Monday, 16 April 2018

An Interview With HELLO OPERATOR

Hailing from the beautiful medieval city of York, Hello Operator (comprised of Max and Sam Dalton, Peter Greenwood and Eddy Ellison) have spent a great many years perfecting their art and sealing their place as one of the hottest up and coming bands in the country. Renowned for their explosive live shows and impeccably crafted, colossal rock aura, the band initially came together in 2014... and 2018 looks set to be their biggest year yet.

Following on from the likes of the fervid 'Stephanie' and the raw swagger of 'Oosh', latest single 'Animalize' is a highly charged, gripping and ferocious display of absolute musical power; it's the first teaser of their forthcoming debut album due out later this year, and a surefire sign that they mean serious business. In a sea of bands striving for notoriety in their field, Hello Operator are the crème de la crème of the rock and roll genre, continually creating a buzz wherever they go and receiving vivacious acclaim from the likes of This Feeling, BBC Radio 1 and more.

In the build up to the unveiling of their long awaited album, I spoke to the enigmatic quartet about all things past, present and future...

How and when did you first come together as a band?
Eddy: I was probably in year 10 at school, and there was like 9 of us... it was ridiculous!
Peter: Yeah, we had a big band to start with. At our school, they'd do an annual big gig which everyone would form a band to play in. I think there was about 3 singers, originally!
Eddy: Only the best members survived, basically.

Peter: When it actually came to the day of the gig, I think there was like 4 of us left... and here we are now!

What are your earliest memories of music? What sort of stuff did you grow up listening to?
Eddy: I was into Led Zeppelin, AC/DC... best band ever! That's probably all I used to listen to.
Peter: When I was really young, my dad used to listen to quite a lot of heavy metal so I was brought up on Metallica, System Of A Down, a band called Coheed and Cambria, Rage Against The Machine, Queens of the Stone Age... that sort of music. It sort of shines through in some of our songs, I think. The Rage side of it anyway... we haven't quite gotten around to the Metallica side of things just yet, but it'll come! When I first listened to heavy metal, I remember thinking 'What the absolute fuck is this? This is garbage,' but I absolutely love it now. Like Marilyn Manson... I absolutely love him.
Eddy: I really like Marilyn Manson. Nice guy, as well... but he's done some pretty weird stuff!
Peter: He has, but he's very theatrical, and you need that to stand out. Think of how much of a performance Queen used to put on... it's the same art, just perceived in a different way. It is what it is, really. You either love it or you hate it... and if you take it like that, it's the same with every other band.

Being from York, what do you have to say about the music scene here at the minute? 
Peter: For a long time, we've had our doubts about York. With York in general, when we first started gigging, it was such a dead town.. we had maybe 2 or 3 music venues and only 1 of them was any good. Fibbers was obviously the good venue. I think The Crescent has really made things a lot more interesting now because it's something new and people are actually going to the shows there where as with everywhere else, even when you sell tickets to people and they've paid for them 9 times out of 10 they won't turn up.
Eddy: There's good bands in York... I'm a big fan of Naked Six. It's just a hard city.
Peter: It is. Especially when you consider with anywhere else, look at Leeds, Manchester, London... the big cities, there are a lot of opportunities there and a lot of people go to gigs there because they enjoy doing it. Here, the music scene just isn't as prominent. People in York don't go out to go to a gig, where as they will elsewhere. The venues are good... Fibbers obviously, and there was a place called The Duchess but that shut down, another place called Stereo shut down. Obviously they don't get the big acts, they kind of rely on the bands in and around York who they hope will bring plenty of people in so if people aren't going to the gigs and they aren't getting enough people through the door, that's how venues end up shutting down. It's a real shame because it's such a nice city. It is getting better... it's definitely improved within the last year or 2. As I said, The Crescent opening has helped because we've been able to pull in some alright bands.
Eddy:  They've been putting gigs on for about 2 years now. They had Texas play here. A little Scottish outfit called Texas.

