Starsailor- James Walsh

James Walsh has had various levels of success as frontman to one of the most iconic British indie-rock bands and as a solo artist. Starsailor are set to continue to impress not only their loyal fans but also a new wave of fans of all ages and following the annoucement of their UK tour and ahead of the release of their next studio album, James was able to spare some time to speak to me about what got him into music, the evolution of the Starsailor sound and advise to all up and coming bands:

You have been on the music scene for while now with your solo work and with Starsailor. Is music something you alway wanted to do?

Yes, music is one of the few things I have tried my hand at and excelled in. I love football and I love watching it and playing it but try as I might I cant quite seem to get any good at it. Or certainly not when i was growing up. Whereas music was something that I enjoyed but also got better and better at the more work I put into it. You are taught as a kid that if you work hard at anything you can achieve it which isnt entirely true. Its about finding what you are good at and what you excel in and then concentrating your efforts on that.

Was there a key moment in your life that cemented the fact that this is what you wanted to do and that this was going to be a full time career for you?
I think watching The Verve. I had been passionate about music before that and enjoyed playing in different bands and I was already studying music at college. But I think that seeing The Verve on that huge stage in front of all of those people, that was the catalyst that made me think thats what I want. It almost became an obsession after that, this was the be all and end all and I’ve got to get there basically, Iv got to get on one of those big stages and communicate how i feel about things to the world through my songs 

Is there something that you use to give you inspiration  for your lyrics to help you commuicate that message about how you feel about things?

Its varied over the years, I was 20 when we signed and I am 37 now. So back in the day it was a combination of the ultimate contradiction that exists in most teenagers or those in their early 20s, where  on one hand you are supremely confident and think you can take on the world but on the other hand extremely insecure particularly around relationships and girls. There is a lot of songs about all the ups and downs of that and just generally feeling a bit of a misfit until all the music fell into place and i had somewhere I belonged.

I know with Starsilor particularly you have had a lot of success, some fantastic songs have come out and great albums, your new Starsailor album is due for release 1st September. Just from speaking to people you can sense that this is highly anticipated by your fans, is it a great feeling to finally get it out there?

Yes definately especially after such a long time away. Its good because you can gauge a bit. We have put out a few songs and had a good response. In the old days people wouldnt know anything about the album apart from reviews and maybe one song on the radio  so a lot of people who have downloaded the 2 songs we have put out there have given us great response and we are maybe not as nervous as we would normally be that people enjoy the album.

All This Life- https://starsailor.lnk.to/ATLoffyt

And its fifth studio, are we still going to get the Starsailor sound we are used to or is there any surprises on there?

A bit of both really. Its the most difficult thing as an artist is staying true to yourself. What drives you and inspires you but also paying some respect to the audience that got you where you are. So hopefully we have stuck a decent balance between staying true to the sound thats got is where we are and also enhancing it a bit. Songs like “F.I.A”., “Caught in the middle” and “Take a little time” are probably the furthest away from traditional Starsailor sound. Whereas the other tracks are maybe slightly more in keeping with the essence of “Love is fear” and going back to the original sound.


You have also announced your UK. tour throughout the whole of October, what can be expected of those shows?

A bit of everything. As much as we would love to get on stage and play the new album in its entiretly there is a lot of people whowould  have listened at the time when the first and second album came out and would represent a key time in their life like it does for us. Maybe they were at university or college and they want to go back there, they want to go back and hear those songs that they remember so we want to give people that warm nostalgic feeling but hopefully impress them and keep them with us for the journey on the new stuff aswell.


I last saw you play IOW festival and you drew some incredible crowd numbers, do you prefer a festival crowd or are you more into your own shows?

Our own shows are great becuase people have gone to the trouble of coming to see us but the advatage of a festival and the best feeling is when you have gone down well at a festival because the advantage of a festival is that little bit of friendly competition. But there is definately that element that you want to be one of the bands that people are talking about, seeing those messages and getting that crowd response that you were one of their highlights. It gives an extra incentive to really put on a great show and give it all you have got. 


Being on stages such as the Hard Rock stages, you must get to see a lot of fantastic up and coming bands and artists, is there anyone that you think stands out as one to watch for the future?

There is loads of great acts out there. There is a lad called Will Morgan who we have worked with recently he is fantastic. We have been fortunate to have some great bands support us on the road. Paves who are a great little rock and roll band, Bang Bang Romeo, also Sigrid, she hasnt supported us but that is definately an artist that Im excited about for the furture. She has come out of the blocks pretty strong with a great EP. 

Since getting the chance to speak to many bands and artists both established and new,  I have noticed that everyone has admirable commitment and passion for what they do and how they do it. Do you have any advise for those up and coming bands who are really trying to make it?

