Tuesday, 25 April 2017

An Interview With KING NO-ONE ~ 13.04.17

York based quartet King No-One are undoubtedly one of the most hard-working and proficient young bands in the country at the moment and seem to have built up an almost cult like following since their formation in 2013. The band (made up of Zach Lount, Joe Martin, James Basile and Alex Townsley) seem to be permanently out on the road, touring relentlessly as well as busking on the streets of cities' up and down the country. From Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds... to a huge hometown show at one of their favourite haunts, Fibbers, their most recent headline tour saw them conquer some of their biggest venues and crowds to date... and things only look set to get bigger. Having played the BBC Introducing stage early on in their career, the band have just announced that they are set to return to Reading and Leeds Festivals' in the Summer, this time to the gargantuan Radio1/NME stage which will see them playing alongside the likes of Sundara Karma and Cabbage. With a mighty seven single releases under their belt, King No-One have proved that their studio recordings are every inch as extravagant and defined as their live show; latest release 'Antichrist' is a powerhouse and exudes an unadulterated coeval vim.

I was able to speak with the band prior to their virtually sold-out show at the famous Leadmill. Admittedly, I've been dying for an interview with them since I started the blog, but due to one thing or another, it's just never worked out. Suffice to say, this was definitely worth the wait. Here are a young band with the world at their feet and their heads fixed firmly upon the shoulders; refreshingly, they were quite vocal about their desire to use the platform they've been given for good, educating their hoards of young fans about the importance of equality and diversity. They're not just about the music... they're a band for the people, too.

How and when did you first come together as a band?
Joe: We always refer to it as a dream. We saw one another in our dreams and then reality brought us together! Fate.
Alex: But a better way of putting that is education!
James: There's your option A and your option B. We all like option A!
Alex: It's been four years, now.

What are your earliest memories of music?
James: My mum blasting out Fleetwood Mac in the car was a good one for me. Before then, everything my mum listened to was just uncool! Everything she'd put on, I'd be like "Mum, I hate this," and then I remember her playing that and saying "This is just great." It was a bit of a secret at the time, I didn't know who Fleetwood Mac were and I just fell in love with it.
Joe: Mine's a similar story... it's always the car tunes! I'd be there with my little CD player and my headphones on playing my Eminem, because that was what I was into, and my dad actually said that when I turned 16 I would be asking to borrow his Bowie CD's... I think it was when I was about 20 that I ended up asking him, so he always knew it would happen eventually. You can't beat a bit of Bowie!
Alex: I remember being sat in the back seat of my dads car blasting out everything from REM, The Smiths, The Police... that sort of vibe! That was generally what got me into music.

What's the story behind you getting matching tattoos?
Joe: We decided on a whim... it was quite frightening, actually! I think we were just hungover one day and we thought "Shall we just get tattoos?" We had been on about it before, but what I've learnt is never get a tattoo when you have a hangover because your blood thins so when they're doing it, it's a mess! So don't do it!
James: I don't regret the tattoo itself.
Alex: It's so monotonous doing those lines over and over again... there was four of us and I had to go last, and it was the same guy doing it, who was just so bored of doing it so mines really jagged.
James: Yeah, with the first one he was like 'I've got to get this right!' and with the last it was more 'I really want to get off and go home!' I left and went home after mine!
Alex: He was at it for eight hours!
James: Either way, it was our first tattoo and we don't regret it. Tattoos can be good! I like the idea of a shared tattoo

I know you spend a lot of time out and about busking all across the UK... why is it so important to you to keep doing that and what kind of experiences have you had?
James: We've had a rollercoaster of experiences.
Alex: There are a lot of homeless people and drunks that tend to really go for it! In fact, we had a granny who was doing some very kind of burlesque style dancing in Leeds city centre... she was 86!
Joe: She did one of them karate jump kick things! She can get her legs up higher than I can!
James: She put her handbag down and at first it was just a bit of a wiggle, and we could tell that she was really loving it... it was sunny, everyone was enjoying it and then by the end of it she had a massive crowd of people watching.
Joe: It was all for her! People were chucking fivers at her!
James: She just lost it! Incredible dancing!
Alex: She was brilliant.

One thing I always notice is that you have an incredibly strong and loyal fanbase. I don't think I've ever been to a King No-One gig that hasn't been packed to the rafters! So do you see many familiar faces who have discovered your music by chance when you're out busking who then go on to buy tickets and keep coming back to your shows?
Joe: Yes, we always recognize the faces. Obviously they meet us and our music out on the streets at first so to go from that to seeing them in the crowds at gigs, it'd be hard not to recognize them. They're all such lovely people.
Alex: There is a handful of people that are top fans... shoutout to Jenny!
Joe: Yeah, Jenny. She's our fan from China. Unfortunately she went back home because she'd been studying here in the UK, and then she surprised us at a London show, she was there in the crowd.
Alex: It was pretty touching.
James: She gave us an album full of photos from our first tour... and kinder buenos!
Joe: As well as some seaweed snacks that we'd never tried before and were wonderful. She's a delight, as they all are!

