Black Peaks – Interview – 2016

Brighton does noise well. Sometimes, this can be an under-appreciated fact. Back in the day it was assumed that every band were like The Kooks, and wore tight skinny jeans, or were a little artful like British Sea Power. Nothing wrong with those two, of course, but bands like Royal Blood and Architects have truly blown this notion that we lack some serious musical balls, out of the water. Truth be told, we're very lucky. We've got everything down here; from the fragile acoustica of Passenger to the titanic blasts of Black Peaks, as well as similar like-minded souls Physics House Band and Toska. It's what makes this town so fucking great; it's musical diversity, all within a stone's throw of each other.

Black Peaks are a classic four piece made up of guitar (Joe Gosney), bass (Andrew Gosden), drums (Liam Kearley) and vocals (Will Gardner), whose début album, Statues, has just entered the album charts. A record that is unlike most anything out there. A seamless combination of hardcore, rock, post-rock, progressive rock and metal, that features many a killer riff, moments of serene melodic bliss, aggressive blasts of fireball rhythm, and intricate arrangements throughout, all heightened by its overriding anthemic qualities that will surely see them go on to big things. And with the vocals of Will Gardner, possessor of a deeply powerful and versatile larynx at the helm, they've got a frontman who provides that extra bit of onstage personality to the exciting dynamics of the music.

Tonight, they are finishing off a tour with a headline show in their hometown of Brighton, at The Haunt. Which is where I met up with singer Will, backstage, getting ready for a soundcheck.

This is your home town? Good to be back?
"It is! I walked in to my house to collect some vinyl we're selling at the show, and have yet to see my bed. This is the end-of-tour gig."

How's the tour been?
"It's been unbelievable, the response we've had. It's been crazy. It was only ten days on the road, and it feels like we are just getting into the swing of things. That's weird. There are no more tours lined up but there are loads of festivals coming up later in the year."

It's your first headlining tour…
"Yeah, It’s been a new experience. A lot pressure, to sell tickets, and doing an hour each day, which has been real intense. That was weird, stepping up to that, to be the main act. But, it’s been amazing. Every night we've been like, 'will anyone turn up'! But it’s been very busy. All the radio play has been a help. Tonight is a sell out, which is sick!"

So, tonight is party night?
"I am going to party tonight! I over did it in London the other day but I've had two days off drinking since then."

I tell him I used to manage a hard drinking band, which didn't always work so well on the stage…

"We're a drinking band! But, I think we found with these headline sets you can't get hammered, because the next day you'll get halfway through the set and you'd be like (Will mimics gasping for air). Tonight will be a big one. There are no plans yet about where we'll go. We just like to drink on the street, really," he laughs. And just to re-iterate the point; "Tonight, I'm going to get fucking hammered! Tomorrow, I'll get some roast dinner, go to a pub, play a bit of jazz, it'll be great. Drink some beers…"

How did you join the band?
"I didn't know any of them before. They headhunted me about three years ago when my old band (Lithurgy) broke up, and literally the day after sent me a message; 'Are you up for coming to a jam'? They knew about me, saw me sing with Lithurgy and liked what I did. They sent me some tracks and it wasn't what I was used to. The early stuff sounded like Mars Volta and At The Drive In. It's not what I'm used to but I like that. It moved on from there. It’s been a mad adventure so far."

I see that the band were call Shrine to begin with…
"Yeah, that's right. We were in Spain, for a gig, and the local paper said it was great to have Shrine, and they had a picture of another band! When our manager came on board the first thing he said was; 'You have to change your name. Now'.

It took six months to change it. Fucking ages. We went through constellations, stars, tectonic plates, sea names, mountain ranges. We went through everything. And then I found this list of volcanoes, and there was one called The Black Peak, and I was like, to the guys, 'You're probably going to say no. You probably think it's shit, but there's this volcano called The Black Peak'… And they were like, 'That's quite interesting'. It's different and it's got weird connotations, but not anything in particular. We then argued for three months about whether it should be Black Peak or Black Peaks, and then someone realised grammatically that people would refer to us as the Black Peaks, not the Black Peak. Everyone is happy with it, except some of the older fans.

Tell me a little about Lithurgy, your old band.
"Lithurgy were progressive death metal. Really proggy. It's more thrash metal, some of it quite technical. It was fun. They had a different work ethic!"

How do ideas become songs?
"Usually, one of the guys comes in with an idea, usually Joe the guitarist. Liam will play a drum bit and then we work it out all together and jam a bit. I'll write the lyrics. But we can all hear together what we think might come next. It's pretty random; we create these really mashed up songs. We know what it sounds like now, but some are still a bit baffled. 'Where do you get that noise from' they ask.

How would YOU describe your music?
"I always find it difficult pigeon-holing music. We are a rock band, some of it hardcore, some of it is post rock. Lots of people say post-hardcore, but I think some people are put off by hardcore and won't listen to it, and give it the time of day. We have loads of different elements; from hardcore bands and heavy rock music, progressive bands, post-rock, just mashing it all together. That's what we sound like. That post-hardcore tag can cause us loads of issues. People think drainpipe trousers. That's not us at all!

Your voice. How do you look after it?
"Most tours I never struggle with my voice. I warm up and warn down. For the first time ever last night – it wasn't even the engineers fault – but I couldn't hear anything from my monitor, so I battled hard against it."

How long have you been in Brighton?
"I've been here 23 years, a long, long time. I was brought up here. I did go to university up in London but moved back down, met these guys.

Still like it then?
"It's really funny. I came back today, and the first thing I noticed was people being so friendly and so smiley. Just going to one of my favourite coffee shops, Marwoods, people say 'how are you' and they mean it. There aren't a lot of places, especially in the south, where people are open minded. There are a lot of really interesting people here, people doing creative and interesting things.I just wish it wasn't so expensive for renting. Another place I really like is Manchester. It has a very similar vibe, but is even more down-to-earth.

"From April to December this place (Brighton) is phenomenal for music. It kinda dies from January to March."

