Indieterria meets Chloe Mogg

Dear Readers

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.

Chloe Mogg
Photo by Taff Rimages
https://www.facebook.com/taff.rednot.3

 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.

You can follow  Chloe Mogg on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/chloemoggmusic
https://twitter.com/ChloeMogg
https://www.instagram.com/chloemogg/
https://chloemogg.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/chloe-mogg
https://www.youtube.com/user/EpicBlondieMogg
http://chloemogg.wixsite.com/chloemoggmusic
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6XvJ26er6tjMnGruJ9DE9w?si=bjjse9ZuSYKp0eMflHtgkg

You can also check Chloe`s music blog – MoggBlog

https://moggblog.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MoggBlog/
https://twitter.com/MoggBlog
https://www.instagram.com/MoggBlog/

And finally, you may want to support her via Patreon. She does incredible work on the circuit.

https://www.patreon.com/chloemogg?

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?

M/R

Indieterria meets The Blinders

Faithful Citizens of The State of Columbia!

The Blinders are less than a month from releasing their debut album. Each day they cover new grounds and by September 21st the world should know the power of their music. This is your duty as a Citizen to assist them in the conquest for our glorious homeland. Pre-order the record, call your local radio station unit and your local news publisher. Talk to your friends and advise them carefully to follow the same instructions. Your faith and co-operation will be rewarded. This humble blog brings you coverage from the front lines and a State approved message. The Blinders will appear at Leeds and Reading Festivals this weekend. But before they hit the stage – they have gracefully answered our questions. So read this interview, spread the word and don`t forget to eat your meat.

Thomas Haywood (vox, guitar, warpaint)
Charlie McGough (bass)
Matthew Neale (drums, vox)

Fans and music press reached a consensus describing you as “must see band” and “one of most original acts in recent years”. Would you like to introduce yourselves to Indieterria readers?
 

The Blinders: Hello Indieterria, individually we are Thomas Haywood, Charlie McGough and Matthew Neale, collectively we are known as the Manchester based band, The Blinders.

You often describe yourselves as “Johnny Dream and Codeine Scene”. It almost feels like there are two distinctive bands involved. So,  while we do the introductions, would you like to tell us who are the members  of Codeine Scene? Do they have names?  Can you elaborate how did you create the stage personas and their meaning? 

The Blinders: There are no specific members as of such. The Codeine Scene was a title banded about by ourselves when we came to name the band. We dismissed the idea and went with ‘The Blinders’ in its place (what fools we were). Johnny Dream plays a small narrative role on stage dressed in warpaint. However, the whole Johnny Dream and The Codeine Scene thing is a vessel we use in our heads to take on egos outside of our own in order to perform The Blinders’ music to its fullest intentions, all the while allowing us to detach ourselves from the on-stage personas. In short, it keeps us sane and allows us to remain grounded.

Why The Blinders? Are you fans of certain drama on BBC 2?

The Blinders: We are fans of the show. When we came to play our first gig, we were without a name so went with it. We didn’t really see it sticking, but here we are talking to you.

You grew up in Doncaster but relocated to Manchester. Is moving to a bigger city  beneficial for starting artists or is the competition for gigs and recognition not worth the effort?

The Blinders: Both were incredibly important places for us in the beginning of our lives as a band. We wouldn’t be where we are without coming to Manchester and playing its venues whilst friends from Doncaster would travel in busloads to continue on supporting us. This seemed to make a statement in a place that can be cliquey at times but were lucky enough to get in with the right people. In terms of bigger cities being beneficial for starting artists, that’s undoubtedly true because the contacts and resources you need exist in these really quite creative and liberal hubs.

It is hard to categorize your music. The Beatles, Police, Black Sabbath, Sonic Youth, Paul Weller, The Jam, Joy Division, Manics, The Doors and Arctic Monkeys were all mentioned as possible inspirations. If you were to review your own art, which musical heritage would  you subscribe to?

The Blinders: We don’t subscribe to a specific heritage. We obviously lean on certain bands or certain sounds, but it would be ludicrous to pigeon hole yourself as a ‘punk’ band. How could you while there are so many avenues to explore and doors to open in the world of music. We learnt how to write music like any other modern artist in the past 60 years, by having a hunger to listen to all music and interpret it in your own way.

There are many pop/cultural, political and historical references in your lyrics. “Ramona Flowers” is a character from a series of graphic stories by Bryan Lee O’Malley, “Brave New World” shares its title with dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, “The ballad of Winston Smith” is an obvious reference to “1984” and “Swine” comes with the hypnotic chorus “There is no hope” that reminds us of the fated scene in “Terminator2 : Judgment Day”. Your admiration for Jack Kerouac is also widely observed.  You are first band since Manic Street Preachers who put their interest art and literature as a centre point of their music. Is it planned or does it naturally come out during the writing process?

The Blinders: It’s certainly not a conscience thing, perhaps we simply write by immediate influence or inspiration. This can be anything from a piece of literature to walking past the same homeless person every day and their story being impressed upon you. We like our lyrics to have a narrative, which is probably why novels and film seem so natural to draw influence from. Call us lazy.