If you were to sum up the last 12 months in one definitive emotion, what would it be and why?
Eddy: Difficult!
Peter: In terms of us as people... ecstatic, maybe? We've had a really good year. It has been quite a sad year for music in general in terms of people who have died and venues that have closed down though.
Eddy: It's probably been our quietest year in terms of gigs. We've just been writing and recording loads. We've written some of the best songs we've ever written.
Peter: We've got an album coming out so we're building towards that. 2018 is going to be a big year for us. There's been a lot of exciting things going on behind closed doors! It might not look like we've been busy... but we have. As you can see, there's only 2 of us in the band now.
Eddy: I wish! Joking...

You've been doing this for quite a while now; I think you guys were one of the first bands I really got into when I first started to discover the underground music scene. Is there anything you've done so far in your musical careers that you're either especially proud of or feel has been pivotal in getting you to the point you're at now?
Eddy: We did RAK Studios last year and it was sick! That studio is incredible... some of the albums that have been made there is just insane.
Peter: Getting on with This Feeling was pivotal for us and really, really helped us in that we got to play at quite a lot of festivals and a lot of gigs up and down the country in places that we hadn't done before. It opened a lot of doors for us.
Eddy: We went to the Isle of Wight... I didn't even know there was an Isle of Wight! That was good.
Peter: Stuff like that, and generally just experiencing how much of a big family This Feeling really is. They look after you so well. This Feeling is the future of up and coming music, without a doubt. There's never been such a platform for up and coming bands. If you think of where the big bands are and where up and coming bands are, back in the day there was never this middle point which with This Feeling there is... it's a real stepping stone, which is good. Everyone supports each other, and everyone is at one anothers' gigs which is crucial.

How did you first become involved with them?
Peter: We were doing a Sofa Sounds session in York, and when we put that out, I think Mikey Jonns messaged us. He absolutely loved it and it just built from there. We were very lucky that he took us on, put us on at so many festivals and looked after us. We'd like to think we're very much part of the family now, and we're hoping to do more stuff with them soon.

Has anyone in the band got any interesting talents or hobbies outside of music?
Peter: I play Xbox quite a lot... I'm quite an avid gamer! I spend so much time doing that. Eddy likes walking the dog.
Eddy: I don't even like doing that! Belly rubs... I'm good at that!
Peter: Cooking, occasionally.
Eddy: Can't do that.

If you were to die and come back as a ghost, who would you haunt?
Peter: Max.
Eddy: Him! I would fuck up your gaming so much. I would have your life! He punched me in the face once... then all 3 of them punched me in the face.

There's always 1 person in the band who gets bullied the most...
Peter: It's not so much that we bully him... when we were on tour last year, to make things interesting we said that at any point, someone could just randomly punch you. We all just seemed to get Eddy and he's such a pacifist... he doesn't like hitting anybody or anything like that.
Eddy: What's the point? I've got morals. Actually I do have a hobby... meditating! Just thought of one. I don't punch people, I meditate.

Tell me something about Hello Operator that no one else knows...
Eddy: We're brothers...
Peter: That's terrible. Max and Sam are actually brothers, but we're not. Everyone probably already knows that.
Eddy: I'm the youngest.
Peter: We used to have a different bassist... but maybe you already knew that? When we got in with our first ever management, we had another bassist. He was really good at bass, and a great guitarist too, but he was very fond of walking around with a Mr Men carrier bag so the image was just really off with him.

Where to find them...
Facebook: /hellooperatorband
Twitter: @hello_operator
Instagram: @hellooperatorband

Check out the music video for Hello Operator's brand new single 'Animalize' below:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


Dirty Orange are a swaggering rock n' roll three piece from London made up of George Wilkins, Scott Thompson and Connor O'Shea. Describing their sound as 'raw rock with plenty of energy, vitality and meaningful lyrics,', the band have been together for almost two years now and already have a number of impressive live appearances and studio recordings under their belt.