Which festivals are you looking forward to?
"Download. Never played that one. I'm so excited about that. It'll be insane. We've done some of the ones we really wanted to play: Reading & Leeds last year, Sonsiphere, 2000 Trees, Hevy. That one was incredible. We were on the main stage before Dillinger Escape Plan and Coheed and Cambria. For us that was a big deal, playing in front of three or four thousand people. They were into us. It was a beautiful sunny day, with a massive sound system…

Website: blackpeaks.com
Facebook: facebook.com/blackpeaks
Twitter: twitter.com/blackpeaks

 

 

Featured on the Brightonsfinest Compilation: http://brightonsfinest.com/html/index.php/spotlight/1309-brightonsfinest-compilation-volume-1

See our review of their album Satues here: http://www.brightonsfinest.com/html/index.php/12-music/1338-black-peaks-statues

grasshopper – Interview – 2016

grasshopper (with a small 'g' please) have been an exciting young presence in the Brighton music scene for a couple of years now, which actually seems quite remarkable when you consider how young they still are. We've been keeping an eye on the group for a while, watching them go from strength-to-strength, seeing how an already remarkably well-defined sound has grown and developed. We recently got in touch with the band to sound them out about appearing at Brightonsfinest's Alternative Escape Showcase and they let us have a sneaky listen to some of the new recordings they've been working on, blowing our collective minds. The album these guys are working on is going to be their quantum leap. The production and writing is better than anything we've heard so far from the group, but they're still in the midst of those sessions, so we'll all have to wait patiently for a release date. Lead singer and defacto band leader Javi took some time out from a hectic schedule of rehearsals, recording sessions and, presumably A-Levels, to give us some background on the band.

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Mariella West – Interview – 2016

Fresh new soul act Mariella West have just released their debut single – and it’s a corker. They’re unsigned, but are self-releasing the music as professionally as they can. We met with lead singer Ella Machen (confusing, we know) to find out about the band’s history, and to learn about the band’s experience of their first foray into the industry.

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Wax Machine – Interview – 2016

Wax Machine endorse an endearing charm within their occasionally awkward, shy persona. An appearance drowned in flurries of hair and 70s moustaches; I met Lauro and Freddie, the two main songwriting brains behind the psychedelic 5-piece that take from a range of influences to provide a significantly unique sound to the Brighton scene. It’s a sound that surpasses your general preconception of Psychedelia and takes it beyond the flowery shirt, deep into the rabbit hole full of jazz, funk, krautrock and tropicália.

Wax Machine have recently become a blitz upon the city’s scene, popping up left, right and centre with shows at Lewes Psychedelic Festival and a string of performances at Late Night Lingerie.

They have an exceptional work ethic, releasing singles and videos on a frequent basis proving themselves to be quite the determined collective. Live, they are a collective, hell bent on getting you dancing with them, encouraging you at all times to have fun too. They have recently released the strung out, schizophrenic ‘Gustav Ghostcat’, a song that takes an uncanny nosedive mid-song and thrusts you into a different warped element of psychedelia. It’s fun, exciting and refreshing to hear something so progressive.

So, 2016 has looked a pretty promising year so far for Wax Machine, what have you got planned from here on in?
Freddie: Well, we’ve recently released ‘Gustav Ghostcat’ which is probably our most forward thinking, playful release so far. It takes on a division down the middle where the spooky sound progresses into a jazzed up latin groove. We’ve got some tunes in the pipeline, the next being ‘Living With a Wizard’ which we’re currently making a video for. We’re also excited to release our eight minute magnum opus later this year [laughter]. It’s something we’ve had for a long time and always messed about with live – there’s a lot of room to jam on there.

Do you have a solid EP release planned or do you see them just being singles?
Lauro: The plan initially was to release it as an EP but, yeah, that kind of dwindled because it was such a long process. We never really liked the idea of waiting around because we just wanted to release them as and when we write them.

Freddie: Yeah, it becomes kind of counter-productive because we just pointlessly sit on songs rather than release them when they are ready. We find it becomes stagnant after a while when they are just sitting around. We like writing and therefore we like sharing them, just keep the process sweet and simple.

Okay, so when you come round to writing these songs, what process do you take?
Lauro: Well, generally me and Freddie come up with ideas individually and then natural selection takes it course.

Freddie: Yeah we’ll put together a melody or chord progression and then we’d jam it out with the band in the rehearsals, that’s when it really comes alive! Later in the studio we’ll take advantage of multi-tracking and production techniques to push ideas even further.

Lauro: I find it very important to be playful with the creative process, ridiculous ideas often sound the best. I think we like using funny clichés and referencing a lot of music. It’s pointless to seek originality; everything comes from somewhere, when you play something you like you will naturally put your own twist on it.

I take it you two have been writing together for a while then?
Lauro: Yeah, I first played with Freddie about two years ago at an all-night jam our friend Max put together at Studio 284. It was an awesome space that unfortunately got shut down because the building was deemed unstable. It was down on the seafront, do you know where I mean? A few days later Freddie came over to my old flat and had a go at singing, I was blown away.

Freddie: [Laughs] I’d actually forgotten how it all started, but that’s right, we just started to write some songs and that’s when we figured we might want a full band. We were lucky to be joined by such talented friends who happened to be on the same page.

So back to your single releases, you mentioned you had a new video coming out soon. I’ve always got the sense from your videos that there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into them, are they something you focus on?
Lauro: [Laughter] No, not really to be honest! They are always very DIY. I’m no good at it, we just film it and then I’ll put it on Final Cut and mess around with effects and get fiendish with it.

Freddie: We’ve always approached it in a creative and instinctive way. Lauro’s done most of the editing so far but I’m looking forward to co-directing and editing ‘Living With a Wizard’ with him and the rest of the band.

I saw you played Lewes Psychedelic Festival last weekend, how did you find that?
Lauro: Yeah, last Saturday. It was fun, we were on first but it was nice opening. ZOFFF were mind-blowing. We only had a short set but the whole thing was great. Chris from Innerstrings put it on with Melting Vinyl, I couldn’t think of anyone better to have curated the event. Chris was kind enough to put me on the Liverpool Psych Fest guestlist last year!

Ah, cool! Did you enjoy it?
Lauro: Yeah, it was great. His lights were genius as usual, and I discovered some good bands.

Freddie: I’ve never been, I’d love to go this year, the line up looks great.

Have you ventured out of Brighton yet with Wax Machine?
Freddie: Yeah, we’ve headed up to London a few times. We’re looking to head further afield but it’s just been hard up until now.

Lauro: Playing in London is interesting. We’ve had a few shows there but it’s just a good opportunity to meet new people.

Freddie: It’s nice getting out of Brighton from time to time.

For sure! Are you both from Brighton initially then?
Lauro: Well, I’m Brazilian but –

Freddie: Yeah, well, kind of. I moved down here to Lewes from London when I was four.

And, do you feel that your environments growing up have influenced your music?
Lauro: For me, being from Sao Paulo has influenced our music here and there, be it through arrangement choices or just the tropicalia vibe in songs.