Response to your music is incredible and it reads like a litany: you have been played on BBC 6 Music by several DJs, recorded a session for Steve Lamacq at legendary Maida Vale, Radio X`s John Kennedy is a fan, you have been on BBC Introducing, Louder Than War featured you in print, NME and MusicGlue offered rave reviews, influential zines such as Northern Exposure and Some Might Say champion you, you have been part of influential This Feeling  circuit and your single “Gotta Get Through” stayed on top of charts on Amazing Radio for weeks. You have achieved more in two years than most bands in their life-time. Where do you plan to go from here?

The Blinders: To the top, Johnny! To the Toppermost of the Poppermost!

You have recently signed to a label (Modern Sky UK). That’s a major step for any artist.  Does it come with losing your creative freedom or does it give more fire power to the band?

The Blinders: There’s clearly a balancing act. At the end of the day without signing such a deal we wouldn’t be talking to you about our debut album. We’d still be scrapping around trying get Brave New World recorded. We were given the chance and we took, and we can’t more grateful for that. We are now in a situation where we can pursue art and writing for a living, so you can’t complain.

Your debut LP “Columbia” will come out on 21st September. So far three singles have been made available from the record: “Gotta Get Through”, “L`Etat C`est Moi” and a new version of “Brave New World”. We can`t help but ask. Is Columbia a concept album? 

The Blinders: It can be a concept album for the people who want it to be. There are narratives and theme to be drawn from the album, however a lot of people will enjoy it as just 12 songs to be enjoyed in their own right. It also means different things for us all individually, we just want people to take what they will. If people simply listen to it, that is enough for us.

We know you try to leave room for interpretation for listeners but, in your eyes, if Columbia was  a real place: would it be a state or a town or alternative universe? Would it be more closer to Oceania with its poverty and lack of resources or would it be a highly advanced society (similar to what  is shown on Fear Factory`s trilogy Demanfacture – Obsolete- Digimortal)?

The Blinders: Columbia is drawn from our own reality. There was never any intention on creating our own dystopian world, it created itself from the worst parts of society we live in today. We used the dystopian narrative and language alongside our interpretation of what is going around us today. So Columbia would probably look a lot like what the UK or America does today.

And a question that must follow: is Johnny Dream a friend or a foe? Can we see him more of a real protagonist like Winston Smith or Edgecrusher  or is it just an idea?

The Blinders: Neither, he doesn’t exist.

One of our favourite songs is “L’état, C’est Moi”. The title can be translated as “I am the state” and is commonly attributed to Louis XIV of France. He established the French absolute monarchy and made France the main political power in Europe in his time. Surprisingly, the song feels very accurate in the current political climate as well. Tell us more about this song and its message.

The Blinders: The song was written around the very phrase that came out of his supposed mouth. It was something we’d picked up in a book somewhere and it stuck with us. As you say, it seems relevant, especially to a world in which frankly insane politicians and other insufferable individuals appear to be grabbing power and moving society in a direction in a way which seems to show a complete disregard for the people.

Once the album is out, you will embark on a 22- date headlining tour around the country. That will be the biggest tour to date. Are there any venues or towns that you are looking forward to visit?

The Blinders: Manchester feels most like home when we play, so that will hopefully be a highlight. We’re not really sure what to expect, we’re just looking forward to getting back on the road.

“Columbia” is being promoted by cryptic advertisements in the press, made out of fragments of lyrics.  What a great idea! What else can we expect? Secret shows?  New single or a video? Are you able to reveal any secrets?

The Blinders: We are working on something here and there, but our lips are currently sealed.

At the end of  August you will  headline BBC stage at Reading/Leeds festivals. What can we expect from your set. And since the show is sold out, will there be a chance to see/hear your performance afterwards? 

The Blinders: We’re presuming that a song or two are going to be filmed, so that will be there for your viewing pleasure.

There is a certain darkness in your music. In “Berlin Wall” you ask if voice of a sole person still matters.  In one of your older songs “Swine”, you sing “I need not to be, a man in the street”.  It is a brazen declaration of intent to escape the routine and grey existence of the common man. Yet, many of the most important events of the 20th century were started by the everyman, those invisible individuals who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. We can mention the Tankman, a still unidentified man who stood in the way of tanks coming to suppress the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China, Ryszard Siwiec (Poland) and Jan Palach (Czech Republic) who set themselves on fire in protest against police brutality against the Prague Spring, or August Landmesser who refused to perform the Nazi salute after becoming engaged to Jewish woman, Irma Eckler. Their sacrifices contributed to massive social mobilizations and in effect bringing down regimes and corrupted governments. Maybe each one of us is really capable of changing the world?

The Blinders:  As we mentioned before, many of our songs are drawn from the worst parts of our society. Combined with our existential perspective of whether any of this even matters anymore, naturally there is a darkness. In terms of our capabilities as individuals, we can commit incredibly powerful acts. Those acts are even more powerful in unison but that’s the problem we have. How can we stand together while those in power seek to divide us?

In May you have released a short film/video to “L’etat C`est Moi” that was a collaboration between Tom and Sam Crowston. It ends with the mysterious “to be continued”. Are you working on part deux? Will we learn what happened to the messenger and what exactly he was given to deliver?

