explored inside and out by now but that’s simply not the case. In the last ten years, there has been an explosion in voice culture. New techniques and peak physical capabilities are emerging and that has the artistic academic worlds scratching its head. I wanted to champion why this evolution actually impacts people’s lives. You can’t talk about the human voice without connecting it to communication, sense of self; sense of place and expression.

It’s how we connect with ourselves and each other.

What was it like working with Nokia Bell Labs’ Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.)?

Incredible to be a part of their history. I would be here all day If I were to list all of the technologies they invented - but the E.A.T. program was an innovation in culture and the arts which was very rare coming from a tech-based institution in the ’60s. In 1968, Bell Labs paired artists like Robert Rauschenberg with top engineers for an event called The 9 Evening.

It was miles ahead if its time. Being the newest E.A.T. artist, I was asked to create a piece that fuses voice and emerging tech and I'm very proud to say that’s how the documentary ends. I created an A.I. second voice that I can collaborate with and I couldn't have predicted the results.

Is there an episode or part of the docuseries that stands as a favourite? Were there standout moments that took you by surprise?

Episode four. I had the pleasure of visiting Lavelle School for the blind in N.Y. There they are using the practicality of beatboxing to teach a class of young people to learn how to better control their voices. The kids are all on the spectrum in different ways and vocal experimentation is the first group activity the school has found that they can all take part in. The results are astonishing: some kids have gone from hardly articulating to being able to speak with flow for the first time. Beatboxing is teaching young people to speak. Who would have guessed?

Do you think the human voice is undervalued? Have we experienced all it has to offer or are there new spaces and places it can reach?

It’s not undervalued because we indirectly gain so much value from it. But, with more direct awareness we can gain even more; we can improve our quality of life by simply being mindful of our voices. They are the gateway from our subconscious to the physical would. It would be a shame to not use them to their full potential. My job is to make people think about that.

It seems, as technology takes over and we are all addicted to our phones, we use our voices less. Is there a worry many young people are less connected with the voice and communication and favouring electronics?!

It’s simple - we need a healthy communication diet. The efficiency of information-transfer in the digital is undeniable, but can’t have that as the sacrifice of fundamental human connection. Our ideas are sown by the contexts we share within and we are at the risk of losing certain types of intimacy and accountability we get from simply speaking to one another. 

What comes next for you? What does the rest of 2019 hold in store?

I’m currently in Korea. I head to H.K. Art Basel in a couple of weeks followed by speaking at The United Nations in May about art and technology. It’s such an exciting time and I want to try and push for artistic and progressive discussion on a global level. But, of course, I will be releasing a lot more art and much in the coming months - so that’s what I’m the most excited about. (Typical artist).

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

Very tough. A simple one was playing the Arcadia Stage at Boomtown to nine-thousand people. The rest of the line-up was D.J.s so, to feel that power and to be speaking music in a way that made people dance for an hour was a huge moment for me. The booth was so high up that the audience couldn't see me. They didn't know it was just a human voice and they didn't need to. We were all just together enjoying music. That was a benchmark for me.

When did beatboxing come into your life? When did you realise you had a natural talent?

It actually started from being around early-Grime and Dubstep producers. I had always experimented with making beats with my voice but it was the London sound that I connected with. Then things really started to evolve. 

Is it easy to learn beatboxing? How would you sell it to anyone interested?

If you are speaking, you can make music with your voice. Don't think of it as beatboxing; see it as a way to write and make music all the time. A nonstop music tool. Most people will realise they do that anyway - it's just up to them if they want to make people dance. 

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

Aphex Twin - Ambient Works 11

It changed how people view electronic music and opened up a new type of listener. It's an amazing album to think to. 

Daphne Oram ‎- Electronic Sound Patterns

The original sound pack and an incredible woman Electronic music pioneer.

The Prodigy - Music for The Jilted Generation

The legendary masters of high-energy Electronic music that brought together all parts of U.K. music. R.I.P. Keith Flint.


Are there any new artists, beatbox or not, you recommend we check out?

Gene Shinozaki is a really interesting vocal talent. He's just released a new album fusing new-school beatboxing Jazz and Electronic. I look forward to seeing what he does.

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

I never stop. Ever...but, if I do, musically painting and writing…. 

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).

Anything by Squarepusher


Follow Reeps One




Jack Rua


IT has been interesting learning about Jack Rua...


and his ascent into the music industry. I wanted to know about his recent single, Scarlet A, and what will come next; the sort of artists that inspire him and which artist he’d support if he could – he selects a few albums that have helped shape him.

The Dublin-based artist talks about the scene where he is and picks a few approaching acts to watch; how he spends time away from music and where we can see him play next – he selects a pretty good track to end the interview with.


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

Hi! My week has been great. Thanks for asking! It’s been busy because my song is coming out on Friday and I’m working very hard to make sure it’s getting as much attention as possible - but it’s all very exciting and I also just played a great gig last night with my friend and collaborator LOGUOS.

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

Hello. My name is Jack Rua. I am a Pop singer and songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. I have been hibernating for the last two-and-a-half years writing and producing music with my friends.. and now I’m finally here to show you what I’m all about.


Scarlet A is your debut single. What inspired the song?

Well. Musically, Scarlet A draws inspiration from a number of sources. It’s easy to hear the kind of late-noughties influences like Lady Gaga, Goldfrapp and Sam Sparro; however, initially when writing the song, I was listening to a lot of Glam-Rock and that’s how the song started out: when I was writing it and rehearsing it with my old band. As I evolved and started embracing Electronic music, then that’s when the Gaga-ness started seeping through! Lyrically, the song talks about the nature of human attraction.

In a way, I’m questioning the idea that human beings are meant to start going out with someone; marry them, die with them and never have eyes for someone else. The song sings of lust and feeling seduced by someone when you’re already in a relationship.

A lot of shame goes with those ideas but, in this song, I’m wearing that shame as a part of my costume, just as in The Scarlet Letter (the book that the song is inspired by). The main character had to brand herself with a red letter ‘A’ to show to everyone that she was an adulterer. The song certainly isn’t advocating acting on impulses. I think, if you commit to being monogamous with someone, you obviously have to follow that through; it’s more just admitting that a wandering eye is a common side-effect of being human.

The video is definitely arresting and bold. What was the idea behind it?

Well. My friend and collaborator PureGrand directed the video and we both developed the idea together based on the story and the mood of the song. I would say that the main idea behind the video is the dichotomy between lust and guilt that one might feel in the situation that I previously described. There are these dark scenes in a bedroom that represent the temptation and the danger where I’m rolling around on a bed and flirting with my dirty thoughts...and then this is juxtaposed by a scene in a bath where I’m trying to wash myself of these temptations and feelings of lust.

My co-star and lover Narcissus, a mannequin head, also makes an appearance. You’ll be seeing more of her over the coming months. We have a really strong connection that is established in this video.



Now you have a single out, might there be more coming later this year?

Absolutely! I have been collaborating with a couple of really talented artists including my buddy LOGUOS, a talented dance producer from Dublin. We’ve written a song together that I’m so excited to release. I also have a collaboration with a rapper from Cork called Darce which is another really exciting project. I’ve been working with my good friend Porridge who I met in college…

I really can’t wait for people to hear all of this music. It’s going to be a busy year. I’m also doing a podcast with my friend Jack called The Anatomy of Pop!

Can you tell me what sort of music you grew up around as a child?

Well. When I was a kid, my dad would always be playing artists like The Beatles, Bowie; Stevie Wonder, Prince; Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen…but, when I was a kid, I hated all that! I loved the Spice Girls and Britney L-O-V-E-D them. Obsessed. But then I kinda went off Pop music; I was doing a lot of music theatre and singing in choirs as a kid, so that’s the kinda stuff I listened to. I loved the music from Oliver, High School Musical; Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago

Then, when I kinda became a teenager, I really started to connect with music for the first time. I loved Amy Winehouse’s album, Back to Black, and Duffy’s Rockferry. This all lead to Lily Allen. I remember the first time I heard The Fear and that’s when I knew I wanted to make music.


You definitely have your own style. Is there anyone from modern music you particularly identify with?

I mean, I don’t wanna say I’m SIMILAR to her because she’s a worldwide icon but Lady Gaga is one of my biggest inspirations. I don’t try and base myself off her because I think she’s very different but I love her creativity and artistic freedom and how she injects art and theatre into her music. I’d say, lyrically, my biggest influence is Marina + the Diamonds and, musically, I really identify with the music of Leland and Allie X.

As a Dublin native, what are you opinions regarding the music coming from there now?

It’s great. I’ve been kind of on the scene for a number of years and, in my opinion, it’s reaching its strongest and most varied point. Funnily enough, as I write these answers, I’m actually sitting really close to the singer of one of my favourite bands called Barq (she doesn’t know who I am though so I feel like a massive weirdo). But, like, one of the greatest things that’s emerging out of the city and the country right now is a massive Hip-Hop scene fronted by artists like Kojaque, Tebi Rex and Jafaris.

Also, it’s great to see friends of mine in bands like ZaPho and Vernon Jane absolutely slaying. It’s really in a great place. And hopefully I can wedge myself into the market as that weird Pop singer who doesn’t give a f**k about what people think of him!

PHOTO CREDIT: @jackruamusic

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

Hmm. I’m going to be super-pessimistic and mention a BAD memory, which is when I was performing a showcase gig to a packed out venue (I’d say like 150-200 people). I had planned this super-extravagant performance with costume and choreography and I was performing as an alter-ego and the performance started with a long and dramatic piano instrumental.

