Indieterria review Brain Food – Brain Food EP

Dear Readers,

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.

Brain Food:
Liam Mckeown (vox, guitar)
Jakob Cusp (guitar, keys)
William S Carrott (bass)
Connor Doyle (drums, percussion)

Official bio:

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 – photography by Psychedelic Eye
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelic.eye.photography

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.

*Kick ass is equivalent of at least 4.5 out of 5.

You can follow Brain Food on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/brainfoodofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/brainfoodofficial/
https://brainfoood.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/brain-food-650656456
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt6TgF0ITsxJjDf3MuNMJKg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/4HqwUXaBaTJafihMSgeRsQ?si=JJ7P8nqqTFqjR5j9Dp6QeA

There is so much happening on the Brum scene we need to possibly consider a larger piece. Brain Food is one of those bands that you need to know if you want to know what`s hot on the indie circuit.

Big thank you to Sophie Hack (Bread Birmingham) for helping us with this review. Apologies for the delay.

M/R

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 presents Sammy Zalta

Dear Readers,

We have been planning to make this post for a while now, but due to the outbreak of  corona virus and subsequent cancellations of tours and concerts, we thought that independent artists need immediate exposure to help them. So over the next couple of days, we will be shining some light on artists that are operating far away from the  mainstream, yet their music is so wonderful, so uplifting that it is a crying shame they do not get the recognition they truly deserve.

Normally all you have to do to discover a new artist, is to simply just walk into a pub or a dive bar. You will grab something to drink and suddenly the music coming from the stage will take you to a new exciting place. You will forget about the world, your troubles and after an hour you will be on your way home, happy with a new album in hand and maybe a new tee as well. In current circumstances, it is sadly not possible – but you can still discover new music, and you can do it online.

Sammy Zalta

So let us take you for a short journey to meet one of the nicest and most talented independent artists we have met in recent months. The gentleman’s name is Sammy Zalta, and he is usually seen shredding his guitar mercilessly on stage with New York based band Bambara. He is also an accomplished artist in his own right with three digitally released albums to his name.

Hidden under the alias of Nola Gras on Bandcamp, Mr Zalta has been recording solo material since early 2014. After a few experimental, self released projects that were distributed privately, Nola Gras’s first proper EP “Living In Darkness (Under the Covers)” was released in January 2015 and sadly is no longer available for streaming but you can read a phenomenal review of it right here:
https://www.tinymixtapes.com/chocolate-grinder/premiere-nola-gras-living-in-darkness-under-the-covers-ep

Multi instrumentalist, balancing on the edges of several genres (alternative folk, psychedelic pop, shoegaze electronica, garage, punk and of course gothic revival), Sammy is not easy to squeeze into one musical box. But this is what we absolutely love about him. He is bold and daring, taking chances where other artists do not. You may not hear Nola Gras on the radio, but once you listen to his music, there is an entire musical landscape to discover. From short noise-inspired sketches of a song, to heart breaking renditions of Tim Buckley’s classics.

On 20th of March, for the next 24 hours, Bandcamp will remove any fees, to give the artists 100% of earnings from their music. If you’d like to support Sammy, please take a look what’s available to purchase.

“Paradiso Terrenal”

“Paradiso Terrenal” front cover

Full debut album by Nola Gras released in March 2015. It contains 12 songs, 10 original ones and two covers: very psychedelic version of Tim Buckley’s “Phantasmagoria In Two” and  equally trippy, Jesus and Mary Chain flavoured “For You” by Big Star. “Paradiso Terrenal” translates into “Earthly Paradise” and it’s a very fitting title. If you love lo-fi psychedelia with a hint of western gothic, you will be in heaven listening to the tunes. Our favourite (except for the “Phantasmagoria”) is the title track that sounds like a cross between Elliot Smith and The Deep Blue Something. It is also the last song on the record and surprisingly very radio-friendly.  Well maybe in a shortened version as it stands at nearly 9 minutes! The album was released in physical form on a cassette, but only in 40 copies and they are now all now sold out.

You can listen and purchase the album at:
https://nolagras.bandcamp.com/album/paraiso-terrenal

Album review:
https://bigtakeover.com/recordings/nola-gras-paraiso-terrenal-cs-nola-gras

“O” by Like St. Joan

“O” front cover

Released under a moniker of Like St. Joan, “O” saw the light of the day on June 5, 2017. The middle child of Sammy Zalta, is like a black sheep of the family – resembling no relative, including distant cousins twice removed. “O” is actually a very interesting entity – one look at the credits and we can see entire Bambara as a back up band plus Mike Hentz (Secret Flowers) and Thomas MacDonald (Plate of Shrimp). And the Bambara’s dark, unpredictable spirit is clearly visible in every track. It starts with “Her Patron Scum” aggressive and almost inhuman garage anthem of 6 minutes, quickly to merge with acid house inspired “Memoirs Of A Man Of Pleasure”. Title track “O” is a gothic revival masterpiece with chilling guitars and waltz-like rhythm. There are 7 compositions on the album and you cannot really call them songs – they are long, multi-level, broken into massive segments and frankly absolutely brilliant. If we were to write a short description for it, it would be Bambara meets King Crimson and recording with Trent Reznor locked up in a basement somewhere down in Georgia, no jokes about it. Almost radio friendly and punkish “Safe Spaces” could serve as the leading single, at 5:30 minutes, it is the shortest song on the album minus the instrumental “Quick…”. “Visions of You” take the listener back to the dangerous territory with a marching beat and poetic lyrics and “Egyptian Water Color” feels almost like a cut off from “Swarm” by Bambara.