Freddie: Likewise, growing up in Lewes meant that I could just step out into the countryside. I was just starting to write my own songs, listening to Dylan and The Beatles for inspiration and experimenting with the whole process. There’s something about the countryside that gives you more time and space to develop ideas.

Right, so whereabouts do your influences come from in general?
Freddie: [Laughter] Right, yeah, erm, do you want to take this one Lauro? It’s a tricky one.

Lauro: So yeah, like I mentioned earlier there’s a lot of 60s and 70s psychedelia of course but we also listen to jazz, funk, reggae, country, surf, afro-beat, tropicalia… it comes from everything really.

Freddie: It's eclectic for sure. Like Os Mutantes’ sound has been a big influence for us, their experimental tongue in cheek attitude is something we’ve always wanted to retain in our music. Similarly, Foxygen do a good job of not taking themselves too seriously – we caught them last year when they played at Komedia, it was an incredible show. I’ll let you get on with the interview now because we could go on forever [laughs].

So how do you see yourselves fitting within the Brighton music scene on the whole then?
Freddie: Yeah, I think it’s good. We’ve met a lot of great bands and promoters. Strange Cages are close friends of ours; we were playing with them the other week. We really get on with them, they’re ace guys. There’s never a shortage of good gigs going on in Brighton.

What gigs do you have coming up in Brighton then? I saw you were playing the Moonlight Collective show next week at The Prince Albert.
Lauro: Yeah I’m looking forward to that. Moonlight Collective are good friends. They actually booked us for a show of theirs last year. I’d only met them before at our show with Tuval and then it turned out their flat backed onto mine when I lived up near Dyke Road Park. I was walking to Tesco one day and we just found each other, weirdly.

Do you put a lot of care and thought into your live shows as well then?
Freddie: Yeah, I mean a lot of the actual performance is impromptu – each set is unique. We show up and play for as long as we can, basically until we get asked to come off [laughs]. We were fortunate enough to get a great last minute headline at Brighton Electric. It was sad because Strange Cages had to pull out due to illness, but we were honored to follow Clever Thing and Projector who played some killer sets. It was a bittersweet moment. Nevertheless, it worked well for us, we played all our songs and then got asked to come back on. We had no idea what to play so we just jammed. It was a total freakout; everyone in the crowd was getting into it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waxmachine
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/waxmachine
 

 

Lebeaux – Interview – 2016

Despite having no real online presence, Lebeaux has been gaining ground on the local scene: anyone who’s witnessed a concert will understand how it is that the band is already booked on the main stage of a certain local festival. For everyone else, we thought we’d pin the frontman, Turrell Lebeaux, down for a chat to get to the bottom of all the excitement, and to find out when we can expect some material.

How many gigs have you played so far with the group as Lebeaux?
So far, we've done two. Such a small number, I know, but I've been so happy with the turnout. I was expecting 10 people to turn up to both of them, however we filled both venues up. The support so far has been awesome – I'm very grateful.

Before Lebeaux, what were you doing, musically?
Well, throughout secondary school and college, I was obsessed with doing projects. Graphic novels, plays, choreography, I was doing it all! As far as music was concerned, I just wrote LPs. Back then, I didn't have Logic or Ableton, so I just made do with a piano, pen, paper, and a voice recorder. I left with around 4 LPs worth of material.

Did you progress from a solo act to the group?
Although I've collaborated with a lot of people in the past, I've always considered myself to be a solo act. Since being with Lebeaux, I still kind of see it that way. I'm like a soloist accompanied with an incredibly supportive and talented team. I still say 'we' though, because they are equally important to me. I wouldn't be here without them.

You’re a very confident performer. Where did you learn this, or does it come naturally?
Thank you very much! I've always been like that – for as long as I can remember. Studying music theatre at BRIT definitely helped hone my performing skills though.

Why don’t you have any recorded material out?
Ah the BIG question – I get this all the time. In all honesty, it's been a combination of fear and being a perfectionist. I could've put stuff out ages ago, but I was never truly happy with the result. Every time I came close to releasing something, I'd pick out flaws in the production and my vocal, then convince myself to cancel. It's pathetic, I know, but I've learnt the difference between perfection and excellence now. I’m not going to hold any recordings back anymore.

Tell us about some of the gigs you’ve got coming up.
We have a few more to confirm, but here are some of the ones we're definitely doing: We're supporting Normanton Street at Patterns on the 15th April. Then we're supporting them again at Birthdays on the 22nd. Dead Good Arts is having us performing at the 'Funk My Life' event at the Synergy Centre – April 30th. Headlining back at Patterns on the 12th May. Lastly, we are playing at Funk The Format festival alongside Soul II Soul and Norman Jay MBE on the 29th May. So excited!

Some of these are big appearances – how do you explain this? And how do you feel about the reaction to your music?
Yes they are. Everyone's reaction to the music has had me seriously humbled. It's mostly thanks to Normanton Street. They heard what we were about through Jono, the drummer. It was funny, because I didn't know who they were until after the performance was done. They gave us one performance to get it right, and they were satisfied! Since then, it's been opportunity after opportunity. I love that they care and nurture other artists that are trying to come up. They see community, instead of competition. We need a lot more bands like them around – check them out.

Let’s talk songwriting. How far do you direct the process, and how much comes from your band?
Admittedly, it's me most of the time. I usually come up with the ideas; tempos, time/key signatures, chords, melody or lyrics I present to the band. Then we work out how we're going to bring it to life. When the song starts coming alive, we vibe off it so much. When they play, the band have me dancing all the time. I dance more than I sing sometimes. But every song we do has a different level of input, of course some of the ideas stem from them.

Is melody or lyricism more important to you?
Oh that is such a difficult question! Well, for my songwriting, the melodies disguise the meaning behind the lyrics. It's those top-lines that keep people interested in my music, even if they don't understand the words. So even though the lyrics mean a lot to me, I'm going to say that the melodies are most important to me!

What lies at the core of your lyrics?
Exploring possibilities: what would happen if I do this? How do you feel when you do that? I'm quite playful with my writing. I like to play games; setting myself a theme, giving myself restrictions, writing from a different perspective – those being a few examples. Behind the games, I'm always trying to prove some kind of point. Whether it's personal, political, or social, I tell it like I see it. Maybe not in the most obvious way, but oh well.

What’s your philosophy in terms of a live show? What do you set out to do?
All or nothing – that's my philosophy. I put my all into every performance I do. I care a lot about giving people a great show. If I can't entertain them in the best possible way, then I wouldn't be very happy about it. I have some big plans for the future in terms of live shows; but a lot of them require more knowledge, money, and balls. I am lacking in all of those things!