I was staring out into the audience and then I would start singing a capella. The whole room was silent because I’d grabbed their attention, so I went to start singing, picked up the wrong microphone and I had actually picked up the wrong one and it was off. And, when I realised this, I muttered “ah, s***e” but, just as I said those words, the microphone came on and echoed through the entire room.

Bad memory, but a funny one.


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

Hunky Dory by David Bowie

I remember listening to this album start to finish for the first time so clearly. The album opens with Changes and it was the first Bowie song that I’d ever listened to as a ‘David Bowie’ song, if you get me, and it just made me fall in love with him. The songwriting is so intricate and comes from one of the best songwriters of all time and yet it sounds so simple and organic.

ARTPOP by Lady Gaga

I’d never heard Pop music like this before and I never thought that it could be like that. I remember when it came out, I was like “Eh, W.T.F. is she on about; HoW iS tHiS aRt”. As a fan, I was kind of disappointed but then, as I got older, it became the album that spoke to me the most out of all of them. I love the message and the ethos behind it. Music can be at once both a personal manifesto AND a spectacle. I love that.

No Shame by Lily Allen

I don’t think I have ever needed an album so much in my life - and I didn’t even realise it at the time. I have been stanning Lily for years and this album came out like five years after her previous one, so I was so ready for it. It came out at a point in my life where I was feeling lost, heartbroken; a little bit ashamed of myself. It was like a breath of fresh air. One that hit my lungs cold and sharp but, after the pain, it filled me with a new energy.

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

Lady Gaga, obviously. I would do a cover of Marry the Night as my final song. I would ask for my dressing room to be decorated with red and blue velvet furniture. I’d like a grand piano to be there (adorned with candles and roses, obviously) with a portrait of David Bowie on the wall. And I’d ask for peppermint tea; a supper of soup and a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet, half for before I go on and half for afterwards.


Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?

Yes, actually! They’re all in Dublin. On 22nd April, I’ll be performing my first headline gig in The Workmans Club. This will be the first time I’ll be doing a full set of my Electronic music, so I’m nervous and excited for that.

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

I love performing. I hate to say it outright, because I feel like it’s a cliché, but I really do feel at home on stage. I just absolutely love the feeling you get when you know that you’ve entertained someone. I love the applause at the end of a performance; when you KNOW from the energy in the room is genuine. As for life in the studio, I do love that too. It’s one of those things where it’s a labour of love: it can be incredibly tedious and boring and then it can be really frustrating and really, really hard work.

But, at the end of it comes something tangible and something beautiful and it’s all worthwhile. Performing and being in the studio are two different highs - and I love them both.


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yeah! As I said, Zapho is someone y’all should check out. She just released a song called Water Me. They’re not necessarily new artists but Vernon Jane are bringing out incredible are MUNKY and SIIGHTS. I also love an artist called Andrea di Giovanni - who I recently discovered on Twitter.


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


Honestly, music is how I chill and unwind whether it’s listening to, playing or writing it. But, aside from that, I love playing tennis, playing and watching football (I’m a massive Liverpool fan, so maybe ‘unwinding’ isn’t the right word for watching them this season).

I love walking my beautiful dog around Howth, which is the town I’m from, and I enjoy reading. To unwind at the end of every day, I do ten minutes of meditation and then fall asleep listening to ASMR videos - which is slightly creepy, but, whatever.

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).

Delirious - Susanne Sundfør

She is honestly one of my biggest influences and this album (Ten Love Songs) is one of my favourite albums of all time; criminally slept on in my opinion. I, one day, hope to be as extra as Susanne in this song. The last minute of this song is PERFECTION.


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INTERVIEW: Crooked Weather


Crooked Weather


I have been talking with Crooked Weather...

about their latest track, Easy. Holly and Will discuss the track and the music that moves them; what we can expect from their album, Are We Lost, and whether it is true they have a 1979 campervan – they select some rising artists worth watching.

I ask if there are tour dates coming and whether they each have an album that is special to them; who they would support on tour if they had the chance and what they would say to artists coming through right now – they select some great tracks to end the interview with.


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

Hello! Life has treated us well, most of this week.

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

We (Will and Holly) make up the core of the band with a mutual taste in strange old Folk music. The stripped back duo expands with Beth Nicholson (Yorkshire Orchestra stalwart) on cello; Tom Skelly (gardener and songwriter, currently residing in Scotland) on bass and Dave Tomlinson (vegan-machine and equipment-collector).

Easy is your new single. How did the song come to pass?

Easy was one of those songs that just wrote itself and it’s hard to say where this kind of a song comes from. It had been fermenting away in the background for a while and ideas would come now and again when outside cutting the grass and things like that. Then one afternoon, it pretty much came out fully-formed.

It’s probably best not spending too long thinking about where it came from.  

The album, Are We Lost, is out on 12th April. Are there particular themes and inspirations that go into the songs?

They are mainly songs that have been born out of the ups and downs of spending a lot of life on the road. Sometimes, everything just makes sense and you can’t understand how things could be anything but beautiful; yet, at other times, the bottom falls out, desperation takes hold and all seems lost.

Is there a track from the album you would select as personal favourites?

Will: Too hard to call!

Holly: Easy has a special place in my heart. It’s been a trouble-causer for some time, so it feels good to have finally it there, have it finished!

What sort of music are you compelled by? Did you both grow up around the same sort of music?

We both have varying tastes but they evolve around the transatlantic sounds of the '60s and '70s. Some favourites of Will’s include Bob Dylan, Roy Harper and Nick Cave; whereas Holly could bore you to death talking about Bert Jansch, Pentangle and obscure Psych-Folk.

Is it true a 1979 campervan holds a very special place in your lives?!

Yes! We have lived in and toured in our beautiful 1979 Sherpa campervan. She often needs a good bit of T.L.C. to keep her on the road but that's the way with old machines. We’ve just had a new radiator made but now the fuel gauge has stopped working!

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

That’s a tough one. SoL festival springs to mind; a strange festival ran by Deadheads in Kent. We got to play with some of our musical heroes as well as hearing stories of Woodstock, Monterey and what it’s like hanging out with Joni Mitchell and Mama Cass. We like being on the road, though - especially in the sunshine, meeting people from all different walks of life.

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

Holly: There can’t possibly be one album. There are too many I’m thankful for! Harvest by Neil Young is probably the first music I listened to as a kid and thought it was magic.

Will: Agree with Holly – “There can’t possibly be one album”. But, to carry on the same idea, Folkjokeopus by Roy Harper was an album I had on-repeat for weeks when I was a youngster.

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

Neil Young & Crazy Horse. The rider would have to include being able to play on stage to maybe Down by the River, Cowgirl in the Sand or one of those good jams!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Always stay true to the love and passion that led you to first practice an instrument.

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

Bournemouth, Cellar Bar - 12/04

Hyde Tavern, Winchester - 13/04

Square and Compass, Worth Matravers - 19/04

Cafe INDIE, Scunthorpe - 24/04

Sheffield, Hallamshire House - 27/04

The Basement, York - 28/04

Evron Center, Filey Folk Festival, Filey - 05/05

Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate - 11/05

The Lamb, Surbiton - 12/05

The New Adelphi Club, Hull - 17/05

Vestry Hall, Cranbrook - 18/06

Green Note, London - 19/06

If we came to one of your live shows, what might we expect?

An intimate evening of Alternative-Folk. Melodies, harmonies; happy and sad and a little story-telling.

 IN THIS PHOTO: This Is the Kit

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Karl Culley, This Is the Kit and Copper Viper.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Cooper Viper/PHOTO CREDIT: Anna Orhanen Photography

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

Music is all-encompassing, but only because we enjoy it!

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).

Holly: I’ve been enjoying Easy Ride by Relatively Clean Rivers recently!

Will: Friend of the Devil - Jerry Garcia (live at Oregon State Penitentiary). Love it.


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THE superb Malory has been talking with me...

about her new album, Cornucopia, and whether there are a lot of personal stories defining the music; if she has a personal favourite from the record and whether there might be some tour dates coming later in the year.

Malory reveals a few rising artists to watch; what sort of music she grew up around and how important London is as a city regarding inspiration and drive – she picks a pretty good song to end the interview with.


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

Great, actually! The album launch was a massive success and I’ve been so excited to hear all the positive response to the record. I’m actually visiting Australia for a bit right now…

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

My style is a combo of classic songwriting with alternative, quirky production. I love to create music with tons of vocal layering and strange percussion but, at the core, I hope to write a good song that stands the test of time. 

Cornucopia is your new album. What was your reaction when hearing it back for the first time?

A lot of times, when you’re working on a special batch of songs, it’s easy to get lost in the minutia of each track. It’s tricky to hear the thing as a whole and it wasn’t until very close to release that I was really able to take a step back and hear it as one cohesive idea. And, when I did, a lot of little insecurities I had about small details faded away and I just felt very proud of what we accomplished.

Are there personal experiences and particular moments that inspire the songs?

All sorts. A lot is taken from personal relationships; most of the album was inspired by my long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. Also, travelling: I love going to new places and trying to immerse myself in culture as much as possible (I called it my inspiration sponge-time) and then, often, I’ll get back and write quite a few songs in succession. 

Do you have a favourite cut from the record that means the most?