In short – we cannot believe we missed it when it was first released! Maybe one day, “O” will be re-released on vinyl. One can wish…

You can listen and purchase the album at: https://nolagras.bandcamp.com/album/o

“It All Ends the Same”

“It All Ends the Same” cover artwork

“It All Ends the Same” is the latest album released by Nola Grass on March 25th 2019. It consists of 8 tracks written by the band (all originals) and was mixed/produced by Brooklyn based recording maverick, Ben Jones (AKA Constant Smiles). The album was promoted by a Beatlesque single “Ode To Ersa” and it came with a beautiful video you can see below:

“It All Ends the Same” is much different from “Paradiso Terrenal” and “O”. It is still a very guitar driven, psychedelic in nature but also toned down, melancholic in parts. Our favourite songs are “The Wings On My Shoulder” and nearly romantic “In the Dark”. Please pay closer attention to experimental, bit jazzy/western instrumental track “One Bright Pearl” and cinematic “Just Don’t, Please”.

You can listen and purchase the album at:
https://nolagras.bandcamp.com/album/it-all-ends-the-same

Let’s not forget about the Bambara guys as well. Please support them as well through their BandCamp account or through their gift shop on their record label website:

https://bambara.bandcamp.com/
https://www.wharfcatrecords.com/store/bambara-stray
https://bambara.bandcamp.com/merch

Thank you and hopefully, when the dust settles, we will be standing in the front row at the nearest Bambara gig somewhere in the Northern Quarter handbanging like it’s 1989. And after the show, who’s ready for some pinball and pizza at the Crazy Pedro’s?

You all? Good, it’s gonna be a hell of an after party.

see you soon,
M+R

Indieterria presents “Poet Boy” by Battery Farm

Dear Readers, 

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.

Batter Farm live:

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

You can follow the band on their socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/thebatteryfarm/
https://twitter.com/thebatteryfarm
https://www.instagram.com/thebatteryfarm/
https://thebatteryfarm.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChp93XaDBuXnmYQY-o2bhFg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6qWGopTzUjeSYmsXyQ8RIr

See you soon,
R+M

Indieterria review – Q&A with Joe Talbot and Alan McGee

Dear Readers,

We promised you a detailed review from the Q&A session with Joe Talbot and Alan McGee in Birmingham and we are keeping our word. Kevin Fitzgerald of Toura Toura and his team did the impossible and delivered one of the best events we attended in a very long time. It was intimate (despite being nearly sold out), full of hope, community spirit and unplanned confessions from Joe himself and the audience. At times it felt like a group therapy or a meeting of people hell bent on changing the world. AF Gang as a secret society for betterment of humankind? We will take it and sign ourselves right up.

Q+A in Birmingham poster

It  was a beautiful evening at The Night Owl – one of our favourite venues in Digbeth (Birmingham`s answer to Manchester`s Northern Quarter). The amount of psychedelic shows we have seen at the Owl is a story for another blog!  We arrived early to find best seats and to speak to people (big shout out to Rebecca and Arron a couple of awesome kids who travelled all the way from Stoke and had their return journey on a coach at 3 in the morning). We grabbed our drinks and strategically positioned ourselves next to a heater and were ready to be entertained.

Believe us, everyone was properly spoiled on the night. Before Alan and Joe took to the stage we had a chance to see two local bands play their sets (about 30 minutes each) and  they were excellent picks. First came The Jack Fletcher Band – a four piece from Wolverhampton. We had a pleasure to interview them for Indieterria in 2018 and we knew what to expect from Jack and his men. The band went to play some of their biggest hits (“Young Man At Heart”, “Carousel”) and left audience speechless. It was so quiet during the set you could swear the Q&A was held in a cathedral instead of a music venue. The Jack Fletcher Band offer indie rock anthems that can only be described as real life stories. There is something in their music that has Paul Weller quality to it – the ability to tell stories of ordinary people with such grace and compassion. If you haven’t seen them live yet – do so as soon as possible.

After The Jack Fletcher Band came The Pagans S.O.H. We must have attended a dozen gigs of The Paganistas by now and its always a pleasure to see them doing their thing. They mix hip hop, rock, funk into a concoction that is truly unique on the circuit. Show us a band like Pagans and we will be buying you lunches at Digbeth Dining Club for a year. Every song played on stage was vibrating with positive energy that all hearts and phones in the room charged up immediately to 100%. And Pagans did not stop for a second – from “Banananah” to “Da Vinci” and “Come Down to Reality” – the band played flawlessly and enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.

Once the music stopped – chairs were brought on the stage, lights dimmed and Alan McGee and Joe Talbot entered the room.

Joe and Alan gave a fantastic talk with many tips for people struggling with mental health, addictions, bands trying to make it in the business. There was a lot of laughs – Joe is a really funny man with wicked sense of humour. And it’s true that he’s very honest and very open about everything. He joked that the crowd gathered to see him last night was the biggest that IDLES ever had in Birmingham!  Alan guided the conversation for the first half, then the microphone has been passed to the audience. Fans themselves had some incredible and  well prepared questions: what gig IDLES  frontman thought was his favourite (you will guess it was Glasto), what he would like to be asked about (Joe got philosophical pondering about questions about questions) and his advice for starting artists (don’t look at others, do your thing, play the best gig even if you play to empty room, surround yourself with people who uplift you rather than mindlessly criticise you, value quality over quantity,  try to spend less time online, create for yourself first – were some of the best ones).

The main consensus in the room was that IDLES and everyone else is part of something much bigger than ourselves and only combining forces could allow everyone to be better off. The Be Kind spirit was very much in the air and if there was one thing to take away from the meeting it was just that –  be considerate, be optimistic, be kind to yourself and others and you will make a huge social and even political difference.

We gave Joe a small gift on behalf of all AF West Midlands fans who couldn’t make it to the show. He actually loved it and laughed hard when he saw the writing on the Thornton’s chocolate cup.

We have made just one video from the talk as we didn’t want to record the entire show. As Joe said it is important to participate instead being constantly on the phone trying to capture the gig.

Our night was further made when we had a chance to speak to Alan McGee  and he told us we were great. Not like we are gonna brag about it now but it did put a big smile on our faces. We went home in an Uber, over tipped our driver, fed the livestock (aka the cats) and then slept until midday.

It was totally worth it. What a night!