New four track EP 'XXX' resonates an immersive aura of raw and emphatic opulence from start to finish. Opening number 'Time and Again', with its' extravagant and vehement sense of urgency, is my personal favourite. The track is defined by ardent vocals, delivered with style and spirit throughout.

'Dancing with the Gypsy' is laced with attitude and stellar instrumentation; it's gripping, fierce and delightfully irascible. So too is the melodiously arresting 'I Don't Mind'; suspenseful, absorbing and fierce from the start, this track is defined by thunderous drum beats and gravelly vocals. Rock n' roll at it's finest.

Bringing proceedings to an explosive and unequivocal cessation is the sharp and fiery 'Council Estate'. Jaunty riffage atop a once again vociferous vocal styling ensure that the EP most definitely goes out with one hell of a bang.

With an art for rich and immersive songcraft, Dirty Orange are most certainly the festival headliners of tomorrow; theirs is the kind of music you can imagine reverberating through huge crowds. Their highly charged musical swagger will undoubtedly lead them to success in the very near future.

Listen to Dirty Orange below:

Where to find them...
Facebook: /dirtyorangeband
Twitter: @dirtyorange3
Instagram: @dirtyorangeband

Monday, 27 November 2017

An Interview With QUEEN ZEE ~ 12.11.17

It's been a gargantuan year for Liverpool based quintet Queen Zee & the Sasstones. They've played alongside the likes of Cabbage and Marmozets, performed at some of the UK's most prominent music festivals over the course of the Summer and celebrated the release of a monumental EP in the form of 'Eat My Sass'.

As months of relentless touring reached its' cosmic conclusion at Leeds' Pie Race Festival, I was able to talk to Zee about all things past, present and future. Endearingly warm, stark and quick-witted, here is a character quite difficult to portray accordingly in words and do her justice. Undeniably, Queen Zee & the Sasstones are an incredibly special kind of band, and not only because of their flair for immersive, gripping and unequivocally fierce punk rock... it goes far beyond that; they are a band for the modern age, celebrating diversity, equality and humanity through their artform.

How and when did you all first come together as a band?
I met Jay in 2015. I was writing poetry and he was doing black metal type guitar stuff. I was going to put poetry over it... it was awful! We had a gig and he didn't turn up, and then six months later I put the demos of Queen Zee online... he was like 'I don't like the demos, but lets do a band anyway!' 2 days later, we played a gig... it was horrendous but yeah, that was the start of it.

What did you grow up listening to, and how did it influence you?
My dad was in a hardcore punk band called Moth Fucker! I think that influenced me a lot. I grew up around punk music but I always loved 80's stuff, like The Human League, Dead or Alive and all of that. I think I liked the bands that kind of merged all of that together, so post-punk type bands like Joy Division. Then I discovered Manson, Placebo... I latched on to that in terms of gender issues and stuff like that. I was a big Placebo obsessive!

You recently released the 'Sass Or Die' EP... what sort of reception has it received?
We kind of just slipped it under the radar and didn't really do too much press around it or push it, so it's been quite nice just to road test it and just go out and play it every night. The response to it in terms of the single, and 7-inch as well, has been great. It was on the footy... it was on Scotlands' World Cup match! To have a song about gender violence appear on Soccer AM or whatever it's called was cool! To get that little nod from the mainstream was flattering.

Were there any particular themes, topics or emotions that you wanted to explore creatively whilst writing it?
We didn't really write it as an EP... we've just written songs freely for like a year and a half and then we were planning on doing three 7-inches. We did one, and then instead of doing the second and third one we decided to do four songs instead of two. Some of them are old and some of them are new so there's not really a coherent theme. I think we just write from experience about what are lives are like at that time.