As an artist, you always want to believe all of your songs mean as much as another - but then you get on stage to perform and sometimes one just blindsides you with emotion as it comes out. I’d say the album closer, Cornucopia, has always managed to swell up a whole range of feelings when I sing it out loud.

How do you think your new music differs from your earliest work in terms of scope and ambition?

I’d say the scope and ambition has remained the same - they’re just becoming more effectively realised! I was lucky enough to work with Nick Kingsley and Danny George on Cornucopia and we all really clicked in terms of what kind of sonic vision we had for the tracks.

What sort of music did you grow up around as a child?

A lot of Dylan; a lot of Folk music in general. Growing up, I loved Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple - all the greats! 

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

You go through a lot of musically-transformative experiences as you develop as an artist, so it’s hard to say! A couple highlights would be supporting George Ezra - a very cool experience - and also recently getting onto Spotify New Music Friday. I, admittedly, shed a little tear of joy! 

You are based in London. How important is the city regarding your music and inspiration? 

It’s definitely an amazing city to have grown up in. The amount of venues and cool people to work with is insane. But, it’s also a fast-paced place to be so I think it’s probably helped most with giving me a good work ethic and acknowledging within myself that you can make a career out of music. 

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

I’ve always been a sacrilegiously-bad album listener; I’ve definitely gotten better but I hardly listened to albums just mostly singles! However, some of my faves:

Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope

She’s always been a huge inspiration for me and I totally fell in love with this album when I heard it. Definitely had it on-repeat one too many times…

Josie Field - Mercury

My cousin Josie’s first album was incredibly influential for me. She’s an incredible South African songwriter/artist and this album blew my mind as a twelve-year-old girl. Her writing and vocal strength always motivated me to be better.  

Ry Cooder - Into the Purple Valley

He’s just the absolute coolest guy. Such an accomplished musician and experimentalist. I’m a sucker for Country, Blues and Americana stuff and this album just makes me really happy, it’s weird and groovy. 


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

Oooo, this would be cool…

Probably Rostam. He’s my current biggest inspiration. My rider would honestly not entail that much. Booze/food for my wonderful band and just an unlimited supply of hot water with honey for me. Haha… 

Might we see you on tour in 2019?

I’m definitely going to be gigging with prospects of some cool opportunities across the pond - so definitely stay tuned world! 

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

I guess, neither! I prefer the initial writing process to both of those. I definitely love them all but the winner is just the pure transcendent moment of giving birth to a new song. 

 IMAGE CREDIT: sky kids

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

shy kids, VIBES; Feng Suave & Still Woozy.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Feng Suave

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

I love illustration so I do that in my spare time (you can find me on Instagram as @lickablesquid). Also, just hanging out with my wonderful group of friends and occasionally playing tennis when I can. Also movies...lots and lots of movies. 

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).

shy kids - I Was in New York


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PHOTO CREDIT: Zak Milofsky 



THE lads of Munky...

 PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Morrisroe

have been talking about their new track, One in Five, and what it is all concerned with. I ask them what the scene is like where they are in Dublin; how they all found one another and if there is more material coming along later in the year.

They reveal their favourite albums and musicians; which rising act we should keep our eyes out for; if we can see them perform soon; how they chill away from music – they choose a couple of great tracks to end things with.


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

Sam: We're all good; how are you? It's been a good week getting everything ready for the new release (smiles).

Conor: Not so bad. Been working my other life: a peddler of leprechaun memorabilia. But I'm def keeping well.

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

Sam: Hello, newcomers! Lovely to make your acquaintance. We are Zach, Conor; Niall and Sam and our music is kind of like the core of a pineapple when you throw it off a ten-storey building. It's raw, gritty; funky explosions and full of 100 M.P.H. punky drive with pieces of weird sweetness filling the space around impact. Easily describable, right?

One in Five is your new single. Can you talk about its background and story?

Zac: It was written in response to some highly-covered sexual assault cases in Ireland last year, and the messages sent out by the verdicts of those cases. I saw the effect that those messages had on the women close to me in my life; one of “don’t seek justice because no one will believe you, and it will be dragged out for too long and you’ll be ripped apart for all to see”.

The song is meant to challenge victim-blaming by showing how ridiculous it is to blame the victim when there are so many victims. Statistically speaking, you’re most likely to know someone who has been sexually assaulted.

Might there be more material from Munky?

Zac: Oh, hell yea. Alongside our debut E.P. - out on 12th April -, we’re working on an eight-minute ode to Bootsy Collins; a song about a refrigerator and an emotional investigation into the struggles of trying to live up to the high expectations a parent can have on you. These are all real songs: you can have the premiere for Refrigerator if you like

How did the band find one another?

Sam: Zac tracked us down with the marauders map after he solemnly swore that he was up to no good. 

Is there a good scene in Dublin right now in terms of music?

Zac: Dear lord, yes. There are so many incredible bands and musicians in the city right now. Bicurious, Pillow Queens; Kojaque, Brass Phantoms; Thumper, Murder Capital and, of course, the Fontaines D.C. boys to name just a few

Conor: Dublin is hopping at the moment, in no small part thanks to BIMM. There was a real lull in the scene for a few years but things have really come back with a vengeance. And what I find amazing is the amount of variety that we have genre-wise at the moment in the city.

What sort of music did you all grow up on?

Zac: Started on Robbie Williams and Eminem. Then I listened to AC/DC for two years straight when I was nine, emerging as an Emo on the other side. Now it’s mostly Psychedelic-Rock, Funk/Soul and Hip-Hop

Conor: Well. I grew up listening to Blues artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan thanks to my dad but also Deep Purple and Pink Floyd But, thanks to my mam, I listen to ABBA and Disco music - my true love in music. 

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

Sam: I won £20 in the Stena Line ferry arcade. Like, that just never happens. 

Conor: Probably getting to sell out Whelan's two nights in a row. I will never forget that first night. That room was hopping and I was blown away with the response that we got. 

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

Conor: For me, it’s The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. When I started in BIMM, that album was just on-repeat. I dunno. I just really connected with it at the time but I do think it is a bit timeless, thematically as, no matter what era you grow up in, people will always experience an Us and Them environment at some stage.

Zac: I mean, I don’t know that it’s my favourite album but the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance will forever mean a lot to me. It deals with themes of death and illness and it came out like two weeks before my father died of heart failure. I still remember, clear as day, the first time I saw the video of the title track. It was on the first day I was home after he died.

Sam: I don't overly connect with any particular album but Wasting Light (Foo Fighters) if I had to choose. If ever I need a small mental retreat or an inspiration boost, I usually go back to that album because it reminds of when I knew that I wanted to pursue music as a career. It brings me back to the mindset I had back then and that is comforting at times. 

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

Zac: Hozier and a bowl full of his toe nail clippings. Not in a creepy stalker way but in a ‘We’re soulmates but you don’t know it yet’-sorta way. But, in all seriousness, I adore Hozier’s music. He’s a massive influence in my songwriting.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Sam: 1. You have to like the people you play and, more importantly, what you play otherwise nothing will get done. 2. Be able to take what you deal regarding criticism and suggestions. 3. Don't quit your job because pursuing music is very expensive. 4. Persistence, Persistence, Persistence. 5 Persistence, Persistence, Persistence, Persistence, Persistence... 

Conor: Not to get discouraged if things don't work out at first: we have all played in loads of bands and sometimes they don't work out. But, if you keep at it, you will definitely find some sort of success. 

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

We’ve got some dates in Ireland. Warrenpoint on 30th March with our brothers, New Valley Wolves; Belfast on 4th April with ROE and our E.P. launch in the Grand Social on 12th April. Also, Waterford on 29th June. We’ll be playing a good few U.K. shows (and some other spots) but they haven’t been announced yet.

We may have already said too much...

If we came to one of your live shows, what might we expect?

Zac: Painted nails, dancing; moshing, kissing and music to justify all these social expressions

Conor: Mega guitar face...10% melt.

As your new single is One in Five, which member of a famous five (either a band or fictional) would you choose to take on a roadtrip?

Zac: Iggy Pop. Hands-down. Man seems like craic incarnate. Although, I don’t know if The Stooges were ever a five-piece, so I guess I’ll go with Harry Styles from One Direction. He seems lovely.

Conor: Probably Louis Theroux...who wouldn't want him to document their tour.


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Zac: Post Punk Podge & the Techno Hippies are these lads based in Limerick who kinda do an array of styles and proudly sing in a lovely, thick Limerick accent. They we’re one of my favourite experiences at KnockanStockan last year.

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

Sam: Honestly, we don't deserve chill time away from music just yet. After a tour, we might take two weeks of no rehearsal and chat. But, as we are up-and-coming, there is nothing but work to do. 

Conor: I either chill with my mates/girlfriend or play video games. I love video games. For me, there is nothing better than escaping in to a fantastical world fill with whimsy (smiles).

Zac: I love fantasy novels. And the cooking show, Chopped, which you can easily find full episodes of on YouTube.

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).

Khruangabin - White Gloves. It’s the self-care you need, Sam.

Betty Wright - Clean Up Woman. Purse your lips and move your hips. 


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INTERVIEW: Austin Jenckes


Austin Jenckes


THANKS very much to Austin Jenckes...

for discussing his new track, Fat Kid (with Lori McKenna), and what it concerns; what he can reveal about his upcoming album, If You Grew Up Like I Did, and what sort of artists were important when growing up – he recommends a couple of approaching artists to look out for.

