When I was a young and inexperienced female music fan, the one that would cut out articles from NME to stick them to the walls, I thought that going to gigs was being part of history in the making. Discovering artists in small venues before they conquer the world, being with like minded people, falling in love with the music.
When I grew up a little bit more and actually went to gigs, I discovered that live shows could be rough or even dangerous (my first gig seen my nose being broken by a cassette tape thrown from the stage) while some fans were rude, crude and grouping was normal.
I dreamed I would hang out with musicians like all A&Rs and PRs I admired. I thought I’d have connections, be respected in the business and help artists achieve the greatness. Once again I had to revisit my plans. Women in music were scarce, bands would quit before they achieved anything, artists would not even acknowledge your input before moving on to “better things” and sexism was rampant.
In short – if you are a female in music business – you need skin thicker than that of Anna Franklyn (do see “The Reptile” if you can), determination of Rambo and patience of a saint to do your job. I will be honest, sometimes I get sick and tired of music, gigs and lads with guitars.
But then, you encounter a band that tears your heart out, blows your mind and you fall in love with them unconditionally – from the first note. You start believing all those things about greatness, being part of something special and history in the making. I keep telling that as a music obsessive, I fall in love with artists twice a week. Every couple of years, I lose my head. And I don’t know what’s in the water in Yorkshire, but for the third time, it’s a band from Doncaster. Well, ¼ of the band actually. The rest is from Australia, Austria, Germany and they are based in Hamburg.
Modern Girls artwork
The Kecks have been on my radar for nearly a year now. If before they were in “the best new band on the circuit” category, after their newest single “Modern Girls”, they are elevated to being inches away from my favourite band.
Man, do they tick all the boxes! They don’t do happy sing-alongs for the public. Leave that to Gerry Cinnamon. Theirs is rock and roll spiked with psychedelia, raw and emotional, provocative and dangerous. Sensual even. Music that goes straight to the soul. They know their craft. Singer Lennart Uschmann throws himself on stage like it`s his only mean of survival. He is capable of both – serenading the audience, whispering and howling like a mad person in the attic. There is something theatrical, otherworldly about him. Think David Bowie or Richard Hell. It`s mesmerizing. The rest of the band (Samuel Telford on guitar, Joel Phillips on bass and Kai Weidle on drums) follow closely – in their coats, flamboyant shirts, make up or dresses – smashing out bangers and kicking clichés in the balls. On the indie circuit full of post punk acts that made school uniforms out of trench coats, white shirts and black trousers, The Kecks are shining with their retro attires.
Another thing that wins me over in an artist is their ethics. I`m always in the corner of the underdogs, those who come out of the underground, the self made and the struggling. And The Kecks have enough bravery and attitude to fill an ocean. Their press release mentions that the band “religiously preserved their DIY ethos”, they film their own videos, they support independent venues such as Molotow (including playing a special gig for the venue during lock down), they release on AWAL – a platform that functions as an alternative to traditional record labels.
Then there is the video to “Modern Girls” where the band put themselves in the shoes of every woman to protest double standards and hypocrisy. You can see The Kecks being violently forced into skimpy outfits, strong make up and then paraded out to be judged – only to find out they do not meet “the standards”. The video hits home and is a powerful reminder that unrealistic expectations destroy lives, and not only those of women. Think the whole culture of machismo, toxic masculinity with its narrow views on gender, sexuality and identity. Although musically situated far away from IDLES, The Kecks proudly place themselves on the same side of the barrier when it comes to fighting injustice and social stigmas. Like it or not – it is a political statement of sorts. And such statements takes guts in the era where alt -right runs amok and you are branded a “snowflake” for being kind and civil.
The Kecks (again)
In these trying times, it is the artist’s duty to speak up and take action. It’s a test and The Kecks have passed it with flying colours. They know their art and their songs well, as Bob Dylan once observed.
We listen to music for many reasons, but if you strip all the layers down to one thing, it will be to find others who are just like us. We follow artists and we hope that they will be our tribe, with similar outlook on life and values. Even reviews are done from that point of view. In our naivety, we entrust strangers with a part of ourselves. Maybe selfishly, we want them to be at our disposal so we can enjoy the music, the art and the illusion of not being alone.
I can only hope The Kecks will continue for many years to come.
We keep on saying that Manchester has one of the strongest music scenes in the UK and they continuously prove that they do. Every single time a new band appear on our radar, they usually come from Greater Manchester area or from Yorkshire. Somebody better check what’s in the water over there and get it bottled, so we can enjoy the same amount of talent in other parts of the country.
Jokes aside but Mancunians seem to be really good at promoting and encouraging young bands to take risks. And it really pays off – musicians are experimenting, looking for new sounds, creating things that stand out from the rest. Innovatory music is also presented in an innovatory way – singles and albums have unusual packaging, covers are often self made, CD’s are printed or painted by hand, sleeves are turned into mini zines. Collectors of independent releases cannot complain – maybe only when they run out of space on their shelves or funds to buy everything that appears on the market.