M/R

Just a small update – we wanted to show you how the event looked from all sides so we edited some of our mobile pictures. The Night Owl is such an iconic venue and the Digbeth part of Birmingham has some of the city`s most vivid and extraordinary murals. So we captured that as well.  We hope you will enjoy – especially Joe`s reaction to the lovely Thortons` Chocolate Cup with “Well Done” on it. We simply could not help ourselves.

 

If we find any more resources or materials that need to be added to this review – we will surely add them.

All Is Love,
M/R

Indieterria review – Saytr Play – Future

Dear Readers,

Please don’t show this review to Tom Ogden – for he will not be happy. Something is brewing on the winding streets of Manchester. Something wilder than a drunken escapade at 3 AM for a pizza slice and pinball at Crazy Pedro`s. Something sexier than the whole new season`s collection from Pop Boutique. Something more beautiful than a sunrise over the canals when you finally leave The Night People and head home to sleep. It`s unique, mysterious, ambitious and rowdy – just like Manchester itself. If you are even partly familiar with music scene up North – you will know by now what we have in mind.

Sleeve for Saytr Play new single “Future”

This band. They can`t be tamed, stopped or controlled. From the very first moment we met at iconic Jimmy`s on the Newton Street for few Polaroid shots, it was obvious that Saytr Play were going to burn their mark not only on Manchester scene – but on the music nationally (and maybe internationally).

In recent months, Saytr Play have released a string of incredible singes – “Second Hand Emotion”, “Honest Man” and now “Future”. They have signed to Lovers Music label and announced their debut EP “IN TRUTH I FEAR FOR THE HEART”. Their reputation grows  by the day and it won`t be long before they are revered by crowds of fans.

And it will be deserved. Peel away the obligatory imagery of rock misfits and you will find young people who care a lot. About future generations, the homeless, environment. People`s band if you ever encountered one.

Saytr Play ready to see what the future holds

“Future”  is a song that stems from personal experience. It’s a letter to a friend. We live our lives in fiction, pretending everything is okay; “It’s not our problem?” – says Fred Farrell, front man of the band – “I think it’s time to put the next generation first. It’s time to face reality. This song is an out-cry for the increasingly worrying number of familiar faces living on the streets. It’s an anthem for the youth, for the planet and for our future.”

“Future” is a melancholic and heart grabbing appeal to see something else than one`s own benefit – to notice another human being.  “If this is what it feels like to be the future I feel so sorry for the youth” – observes Farrell in the lyrics. Musically the single could be described as electronic indie with a Radio 1 potential. But that would be off the mark. We won`t lie – this is a very radio friendly, nearly perfectly crafted  pop record but with a heart and sincerity. Something that Top 40 is seriously lacking these days. It doesn’t feel fake or forced – like Blossom`s  recent single “Your Girlfriend” for example.

We keep mentioning  Blossoms. In 2016 we have seen Stockport finest supporting The Stone Roses – it took about 3 songs to win us over. To compare – it took ONE song for Saytr Play to make fans of us.

To give credit where its due – Blossoms recorded three incredibly good records and established themselves as leading figures on guitar scene in the UK. But you just wait till Saytr Play get to release an LP.

There you go – “Future” is out now. And we found you a new favourite rock band.  You are very welcomed.

You can follow Saytr Play on socials:

https://www.saytrplay.com
https://saytrplay.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Saytrplay/
https://www.instagram.com/saytrplay/
https://twitter.com/SaytrPlay
https://www.youtube.com/user/SaytrPlay
https://soundcloud.com/saytr-play
https://open.spotify.com/artist/169EIOeeLOUF8KPn0hAvzG

https://open.spotify.com/artist/169EIOeeLOUF8KPn0hAvzG?si=9JOHRV9oTyeFGZrZH6akOA

The band`s label Lovers Music can be found online at:
https://www.facebook.com/weareloversmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/weareloversmusic/

Our previous review:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/indieterria-review-second-hand-emotion-by-saytr-play/

We are very, very, very (and did we mentioned VERY) excited to hear Saytr Play`s upcoming EP. Judging from the main single – it will be a strong contender to the albums/releases of the year for us at Vanadian Avenue. Times are hard but at least the music is brilliant.

M/R

***** Update 21/02/2020****

Small update as the single started on a high note with rave reviews coming in from every direction. “Future” has been premiered on X Radio by the leading champion of new music and broadcaster John Kennedy who described it as the finest offering from the band so far.

And if you want to know what other music blogs think (we encourage you to read and follow them – they are good friends of ours!), here is the list and we will be updating it as new reviews roll in:

https://wordsformusic.blog/2020/02/21/saytr-play-future-new-music/
https://debslcannon73.wixsite.com/dreaminisfree/post/single-review-future-by-saytr-play
https://poppedmusic.co.uk/2020/02/21/just-listen-saytr-play-future/

Good stuff, always proud to support quality music.
M/R

Indieterria meets Kevin Fitzgerald of Toura Toura

Dear Readers,

Bookers and promoters are usually working in the shadows, far away from the spotlight that artists enjoy. But they are crucial for the business and many a time they bring a real change to the table. We are very lucky at Indieterria to be able to speak to Kevin Fitzgerald – owner of Toura Toura and a booking agent for some of the best known figures in the industry. Kevin is incredible, detail orientated and he shared so many details from his work with us that we wished the interview never ended.

Toura Toura organizes Q&A (question and answer) sessions with the mighty Joe Talbot of the IDLES and first stop on the tour happens tomorrow in Manchester. So yes, we were more than excited to be able to ask Kevin few questions.

Toura Toura logo

You are a promoter, a manager and a PR. That’s many roles for one person. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Kevin Fitzgerald: Hello, my name is Kevin. I`m a single Dad of two daughters (8 & 5 years old respectively) from Stoke and I’m the managing director of Toura Toura. My company organises Q&A sessions for people in the music industry.

Your roster includes music mogul Alan McGee, Sleeper front woman – Louise Werner and lead singer for Happy Mondays and The Black Grape – Shaun Ryder. Do you find it challenging to work with such iconic names in the business?