The Blinders: We had a lot of fun creating that piece, and it’s something we intend to return to. When that will be is another question.

Cover artwork for Columbia Photo by Sam Crowston
https://www.facebook.com/sam.crowston

Let’s say The Blinders were offered to take up teaching residency at the university for the duration of one term.  What subject would you like to teach: creative writing, English literature or political science? Is there something really important to you that you’d like your students to remember?

The Blinders: It would undoubtedly be something on the subject of History, Politics or Sociology. We each have a tutor or lecturer which we were greatly inspired by whilst we attended university/sixth form. We’d like to spark the same inspiration in our hypothetical students.

Let us ask you about the swine masks that are a recurring element in your videos. Your technical crew members were also known to wear them during live shows. Who or what are they?  Columbia’s secret service or symbol of corrupted regimes?

The Blinders: A lot of features in our work tends to start as something trivial, with little meaning attached. We then allow it to manifest into its own ‘thing’. This happened with the masked men, Johnny Dream and our vision of Columbia. It’s a very fun way to work.

One last question. We have already established that you are designed for rock and roll greatness, but if you weren’t in a band, what careers would you pursue?

The Blinders: We’d probably all be butchers or something.

Please read our introduction to the band (long read format):

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/indieterria-presents-the-blinders/

You can follow The Blinders on dystopian (social) media

https://theblinders.tmstor.es/
http://facebook.com/theblindersband
http://twitter.com/theblindersband
https://instagram.com/theblinders
https://soundcloud.com/theblinders-music
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3Z8Y3Ek99rukRa1Hdo14GE?si=yx5j8oK-RpG6qE7MQtVU5Q

Or their label Modern Sky:

https://modernsky.uk/
https://modernsky.uk/blinders-debut-album-columbia-now-available-pre-order
https://twitter.com/ModernSkyUK
https://www.facebook.com/ModernSkyUK/

or just stream the soundtrack to the dark times:

We will be doing a proper review of Columbia once it comes out. Till then we hope you enjoyed our profile and the interview with the band.

Big, big thank you to Caffy St Luce (A&R extraordinaire and our PR goddess) and Paul Fassam (the manager super hero) for all their help and assistance, the band for answering the litany of questions and their patience and Modern Sky for everything else.

This broadcast has been created for the glory and prosperity of The State of Columbia.

YOU ARE BEING WATCHED.

M/R

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Indieterria presents The Blinders

Hello friends,

 

Thomas Haywood (“Johnny Dream”) performing with The Blinders (“Codeine Scene”) at The Sunflower Lounge on 16.02.2018

We have hit July now and it is time for another chapter in the ongoing sonic travels of our good ship Indieterria. But we will do something much different today.

Firstly, there is no interview with the band ready yet (we have sent out questions so keep your fingers crossed) but we would like to tell you about them in a long-read format. This blog will be then more of a presentation rather than a conversation.

Secondly, we could have done this blog about two years ago. We have discovered the band in question around October 2016 and have been championing them heavily on our socials and though our contacts and seen them live. Yet we waited until the right moment to introduce them on Indieterria. We knew from first ten seconds that this band will be huge. Call it a gut feeling or experience of an A&R (got to have both). There was no doubt in our minds what they would achieve – and they are doing it in a fashion of rock and roll greatest. Now, before their debut album arrives in September, we want to tell you the story of The Blinders.

 

The Blinders logo

The Blinders are:

Thomas Haywood (guitar, vox)
Charlie McGough (bass)
Matty Neale (drums, vox)

There is a wonderful article written by Steve Lamacq about one of his favourites performers – The Idles. It reads like a love letter to a band. We encourage you to have a look at it HERE, because in a sense this blog will be our own love letter to an indie band – from a perspective of music fans.

Being a fan of music (or a music obsessive as the term goes) is sometimes the best feeling in the world. It actually allows you to be head over heels at least once a week. You come home, cheeks pink, jaw dropped and a record in hand. And for the next seven days you harp on about an artist who doesn’t even have a Facebook page to whoever wants to listen.

The cover of Swine single – DIY released via Rock Art Records in 2016

If you are an A&R who happens to be a die hard music fan, chances are that you will be harping on about a band that nobody else but you have heard of. If we can throw in here some family anecdotes to illustrate the point.  Rita once sent Mal on a quest to buy a single by The Big Moon. Mal walked entire town, all record shops, second hands and charity stores. Even the local indie record place had no clue. “There is no such band as The Big Moon”- they proclaimed. Defeated Mal came back home. After a long search online it turned out that the band existed all right, and their single was awesome. But it was due in about a month’s time and it was only their second release! Back in the 90s we must have been the only people outside radio stations in our country who knew about Helium and Polvo.

Love for obscure and unknown artists may be a silly thing in a world of serious issues, but it makes life a little brighter. And you can look back and say: “I was there when X released their debut single!”