One of those unusual and experimental releases ended up in our mailbox a couple of days ago and made a very big impression. We mean they had as at “female led” and “shoegaze” but we never expected to hear something that would channel the brilliance of Wolf Alice, Alvvays and The Sundays. Ladies and gents – we give you crush!
crush picture by Joe Hudson
crush are Manchester based shoegaze/alternative pop four piece consisting of Amber (guitar and vocals), Arthur (lead guitar), Will (bass) and Fotis (drums). Taking inspiration from artists such as The Cure, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Alvvays, controlled ambience is paired effortlessly with cascading noise and chaos. Wowing audiences at numerous shows across the North of England including Stay Fresh Fest and a triumphant headline at Yes Manchester, their live input has cemented them as ones to watch. Presented is an experience that immerses you into an equally intimate and cathartic psychedelic state. Their BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio backed releases have seen them go from strength to strength, and you can be assured the new year will see them put forth their most daring material yet.
crush (written in lower cases to distinguish themselves from the American band Crush) formed at the end of 2017 at the Manchester University and quickly gained a strong following. They released three singles (“How Come”, “Rinse” and “Glue“), toured extensively and supported Peaness, Far Caspian and Low Hummer. Now they return with a brand new track called “All My Plants Are Dead” and it is a bitter sweet serenade, full of perfect harmonies, echoes and ethereal guitars.
Picture by Joe Hudson
“The song focuses on the idea of the cold human race and an increasingly insular society” – writes the band in their PR release. “It’s about struggling to look after yourself as much as it is struggling to look after your houseplants. Really just a message of looking after and understanding each other a bit better, and a critique of how modern living at times can make this an unattractive and hard to achieve concept.”
The band is working on a video to the song and it will be released as soon as it is possible.
Number 7 always had magical prosperities. It was the lucky number in many Western and Eastern cultures. There were 7 Wise Men in Greece, River Styx encircled Hades seven times to protect the underworld. 7 principles of higher education in the ancient times were known as Artes Liberales. Christianity introduced the concepts of 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Heavenly Virtues. Modern times are also filled with all things seven: Seven Up (we are only kidding!), 7 Samurai, The Magnificent 7, seven books in the Harry Potter series and of course the seven pillars of the modern art: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Music, Performing and Film.
The world of art is not always appreciated as it should be. With rampart capitalism on the loose and omnipresent everything-has-to-bring-profit attitude, one has to argue and fight for the funding of concerts, exhibitions, museums and libraries. But when tragedy or unprecedented event happens, such as the corona virus pandemic, everyone turns to the arts for comfort. Music and films are helping millions to get through and we really hope the calming nature of art will not be forgotten once the dust settles.
The 7 Arts Still Exist Online Festival small poster
In the meantime, artists of any kind are doing what they have always done – they make the world more bearable with their craft. And on local level, we have two young girls who are proving that the seven traditional arts are alive, well and kicking even in the digital age.
Chloe Mogg and Amy Crouch organized the first West Midlands Online music and arts festival last week. It took place on 18th – 19th of April and brought together performances from 36 musicians and more than 20 artists. As you can imagine, it was a great success. More than 24.000 people tuned to watch the performances, the event was shared more than 200 times, hundreds of comments were posted on social media and the online art exhibition was seen more than 1000 times. 24 thousand people is enough to fill a big stadium, so if it was a real gig, the festival would have been a sold out affair.
We want this blog entry to serve a specific purpose. To show that artists can do very well online performing from their own bedrooms, and those who are organizing such events, should know how much they are able to achieve. And hopefully the success of The 7.A.S.E Online Music & Arts Festival will be a great example how to go viral while streaming.
Pretty in Pink – the big poster with all performances listed
1. Organizational team:
As, we have mentioned that the online festival has been the brainchild of two young women. Best friends, collaborators and both equally talented:
Chloe Mogg – Singer, songwriter, journalist and producer. Delivering a mixture of musical influences, Chloe Mogg creates a spacious journey that will take you through all the emotions of music. As a young singer-songwriter with “parrot” hair, she brings life and colour to her performances. Known for her quirkiness and smile, she haunts the audience with her ability to tell a story with only her voice, guitar and ‘strange’ effects. With influences from Jeff Buckley, Nick Harper, Alanis Morissette and Marika Hackman to name a few, Chloe showcases a wide range of inspirations. Supporting artists such as Nick Harper, Jon Gomm & Quill, and playing hundred’s of festivals all over the UK (including Lakefest, Moseley Folk & Arts Festival, Avebury Rocks, Leamington Peace Festival), Chloe’s in her natural habitat on stage. With debut EP “Thalamus” getting radio play on BBC Radio 6 & BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester, the songwriter has recently released her first single in 2 years “Judgement Day” which sees her experiment in an electronica/trip-hop world. Currently the songstress is in the recording process of her debut album due for release October 2020, the debut album will see all her influences in one place and will become her most diverse work yet.
Amy Crouch – Artist and designer. “My work challenges the traditional conventions of painting. The visual elements of the paintings are geometric and abstract in creation however, the physical form of the canvas is manipulated and changed in order to affect how these simple geometric shapes look. In doing this, the focus is always still on the fact that it is a painting and when I’m pushing the boundaries of the canvas, I’m always thinking about how far I can push those boundaries without it no longer being a painting.”