I think its imporant to do it as early as possible. Form a band, concentrate on the songs and enjoy it as early as possible. As soon as bands become too desperate for a deal I think the sound becomes fake, they chase it too hard. Whereas a band should be about being young and enjoying it and having that passion to make the best music you can possibly make. Not just the passion to be successful to get a deal and to sacrifice the sound you naturally make in order to make a living from music. That was a key thing that changed for us, as soon as we stopped chasing the record deal too hard and concentrated on the songs and doing our own thing instead of trying to fit in the scene thats when ironically it all came together.  I think its better for the audience if they see a band up there doing something new that has a smile on their face instead of thinking that the next showcase has to be the one that gets a deal or a tour. Just enjoy it. 

The new album “All This Life” is available to pre-order now with tracks “All this life” and “Listen to your Heart” available to listen to with your pre-order. 

Tickets to the UK tour can be found at http://www.starsailorband.co.uk/tour.asp

Advertisements

Bang Bang Romeo

Bang Bang Romeo are set for big things with a fantastic array of tracks under their belt, they have been making waves on the festival scene this summer. The Sheffield based band provide a eccentric variation on rock n roll with inspiring live sets attracting vast crowds wherever they go. 


Lead singer Anastasia Walker (lead singer), Ross Cameron (guitar) and Richard Gartland (drums) sat down for me to give me the low down on the in’s and out’s of Bang Bang Romeo:

 How did you all meet?

STARS: Ross and I were performing at the same festival in Doncaster and we got introduced to each other by a mutual friend.

ROSS: Yeah, I’ve written songs for as long as I can remember and have been in a few bands, but as soon as I met Stars I couldn’t wait to get her singing my work and to start writing together.

STARS: We then went through a few line ups over a few years as we tried to get the right band together and when Rich was recommended to us we got in touch and invited him down.

RICH: Yeah I had to go through that awkward audition process around 4 years ago, I’d just left a band I’d been with for a few years, but I was looking for a serious project and I was ridiculously impressed with the songwriting and vocal talent in the band.

STARS: And that’s the line up we have today! 

And what a line up it is! Where did the name “Bang Bang Romeo” come from?

STARS: It actually came about in a Tapas bar, we were clearly a bit under the influence of alcohol, too many tequilas haha, but we just bounced around some words that summed up the themes of our writing.

ROSS: We eventually settled on BBR, the “Bang Bang” reflecting the themes of hate/violence and the “Romeo” is a nod to the love themes in Shakespeare and the lyrical content of our songs.

When did your love for music start?

STARS: I think I can speak for all of us when I say that music has been a part of us all our lives, growing up in families that were big music lovers but my Dad summed it up the best when he told me I came out of the womb singing. Great bit of imagery there!

ROSS: Yeah, I remember the days as a youngster sitting looking up to my dad playing Magical Mystery Tour on vinyl on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t think there was a moment where I started to love music, it just has always been.

RICH: I’ve always loved music, my Dad brought me up on Billy Idol/Adam Ant/Queen all of the big performers of the 80’s etc but it was when I was encouraged to pick up drums and put down my chess set in lower school that I really developed a passion for music and performing live. I got big into Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, John Bonham were all massive influences on my early playing.  

An incredible mix of great music there. What type of music do you all listen to? Who are your favourite artists?

ROSS: We all listen to varied stuff, from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to Sigur Ros & David Bowie to Oasis. I’m a big Elbow fan, and we’re definitely partial to the odd movie soundtrack too, Tarantino movies are a shared love that we can all say play a big part in the band. We love the theatrics and imagery, the Pulp Fiction soundtrack is one of the favourites in the van.

STARS: I genuinely listen to everything, my Dad brought me up on The Beatles, Radiohead, Ocean Colour Scene, Little Richard. But from my Grandparents side, Classical music has played a big part too. Nothing makes me cry harder than a bit of Andrea Bocelli haha! My favourite songs range from ABBA to Shirley Bassey. Whatever ignites those goosebumps!

RICH: We all have artists we share love for, I’m another massive Elbow fan, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, but one of my favourite albums of all time is by an American artist, Big Whiskey and the Gruu Grux King by Dave Matthews Band. Amazing blend of folk and rock music, a proper musicians band. I’m also big into Band of Skulls, Arcade Fire of course, but I also love my sixties funk too, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, The Meters, Sly and the Family Stone.

When it comes to song writing, do you all get involved?

STARS: Ross has such an amazing catalogue of songs he’s written, we all write individually, but usually Ross and I will get together with a lyric idea or melody/chord progression and flesh it out a little acoustically.

ROSS: If a song works acoustically then you know you’re onto something special with more depth than just depending on production.

RICH: Yeah, then we’ll take it into the studio or rehearsal room and develop the structure and arrangement, there’s songs we’ve had for years that have all changed dramatically recently whilst we’ve been in the studio recording our album. Modern technology really gives you unlimited options and we love playing around with different sounds and developing the tracks that way.

What gives you inspiration for great lyrics?

ROSS: Lennon/Mcartney, Guy Garvey, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Thom Yorke are all massive inspirations for me in terms of lyrics. We tend to write a lot about the real things, love/hate/death etc, there’s a lot of themes of doomed love. It’s something that nearly everyone can resonate with, we try to create some sort of story or picture and we’d prefer for the listener to generate their own thoughts on what we’re talking about. We like to ask questions.

