Indieterria meets HUSK

Dear Readers,

First world problems you will say – but it is incredibly hard to sit on a great interview and wait for a right time to publish it. It been a few anxious weeks but the wait is finally over! HUSK`s new single  “Feeling Heat” is dropping on November 1st, with funky lo-fi video to accompany it, and we can only tell you to get your dancing shoes on – we are going to a proper party!

We spoke with Alfie Austin about his music, a single that may turn him into a proper pop star, artists that inspired him and where he sees himself in five years time. Despite being incredibly talented singer and song writer, he remains grounded and even humble, looking at his music in practical ways. It is such a welcoming change from all the adrenaline pumped ladsy bands with egos and arrogance bigger than the Beetham Tower. And a stark reminder that is not the hype that makes an artist – but a talent and hard work.

But we digress. Its Monday and we have an amazing singer, song producer and musician to introduce!

The sleeve for Feeling Heat single

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Alfie Austin:  I’m HUSK, I’ve been dubbed as “the outsider pop star we’ve all been waiting for” and “pretty darn good” by BBC 6 Music. I describe myself as the ”love-child of 80’s synth nostalgia and fresh leftfield pop”.

Where are you based and who is in the band?

Alfie Austin:  It’s just me. I`m from Manchester, UK. I work with a lot of talent because it takes a village to make music happen!

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve to date?

Alfie Austin:  Since releasing my first EP in 2018, I’ve had some really cool stuff come my way. Being played on BBC 6 Music and BBC Introducing Manchester is definitely a highlight, as well as playing the revered Manchester International Festival this summer and to 15,000 at Pride in Hull. I’m so excited to be releasing my next single “Feeling Heat” on 1st Nov via really cool label AnalogueTrash, that’s already being played in Australia and the UK.

What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?

Alfie Austin:  I’m a hairbrush diva at heart, and grew up on a diet of melody centred Pop, with the likes of Madonna and Girls Aloud and I’m an avid Eurovision fan. In recent years though, the rich, imperfect vocals of Northern Soul and intelligent Pop with smart production and New Wave has influenced me with artists like Prince, Eurythmics, Robyn and Little Dragon.

I’m really influenced by queer culture too. Most queer parties are full of love and expression, and I want to create that good mood in my music, whilst talking about real issues that aren’t just dancing and/or love.

Naturally, I love artist like CHVRCHES & Christine & The Queens but I can’t replicate what they do – I have my own writing style.

Husk_1

Hand on the heart – HUSK by Roo Gannon Photography
https://www.facebook.com/roogannonphotography/

It`s all about the music – and we want to hear your tunes and how they have been written.

Alfie Austin:   When writing a new track, I will sing melodies and if they get stuck in my head, I know they’re a keeper. Next, I tend to create the bones of the track, including most of the synths and beats. I then take it into the studio and turn it into something really special. I’ve been working with producers Sugar House Music (Viola Beach/ Pale Waves/ Larkins), who are incredibly good at making things sound polished but interesting and work you hard to get the best out of you.

Name your best song. Is there a story behind it?

Alfie Austin:   It’s definitely the new one “Feeling Heat”. It’s got really strong 80’s vibes, which I just can’t get enough of. I was having a time where everything I wrote I absolutely hated and I was feeling really under pressure to come up with something in my really busy schedule. “Feeling Heat” is about that! And then once we got it into the studio, everything we tried just clicked – we finished it in a matter of hours.

How do you create your unique sound? What gear are you using?

Alfie Austin:  My main tools are my Arturia Microbrute synth and Propellerhead’s Reason. I use a lot of layers. There’s always like 4 snares and 2 kicks, 5 synth sounds playing the lead melody and 2 bass synths. Sugar House also used a really creepy vocoder for vocal harmonies on my EP that we have used ever since.

Husk_2

Strike a pose – HUSK by Roo Gannon Photography
https://www.facebook.com/roogannonphotography/

Squad goals – where do you want to see the band in five years time?

Alfie Austin:  I’m not going to lie, it would be really nice if I was signed to Virgin EMI and had a shit hot manager that keeps me in check, filling arenas. But if I’m still making music that people enjoy, and I’m not going hungry, I’ll be okay. I have a few specific goals for this next single “Feeling Heat”, and now that AnalogueTrash are on board, that’s one goal ticked off. Every little piece written about HUSK is still really exciting though.