The cover of EP Hidden Horror Dance – DIY released via Rock Art Records in May 2016

So where were we when we first stumbled onto The Blinders? Hard to tell really. Up to writing this blog we thought that we first heard them on October 28th 2016, few days after their debut single “Swine” came out. Now, it must have been around May 2016 as their self released EP “Hidden Horror Dance” was saved in our SoundCloud history. But we can clearly record what an impression “Swine” had on us – hearing Thomas Haywood scream “There is no hope” over and over again on top of a punkadelic anthem, full of fury and despair.  Mind, our birthday is October 29th – so discovering The Blinders is one of our best birthday presents ever (next to The Americas BBC Introducing sessions from 29.10.2017).

When working on this blog, we began to wonder if there was a way to somehow measure the impact newly discovered artists have on us. Our own “harping-on level measure scale” (HLMS).  We found out that search option on social media can be a good indicator. We ran a quick search on our posts in the last two years and The Blinders have been mentioned over 60 times on our channels.  There is one  particular thread on Twitter, written by Malicia that summarizes what big fans of the band we have become. Trigger warning! Malicia specializes in using big, dramatic words, so if you are allergic to highly emotional content, please skip this paragraph.

The cover of Brave New World digital single from 2017. In a style similar to Green Day`s Dookie cover, it includes many references to current political and economical issues such as border walls and Donald Trump presidency
Artwork by Fennuala Butterfield
https://www.facebook.com/fennuala.butterfield

This is what was written in January 2018, shortly before we have seen The Blinders live (as you can imagine after the gig things only got worse ^_^):

I need to write something longer at some point but a short thread will do for now. I realize it will read like a love letter to a band. Well it is. Because you cannot NOT love a band like The Blinders.

October 28, 2016 – a day before my birthday and I hear Blinders` debut single Swine by accident. It usually takes me about 30 seconds to know if a band has potential. That time it took about 10.

That line in Swine “I need not to be a man on the street” screamed into ether in despair, band thrashing their equipment in pointless rage like its Manics` last gig with Richey at Astoria. Fury at everything. That’s how Sex Pistols looked at The Lesser Trade Hall in Manc in 1976.

Next day, I come into the office telling everyone who is mildly interested about one of the most exciting bands that came out of UK in the last 30 years. I exaggerate but I don’t care. I just found a musical gem. Life is worth living. Faith in humanity restored.

I google everything I can find about the band. Singer`s Youtube video when he was 10. Their gigs, clips from gigs, their first interviews. I want to know everything. At once. I draw comparisons to Idles, The Doors, Pistols, Manics, Savages.

I discover Strange Bones, This Feeling circuit, The Velvet Hands and others and suddenly realize a new genre is building up and we have no name for it yet. And The Blinders are on the front”.

The Blinders photographed by Duncan Stafford Manchester, February 2017
https://www.facebook.com/duncanstaffordphotography/

In the next two years, some of the reactions we had towards the band also included these (gems) statements. We may be smirking while re-reading the posts, but they have been written on particular days or when listening to band`s new songs, and we find them to be quite a powerful data. Raw emotions expressed by fans (us) recorded by the social media:

  • “And there is magic in The Blinders. If you can – go out there and see them. Judge for yourself. Agree or disagree but go and experience their fury, despair, hope, longing and listen to their own voice on what is happening around us. Their voice is strong. And unique.”
  • “A band to die for. You cannot describe The Blinders any other way. Proper legends”.
  • “Most important band of the decade.”
  • “The best new talent we have in this country”.
  • “ Music is the best remedy for dark and uncertain times. Hand on the heart The Blinders are our cure.”
  • “Mighty band – something seen so rarely even on an ever changing indie scene”.

    The cover of Ramona Flowers single – B side to “Swine” and our favorite song of the band

We could just take these statements and put them together to create an amazing and quite eloquent review. And so can each of us – the music fans. Every day we share songs, thoughts and our passion for many artists. We sometimes do not realize how powerful is the love for music. How expressive we become when we refer to art.

We did our search with a pinch of self-deprecating humour, just to see how much we have been impressed by The Blinders, but to be very serious, it taught us that music is such a strong force in the lives of us and many others. It is quite a discovery.

When we were gathering information about the band, we have approached their PR team (amazing Caffy St Luce of ArtBeat Promo and formerly of Hall or Nothing) asking for a press pack. We have received a detailed bio of The Blinders with links to their videos. We want to share that bio with you now so you can learn about the artist and how quickly they rose to where they are now:

The Blinders photographed by Nidge Luhg Sanders aka Trust The Fox in Manchester, April 2017
https://www.facebook.com/TrustAFoxPhotography/

The Blinders are a force for good who attempt to be in your face at all times. They emit smelting loud, visceral political punk rock with enigmatic, psychedelic poetry and tones.

Their diverse, unique raw music forces them to give everything they’ve got, in their frenzied performances, leaving only blood-stained instruments behind.

The verging-on-madness thrill of their live experience is shocking most of their audiences out of austerity inflicted apathy, into instant obsession.

Formed at the end of 2014 after school, The Blinders moved from Doncaster to Manchester to be a band, and to study.

They released the ‘Hidden Horror Dance’ EP (Rock Art Records) in May 2016 (with Gavin Monaghan, who has produced all their releases) and grew the seeds of a small but genuine fan base, over the summer, from these tracks and impressive live shows.

The first London gig at the start of October 2016 (This Feeling at The Water Rats), picked up instant smitten new fans and further music industry support.