You've spent a lot of time on the road over the last few months... is there anywhere you always particularly look forward to playing or have had good experiences in the past?
Leeds is great! The last time we played in Leeds really was one of our best shows. We've always really struggled in London. When we first played there, we had a really bad reception but then more recently, our last three London gigs have been really great. We played at The Garage and it was one of the best nights of my life. It was amazing. London is really fun, but then it's also fun to play in little towns too... my favourite place to play is Scotland. It's just fun to be there and I always enjoy it. It's just so hospitable, and whenever you go there you feel really welcomed.

Music aside, have you got any interesting hobbies or strange talents?
We recently discovered that I'm really good at jumping really high. There were all these steps so we were trying to see how many we could jump up, and I managed to jump up eight steps! Everyone was really impressed. On stage I do a lot of climbing.

There seems to have been a bit of a resurgence of punk into the music industry, and it is a word I see attached to your name quite often; how do you feel about that?
I hate it when bands are very obviously part of something, you know when Korn were like 'No, we are not a new metal band!' Yeah, you are... just accept it. So if people think we're a punk band, then yeah sure. We don't try to be a punk band... we don't sit down and all listen to the Sex Pistols and think they're great. There's different influences in there and I don't think any of us actually listen to that much punk music. In terms of DIY ethos, I think that's where we all came from and that's the scene that we're from so I think I'm quite proud of it... but I think proper punks might be offended!

You recently posted a statement on social media thanking people for their love and support in the year that you've been performing as a transgender woman. Have the experiences that you've had in this last twelve months  had  an impact on your concept of music, making music and of the industry as a whole?
I think I was very scared when we first started this. I even lied to our manager. It's very obvious when you listen to the songs how I think, feel and what I've got going on in my head, but my manager asked me some really blunt questions about it and I lied to him because I think I was really worried that I'd be judged or singled out as I have been in the past. It's actually been incredibly welcoming. We've got a really great team around us who are very supportive and comforting, so the industry itself has been really great. Obviously we are alienated from certain aspects of it and I am maybe treated with a little bit of disrespect here and there but as a whole, it's been really nice. Going on stage every night and connecting with people is something that makes me feel a lot less alone, which is an amazing feeling. I don't think I would have been able to go through my journey in the same way if I hadn't been playing music.

Did the Queen Zee persona emerge from your experiences in this last year?
In terms of a band and what makes it up, I do think the band is always going to be an exaggerated version of yourself... so when I'm on stage and I'm really angry, I don't walk around being that angry all of the time! When I'm really sad, over dramatic and a bit of an emo, I'm not like that at home. It's  a way of getting it out but at the same time it is still you. It's a bit like theatre. Queen Zee is very much myself but exaggerated!

In terms of the bands' creative process, are you the primary songwriter?
Myself and Jay kind of share the heavy lifting. Jay typically turns up with songs that are done and he's like 'This is it, this is where we go,' and I'll write the lyrics on top where as when I turn up with an idea it's half finished... it'll be like a riff and we'll just jam it out but that was when we were a two-piece band. Since new members have come in, it's more of a jamming process. Franks' bass playing is amazing, same with Daves' drumming. The song's not done until everyone has had their input. I'd say myself and Jay write most of it, but everyone else has their moment!

Would you rather be able to travel back in time or see into the future?
See into the future. You can have an idea of the past from books, photos and so on but the future... you just don't know. I think maybe there's a manipulative part of me that would love to know what's going to happen and then use that to my advantage! If I know something horrible is going to happen, I can stay out of it!

