Abi Wade – Interview 2018

Having only just recently released a gorgeous debut album, Beautifully Astray, at the beginning of April 2018, Abi Wade has long been an incredible talent in Brighton. Known for her stunning solo live show and for using a cello as her core instrument, Abi is a versatile musician whose sound exploration uses vocals, orchestral and choral arrangements, synths and location samples to create a mesmerising window into human nature and the abstract. As well as a musician, Abi has a collaborative audio-visual guise called Gestalt, with her partner Joel Wells, which has flourished since recently moving to London. We caught up with Abi to find out about her current live set, her view on her debut LP, which is now half a year old, and the incredible projects she does alongside her music.

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Goat Girl – Interview 2018

Very much part of an organically burgeoning guitar scene that includes the likes of The Big Moon, IDLES, Dream Wife, Shame, and many many others, London’s Goat Girl have already released a brilliantly incisive, raw, and energetic album – 19 songs in 40 minutes – that was not afraid to tackle social-political and ugly urban realities issues head on, with songs such as ‘Scum’, ‘The Man’, ‘Burn the Stake’, and ‘Cracker Drool’. Clottie Cream, Rosy Bones, Naima Jelly and L.E.D until recently made up the four-piece, although Naima has recently announced her (amicable) departure, and new bassist, Holly, filling in, including a date in Brighton which was re-scheduled from earlier this year following a nasty accident involving Rosie.

Brightonsfinest caught up L.E.D to find out what the crack is…

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Lost Horizons – Interview 2018

Simon Raymonde lives and breathes music. It’s been around him all his life. His dad, Ivor, was a very noteworthy producer, arranger and musician. Simon played bass and helped produce the work of the Cocteau Twins, a relatively successful and influential indie band of the 80s and 90s. He’s run a record label, Bella Union, since the late 90s, produced and mixed bands such as Brighton’s Clearlake, James Yorkston, and Fionn Regan, and more recently opened a Bella Union shop in the heart of Brighton, selling almost exclusively Bella Union music (as well as his son’s fledgling label Opposite Number, some of Colin Newman’s – of Wire fame, who lives locally – recorded ouput, a few books, and some high quality screen-prints). He’s also taking to the stage again with Lost Horizons, a band he formed with former 4AD label-mate Ritchie Thomas, formerly of Dif Juz. Even though he’s well into his 50s, he’s more immersed than ever, and remains a massive fan of music, old and new.

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The Kooks – Interview 2018

On 11th July, 2005, The Kooks released 'Eddie's Gun'. The first fruits from their deal with Virgin, who had signed the band barely four months after coming together, on the basis of a strong look (skinny jeans and hats) and a handful of catchy songs that harked back to the classic pop period of the 60s, topped with influences from British new wave, The Libertines and Britpop.

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Idles – Interview 2018

Every now and then a band will turn up and simply blow almost everything out of the water. With its sheer vitality, its life affirming qualities, and its bravado. Idles are one of those. Taking their cue from what is almost universally regarded as an incredibly vibrant period of music making – the post-punk era – Bristol’s IDLES are fearless adventurers, and socio-political questioners, perfectly in tune with the chaotic and uncertain times we live in. They released their powerful debut album Brutalism in 2016 to high acclaim. The massively anticipated Joy As An Act Of Resistance is their follow up, with quickly sold out dates through the summer and autumn cementing their status as perhaps the most exciting band on the planet.

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The Wedding Present – Interview 2018

In 1987, Leeds band The Wedding Present, riding high on the buzz generated by a number of self-released singles and the support from the likes of Radio One DJ's John Peel and Andy Kershaw, released their debut album, George Best, also on their own label, Reception. It featured a now iconic image of that equally iconic footballer of the same name on the cover, and became a minor commercial success, scraping the top 50, and cementing the band's reputation as one of the best around, one who was spearheading the so-called 'indie' scene that had slowly grown out of post-punk, and which had been encapsulated by the legendary C86 cassette that the NME gave away with their weekly print edition. Dubbed 'the most indie thing to have ever existed', most of the bands on it subsequently faded away into semi-obscurity. Bands such as Might Mighty, The Bodines, Bogshed, and Close Lobsters. However, along with Primal Scream, The Wedding Present have, with the odd blip or two, stayed the course. In 2018 they are as highly revered as ever: they’re still releasing records, curate their own annual festival, At the Edge of the Sea, now in its 10th year, and even have a new film documenting their early years, Something Left Behind, to celebrate.