Amy graduated from University of Worcester in Novembert 2018 and won the Meadow Arts Prize 2018. Her exhibitions have included the Degree Show 2018 at University of Worcester and the Parallax Art Fair in Kensington, London. Current exhibition is entitled “Nothing is Square pt2” and is based at Shipton Street Gallery.
Everyone of us knows the song “Radio GaGa” by The Queen with its most famous line: “And everything I had to know, I heard it on my radio”. In times of corona virus, except for the internet, radio is the most important source of information, music, news and everything else. And being mentioned by popular DJ’s or being interviewed on air is a huge boost for any event.
Chloe Mogg has an impressive musical resume having been played at BBC 6 Music, BBC Introducing in West Midlands and BBC Hereford and Worcester many times. Her work at the online festival has been quickly spotted and that led to her being invited to speak to Kate Justice at BBC HW twice to discuss the event. Sadly we were unable to find the first interview which took place around the 1st of April (not an April’s Fool joke, we assure you!), but we had secured the second one from 15th of April. Chloe was also mentioned by legendary BBC6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq during his BBC Recommends show on 17th of April and finally appeared on BBC Introducing HW with Andrew Marston on Saturday 18th of April during Jack Cattell set being streamed live! You can listen to all clips below:
BBC Hereford and Worcester with Kate Justice (evening programme) on 15.04.2020
BBC6 Music Recommends with Steve Lamacq on 17.04.2020
BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester with Andrew Marston on 18.04.2020
Establishing a proper relationship with press is vital for any artistic endeavour. Local journalists are always on the look out for an interesting topic to cover and an online music and arts festival during a full country shut down, proved to be a real hit.
Worcester News, the leading newspaper in Worcester, has been especially supportive towards the festival. They printed two large articles: one on Saturday 18th of April 2020 in their online edition and another one on Monday, 20th of April in their printed version of the daily paper.
Worcester News article 18.04.2020 – on;ine version
Kidderminster Shuttle article 18.04.2020 – online version
And once the happy news got out, the sister titles of “Worcester News” around several counties, re-printed the story as well. In this way, Chloe and Amy went viral from Wales to East Midlands. They appreared in Bromsgrove Advertiser, Kidderminster Shuttle, Tewksbury Magazine, Malvern Gazette, Halesoven News and Droitwich Advertiser among others.
And as last time, the story has been picked up by number of other titles such as Hereford Times, Droitwich Advertiser, Ledbury Reporter, Malvern Gazette, Halesowen News, Bromsgrove Advertiser and Dudley News. You can see the links to each article below:
The 7 Arts Still Exists Festival hoped to raise £250 for future artistic projects. And they managed not only to hit the target by mid Saturday, but collected a round £300 to date – a whooping 122% of their original target! This will help Chloe and Amy to cover their production and advertising costs of another edition of the festival. Hopefully, we can get a real 3 dayer next time!
5. Arts Gallery:
More than 20 artists participated in the Art Exhibition curated by Amy Crouch and hosted on her personal website. It featured a wide range of styles (graphic design, photography, abstract and mixed media) and attracted more than 1000 views during the weekend. If the opening took place not online but in a traditional art gallery or a museum, people would have been queuing outside of the doors!
We dont think we have a venue that large in Worcester. The exhibition would have to be probably held in the Guild Hall, on both floors!
Art Exhibition – artists presentations 1
Art Exhibition – artists presentations 2
Art Exhibition – artists presentations 3
With the event completed, comments exchanges, links shared, streams finished and fundraisers reaching their targets – it’s now time to relax and enjoy the festival memories. Luckily we have no wellies to clean and tents to wash! To summarize what has been achieved during those two days, Chloe has created two playlists that contain the majority of the acts that performed.
Please give them a listen. You may discover your next favourite artist.
This of course is not the end! Chloe and Amy are thinking about new editions of the festival. Bigger and better, with more attractions for everyone to enjoy. We will keep an eye open and our hand on the pulse to cover any future events, streams and shows that this dynamic duo will be involved in. Our West Midlands scene is doing very well, despite lock downs, isolation and closures.
We wanted to have something special to celebrate a band that means a lot to us. Not only because we are following their career from the very beginning, but also because we call them friends. We will even go as far as to name them some of our favourite people on the planet.
Sometime in 2017 we walked into a gig not knowing who was on the bill and found ourselves mesmerised by a duo called As Mamas – consisting of a drummer and a guitarist. They produced some of the grooviest psychedelia we ever heard and that was a love at the first notes. Since then we have seen them at least ten times across West Midlands and hosted them on our blog in 2018.
In 2019 the band moved to Brighton, expanded to a five piece and returned with a banger of a single – “Rocking Chair”. They are The Psycho Relics.
Official bio: The Psycho Relics are a garage rock n roll five piece formed and based in Brighton. Taking influence from the classic rock and psych bands of the 60s and the new age of fuzzed out garage revival. The band consists of Harrison Baird-Whitman (vox/guitar), Joseph Devine (guitar), Daniel Stirrat (bass), Ed Prideaux (keys) and Sam Morley (drums).