You've just been announced for Reading and Leeds Festivals this Summer. I know you played the BBC Introducing Stage a few years back, and this year you're set to play the Radio 1/NME Stage... you must be pretty excited, right? What have you got planned for it?
James: We are buzzing!
Joe: We are clueless as to what we're going to do, but we know we've got to give it everything we have and more. We've got to go bigger than we've ever done. At the moment and at this stage, we're just not used to this kind of platform... but we're going to smash it!
James: We are so ready for it. We've already played once before and it was great to do the BBC Introducing stage but this is going to be our biggest show to date and it's going to be amazing.
Joe: It's a cracking festival and it doesn't matter which one you go to, either. Reading and Leeds are both great. We're obviously all from around here so we always go to Leeds but when we first did Reading it was such a shock. It was amazing.

Does anyone in the band have any strange talents or interesting hobbies outside of music?
Joe: This guy (pointing to Alex) is an insane jumper! Honestly, it doesn't matter where we are, he will just see things that are unreachable and leap for them.
Alex: I can reach heights that are very unusual!
Joe: Then there's this guy... (Pointing to James)
James: I know you've got something on me and I'm hoping it's going to be a good one!
Joe: He's great at the worm! You know that body move when you're dancing?
James: I've not had enough to drink so I can't bring it out right now, though. Maybe you'll be lucky enough one day to see it. Going back to talking about what you're going to see at Leeds and Reading... maybe I'll bring it out then?
(At this point Zach arrives, so I repeated the question to him)
James: It takes an outsider to recognize somebody elses' talent, so I'm hoping one of us has got something for you!
Joe: You always pop out roly polys now and again!
Zach: And dive rolls... pretty epic dive rolls! Or the swan dive, as they call it in some countries. I don't know why they call it the swan dive... maybe it's the shape that I fly? I kind of go up very, very high and then I drop practically vertically. It's more than spectacular!

There's a real element of showmanship to everything that you do, from your live performances, to your style and within your studio recordings too. I can tell that you very much have your own style and way of doing things. Do you think that's something that has developed subconciously over time and with experience, or did you have an idea starting out of the kind of band you wanted to be?
Alex: I think we have always wanted to go for that vibe, it's just a case of developing the confidence. I think we have grown.
Zach: I think we've kind of learnt as we've gone along. As it's progressed, we've started doing something new. Everything has been subconcious... you might be on stage one day and you'll have this instant urge to do something that you've never done before, and then you pick everything that works and think 'Well I liked it when I did that, so I'm going to do it again,' It's all stage by stage, so like stage one development is having more confidence and making eye contact with the crowd. You start doing it more often and it becomes your norm, then you go on to stage two development which could be losing the guitar and freelance around the stage. It goes up and up to the point where every time you have an important gig, you're always doing something completely new or something that you never expected you'd do as a band and it becomes part of your set because you know you liked it, become comfortable with doing it until you step it up again... which means that every time you see us, technically we're getting better and better.
Joe: To the point where you end up swan diving off the PA!
Zach: Exactly!

I do always think when I listen to King No-One, there's no one that you actually remind me of- which is definitely a good thing. So do you actually take inspiration from any other bands or artists at all?
Zach: If we do, it's all subconcious. With the songs, we're inspired by life experiences. They're just stories and expression through music. This might sound offensive and I don't mean it that way, but I think all the best artists are because they're not repeating other peoples' stories and making them their own... they're telling their own stories and that's why they have a bit of an edge to them.
James: That ties in nicely with your previous question, because we don't have to think about performing the songs... there's so much thought and experience in the songs already that it just feels really natural to perform them.

If you were King, thus in charge of the country, for a day- what would you do?
Joe: I think that would be quite hypocritical given the name King No-One!
Zach: If I was King for the day, the first thing I'd do would be to destroy the throne. This is our country, so lets make it a real democracy.
Alex: I'll second that, it's a good one.
Zach: Destroy the throne! King No-One!
James: I'd make meal deals a bit cheaper. That's it for me... plain and simple! Vote for me... cheers!