Have you got any guilty pleasures? (At this point bassist Frank and drummer Dave join in)
Zee: I love Pointless. I'm obsessed with Pointless. Frank, do you want to get in on this?
Frank: What's going on?
Zee: We're talking about Pointless!
Frank: Oh yeah, Pointless is well sick.
Zee: Guilty pleasures though... we watch endless Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
Frank: I wouldn't say that's a guilty pleasure! It's really good.
Zee: I don't feel guilty at all.
Frank: I really like Bargain Hunt.
Zee: There's another one... we feel kind of bad about liking Undercover Boss.
Frank: Undercover Boss... I think it's a bit crap.
Zee: It is crap, but we do enjoy watching it. I love the really shit makeovers they give them! They give them highlights and no one recognises them which is brilliant!
Frank: What about you, Dave? Is it smooth music?
Dave: It probably is smooth music. Storage Hunters, as well.
Zee: With touring, people think you're in a van and you're partying and having a great time. Touring is spending at least 12 hours a day in a Travelodge with Channel 4 watching Kitchen Nightmares and that's it... and Pointless. I watched one with Dick and Dom in it and they turned out to be really clever. Pointless is just the most punk-rock thing going... you heard it here first.
Dave: What's the guy called that presents it?
Frank: Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman.
Zee: He's just done an album just called 'Xander'. I know this because we've got a single coming out and we have to look at what's being released on the same day and it's Bradley Walsh and Xander. That's what we're up against.

If you had to sum up 2017 in one definitive emotion, what would it be and why?
Zee: Tiredness.
Dave: Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares... but all one word.
Zee: Exhausted. We're very exhausted but it's been-
Dave: Good. It's been alright.
Frank: I'd say 'testing'.
Zee: I do think this year has been a 'show us what you've got' kind of thing because we did our first bit of touring, our first single came out and then the EP. We were going out with bands like Marmozets who are really serious and slay it every night and it's like 'Can you keep up with them?' So yeah, it's been a test... and I'd like to think we did okay!
Frank: I think we did really well.
Zee: We've cried a few times!
Frank: You've cried a few times...
Dave: You cried at Monsters Inc a few days ago!
Frank: It's pretty emotional. The ending where Sully has to say goodbye to Boo...

Finally... what are the hopes, dreams and plans for the future?
Frank: Just carry on, really.
Zee: We're really hoping to open a restaurant that fails so that Gordon Ramsay can come in.
Frank: He can shout at us a little bit.
Zee: You know when it's like three in the morning and you feel like you should be asleep? I was googling what his favourite song was and I found out that it was 'Yellow' by Coldplay and now I feel like he might appreciate what we do! But in terms of seriousness, we're gonna release some more music and we're gonna play more shows. We're going to keep doing that until people stop wanting us to do it... or until one of us dies. Although if one of us dies, we can just replace them... until at least four of us die.

Listen to Queen Zee & the Sasstones below:

Where to find them...
Facebook: /queenzeeandthesasstones
Twitter: @queenzeeuk
Instagram: @queenzeeuk


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Single Review: Up All Night ~ THE WIRED

Sheffield based quartet The Wired (comprised of Caleb Smelt, Jacob Beaumont, Richard May and Max Smith) have seemingly been a little quiet over the course of 2017, but the concluding half of the year thus far has seen them cascade back onto the scene in colossal style with a string of titanic live appearances across the country, and a brand new studio release in the form of the catchy and compelling 'Up All Night'.

The track seamlessly detonates with jaunty riffage and emphatic drum cadences. Energetic, edgy and articulated from the word go, 'Up All Night' is an unwaveringly resolute display of indie-rock n' roll at its' absolute finest. It's dexterously defined by a cool, harmoniously buoyant vocal verve, and is packed full of zealously beat-driven melodic mystique. Definitely the bands' finest offering to date.

'Up All Night' is available from Friday 24th November via all major music platforms. The band are set to play a mammoth hometown headline gig at Plug on Saturday 2nd December. Tickets available here.