“Rocking Chair” may not re -invent the wheel but it ticks all the boxes for a great rock and roll song. It brings together all elements that make guitar music so appealing – the soul, the groove, the beat. It grabs you by the collar and shakes you out from the haze of indifference. You thought rock was dead? Well check again! The underground is bursting with talent, revitalized by the youth who picked up instruments and have something important to say.
The Psycho Relics brought psychedelic revival from Birmingham and made sure Brighton noticed. Their first gig sold out on the spot. The reviews for the single are only favourable. The word on the street is that the band has more material and gigs planned in the future and once the lock-downs are over they will hit the stages.
The buzz around Psycho Relics is undeniable. We wanted for a while to sit down with the band and ask them about the relocation, the new line up and the new material. After we sent the questions to Joe Devine and Harrison Baird-Whitman – they came back to us with a whole video instead.
So first time in the history of this blog we have a visual interview – and with people we truly adore to make things even more exciting! Please have a watch. It`s one hell of a ride. Joe and Harrison have wicked sense of humour, they love what they do and they have utmost respect for one another. Actually, they finish each other`s sentences. These are two childhood friends who went on to play the music and make history. And we will be tagging along on that journey, you can bet on it.
We are absolutely gutted that we can only review this EP good three weeks after its release (came out on March 13th 2020) but the world has been in chaos lately. Maybe you noticed… However social isolation has good sides – you can sit on your ass and listen to a lot of music. We will not complain too much about being four weeks into a self imposed exile then. After all this is what music scouts do anyway if not attending gigs: typing away mountains of text about artists they seen or are about to see. Plus, the fridge is stocked and we have 24 pieces of toilet roll…So without any more ado, here is the record we will be ranting about on this blog today. Meet the band.
Liam Mckeown (vox, guitar)
Jakob Cusp (guitar, keys)
William S Carrott (bass)
Connor Doyle (drums, percussion)
Brain Food are a four-piece cosmic psych outfit originally hailing from the suburbs of East Birmingham. Forming in the dying embers of 2017, the band have been making waves with their energetic, spaced-out and shimmering live set. In their brief history they have supported the likes of Insecure Men, Froth, Stonefield, Boy Azooga, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, Dead Coast, Man of Moon and Public Access TV. August 2018 saw the release of debut EP “Get One On”, a DIY project of five tracks recorded, mixed and produced by the band, on their own makeshift record label, Room 15 Records.
Birmingham is known nationally (and internationally if you ever poked your nose outside the disunited kingdom) for having a vibrant psychedelic and garage scene. If you are local we don’t necessarily have to introduce you to the likes of DOXA, Table Scraps, Cherry Pickles, The Cosmics or The Lizards. Chances are you drink with members of those bands more often at The Sunny than we do. However if you don’t hang around Digbeth too often, Second City may be uncharted musical waters. Then you are cordially invited to have a look at this BLOG we did for the scene and check out the playlists. It`s worth it – we will tell you this much.
Brain Food are part of the vibrant Brummie scene and their new, self -titled EP is exceptional, in many regards. It is first time in aeons that we had a pleasure to listen to a space psychedelia record. For those who are not into musical genres: space psychedelia (also known as “space rock”) originated in the late 1960`s and is recognised by lengthy compositions with distorted, other-worldly vocals. Hypnotic drums and keyboards often accommodate poetic, mystic and science-fiction themed lyrics. This sub-genre of psychedelic and progressive rock came to prove itself to be very influential, inspiring every musical movement from the 80s onward: grunge, stone rock, shoe gaze to post rock. Early enthusiasts of the space sound were Jimmy Hendrix, Marc Bolan, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. The ground breaking “wah wah” sound was born out of the genre. But we digress…
The band sticks to a very traditional definition of space psychedelia – this record is full of wonderful riffs, mellow if minimal drumming, ethereal vocals and lyrics that evoke emotional and spiritual sides of humanity. It`s 27 minutes that should be spent lying in the grass on a summer day with your eyes closed and enjoying the sun on one`s face.
The Brain Food EP cover
Opening the record is “Poseidon” – although not a leading single – it is a perfect introduction to the EP. The song greets us with a powerful riff and the words “Wake Up – what do you see?”. The low bass and heavy drums giving this track such a groovy, trippy feeling.
Then comes “Canyon Crawler” with its oriental theme and deep, echo like effects. The song changes tempo several times over the course of seven minutes but does not feel too dragging or boring. It is very Beatles-que in nature (meant in the best way possible).
“That Feeling” could give Pink Floyd a good run for their money had Brain Food been born few decades into the past. For some reason we love how the vocals sound – there is no indication that they have been reinforced but it feels like there is more than one voice singing.
