To make it in the highly competitive world of music you have to be super dedicated, work your butt off, and try and close down as many distractions as you can. Joni Mitchell famously did that, working all hours of the day to get a song just right, finding the space and quiet to get ‘in the zone’. Nick Cave has an ‘office’ that he goes to where he just writes, thinks and writes. Paul McCartney used to get in to ‘work’ before anyone else so that he could develop ideas in solitude. It’s a side of the music industry you don’t see very often, and for good reason… artists like to show off their finished works, not some half-finished scrap. It’s all about the mystique, the mysterious ways in which creative types get from A to B.
Rewind to Glastonbury 1992. A different era, a different time; no mobiles, no social media, no internet. It was still regarded as a 'hippy' festival, nowhere near the kind of festival it is now, where more cappuccinos are consumed than pints (well, maybe…). For Brighton band the Levellers it was the moment they realised that they had made it, after only four years together as a band. But they didn't know it until they got to the stage, a daytime slot on the esteemed Pyramid Stage. "It was effectively our Glastonbury," says Mark Chadwick, singer, songwriter and guitarist with the band, as can be heard in the new and excellent documentary of the band, A Curious Life. "Even the media – who hated us – knew it. We didn't understand why everyone wanted to talk to us. They knew before we knew that we'd broken, that we'd made it. It was a shock, they knew all the words. It was absolutely nuts!"
"Dark Horses has been born out of a curiosity and defiance. There are a fluid number of members and this makes for continuous growth and experimentation," says Lisa. "We never really know how the next recordings will sound like; perhaps this is why we like to work with the same producer, Richard Fearless. He keeps the 'Horses' sonic focus and identity clear." Fearless was the founder of Death in Vegas, a band who merged psychedelic rock with techno, krautrock and big beat, and seems the perfect choice to help give Dark Horses that slightly dark and gothic edge their music and personas demand. "We recorded Hail Lucid State in a converted barn in Ovingdean, with views of the tumultuous sea, thunder and rain storms in the background. Fearless brings with him a wealth of musical knowledge but most of all an ability to draw out the best performances in us all. There is a trust there which allows for this fast and furious way of working. And a lot of weed…"
Marine Parade, which runs up from Brighton Pier towards Brighton Marina, is architecturally iconoclastic in many ways, many of the seafront buildings built in the Regency style. And then there's the unique and Grade II listed left, which links the upper and lower promenades, and for which £½ million has been spent on to make it work again!! I've been here more than 20 years and hadn't ever been in it, and so it was quite a thrill to find it working and manned as we made our way to a lower promenade cafe. I can easily see why Adam Freeland is very much at home here.
"A friend of mine saw this flat where I live now and said 'I think you are meant to be living there. I haven’t seen inside but I have a very strong vibe about you'. OK… I walked in, and it was like I had already seen it in my mind's eye and said this is where I am meant to be."
It's been a long time coming so we're happy that it's finally out. There's lots going on which is great, I don't think we've even yet fully seen the repercussions from it because it's literally only been out for a couple of weeks. The album has had really good feedback, the best response for us so far has been a four star review in Q Magazine which was really, really cool and hopefully will get us lots of exposure. We got a review in R2 Magazine (Rock & Reel) which was great and we're going back for an interview with them which is really cool and of course BrightonsFinest gave us one of the best reviews we've ever received!
It’s great to have our review acknowledged but in all seriousness the prestige of Q must have been a bit of a boost – I picked up a copy myself and was chuffed for you guys…
It was really cool to go into a shop and buy a magazine that's shelved all over the world and see your little square in it. It's really, really nice. I don't think we've had any bad press. I still don't feel like people really get us but really that's a good thing.
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.
Influenced by the likes of The Birthday Party, Gang of Four, Orange Juice and The Fall, The Wedding Present soon developed a distinctive sound; super fast rhythmic guitar combined with a wall of aggressive noise or some jangly moments, along with almost invariably witty and colourful lyrical narratives, For the earlier part of their career they were at the vanguard of the 'indie' scene, additionally taking on board some American hardcore and punk influences, with the result that The Wedding Present, helped along by Gedge's distinctive baritone voice, had created a fresh and invigorating sound, a style that was later borrowed by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, whose fast rhythmic songs and wall of noise bear more than a passing resemblance.