For two decades the Brighton based record label Tru Thoughts has been a prolific force amidst electronic music, jazz and hip hop, with artists such as Bonobo, Rodney P, Ty, Quantic, and Alice Russell gracing their books. Still headed by founder Rob-Luis, they continue to find, and nurture new talent. Tiawa Blackhorse has just signed to the label, and is one of many acts performing at Tru Thoughts 20th birthday celebrations, along with Hidden Orchestra, Anchorsong, Wrongtom, J-Felix, and many more. Tiawa took some time out from touring to have a chat with Jeff Hemmings, about Brighton, music and her musical partner Jack-Chi (Jack Kingslake).
This legendary member of Genesis during their classic 70s heyday, and guitarist extraordinaire, is still making and playing music, even as he approaches 70. He joined Genesis in1971, and played on six of their studio albums, including Selling England by The Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Hackett released his first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, while still a member of Genesis in 1975. After a series of further solo albums beginning in 1978, Hackett co-founded the supergroup GTR with Yes’ Steve Howe in 1986, releasing one album. Hackett then resumed his solo career. He has released albums and toured worldwide on a regular basis since, his body of work encompassing many styles: progressive rock, pop, blues, world music and classical music. According to Guitar World: “Hackett’s early explorations of two-handed tapping and sweep picking were far ahead of their time and influenced Eddie Van Halen and Brian May.”
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.
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.
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.
White Denim are an American four-piece rock band from Austin, Texas, formed in 2005, who have established a riotous fusion of garage punk, soul, psychedelic boogie, prog, jazz and country blues. They’ve done this along with a home-based recording style, and jamming approach, alongside looping work, unusual song structures, and an insatiable lust for musical adventure.
Founder members James Petralli and Steve Terebecki are still at the helm, currently joined by Greg Clifford on drums, and Michael Hunter on keys. Already with eight studio albums under their belt, including last year’s Performance, they’ve decided to release an album’s worth of B-sides, rarities, outtakes, and new songs, called Side Effects, out this spring on City Slang. With a UK tour that takes in London’s Roundhouse, and finishes in Brighton for Mutations Festival, Steve Terebecki took some time out before hitting the road.
I stumbled upon Gwenifer Raymond when I came across a glowing review of her debut album, the 100% instrumental You Never Were Much Of A Dancer, released last year. I had no idea she was Brighton-based and, later on, during the course of a conversation with an old friend, it transpired that he knew her, and was a big reason why she was eventually picked up by the esteemed American record label, Tompkins Square. Subsequently, she has been announced for this year’s The Great Escape festival. A highly accomplished guitarist, who plays in the so-called ‘American primitive’ style, I caught up with her on her lunch break.