Kevin Fitzgerald: I’m very proud of the roster and pinch myself everyday because of the people that I work with, especially when I have only been in business for a year now. All of those artists have put their faith in someone that they didn’t know and  who had no background in their industry. I mean, to get Alan McGee, the greatest man in music in my eyes, as your first client is just ridiculous.

Alan opened up the door for everyone that I work with now. And you know he is the most down to earth, most easiest and genuine person that I have ever come across in my life.  He does everything he can to help Toura Toura. He’s always introducing me to incredible people on the Q&A circuit – which is why I work with Shaun Ryder.

Everyone is an absolute pleasure to work with. There are no egos and all they want to do is to get the job done. Their work ethic is unbelievable and I have them all on a weekly basis asking me to book more Q&As for them because they are loving going around the country talking and meeting their fans. Shaun Ryder is a great example of that. The last few months of last year he was out 4 or 5 nights in a row because he was doing both The Happy Mondays and An Evening With tour.

I don’t find working with any of the artists challenging in any way at all.

The way I deal with things – which I know is different from most agents out there – is that I actually go to virtually every single Q&A that I organise. It not only surprises the artists I work with but it builds up a relationship with them and also builds up my relationship with the venue owners.

General poster for the Joe Talbot Q&A tour

Toura Toura started out last year. You built a successful company from scratch and in such a short period of time. Can you tell us about the beginnings of the company?

Kevin Fitzgerald: Toura Toura was set up on the back of me coming through quite a tough time in my life.

My second daughter Sophie was still born in 2013 and then I lost my Dad through complications related to dementia on Father’s Day in 2017. I lost my Mum to cancer 6 months later, the day before my birthday at the start of 2018. Within a few months I split up with my wife. So, I had quite a bit of time on my hands which I needed to fill up and this is why I started Toura Toura.

I have been lucky enough to work in the industry of two passions of mine now, football and music.

In football, I have met many people from the sport industry, many players but I have never met anybody from the music world and always wondered how you can meet people from the music biz.

I have been involved in putting on many sporting evenings at the football clubs where you get a player to stand in front of a room to talk about their career. People at these events are mainly fans of said footballer and it’s their way of getting to meet what is essentially a hero of theirs for autographs and photos. That’s when a light bulb moment suddenly switched on just over 12 months ago. I thought to myself: “if a sportsman can do it why not people from the music world?” It`s all about giving their fans an insight into their career and their life or simply just the opportunity of actually meeting them.

I was very lucky and fortunate to have Alan McGee as my first ever client within a week or so of starting my company.

Your newest project is an Q&A tour with no other than Joe Talbot of mighty IDLES. How do you convince a fierce punk rocker to be quizzed in front of live audience?

Kevin Fitzgerald: To be honest with Joe Talbot it was just a long stab in the dark that paid off and again I have Alan McGee to thank for that.

Alan hosted An Evening With Shaun Ryder in Newcastle at the end of September last year and he was an amazing host, interviewing Shaun on stage before going into the audience to get questions from them. Alan really enjoyed it and said to me he would love to do more hosting.

I have always wanted to see the IDLES live and back in November I spoke to IDLES management who guest listed me for their gig in Leeds at the start of December. At the gig I thought the band were amazing and Joe stood out with how engaging he was with the crowd. Alan is very fond of the IDLES as well and we spoke about the possibility of hosting some Q&As with Joe Talbot. As you can imagine Alan loved the idea so when I thanked IDLES management for guest listening me in Leeds I asked to see if Joe would do some Q&As with Alan McGee. Luckily enough they both said yes. I don’t think I would have even have had a chance unless I had the Alan McGee handle because of the respect that Alan carries in the music world.

We heard that the Joe Talbot events will also include live music from upcoming local bands. Who will be entertaining the crowds on tour?

Kevin Fitzgerald: What I love about the Q&As is that we give up – and – coming bands the opportunity of playing in front of the best people in the music industry: Alan McGee, Shaun Ryder and now Joe Talbot. It`s a great buzz for these bands to have on their CV.

In the past events, we have had bands like The K’s, The Clockworks, Shambolics, Rosadocs, and The Jade Assembly performing and they have all gone onto better things.

On the Joe Talbot tour we have incredible set of artists: Faux Pas and Witch Fever in Manchester. We have Stone playing in Halifax. The Clockworks are returning to play at The Water Rats in London. Then in Birmingham we have The Pagans S.O.H and The Jack Fletcher Band.

And speaking about up and coming artists – you manage two acts: Magic Mod and The Barrats. Can we have a quick introduction of both? Nothing makes us happier at Indieterria than to discover some new music.

Kevin Fitzgerald:  Yes, that is  correct. I try to manage The Barratts and the Magic Mod.

I came about The Barratts because I was looking for various bands to invite to play on An Evening with Alan McGee. I was on This Feeling page and their song of the week was a song called “Lights out in London” by a band called The Barratts. I totally fell in love with it. They are indie band from Northampton who have an unique sound that is different to any of the other bands out there. They are amazing song writers, so much that The Sherlocks have been trying to take one of their songs. I still have no idea why they are not bigger or don’t have a record deal yet.

The Magic Mod is as indie as they come. He loves his Pretty Green, has toured with Paul Weller or The Libertines. He’s an amazing magician but can very easily entertain a crowd too which is why we have him hosting on some of the Q&As. He’s hosted a few of the Shaun Ryder nights and also the Alan McGee nights. The plan with him this year is to get him out entertaining crowds around the country.

If anyone wants to bring an event organised by Toura Toura to their town – what criteria do they need to meet and how to contact you?

Kevin Fitzgerald:  There really is no criteria for a Toura Toura event. What is unique about us is that we can hold our events anywhere from a small village hall  to a theatre in one of the major cities.

You can contact me at kevin@touratoura.com or just visit our page at https://www.facebook.com/touratourahq/

Its only February but what are your plans for this year? What can we expect  from Toura Toura though out 2020?