“Cosmic Jones” starts with a wah wah motif to explode into a distorted, quietly beautiful love song. It may be a strange observation but this is the only song that brings outthe fact that Brain Food are a British band. You can hear the strong West Midland accent clearer than on other compositions. Though out the record you can`t place where the band comes from – they could easily pose for American quartet or anywhere else in the world. Which adds to the charm of the EP – anyone from any corner of the world could relate. But on “Cosmic Jones” the band is undisputedly British. Also its our favourite track from the record. Not related to the fact that we are Anglophiles.
The EP ends with “Forbidden Tongue”. What we really love about this track are those long guitar solos that are the central part of composition. Vocals are here relocated to the back seat and treated alongside with other instruments. Very clever idea.
It`s hard to rate this record. Brain Food do not reinvent the wheel. But it`s such a strong space psychedelic release in all its classical glory. And we have a soft spot for all things psychedelic!
This is a kick ass* release and if you can get your hand on it – do so. Hopefully we will get a physical release sooner than later.
Chloe Mogg had a very busy period – despite all the incredible things happening lately. She released her new single “Judgement Day” to rave reviews, played three online gigs to thousands of views, given interviews to BBC while also reviving music of other artists for several musical publications. It was a high time that Vanadian Avenue would sit down with Chloe to speak to her about her music, keeping busy while in isolation, fighting for the rights of artists with disabilities and her achievements.
We are happy to tell you that despite her hectic schedule Chloe found time to answer our questions.
Signature rainbow hair and an unique vocal range earned you a nick name “a bird of paradise” and recognition of gig goers in West Midlands. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.
Chloe Mogg: (laughs) Thanks! I’m Chloe Mogg, a singer-songwriter, multi instrumentalist and music journalist with a passion for creating, finding new music and being as colourful as possible! Thanks for running this interview with me!
Your started to draw attention very early on. In 2016 you were voted Wyre Forest Young Musician of The Year – alongside with Hannah Law as “Wyldwood”. At that time you were still in college. In music business with great talent comes big pressure. Is it easy to deal with expectations of audience and press?
Chloe Mogg: Expectations and pressure used to really get to me, to the extent of not knowing what path to go in. I think the best advice to stick by is, if you’re enjoying your own music that you’ve created, then you’ve got to be doing something right. If everyone else likes what you’re doing, then that’s a bigger bonus. I must be doing something right because I’m gaining a strong following now!
One review called you a music critics` worst nightmare – you cite Jeff Buckley, Bjork, Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding and Nora Jones as your inspirations. On top of that you are known for your own version of Status Quo’s “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” . We won`t even try to squeeze you into one musical genre – but how important is having a broad knowledge of music and different techniques for a performer?
Chloe Mogg: Being a music journalist, I listen to A LOT of genres. My go to music is dream-pop, trip-hop, jazz fusion and acoustic folk. I think it’s important to have a broad knowledge just like an artist would use different colours to paint on a canvas. As a musician, you have all these colours (genres) to experiment with.
In 2019 you released your debut EP “Thalamus” earning airplays from BBC Introducing and BBC 6 Music. The latter happened after somebody handed your CD to Steve Lamacq at a gig. He also described you as a powerful musical figure. That must have been quite a proud moment for you as an artist.
Chloe Mogg: Definitely one of the highlights of my career so far! Still haven’t come down from that cloud yet and don’t think I ever will!
Besides your musical career, you are also a journalist championing young and upcoming acts though reviews and press articles and you run a series of gigs Female Voices Night at the iconic Birmingham venue Tower of Song. You put a lot of effort to support other artists.
Chloe Mogg: Yeah for sure. I support independent artists looking for more coverage in the industry. Female Voices Night has really blossomed into supporting females across the country (even touring artists) to have a platform where they can showcase their songwriting and storytelling. I think us unsigned artists must stick together because it’s a tough industry to break into, plus, I just love helping others out.
You are very vocal about your struggles with health issues, especially ME. There is no cure at this moment for the illness and the pain and fatigue can severely impact your ability to perform. Musicians with long term disabilities are facing many obstacles in the music industry. If you could propose any changes or improvements that could be introduced to help them, what would they be?
Chloe Mogg: I’ve been quite lucky so far with gigging and also cancelling gigs before, due to my health, because people have understood. There was one time though when mid set at a show last year I had a flare up with M.E and Fibromyalgia, causing anxiety to spark. So I went outside to catch a breath and to compose myself to going back inside and finishing my show off, only for the manager of the venue to come outside and call me a ‘disappointment’ and that I should go back inside and tell everyone I’m not playing anymore. I repeatedly told him what was wrong and he wasn’t having any of it. He was very rude and horrible, causing me to have a full blown panic attack. Anyway, the change and improvement that I’ve always dreamt of is for people to fully understand invisible illnesses. It bugs me that you can’t “see” what’s wrong, but I can tell you now, it’s THERE.
Your newest single is called “Judgement Day” and was released on 14th of March. It signals a brand new direction for you – more electronic, trip-hop like. Is it just one time experiment or are you planning to properly investigate this new path?
Chloe Mogg: Trip-hop has always been a passion of mine and one of the main music styles I listen too. I’m trying to incorporate that style into my studio work more, for example; creating groovy drums to sit behind my main music. “Judgement Day” came out more electronic based than I had hoped, but I’m still really proud of it. It was more of an experiment that came out well and I decided to release it. I have other tracks in the pipeline that are more “true” to my style. I’m definitely still sticking with my alt-rock/folk-grunge sound, but I feel that I’m just evolving that little bit more now. (laughs)
Your friendly neighbourhood ass kicking singer songwriter – Chloe Mogg
During the lockdown caused by the Corona virus outbreak, you came up with idea of organizing a online concert for your fans. The first gig took place on March 21st and another one on 28th of March. What do you think about streaming your shows online? Did you enjoy the experience?
Chloe Mogg: I absolutely LOVE it! I’ve never streamed shows like that before and decided to start during the lockdown otherwise I would have lost my mind. I really enjoyed it and definitely was a nerve-wracking experience too. People of the world are so generous and supportive and I wouldn’t be where I am now without my fans.
Tell us more about your brand new initiative called The 7 Arts Still Exist. What is it?
Chloe Mogg: The 7 Arts Still Exist is a group where creatives can show their talents. It’s also a platform where lovers of creativity can get inspiration and check out other peoples work. During the outbreak, my best friend Amy Crouch and I saw a lot of groups aimed mainly at musicians sharing their songwriting or covers, and noticed there was a community for artists, photographers, dancers, film-makers. Hence why we created the group.
Once the national quarantine is over and things return to normal, you will be back to touring. Are you planning something special to celebrate?
Chloe Mogg: I definitely want to put on a show with an awesome line up to celebrate. Obviously, we’re not sure when the national quarantine will be over and everything will resume back to normal, but I’ve definitely got things in the pipeline for a return!
We try to keep the last questions fun at Indieterria. Let’s imagine you can duet with Jeff Buckley and he leaves the song of choice to you. What is the audience gathered at the legendary Sine going to hear?
Chloe Mogg: Well, firstly…I’d probably be star-struck and be doing goldfish impressions while listening to Jeff. I think the song would have to be “Bloom” by Nick Harper with added harmonies for a duet arrangement. Nick is joint first place with Jeff as my main influences. Check Nick Harper out, underrated artist who is an amazing songwriter.
Chloe Mogg is just starting to spread her wings and her songs across the land and we will be reporting on her achievements.
We keep saying that the talent on the Birmingham scene is incredible so all your pluggers, music scouts and labels – once the lock downs are done send your people in. We will be very loud in Second City you will not miss it. What you may find is a ton of musical gems ready to be signed. We mean – how can you NOT want to sign Chloe Mogg on the spot?
We may live through hard times for the dreamers (as mighty Welshmen Trampolene observed) but we definitely need visionaries and cultural catalysts – perhaps now more than ever. Hard times call for movers, shakers and people who will push things forward when everyone is looking back at nostalgia.
Through our blog we tend not only to support new and upcoming artists but also those who tirelessly work behind the scenes in labels, music websites, venues and radio stations. Today`s entry is dedicated to a man who will be seen by future generations as Sheffield`s answer to Tony Wilson – Mr Rob Hirst.
Rob has dedicated years to build a network and to promote bands from across the country in conditions that would make others throw the towel in. His strength, persistence and vision are shining though and elevated artists to better things.
Rob Hirst – a man for the job
We had a real pleasure and privilege to speak to Rob about his label, music industry and his dream band.
Musician, label owner and a walking encyclopaedia of great new bands – please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.
Rob Hirst: Hi, I’m Rob the owner and founder of Fans for Bands and These Bloody Thieves Records! (laughs)
It`s been a year since you have founded These Bloody Thieves Records. In that time you worked with artists such as False Heads, The Howlers, C33`s among many others. That is a truly impressive accomplishment. Tell us where did the idea for a label come from and how did you manage to make this a reality?
Rob Hirst: I guess it was just a progression from all the other things I was doing. I was working with a lot of bands via Fans for Bands, discovering new bands via my Spotify playlists and I was scouting for others management and labels. When Ditto approached me about the label in the box within a few hours I had the branding, put a post on social media and Luke from False Heads was keen to work with me. It was up and running in 24 hours.
2020 started with a bang at the label. You just announced Singles Club – a very ambitious plan to release 24 singles this year. Can you give more information as we are sure many bands would love to get in touch.
Rob Hirst: Yeah, I wanted to do something different this year after a frustrating end to 2019. I was bored on Boxing day and the idea just popped into my head. I put a post out on social media and the submissions and support came flooding in. By end of Feb 2020 the label will have put out five singles already with artists all over the UK.
You are the man behind the Fans for Bands project. Please tell us more about it. What exactly is Fans for Bands and how does it work? How this platform can benefit unsigned artists?
Rob Hirst: The name itself kind of explains what it is. This is my freelance side to my career and the also the PR/marketing brand that supports the label. The idea is to have a budget marketing (PR/Spotify and Social Media Growth) that gets excellent results based on my passion, knowledge and contacts without ripping a massive hole in the artists pockets.
At the end of December 2019, These Bloody Thieves welcomed Matthew Stockman as head of A&R and Live Events. His presence will surely invigorate the label. We are very curious what live events are in the pipe line? Showcases or maybe even a festival?