I ask him, being based in Nashville, what the scene is like there and what he thinks of modern Country; how he feels about coming to the U.K. to perform soon – Jenckes selects a cool song to end the interview with.


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

I am great; thank you so much for asking! It’s been a beautiful week. Weather-wise, not so much but musically and also just life at home has been awesome.

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

Hello, friends. My name is Austin Jenckes and I am from Duvall, Washington originally. I moved to Nashville to make music a few years ago. I love riding unicycles, flying kites and singing really loud.

Fat Kid is your new single. What inspired its creation?

My old roommate wrote this song when we were living together. He went on a writing trip to Boston to meet up with Lori Mckenna and Andrew Dorff. I was already a fan of all three of them. So, when Neil texted me the work tape, I immediately started listening and found so much of myself in every lyric. I started learning it in the living room that day and then played it at a handful of shows.

The first time I played it back home in Washington there was a moment at the end of the first chorus where people started hollering and clapping, almost like I was playing Eric Clapton or something…so that’s when I knew I had to record it (laughs).

If You Grew Up Like I Did, your album, is out in May. It sounds like it might be a very personal record. Would that be fair to say?

This album dives into my life in ways I can’t even explain. I used to use songwriting and performing like a crutch and now, being thirty-years-old, I am somehow confident enough to say I am standing on solid ground. The album talks about growing up in rural America; from drinking beer to the music that I loved and also the people that helped me become who I am.

These are songs for my wife and my daughter and my friends back home...and every person that has ever listened to a note I’ve sang. It’s inspired by my life story, but my hope is that everyone can find a part of themselves in it somewhere along the way.

Were there moments when recorded when you were affected by the songs and felt that emotion?

Emotions are a funny thing - and I think way too much about them every day. Haha. Over the course of creating this record, I found myself being overwhelmed by the smallest things such as guitar parts or vocal harmonies. Lyrically, the one song that I have felt most emotional about is called If You’d Been Around. I sang the demo about vocal at my house about twelve times in an hour before I could actually get through it.  

How good is it being based in Nashville?

Music City has been very good to me. As you probably have heard, there are some monster musicians here in all ways and shapes. I have learned more than I can probably ever comprehend but that challenge is what keeps me moving forward and, ultimately, I think better. All seriousness aside, it is also just a great place to live. My wife wouldn’t trade it (except for maybe a house by the ocean) which, with global warming, you never know...we might just be able to stay here forever.

What do you think of the modern Country scene? Do you feel it is stronger than it has ever been?

I have always dreaded these kinds of questions because I don’t feel like I am qualified to speak for everyone. Haha. But, I think the family of Country music is alive and well. I think the music drives the scene just as much as the business does. This is the beauty of the industry: it’s up to the artists and songwriters to decide what’s most important for the music and it’s up to the fans (whether they know it or not) to decide if they like it. I feel lucky to have made some friends that are better than me and, at the same time, have let me search for myself as an artist.

To me, that’s what the Country scene is all about.

Can you tell me what sort of music you grew up around as a child?

I grew up around Classic-Rock bands and songwriters. Tom Petty, Steve Miller; Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stephen Stills; Joe Walsh, the Eagles; Bob Seger, Pink Floyd; Led Zeppelin etc. I also listened to a lot of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam; Candle Box and pretty much every Rock band ever known to man. Haha. Layne Staley and Chris Cornell are probably a tie for my favorite singers.

BUT, I also grew up playing in a church band and trying to make everything sound like U2. SO, I would say this…I grew up listening to everything except Rap and Country music, except for Garth Brooks because he’s omnipotent.

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

This past November, I got to sing The Star-Spangled Banner at a Seattle Seahawks game. I would love to send you a video if you want to see it - just let me or Neil know and we would be glad to share. It was the craziest thing. They did a fly-by with a plane and I had to time it to exactly ninety seconds, which is kinda hard when 65,000 people are looking at you. Hahaha.

I have always dreamed of doing something like that and, honestly, it was nerve-racking and a bit of a blur because it went by so fast. I have only watched the video three times but I am sure one day my daughter get a kick out of it.

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

John Moreland - In the Throes

For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver

Foy Vance - Joy of Nothing

These three records have been religious listens for me and cathartic in ways that I will never fully realize. I love them because they make me feel new emotions every time I listen to them.

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

Foo Fighters - I would ask for nothing

You are coming to Britain to perform. What can you reveal about that?

May 29th! I am so excited. My wife is extremely jealous - and I plan on playing every song I know until people don’t want to listen anymore. I have always wanted to play in Britain. I can’t wait.

Might we see you on tour in other parts during 2019?

Yes! I will be at The Long Road Festival in September and we are working on some more dates in and around the U.K. during that time.

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

Performing is my favorite part of music. I love writing and woodshedding in the studio, but there is something about being in front of a crowd that I can’t ever seem to find elsewhere.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Zack Logan

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Zack Logan and Patrick Droney.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Patrick Droney

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

I don’t, honestly. But, whenever I am not thinking, doing or playing music I hang with my family. My daughter is two-and-a-half and she can be chill…sometimes not so chill, too. Haha. But, it’s the best. My wife and I like to drive around aimlessly and look at rich people’s houses. I also have started playing chess with my father-in-law and he has beat me thirty-two out of the thirty-four times we have played...but I am getting better!

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).

Black Queen - Stephen Stills


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Rhys Lewis


I think I have spoken with Rhys Lewis in the past...

but this is the first time for a little while. He tells me about his latest single, Hold on to Happiness, and what its story is; whether we might see more material from him soon and what sort of music he grew up around – he highlights some great new talent to look out for.

I ask Lewis whether he gets time to unwind and if we can catch him on the road; if there is a standout memory from his career so far; which artist he would support on the road if he could choose anyone – he selects a cool song to wrap thing up with.


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

Hello! I’m good, thanks. My week has been great; I’ve been hiding in the studio recording some songs for my album. 

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

I’m a singer-songwriter from Oxfordshire, currently living in London. And I would say if you’re a fan of Paolo Nutini and Hozier then you might find my music bearable and, dare I say, enjoyable. Haha. 

Hold on to Happiness is your latest single. What is its background?

That song came to my mind after the breakdown of my last relationship (don’t they all?!). But, it’s more of a song about life than love. I realised how much of my life I’d been ignoring. It’s easy to have tunnel-vision sometimes and only have eyes for the big dreams and grand plans; but I felt like focusing too much on all of that meant I was missing out on all the small things that, when embraced, make big things feel insignificant or less important. 

How do you think it differs to your previous songs?

I suppose it’s slightly more reflective and philosophical in a sense. I felt like I’d written all the love songs I could write honestly about from experience. And I suppose what makes songwriting interesting and exciting for me is having an outlet for my emotions and thoughts, so it’s much more rewarding to write about things you’re feeling and trying to figure out in your own head.

This song feels a little deeper as, in my mind, it’s slightly more dimensional. It’s also the first time I’ve taken on the role of producer fully - so great to say I made the recording too. 

Do you foresee 2019 being busy in terms of plans and material?

Some more recording. I’ve just started working from a studio. I share it with my piano player and we’ve been recording some things for my E.P. and album. So, more of that and hopefully lots of touring! You can go a bit crazy in the studio so it’s nice to have the balance of playing and recording. Keeps you slightly saner. 

Which artists were important to you growing up? Who do you rank as idols?

Led Zeppelin were the band for me - and still are. I got obsessed with them when I started playing guitar. And, as I started to get more into songwriting, Alex Turner became a bit of a hero as a teenager - and the classic songwriting of the likes of Carole King and Bill Withers have continued to inspire me. 

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

Probably playing my first-ever sold-out show abroad, in Amsterdam. It felt very strange but affirming to know I’d filled a room of five-hundred people with my music. It made it feel like my music was a real thing, not just a hobby I’ve had since I was thirteen. It made me stand a little taller and have more confidence in what I was doing because it wasn’t just a dream I was chasing: it was there and in front of me for a moment.

So, that was a special and lasting memory, for sure. 

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

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

It’s the album that made me want to write music. 

Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

I was mesmerised by the art of writing lyrics and Alex Turner was this teenager weaving his experiences into poetry over this no-f*cks-given music. So it made a huge impact on me as a young bedroom guitarist.

Aaaaaand a third...Graceland oooor Rumours...

Don’t make me choose cos both of them made me want to make a great record... 

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

Bill Withers. No rider necessary. 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Don’t be distracted by social media or views; numbers or anything like that. Make great music and spend all the time you can writing and writing...and rewriting and practicing. If you’re excited by what you’re making then people will be excited to follow what you’re doing. 

You have a headline show coming up. What can you reveal about it?

Lots of new songs...and a laser show! I lied about the lasers but there will be new songs. I promise. 

Do you think there are going to be any other tour dates coming up?

Yes! More dates announced soon.

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

They are equally important and, the more I perform and record, the more I realise how much they help each other. 

I improve so much in the studio as it’s a more accurate and considered kind of discipline. So, my singing gets better and my guitar playing more nuanced, I suppose. But live is all about the energy of the song and the feeling in the room which is important to remember and capture some of that in a recording. I love trying out new songs on stage in front of a crowd before recording them. It always changes the way you think about the song. 

 IN THIS PHOTO: Sam Fender

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Sam Fender, Palace; XamVolo, Swan Levitt and Iris


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

I like a good walk, cycle out of London; read lots, play online chess and tennis when it’s warm enough. 