They then released debut single, ‘Swine’, at the end of that month (just after their second London gig, a last minute stand-in set, at The Roundhouse, for Venues Day).

 

 

‘Swine’ was played on BBC Radio 1, excited fresh interest and The Blinders haven’t looked back, since it’s release. The video ends with the word ‘REVOLT’.

The scene was now set, by the end of 2016, for The Blinders to introduce themselves to a wider public and make an impression within a year.

This started at the sold out Manchester and London ‘This Feeling Big in 2017’ shows; “scores of people left outside, a pair of tickets went for £50” reported Clash Magazine, citing them “UK’s hottest new rock band on “the brink of big things.”

February/March 2017 was the first headline tour by The Blinders – for long term supporter, This Feeling club – of small UK venues.

Chris Hawkins played the ‘Swine’ tour-7” B side,‘Ramona Flowers’, on his BBC 6 Music radio show noting that “The Blinders are “a band about to explode”.

All gigs were packed (most sold out in advance). “16 immense shows, powered by heart and soul, have shown this is just the start. A very special band.” (This Feeling).

What happened on tour created a visual thank you from the The Blinders to their audiences: ‘Ramona Flowers’ – released on digital platforms in April – it was accompanied by what the band describe as “a pseudo-documentation of our recent This Feeling UK tour.”

Nasty Man Creations present the following motion picture introducing The Blinders as Johnny Dream & His Codeine Scene: Ramona Flowers, a film by Sam Crowston, documenting the band in stills and film.

 

 

The reviews for this download/stream/video are as breathtaking as the song, a comet sized slice of sex-Rock, probably the best “B-side” since ‘Fools Gold’ by The Stone Roses in the 20th century.

Musically on their own planet, a theatrical experience, photogenic on stage. Students off stage. Recently they’ve done a gig in-store at Fred Perry, a live streamed performance on the Pirate Studios launch tour, have had airplay support from Amazing Radio and various independents, been added to key Spotify playlists and totally packing out their first festival appearances. The Blinders may be unknown to most people, but have made an impression, on 2017 already.

The Blinders photographed by legendary A&R Caffy St Luce at Camden Assembly, April 2017
https://www.facebook.com/artbeat.stars/

By May 2017, The Blinders have been announced as one of the seven rising stars chosen by Jack Daniels UK. They graced the Jack Rocks/This Feeling stages at The Great Escape, Isle Of Wight, TRNSMT, Glasgow Green and Reading Festival. The band  also supported The View, Idles and Membranes.

They released stand alone digital single “Brave New World” that put them for the first time in a regular rotation on nation wide stations such as Radio X and BBC 6 Music.

At the end of the year, the band went into the studio to work on their debut album. The winter months were well spent, because once they emerged to play their first headline tour in February 2018, they have been bolder, darker and more focused than ever. Their attack plan was not only in detail – they were to execute it flawlessly.

February 2018 tour poster – first headlining cross country tour for the band

The tour in February 2018 sold out on ten shows out of eighteen. We have seen the band at The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham. If we were to give you a frank review of what went down at that show, we`d have to quote Nick Cave. Mr Cave described his first ever gig by stating that he was standing in the crowd with his eyes closed feeling the sound physically going through him. It felt exactly that. It was a cacophony of sounds, anger, passion and hopelessness. Tom looked properly possessed while Matty and Charlie built walls of sound that would make the guys from Ride green with envy. We loved every second. Off the stage, Tom was quiet and read books at the upper bar. We had a lovely chat and our admiration for the band, their crew, tour management grew even more. Few days after the gig in Birmingham, The Blinders played Lexington in London supported by one of the Worcester bands – The Americas. So we sent a book of Beatnik poetry to Tom with Americas as a gift for the lovely time at the Sunflower. Tom thanked us from the stage in London. He also stated that Americas were great. Second time we fell in love with The Blinders at that point.

Some images we took in Birmingham when we weren’t having our eyes closed.

 

Since the end of the tour in February, The Blinders are on a roll. They move as quickly as ninjas and each appearance or a single is a proverbial bull`s eye. In March they recorded a live session on XS Manchester for Clint Boon (Music Made in Manchester), were featured on Amazing Radio and their single/video to Gotta Get Through was released on 2nd March 2018.

In April The Blinders recorded session at the legendary Maida Vale Studios in London for Steve Lamacq show/ BBC 6 Music and appeared as guests on the drive time show. Their session was also part of BBC Introducing scheme. They performed live version of “Ballad of Winston Smith” for BBC Manchester and supported The Courteeners in Sheffield.

The band played on Viola Beach stage at the Neighbourhood Weekender in Warrington in May, attended Live in Leeds and Liverpool Sound City festivals to full houses and rave reviews. They also had a residency at Salty Dog during a Norwich takeover mini festival organized by The Charlatans.

The cover of Gotta Get Through single released 2nd March 2018 via Modern Sky

Two videos have been released for their single L`Etat C`est Moi (French for I am the State). Story video (with script penned by Tom Haywood) debuted on 7th May 2018, while alternative version (with uncensored text) was released on 21st May 2018. The single itself was premiered on 3rd May 2018.