Is there an EP or album on the cards?
Oh, there always has been one on the cards, it's just about finding the right producer to make it special. Searching for one is like searching for a soul mate – very hard, if not impossible. Until I find one that we can gel with and hone a great studio sound with, an EP/LP release will remain in the pipeline.

Anything else we should look out for?
Despite no recordings coming out, I will be releasing a few videos next month. All of them will be collaborations with other artists, and bands around the area. One of them will be quite interesting, as our genres are quite different, but you'll have to wait and see how it turns out. In the meantime, come to our gigs and explore what we're about.

Facebook: facebook.com/Lebeaux-533293416827688

Kiran Leonard – Interview 2016

The word ‘genius’ has now been mentioned quite frequently whenever Kiran Leonard has come up in conversation. Not just does he have two years left studying at Oxford University, he has also got nineteen releases to his name already – but at only 20-years-old Kiran has an even brighter future yet. The joy of working at a music magazine is that new music isn’t far from any convocation and in late 2015 one of the Brightonsfinest writers played me ‘Pink Fruit’, the first single of Kiran’s second LP Grapefruit. The 16-minute epic defies explanation and is nothing short of a master masterpiece (certainly in my eyes). Having now seen him live and listened to Grapefruit which is out today, copious amounts of times, Kiran sure lives up to the talk. I, absolutely, had to find out more about Kiran Leonard.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a parish called Saddleworth, which is about 30 minutes north east of Manchester just before Greater Manchester becomes West Yorkshire. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere and has afforded me the ability of not having any neighbours that gripe about noise, which has made doing home recording a lot easier.

What kind of music were you brought up on?

My dad was a folk musician in the 70s and likes a lot of country & western music; like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, as well as 50s rock’n’roll, bluegrass and of course English and Irish folk. He also likes The Pixies, Nirvana and other bands like that too. My mum actually met Black Francis (The Pixies) at a party once – apparently he was really rude and then ate all the brownies at the party.

What was the first instrument you learnt to play?

I started on a mandolin. I am my dad’s fourth son, and it is something all my elder siblings and my younger sister went through as well. The idea being, what’s the point of buying a three-quarter size guitar if you will through it away in three years time. I was five when I started playing stuff on it and was eight/nine years old when I first picked up a guitar.

What was the first album you owned?

It was the first Bat For Lashes album, Fear And Gold, which was a really great record. I can remember buying Moby’s Play as well around the same time too. I don’t think I have either of those CD’s anymore.

Did you take advantage of Manchester’s great music scene when you were growing up?

When you were younger, it was hard to find an all-ages gig in Manchester. It is really annoying actually – I got a message from someone asking when I would be next playing an all-ages gig in Birmingham as he wouldn’t be let in to my show. I don’t understand why 18+ exist at concerts – the problem is easily solvable if you give under 18s a different coloured wristband. The people who need to go to gigs most are 15 to 18-year-olds! Anyway, back to the question… when I was that age and going to a gig, it was with my dad. One of the first gigs I went to see in Manchester was The Books at The Deaf Institute and Godspeed! You Black Empire back when they first reformed.

What was the story behind the album name Grapefruit?

Sorry for the boring story, but I just liked the word. The French word for grapefruit is ‘pamplemousse’ and I think that is really funny.

There are so many different influences coming out in both Bowler Hat Soup and your new record Grapefruit. What were you listening to at the time?

I wrote and recorded Grapefruit almost simultaneously with Bowler Hat Soup, so it was about a year and a half block of time which was mostly when I was at college. The bands I was listening to then was the Death Grips, Swans, At The Drive-In, Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof and Stars Of The Lid. They were my cornerstones. I don’t tend to go through fazes of listening to one thing. There is a lot of fun and potential in trying to draw strands of different influences in to one thing, however disparate they initially seem.

When creating Grapefruit, did you meticulously think of each track's subject before you started writing it or would you jam a song out until its subject would come naturally?

I wish I had thought about it more, as I feel like that is one of the biggest weaknesses of the record, that is quite incoherent. There are some songs that are quite dedicated to what they are trying to express. In ‘Secret Police’, ‘Pink Fruit’, ‘Don’t Make Friends With Good People’ and ‘Half-Ruined Already’, the lyrics are a bit more important. Songs like ‘Öndör Gongor’ and ‘Exeter Services’ are more all-over the place really, however, those tracks are about 5-years-old.

As you play the majority of the instruments on your albums by yourself, it must have been a mighty task for your band to learn your complicated compositions when you first got them together with the idea of performing Grapefruit live. Did you have to score some of the parts?

That’s what the band tell me, that it is quite complicated. It’s very difficult to tell though when you are writing it, as to me it all has a logic. We don’t learn new material at a very fast pace and I only had to score some of the drums, but the people I play with are very, very, very good and I have also played with them since late 2013. This tour is all material from Grapefruit apart from maybe a couple of songs – there are probably only about seven songs in the set as the songs are so long, three/four songs now exceed 10 minutes.

What has been a musical eye-opener?

There are several examples. The last really major one was when I first heard Bill Orcutt’s debut solo record, A New Way To Pay Old Debts. I had never ever or since heard guitar playing like it. It’s amazing and he is magnificent. I would like to think that you can hear the way he plays the guitar when I play, but I don’t think I am anywhere near nailing that yet. Other big eye-openers were the first time I heard The Mars Volta when I was about ten, the first time hearing or reading anything by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, also when I first heard The Topography of the Lungs by Derik Bailey, Evan Parker and Han Bennink. I have always been interested in making myself aware of these supposed absolute outer limits of free improvisation.

Who would be in your ultimate supergroup?

On drums it would be Greg Saunier from Deerhoof, he is probably the best drummer I have ever seen. Then Bill Orcutt on guitar and Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone) on bass.

What would be your perfect line-up for a concert you are putting on and where would it be? 

I would have The Jimi Hendrix Experience playing with the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir (from Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares) in a cave.

What are your future plans?

It is to study and eat well, and also to go on tour which starts on 24th March till 25th August.

Facebook: facebook.com/digitalsustain

 

 

 


 

Abattoir Blues – Interview – 2016

The Brighton five-piece have long been on our musical radar, giving us many a mad night in and around Brighton’s venues. Live they are a force to be reckoned with, bringing a performance which is absorbing, enthralling and will leave you in a sweaty stupor. On record their music is bold and direct, being dark, emotive and grungy. Wherever you hear them, their music is sure to take over your conscious. I caught up with Harry (vocals), Scott (drums) and George (guitar) from Abattoir Blues in the wake of their Nai Harvest tour to find out more about what makes their sound, as well as have a chat with a passing Paeris (from The Magic Gang) who joined in on the conversation.