STARS: Lyrics for me are like a diary entry. Whatever is moving me at that particular moment whether it be personal or something that happens in the world. That’s what inspires me. Something that’s niggling away and just needs to be expressed!

 Who do you play your songs to first to gauge a reaction?

ROSS: Our families and partners are the biggest judge on new material, my Mum is possibly our biggest fan and she runs the rule over new songs. In fact in the early days she was hearing songs well before the band were haha.

STARS: Yeah, ultimately we love just seeing what the crowd says though, the best gauge of a song is the fans, and if we’re happy and they like it then it’s mission accomplished.

RICH: The three of us are also our biggest critics, we’re all perfectionists and have such a good relationship with each other that we’re able to constructively critique each other’s writing. It means we get the best out of each other.

 You have just released the video for your new single “Chemical”, what has the reaction been like so far?

STARS: IT’S BEEN AMAZING!

ROSS: The entire process in itself was an amazing experience, seeing Ralph work first hand, who is in an incredible actor, and then watching Olivia’s stunning performance was a memory we’ll have forever.

STARS: Yeah, she had me in tears a few times during the day haha.

RICH: I think it was important for us to do everything locally too, all the props/costumes/extras were from Doncaster and even the venue, the beautiful Rossington Hall, is local to us. To have these resources and be able to keep it so close to home was special, and David Dutton the director was able to visualise everything we’d dreamed of.

STARS: Since then, everyone’s reaction has been brilliant, we can’t thank everyone enough for their support, Chemical was a track we’d held onto for a long time and we feel like we were finally able to do it justice.

Chemical Video- https://youtu.be/rq_sDA1EM3Q

I saw you play an incredible set at Isle of Wight Festival, how was that weekend for you?
STARS: We love Isle of Wight, it was where we got our first big break with This Feeling three years ago so it will always have a special place in our hearts.

ROSS: Yeah, John Giddings and Solo, the organisers of the festival saw the reaction we got there and have had us back for the past two years on the Big Top. This year was amazing, and we feel totally at home on a big stage.

RICH: Exactly yeah, we love the space to roam, and I mean you saw it yourself, STARS likes to have her own little adventure during our sets. We never really know where she’ll end up.

STARS: Haha, yeah, the bigger the stage the more space I have to roam. But it’s the whole atmosphere of the festival that we like too, it’s such a community, and the staff treat you so well.

ROSS: The festival has so much heritage and history, we were lucky enough to be asked to play a show to open the exhibit at Tapnell Farm a few weeks before the festival this year, I got to play the Isle of Wight strat from 2015, and it really feels like we’ve been allowed to become part of the festival’s history, which for us is such a privilege.

RICH: So many of our inspirations have played the festival too, we have our fingers crossed that we’ll be invited back again next year.


You have been playing the festival scene with some brilliant bands while involved with This Feeling, are there any in particular who you have become big fans of?

STARS: Sounds like we’re just saying it but ALL the bands at This Feeling are great in their own way, we have our favourites, but Mikey Jonns really curates quality as well as quantity. He has great taste and a history of picking out bands that go on to do amazing things, Catfish and Blossoms are just two bands that have come through the ranks in recent years.

ROSS: Yeah there’s such an amazing atmosphere there, bands watching bands, nobody encapsulates that vibe more than Paves or Breed. At nearly every This Feeling event you’ll see one of the lads.

RICH: Yeah the surge in popularity of Grime music recently has been down to it being a movement the Grime community created, artists supported each other, providing their own promotion and Mikey Jonns is creating a similar movement. The hard work and relentless passion of a man consistently proving that guitar music isn’t dead.

STARS: We have our favourites though, we’ll mention Paves and Breed again haha. Then there’s The Wholls, Blinders, Shimmer Band…

RICH: The Americas, False Heads, Sheafs,

ROSS: Liberty Ship, Blackwaters, White Room

RICH: Strawberries, Heavy Suns, The Cosmics, there’s so many, we could go on forever.

ROSS: Jordan Allen, The Assist haha.

 You have played quite a few festivals this summer and still have others in the pipeline including Reading and Leeds Festival end of August, What do you like best about the festival sets?

STARS: It’s all about never knowing what to expect, the tent empties between acts, and there’s always that feeling of what if we clash with a major act, but 9 times out of 10 the tent fills and you end up winning over a bunch of new fans.

ROSS: Yeah we often do it ourselves during festivals, wander into an unknown tent and find your new favourite band. It’s worth the mud, cardboard burgers and sleeping rough haha.

RICH: Yeah, there’s a sense of freedom too, it’s not like a headline set, where people are there to see their favourite songs performed, it means we can experiment with the set and try out new material.

 What can we expect of your set at Reading and Leeds Festival?

STARS: Well we recently had our first ever headline set at Y Not cancelled, which was disappointing, so we’ll be bringing it all to our final major festival of the year. Expect a bigger live performance than ever, recent events have meant that the three of us are able to reevaluate the way we do our live show, so many more doors are open, extra instruments on stage etc and the usual over the top drama and extravagance haha.