Cover of L`Etat C`Est Moi single released 3rd May 2018 via Modern Sky

In June The Blinders played 53 Degrees North in Hull, two sold out shows in London (Borderline) and Manchester (Gorilla), supported Miles Kane at O2 Academy in Oxford. L`Etat C`est Moi was reviewed on Steve Lamacq`s Round Table to highest notes, became Lamacq Livener (best single of the week) and was added to BBC 6 Music playlist for 4 weeks.

“The future’s bleak, but at least we get to decide it’s soundtrack.”

It`s hard not to agree with The Blinders. It feels like the world is on fire and orange puppets with bad hair don’t make things any better. But here is the silver lining. We have the music and the soundtrack provided by the upcoming generation of bands on the indie circuit is awesome. From Idles, to Slaves to Strange Bones, False Heads, Sheafs, The Wholls, The Americas, Emily Capell, Estrons, Bang Bang Romeo, The Velvet Hands, Calva Louise, HVMM, nth cave, Nuns of the Tundra, Garage Flowers, Sisteray, Karkosa…the music keeps getting better and better with every week, every release.

The cover for Columbia – debut album for The Blinders set to be released on 21.09.2018 via Modern Sky

The Blinders will add their own voice to the newer wave of punkadelic belters. Their debut record

Columbia was announced on May 30th 2018 to be released on 21st September 2018.

It is a strange beast before the LP is released. For starters, it is advertised with a mysterious texts that is made out of fragments of the lyrics. Like this one, though we have seen several shorter or longer versions:

We welcome you to an alternate world informed by reality, Indulge in the drudgery, under an absolute autocracy.

Echoes of Johnny’s Dreams run through the Codeine Scene streets, as The Man stalks his prey and hunts for his meat.

The party will serve to subdue and neglect. It’s a Brave New World. What did you expect?

Know your place and serve your time, Roll of Thunder, Hear Our Cries. Freedom is Slavery and Peace is a Lie, You’re Never Gonna Escape From That Watching Eye. Daddy told me it’s us and them.

Welcome to Columbia. You are being observed.”

If you have heard some songs from the album (either on YouTube or live), you will recognize the lyrics. Brave New World, Hate Song, L`Etat C`est Moi, Ballad of Winston Smith. Then there are obvious references to 1984 by George Orwell. Mighty political party, scrutiny and lack of privacy.

The Blinders logo using the image of white dove or colomba

Something tells us that Columbia is a or may be a concept album. Is Johnny Dream a protagonist in totalitarian town/state of Columbia? Is he on the run? Who is The Man (always written with capital M)? Rock music haven’t had a proper concept album protagonist in dystopian future since Fear Factory`s Edge Crusher on Obsolete. If Johnny is a good character, then is The Man an indie version of Smasher/Devouer?

There are other elements that make us think Columbia is a concept record. The imagery/ symbolism is interesting. Since the record announcement, we see images of white doves being used. There are doves in Gotta Get Through videos, the birds appear on promotional materials. Even the make up that Tom wears seems related. And of course there is the name of the record itself.

Columbia in cultural and historical sense is a female personification of United States. Similar to Themis (Lady Justice), Brittania (United Kingdom), Melita (Malta) and French Marianne. Some equal Columbia with Statue of Liberty. Columbia is derived from Columbus (the mass murderer who discovered New World), but is also very similar to Italian word „colomba” or white dove. No wonder then that Columbia was often shown in white dresses and wings in American paintings.

John Gast “Spirit of the Frontier” – created in 1872 painting showing Columbia in her white dove form leading settlers in the Wild West. Dressed in a roman toga (symbol of Republicanism), aided by technology (telegraph poles) driving Native Americans out of their land. This is classic example of “Manifest Destiny” a belief that white, European settlers were morally and technologically superior towards First Nations. “Manifest Destiny” is still alive among the conservative and religious minorities in United States.

Tom`s stage persona – Johnny Dream wears very distinct make up, it almost looks like wings of a bird. We have seen comments online that compared the make up to that of The Crow. The comic hero who becomes The Crow after his death is Eric Draven, he is a musician turned vigilante to avenge the death of himself and his wife. Johnny Dream with his own make up looks like he could blend in Gotham after dark. Perhaps Columbia has its own dark hero, but we cant shake the feeling that Johnny Dream`s make up is a dove rather than a raven.

October and November 2018 tour poster

In the Bible, white dove was sent by Noah to find land after the flood and came back with an olive branch as a sign of peace and deliverance. Would it not make sense for a rebel who plans to free citizens of Columbia from totalitarianism to wear the make up of a dove? Wouldn’t it be a delicious fun to mash Winston Smith with Ziggy Stardust and The Crow to create this new figure we all can relate?

We may be stretching things here, but just coming up with those ideas is exciting. We love to read into things to find some new meanings and pop-cultural references and then make long blog posts about it. Everybody needs a hobby.

We cannot wait for October/November to arrive. For the next tour we are hoping to see The Blinders in Birmingham and Bristol. We will surely update our blog with images, video clips and our review of the record. Watch this space.