What kind of music were you all brought up on?
[HARRY] My earliest memories of my parents playing music was Neil Young and Lenard Cohen. My dad was really into The Stone Roses also.
[SCOTT] My mum loves reggae.
[HARRY] That’s why Scott has such a great beat.
[SCOTT] It is literally the only thing she ever plays at home.
[GEORGE] My dad used to play a lot of Lou Reed. Both my parents are really into David Bowie. My mum also got me into Talking Heads. I had older sisters when I was growing up, so when I was 14 I got into stuff like Brand New, Hundred Reasons and more emo kind of stuff.

What was the first music you owned?
[GEORGE] The first single I brought was Without Me by Eminem. I think the first album I got was a Blink-182 rarities album, which is actually a really crap album but it was still a big deal for me at the time.
[SCOTT] My first album was Elephunk by Black Eyed Peas and it was brilliant.
[HARRY] My first single was Natasha Bedingfield’s These Words. My first album was equally awful –Ultimate R&B 2004. We actually found it just before we last went on tour and to be fair it has got some absolute bangers on it.

How did you all meet?
[HARRY] Me and George met through our mate Jack, who was our old guitarist and now plays in Bridskulls. Then we met Scott just through other bands. We had been told Scott was a really good drummer and then when our old drummer left, I spoke to Scott after one of his shows.
[SCOTT] Pretty much exactly a year ago. I originally thought I was joining Birdskulls…
[HARRY] …but we got there first. Since Sam and Scott joined, we have all gelled really well.

Must be great to be a part of this young emerging Brighton scene with the likes of The Magic Gang, Birdskulls, Sulky Boy, Our Girl, Posture, Manuka Honeys, …, under the Echochamp collective?
[HARRY] Yeah, it’s really exciting and spurs us all on. We live with The Magic Gang and Sulky Boy, and we all encourage each other to do new stuff.
[GEORGE] We feel pretty lucky to have fallen into this group of really talented bands. Kris from The Magic Gang also records a lot of our stuff.
[SCOTT] I was looking at this all from the outside before I joined the band, and you could really see that something was happening with these bands.

What is the story behind the band’s name?
[HARRY] It is from a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. I absolute love Nick Cave's music, but I am a bit worried he may want to sue us for using it. When we first started the band we couldn’t come up with a name for ages, so me and the first drummer (Dylan) went through our albums and it was one of the first ones that came up.

How would you describe your music?
[GEORGE] I guess it’s kind of 80s post-punk with an emo tinge to it. We all like pop music’s structure, that is something we actively pursue. Someone said to me the other day that watching Abattoir Blues is like watching five people playing from five different bands, as in different musical backgrounds.

What are your main influences?
[GEORGE] Everyone comes from their own musical heritages.
[SCOTT] Sam and I both love Jeff Buckley’s Grace. Our most neutral musical love is probably The Stone Roses.
[GEORGE] For me, I take a lot of influence from the guitar playing on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New.

What inspires your lyrics?
[HARRY] It’s observational. I’m quite into politics and take a lot of influence from that. There are also songs about work and more boring things too. The most recent song I have written is about the migrant crisis. My writing is about all sorts of stuff.

Do you prefer playing live or writing songs?
[HARRY] Both. You get a different buzz from each. For me the best feeling I have ever felt whilst being in the band is the feeling where you have a new song and everyone is smiling and looking around at each other realising that we have got something good here.

Are you planning to release anything new soon?
[GEORGE] It has been a while.
[HARRY] We have been really lucky in releasing only one song and still having all this good stuff happen for us. It has made us even more excited to get this new music out. We have been flourishing in our writing of late.
[GEORGE] We all think this new material is much better than our old stuff too, and it’s the same for the people who have heard it.
[HARRY] We’ll be recording soon, so hopefully we will be releasing something in the next few months. The ball is rolling.

What has been a musical eye-opener?
[HARRY] It was when I was younger and my mum first showed me Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. That was the first time I thought, “wow, music is sick!” and that it goes further than the Now compilations.
[SCOTT] Mine was when I saw this hardcore band which I think was called Ice Berg. I had never seen anyone express themselves onstage like them, in their music but also between songs. He was saying things against racism, it turned out there was a load of racist skin-heads in the audience and they then tried to fight everyone. It was seeing how it can have that kind of effect.
[GEORGE] For six/seven years, Radiohead were my favourite band and I was obsessed with them. Seeing them headline Reading in 2009 was one of my most emotional moments in music. Even before that, it was the first time I heard Kid A and realising how amazing it was. Also seeing an act like Alex G live – as I’m not musically trained, he just makes his own style and it made me realise that you really can play music however you want.

What would be your perfect line-up for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
The gig would be in the bowl of the skate park at The Level, like in the Sum 41 ‘Fat Lip’. Slowdive would be first support, then Bad Brains, with My Bloody Valentine headlining. Showgaze is the bread and hardcore punk is the filling.

If you could have written a song or album, what would it be?
[HARRY] I would have liked to have written the blue album or Pinkerton by Weezer. Liquid Swords by GZA was a pretty big album.
[GEORGE] Maybe Songs Of Leonard Cohen, that is one of my favourite albums. The song ‘One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong’ has to be one of the best songs ever made.

Have you been to any gigs recently that have stood out?
[HARRY] We saw Broardbay last night which was incredible.
[SCOTT] Juan Walter was really good.
[GEORGE] Breathe Panel are amazing live. Also Whitney at the Green Door Store was brilliant.

What are you listening to at the moment?
[GEORGE] I’ve been listening to a band called Flouriest.
[HARRY] Kendrick Lamar’s new album Untitled Unmastered is amazing.
[SCOTT] I have been listening to a lot of Coneheads.

What are your future plans?
[HARRY] We are going on tour with Nia Harvest from 25th March and will be sharing a van with them which is going to be pretty fucked. In the middle of that we are playing the O2 Forum in London with Wolf Alice, which is crazy.
[GEORGE] Straight after the tour we want to be recording and then go back on tour over the summer.

 

Paeris from The Magic Gang came and sat down with us, so I asked him more about the Echochamp collective.