What I've always really admired about you is how vocal you have been on a number of political and social subjets... I've seen you speak out quite passionately about feminism, especially. Do you think it's important to use the position that you're in to not only entertain but to educate as well? Do you think more bands/artists should do the same?
Alex: Absolutely.
Joe: No matter what platform you're given, you should always be like that anyway. Even if you're just your average everyday human, you should be looking to educate or even just talk to people about how you're feeling.
Zach: What's really great about us at the minute is that our demographic is really powerful, but they are the future. They're easily influenced by people that they respect and some people, whether it's their parents or whatever, will tell them this, that and the other and sometimes it doesn't sink in because sometimes you need cultural icons to tell you things... not that we're calling ourselves cultural icons as of yet! But at the minute the fanbase that we are developing really care about what we have to say, more than they do their teachers and family sometimes, so if we have an important message to spread and these people love what we say and how we think... then naturally they're going to start following, which can be damaging if you've got the wrong message. We're quite passionate about across the board equality, and we've got the power of the young people who are picking it up and pushing it themselves which is great.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
James: I know I've got a good answer for this, but it takes a bit of time! I'd go back in time and think of my answer!
Joe: Dinosaur ages! You've got to go back and see the dinosaurs. But what about the butterfly effect?
Zach: It's too much, isn't it? The thing about the butterfly effect is that it really does apply... I'm a firm believer that if I didn't touch my chair just then, then this concert could be completely different. However, the dinosaur age is where it varies a little bit because you touching your next door neighbours tree or whatever isn't going to change that comet and the outcome for them so I would probably go back to about two hours before the comet hit and just have a proper laugh. I'd want to experience a good time, and then pandemonium- so the final hour before the comet hits.
James: You could potentially end up being prey, though.
Zach: Do I get to change shape? I'd be a human with trees for legs.
Alex: I don't think you get that choice mate, I think you're just you.

Finally... what are the hopes, dreams and plans for the future of King No-One?
Joe: To rule the world!
Zach: There will be new music. It's a tough one because we've just released 'Antichrist' so the plan now is to hit festival season and take it on the best that we can. Obviously when we play the NME/Radio 1 stage at Reading and Leeds there could be a lot of people there so we need to convince people and not only get them on board in terms of the music but with what we're about and the ethos as well. Not many bands have an ethos. Once Summer is over that's when we hit you with new music, but we can't really say much about it right now! Quote us on this... but we will headline Glastonbury before 2030!

Listen to King No-One below:

Where to find them...
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @KNOMusicUK

Friday, 21 April 2017

An Interview With THE SHIMMER BAND ~ 12.04.17

The Shimmer Band are the five-piece from Bristol who look set to take the world by storm with their unique and explosive dosing of psychadelic soundscapes. With four studio releases to their name to date, varying from the thunderous heights of 'Jackknife And The Death Call' to the beautifully effervescent 'Sunkick', it seems as if everything they touch turns to gold... and I reckon this is but the tip of the iceberg. They became a regular fixture on last years' festival circuit, appearing at the likes of Reading and Leeds, Y Not and Isle of Wight. Having spent much of 2016 touring relentlessly, including huge support slots with Stereophonics and Blossoms, they became renowned for their electrifying live performances. When I first saw them, I remember being completely and utterly transfixed from the moment they set foot on stage; it was only a couple of months ago when the band played at my favourite venue, Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, in support of punk-rock kooks, Cabbage. From start to finish I was just totally mesmerized. They put on a show in every sense of the word, complete with dazzling lights, eccentric on stage attire and their own blend of immensely captivating electro-rock songcraft.

The Shimmer Band returned to the Brudenell, this time as headliners to the Games Room, for the first date of their tour and I was able to speak with frontman Tom and keyboardist Schmit prior to their performance...

Let's start with an introduction as to who you are, what you do, and a funny fact about yourself...
Tom: My name is Tom and I am the lead singer in The Shimmer Band
Schmit: My name is Schmit and I play keys in The Shimmer Band.
Tom: I'll tell you a funny fact... Schmit is actually a member of a biker gang. For real. Proper Harley Davidson biker gang! That's true, I'm not even making it up.
Schmit: We kill people...
Tom: So look out! What are you going to say about me, mate?
Schmit: Nah, we talk about you enough. Lets talk about something else!

I want to hear about the conception of The Shimmer Band. How was it that you first came together as a band?
Tom: We all went to school together so we've known each other for forever, really.
Schmit: It was about two and a half years ago that we decided to start this project.
Tom: Yeah. We've all done musical things and played in different bands. We just thought 'Yeah, lets start a new band!' because we all liked the same sort of music, and it kind of made sense. We didn't really think about it too much, it just sort of happened.