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Alfie Austin:  Email me: husknoise@gmail.com or Facebook message me at HUSK 

 

Imagine you can record an album with any producer, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Alfie Austin:  Totally self-indulgent but Brian Higgins/Xenomania featuring a Nadine Coyle vocal would be a dream! Xenomania have such an amazing repertoire of innovative pop and I think it would make for a really great record. I’d also love, love, love a collab with Janelle Monae. She’s just and all round great artist!

Pre-order “Feeling Heat” 

You can follow HUSK on social media:

https://www.husknoise.com
https://www.facebook.com/husknoise
https://www.instagram.com/husknoise
https://www.twitter.com/husknoise
https://www.soundcloud.com/husknoise
https://www.youtube.com/husknoise
http://husknoise.bandcamp.com
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5rxW72hkuquJAYuBZz1now?si=WMiX_P_-R8i62o5vvTblYw
https://amazingtunes.com/husknoise/

We have absolutely adore HUSK and his music – you can expect that we will welcome him again in the future on our blog.

All the best Husk and we hope that in five years time you will be playing arenas.

M/R

Indieterria meets Ben Taylor

Dear readers,

It is always a pleasure to write about new bands and emerging talent. Equally, it is good to support new initiatives on our independent music circuit. Be it a new zine, a new club night, a new promoter setting up or opening of a brand new venue. These things are not always spoken about, yet they should be celebrated and the word should be spread far and wide. We don’t have to tell you why it is vital to keep the good news going. Not only it lifts our spirits in the times where almost everything we got used to is being sold out, destroyed or falling to bits, but it helps us cherish small successes of our fellow professionals. Those people work harder than most of us realize. They put in hundreds of unpaid hours, their own money trying to build something new, just for the love of music.

Mr Ben Taylor himself

And that’s why we are shinning a light on them on Indieterria. We have sat down with Ben Taylor, the director of events at Jimmy’s to talk about their new venue opening soon (Jimmy’s Liverpool), all the cool gigs they have booked and how exactly his job looks like, day in and  day out.

You are very well known person on the Manchester music scene, but not everyone in West Midlands may be familiar with your accomplishments. Say few words about yourself (and maybe a hello to the readers of Indieterria). 

Ben Taylor: Hey everyone! My name’s Ben Taylor. I’ve ran music venues in Manchester for the last 17 years, including Night & Day Cafe, Roadhouse, Sound Control and currently I’m the events director at Jimmy’s. We’re about to launch our new venue in Liverpool.

Your job title at Jimmy’s says “director of events”. What does director of events do? How does a typical day at the office look like?

Ben Taylor: I programme all events for both sites, Manchester and Liverpool as well as external events around the country. My day can be built up by phone calls, emails, meetings, and hitting up shows to catch new and exciting music.

Jimmy’s we all know and we all love (to bits)

Before joining Jimmy’s, you have been a promoter at popular Manchester club, Sound Control (located just off Oxford Road). Sadly it closed in 2017 and the building has been demolished. A similar fate befallen our beloved Ruby Lounge. In your opinion, is there anything that the venues can do to save themselves and their musical heritage?

Ben Taylor:  I get asked this a lot and it’s not always a case of the venues decision. The Sound Control owner, unfortunately, had been offered a sizeable sum to sell, and he took that. I’m a big believer that venues will keep popping up despite circumstances. Too much good music and too many people invested in keeping that alive.

The times for venues may be hard but it doesn’t prevent you from opening a new venture – Jimmy’s Liverpool! Tell us where the new place will be located and how is it going to look like? Are you going for similar design to the Manchester branch or for something completely different?

Ben Taylor:  We’re so excited for this! We’re at the top of Bold Street opposite the Bombed Out Church. For me, that’s the best area in the City, we couldn’t have landed anywhere better. It’ll have the classic Jimmy’s look, with some added extras which you’ll love.

Do you have an opening date for Jimmy’s Liverpool and when will you be booking first acts?

The first show booked and it is sold out!

Ben Taylor:  We open on August 1st with The Coral. They were my number one choice to open the venue, so I’m very excited we made that happen.

We are afraid to ask, but please confirm that the outside sign announcing the gigs will be also included in the new office? It is one of the most recognizable features of Jimmy’s in Manchester!

Ben Taylor: (laughing) I can confirm the light box will be a feature at the front of the venue.