ROSS: Yeah, with the album being more or less complete we have more songs to dip into too, old ones that people haven’t heard for a while and new ones never played live yet.

RICH: We’re really looking forward to it, the gloves are off, and we’re so excited to hear what people make of it.

 What is next for Bang Bang Romeo?

STARS: We’re playing Pride in Doncaster next, we had the pleasure to perform a rearrangement of Somewhere Over the Rainbow as part of the soundtrack to their 50th Anniversary Film, which is such an honour for us.

ROSS: Then we have Reading of course, and a couple of smaller festivals in September. A hometown show to announce FINALLY! It’s been a long time.

RICH: We then have the ALIVE tour in October, our biggest tour to date, touring the country, some amazing venues, 12 dates, with three of our favourite up and coming bands, Shimmer Band, Blinders and Blackwaters.

ROSS: We’re also working on having Hans Zimmer do an orchestral arrangement of our album, but there’s some stumbling blocks at the moment that we have to work through. We want him to perform it in space, and he seems reluctant but, watch this space…..HAHAHA.

STARS: And there’s other exciting…stuff, that we’re not allowed to talk about yet, but all will be revealed I guess. We couldn’t be happier with the way things are going at the moment.

https://www.bangbangromeo.com/


The Jackobins

The Jackobins are:

Dominic  – Vocals

Veso – Guitar

Tom – Bass

Sean  – Drums

The Jackobins are a Liverpool based band who have taken the festival scene by storm this summer with a series of incredibly energetic sets and zealous tracks. Despite changes to band members, their latest (and hopefully final) arrangement has allowed them to refocus, cement band dynamics and put out great music. They have picked up a strong fan base along the way and following their recent announcement where they will be supporting The Wholls, they will no doubt continue to grow and be one to watch in the very near future. 


I had a chat with bassist Tom Donoghue about how his love for music has played a part in The Jackobins and what is coming up for the band:

How did you all meet? I think Dom and Veso met in karaoke bar where Dom was obviously hogging the mic and after hearing him sing, Ves insisted they form a band. Me and Sean met in college and joined the band later on after a few line up changes. 

When did your love for music start? Personally I’ve always loved music as far back as I can remember I used to sit and listen to my parents cassettes and CD’s for hours at a time, Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and the rest but it really started when I watched the Live8 concert on telly whatever year that was 2005/6 maybe, I was about 9 or 10 and I couldn’t bare chart music at the time all the acts that were on throughout the day couldn’t really stimulate a 9 year old but later on in the night when Pink Floyd and The Who played I was amazed at these 60 year old men doing what they do and it’s all I’ve wanted to do since.

What type of music do you all listen to? Who are your favourite artists? All four of us have a wide range in our music tastes, when we’re together on the way to a gig we tend to listen to up and coming bands most of them we’re quite often on the same bill. Life At The Arcade, The Americas, Mint, The Shimmer Band, The Wholls, Dreamwife, Bang Bang Romeo, The Assist, the list just keeps going really.

As you said the band have gone though a few line up changes however with you and Sean now well and truelly a firm part of the Jackobins, do you all get involved in the song writing? Yeah it comes quite naturally for the four of us to write a song together. We don’t sit down and say lets write a song, we just kind of jam an idea or two and keep adding to it until the bones of a song is there and it works. We don’t write a song as anything less than a foursome because we believe in writing together as a band.

What gives you inspiration for great lyrics? Dom, being the one who sings them, is definitely the main lyric writer and he has a great concept of how lyrics and melody need to work together for the sake of a song and it seems like he just sings whatever is on his mind as we’re writing the song and that sort of becomes it and he just goes off and finalises them until a song is studio ready.

Who do you play your songs to first to gauge a reaction? We tend to play our songs to people who aren’t going just tell us what we want to hear because having a fresh pair of ears on something you’ve been so close to for however long it’s took to get it ready is always a good idea. Industry people who we trust are usually first to hear new material.

I saw you play an incredibly energetic set at the Jack Rocks stage at Isle of Wight Festival, how was that for you? The Isle of Wight set for us was amazing, we’d only been playing together for just over 2 months and it was a Friday night slot at the first major festival of the year so we knew we had to gear up for it, playing the set is a bit of a blur to me now but walking off stage at the end to nothing but rave reviews was pretty special considering we’re still technically a new band.

You are playing a few festivals this summer including Victorious Festival in August, What do you like best about the festival sets? The thing about festivals is that they’re as raw as it comes, no soundcheck, you’re not selling tickets so you have no idea how many people are going to turn up to see you you’re literally just setting up, playing and hoping for the best. We’ve had some fantastic turn outs at festivals and played some of our favourite sets, the best thing for me is gathering a crowd of people who have probably never heard of us and seeing them singing along and having it.