Kevin Fitzgerald:  This year we are planning to triple the amount of shows that we have put on and we will be adding more artists to the roster to make this happen. I have agreed a deal with singer/songwriter of another band today and with having Joe Talbot on board it takes what we are doing with the Q&A’s from the retro to things that are more current.

I would also like at some point to switch from agent to promoter.

Last (in)famous question. Imagine you have been tasked with organizing an Q&A session with the most notorious person in the history of music business. Who is in the hot seat and who is asking the questions?

Kevin Fitzgerald:  Now that’s a tough question! I’m going to make it  nice and simple. I’m a indie kid and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for these guys. I have seen Oasis at Trentham Gardens, Earls Court, Main Road, Knebworth, Lancashire Cricket ground, NIA in Birmingham, 3 nights in a row at the Etihad Stadium, so it would have to be either Liam or Noel or both together. And there is only one person that I could possibly have to interview them and that would be Alan McGee.

You can follow Toura Toura on socials:

https://www.facebook.com/touratourahq/
https://twitter.com/TouraToura4
https://www.instagram.com/ltdtouratoura/

You can still buy tickets for the tour (except Water Rats in London as its sold out):

We will be reporting back on the tour, especially regarding the Birmingham event which we plan to attend. So prepare yourself for a lot of videos, photos and a detailed review. Now off you go to grab yourself a tix! Come on – join us.

M/R

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 Dirty Circus

Dear Readers,

Rock and roll music is all about storytelling. If pop can get away with repeated lines or lyrics barely making any sense, rock always had bigger inspirations. Drawing its roots from the soul, blues and R&B, it became a proud tradition of the genre to take a stance during political unrest, social changes or at least to describe the lives of the common men. Many of the leading voices of rock are also noted poets (Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Patti Smith or Joni Mitchell) or shrewd commentators of the world (Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Freddy Mercury). Their critical eye helped to shape the musical heritage and the entire post war, modern cultural landscape.

The people behind the rock music are not only singing or telling stories on stage, their lives are full of great tales of friendship, struggles, victories or partying. American journalist Kurt Loder has once said that the annals of rock music are the best lecture and indeed the biographies of its stars are anything but dull. And that’s what makes the genre stand out among thousand of other musical styles. The artists come to us with something to say, with their own baggage of losses and gains the listeners can relate to.

Pardon the long beginning, but it was a pleasure to interview Chris Binns of Wigan’s Dirty Circus. The quartet is returning to the spotlight after a decade and their story is truly unique. We have sat him down to discuss the band’s past, releasing their debut album and the future that looks brighter than ever.

 

Bands logo

Official bio: Hailing from Wigan and Leigh, Dirty Circus consists of Chris Binns (vox), Jon Hollingsworth (bass), Stephen Ahern (guitar) and Ryan Whittle (drums). They catapulted to the top of the North West music scene in the late 2000’s becoming notorious for energy packed raucous live performances and winning an army of devoted Fans. With an impressive CV including a label deal with Columbia Records, work with Hacienda Legend Mike Pickering, a tour support slot to Madchester royalty Happy Mondays, and a very special appearance at Glastonbury Festival, they’re back for round 2 and seem to have something of a point to prove. With their record finally out and northern tour, the band is ready to claim their rightful place at the top.

The hands emblem that became a symbol for the band

Dirty Circus have a fascinating history as a band. You formed at the beginning on 2000’s and quickly established yourselves as one of the best emerging bands of that period. You got signed to Columbia, started working on an album and then unexpectedly, you parted ways with the label. What happened?

Chris Binns:  In the mid to late 00’s the music industry was in a real transition. This was a time when CD sales had begun to decline, pirating and illegal downloading was rife and record companies hadn’t figured out how to use streaming to their benefit. It was a time before MySpace And Apple Music. The 90’s boom was no longer and the majors had less room for risk. Unfortunately, we were expendable and were part of a cull of bands who were offered ultimatums and too good to turn down offers to terminate the contracts. I think it was a common misconception that we were dropped. The truth is we choose to leave. Knowing that staying with the label at that time would have been more damaging to the band.

After leaving Columbia, the band continued as an independent act for nearly a year under the guidance of manager Phil Saxe. You worked with Mike Pickering of Hacidena fame and toured with Happy Mondays, only to call it a day out of the blue. The infamous “creative differences” were cited as a reason for the split. Looking back on that decision, do you think it was a right path to take?

Chris Binns: At the time we had started to internally combust. In the beginning everything was happening so fast.  We had genuine label interest within the first three months. After six months we had 6 or 7 big labels fighting over us.  The band got to the point where every show we were playing was sold out and were getting 500/700 plays a day on MySpace. Now throw in a packed out Glastonbury set then signing to one of the biggest labels in the world. We felt like we had landed the greatest job in the world.

Fast forward 2 years and everything had become slower. The band practiced and practiced very rarely playing live, working on new material while trying to get the album done. It felt like the label had lost interest then we got a call and that was it. We walked away and had to get normal jobs again. It was then the infighting started, each member blamed others for what happened.

Firstly our synth player Floyd Woolley left and we carried on for a little while after but the magic was gone. Then bassist Ian Halliwell left and personally I couldn’t see the point after that. We had all been best friends way before the band started and it felt like we had run our course.

Dirty Circus are back and ready for action.

Dirty Circus returned as a 4 piece in 2017 to sold out shows and excited public. What prompted you to get back together?

Chris Binns: It was our guitarist Stevie (Ahern)`s wedding so myself and the drummer Ryan (Whittle) decided to go along mainly for a piss up. Me and Ryan hadn’t seen or spoke to Stevie or Jonny (Hollingsworth) for about 7 years so I wasn’t sure how it was gonna be. As soon as we were back together it was like all them years had never happened. We decided then and there to have a practice. The Sunday after the wedding we spoke to Jon and he was up for it. The other boys Floyd and Ian didn’t want to do it which we have to respect and we’re still in contact with them.