Jimmy`s is known not only for regular gigs and parties, but also for a line of absolutely amazing gadgets: tees, long sleeves, craft beers, bee pins. Your merch line has been very popular with patrons. Will you be introducing new items in the foreseeable future?

Ben Taylor:   Absolutely, keep you eyes peeled for new merchandise.

You are the creator and founded of You Are Not Alone – a festival in support of local independent mental health charity Manchester Mind. First edition of YANA took place on 30th March 2019. Please tell us something about the festival and when can we expect the next year’s edition? 

Ben Taylor:  Mental health is such a huge issue for many people and I feel a lot more needs to be done to make people aware. I wanted to make a fun day, whilst raising that awareness. And I’ll continue to do so. We’ll be adding more venues this year in Manchester and you can be the first to know, I’ll be running the event in Liverpool next year too.

Jimmy’s Liverpool opening soon

 If any band or promoter wants to play/rent out Jimmy’s for an event what’s the best way of reaching you?

Ben Taylor: Best way is email, I’m on ben@jimmys.group. A link to some music and a brief background is perfect.

The last (in)famous question: what is the best and the worst gig you have ever put out? Share your knowledge for the benefit of the future generations of  concert promoters.

Ben Taylor: Best show I’ve put on is always a tough one! One of the most memorable would be The 1975 in the 100 capacity room at Sound Control, with Catfish & The Bottlemen opening. And I couldn’t possibly tell you the worst, my lips are sealed! (laughing)

Jimmy’s is known for their very imaginative merch

And when we thought that Ben and the Jimmy’s crew don’t have any more secrets, they come up with another unexpecting but genius idea!
If you’d like to join Jimmy’s family, you can now becoome a share holder. For as little as £25, you can purchase shares in the company. You will receive a lot of perks for joining: brick in the new venue on the ‘Wall Of Legends’, receive discounts for life, get free guest list for life, or you can go as far as have a mural of yourself on the ceiling (think Leonardo da Vinci style!) among others.

You can lean more about this project at:
https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/jimmy-s/pitches/bvPEjl?fbclid=IwAR2NmPSVE87zzMCgwJdP4oshBAOZe2pn9w7A-CznyWTEy_o4vpPEh2HwOFU

 

You can follow Jimmy’s on social media:
https://jimmys.beer/
https://www.facebook.com/JimmysGroup/
https://www.facebook.com/JimmysNQ/ (Manchester)
https://twitter.com/jimmysMCR
https://www.facebook.com/JimmysLPL/ (Liverpool)
https://twitter.com/JimmysLiverpool
https://www.instagram.com/jimmys/

Articles:
https://www.trustafoxphotography.com/trust-a-fox-blog/2019/5/14/have-a-look-around-the-soon-to-open-jimmys-liverpool
http://www.getintothis.co.uk/2019/07/phase-one-stockroom-jimmys-and-sound-where-are-we-with-music-venues-in-liverpool/
https://independent-liverpool.co.uk/blog/what-you-can-expect-from-liverpools-newest-live-music-venue-bar-jimmys/

The next two weeks are going to be very busy for Ben and the team but we know, whatever they plan to do, is surely going to be a huge success. And we need those successes, we need new places to go and new places to play. As usual, support your scene, discover new bands and dream big dreams.

They do come true.

Love to our spiritual home (Jimmy’s)
xx
Rita and Malcia

Indieterria meets Dave Haslam

Dear Readers,

The summer festival season is now in full bloom. Many great events are now behind us (Glastonbury Festival, Isle of Wight, Camden Rocks) and many are yet to take place. One of the festivals that we have been looking forward to for a long time, started on the 4th of July and will last until 21st July. It is of course the Manchester International Festival – a biannual celebration of music, art, theatre and film.

Thousands of people are expected to visit Manchester to participate in more than 250  presentations, art exhibitions, talks and concerts throughout the city.  We are of course interested in the musical part of the event the most and the MIF LIVE is looking extraordinarily good. With gigs from Janelle Monáe (already sold out), Queens of the Electronic Underground (showcase of  the best female DJs and producers in electronic music presented by BBC6 Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs) to free public concerts at Albert Square, there is nothing to complain about. Fans of rock, funk, soul, dance, jazz and even spoken word will have plenty to choose from. We have sat down with Manchester music legend, Mr Dave Haslam, to speak about his involvement with MIF, curating the Albert Sqauare stage and his newly released book “Life in thirty five boxes”.