What can we expect of your set at Victorious Festival? Victorious is one we’ve all been excited about since it got confirmed, it’s great to be part of another fantastic line up and we really just want it to go the same way as all of our other festival slots this summer, we want to see people on the barrier having it and singing along and make sure anyone who isn’t having it at first is having it large by the end.

What is next for The Jackobins? We’re really excited to play victorious and Reading festivals and we’ve got some big announcements coming soon. Watch this space.

Be sure to catch The Jackobins on tour with The Wholls this September and also at Victorious Festival August bank holiday in Southsea,Portsmouth 

https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/

The Novatones


With some incredibly influential supporters, could The Novatones be the next best indie brit pop band to come out of Hampshire? Ahead of their set at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth this August bank holiday, Ant, Mac, Sean and Toby gave up some of their time to answer some questions for me:

How did you all meet?

Ant: Me and Sean were mates at school. We did have 2 other lads from school with us but we fell out quote bad. Me and Sean wanted to keep the essence of the band the same so instead of looking to friends to fill the spot we scouted Toby and Mac from other bands. We told them and they were keen, they asked when the audition was and we said it didn’t matter, the audition was a night out. We never met them in person before and they had never met each other, it was a laugh…. they got the job!

Mac: I’s seen the band a few times, my old band supported them a lot and I remember thinking that I’d always wanted to play in a band with that much energy and fun, now I’m here and its always as amazing as it looked then!

Where did the name “The Novatones” come from?

Sean: Ant and Mac are better for answering this

Mac: The name story is best told by Ant to be honest.

Ant: A long drove to Coventry to pick up an Epiphone SupaNova (Ant’s Union Jack Guitar) and a whole list of names we all hates. Think we were called The Click or something terrible like that at one stage.

When did you love for music start?

Ant: For me it was summer road trips with my mum and dad cranking the Eagles up at full blast. From nicking my brothers Nirvana cassettes, to my sisters underlying love for Prince. I was the youngest and that really did have a huge effect on my varied taste in music.

Sean: Love for music started for me just listening to stuff my dad had on in his car like The Rifles, Oasis, Artic Monkeys.

Mac: My love for music started when I was younger, my nan used to teach me how to play piano and my mum and dad always had music on wherever they were.

Who are your main music influences?

Mac: I’d say that my influences vary to how I’m feeling but the main ones are Bob Dylan, Pete Doherty, Richard Hell and George Harrison.

Ant: I think we are a band very proud of Britain’s place in music history. A small island that has produced the finest there is. I take a lot of inspiration from football chants as well. Songs that make you want to sing along straight away.

What gives you inspiration for great lyrics?

Ant: Life. I’ve had a pretty colourful one. Used to be a nightmare who couldn’t get into football matches because I was so smashed. Now I’m married with 2 kids and don’t drink. So my inspiration is my wide, kids, friends and family aswell. There’s a decent true story behind every song.

Mac: Anything really, from getting drunk with mates and having a laugh to arguing with the missus, everything you do can be written about really.


Tell us about your new album? When is it due to be released? What can be expected?

Ant: There’s actually 2 coming. The first is “For Monies Sake Bonus Edition”. This is a collection of all our EPs picking out our favourites from all three with a brand new version of “Be Yourself” we recorded in April at Real World Studios. The second is un-named yet but is a completely 100% brand new album (our real debut) we always said as a bunch of lads who have full time jobs that we wouldn’t bother with an album. But things have changed, we have not got a manager, Paul Smith, who is putting a lot of faith in us and in return we are stepping it up a gear. The album is pretty varied. From a song based on frustration with the industry to a slow anthem that carries a big story from a family member with it.

Sean: The album has been a long process, been to studios where we haven’t been happy with recording so we are just taking it as it comes really. We don’t have a set date just the sooner the better. I think you can expect it to be our best work yet, a lot more grown up but still very catchy punk

Mac: It has been a long time coming really, probably taken the amount of time that I’ve been in the band to fully write and we are just putting in some finishing touches.

Ant: We are hoping to have it completed by the end of the year. We will be releasing a few songs to give people a taste around the time of our tour with The Spitfires.

What promo will you be doing around these releases?

Ant: We are coming to the end of our Summer Festival dates. Then we hot Talking Heads (Southampton) with our lovely friends The Sex Pissed Dolls. Then we head out on a UK your with The Spitfires and we cant wait! Its our first full UK tour support and The Spitfires are good lads sticking their finger up to the industry check list in an admirable way…. and successfully.

You played the Hard Rock Café stage at Isle of Wight Festival this summer and you filled the place up! How did it feel playing up there?

Mac: The Hard Rock gig this year was phenomenal, I think we all came of the stage buzzing for about a week afterwards! To see that many people enjoying our music in the sun was amazing, its up there with the best experiences of my life at least.

Ant: We have really grown a quality following at Isle of Wight Festival. Every year we play its rammed come rain or shine. When you hear that many people singing your bands songs back at you its truly mesmerizing. It blows you away. The most insane buzz ever. Its all a blur, you just look around you and this “This is why I do this!”