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).

Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes


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INTERVIEW: Velvet & Stone


PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Austin 

Velvet & Stone


IT has been great speaking with Velvet & Stone...


PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Austin 

about the latest track, Oh Boy. Lara Snowdon takes on the questions and tells me about the band’s start and what is coming up; which album means the most to her and whether there will be any gigs coming along – she recommends a rising artist that is worth checking out.

I ask how their sound came together and what sort of music Lara/the band are inspired by; whether there is more material from Velvet & Stone later this year and how Lara relaxes away from music – she selects a great song (or three!) to end the interview with.


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

Hey! Great, thanks! (Smiles).

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

We’re Velvet & Stone – an Alternative/Indie-Folk band based in Devon, U.K. The band is led by myself, Lara Snowdon, (I’m the writer, vocalist and guitarist) and Kat Tremlett, who plays some sensational violin and sings B.V.s. We also have Paddy Blight on double bass and Kev Jackson who plays guitar. For the bigger gigs and on the album, we’re also joined by Garry Kroll on drums. 

Is there a story behind your new single, Oh Boy?

Oh Boy is about moving on when you’ve given away too much in love. It’s an honest and intense track. It’s really fun to play live!

It has already picked up acclaim and attention. How does that make you feel?

The support for the single has been fantastic! The first time we were played on Tom Robinson’s show on BBC Radio 6 Music I couldn’t sleep I was so excited. Haha! He described Oh Boy as “sheer sonic bliss” and has really supported the track. We’ve also had airtime on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales; many of the specialist BBC regional shows such as Johnny Coppin’s Acoustic Show on BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Genevieve Tudor’s show on BBC Radio Shropshire.

I feel very proud that it’s been picked up like this. We all put an incredible amount of work into the band and feel that we’ve evolved and developed our sound to a place that we love. So, for other people to enjoy listening to and sharing our tracks is just the best feeling in the world!


IN THIS PHOTO: Kat Tremlett/PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Bolwell

Is there more material coming from Velvet & Stone later this year?

Yes. This is the first single from our debut album - which we’re aiming to release in June 2019. There will be a second single out in a few weeks’ time called By the Water...

How did you both meet one another? What bonded you together?

Kat and I are both from a small village in mid-Devon called Silverton. I grew up there and Kat moved there with her husband after she studied at Exeter University. We had some friends in common and everyone kept telling me what a fantastic violinist she was. After that, we met one night in the local pub and it all started over a glass of vino or two! 

I love your blend of Folk and Pop. Did it take a while to get the point where you had this rounded and satisfying sound?

Yes. It’s definitely fair to say our sound has evolved. The core songwriting has always been the same – with the Folk-Pop vibe, but the musicians and production have changed. This past year, we’ve got to a place that we’re really happy with. The songs we’ve recorded on the album are true to how we perform them live and the recording and production are raw and authentic in that sense.

We now perform both as a duo (Lara and Kat) and with the full band. The full band sound is Folk-Rock, but we also play in some beautiful soundscapes and ballads. You can check out our upcoming gig dates at



What sort of music are you compelled by? Did you all grow up around the same sort of music?

No. We have very different influences, which is brilliant and brings a lot to our music. I grew up being inspired by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez; Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris and Crosby Stills and Nash. More recently, I’m influenced by the resurgent Folk/Americana scene, both more traditional such as Seth Lakeman and Kate Rusby and the Indie/Pop end of the spectrum – Ben Howard, Laura Marling; Mumford & Sons, Bear’s Den and First Aid Kit.

Kat is classically-trained and grew up undertaking music scholarships, playing in orchestras and various fancy things! She’s really knowledgeable about Classical music but she also has a rebellious Dance/Trance streak!



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

So many memories! We’ve had some great times (and some weird, hilarious ones as well)!

The one that really stands out was performing in front of thousands of people at the Cambridge Folk Festival doing a last-minute collaboration with Sam Kelly. We didn’t realise how many people were watching until we walked on the stage. No time for stage fright!

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

BlueJoni Mitchell

I think I can recite it off by heart from start to finish. It’s personal and honest and intimate, beautiful; metaphorical and bold all at once. It’s got to be one of the all-time greats.



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

Fleetwood Mac! Tour bus, world tour…possibly a bit ambitious for a Devonshire Folk band (winks). Haha!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Believe in yourself. Invest in your own confidence. Work hard. Keep going!


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

Yes. All dates on our website at

If we came to one of your live shows, what might we expect?

A journey from beautiful, haunting soundscapes through to foot-stomping Folk-Rock and some great musicianship!

 IN THIS PHOTO: Maggie Rogers/PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Buckner/Variety/Rex

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I’m loving Maggie Rogers’ new album! Light On is the best. What a feelgood track!

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

Kat and I both work full-time and juggle it with Velvet & Stone. So, in many respects, music is our way to unwind and stay sane! Other than that, living in Devon is great - and escaping to the moors and beaches is the best way to chill out.

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

I’ve only just discovered Anais Mitchell and think she is the BEST SINGER-SONGWRITER EVER! Any Way the Wind Blows, Now You Know and Why We Build the Wall are all incredible. Oops that’s three!


Follow Velvet & Stone


INTERVIEW: Taylor-Louise




THE terrific Taylor-Louise...

has been telling me about her new track, Blessed with a Curse, and what it is all about. I ask her how music arrives in her mind and what her process is; how her current material differs from her earliest work and what the next steps are.

Taylor-Louise reveals a few albums that mean a lot to her and recommends some rising artists to follow; how she unwinds away from music and what music she grew up around – the songwriter selects a great track to end the interview with.


Hi, Taylor-Louise. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello, I'm very well, thank you - I hope you’re okay too. My week has been busy! I love being productive…

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

Absolutely. I’m a singer-songwriter who has been recording and releasing music for, just coming up to eight years. However, I have been playing and writing for around ten.

Blessed with a Curse is your new single. Is there a story behind it?

Blessed with a Curse is the first song of its kind for me. I realised that writing music didn’t make me become who I am: it’s who I already was. I can never change that no matter where I go, what I do or who I meet…or how much I try to normalise my life and confirm to society, I will always be pulled back to the music.

As the lyrics in this song specifically emphasise, it’s “something I have to do”. It’s the only song I have written about my relationship with music, although it definitely comes with many sacrifices and hurdles that others may not be aware of. Being able to write, sing and hear music inside my head constantly is a major ‘blessing’ or ‘talent’ as some may describe - but it’s also a very isolated place at times.

How do you think your new single differs from your earliest work?

In terms of production, it still has elements of past works. I was very open-minded with my other releases which led me to experiment with different sounds and genres/styles. I haven’t changed in this sense but now, when I have written a song, I can almost feel the style that would best suit it. This track has a more Rock essence, which I think really highlights and supports the mood of the lyrics.

How does music come to you? Do you find it easy to come up with song ideas?

If I feel a lot of emotion come over me, it will pour itself onto paper or just linger in my mind; sometimes it can be so intense that a song can be written within the hour. The majority of the time it doesn’t happen during the same day, week or month of a situation but, once I’ve realised the feeling, it just manifests.

Writing is my coping mechanism for a lot and it’s driven by the need to share with others so that nobody feels alone with anything they’re going through. Music is the best language on the planet - it connects everybody. I recently read a quote that “music is the decoration of time”.

Might we see more music later in the year?

Yes, absolutely. I have a lot more on the way - and I’m so excited to put them out.

What sort of music did you grow up around as a child?

I actually grew up around a lot of R&B, Soul and Reggae. But, I’m in a very open-minded family so we always listened to everything; no genre-waster judged. This meant I was able to listen to a good mixture dependent on my mood! I think it’s good to not get yourself ‘stuck’ in one place.

As a new artist, what are the best aspects of being in the music industry?

Meeting new people and connecting with lots of like-minded people is amazing. Being able to listen to initial opinions from people who have never heard of me before is a great way to either evolve and grow or know I’ve positively affected someone; I think, sometimes, this can become a blurry journey for bigger artists.


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

Any time that I am on a stage and can see the audience involved in the moment stands out. There’s no better feeling than a crowd being able to feed back the energy that I’m giving.

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

This is a tough one, it really is. I think the albums that helped/shaped me through tough points in my life have to be the most important (keep an open mind): Black Veil Brides - We Stitch These Wounds, Set the World on Fire and Wretched and Divine. (Yes, I’m afraid they’re all from the same band!). The meaning behind it is a lot deeper/dark but I really connected with these albums and songs at the time and I’ll always carry a part of that with me. Something resonated and still does; I go back to these occasionally.

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

Billie Eilish. Every track is unique. She isn’t afraid to stick to one sound/genre. And that exactly what I’m all about. I’m terrible with riders; I’m so easy going. As long as I have some water, I’m happy.


Might we see you on tour in 2019?

I definitely want to arrange this in the near-future…

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

Performing live is everything - it’s an extension of the art. If an artist sounds great in a studio but can’t perform live they won’t capture my attention. If you don’t seem like you feel or connect with the words you’re writing or singing about, it leads me to ask if those emotions were ever even ‘real’. Personally, I will always prefer performing live and its entire exhilarating buzz. Its raw and no one time is ever the same as the last.


 IN THIS PHOTO: Grace Carter

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I don’t know if these are new to you but I’m currently loving LP, Billie Eilish; Grace Carter and Lewis Capaldi.

