“The bigger the stage, the better it is. For me, as a vocalist, I see the stage as a playground. So, the bigger the stage, the more fun I have.” So says Anastasia ‘Stars’ Walker.
With an apparent administrative cock up with dates to deal with, The Great Escape was a week earlier than normal, very soon after Easter and the Labour Day Bank Holiday. Would this have an affect? Would there be less sun and less people? Well, when you’re living in a highly changeable climate, but with the dark clouds of Brexit looming larger than ever, you’d be forgiven in thinking the party might not get started.
Unusual band, the Flamingods. From Bahrain, and made up of Kamal Rasool, Charles Prest, Karthik Poduval, and Sam Rowe, for many years they had been beset by visa issues, to the extent that they could hardly make music together as a band, instead getting together for the odd tour and gig, whilst exchanging files over the internet in concocting their heady fusion of upbeat middle eastern psychedelia. Regular visitors to Brighton – they recently performed at Mutations – they have a fourth album Levitation, the first one they have recorded fully as a band, and will be here for this year’s The Great Escape. Kamal took some time out from a band rehearsal to chat about Bahrain, the new album, and being an Exceptional Talent…
Starting life in the late 80s as a record shop in London, selling super rare Latin music, Mr Bongo eventually became the Brighton-based label and publisher for some of the finest selections in Brazilian, Latin, African, Jazz, Soul, Reggae and Psychedelic flavours. With a new shop in the heart of the North Laine, and a 30th anniversary celebration gig as part of Brighton Festival, Jeff Hemmings visited the offices/shop and met up with Graham Luckhurst, to talk all things Mr Bongo.
The Australian singer songwriter Stella Donnelly has juts released her debut album Beware of the Dogs, following a number of singles and EPs, including the much talked about Thrush Metal! Part of a fantastic and growing Australian scene that includes the likes of Courtney Barnett and Cub Sport, Donnelly’s straight-to-the-point music is full of humour alongside tough topics such as racism and abuse. Here she talks to Jeff Hemmings about the album, her Great Escape shows last year, Australian politics and being half-Welsh
Amber Bain aka The Japanese House, has just released her debut album, Good At Falling, on The 1975’s label, Dirty Hit. It sees her face up to fears in tracks that lay her personal life and heartbreak bare, especially her relationship with fellow songwriter and label mate Marika Hackman. Co-produced by Bon Iver producer BJ Burton, it follows up a set of stellar EPs, co-produced by George Daniel from The 1975. She talks to Jeff Hemmings about the emotional turbulence involved in the making of the album, her inspirations, The 1975, and why name The Japanese House.
Whilst still at school twin brothers George and Jack Barnett formed These New Puritans in 2006, along with Thomas Hein. Electronica, synth pop, and orchestral music informs their dark, panoramic music, and has resulted in four albums, the most recent album Inside the Rose recorded largely in Berlin, in an old studio which was used by the communist East Germans for propaganda purposes. Berlin is where Jack has made his home, and he took some time from band rehearsals to chat with Jeff Hemmings about the album, the studio, their music making process, the forthcoming tour, and comparisons with Bros!
Refined during a year spent touring the world playing bass in This Is The Kit, What A Boost is Rozi Plain’s fourth solo album, recorded over an extended period of time, and released on Memphis Industries. Gentle, pastoral, rootsy, freeform, folksy and warm to the touch, it showcases her blossoming songwriting skills. Whilst in Brighton supporting and playing with This Is The Kit, she took some time out to talk to Jeff Hemmings about the new album, growing up with This Is The Kit’s Kate Stables, and juggling her dual roles as a solo artist, and member of This Is The Kit.
You hear of a lot of Brighton bands making good, but there is an even stronger strand of performers, who loosely cover the soul and urban genres, and are making huge strides. Most famously there is Rag’n’Bone Man, but Grace Carter is quickly making her mark, too.
The young singer-songwriter Maisie Peters cut her teeth in Brighton and via YouTube, where she posted a lot of her songs, just her and a guitar. Just 18, she’s already a brilliant and mature songwriter, developing quite a following in a short space of time. She’s just got back from supporting Tom Walker on tour in the United States, has released an EP, Dressed Too Nice For A Jacket, and is about to head out on a UK tour. In May she’ll be performing at The Great Escape.