John Giddings dubbed you 2017 band to watch, that’s pretty special isn’t it?

Mac: John is an incredibly good guy with a good ear. To have him in our corner means a lot really.

Ant: John is a celebrity to celebrities. A man who is a very big player in the history of British Music and worldwide. When you look at the list of names he works with and this guy is sharing our music and helping us out it really makes us believe in the music we make.

You are playing a few festivals this summer including Victorious Festival in August. What do you like best about playing at a festival?

Ant: All different people from all walks of life, all political opinions and differences go out of the window and every one is there united by music and its beautiful to see and even more beautiful to play in front of.

Mac: The festival sets are always special, there’s something about festivals that people seem to just let it go a bit more and  have more fun, always seems like the crowd is really up for it and that gives us the buzz we need on stage

You have also announced your support to The Spitfires, what can be expected of that?

Mac: Pyrotechnics and gymnasts

Ant:  Its a huge opportunity fir us. We have had great support from people who get nothing out of giving us a chance. Stuart and The Spitfire lads, Sex Pissed Dolls, The Lambrettas and Space and especially Paul our Manager have all got behind us and supported the band for no personal gain of their own. Its a hard slog and not a very friendly game to be in at times. You question what your doing. I used to listen to Lambrettas from my mum and dads record collection. About a year ago Doug phones me to tell me to stick at it and keep going when I was going through a tough patch with the band. Then its random dinners with Nancy Doll and Paul our manager when I’m having a breakdown. They definitely are a game changer for me and I have to say I hope I can one day repay the favours and support as they have supported us.

Catch The Novatones playing live at Victorious Festival this August bank holiday weekend. Tickets available https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets/

Otherkin- Noise, Sweat and Mayhem!


(Photo: Jake Haseldine http://www.jakehaseldine.com)

After what can only be described as a corker of a year for these four lads, Otherkin continue to take the punk rock scene by storm with their loud and electric live shows and intensively compulsive music.
Ahead of their set at Victorious Festival in Portsmouth at the end of August, they managed to spare some time to give me the low down on what has been happening in their crazy world and plans for the foreseeable too:

In your own words tell me about Otherkin?

Conor: Otherkin are apparently a bunch of people who think they are dragons however the band Otherkin are four idiots who play loud and fast guitar music!

When did your love for music start?

Conor: My earliest memories of enjoying music was hearing The White Album and sort sort of Greatest Hits by The Beach Boys. My love for playing music started when  I first heard Nevermind by Nirvana and it was from that point I wanted to pick up the guitar and got proper into being a little music nerd.

So who would been your main music influences?

Conor: I’d say artists like The Vines, Nirvana and AC/DC have the most influence on my writing and guitar playing. Its bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and The Beach Boys who always may me love music though.

I first say you supporting The Amazons and was instantly addicted to your music and energy! The last time I saw you play was end of May and you were headlining at The Boiler Room in Guildford, what have you been up to since then?

Conor: We got back to the UK for our own headline shows with Bad Nerves, we have released 3 singles (Bad Advise/ React/ Come on, Hello) all ahead of our debut album “OK” which is released 29th September and we have supported Guns ‘N’ Roses in Ireland. We have also hit up Download Festival and supported the Dead Kennedys in the UK!


So its been quite a busy few months for you all! Your album “OK” is released 29th September, What can you tell me about it? What can we expect of it?

Luke: So its our debut album which we are all real excited about. It’s called ‘OK’ and its got 12 tracks, some of which you may have heard and some of which you definitely wont have heard. We wanted to make a back to basic, four- to- the- floor, guitar-party album while youth was on our side and I think we have nailed it. The album has elements of garage- rock, punk and alternative music and there’s a huge amount of energy in it.

How long did it take you to write the album?

Luke: We have been consciously writing the album since last summer but there are sings that are older than that. We wrote way more songs than we needed because we wanted to make sure that the material that made it is as strong as it can possibly be. We actually wrote a quarter of the album in the month just before we hit the studio, everything we had written until the day we hit the studio was in contention.

Tell me a bit about your writing process?

Luke: Its a collaborative process completely. It varies from the song to song but the spark is almost always a guitar riff/ vocal melody that we kick around until its in a shape we can use. How long it takes to actually complete a song is another story. Sometimes we can complete a song in a day, other times it will take 9 months, like a god damn beautiful disaster of a sound baby!!

Who do you play your songs to first to see what reaction you get?

David: Once the four of us in a room are starting to get really excited about a new track then we know we have to give it a live debut. We like to slip new tracks into any live show if we feel they are ready. Who better to gauge a reaction to a new Otherkin song that our fans!

(Photo: Jake Haseldine http://www.jakehaseldine.com)

When you play live the crown reaction to your tracks is incredible! how does that make you feel?

David: Its a pretty surreal experience. We set out to make music people can lose themselves to, our gigs are a safe haven free from judgement where you can totally be at one with the music. Seeing this in the flesh though is pretty amazing, we are very humbled to be able to get to do what we do.

With that in mind you have just announced your headline tour, what have you got planned?