I booked a room and when we started playing the energy was back! It was amazing.  The day after I booked a gig in Wigan at the Old Courts -an amazing venue which had sprung up whilst we were out the game – and we were off. The place holds around 400 people and it was sold out within few weeks which blew us away.

Your album “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Worse” was finally released on 4th of March 2019. The story behind this record could be made into a Hallmark movie: a successful band is dropped by a major record label, the demos go missing for a decade, they are found on a old computer drive and re-mastered. How do you feel about this record after all what’s happened? It must have been quite a ride.

Chris Binns:  When we got the masters back it was pretty emotional – that album was nearly 10 years of work and it was amazing to hear it in its entirety. Up to that point we had been so focused on writing new material we had forgot how good the old stuff was!  We had quite an experience getting to that point and listening to the album brought plenty of memories back most of which I can’t repeat in this interview. The songs on that record are a reflection of how we were all living life at that point and the lyrics are all the things me and the boys were experiencing.

Dirty Circus are back. Deal with it.

You recorded the original demos at the Motor Museum studio in Liverpool. This is one of the oldest and most accomplished recording studios in the North – a home to Oasis, The La’s, Arctic Monkeys and The Coral. Your producer, Tristan Ivemy worked with The Holloways, Towers of London, Frank Turner, and recently The Lottery Winners. Where did you re-mastered the tapes? Did you come back to the same place to properly finish the record?

Chris Binns:  In all honesty we didn’t return to the old studios. We got the songs mastered in the US pretty cheaply. At this point we weren’t sure what we were going to do with the album and we got it mastered on a whim. We were originally planning on just dropping it on Soundcloud but when the tracks come back from mastering, we knew we had to make it a proper release. The songs were massive. I remember how excited I was and sent them to them lads immediately. It was full on energy and aggression – just like we sounded live. The only real change was that we decided to record a new version of a track we always wanted on the album. “Dropped” was never recorded in original sessions because we could never get it right. When we reformed we thought we would give it one more try so we worked with our friends Martin and Dan at Strangeway Studios in Manchester. We finally got what we wanted.

We have to ask about the collectible edition of “WDKMYW” on a pink vinyl. Is it still available? If so, where can it be purchased?

Chris Binns: There’s not many records left! We printed 600 initially and we must have 50 left and whatever the stores have. It’s currently in the key independent record stores in most major cities across the UK. And of course in Wigan and Bolton (laughs).

Dirty Circus are currently on tour. You will be playing Manchester soon (The Bread Shed on 26th of October) and a possible date in London is in the works. Are you planning on visiting West Midlands area? We’d love to see you rock Bristol or Birmingham.

Chris Binns:  100% we would love to play in Bristol and Birmingham. Hopefully we’ll get there in the first part of 2020. In fact I had somebody contact me the other day to tell me how big fans of us they used to be, filling mini buses and driving to our Manchester shows from Birmingham. Somebody also had a club night called Dirty Disco named after our song.

Tour poster for Manchester show at The Bread Shed

A home coming show is booked in Wigan on 17th of November at The Bailiff Bar. We are told it is going to be an acoustic night. What can we expect and how does shows normally go down in Wigan?

Chris Binns:  We never did an acoustic performance before so it’ll definitely be interesting. But we’re not doing it full acoustic, we are still gonna have all the electronics in the mix. It’s more of a stripped back performance.

Any plans for the nearest future? Where will 2020 take you?

Chris Binns:  Well we’ve currently got 12 new songs we are really happy with so we’re gonna try and get in the studio and hopefully release them as an EP in April. We have always been a band that prides ourselves on new music and pushing things forward and that’s what this music does. Imagine Jonny Rotten singing in Cafe del Mar on ecstasy (laughs)

Last questions are a bit of fun at Indieterria. Let’s say you can go back in time and fix one mistake from your own past. Which wrongs are you going to right?

Chris Binns: Nothing! Honestly it is what it is. We don’t dwell, we just want to make sure we prove ourselves this time around…. No wait! In-fact I wouldn’t sold my black The North Face 3 in 1 jacket I had. It was a banger.

 You can follow the band online:
https://www.facebook.com/Dirty__circus-1686236101623735/
https://www.instagram.com/dirty__circus
https://twitter.com/DIRTY__CIRCUS
https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-worse/1455007989

 

More reading:
https://www.wigantoday.net/whats-on/music/dirty-circus-moves-with-the-times-1-8358276
https://www.theoldcourts.com/single-post/2018/11/14/Sit-Down-Sunday-with-Chris-Binns-Dirty-Circus
http://northern-exposure.co/dirty-circus-wigan-100217/
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music/circus-comes-to-town-1024425
https://wiganmusicreviews.wordpress.com/category/dirty-circus/
https://www.wigantoday.net/whats-on/music/roll-up-for-dirty-circus-reunion-gig-1-7817717

Dirty Circus on tour:
Manchester at the Bradshed (along with Red Bricks/Idle Hands/County Rats)
26th of October
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/411057949498078/
Tickets: https://www.fatsoma.com/scruffoftheneck/qzufeilt/dirty-circus-red-bricks-idle-hands-county-rats

Wigan at the Old Courts (accoustic performance)
17th of November
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/713534025768387/
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friday-night-in-the-bailiff-bar-with-dirty-circus-acoustic-tickets-66323018935

Radio appearances:
Bolton FM/ November 12th
The Unsigned Show at 7:00 and 9:00 PM
https://www.boltonfm.com/

Shock Radio/Salford
Time: TBA
https://www.shockradio.co.uk/

Dirty Circus will be adding new dates and interviews shortly so please keep your eyes open and your hand on the pulse. We will be travelling to Kingdom of Mancunia many times in the new year and if they are playing anywhere close, be sure you will see us in the front row.

xoxo
Rita and Malicia

Indieterria Review – The Blinders at Leffingeleuren Festival

Dear Readers, 

Throughout the summer months, we tried to cover as many festivals as possible, where the Blinders made an appearance. We have attended several events ourselves and in many cases, we have teamed up with our special correspondents. Hopefully, this allowed fans to enjoy the experience and feel “as they were there” in person.