For now, we will end the blog with this little appeal. Support your local scene – be it music or any other form of art. Without support and people in the audience, even the best new bands or artists stand no chance. Times are tough, so being there for the artists is more than just being a fan. Standing up for culture and art becomes an act of transgression against materialism, fascism and totalitarianism.

http://facebook.com/theblindersband
http://twitter.com/theblindersband
https://instagram.com/theblinders

Rise citizens of Columbia!

Mal/Rita

Indieterria meets The Fidgets

Hello Dear Music Explorers,

The Fidgets are not worse than Lisa Loeb. They have some fashionable glasses as seen in the band`s logo

Indieterria has retreated to more familiar waters . Once a month we will be giving exposure to a local artist from music scene in Worcester- acts that we believe have original sound, work hard and bring something new to the sonic table. First on our list are The Fidgets – jangle pop duo that may put our city on a musical map quicker than you are able to say Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Mixing influences ranging from The Beatles, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones to The Kinks and The Byrds, The Fidgets begin where Cast and The LA`s have left in the 90s. That makes them unique on the whole indie scene at the moment.  The newest act with similar sound are The No-Ones (project that  includes Peter Buck of REM), so you can see how high is the bar for Max and Ryan.

Not only we sat with The Fidgets for an interview, but also got to hear their new single.  We tell you – this town has some amazing scene and we are here to chronicle it!

Move along people – much to see below!

Max and Ryan photographed by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

From buskers to cathedral town heroes

These days, it is hard to imagine the High Street in Worcester without two distinctive figures busking around. With their signature glasses on,  guitars in hands and voices in perfect unison – The Fidgets have become an important feature in Worcester.  A ray of hope to put the town back on a music map. With a vision and passion, The Fidgets cultivate pop melodies and vocal harmonies placing themselves in a league on their own on an indie scene saturated with noise and postpunk rebellion. We`ve met the band to see what they have got in store for 2017.

You are one of the most prolific bands in West Midlands at the moment. But for those who may not be familiar with your history, please introduce yourselves.

Hi! We’re The Fidgets!! The two of us – that would be Ryan Skidmore and Max Stockin – met in 2012 when Max answered an ad placed by Ryan on http://www.joinmyband.com for musicians inspired by ‘60s pop music, and especially The Beatles. We played live for the first time in March 2013 (coming up for four years!) and we’ve played God knows how many times since then – the 500th gig was early last year.

Your music is a mix of classic rock, blues, northern soul and mod revival. Quite unusual for today`s pop music climate. Who are your sonic heroes?

The Beatles, of course! Everything comes back to them, it’s been nothing short of an obsession for years! Around that, our influences are really varied, we both love ‘50s and ‘60s pop in general and the two of us each have our own little avenues. Max is very into Blues and Country music, he’s a big fan of Teddy Thompson, and he’s a huge fan of Chuck Berry. Ryan is a very big fan of modern pop and is currently very much into The 1975 and Ed Sheeran. We both love loads of stuff, but the bulk of our influence definitely comes from the ‘60s.

Looking into the future.
photography by Josh Foster https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

The band seems to be moving on up at incredible speed. Your first EP (“I`m Alright”) came out in 2015 to local acclaim and well attended gigs . You followed last year with another EP “Its Only You” and immediately were invited to do BBC Introducing session. It must have been a quite an experience.

I suppose things are moving a bit fast! It never looks that way from the inside, you don’t have time to think about it, everything just goes by in a bit of a blur, it’s only when you look back that you realize what you’ve done. 2016 was big for us! We did a handful of things for the BBC which was exciting! Of course, The Introducing session was fantastic, and the crowd at the Christmas Lights Switch-On was amazing.

BBC Hereford & Worcester placed you at no 7 of the best bands for 2017. Slap Magazine previously described your music as “brilliant”. With such a strong support from local audience and the press, The Fidgets truly are on a brink of better things to come. Does the band feel it too?

Honestly we don’t know what’s going to happen! It definitely feels like things are getting bigger now, but we’ve been in the game a lot longer than anyone remember us for! We’re very excited for the future, but we try not to get cocky!

Recently Worcester News ran a controversial article about new busking scheme to be introduced in town, placing you on the front cover of the paper. Are you getting used to attention?

Definitely, yeah. We’ve been well known around Worcester since the tail end of 2015 and it’s rare for us to go out without being recognized now. It has really picked up recently though! Around Christmas time we were chased through Crowngate Shopping Center by a teenager and her mum for a signed CD and a hug! That kind of thing is getting quite common. It’s brilliant, but it hasn’t stopped being strange!

Worcester News with The Fidgets on the cover,
Every publicity is good publicity

Sometimes you expand for your performances. Would you tell us about the musicians you work with?

We’ve put together a backing band! Dave Whittaker, our bassist, was a friend socially first, we saw each other a lot at the Marr’s Bar on Wednesday open mic nights and he’s a great player. He was the natural choice. Our drummer Jack Bowles went to Sixth Form with Ryan in Bromsgrove, and Ryan had his eye on him from a band even before he was in one. He’s amazing.

Gracing the covers. The Fidgets in Slap Magazine
Cover photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Your new single “Everywhere I Go” comes out in March. It will be accompanied by a video. Can you tell us more about it?