Rob Hirst: Matt is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to discovering new bands and was an active figure on the London scene before moving to Sheffield and then joining the label. Matt will be looking to discover new artists and then give them a slot at our stages in Sheffield and looking to actively promote to new artists to a Sheffield crowd.
We know its maybe a cliché question but what are you looking for as a label? What qualities should an artist/band possess to grab your attention? And how prospective artists can approach you?
Rob Hirst: It’s all about the quality of the artist. Preferably discovered as early as possible and to help to support their releases. Obviously, we want to play our part on breaking a band. But the label has never been about making money. It’s about putting out and supporting great artists and to encourage people to listen to something other than Lewis Capaldi (laughs)
Music Business is not the easiest of industries – and we are sure that running a label is not a walk in the park. But it also offers some valuable lessons to us all. If you were to share some of your experiences with those who want to set up their own labels – what would you say to them?
Rob Hirst: Yeah of course. Success will definitely not come over night. Don’t sign too many artists at once and don’t invest too much money that you will not see back. I have no regrets about the levels on money invested and lost in the first year. It was all about been taken seriously and getting a reputation so that we could then attract the best artists in the UK – Which has definitely worked.
Last (in)famous question – imagine you can create a super group consisting of any musician from history. Who is in the band, what instruments do they plan and what`s their name?
Rob Hirst: Wow! Depends what mood I am in! I have to reform my old band and have a mid life crisis. Those musicians I played with played a huge part in my life and all led me to working in music full time. But off the top of my head!
Crispin Hunt (Longpigs) – Vocals/Rhythm Guitars
Nick McCabe (Verve) – Lead Guitars
John Entwhistle (The Who) – Bass
Reni (Stone Roses) – Drums
Don’t be cancelling 2020 yet. It may be a year of no festivals, virtual gigs and staying indoors but the art it produces is jaw dropping. Actually, it is a heavy weight year for creativity. Knock out after knock out from every corner – with no breather. Just look at March alone. Two weeks passed from the release of False Heads` album (record of the year most likely) and we have a new single from Saytr Play, 20 dates autumn tour from Hands Off Gretel and a much anticipated debut from The Red Stains on the cards.
If that wasn’t enough to make us at Vanadian Avenue sleep deprived – an unexpected EP from Manchester duo The Dirt appeared in our inbox this morning. And we just had to squeeze it into the schedule because otherwise it would be a serious breach of Directive #1
Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner aka The Dirt
What`s Directive #1 you ask? In short terms – what Manchester does today, the rest of the country does tomorrow. And if you ignore it, then you prove yourself to be a pompous wannabe with no real knowledge of pop culture.
If you don’t know The Dirt, don’t worry. Until about 11 AM today we had no clue either. But once they appeared on our radar, we quickly did the catching up.
The band consist of Japanese guitarist (and multi instrumentalist) Sachiko Wakizaka and Mancunian poet Jack Horner (known under his moniker “Leon The Pig Farmer”). On March 19th the duo quietly dropped their first EP “No More Moves” on BandCamp – a seven track (22 minutes) full of psychedelic, experimental, shoe-gazing landscapes accompanied by dark, tense lyrical verses.
The band succeeded in creating a record that can stand next to releases of Mr Bungle or The Legendary Pink Dots without feeling ashamed. If you take each track separately, they almost feel like punk songs – all below three minutes. The longest – most angry track on the album – “Wiccan Transition” stands at 5 minutes and could easily find itself among Sonic Youth`s deep cuts.
You can take “No More Moves” as one long composition – a sonic meditation on human nature and its dark sides.
Everything on the EP is dirty, grungy and heavy. Even the logo – the band uses a kanji sign 泥 (pronounced “doro”) as its calling card. It roughly translates into “the dirt” but may mean “mud”, “mire” and “ooze” and we have to applaud them for putting a lot of thought into the vision and then trying to obscure it. You have to dig though the layers of sounds, language and symbols to truly appreciate the work Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner did. You have to unearth it so to speak.
The Dirt created a very experimental, noise, avant-garde record that nobody saw coming. They appeared out of nowhere with artistic vision, DIY ethos, rebellious spirit to mix beat poetry with psychedelic sounds and reminded everyone that the underground scene in Manchester is healthy and potent.
It would be an excellent idea to incorporate them into future Louder Than Words festivals. This duo has a lot to offer to the public.
We have spoken briefly to Jack Horner about the EP to go along this review. This is what he had to say:
The Dirt looking out into the psychedelic future
How long did it take to record the EP and where did you do it?
Jack Horner: We did it over a few weeks, trying not to spend much time on each track. We wanted it raw and quick takes. We recorded at my house. Proper DIY feel. Did the guitars first, then laid my words on.
So it was just you and Sachiko Wakizaka working together?
Jack Horner: Yeah, Sachiko uses loop and effects pedals for the guitars.
So full musical partnership.
Jack Horner: Yes. Full on partnership. It works well. We seem to have a good collaboration and creative system. Probably we will go live in autumn. I’ll keep Leon ticking along too.