David: So we’ve got a 40+ date UK and European tour planned for when our album comes out. We’re going to be starting it off in England supporting INHEAVEN, before heading out on our UK tour in October. We cant wait to hit the road and spread the word of the ‘kin! 

You are playing a few festivals this summer including Victorious Festival in August. What do you enjoy best about the festival sets?

David: Festival crowds are the best. When you have a group of people united by a common love of music and who are there to also discover new music, its the perfect storm. Festival sets are a bit shorter than headliners also so you really have to bring your A game, we cant wait to get over to Victorious!

So as around up, what can we expect of your performance at Victorious Festival?

David: Noise, Sweat, Mayhem! Its going to be a riot!

Quite frankly, what more can you ask for!

Be sure to catch Otherkin at Victorious Festival this August bank holiday. Tickets available at https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets/

http://www.otherkinok.com/tour/

http://bit.do/LISTEN2OTHERKIN

The Slow Readers Club

The Slow Readers Club are an electro-indie band from Manchester fronted by Aaron Starkie (vocals/keyboard) with Kurtis Starkie (vocals/guitar), James Ryan (bass) and David Whitworth (drums). 

The last couple of years have seen the band perform sell-out shows up and down the country aswell as filling tents and arenas at some of the UKs best music festivals. So far this year they have played the main stage at the Isle of Wight Festival which was a brilliant set as well as huge outdoor arenas with bands like The Charlatans and James which, in turn, has won them many more new fans along the way.

Amongst their busy schedule, Kurt answered a few questions ahead of their set at Victorious Festival, Southsea this August.

Where did the name Slow Readers Club come from?

Aaron came up with it. He said it came from a memory of when he was transitioning from junior school to senior school (Newall Green High School, Wythenshawe), He was taken on a tour of the school with our parents. We were shown the English Room, Science Labs, History Room and all that. Then we came to a room called Special Needs. He found it a frightening concept that you could be removed from the mainstream of education like that from a young age. The Slow Readers Club is meant as a rejection of that really, as a celebration of the underdog.

You have been playing as Slow Readers Club for a number of years now, when did you love for music first start?

We have all been in bands before we formed The Slow Readers Club and at some stage in our early teens we each picked an instrument of choice and developed naturally from there. I think the passion for doing so comes from being inspired by the music you love.

At what point did you know that you wanted to make this a career?

When you start out in a band at an early age you always dream big and sometimes it just takes time to get where you need to be. It’s been far from instant success for us but a gradual build up but thankfully we’ve stuck at it and produced some music we’re proud of.

Who are your main music influences?

That’s tricky to answer on behalf of everyone because there’s not a great deal of crossover when it comes to favorite artists. It’s not all necessarily what people might imagine from listening to our sound, it’s not all serious stuff. Collectively we’d probably agree that some of the pop in the 80’s has had an influence on us, perhaps more consciously for some than others. You can’t knock a bit of Jacko or Madonna. There is a good span of music genres to draw from in terms of individual tastes anyway which is a positive thing.
So when it comes to song writing, who takes the lead or do you all chip in?

A lot of the songs are written with us all in a room together, that’s the preferred method but some can come from one persons original idea and then that’s developed in the practice room and often refined in the studio. In terms of vocal melody and lyrics, that’s Aaron’s department.

Is there something particular that gives you inspiration for great lyrics?

Well this is Aaron’s department but I’ll answer from my perspective and hopefully it won’t be too far from how he see’s it. Excuse the cliche but the lyrics are usually drawn from personal experience, not necessarily direct experience but lyrics should come from a personal perspective if they’re going to have any validity.

When you have a song or recording who do you play your songs to first to gauge a reaction?

We all go home with phone recordings of new ideas from the practice room so usually our other halves will get to hear bits before we get to the studio stage but we do most of the filtering ourselves. If we don’t all think it’s decent it doesn’t tend to get worked on.

You have had an incredible couple of years and played with some amazing artists. How did it feel when you recently supported James?

It’s been great, the first gig with them was very nervy, it was the biggest stage we’d played to date and we were worried about playing to a cold crowd but the James fans have really warmed to us and we have gained a lot of new fans and a lot of experience which we are very grateful for.


I saw you play the main stage at Isle of Wight Festival this summer on the Saturday and you are playing at Victorious Festival in August, do you prefer to play to a festival crowd or a typical gig crowd?

It’s a difficult one, It’s obviously a great feeling to play a main stage at a festival, especially when you get a good reaction but ideally we’d like to sample the evening slots because our music isn’t really designed for a sunny day. The other positive element to playing our own gigs is the crowd reaction which is a huge part of the experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61fLYjjHTOI

You must be pretty excited about your headline tour later this year, what can we expect of it?

We are keen to get out and show people some new songs we’ve been working on. A lot of people have got onto us in recent times and will want to see us based on existing releases which will form the majority of our set but we want to add some new stuff in for the people who’ve already seen us a number of times in the last year. Hopefully people won’t be disappointed.