We’ve had to put off the release of the single until later in the month unfortunately (technical difficulties!) We shot the video around the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, and we’ve just had a first full draft come through as we speak. We’re very proud of it, it’s a big step up from what we’ve done before and it’s the first of our videos to feature anyone other than ourselves.

The band has been teasing big things to come in 2017. What should we expect? New material? Festival appearances?

Well, we can’t give away too much I’m afraid! But 2017 is already looking like a big one. Yes there will definitely be new material with an EP being released in May and yes we are already booked in for festivals in the summer at Mello Festival and Severn Sounds Festival on the main stage and there’s guaranteed to be more confirmed soon. Watch this space!

Slap Magazine cover
Photo by Josh Foster
Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You have also been involved in collaboration with Royal Shakespeare Company. Can you disclose any details about this project?

Ah we’re very happy to be a part of it! I’d love to tell you what it is but I don’t have a copy of our contract handy and it’s possible we’ve been sworn to secrecy! Besides, we don’t like to spoil our surprises. When there’s something to know, you’ll know!

The Fidgets went from busking to heroes of a cathedral city. Where do you see yourself in the years to come?

Heroes is a bit strong, but thank you very much! We’re very proud of where we’ve got to already and things can only get better in the future! We’ve got all sorts of big ambitions but everyone knows if you tell wishes they don’t come true!! Just keep an eye on the charts and we’ll see what happens shall we? We like big dreams. Unrealistic is our thing!

Eager to prove themselves but playing cards to their chest – The Fidgets are on their way into promising future. With a new release, a single, home coming gigs and an upcoming festival season – they cannot fail. Here`s to the boys that sing.

***

The Fidgets  – “Everywhere I Go” (single review)

The cover for Everywhere I go single, photo by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

Worcestershire based duo, The Fidgets are releasing their new single “Everywhere I Go” this month. SLAP magazine was lucky to hear it first and we can report that this melodious, 60’s inspired love song is going to be a new fan favorite.

“Everywhere I go” opens up a new chapter in the bands history, proving that The Fidgets have evolved and matured considerably since their last release “It’s only you” in 2016 and became a truly unique, pure-blooded rock and roll act deserving their place on the BBC Hereford and Worcestershire list of bands to look out for this year.

The mid tempo, Beatlesque three minute single is filled with perfect harmonies, catchy riffs and will undoubtedly have the crowds swinging and singing along. It also has a distinctive Northern vibe to it, with Max Stockin sounding eerily similar to  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Fans of classic rock, The LA’s and The Cast will have a chance to catch The Fidget rocking the Marrs Bar on March 17th.

Banner for the single release on Spotify

The single is accompanied by obligatory music video:

If you are on Spotify, listen here:

 

***

 

The Fidgets in full line up with Jack Bowles and Young-Dave Whittaker recording a session for BBC Introducing 18.09.2016

If you wan to follow The Fidgets – please use these links:

http://www.thefidgets.com/
https://soundcloud.com/the-fidgets
https://www.facebook.com/thefidgetsband
https://twitter.com/TheFidgets
https://www.instagram.com/the_fidgets/

Part of the band`s charm are the session musicians that support Max and Ryan on stage: drummer Jack Bowler (EMPYRE/Willow Robinson) and  Young-Dave Whittaker. This rhythm section is so powerful, they are locally nicknamed as Worcester`s own  Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce.  Kid you not.  Many a band lined up to work with Dave and Jack but to no avail. Max and Ryan know that you should never change a winning team.

You can follow Young-Dave and  Jack below:

https://www.facebook.com/jack.bowles.520
https://www.facebook.com/youngdave.whittaker

 

Slap Magazine interview (page one)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

 

Slap Magazine interview (page two)
Photography by Josh Foster
https://www.facebook.com/joshf627

You can  see this interview in Slap Magazine for March 2017

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-67-march-2017.pdf

or you can download the copy here:

issue-67-march-2017

That`s all from us for now. We hope you had fun reading.

Mal/Rita

****Update 18.03.2017****

It`s their party and they can rock if they want to!

We have written on our blog before that The Fidgets were to headline a home coming gig on March 17th at Marrs Bar in Worcester. What we have not mentioned to the band is that we planned to treat them to an unexpected cake-and-candles party. See, both Ryan and Max celebrate their bday within one week from each other and it was just too good not to use this opportunity.  So Vanadian Avenue ventured to the gig armed with two huge chocolate torts, candles, napkins, lighters, paper trays and a spatula.

The Fidgets took their headlining duties very seriously and  delivered 1,5 h set filled with their original material and covers. Guests came on stage to join the band for certain performances and the entire audience had a wonderful time, one by one slipping into the darkest corner of the venue to sign cards for the birthday boys.

When the last song came to an end  cakes were brought on to the stage and signed cards were handed. Max and Ryan had each a chance to blow the candles and make a wish.  Each member of the public was given a piece of the chocolate tort (you should always bring a spatula to the party) and the audience roared an out of tune birthday song.  Top night. Some pictures for you to enjoy below:

The Fidgets perform at Marrs Bar on March 17th 2017

Performance ends with a bow

Cakes!

Make a wish

Till the next time kids. We are off to find some alka seltzer.

Mal/Rita