You wanted to explore something outside poetry?
Jack Horner: I used words and verses that don’t feel right on my solo spoken word set. They may be too heavy, too dark or just not suited. But I think the guitars work compliments them.
We really like Wiccan Transition. It`s the longest track on the EP. You could nearly call it a leading single.
Jack Horner: (laughs) Oh ta!
Any story behind that track?
Jack Horner: I went to see a spiritual healer. Crystal Therapy. I went into a crazy trance. It’s that and coming out the other side of depression!
I`m not sure which song to put out as a single if we do.
So really The Dirt is a project to help you deal with mental health as well as creative process.
Jack Horner: That’s how Leon The Pig Farmer started as well. Writing thoughts after a breakdown and stuff last year. Then taking words to the stage. This is an experiment to take it elsewhere…who knows where.
That’s the beauty of my life now. I don’t set goals, plans or directions to get anxious about. It seems to work!
You can follow Jack Horner/ The Dirt on the socials:
It will be a very interesting experience to see the duo live in concert and we are hoping that we will have a chance to do so. If we do, please expect a full set video and a ton of pictures. And a word of advice. Do not underestimate the underground. You have no idea what lurks in one of those narrow streets behind AATMA…
Just a small update to let everyone know that The Dirt published their third visual trailer announcing new material coming in the next months. It showcases the band`s interest in Manchester`s creative Northern Quarter and signals a more refined musical landscape – with the use of drum machines and beats. We knew The Dirt was unique project on Mancunian music scene but the rate it grows and changes is just stunning! Our hats are off to Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner for being absolute proper legends.
The COVID -19 outbreak is hitting entertainment industry very hard. Gigs, tours and even Glasto have been cancelled or postponed. To cover loses and to reach the audiences, bands and performers flock to the Internet to perform. There are hundreds streams and home concerts being organized and available to watch from home if you find yourself in isolation. You can stream music, buy merch or albums to support musicians though this time.
The reason for this blog post is very simple. At Vanadian Avenue we work with many young and upcoming artists, who may not have large audiences or visibility online to attract large crowd. We want to change that – and bring some new people to their socials.
Below you will find a list of artists from Birmingham scene and links to their pages. We hope this blog will not only helps you to purchase some goods, new music or tees – but maybe it will lead you on a whole discovery of new music, bands and scenes.
We will be profiling other towns as well but let us start closer to home.
In no alphabetic order, all equally cool. This blog lists only killer acts.
This list will be updated as we go along so please come and check it often. Birmingham rules if you haven’t noticed. Well you did now!
You can listen to our hand crafted playlists as well. Streaming the music gives artists more exposure, so please feel free to share them with your friends.
In the next couple of days, we will compose a similar post for our friends in Manchester, so stick around!
It is a privilege to support new music. Times may be hard, unpredictable and sometimes downright crazy, but the rock music is undergoing a real renaissance. Everywhere you turn, there is a great music flowing: from drum & bass, to garage punk, to house, dancehall and rave. We can complain about politics and social media becoming toxic, but we certainly cannot complain about the lack of good and ambitious music to listen to.
And today, we would like to introduce you to one of the unsigned, emerging bands that got our attention in the last couple of months – The Battery Farm.
Poet Boy single cover
Mancunia’s premier gutter punk four piece, The Battery Farm have recently rose to prominence on the indie scene, loudly screaming at the world and its ills. After releasing a string of well received singles (“97/91“, “I Am A Man” and “Crude Oil Water“), they are back with their brand new track entitled “Poet Boy” and it’s a proper sonic kick in the teeth.
The song starts with a thunderous beat and broken, fuzzed guitar riffs that are becoming their easily recognizable trademarks. I dont think there is anybody else on the circuit at this moment who can create such a depressive and somehow deranged atmosphere so quickly in their music, but the lads have a proper talent for this. And yes, their music is depressive and sad and angry and dirty but so is the reality surrounding us. This is what inspires them and this is what the band want to speak about. If you are looking for something pretty or shiny, go and listen to the BBC1. Here you will only find a justified anger, desolate tones and 10 tonnes of unhappiness.
Poet Boy advert with release date of 20/03/2020
Yet, there is a method in this madness. Despite the ugliness, broken melodic lines, scratching vocals full of fury and disappointment, “Poet Boy” has a therapeutic effect on the listeners. Once you dig through the upper layers of noise and disturbances, you will find a neatly composed song, with tempo changes, passages and nearly math rock precision. Pay attention to the lyrics as well – they are a very important part of the track.
“Poet Boy” is out on the 20th of March and once it is released, you will be listening to it on repeat.
28th March 2020 – Off the Square, Manchester w/ False Heads 17th April 2020 – The Star and Garter, Manchester w/ tAngerinecAt 18th April 2020 – Ulltra Festival, Hull
15th May 2020 – The Globe, Glossop
17th May 2020 – After All Festival, Manchester
18th July 2020 – Ulltra Festival, York
28th August 2020 – Bank Top Tavern, Oldham
30th October 2020 – Deaf Institute, Manchester w/ DeafRobot