What are your earliest memories of music? So both in terms of what you grew up listening to, and also how you started making music yourselves.
Tom: I remember playing 'Sgt. Pepper' on repeat a lot when I was a kid, specifically 'When I'm 64'. I don't know why a little kid would do that!
Schmit: The least rock and roll tune!
Tom: It's probably the shittest song on the album as well, but I just have this vivid memory of playing it over and over again... it's because it's weird and a little bit different, isn't it! I have an older brother and he was a teenager during the Britpop era, so I grew up listening to a lot of that.
Schmit: I grew up listening to The Stones... lucky me! My first proper memory of music funnily enough involves our bass player, Kuras. I got a tiny little squier bass for my birthday and I just remember running round his house with it. At the time he played guitar and we started jamming together... and now we're in a band together which is great, but we've got opposite roles!
Tom: He plays bass and you play guitar! Funny old thing.

You've spent a lot of time on the road already this year, and this is the 1st date of your headline tour. Is there anywhere that you always look forward to playing or have had good experiences in the past?
Tom: Well we've played here quite a few times and it's quite good... it's one of the better toilet venues! So we really like it here.
Schmit: Leeds as a city, as well. We played Live At Leeds last year and that was really good fun.
Tom: Leeds is pretty good for bands, isn't it? There seems to be a lot of bands here and there's always good gigs going on.
Schmit: Yeah, definitely one of the top cities to play. We enjoy playing up North in general because we just love the crowds. Everyone's always well up for it!
Tom: Bristol is a bit more Dance orientated and hip-hop. It's a bit more urban, and they're not really into bands... but you come up here and everyone is really passionate about rock n' roll, which is good. It's good for us because that's what we do!

When you first walk out on stage and see all of the people who have come out especially to watch you perform, how do you feel in those first few moments?
Tom: Don't trip up and don't fall over! It depends on the gig though, really. When it's our own shows, I think we're a lot more appreciative because people have specifically come for us and it's a bit more of a choice occasion. When we do support slots, it's a bit more like war! It's a bit more like going into battle because we've got to earn the right of the audience.

Do you have any tour hobbies or habits?
Schmit: Top Trumps!
Tom: Chequers! We're pretty brutal chequers players.
Schmit: Oh yeah, we've almost fallen out on several occasions over it.
Tom: We go wild. It gets pretty nasty!
Schmit: You've got to find ways to kill time. It's not as glamorous as it may seem!
Tom: It is, what are you on about?
Schmit: Oh yeah, super glamorous... you spend a lot of time travelling and waiting around.
Tom: Pool! We've got pretty good at pool and pretty good at poker.

There's obviously a strong visual aspect to what you do... when I first saw you live, I was completely mesmerized. But it's not just in terms of your live show, but your artwork as well is incredibly vivid. Do you think it's just as important to focus on the visuals as it is the music?
Tom: Definitely. Obviously music, art, fashion cross over and intertwine so it's good to think about all of these things. We particularly like the artwork, actually. It's done by some American woman called Destiny Womack. She's this American artist... she's a bit mental! We found her online, on Instagram or something like that.
Schmit: I think we found some work that she'd done for someone else and did a bit of research.
Tom: We got in contact with her and asked her about the artwork and she got back to us and said she'd love to. She painted us these huge oil canvases and had them shipped over to us, so we took photographs of them and had them made into artwork for all of the singles. I'm really pleased with it, and they all sort of link together.
Schmit: They're a collection.
Tom: We've only got one release out at the moment that you can get as a physical copy but eventually we'll put them all out and it'll be really nice to see them all together. It'll look really cool.

Has anyone got a bucket list? Things you want to do before you die...
Schmit: I haven't... but I can think of something!
Tom: We've finished recording our debut album now... I think! I think it's done! So I'm now thinking about the next album, and thinking about recording that. That's what I really want to get done, more than anything. I want to start making new songs and progress it further.
Schmit: DJ'ing at Glastonbury... that'd be quite a good one for a bucket list!
Tom: Yeah! We're DJ'ing at Glastonbury on the Saturday night so we're pretty chuffed about that. It's going to be fun... we're just going to get messed up and play some great tunes.

Speaking of festivals, you became somewhat of a familiar fixture on the festival circuit last year and have already announced some great appearances for this year too. What do you think it is about a festival that makes them so very special to music lovers all across the globe?
Tom: Festivals have become more important than ever, I think.
Schmit: I think it's a good way for bands to get some recognition and exposure. You get to potentially play to thousands of people.
Tom: Over the last 10 or 15 years, small venues like this one have been suffering or haven't been as popular as they used to be... mainly because people prefer going to festivals and probably feel like they're getting their moneys' worth. You pay a lump sum of money and get to see hundreds of bands if you want to, but like Schmit said, it's a great thing for bands.
Schmit: When we go to festivals, we discover new acts. I've discovered so many new bands at festivals in the past and ended up getting well into them. It's a great way, for new bands especially, to build a fanbase... and then when they do their own gigs, people actually come!

Does anyone in the band have any strange talents or interesting hobbies outside of music?
Tom: I don't really have any, to be honest! I'm pretty obsessed with music. Like I said, all I'm thinking about now is the next album so we're just writing loads of songs and concentrating on that.
Schmit: It's all we talk about all of the time. Just music.

If you could spend 24 hours time travelling, where would you go and what would you do?
Tom: I'd go back to the 60's and write all of the good tunes. Write Sgt. Pepper before The Beatles do it and then write Let It Bleed before the Stones do it. Steal all the good songs, basically!
Schmit: If we get there before the Stones, we can be called The Rolling Stones.
Tom: No, we'll be called The Rolling Beatles and just write all of their tunes before they have the chance to do it! So yeah, that's what I'd do!
Schmit: I agree!

Tell me something about The Shimmer Band that no one else knows...
Tom: Secrets about us? We don't really have any secrets!
Schmit: If we did have a big secret, I don't think we'd really want to tell anyone! We have got a single coming out which we haven't announced. People may not know that our Freedom music video was filmed at Cardiff Arena.
Tom: You can't tell because it's terribly edited! We just thought, they can't use Cardiff Arena every single day... so we contacted the guy who runs it and asked, and he replied saying that there were certain days where it was empty, so we asked if we could come in on one of them and shoot our video and then the guy said yes! So we went in there and just shot a video in an arena! We were there for 2 days!
Schmit: We set up a massive stage and had a crane.
Tom: Yeah, we hired a crane! It was pretty cool... it's just a shame the video was crap because we put loads of effort into it! But yeah, not many people know that video was shot in an arena,  and it's pretty epic!
Schmit: We're more a stadium band!

Finally... what are the hopes, dreams and plans for the future? 
Tom: To be a stadium band! We just want to be as big as we possibly can, really.
Schmit: We want to play on the bigger stages at all of the festivals.
Tom: Yeah. When you're a kid you don't think about playing the Brudenell.. no offence!
Schmit: When I was younger I remember thinking that if I got to the Louisiana, which is a small Bristol venue, then I'd be satisifed. As soon as I did it, you go on to the next venue and it just goes up and up. You're never satisifed and you always want more.
Tom: We just want to be a big band, really. A lot of people shy away from it or are embarrassed by it for some reason, but for me there'd be nothing better than having a big tour bus, touring the country, playing at all of the arenas and getting to perform in front of 10,000 people every night. That's what we want to do.

Listen to The Shimmer Band here:

Where to find them...
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @theshimmerband

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Single Review: Tempted ~ CONFLARE

Conflare are the Castleford based pop-rock powerhouse made up of Toby Hanmore, Ethan Bradley, Sam Wilkinson and Dan Watson. Since their formation, the band have appeared at some of Yorkshires' finest venues, the likes of the O2 Academy in Leeds and Wakefields' Theatre Royal, and have become known and loved for their high powered and dynamic live performances. The quartet released their debut EP in 2015, followed by a felicitous single release last year in the form of the brilliant 'Real'. Having already more than proved themselves as one of the most exciting up and coming bands on the block, Conflare are back with their strongest work to date, brand new single 'Tempted'.

These guys were the first band to ever ask me to review their music when I started this blog, so it's really great to see how far they've come since then; 'Tempted' is a big rock song, packed full of sensational riffs and bass licks, all further accentuated by Tobys' gritty and copiously evocative vocal styling. The intensity and deliverance of the lyricism coalesce perfectly with the moody, atmosphere soaked instrumentation, and this track emits a real sense of professionalism. Conflare definitely have a lot to offer, and 'Tempted' is resonating proof of their flair for raw and expressive songcraft. 

'Tempted' is out now. Listen below:

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

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Gig Preview: OCTOBER DRIFT @ The Foundry, Sheffield ~ 22.04.17

October Drift have built up quite the reputation for their galvanizing live performances, and this weekend the band head to Sheffield as part of their latest tour to play a gargantuan headline show at The Foundry courtesy of Aggressive Management. The city has become somewhat of a second home to the Somerset based quartet, and their ever growing fanbase will undoubtedly be out in force to celebrate their return.

With support coming from KONG and HENDERSON, it's guaranteed to be one of the most thrilling live events of the year. Tickets can be purchased in advance HERE and look set to sell out before the big day, so be sure to act quickly.

In the meantime, listen to October Drift below:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Live Review: SHEAFS/ SUGARMEN/ RAINBOW MANIAC/ RALE For This Feeling @ Rocking Chair, Sheffield ~ 15.04.17

I've said this a number of times now, but you can always count on This Feeling to put on an absolutely mindblowing show... so put them together with The Rocking Chair, one of the finest venues in Sheffield, and you pretty much know that you're in for a treat. I'd been looking forward to this gig for quite some time, and suffice to say it did not disappoint. The line up consisted of four equally great bands, all of whom were quite different in terms of their sound but complimented one another perfectly.

First up were the mighty RALE, whose music has an intriguing edge to it and truly is synth-pop at it's absolute finest. Their sound exudes a somewhat pensive sense of melancholy in places whilst emanating a shimmering 80's tinted aura in others, but it is this versatility and variety in sound that makes them so special. Their live performances are always nothing short of breathtaking, and there is an inexplicable yet endearing eccentricity to them, particularly in frontman Tom O'Hara whose kooky dance moves throughout make it impossible to look away. 

Cardiff based Rainbow Maniac performed with such a vivifying and confident swash, breezing through a set comprised of some of the most intelligent and dynamic rock n' roll crowd pleasers I've ever heard. There was plenty of witty crowd interaction between songs, meaning that these guys definitely bought a dose of fun to proceedings. With a bold and infectious instrumental vitality present throughout as well as a cool and confident vocal flair, this truly was a standout performance and left me eager to seek out more of their music after the gig.

Rainbow Maniac
What Sugarmen managed to do so wonderfully is pull off that quintessential rock n' roll sound, whilst still managing to remain contemporary and 100% relevant. Led by sonorous guitars and a smooth yet atmospheric vocal styling, there's a real air of confidence to them throughout; this was an undeniably note perfect performance from a young band with heaps of potential, coupled with a great deal of raw talent and energy.

Putting local heroes SHEAFS in a venue as intimate as The Rocking Chair was always going to result in absolute annihilation, but I think every single person who was in the room will agree with me on saying that this performance was nothing short of brilliant. The crowd were chanting their name before the penultimate band had even left the stage, and there was a mixture of excitement and impatience in the air as the band were setting up. From frontman Lawrence Feenstra's searing vocals to Charlie Eastaps' relentlessly thunderous drum beats, it was like one thrilling display of absolute power from start to finish.

However, like the first hit of an incredibly addictive drug, it all seemed to happen rather quickly; they powered through their hard-hitting six-track set with impressive might and dynamism, leaving everyone begging for more as they took their leave. The roar of the crowd resulted in them taking to the stage for one last song, thus concluding one of the most exciting nights of live music I've had in a long time.

Lawrence of SHEAFS

Saturday, 15 April 2017

1st Birthday Special: An Interview With JUDAS ~ 08.04.17

When the idea of starting a music blog first came into my head just over a year ago, if someone had told me that I'd have the opportunity on countless occasions to work alongside some of my favourite bands, all the while discovering brand new ones and making lots of new friends along the way... I'm not entirely sure that I'd have believed them. When I started Fiction Is Not Imagination, I never for a single second thought that things would turn out the way they have. I saw it as the golden opportunity to combine a lifelong love of writing, photography and of course music, but in all honesty I didn't think anyone would actually read it! Yet here we are 12 months down the line, and I can safely say (even if it is a little bit cliché) that doing this has truly helped me find myself and become a much stronger and more confident person.

When thinking of the best possible way to mark the occasion, the first thing that sprung to mind was to bring back the first band I ever interviewed and catch up with them one year on. A couple of weeks after I started out, I interviewed the phenomenal JUDAS in a freezing cold car park in Barnsley. Granted, it wasn't the most glamorous of settings to conduct my debut interview, but once I got over the initial nerves, it was a hell of a lot of fun. That was only the second time I'd ever met them, and I remember being absolutely terrified. Fast forward 12 months, and I'd like to think of them now not only as a band who mean the absolute world to me, but as friends too. The last year has been one big learning curve for me, but for them it's been lifechanging. For anyone who isn't familiar with this band, they are a four-piece from London made up of John Clancy, Sam Horvath, Todd Blackmore and James Phillips. With countless gigs and festival appearances under their belt already, as well as a four track EP which has seen them receive praise from the likes of the BBC and XFM, JUDAS are fast becoming the name on everyones' lips. Summer of 2016 saw them bag a last minute slot on the main stage at Leeds Festival and perform to thousands upon thousands of people, and they have since been invited back to play again this year. It's great to see them getting the recognition they deserve; watching them perform brings about an almost euphoric sensation, as well as that inexplicable sense that you are truly witnessing something special, which in years to come you'll be desperate to tell everyone about. Mark my words, give them another year and these guys will have well and truly blown up.

The band are currently in the midst of a whirlwind UK tour in association with Double Denim Live, and I was able to conduct a birthday themed interview with them prior to their performance at The Underground in Bradford...

With Fiction Is Not Imagination turning 1 year old this month, I thought it'd be poignant to bring back you guys one year on from our debut interview in Barnsley and have a catch up. So... what's new? Would you say you've changed a lot as a band since then?
John: We're honoured to be the first! The anniversary band. Well we're in Bradford for the first time! We got a new van today as well.
James: John cut his hair a couple of weeks ago.
John: And we've got some new songs which we do keep saying but they are coming. We are better than we were a year ago.
Todd: We're still as immature as we were a year ago.
John: Never change,Todd... just change your hair.

Whilst on the topic of birthdays, what has been your most memorable one? Has anyone been the recipient of any weird and wonderful gifts over the years?
John: I had a midget dressed as me handcuffed to me for my 21st birthday. He's a legend! That's his job as well, he just goes out and gets smashed with people on their birthday.
James: He said he'd do our music video!
Sam: It's Todd's 21st when we're at the Isle of Wight. It's Jay's 21st next month as well.
James: We're in Birmingham on my 21st.
Sam: Watch out Birmingham!

You've been in the studio a lot recently. What can we expect from your new music, and when?
John: 2 weeks, and it's fresh! It sounds new, doesn't it?
Sam: We've been trying to find someone that we think it sounds like, and we couldn't so that's a pretty good thing I think.
John: Definitely a good thing. It sounds amazing!

You ended up on the main stage at last years' Leeds Festival, which is a huge achievement and must have come as such a shock. How did it come about in the first place?
John: Last year was a complete fluke! Or maybe it wasn't... it was destiny! We got asked to play.
James: Parkway Drive pulled out literally 2 hours before they were meant to be on, and then we got asked to do it.
John: We were made up. And then we got asked to do it again this year!

How did you feel when you first walked out on to that stage? It must have been pretty spectacular, but were you scared?
Todd: It happened too quickly for us to be scared. It wasn't till afterwards that we were like "Wow, that actually happened!"

Sam: We've got 5 months this time, though!

As you said, you've been asked back this year. How are you going to top last year?
John: We're gonna have better songs!
Todd: Then we're going to play a gig on the moon.
Sam: That's a great idea!

Would you say that you approach a festival performance differently to how you would a standalone gig?
John: I think in terms of the set, you get a shorter amount of time so you've got to pick the best ones that will get everyone going. There are a lot of people that you don't know watching, and they don't know you, so you've got to get the party going because you don't have much time to make an impression. You've got to grab their attention.

As we discussed, the main topic of this interview is birthdays and celebration... so who's a lightweight, and who's the life and soul of the party and could drink us all under the table?
John: Jay can drink a lot but he's always the one who is in the worst state.
Sam: And in trouble. Todd's the worst for hangovers though.
John: Yeah, Todd vomits every single time...
Todd: But it takes me a lot more to actually get drunk.
James: Shush, Todd.
John: I get drunk quickly, but I stay drunk for the whole night.

What's the most comical thing you've ever done whilst drunk? 
Sam: Jay thinking he was Keith Richards.
John: Jay tried to jump out of a moving taxi. The taxi was driving and Jay tried to jump out of the window.
James: I was particularly drunk that night.
John: I grabbed on to his collar, I was laughing but I held on to him. If I'd have let go, he would have fell out of the window on a dual carriageway. The guy driving didn't even realize! That was funny... it was hilarious!
Sam: I've probably done many things, but it's whether or not I can remember them or whether they're appropriate!
James: Drunk texting. You're the fucking worst for that. Do you just do them every time?
Sam: Oh yeah, drunk texting I do a lot.
Todd: We poured fairy liquid all over each other and had a war. We got in the next morning and I felt so rough, so I went for a shower and I ended up in there for ages because there was tons and tons of fairy liquid in my hair.
John: Remember when we were setting the fire extinguishers off in Selby? That was amazing.
Sam: That was fun! We have a fire extinguisher fetish.
John: It's a particular favourite of ours.
Sam: Remember when we went to that town and we were hanging out of the van window?
John: Shit, yeah! We were spraying out of the van window, spraying people as we were going by. Someone had just got killed along that road as well, do you remember? It was all blocked off when we went through. It wasn't us who did it though! Moving on...