Dave Haslam – the man himself

Official bio: DJ and writer Dave Haslam DJ’d over 450 times at the legendary Hacienda in Manchester during the late 1980s and has since DJ’d worldwide (including shows in Peru, New York, Berlin, Barcelona, and Italy). He made his debut at the Hacienda on May 1st 1986. Ian Brown, Tim Burgess and the Chemical Brothers all later credited his eclectic Thursday night sets as an inspiration. In 1990 he toured America with Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, and Paul Oakenfold. Since the early 1990s he has hosted a variety of successful club nights in Manchester, including ‘Yellow’ at the Boardwalk. He’s played afterparties for New Order, Gorillaz, and Depeche Mode. He’s is also the published author of “Life in thirty five boxes”, “Sonic Youth Slept on My Floor”, “Life After Dark: A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues”, “Not Abba; the Real Story of the 1970’s”, “Adventures on the Wheels of Steel: The Rise of the Superstar DJs”, and “Manchester, England”.  In 2012, he co-curated the exhibition “Dreams Without Frontiers” at the Manchester Art Gallery. In 2017 he co-curated a major New Order project for the Manchester International Festival.

Not many people know this, but you were born and raised in Birmingham! At this moment, West Midlands scene is incredibly strong with amazing acts such as Table Scraps, The Cosmics, The Pagans SOH, The Novus, Karkosa and many others. Was it like that when you were growing up?

Dave Haslam: I write about my Birmingham teenage years in my memoir “Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor”. I was lucky enough to be able to see some great bands, many of them local, including the Au Pairs, Steel Pulse, Dexys Midnight Runners, and The Prefects. Birmingham at the end of the 1970s was full of good gigs, and I was already a massive music enthusiast. When I came to Manchester in 1980, I was already trained up to go out looking for exciting new music and the weird stuff.

You are a man of renaissance – an published author, DJ, radio presenter, producer, journalist, legendary promoter. Is there one thing that you regret not doing? If yes, what is it?

Dave Haslam: I don’t think about regrets, really. I probably should have taken more photos and videos etc. In the 1980s not many people did any of that; not like now! But in terms of my work life, I really 100% cannot complain.

So far you have written four books and the fifth one is being released this month. It is called “Life in thirty five boxes”. Can you tell us more about it?

“Life in thirty five boxes” front cover

Dave Haslam: It’s a book about the joys of collecting, specifically vinyl collecting. It’s about how attached we can become to our vinyl; those records are like our best friends, our potent memories. But then the twist at the end I sell them. This was three years ago. And everyone thinks I was mad to do so, but I explain why and I tell the story of what happened to me and the records afterwards. It’s actually a very emotional rollercoaster of a book!

For Manchester International Festival, you are curating a series of gigs that will take place in the Albert Square. There will be nine acts over four days – all performances are free of charge. We love the idea! Was it something you wanted to do yourself or were you approached by the Festival to organize it? 

Dave Haslam: I have done similar things for the Festival before. Way back when I got Everything Everything to play, and also Dutch Uncles, as they were both breaking through, and also Lonelady who I adore and doesn’t play much locally. On the DJ side, I gave Bicep their first ever gig at MIF and now they are mega (their song “Glue” is one of my favourite songs of the last couple of years). So MIF trust my ears, I guess!

You have chosen a mix of legendary acts (Horace Andy) and up-and-coming bands. Some of them proudly represent Manchester (The Blinders, Witch Fever, Liines), other acts come from Birmingham (Pagans S.O.H), Halifax (The Orielles) or Norwich (Sink Ya Teeth). How long does it take to finalize such a varied line up? 

Award winning West Midlands quartet, The Pagans S.O.H debut new single just in time for MIF

Dave Haslam: It took about five minutes to come up with the line-up. I sat down with a pen and wrote the names of six or seven bands I’d like to invite, the ones I’d like to play in an ideal world. Then it took about two months to track everyone down and organise it. But the great thing is, everyone on that first list said YES! Then I was talking to my friend Dom who runs a fabulous sandwich shop in Stockport and DJs playing reggae (he’s basically the Blood & Fire Soundsystem) and I told him I wanted reggae on Sunday evening. He knows so much about reggae, so we threw some ideas together, and then he said, “Oh Horace, might come and get on the microphone”. I asked: “Are you talking about Horace Andy?” and he was. Dom knows everyone! So I agreed: “Yes, Dom, let’s do that. Let’s bring Horace!”.