Having spent several weeks in Belgium, we were lucky to see the band perform at Kliko Festival, Valkhof Festival and recently at Leffingeleuren. It was a great pleasure to see the trio spread their wings on completely unchartered territory. Leaving dedicated fan base hundreds of miles away and facing the unknown can be a scary but exciting opportunity. We can tell you straight away that the band returned home with shields in their hands. If you are looking for a short description then, it was a triumph of an European tour, no doubt about it.

Leffingeleuren Festival is a respected event that has been going on for 40 years. It is not the biggest music festival around, but has the opinion of “quality over quantity”. Only the best selected acts are invited each year and if a band makes the bill, it is universally acknowledged that the music industry in Belgium has taken notice. The Blinders played quite an early slot on Saturday, 14th of September (3:30 pm) but their gig was packed so tight that many didn’t make it into the Zaal De Zwerver, the biggest stage of the festival.

Digital polaroids from the performance

Zaal De Zwerver has the capacity of 750 and is a state of the art musical venue. It has everything a venue should have – a perfect sound system, massive entrances on both sides with a wheelchair slopes, a cloakroom, merch tables, an outside and inside bar, a balcony, large and secure floor and clean toilets with onsite cleaning crew! You will never run out of toilet paper even if there are 13.000 visitors walking around. There is a separate loading bay with its own dedicated street at the back of the venue and secured car park for tour buses, artists changing rooms etc. It’s nearly 10 years old but it looks like it was built yesterday. If we tell you that it has been funded by ERDF grants courtesy of  European Union, it will sound like a political statement, and it kinda is (Bollocks to Brexit). Thinking of our beloved, threatened and underfunded venues back home, we felt a bit jealous. Maybe one day, one can dream and hope for the best.

As usual, the Blinders arrived on stage with the sirens blazing and blinding lights. First thing that we noticed was lead singer Thomas Haywood wore his iconic “Johnny Dream” make up in a different way, which was a surprise. Instead of having the war paint smeared down from his eyes onto his neck and chest, the black paint created Adam Ant-like line across his face. They started off with “Gotta Get Through” and almost immediately merged into “40 Days & 40 Nights”. “Brave New World” followed and the room was dancing and bouncing up and down. If new fans didn’t notice anything, we have seen The Blinders so many times live to quickly realize that there was something going on, which was not right. Thomas’ voice, although clear and raspy, was breaking down at times. During “Free the Slaves”, he had to resort to a whisper, skipping several lines to take a deep breath and to continue. “ICB Blues” and “Something Wicked” gave him a bit of  a respite from shouting but he looked irritated and greeted the crowd with bare minimum of words. His frustration grew further when he was unable to play his guitar at the beginning of “L’Etat C’Est Moi” and he signalled his irritation to Charlie and Matty by raising his hands and shaking his head. Luckily, the third go was a success and the concert continued without any technical  glitches to the end.

A new track “Rage” signalled second part of the show which was stunning. The band played tight and flawlessly, rampaging thorough “Hate Song”, “Rat In A Cage” and  then “Ramona Flowers” that was greeted by a loud cheer from the audience. The ode to Scott Pilgrim came with an extended outro and the rhythm section showed what the band was capable of. Matty is known for keeping an intense gaze throughout the performance but this time his stare was as powerful as the deafening beat. Charlie whirled like a force of nature from left to right, using his bass as it was a machine gun he was about to shoot into the crowd. A journalist standing next to me sent me a half-frightened/half-amused expression, but kept nodding his head in clear approval of the chaos happening on stage. “Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall” closed the set with 9 minute  cacophony of distorted guitars and powerful drumming. However, after extended “Ramona Flowers”, it became apparent that Thomas was exhausted. He was completely covered in sweat, hair wet as he had taken a dive into a pool, shirt drenched. At some point, he clung to the microphone stand, with his head lowered for more than a minute, alarming Tom Castrey of Saytr Play (a fellow Mancunian band, who supported the Blinders on tour as a tech). He nearly came on stage, but Thomas managed to pick himself up and finish the performance with flying colours. The usual chants of “Down with Big Brother” were replaced with “Long live the European Union” and the band was gone.

It took several days for us to find out the reason why Thomas struggled. A serious infection and tonsillitis forced the band to cancel their performances at Indiestaad in Paradiso (the Netherlands) and Waves Vienna (Austria). They also moved or pulled out of several domestic festival in order to give the lead singer time to fully recover.

Despite the technical glitches and illness, the Blinders played a fantastic show that  brought them universal acclaim and won them many a fan in Europe. As one of the reviewers noticed, they are outgrowing middle size venues. Next stage is large festivals and 1000+ capacity places.

If you haven’t seen them live yet, don’t advertise it, but buy a ticket. Your next chance to see them live will be on the 12th of October at the Alexandra Palace in Manchester (Neighbourhood Festival).

Set List:
“Gotta Get Through”
“40 Days & 40 Nights”
“Brave New World”
“Free The Slave”
“ICB Blues”
“Something Wicked”
“L’Etat C’Est Moi”
“Rage”
“Hate Song”
“Rat In A Cage”
“Ramona Flowers”
“Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall”

Time: 60 minutes
Stage Times: 3:20-4:20 CET
Stage: Zaal De Zwerver

Schedule: 14 September 2019 (Saturday)

Saturday schedule

 

 

Media Reviews:

“As with every festival, you had to make some hard choices to see all your favourite artists, but with such a good line up and fine weather, in the end it was a great day. Our highlights included seeing The Blinders, Crows, The Germans, Mystic Braves and Willy Organ” – Niels Bruwier for Dansende Beren
https://www.dansendeberen.be/2019/09/10/tien-acts-om-te-ontdekken-op-leffingeleuren-2019/

“The Blinders played a tight set dressed in black and full suits. Their influences come from early Arctic Monkeys but you can hear the echoes of Queens Of The Stone Age in the distance as well. In short – this is a sharp rock and roll with courage and allure. They display the right attitude on stage that enhances their performance. There was a nice balance between slower and faster songs, allowing some respite for the audience, but it has to be noted that each of the ‘softer’ compositions has an edge and dark aggression lurking in the music. The band is changing on stage right before your eyes – sometimes they are melodic, sometimes they are fury and a storm of angry riffs with a lot of tempo changes. The Manchester based trio are not overly innovative but they play convincingly and with precision. You can tell they are on the brink of breaking through outside of their native Great Britain. Fans of dark indie rock can add a new group to their must-see list now”- Niels Bruwier for Dansende Beren
https://www.dansendeberen.be/2019/09/15/leffingeleuren-2019-dag-2-niets-meer-aan-te-doen/

“An early party, why not? We saw The Blinders playing at Zaal de Zwerver. This  Manchester based, British trio bring great punk rock supplemented by psychedelic poetry. They released their debut album only last year and toured a lot. And it shows as they are definitely the stage creatures. They remind us of The Stooges with influences from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The band played ‘L’Etat C’Est Moi’, ‘Gotta Get Through’, ‘Rage’ and their latest single, Rat in A Cage’. The closing number ‘Brutus’ was a nearly 10-minute ode to rock and roll, clearly inspired by Jim Morrison. It consists of three shorter parts entitled ‘Brutus’, ‘Et Tu’ and ‘Berlin Wall’. Talking about Brutus – it was a lucky coincidence that a Belgian band with the same name was to perform later in the day. As for the Blinders, seeing them live is highly recommended” – Trees Rommelaere for Luminous Dash blog
https://luminousdash.be/festival/leffingeleuren-dag-2-14-09-2019/
https://luminousdash.be/category/live/fotos/page/3/ (photos)

Daily newspaper “Het Nieuwsblad” publishing an article on Monday 15.09.2019 with a picture of The Blinders taken by Trees Rommelaere

“The Blinders played a solid rock show and they have a good singer (and guitarist) whose singing style is a reminiscent of Jim Morrison. Musically they are a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and Rollins Band in one moment then Nirvana and Jeff Beck in another. Their composition ‘Hate song’ draws inspiration from Joy Division. It was a good performance by an experienced band”- Koen Asaert for Snooze Control zine
http://www.snoozecontrol.be/reviews/8725/

“We were immediately blown away thanks to The Blinders. Old-fashioned rock/punk with a great stage presence. We hear influences from Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys, the singer reminds us a bit of Alice Cooper because of his make-up. Their music is excellent. Those three Mancunian lads were a nice opener if you ask us” – Pieter Bouckhout for Brothers in Raw 
https://www.brothersinraw.com/single-post/2019/09/15/Festivalverslag-Leffingeleuren-2019-op-zaterdag

“What a great thing to see a band giving their best at half past three in the afternoon! The Blinders put their most powerful songs – ‘Gotta Get Through’ and ‘Brave New World’ at the beginning of their set and it brought a lot of crowd into the Great Hall. The British trio plays a certain type of rock music that many bands had attempted to play in the past before them, yet the charisma of Thomas Haywood, the lead singer and the threatening structure of their songs, make them stand out from the rest. They presented quite a show at Leffinge Festival. Are we going to see them playing much larger venues soon?” – Christophe Demunter for DA Music Magazine
https://damusic.be/live/leffingeleuren-dag-2–geen-wafels-wel-tiengangenmenu-4143.html

 

Videos:

“Something Wicked” and “L’Etat C’Est Moi”

“Rage”

“Free the Slave” and “ICB Blues”

“Gotta Get Through” and “40 Days & 40 Nights”

“Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall”

After Movie. You can see Charlie (and Matty in the background) rocking on stage at 1:27 minute mark:

Leffingeleuren 2019 – Aftermovie

Festival socials:

Artist profile:
https://www.leffingeleurenfestival.be/the-blinders

https://www.leffingeleurenfestival.be/
https://www.facebook.com/leffingeleurenfestival/
https://www.instagram.com/leffingeleuren
https://twitter.com/Leffingeleuren
https://www.youtube.com/user/leffingeleuren
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Ps6BGwRGgTB4rgCBlCX23?si=MLLXCxAfQe2QQujjMwtOZg (official playlist features “ICB Blues” and “Brave New World”)

Gallery:

 

Other galleries:
http://www.enola.be/2019/09/15/the-blinders/ (takes a while to open)
https://www.festivalinfo.nl/artist/123571/The_Blinders/
https://www.facebook.com/pg/EyesWideShutterSpeed/photos/?tab=album&album_id=3048425591897109&ref=page_internal
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10220769307886363&set=a.10202921019010296&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/pg/leffingeleurenfestival/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156619991731824
https://www.facebook.com/pg/concertpixtrees/photos/?tab=album&album_id=911287822580567
https://www.facebook.com/pg/karenvandenberghefotografie/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1147366568797364
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Alex-Vanhee-Photography-212472195507965/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2459878137434015

Although we could only attend for a single day (Saturday), it was a fantastic, small and family-orientated festival that it’s worth visiting. They do not have the massive stars other festivals have, but this is not a bad thing. We actually liked their alternative attitude – the organizers are booking bands they personally like and the line up is varied. We have seen Brazilian samba rockers, Belgium’s raising stars (pop, dance and hard rock) and international artists of great esteem.  Also, we have had a word with the festival volunteers and we were told that organizers put a huge emphasis on having artists of colour and female  musicians on the bill. This is greatly appreciated and many UK festivals could learn a thing or two from them. It is possible to have 50-50 male to female artist ratio and to give females a prominent positions on posters.

In short, well done!

We will post a longer review shortly so please pop in a bit later.

Till then,
Rita and Malicia

PS. Rita would like to thank Trees Rommelaere and Luk Dufait for their assistance and rock and roll moments we shared in the pit. Dank je!