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Nile Rodgers – Interview 2018

Glastonbury 2013. Chic are on the West Holts Stage, performing some of the greatest pop music ever made. 'Everybody Dance', 'Dance Dance Dance', 'I'm Coming Out', 'Upside Down', 'He's The Greatest Dancer' and 'We Are Family'. That was just for starters. It's relentless, the crowd growing somewhat delirious as Nile Rodgers digs deeper into his untouchable repertoire. 'Let's Dance', 'Like A Virgin', 'Lost in Music', 'Le Freak', ‘Notorious', ‘Good Times'. Sounds like a dream playlist, doesn't it? From artists as famous and diverse as Madonna, David Bowie, Sister Sledge, Duran Duran, Diana Ross, and of course Chic, what is the common factor? Nile Rodgers has had a big hand in all these songs, either with his band, Chic, or as a writer, and/or producer. His work in Chic and his writing and production work for artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross and Madonna has helped sell over an incredible 500 million albums and 75 million singles worldwide.

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Our Girl – Interview 2018

What is it about Brighton, and its fertile music landscape? Surely, there must be more musicians per head of population than anywhere else. Every other person is in a band it seems. Certainly BIMM has been a major factor, but so has The Great Escape, and Brighton's cultural history, a place invariably viewed as one to go to for the purposes of pleasure and entertainment. In particular, guitar-orientated music has been fruitful of late. Bands such as Tigercub, Black Honey, The Magic Gang, and Dream Wife all started here, a springboard to bigger things. There is definitely something in the water down here.

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Natalie Merchant – Interview 2018

When she was just 17, Natalie Merchant was working in a health food store and was considering a career in special education whilst at college in her home city of Jamestown, which sits just below Lake Erie that straddles the border with Canada. Harbouring no more than your average desire to sing in a band, she was invited to do some vocals for a group called Still Life in 1981. They inexplicably decided to call itself Burn Victims, before settling on 10,000 Maniacs all in the same year, performing their fist gig under that name on September 7th. Named after the obscure 60s low-budget grindhouse splatter flick Two Thousand Maniacs!, and often cited as one of the worst band names in history, 10,000 Maniacs nevertheless became huge on the alternative college circuit, as well as finding an early fan in the shape of John Peel, who turned on his radio listeners to the band via their song 'My Mother The War'. "The only solid plan I had was to go to New York City to attend art school," says Natalie Merchant. "I wanted to be an artist and in the end achieved that goal."

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Sons of Kemet – Interview 2018

With a breathful intensity that coarses through his tenor saxophone, Shabaka Hutchings’ sax-playing is instantly recognisable on his many projects, that include the analogue cosmic synth fusion of The Comet Is Coming, the punk-jazz of Melt Yourself Down, the tuba-infused jazz-grooves of Sons of Kemet, and the gentler free jazz of Shabaka and The Ancestors. Initially a clarinet player, and disliker of jazz, he was eventually turned on to it with mentorships under Soweto Kinch and Courtney Pine. Sons of Kemet recently released their third album, Your Queen Is A Reptile, which proposes alternative Queens to our present day monarch. Recorded with Theon Cross (tuba), and the double drum team of Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner, Hutchings merges his classical clarinet and jazz orchestra training with the music he’s heard growing up in the Caribbean, travelling in South Africa, and living in London. As well as performing at this year's The Great Escape, Sons of Kemet are one of the main attractions at this year's Brainchild Festival, and will be touring later in the year, including a date in Brighton. With some very rare down time, Shabaka Hutchings talked to Brightonsfinest.

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