In February 2018, you published an article in ‘I Love Manchester’ magazine entitled “Women in Manchester music: Are The Times A-Changing?” in which you argued that female artists must be given their rightful place on the Manchester music scene. You mentioned Witch Fever and now you have booked the band for the gig you are organizing. The whole line up is 50% female artists too. It’s refreshing to see somebody actually doing something practical to address the gender gap.  What do you think needs to be do done more to improve the gender equality in the music business?

Dave Haslam: It’s worth remembering that there’s a lack of female representation in many walks of life and in many businesses. Female lawyers, for example, have big obstacles to get through; they work in a very male dominated industry. So there is nothing unique about the gender gap in music. In a way, the answer to your question is in the question itself – it’s about doing practical things. Men need to wise-up and in some cases open their ears. It amazes me how many indie-type lads are totally wedded to the idea that their favourite bands are and will always be basically four boys with guitars. Any deviation from that – either in terms of other kinds of music, or female fronted acts – are too weird for them. And women need to keep nurturing a sense of solidarity, the sisterhood can move mountains!

 

Two of the acts you have chosen played Glastonbury this year: Liines and The Blinders. Are you expecting crowds?

Dave Haslam: I have been organising concerts long enough to know that you can’t guarantee anything, but I’ll be disappointed if we don’t get good crowds because the bands are ace. I like to think some people will come out of curiosity too, knowing these are special events.

If you were to name Manchester acts to watch for in the coming months – who would you recommend? Is any new band catching your attention?

Dave Haslam: I’m actually very excited about the quality of some of the spoken word performers around at the moment. Can I mention Eve Piper? She was at Glastonbury too. She grew up in Chorlton, and she’s a name to look out for. The Manchester band I am kicking myself I didn’t make room for at MIF are Cold Water Swimmers, their new single is called “Burn Your Idols“.

The Blinders perform “Brave New World” at legendary Leftfield Stage at Glastonbury Festival 2019

The last question at Indieterria is usually a bit of a fun. Let’s say you have the opportunity to resurrect Hacienda and to bring it back into the City. Of course the original location is no longer available but you can chose a new place. What’s the new address?

Dave Haslam: Somewhere secret, or at least hard to find. The Hacienda was best before it got commercialised. So many of the best things are under the radar. You can find those places if you look hard enough.

You can follow Mr Haslam on social media at:
http://www.davehaslam.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DJDaveHaslam/
https://twitter.com/Mr_Dave_Haslam

More information:
https://mif.co.uk/whats-on/festival-square/
https://www.facebook.com/events/614253139097527/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1453832158075371/ (Book signing event in Stockport)

Manchester International Festival Albert Square Schedule (in bold events curated by Dave Haslam)

Dave Haslam Live poster

New Pavilion Stage at Albert Square.

Capacity:
Tent – 400 people (please show up early as it is first come first serve basis)
Square – 2500 people at one time

Sun 14 July
12.30 – 2pm – NoTTwins present BeeLive with China Lilly, Emanuel J Burton, Maxi Zee, Pablo & ALEKS
3 – 4.30pm – Young Identity & Contact present One Mic Stand
5.30 – 7pm – KYSO
8pm – 12am – Horace Andy Soundsystem set with Blood & Fire

Mon 15 July
12.30 – 2pm – Kara
3 – 4.30pm – Psychedelic DiscoTech plus guests
5.30 – 7pm – Chorus of Others
8 – 10pm – The Orielles & Working Men’s Club
10pm – late – Psychedelic DiscoTech plus guests

Tues 16 July
12.30 – 2pm – Jon Kenzie
2.30 – 3pm – John Robb talks Ballet with Jordan Mooney
3 – 4.30pm – Matthew Whitaker
5.30 – 7pm – The 7:45s
8 – 10pm – The Blinders, Witch Fever & The Pagans SOH
10pm – late – DJ Shell Zenner

Wed 17 July
12.30 – 2pm – Lingua Franca World Music Agency present The Tebu Project
3 – 4.30pm – Hannah Ashcroft
5.30 – 7pm – NoSpace
8 – 10pm – LIINES & Sink Ya Teeth
10pm – late – DJ Jez Kerr ACR

With multitute of shows, concerts and festivals happening over the summer, Manchester is once again emerging as a leader in cultural entertainment. We all could learn a thing or two from our Northern brothers and sisters.

Have a fun and support your local scene!
M+R