IN THIS PHOTO: Lewis Capaldi

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

I make sure of it. I was such a workaholic in my teenage years that I would get ill and burn out quite a lot. Now, I’m in a much more balanced place, dividing my time between music and my passions with meditation/yoga; crystal healing and general health/wellbeing. I’m massively into the gym and weight-lifting and pushing my body to do things that I may never of known was possible. Feeling strong is such a reward.

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).

LP - Tokyo Sunrise


Follow Taylor-Louise


INTERVIEW: Frances Mayhew (Fundraising and Development Manager) Caroline McNamara (Programme and Venue Manager) and Emma Stell (Marketing and Community Coordination) of Union Chapel


IN THIS PHOTO: Union Chapel, London/PHOTO CREDIT: Daniela Sbrisny  

Frances Mayhew (Fundraising and Development Manager) Caroline McNamara (Programme and Venue Manager) and Emma Stell (Marketing and Community Coordination) of Union Chapel


TO round off this International Women’s Day...

 IN THIS PHOTO: Caroline McNamara

I have been speaking with Frances Mayhew (Fundraising and Development Manager) Caroline McNamara (Programme and Venue Manager) and Emma Stell (Marketing and Community Coordination) of Union Chapel. I was eager to know how they became involved with the venue and what plans are in place for this year; which gigs they see as the finest there – I ask how Union Chapel keeps growing whilst other London venues are struggling.

I ask them whether is unusual, even in 2019, to see a big venue run by women; which artists (new or established) they recommend we check out and tell me whether, in their opinions, we are closer to equality in the music industry.


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

Frances: Good! Busy with some great events and Caroline has been at The International Live Music Conference.

How are you ‘enjoying’ this spring weather? Do you find more people come to a music venue when the weather is a bit less calm?

Emma: Well. I don’t know about that – January and August are our quietest times but they are complete opposite ends of the weather spectrum!

Frances, Caroline and Emma. How did you all become involved with Union Chapel?

Emma: I started here as an intern seven years ago and have not left...

Caroline: I’m the newest of us; I’ve been here just under a year. I came from a background in venues including the O2, Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena and was really drawn to such a special, intimate venue.

Frances: I’ve been here two years and I’m from a background in fundraising for historic venues including Wilton’s Music Hall - I was really drawn to Union Chapel by its magnificent architecture.


PHOTO CREDIT: Daniela Sbrisny

Can you describe what you do and what your roles entail?

Emma: I manage marketing and comms here – so that means being on top of all the events that are going on sale; coordinating our newsletters, socials and printed materials. I also help support the fundraising efforts and other organisations based here: Union Chapel Church and The Margins Project for those facing homelessness and crisis.

Caroline: I’m The Head of Programme and Venue Management – that means that I’m shaping our programme of 250 events a year. I’m always looking to bring exciting, popular and innovative events here.

Frances: I am Head of Fundraising and Development. We’re at the beginning of an exciting, £1.8 million capital and community development phase called Sunday School Stories – which aims to create a new space for events and community use at the Chapel.


IN THIS IMAGE: The 2018 line-up for Organ Reframed/IMAGE CREDIT: Union Chapel

How do you think the Union Chapel differs from other venues in terms of its atmosphere and design?

Caroline: Well. Union Chapel was built for the human voice. The whole thing was designed so that everyone could see and hear the minister in the pulpit but also so the minister could see and hear everyone in the Chapel. This means that we have a space with great sightlines and really wonderful acoustics – all of which helps the audience feel really close to the artist on stage. It’s a proper listening environment and sometimes, with 900 people in there, sometimes I think you could still hear a pin drop.


IN THIS PHOTO: Frances Mayhew

It is unusual to see a music venue run by women – there are some but not too many. Do you think this will change soon enough? What does the music industry need to do?

Caroline: Well, we certainly hope so! The music industry has a long way to go to reflect more fully the diversity of its audiences and that will only make it stronger. Like every industry, they need to be open to new ways of doing things.

We are celebrating International Women’s Day today. Do you feel we are closer to gender equality or is there still a long way to go?

Frances: There’s a way to go – but it’s great to see so much momentum for change currently.

I guess you have seen some great gigs over time! Which ones stand in your minds?

Emma: For me, Low for Organ Reframed in 2017; they wrote a new piece for our organ which was epic. It’s such a powerful instrument and the way they used it blew me away.

Caroline: Mavis Staples! She brings such warmth to her performances. She has been here a few times and seems to really love the Chapel. In fact, she described it as the best place to sing in the world! She’s just released a live album of her 2018 gig which I have been playing on loop.

Frances: I’d have to say London Contemporary Voices – which was actually voted best Union Chapel gig of 2018, so I know I am in good company! Their gig celebrated female artists and composers to coincide with 100 years of votes for women. They also had some really special guests including Charlotte Church, Jesca Hoop; Maya Youssef, Deepa Nair Rasiya and KÁRYYN. It was such an uplifting evening.

If anyone else wanted to work for a music venue or get involved with coordination/management, what would you advise them?

Caroline: Get all the experience you can – a lot of skills are really transferable so, even if you start with other kinds of events or really small gigs, it super-relevant.

Can you reveal whether there are any future gigs or events we need to go and see?

Emma: Oh, goodness. I’m quite excited about Emmy the Great - who goes on-sale this morning (8th March).

Caroline: ...And if you haven’t seen Backyard Cinema’s Romeo + Juliett yet, DO! It’s just heartbreakingly romantic on the big screen in the Chapel and they are back in August.



Are there any developments or plans for Union Chapel for the rest of 2019 in terms of build and new features?

Frances: Well. The Sunday School Hall is the next big project and it’s so exciting. The Hall itself is a lovely space that will hold about 200 people so it’s got real potential for events and community activities. But, it’s currently barely holding together. It needs a new roof, new floors and heating so first we need to fundraise for it. We got a huge boost before Christmas with a successful Crowdfund London Campaign - but there’s still a long way to go.

A lot of venues in London have closed recently. Why do you think Union Chapel has survived and continues to grow?!

Caroline: The support of our community really helps and is very important to us.

Is it true the venue was threatened with demolition? How as that averted?

Frances: Yes. It was scheduled for demolition in 1981 but local residents campaigned and saved it. At that point, the congregation decided to find a way of opening it up to people beyond the regular services and slowly the idea of doing events here began to take off with the venue launching in 1991.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Guildhall Saxophone Ensemble (as part of Daylight Music)/PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Hudson

Are there any new artists/musicians you recommend we check out?

Emma: A great place to come for that is Daylight Music (Saturday lunch time pay-what-you-can gigs here). They have some great performers. I’ve been really enjoying The Distant Voices Project recently, which brings together some of Scotland’s most acclaimed songwriters with people who have first-hand experience of the criminal justice system. The album is great and I’m really looking forward to seeing them here on 16th March.

Do you all get much time to relax away from music and your careers? How do you unwind?

Caroline: Go to gigs and contribute to a weekly show on Soho radio – all a bit of a busman’s holiday you might say!

Frances: I run and love to go to the theatre.

Emma: ...And I eat a bit too much cake!

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).

Emma: Anna Calvi - Don’t Beat The Girl Out of My Boy


Caroline: Mavis Staples’ version of Slippery People live at Union Chapel

Frances: Émigré by Alela Diane, please


Follow Union Chapel


INTERVIEW: Vanessa Forero


Vanessa Forero


I am pleased I get to speak with Vanessa Forero...

again and see what she is up to. She is in Colombia right now so has been talking about that and whether she will be back in the U.K. soon; what the story is regarding her new single, Pablo Escobar, and how the amazing video came together – she highlights a rising act to check out.

I ask whether she gets time to unwind outside of music and which three albums are important to her; if there are going to be any tour dates and whether Forero has any standout memories from her career – she picks a rather cool song to end things with.


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

Hi, Sam! Great to speak with you again. I’m good, thanks. Currently doing admin in a tree house whist drinking the juice of the fruits of the tree next to me! The papayuela fruit!

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

Sure! I’m a happy, little; curious, British-Colombian music-making chicka who sounds like…erm…me and I’m not sure who else…! Not helping for a reference here! But, it’s song-based, English words dressed in Colombian, folkloric instruments; inspired by energy…ranging from aggression to the mystical to the sensual.

All the human colours!

Pablo Escobar is your new single. What was the reason for focusing on Escobar through song?

Cliché to say, but it all came in dream! I’ll spare you the dream details but, basically, the next morning I set to completing the story-lyrics behind the tune and through that I got to research and learn about a man I’d only really heard the name of. So, the reason began with curiosity and obedience to inspiration - which came in a dream asking to be born into this dimension; then it became an education and later a message…which you’ll see at the end of the music video.

The animated video was made alongside Malky Currie. How much direction and say did you get regarding the video?

As always with Malky, we did a lot of throwing mud and colours and illustration styles at the wall together initially; then he made a storyboard to sync with the story-lyrics and, because he’s full of creative ideas, he did that in a really creative way - and then we just guided it along together till it got to a place we both loved. This was actually Malky’s first animation, can you believe it!

Your E.P., Fuego, is coming soon. What are the main themes you address on the E.P.?

Well. ‘Fuego’ = fire in Spanish, which is the main theme. Being that it was a regular lyrical metaphor in the songs, but also it was a real energy thread in most of the songs too; whether it’s fire’s aggressive side, sensual side or its uplifting ‘revving up your inner-fires’-type of side. 