What is Echochamp and how did it all start?
[PAERIS] We are all friends and everyone was doing various musical project, all showing each other our songs before putting it out there for people to hear. It made sense to group it all together under one title, as it was something we used to referrer our music to anyway. When DIY and NME would review the bands they would always mention Echochamp, even before it was a thing. We all then thought why don’t we do something with it. It has only really been this year where we have pulled our finger out with releases and doing London residency as well where we put on bands from our, you could say, circle of people who are all our mates.
[HARRY] We are a label and a promoter which act under this collective. The other day Posture who we are doing a release for, got a play on Radio 1 which was a really nice feeling for all of us.
[GEORGE] We are all very productive too, so it is nice to have an outlet where we can put stuff out.

Where is the residency and when?
[PAERIS] We are doing it at The Old Blue Last in London every month which is locked on till the end of the year. Then if we can be a bit more efficient, we will bring it down to Brighton too.

 

Facebook: facebook.com/AbattoirBluesbrighton

Twitter: twitter.com/AbattoirBlues_

 

Echochamp Facebook: facebook.com/Echochamp

Echochamp Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/Echochamp

 

Blick Bassy – Interview – 2016

Before he supports Songhoy Blues at The Great Escape Festival, we are overly excited to have Blick Bassy performing at our Alternative Escape Showcase earlier in the day. Consisting of a cellist, a trombonist and Blick, who plays banjo as well as singing in his native tongue. The dreamy West African Blues-Folk sound is stunning and on his most recent album Akö he pays homage to the American Delta Blues musician Skip James. Ahead of his time in Brighton, we put some questions to Blick to find out more about him.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cameroon, between Yaoundé and Mintaba.

Is there much of a music scene there?

Before, we used to perform in school orchestra, not any more nowadays. Most of the musicians from my generation came from the school orchestra battles in Yaoundé.

What kind of music were you brought up on?

Music from Cameroon first and some music from Brazil, but also old American soul music.

Can you remember the first album you bought?

Yes, it was a cassette by Eboa Lotin, a wonderful song-writer from Cameroon.

What was the first instrument you played?

Guitar was my first instrument. My uncle had an old guitar, I would watch him play and then, when he went out, I would try to play like him. I think I was 10 years old.

What drives you to write music?

I think music just came to me. It started with singing very early on with my mother and family when I was 6 years old. But later, after my secondary school, music hit my heart and my mind. It decided for me, to make me a musician.

Has your style of music stayed the same?

I’m just trying to grow in my art – trying to become better. Every new album is a project for me and is different from the last.

How would you briefly describe your music?

Afro contemporary music.

What are your bands main influences?

I’m listening to a lot of music: from the UK because of great song-writers, from Africa, from Spain, from the US, from France – I’m just trying to make something at the end with what all those types of music are giving to my soul.

What inspires your lyrics?

Every life scene could be a movie. I’m watching people in the street, seeing what and how their lives are treating them – from their struggles to happiness.

How do you approach the writing process?

First comes the melody – it could be anywhere, in the metro or while drinking – then I record the melody idea and start with lyrics. The “melody” doesn’t care about the place; they just come wherever I am.

Do you prefer writing music or performing live?

Life is the most beautiful gift, because you’re sharing energy/love with people you don’t even know. I love performing live.

Is there another release coming soon?

Not yet but next year yes – I can’t wait!

What has been a musical eye-opener and how has it affected you?

I think travelling is really important for every human being. That’s what really changed my thinking, going to South America, to China, Europe. Meeting lots of different people can really change your life – this is what happened to me. Outlooks are changing on our way of life – everything is changing around us, people are changing and this is what changes music as well.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring?

Eboa Lotin would bring melody, Marvin Gaye would bring emotions, Jeff Buckley would bring feeling, and Camarón de la Isla would bring strength.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Jeff Blake, Alani, Alabama Shakes, Francis Bebey.

Do you get to go to many gigs?

Yes: Prince was incredible.

What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?

Reading, sport (martial arts, MMS) and enjoying time with my family.

What are your future plans till the end of the year and after?

I just released a novel on immigration called Le Moabi Cinema. I’ll be touring and promoting my novel in the coming days. I’ll then start composing in October for the next album.

Website: http://www.blickbassy.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blickbassy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blickbassy

Sam Jordan – Interview – 2016

Meeting Sam Jordan for a beer was like meeting an old friend after years of not seeing them. He is a man who’s youthful charisma and unique ability to follow his nose has lead him all around the country; it has taken him to London and back studying at an esteemed dance college, it has taken him busking to the far ends of Northumbria and working on building sites. Now, with the upcoming release of his highly anticipated debut EP, When Golden Morning Comes, he is ready to grasp the music world by the scruff of its neck and earn his stripes with his true passion.

With a deep rooted love for folk music and exploring the desolation and paradise of mankind through his lyrical content and the hands-on approach that he expresses in his work, he is set to explore the south coast pub scene in the near future. This will act as the base point to his career as a musician before he takes off to bigger and better things. He is ready to prove to people that they need to listen to him not just with the etiquette of listening out of politeness, not wanting to be too acquainted with leg ups, he is a man that runs on the underdog story. Here’s his story so far:

I read that prior to your work as a musician you pursued a dancing career, do you feel that bleeds into your music?
Yes it does – I wouldn’t call it a career as such but I studied at a college in Deptford called Laban. It’s where the weirdos of European dance meet. It was an honour to get in but I felt like a large dog who thinks he’s a cat when I was studying there, but the practical experience on stage and the philosophy of movement is something I value now. While I was there I met one of my best friends, I knew I liked him when in our first ballet lesson we were told to say “one thing good about ourselves and one thing we needed to improve on.” People were listing the same boring things about their ballet technique. My new friend said; “The good thing about me is I am very beautiful, the thing I need to improve on is that I am very evil” – I convinced him to be my friend after a few terms and he introduced me to Dylan.

Did you find the transition from dance to music a smooth transition?
It was devastating to realise I was a dog not a cat! I was doing building work in Brighton whilst still going to dance classes on occasion before I decided to quit my job and go hitchhiking with my guitar. Me and my friend made it to Edinburgh and back busking and camping. That was the start for me.

How long were you doing that for?
So I was busking full time for a year or so as a job, I was away for many weeks at a time and these adventures affirmed my belief in humanity and made me uncomfortable enough to write some songs. I believed in people and my normal world felt tame after standing there on the road with my thumb out with a sign saying ‘North’.

Did you meet many standout characters on your journey then?
Yeah for sure, there’s a few stories. The first of which was in Stratford-upon-Avon, we wanted to see the home of the ‘Godfather of Tragedy’ – Shakespeare’s birthplace. We were looking for somewhere to camp in the dark along the riverside. A man came steaming towards us in the pitch black in a black leather jacket, we could smell him coming and we were terrified. When he stopped, he was just as scared as we were, he thought we were the police – turns out he’d been nicking diesel from the food festival near the water. He pointed us in the direction of his camp though, told us the one rule was no stealing – we didn't sleep well. We met an old lady named Pam in Northumbria. Pam picked us up on a roundabout in the night, she was about 82 and she’d just been couch surfing in the South of France. She said she wanted to return the karma for staying on a couch for free so she let us camp in her back garden. She hosted humanist weddings and funerals and she took us down to the beach the next day when it was windy and she bought us a coffee. Finally, Boy George’s brother picked us up and he was supposed to take us to Bristol but we ended up in London ‘cause he missed the exit four times – he was an interesting guy, he sewed Swarovski crystals to popstars' costumes, he seemed like he’d been to a few parties in his life.

Can you give us a bit of background on yourself and The Dead Boys then and how it came to light as a musical concept?
Well I have been a singer boy since I could talk, making up songs and rhymes. I took music seriously as soon as I realised the whole dog thing. I was playing around Brighton and London and people around me said I needed a band. I didn’t listen because I wanted to be comfortable with no band before I started putting extra noises behind my songs. When people stopped telling me I needed a band I put one together. I’ve known the drummer, Asher, since I was born, he said he wanted to take his drumming seriously and I agreed. Ez, the guitarist is a writer in his own right but he liked my songs and said he should play lead for me and I agreed. James was studying jazz at Trinity while I was at Laban, he plays the hammond organ. I asked if he would play with me and he agreed too so that was The Dead Boys founded.

Do you have any upcoming gigs or support slots then?
I’m confirming shows everyday at the moment. We play an intimate show at Marwood Cafe on Saturday 12th March, we are then headlining the Servant Jazz Quarter in Dalston on 16th March and then support Jingo at The Shackwell Arms 13th April. The rest will be announced as we go on t’internet so yeah, keep looking about for us.

In terms of your debut EP, When Golden Morning Comes, how did you go about recording that? Was there a certain sound in mind or ethic in the studio?
Yeah it was recorded 90% live, using analogue equipment. 60s tape machines, real plate reverb, eight tracks which are exceptionally, erm, ’primitive’ in today’s recording world. I heard about this place called Toe Rag studios and I’d just read an article from Bob Dylan about recording without headphones so it’s in a live room – it was interesting because it’s utilised to limit the degree of separation between the performer and the final recording. So, I went down to meet Liam Watson, the owner of the studio, head engineer and producer. He had worked on some amazing music – The White Stripes, Billy Childish etc – he didn’t sell the place to me because a lot of people want that sound but don’t know the requirements and limitations to get it. We used Luke Oldfield as an engineer who was fresh off recording an album for The Wytches. He was our baptism into the cyanide that is live analogue recording. You have to be tight, subtle, bold and everything in-between. There’s no room for indecision and un-clarity unless you mean it. And when it comes to the mix you have to live with your mistakes and listen into the recording rather than expect it to bounce off the ceilings and walls. 

Thats interesting because it seems in Brighton, in certain circles there is such a push for polish and sheen, whats your understanding of the comparison between the two?
I think they push for this sheen in a lot of places. You listen to Radio 1 nowadays and it seems there is a plastic coating over a lot of the music. It works with the style of the digital age, but music traditionally handled with more care in the studio sounds gross. When you hear a more honest approach to a recording you can hear the moving parts to the song, you can hear the humanity.

How do you find the Brighton music scene works with your music in general?
I’ve never been tied to a scene in Brighton. Over the last few years I’ve just been looking for others who share the same sentiment in music making to me. In a scene there is often a false sense of security, there’s an idea that if you’re playing well in Brighton then you are sorted. It doesn’t quite work like that I don’t think, you really need to earn your stripes.

How did you find the return to Brighton then post-travelling?
Brighton is home to me. I like the sleazy seaside town that it is. It has a decaying undercurrent and it has virtue, a paradise of sorts – an accepting place, nice but not too nice, the template for somewhere like Venice Beach. When you’re training up as a musician here, you need to completely downgrade yourself as there’s so many people here in the lunch queue. You need to earn your right to play here but there’s always somewhere to start. I’ve played squats, art clubs, spirit ceremonies, empty neon bars, you name it. I’m from the plain suburbs of Patcham, it’s the border between the countryside and an estate, it’s right in the middle of aspiration and existence.

So, as a general question, whats your musical influence?
Well my base is in folk music. Real folk music though, not the acoustic singer-songwriter stuff you hear about of late. Leadbelly, John Jacob Niles, Odetta, the Alan Lomax recordings, Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk. I love the American recordings, noticing the Celtic and English melodies in them and with the people who sing, you can feel the weight of the song, people who know about songs. I like Johnny Cash and Elvis. I found Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits just after Dylan. Billie Holliday, Lana Del Rey, Benjamin Clementine. I like the bands that ain’t tame, like The Doors, The Velvet Underground, The White Stripes, Nirvana and The Libertines – prior to the new album.

All these groups have a deep level of lyrical content, is this something you work closely with?
Yeah, this is a main concern of mine. When you hear the EP, this should come across. The guys I listen to seem to have done a lot of reading so I try to follow them – Bukowski, Arthur Rimbaud and Ginsberg. When writing I’m concerned with tragedy, murder, work, the male condition, love. Things that scare me.

So when can we expect the EP to drop?
6th May is the date. 

Website: http://www.officialsamjordan.com
Facebook:facebook.com/samjordanmusic

 

 

 

Ellie Ford – Interview – 2016

Ellie Ford’s been on the scene for a while now. The band performs in all kinds of formats, but are instantly recognisable, being one of the only bands in Brighton to incorporate a harp. Hearing the news that an album is imminent, with a launch in late April, we got in touch to get the rundown on the band’s progress, plans, and the scoop on the album.

What’s the band set up now vs. what it used to be?
At the moment there are five of us, and I used to play in a band a couple of years ago with Andy, the violin player. So I guess that was the very first incarnation of the band, although back then we were called Kate, and there were four of us, and we all wrote the songs. Since then we’ve all done our own thing, but Andy and I have played together for a long time. At the moment, the band is complete, in that I don’t feel like we need to add anymore to it, however, it would be really great to have brass players. Although if we go down that road, I’d like to have an entire orchestra! But yeah, as a band it is quite self sufficient, because we’ve got drums, clarinet, violin, keys, guitar, and we all kind of play other stuff as well. I play harp, guitar, and I can play piano. Andy plays mandolin and violin, so it switches around quite a lot. We’ve been doing this sort of flexible band set up for a couple of years now.