Listen to The Wired below:

Where to find them...
Facebook: /thewiredsheffield

Monday, 20 November 2017

An Interview With SHEAFS ~ 10.11.17

With an already impressive back catalogue of studio single releases behind them, and an ever growing repute for their colossal live performances,  SHEAFS (made up of Lawrence Feenstra, Callum Wright, Charlie Eastap, Charles Mellor and Chris Goodacre) are fast becoming the ones' to beat on the Sheffield music scene. Latest release 'This Is Not A Protest', with its' ferocious riffs and angsty lyricism, was unassailable in its' delivery and earned the band deserved high acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1, This Feeling and Radio X. One thing's for certain, they are a band with a big presence; emphatic, unequivocal vocals atop vehement instrumentation ensures that once seen, these guys are impossible to forget.

I was able to speak with frontman Lawrence and bassist Cal following their final hometown show of 2017 at Sheffields' The Leadmill. Having just played a triumphant set to a sold out crowd, the energy and delight from the pair was evident, and it was interesting to hear more of the successes within their career thus far.

How and when did you first come together as a band?
Cal: You take the lead here, mate. Well I wasn't there initially, was I?
Lawrence: Me, Chris and Charles all knew one another from somewhere or another, and then we were like 'Well we can't start a band with just a singer and two guitarists so lets put an advert out, reluctantly, for a bassist and a drummer as well.' We did that, and managed to draft in Cal and Charlie... that was it, really!
Cal: That's a little bit inaccurate really, because actually I put an advert out for myself. I was a guitarist actually, I didn't play bass.
Lawrence: A very good one, I must say.  

What did you guys grow up listening to, and how did it inspire you?
Cal: Lawrence was into a lot of N-Dubz.
Lawrence: Can we just judge each other? That would be more fun. Cal started out with My Chemical Romance.
Cal: I dabbled in Slipknot. Just dabbled. It wasn't intense, but I dabbled. What were you into? Lawrence would listen to N-Dubz, Tinchy Stryder... big Tinchy Strider fan. When we're backstage, that's sort of like your go-to isn't it? The one.
Lawrence: Who, sorry? Is he an insect?
Cal: You were into a lot of Spandau Ballet...
Lawrence: To be fair, serious answer now, I got into music quite late. My mates who listened to music would listen to more electronic kind of stuff really... more dance music. Then through some way or another I moved on to what I suppose is more indie music... stupid things like The Wombats, basically what you'd listen to when you're younger. Stupid songs like that and then I realised that I was a little bit different to my mates. Every time Arctic Monkeys or something like that would come on, I'd be well into it but as soon as Deadmau5 or something like that came on I was a bit like 'Ugh.'
Cal: I'm the same really because I think when you're growing up, you're more into what your mates are listening to... but then you find your own.
Lawrence: It's a bit collective really, isn't it. It's trying to find your way when you're younger and shit, and then that's kind of the pivotal point where you go 'Right, actually... I prefer guitar music even though everybody else is into dance music.'
Cal: I think the difference as well is that if you have a friendship group who are into dance music or whatever, when you start to break away from all of that you're just a little bit more passionate about it because you found it yourself as opposed to being exposed to it by your friends. When I went to uni, that was kind of like my thing and I wanted to be in a band. I do think we all got into it quite late.
Lawrence: Definitely. I only started playing guitar when I was 18. I only got a guitar because I wanted to play songs on a night to listen to. I just wanted to play along to the songs that I liked to listen to and then from there, it kind of just grows.

You've had a pretty big year so far; you had quite a big festival season, a couple of successful single releases and plenty of praise... I don't mean to feed anyones' ego here! If you had to pick just one highlight of 2017 so far, what would it be and why?
Cal: I think we both know what the highlight would be, really. It's probably Y-Not isn't it? It's got to be.
Lawrence: Awkward. I was going to say Tramlines! I think it's different though. Faith, everything that we do at this point is new to us... everything we do. So when we played Y-Not, we played the allotment stage and we had a bit of a point to prove, I think. We'd made a bit of an impression at Isle of Wight and Y-Not was our chance to prove ourselves.
Cal: Y-Not for me personally is like my hometown festival because I'm from Derby which is really close where it's set, so it was a really big thing for me. It was the first festival I ever went to. It was very special for us, but everyone else who went to that festival hated it!
Lawrence: It's probably the closest we'll get to like a mainstream festival, I think.
Cal: Probably. Quarry Stage aside, we had a really great time at the Allotment Stage with This Feeling. We came off stage and we were buzzing because it'd gone really well, and then we got asked to do the Quarry Stage.
Lawrence: It was massively last minute. I remember Charles had that bottle of whiskey... he came off stage and there was about three quarters of this bottle of whiskey left. As soon as we came off stage, it was a bit of a relief. We felt like it went well and we were celebrating. Aaron Procter got a message over his earpiece or whatever and he was like 'Look lads, do you want to play the Quarry Stage?' and of course we said 'Too right, we fucking do!' Next minute, we were smashing all of the gear over to the other side.
Cal: We were under the impression that it was happening in a few hours, but then we were told it was now and that we had to be over there straight away.
Lawrence: I don't know how you can top that personally, as a band. You come off stage after a performance where you're literally on the ceiling and you think it's fucking massive... and it is massive for us, and then you come off and go over to do something magnified. I say this honestly, I don't think we'll ever be able to top that.
Cal: Even down the line if we get to do a show in front of that many people again, which obviously we hope we do, it might be planned and we'd expect it... but with that, we were kind of all ready in deep water with it being a festival, and then we were pushed in even deeper. I don't know if you remember, but I said to you 'People are going to leave when we start playing. Just expect it.'  They weren't expecting us... they were expecting a rapper, bear in mind. It's such a different genre.
Lawrence: We tried our best to get them involved.

Did someone drop out? Is that how you got the slot?
Cal: It was Nadia Rose, the rapper. I'm very grateful that Nadia didn't make it... sorry, Nadia. We got told we were playing the Quarry, which is brilliant, but when we were told who we were replacing... such a different artist. Solo artist, rapper... completely different. But somehow it worked! Somehow we made it work and we are so grateful. I couldn't stop smiling, which is kind of weird for me on stage because we try to be a bit... cool.
Lawrence: I don't know what he's talking about...
Cal: It was awful weather. When I say we had to walk through mud to get our gear to the other side... it was a walk that, realistically, should have taken us five minutes but it took us fifteen. It's memories, though!

Music aside, has anyone in the band got any strange talents or interesting hobbies?
Cal: Lawro's pretty good at football. It's not very strange, but he's quite good. Again, I'm pretty good at football. Nah, I'm awful.
Lawrence: You know when you're in PE and you're forced to do rounders or whatever... you know when you do stupid sports like that? As much as I like Callum, he might be the last person you'd pick. Only because if you ask him to throw a stone across the room, he wouldn't hit the wall.
Cal: Maybe my talent is not being good at sport... which then is a talent because I'm very good at it. I'm trying to think of other talents... Charles is the best bartender in Sheffield. Have you ever seen him pour a pint?! He does it with grace and art. And Chris...
Lawrence: Chris has got the best haircut in Sheffield.
Cal: That's his talent... having a good haircut! And to be fair, and he'll love this, he's quite good at writing tunes. Apart from that mate, you're pretty bad.
Lawrence: Pretty average.
Cal: Charlie is mint, isn't he? Just at everything. He's just one of those guys. We have a good time!

I really like how loud, expressive and opinionated your music is. Do you think it's important not only to use music as an outlet for entertainment but to try and educate people and get them talking as well?
Cal: I think it depends what sort of artist you are and what you're trying to expres, really. If you're trying to express angst, which I suppose is our kind of thing. We're not very political. Well we are individually, but not through our music... yet! Watch this space... second album! Our music is more about social stuff... 'Mind Pollution' have themes about things we're perhaps a little bit dissatisfied with. In terms of politics, a lot of bands like that are doing really well. We're really big fans of a band called Strange Bones and they do the whole political thing amazingly. They've got their heads screwed on and the music that they make is just amazing and quite resonant. I do think some bands really benefit from being quite expressive in their music because it makes people want to listen to it and hear what they think. But then I don't think it's necessary... I don't think you have to do that. You've just got to play whatever you feel.