In terms of compositions and sound, how does it differ from your previous work?

I kept to my ‘no-drum kit’ rule…which makes space for loads of native percussion, shakers; seeds, tribal drums etc. and, in this record, that side is way more evident. It’s all wilder and tribal! For me, I really feel I clicked in my own pocket with this one. It’s definitely more mature, with more energy, wildness; uniqueness, darkness and fierce womanly-ness.

Having Colombian roots, how important is the country and its culture regarding your approach to music and experimentation?

It’s probably been more of a way to limit my curiosity. Because I adore making all styles of music which, luckily, I get to do for the media music job but, since I decided this side of my music would be a personal ‘scoring of myself’…‘Vanessa’ is the movie I’m scoring; then the Colombian side is a big cultural and spiritual ingredient. Besides, the instruments here are so interesting to my ears than the drums, bass and guitar line-up I’ve heard so much of.

Problem is, I can’t really play them as they’re meant to be played, which I think helps in making something unique at least! Colombian instruments played by British fingers but through a Colombian spirit! I’m confused.

You are based in Brighton. How important is the place and people to you when it comes to music?

Well. All my stuff is back there but I got stuck here in Colombia! Six months in…I really should head back soon. I miss my instruments and definitely the friends and music community there, which has been a huge support. With gigs on every corner, every night with no pretentiousness, it's just a great place to simply play for the joy of it. And, along the way, happen to get better as you do. I’m very grateful to that music family back there: great listeners, lovers and supporters of original music.

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

So many! I feel grateful to have done the flashy stuff like live videos and a big gig at Abbey Road Studios to being interviewed by a major T.V. show here in Colombia. But my favourite personal moments are always the littler ones. The moment the song and production just clicks in the small, dark hours. Or maybe the gig that me and my ‘feather girls’ did to test the new record songs.

It was expected to be a quiet Thursday night at the local pub but, when we opened the doors, it was a packed-out house of fierce listeners, which totally encouraged us to the roof with the new material we’d kept just to ourselves. A great memory for us wildcats!


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

Oh, my. Shameful confession is that I’m so bad at listening to music; I spend so much time making it that, when I’m done in the studio, I just rather listen to the ocean, the trees or an Oprah podcast! But, ok…I’ll try. I’ll say Nick Drake’s Pink Moon for the fragrance around the house; any alt-J record for impressing my brain with their creativity and Colombia’s Toto La Momposina for hearing power, fire and soul come out of a woman.

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

I feel like I should say an artist that would suit my current style - of which I’m still not sure how to label - but I’m gonna say Tori Amos because I just adore her and I think she’d help make it a wild, musical fem-fest!

Might we see you on tour in 2019?

Well. My head wants to plan a summer tour back in Europe, but I like to ride with the wind and, so far, it’s kept me here for six months and counting! I’d like to but, right now, I’m just starting a new record with a well-known producer here in Colombia, Richard Blair, ho’s also a very good friend so, when that’s recorded at end of spring, I’ll hopefully feel the space to return and tour the new record with my feather girls. I’ll let you know!

Bloody wind hippy.

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

Oh, yes. The studio is my nest: I’m most natural there. Performing costs me but I know it’s an essential part of music. Being that it’s a communicative art! But, I heard Kate Bush and Bowie felt the same so I don’t feel too bad about that. I eventually have fun when I pass the threshold of singing out that first line. Classic introvert problems! 

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Arghh, again, lame music listener! I’d make a terrible D.J. So I’m going to big-up my Brighton punk boy pals The Damn Shebang! Check 'em out.

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

I’m trying to more these days - not been balanced there in the past. So, I’m a recovering music-making obsesser, turned more human through the power of: nut milk! Haha. Coconut milk, almond; hazelnut or a mix. I love it! Also, I’m trying to write the sequel book to one I wrote years ago on my mum’s life but, so far…I just keep making nut milk!

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’d love people to hear Chambacú by Toto La Momposina please, Sam! Thanks for the great questions, as always, and for having me on! Hugs to all from my tree house!


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INTERVIEW: Jubilo Drive



Jubilo Drive


THANKS to the guys of Jubilo Drive...

who have been telling me about their new album, Late Night Early Morning, and the inspiration behind it; which one album the members hold dear; how the band got together and the importance of L.A. regarding their creativity and sound.

I ask whether they will come to the U.K. and which approaching artists we need to watch; how they unwind away from music and the advice they would give to those coming through – the guys pick some cool songs to end the interview with.


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

It’s been good! We’re still on the heels of the record release, so we’re still kind of basking in the glory of that; but we’ve also got a ton of new demos in the works. Happy to be here right now.

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

Sure thing. We’re Jubilo Drive and we’re a group of fellows who enjoy playing music together and working to create new sounds. The five of us all have remarkably different taste in music, so we play a pretty eclectic blend of Psych-Rock/Synth-Pop. Jordan sings and plays guitar. Henry plays the guitar. Aaron’s on the keys. Jacob’s on the drums and Kalyn is the bass player.

Late Night Early Morning is out now. What does it feel like having the record out?

It feels great. Many of these songs were a long time coming and many of them were written before this current iteration of our lineup, so it’s cool to see things come full circle. The response has been awesome. It feels like a weight off our shoulders. We’re lucky to have a great support system. And, of course, there is the satisfaction of completing a project and putting it out into the world. Now that we have something to show for all our work, we feel really free to just create regularly. On to the next.

Are there particular inspirations and people that inspired the album and its stories?

Very much so. Tragically, much of this album was inspired by the untimely death our founding drummer and friend, Eric Cruz. Some of the lyrical content deals with themes of grief, anxiety; depression  and the power of music. For instance, our frontman Jordan H. Kleinman wrote the opening track, When The Curtains Draw, the night his grandfather died; he played trombone with Louis Prima in 1940s Harlem and met Eric a few times, so it felt fitting to include that song on such a cathartic album.

I think the process of building this album also really inspired us to grow and evolve as a band. In our current lineup, we’re still young and still working out the kinks. Seeing this album come together taught us a lot about our band dynamic.

How did Jubilo Drive get together? Did you bond over shared tastes?

We originally formed in college; played shows a lot and recorded a few bodies of work. In 2016, we decided to take a hiatus after a few years and, in early 2017, Eric passed away in a car accident. In early 2018, we reformed to keep the project going and began recording and releasing new music, using this exercise to heal as well.

We’ve always been lucky to have members who come from different backgrounds with various and unique music tastes. While we all definitely have shared musical interests, we individually hold wide spectrums of listening habits - which we feel gives us all an expanded musical knowledge to bring to the table.

What sort of music did you all grow up around?

As we said earlier, the influences are kind of all over the place. Henry and Aaron grew up on music that most California kids were raised on: a lot of Punk-Rock, Hip-Hop; Ska/Reggae. Jordan started out on Classic-Rock and later became obsessed with Jazz and World music. Kalyn was raised on R&B and Hip-Hop but also grew up listening to many different genres of Rock. Jacob’s a Metalhead and listens to a ton of Pop-Punk and Emo (still). Our parents introduced us to all the classics.

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

Our release show was an absolute blast, especially the part where (in practices leading up to the show) we swore we weren’t going to play an encore. And then the crowd really was calling for it, so we had no choice. Most encores are premeditated but it was cool to have such a genuine, spontaneous moment. We all kind of looked at each other and realized we had to go out there and play one more.

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

Jacob: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park is the album that got me into Rock music, so I owe everything to it.

Jordan: I know this is going to sound corny…but The Dark Side of the Moon is probably the most meaningful and withstanding album to me and has been for a long time. The breadth of lyrical imagery, the fortitude and humanity displayed by the songs’ narrator(s); experimental recording techniques side-by-side hit songs, all while being considered a critical and commercial success. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t get better than that.

Henry: Too many. But, I would lean towards albums I’d listen to as a kid, when I had a C.D. case and a booklet to look through while listening. Very impressionable times.

Aaron: By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Kalyn: It’s impossible to choose just one, but Nevermind by Nirvana is certainly up there. Having grown up and spent the first nineteen years of my life in Seattle, something about that sound will always resonate with me.

Being based out of L.A., how important is the city and its people to your sound?

We’ve definitely written a considerable amount inspired by landscapes, traffic and weather of this town. Most of us work and live in Los Angeles, so there is an abundance of interesting characters to observe. You get a better understanding of the world the more kinds of people you see and meet. I don’t know how to articulate it but there are definitely ‘L.A. sounds’ in our music.

The ‘Indie’ music scene in L.A. is also superb. So many friendly and talented people and most people are pretty approachable. I definitely feel lucky to be able to call some of my favorite local artists friends and sometime-collaborators.

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

The Rolling Stones, Tame Impala; Radiohead or St. Vincent among others. Our rider would include Pepto-Bismol, Haribo gummy dinosaurs; hanging out with Keith Richards for fifteen minutes before the set, a handful of JUUL pods; five La Croix and a post-set joint (where legally applicable).


PHOTO CREDIT: Shawheen Keyani

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Keep putting out music. Keep playing shows. Find what works well for you first and try not to worry about what everyone else is sounding like. The more content you have and the more exposure you get, the better. We’ve been a band for a long time and there are days that feel like we’re still starting out - which just goes to show that there’s always something new to learn and ways to improve yourself, both personally and musically.

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

We’ve got a few things in the works right now, but can’t officially announce yet. So, we’ll say that you can catch us in L.A. this spring and definitely this summer.