Why do you call the group Ellie Ford?
I guess it’s because I started off this project by myself so all the songs and everything started off as a solo project, and it was just easy to call it my name. I never really thought about it, it just happened and it stuck. I have thought about changing it since we made the album. Now we’re putting it out, you know, does that make me a complete egomaniac? It’s true that now we play as more of a band than ever, everyone’s involved and it’s more of a group thing.

So, although you’re called Ellie Ford, you operate more as a band now. Is that reflected in your songwriting?
I will write the songs and bring them to the band, and then they sort of write and contribute their parts and we do all that stuff together, and that no doubt changes the song. Generally the structure stays the same, but putting all the other parts on the songs, in a way that’s what makes it what it is. Putting creative drum parts in is so fun, and Freddie’s so good at doing that, he’s such a good player, he’s really musical the way he plays – I really like it. We’ve started to do a bit of writing together, so maybe that will happen in the future.

How does the harp fit in with the songwriting, and is it quite a dominant instrument?
Yeah, usually, I sort of split my writing between harp and guitar. Normally it forms the base of the song, and I think it sets the rhythm of the piece as well – you can be really rhythmic with it. It’s so big and there’s so much opportunity for change, that writing on it helps lead the song into all its different sections. You know, if you suddenly break from a strong rhythmical bit on the harp to some lovely arpeggios, then that shifts it into a different world. So it sort of lays out the foundations and you stick everything else on top.

So how does one take up the harp? Where can you even buy a harp?
There is a shop in Brighton that sells harps actually. I bought it from a company called Pilgrim Harps. If you’re interested in playing they’ll do a sort of loan, I paid a certain amount per month for a small harp and rented it for a year or so. I say small but it’s quite big, maybe a meter off the floor. So I basically sat in my room and learnt: I taught myself and watched videos, and then I just started writing stuff. I wanted more on the lower octave, so I needed a bigger harp to get that range. I love that massive resonance of the bass strings, I really liked doing more simple stuff like big chords. I played a concert harp at an open day they had, I’d never even seen one, but I played it and thought ‘Oh my God I have to have this.’

Does it concern you that having a harp in your band might alienate you from some mainstream music circles? You don’t often hear a harp on Radio 1.
I don’t really know. The thing is, we’re just doing it; It’s not for Radio 1, it’s not for Radio 2 or whatever, it’s for itself. I’ve never been the sort of person who thinks, ‘I’d like to do it like this, so it can go on that.’ It’s not that I don’t think about it, but what’s the point in making something just so Radio 1 will like it? Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but it is what it is. I guess it is a bit different and it is something people pick up on. It’s an amazing instrument, but I try to not let it all be about its novelty.

How do you find the right kind of events for a harp-led band in Brighton?
In Brighton there’s a sort of scene, there’s definitely a few promoters and venues where you can go and play, and people will be quiet and they will listen. So I run a few gigs with friends and put them on because we want to play or whatever, but generally if someone asks us to play a gig, we can usually gauge it by the venue whether it’s going to be right or not. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on in churches and things round here and there’s a lot of good venues, like the Komedia and The Latest Music Bar and stuff like that. You can guarantee that if you’re not playing completely awful music people will give you a chance.

Well let’s talk about new releases. You have an album coming out?
Yes, it’s coming out at the end of April. I have one solo EP out that I did a couple years ago. Since then I’ve been writing this one and recording it, and yeah, it’s very exciting that it’s coming out!

What ambitions do you have for your future releases, and do you plan to do collaborations?
I’m a bit of a musical loner sometimes with writing, so I find collaborations a bit difficult, but with the right person it could be great. In terms of future releases, album two is underway already, now that album one is all recorded.

So if you could collaborate with anyone, alive or dead, anyone, who would it be?
That’s a good question. I don’t know about one specific person, but I would like to collaborate with an entire orchestra. So maybe my collaboration would be with someone who writes the arrangement for an orchestra. I imagine almost having it as two sides of the stage, the entire orchestra on one side, facing just me on the other. Yeah, I’d love that.

What’s the DJing about? You recently played a set at the Wainwright Sisters’ gig. Is that something you do often?
I admit that I didn’t really know how to do that role, as no, it’s not a regular occurrence in my life. It was kind of fun to put some songs together and play music that I like though. There were a couple of people who came up and went, ‘what are you playing?’ so that was nice. I played three sets, in the beginning some more kind of quiet folky stuff, and then I tried to build it up towards the end. So I played some Timber Timbre, Natalie Prass, some Simon and Garfunkel, a bit of Bonobo: quite a range actually but mainly just music that I like. No records though, so I am a bit of a cheat DJ.

Do you or any other members of the band have any side projects going on?
Well, like I mentioned, Andy has his solo project, Andrew Stuart Buttle, and we play together sometimes. Harry, our guitarist, is in another band, he plays with Joe McCarty who’s another really good Brighton songwriter. So yeah, a few bands and stuff going on. Freddie, our drummer has a side project called Hot Moth. They are just starting out but they’re really good. I just sort of play loads of harp.

Are you playing any festivals this year?
Ermmm, to be confirmed!

Do you ever think about multi-media events or any projects that would take you away from the conventional gig?
Yeah, I’ve thought about it loads actually. I would love to try to incorporate some other media into my music. Music and visuals go so well together, and they’re so powerful when you combine them. Also interpretive dance can be really great with music. I played at a cinema once, it was an old cinema and they still had the projector and big screen and everything, so I got them to project the live feed from the International Space Station’s visual of earth while I was playing, because I’m obsessed with physics and space. It was so cool, obviously I couldn’t see it but I could feel it, and it was good. So yeah, I’d like to think about doing that, but I don’t know how it would work or what form it would be in.

If you could perform anywhere, not just in Brighton, where would it be?
Royal Albert Hall, that would be really fun.

And if you were given free reign with an unlimited budget, what would you do?
What, with my life? Hawaii. In terms of music, I guess I have a free reign anyway because I have my own mind, but the unlimited budget would be absolutely brilliant. I would spend a lot of time in a really good rehearsal studio with my band and just play. One of our biggest obstacles right now is we don’t have enough time to just sit in a room with everybody not at work, with no time limits, and just play and write. Obviously we’d do that in Hawaii or something. Also I’d go exploring, being out in nature is good for you and for inspiration I think.

Website: http://www.elliefordmusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliefordmusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elliefordmusic