Would you rather be able to travel back in time or see into the future?
Cal: Travel back in time. I'd love to go back to a time where online music isn't really a thing and see what that's like.
Lawrence: 60's. Mid 60's. I'd probably work my way through after that, I think.

Tell me something about SHEAFS that no one else knows...
Cal: There's definitely stuff...
Lawrence: A lot of stuff...
Cal: Some stuff we can't say...
Lawrence: We told Callum, because he used to have slicked back hair... we asked him to grow his hair because we kind of wanted him to match a little bit. He's half way there now, I think. He used to have the Magaluf look.

Finally... what's next for SHEAFS and what can we expect from you in 2018?
Cal: We're putting together a tour which should take place February/March time, along with a coinciding single which will be announced in the near future!
Lawrence: Coming soon...

Listen to SHEAFS:

Where to find them...
Facebook: /sheafsband
Twitter: @SHEAFSband
Instagram: @sheafsband

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Single Review: New York ~ CONFLARE

Admittedly, the small West Yorkshire town of Castleford isn't renowned for its musical heritage... but ambitious pop-rock quartet Conflare look set to change that once and for all. The band, made up of Toby Hanmore, Rob Hawkins, Sam Wilkinson and Ethan Bradley, already have four stellar studio releases under their belt in the form of a self titled 2015 EP, as well as three gritty single releases 'Real', 'Conquistador' and 'Tempted'. Having frequented some of Leeds' finest music venues, the quartet are set to round off 2017 in spectacular fashion with a huge upcoming headline show at Belgrave Music Hall at the end of this month and the release of a new single, the deliciously infectious 'New York'.

A sterling guitar introduction leads into what is undoubtedly an intense and atmosphere soaked track, packed full of emotive lyricism, brisk melodics and an impressively confident vocal brio. Conflare really have mastered their art perfectly, and have such an apt, effortless ability for indie-rock songcraft.

Conflare release 'The New York EP' on the 29th of November. Listen to 'New York' here

Where to find them...
Facebook: /conflaremusic
Twitter: @conflaremusic
Instagram: @conflare

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Single Review: Oosh ~ HELLO OPERATOR

There are so many great bands emerging from the beautiful city of York at the moment, but if I had to select a favourite... without hesitation, I'd pick Hello Operator. The band (made up of Max and Sam Dalton, Peter Greenwood and Eddy Ellison) truly are the epitome of hard graft; having been together since 2014, they have largely split their time between relentless touring and unleashing a number of uninhibited, forceful and equally impressive studio releases. Debut single 'Stephanie' took the music world by storm back in 2015, and that was proceeded the following year by 'Operator Hour' and the 'Love Is A Loan EP'. Their already impressive musical back catalogue has seen them receive acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and This Feeling, and though 'Oosh' is their first studio offering of 2017, the effortlessly brilliant rock quartet have had an immensely busy and successful year thus far, complete with live appearances galore, including a European tour and a number of high profile festival appearances here in the UK.

The track is defined by spirited, emphatic vocals and vehement instrumentation; from start to finish, its' exceedingly powerful, dynamic and has you transfixed. They are undoubtedly a band who have a real flair for diverse and wholeheartedly immersive songcraft, complete with raw emotionality and a spirited, highly charged musical swagger. 'Oosh' is edgy, gripping and fierce, and is undoubtedly the bands' strongest work to date. If this is anything to go by, 2018 looks set to be the year of Hello Operator. Watch this space.

Listen to Hello Operator below:

Where to find them... 
Facebook: /hellooperatorband
Twitter: @hello_operator
Instagram: @hellooperatorband