If we came to one of your live shows, what might we expect?

Controlled chaos: sweaty, spectacular dance moves. Headbanging. Kalyn’s sultry gaze. Jordan dropped the mic and ran around the venue during Aaron’s keyboard solo one time. You know...standard Rock ‘n’ Roll stuff. Come ready to rock the **** out and, if you’re standing close to the stage, to get sweat on you. You might learn something new about yourself.

Might you play in the U.K. at some point?

We’d absolutely love to. A lot of us are huge fans of some big U.K. artists (Joy Division, New Order; The Cure, Cleaners from Venus; Radiohead, The 1975) so that’d definitely be a bucket list item. When are you having us?


 IN THIS PHOTO: James Supercave

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Our friends in James Supercave just put out a stellar new E.P. Can’t recommend it enough. Check out SWIMM and SLUGS too.


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

Honestly, most of us are still working on music when we’re away from Jubilo. We’re all pretty active in solo and side projects, so music keeps us pretty busy. We’re lucky to have a day jobs so, when we’re not there or working on music, we love to unwind with friends and chill out. Music is always playing in the background, so it never goes away.

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).

Jacob: How to Draw/Petrichor - The 1975

Jordan: Chiko-Chan - Yasuaki Shimizu

Henry: Fools - Drugdealer

Aaron: Slide - George Clanton

Kalyn: Star Treatment - Arctic Monkeys


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PHOTO CREDIT: Diego Indraccolo



IT has been a couple of years since I last...

spoke to HEZEN and, whilst one or two of my questions are the same, the latest single from her is definitely not. I ask about Bring Your Alibi and ask HEZEN about current controversies involving Ryan Adams and R. Kelly and whether she feels there is a lack of protection in the music industry at the moment.

She selects some special albums and a few rising artists to watch; how important it is being on stage and how she unwinds away from the strain and stress of music – she selects a great track to end the interview with.


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

I'm good, thank you! I just arrived at my parents’ back in France, outside Paris. I'm playing my first Parisian date ever on Monday, 11th March, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to come a little earlier and help my parents pack – they're moving to Martinique, where my mum is from, in a few months. I'm also going to save the old notebooks where I used to write songs and poems when I was a kid - because people say that it's the kind of thing that one day I'll open with fondness. I've got my doubts about that but, whatever.

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

My name is Sarah. I'm a French producer/singer; living in North London for the past eight years and going under the name HEZEN. I make Dark-Pop with a neon-noir, futuristic edge (think The Little Mermaid-meets-Blade Runner).

Bring Your Alibi is your new single. Is there a story behind the song?

It started in May 2018. I had invited my friend, Laurane Marchive, over for a lyric-writing session. I had never written with someone else before but Laurane is an amazing writer so when she suggested we tried something - I was really into the idea. The week before, Harvey Weinstein had turned himself in to the N.Y. police on sexual assault charges. Being that most our conversations are about feminist issues, we naturally started to come up with an idea related to it. We wanted to write something empowering, something badass; using the trope of the weak and defenceless woman who turns out to be dangerous A.F. and takes her abuser down, like a feminist version of David vs. Goliath.

We visualised Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as our protagonist. It's the song she sings as she's getting ready in the morning, putting a nice dress on; too much makeup. To me, she represents all the people from the #MeToo movement (and beyond) who had the courage to come forward and the person the song is addressed to is all their abusers. This is a song about justice but it's also a warning: you think you're gonna get away with this? Think again.


Do you think the recent news stories involving Ryan Adams and R. Kelly show a lack of awareness and protection from the music industry in general? Do you foresee changes coming regarding the way women are treated?

The misconducts and crimes that have been exposed in the art industries are the ones that ended up making the most noise, for obvious reasons. But, I don't think they're necessarily representative of a problem that's specific to these industries: that's just the exposed tip of the iceberg. I think what the #MeToo movement has shown, in such a shockingly democratic way, is how prevalent sexual assault and harassment are, in every industry, and how the lack of awareness and protection is just our reality as a whole: it's a system structured in a way that it protects abusers and discourages victims to speak.

We're not going to wake up tomorrow with no more sexual predators, nor in a world where victims can expect to be protected by the judicial system; the one that still today finds relevant information in the kind of clothes they were wearing or how much they had drunk when they were harassed or attacked. It's going to take time to program the kind of society we want but, if you look at history, going towards a more just and equal society seems like an ineluctable force (there's still loads to do but I'm a hopeless optimist).

I do think there's a before and after #MeToo, though. I think we've reached a critical mass, one where the problem-gangrening society cannot be brushed under the carpet anymore and people will be less and less afraid of speaking up. That's true for women - but hopefully for men and everybody else too.

As long as we keep the conversation going...


PHOTO CREDIT: Diego Indraccolo

Might we see an E.P. or album later this year?

Bring Your Alibi is the first out of three songs I wrote last year and will be releasing before the summer. To me, they're part of the same chapter: it's called Safe & Bound. I've also started this year's chapter and I'm incredibly excited about the direction it's taking. I'm hoping to release it soon after Safe & Bound.

When did music come into your life? Did your parents play a big role?

At home, my parents played a lot of music, from Chanson Française to Classical music and a lot of U.K. and U.S. classics – Elton John, Neil Young; Pink Floyd, The Beatles; dad is very musical and, in my memory, he'd play the guitar or the keys most evenings. I started writing songs when I was thirteen and he's been supportive ever since; buying me my first guitar and being the first to hear my demos recorded on Audacity with a computer microphone. He was hard to please. He still is.

Which artists were important to you growing up? Who do you rank as idols?

It's a hard question: I feel like so many had their own impact on me...I guess music started becoming a very personal and intense experience when I was young teenager (like most people). At the time, I discovered Nirvana, Pink Floyd; Sia, Led Zeppelin; Muse (pre-Black Holes and Revelations, obviously), Radiohead, Björk and all of them were very important to me. Muse is the band that made me want to write songs and Unintended was the first song I taught myself on the guitar (I was and still am such an Emo kid).

I heard Sia's Breathe Me on the radio and I think I stopped breathing during the whole song. The same thing happened when I heard Karma Police by Radiohead, Chop Suey by System of a Down and Is There Anybody Out There? by Pink Floyd. Later, I discovered Trip-Hop and that changed my life: Massive Attack, Tricky; UNKLE, Portishead...basically, anything that was dark and/or very sad I was an absolute sucker for.

PHOTO CREDIT: Diego Indraccolo

Looking back at your earliest work, what are the main changes/developments you have seen inside yourself?

I think I take it all less seriously. I've always used songwriting as a catharsis; as my only way of expressing and processing my emotions. But, my creative process was often painful and I lacked the confidence to express myself in an approachable way, often hiding behind words and production. I still write based on my experiences but I've now allowed fun in my work, as well as accepted being more vulnerable by being more honest and direct. It helps that I also feel more confident in my production skills and, over time, I've enjoyed simplifying, having more space and less elements.

I've definitely felt a shift in what and how I create and that really happened last year when, after working hard on myself, I came out of depression and had some sort of creative epiphany. The tree songs of the E.P. I'll be releasing are the result of it.

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

One of my biggest handicaps in life is that I have no memory, so it's very hard to answer this question. So, I'll stick to something recent – writing Terrible Animals last year - the song I'm releasing next month - is standing out for me because it marks the beginning of getting my head out of the water and relearning the joys of music-making, which I had forgotten.



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

You asked me this question two years ago, but I guess I should come up with three different ones (smiles).

OvergrownJames Blake

It's a masterpiece. It's had a huge influence on me and it's been teaching me about simplicity.

Rossz Csillag Alatt SzületettVenetian Snares

Another masterpiece. It's one of the saddest and darkest albums I've ever heard, but it's also incredibly beautiful. His blending of strings and electronic beats has shaped my music so much.


I think it's the album that made me drop my acoustic guitar and teach myself production. And it probably all started with All Is Full of Love.

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

Young Fathers. On my rider, I'd want lots of olives of different kinds; whiskey sours on demand and a dressing gown.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @sarahezen 

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

That's a good question...

To be honest, I don't do much that isn't music-related, aside from a healthy amount of procrastination and occasional Netflix evening sesh. I do love cooking, so I guess that's my twice-daily dose of unwinding. I'm also lucky to live very close to Hampstead Heath, so a walk up to Parliament Hill to look at the London skyline often helps when I feel a little overwhelmed.

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

Performing is vital to me. I'd go mental otherwise; writing songs behind my computer without ever living them in the flesh. There's an energy I find only on stage and it's such a magical moment for me when I can perform a song that's only lived in my computer until then and feel how people react to it. I've set myself this challenge this year: of having one new song per gig. The two worlds have been fostering each other - having a deadline has boosted my creativity in the studio and it's made gigging even more exciting because I get to share something new and get almost immediate feedback from people who come to my show.

But, I'm also a massive geek and I can spend days on end working on a track and not speak to another human with no major problem.


Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Recently, I discovered a few gems I'm super-excited about. There's Farai and her liberatingly W.T.F. prose and sick production; Tamino, who I fell in love with (even more after seeing him live last year at Omeara); the dreamy Imperial Daze (to catch live absolutely) but also Alxndr London, Joji and Erland Cooper...


 IN THIS PHOTO: Imperial Daze/PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Heaton

Might we see you on tour in 2019?

That would be really nice. I'll let you know if that happens!

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).

YseultRien à prouver


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