Based on their back catalogue to date, I doubt very much anyone will be disappointed!

Tickets for their headline UK tour “Through the shadows” are already going like hotcakes with some shows already sold out. Be sure to catch them live across the UK this summer including at Victorious Festival, Southsea in Portsmouth this August Bank Holiday weekendm or on their headline tour.
https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets/

http://theslowreadersclub.co.uk/

https://open.spotify.com/user/theslowreadersclub

Eyes to the Skies

Eyes to the Skies are a 4 piece alternative indie rock band from the South of England. Alex, George, Mike and Jonno have just supported local bands Kill ’em dead and Undergroud Pilots at The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth and ahead of their set at Victorious Festival in Southsea, frontman Alex found time to chat about their band and whats coming up for Eyes to the Skies:

So how did you all meet? 

George and I have been friends with each other since we were about 3 or 4. We’ve known each other forever and have so far failed to get rid of each other! We both met the other two, Jon and Mike, in college! We were all studying Music together at South Downs College in Hampshire. 

Where did the name ‘Eyes To The Skies’ come from?

Well, thats an easy answer that one, Throughout life I’ve had some battles with health related issues and you know when you’re feeling down you sometimes just look up at the sky and you hope someones there looking out for you. It came from that really. Just thinking.. Eyes To The Skies sounds kind of catchy! So we stuck with it. 

You have deemed yourselves as an alternative-indie band, who are your main musical influences? 

The thing that is great with our band is that we’re all from a similar background music wise, but we all bring our own influences to the table. As a whole our sound is influenced by Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, Catfish and the Bottlemen and many more. But at the same time we try our best to develop our own sound. 

Would you say that they are some of your favourite artists
We all listen to pretty similar stuff, but at the same time we all have our own guilty secrets. Myself, I’m a huge fan of Catfish and the Bottlemen. Our drummer Mike is heavy on Arcade Fire and Queens of the Stone Age. Jonno’s influenced by Devin Townsend & Catfish and the Bottlemen. Our guitarist George is pretty much the man to talk to when it comes to music, He’s into anything and everything. 

I believe thats the best way to be, to be open minded about music. Do you all get involved with Songwriting?

When it comes to songwriting it usually starts with me sitting on my bed with my acoustic, and then I’d usually film myself playing this idea with some vocals and pass it to Mike and George. They then both pitch in their bits and then we take it to the practice room and craft our parts and it all comes together. Lately the last few songs we’ve been writing, George and I have just been sending videos back and forth to each other with different various ideas and bits n bobs. 

What gives you inspiration for great lyrics? 

 It’s more like, as and when they come. I’m usually always writing down cheeky one liners, hearing things people say and thinking, corr I’ll have that, that’ll be a good opening line and then I go from there. I’ve written about many different things, a few songs here and there about having arguments, a couple of songs about a time in my life when I got really unwell. They are hard and emotional songs to write at times but it just rolls off of the end of the pen and onto paper! I love songwriting. 

So after all the work that goes into the writing and construction of a song, who do you play the tracks to first in order to gauge a reaction? 

Usually to be honest with you, once we’ve got a new song together or a new idea if I’m sat on my bed and I’ve written some new lines and a simple chord sequence, I’d usually go play it to my Mum and be like ‘What about this one’ She usually says It’s amazing! But thats what a mother would do always, Right? So to be honest we just practice the songs together at Casemates Rehearsal Studios in Portsmouth. When we think they are gig ready, then we take them out and see what the crowd reactions are. Thankfully so far it’s been rather class! 

You are playing a few festivals this summer including Victorious Festival, tell me how that came about? 
So this year at Victorious we’ve been invited to play on the Academy of Music Performance stage by our old lecturers at South Downs College! We loved our time at college, it was great and its where we as a band formed. So it just feels fitting to be asked to play on their stage at the festival! And we’ve been gifted the Headline slot of the Saturday night! It’s going to be class! We’re hoping to be on a bigger stage at Victorious 2018 as well! 

What can we expect from your set at Victorious Festival this year? 
At our set at Victorious this year you can expect a proper guitar band playing with volume and energy! Come along and check us out! We try to make every show we do feel as big as a stadium even if the venue is super small! A big thing for us is talking to the crowd, getting on a proper friendly basis with the audience is always class

What is next for Eyes To The Skies? 
Well, we’re releasing our single ‘Don’t’ on the second week of August! It’s going to be available on all platforms. We’re going to be gigging anywhere and everything! 2018 is going to be huge for us for gigs. We’ve got lots planned. Heading over to play a few shows in Europe supporting bands then we will be headlining our own shows! And further throughout the rest of this year, we’ve got some super exciting things to announce that we’re totally buzzing for. 

Speaking to such a young and enthusiastic band with such fantatic ambition is very exciting and I am looking forward to seeing their set at Victorious Festival on 26th August aswell as hearing about the exciting annoucments that they have in store later this year.

Victorious Festival 25 – 27 August 2017- August Bank Holiday- Southsea Seafront

https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets/