I started playing drums at 14, got qualified in Energy Engineering, but turned to drumming professionally in my early 20s. As a professional player I’ve played for many different artists, from Alvin Stardust to Martha Reeves, Freakpower to Jason Derulo! I started with BIMM in 2002, at the very beginning, as Head of Drums, and have been here ever since. I write a regular feature in Rhythm magazine every month, which I’ve done for 12 years, and also run my own drum studio in Seaford.
It’s been talked about for a while but finally proper local TV is here, on your television sets, computers, tablets and mobile devices from the end of August. While America has had very successful local cable TV for decades, this is very new to the UK. In all, 30 licenses have been granted in the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, Norwich, Nottingham, London, Grimsby and, of course, Latest TV in Brighton. Some are on air already, all are expected to be on air by the end of the year. There is plenty of scope to get involved too, either as a programme maker, producer, editor, cameraman, or in any way to do with television.
Royal Blood, eh? Where did they come from? From nowhere (well, at a tiny Brighton venue in Feb 2013, sandwiched on a bill of 5 indie-rock hopefuls), to making the BBC Sound Poll 2014, to high up the bill at Reading and elsewhere with support slots with friends Arctic Monkeys at Finsbury Park under their belts, a Later… with Jools Holland scene stealing performance, a worldwide tour in motion and a UK leg in November to look forward to.
With their tasteful truckers and beards look, bludgeoning riffing and Bonhamesque meets Dave Grohl drumming, the suitably monikered Royal Blood have been a breathe of fresh air, an air raid siren amidst the saturated landscape of singer songwriters and electro pop acts. There are times – and they are many – when we need to seriously rock out and let our collective hair down. Not that this is heavy metal of the old school, more of an amalgamation of grunge, Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, and a little bit of Rage Against The Machine, White Stripes/Raconteurs and Muse. Their rise to the top has been incredibly quick, and live they have already nailed it, their very simple set up of bass and drums perhaps not the most difficult thing to synthesise when you aren’t burdened with other players. Nevertheless, the sheer power and energy of the duo’s sound has tested many a venues fabric.
Having lived for 11 years in Brighton, a city she still has very strong links with, the Italo-Icelandic singer songwriter prepped for her Glastonbury performance on the Avalon stage, with an occasionally spellbinding performance with what was in effect a 'greatest hits' show. Not that she has had many hits per se, but Torrini has written enough great songs to make that so, including writing Kylie Minogue's Slow hit, a song she doesn't sing live. And with a tear in her eye (she was genuinely ecstatic about being in Brighton, a place she very much loves), she enchanted a large extended family of friends and fans, who in turn displayed a lot of love for this very soulful singer songwriter, a performer who ever-so-subtely can't help but wear her heart on her sleeve.
I remember seeing Marika Hackman when she first started performing and was playing with a full band back in 2011 and since being signed has grown into one of my favourite recording singer/songwriters with her quirky and innovative chord choices and hauntingly beautiful lyrics.
'Shouting is my trademark', says Ben Ottewell during the evening's set. To an extent it's a light-hearted acknowledgement of the power of his very rich baritone and bluesy voice, which actually feels like a sound wave when he opens his mouth for the first time, the force of which is tangible. And tonight he is having to fight a little bit harder to be heard. Not that he minds though, he knows this is a hometown gig and the audience is filled with many friends and family, inevitably they all want to catch up with each other. But where better to do this than within the environment of a warm and cuddly Ottewell singing his heart out as always?
Hard to believe but Orbital have been at it for 25 years now, the Hartnoll brothers creating some of the most distinctive, beautiful, intelligent and commercially popular dance music of all time. From their breakthrough hit and industry game changer, Chime in 1990, to last year’s excellent ‘comeback’ album ‘Wonky’, Paul and Phil Hartnoll have always been about much more than four-to-the-floor beats, instead always seeing themselves as a band, often using guest singers such as Alison Goldfrapp, in making interesting, intelligent, evocative music, that could be both danced to and listened to and performed live, often improvised. Aided by their distinctive headlights which act as a focal point for their live performance, Orbital took dance to the mainstream, in part due to their legendary 1994 Glastonbury show which was also beamed on television.
Not only that, but almost uniquely amongst mainstream electronic dance acts, they tackled political, environmental and social issues, such as in ‘Halcyon’ (based on their mother’s addiction to tranquillisers), ‘The Girl With the Sun in Her Head’ (recorded entirely using electricity provided by Greenpeace’s mobile solar power generator) and a four minute remix ‘Criminal Justice Bill’ remix of ‘Are We Here?’ which appropriately enough consisted of four minutes of silence in response to the draconian bill that would attempt to repress so-called repetitive beats.
Their story is a brilliant one and I met up with Paul at his Brighton based studio to talk mainly about those early days, but also about the here and now and Brighton of course…