Does anyone in the band have any strange talents or party tricks?
Sam: Todd can bend his toe!
Todd: Yeah, I can bend my big toe by bending the other toe.
John: It's pretty amazing. That little jump thing you do is pretty good, Sam. To be fair we discovered he could do that when we were completely smashed as well. No one else can do it... we all tried! 
James: I haven't tried, but I'm not going to... till I'm really smashed.

If tomorrow was to be your last day on Earth, how would you want to spend it?
James: Not with these guys.
John: Can you teleport? Because I'd like to go somewhere amazing but I don't want to sit on a plane for 12 hours. I'd probably go somewhere for a huge party, like Vegas or something if we could all go drink and get smashed. Basically like The Hangover movie but with us in it. 
James: But then instead of getting a hangover, it's the end of the world.
John: And everyone dies, and everyone's right up for it because it's the end of the world.

What would you say is the most rewarding thing about what you do... the creative process of writing, recording and watching a great track come together- or getting to take it out on the road and see the crowds reaction?
John: The fans are the best thing.
James: People like Faith!
John: When we're writing songs in the house and we're like "Oh yeah, that's kind of cool," and then you record it and it sounds amazing... then you get to play it and people are singing it back and loving it. It kind of goes hand in hand. If you're just doing it for yourself, it's boring.
Sam: John will come down with a tune and we'll find a cool beat for it and it'll sound amazing... then we'll find a cool guitar part, and it'll sound really sick.
John: When you first play it for that first hour, we're all playing it terribly but we're still like "This is amazing!" So that's probably the best time that you ever play a song... until you get fans and you can hear them singing it back to you! We're still working on it.

Would you rather be able to travel back in time or see into the future?
John: Are you still you? Do you still get to think like you or are you seeing it through a TV screen? I'd probably go to the future because you don't know what that is if you wanted to know more about the past, you could just read a history book or whatever. So it's the future for me! Everyone would be on like those hoverboards.
Todd: If you go and see how good the future's gonna be, you'd come back and just be like "Oh, this sucks." but then if you go to the past, you could see all of the cool stuff and be like "Wow."
Sam: Actually... you could go to the future, rob all of the good ideas and then come back and invent them all. You'd be a millionaire!

Finally... what are the hopes, dreams and plans for the future of JUDAS? Where do you think you're going to be in another 12 months time?
Sam: Celebrating the second year anniversary.
John: Yeah, the second year anniversary interview.
Sam: Hopefully we'll be on a private jet somewhere!
John: We'll be bigger and better. We'll just carry on and write better songs, and do bigger gigs. More fans!
Sam: Everything that we're doing now, but on a bigger scale.

(April 2016) Then...
... and now! (April 2017)
Fiction Is Not Imagination has bought me friendship, love and plenty of great music. I for one cannot wait to see what the future holds. So watch this space, and who knows... maybe JUDAS and I really will have to make this an annual celebratory get together!

Listen to JUDAS below:

Where to find them...
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: WeAreJudas

Artwork by Ellie Murphy

Thursday, 13 April 2017

An Interview With THE LUKA STATE ~ 07.04.17

The Luka State are a Winsford based four-piece made up of Conrad Ellis, Lewis Pusey, Jake Barnabas and Sam Bell. They've spent the last few years perfecting their own magnificent brand of rock n' roll, which has seen them receive high acclaim and airplay from the likes of Q Magazine, BBC Introducing, Radio 1 and This Feeling. Their industrious work ethic saw them complete a gargantuan world tour in 2016, playing shows not only on home turf in and around the UK but also as far out as Germany, Poland and Canada. All of this aside the band are keen to retain an intimate connection between themselves and their ever expanding fanbase, regularly travelling far and wide to play house party gigs across the continent.

The band host a regular web show titled 'Listen To This', in which they recommend and review the crème de la crème of British up and coming and unsigned talent, thus "Giving rock n' roll the voice it deserves." This alone showcases their passion for music, and their drive to not only succeed themselves but to support and bring something to the music industry as a whole. Already, this year has seen them release new music, by way of the swaggering 'Lies, Lies, Lies' and the opulent 'Bring This All Together'. One thing's for sure... 2017 is going to be the year of The Luka State.

I was able to chat with the band upon their long awaited return to the North for a gig at the Frog & Parrot in Sheffield for AMP Live Presents. I've met them on a number of occasions now, and am always struck by their warmth and humble nature.  

How and when did you first come together as a band?
Conrad: Me and Sam have been in bands together since we were 12, and then about 3 years ago we started this project. Jake came on board first and we were a three-piece, and then we were looking for another guitarist. Me and Pusey went to school together.
Sam: I'd known him since we were about 12! We'd been a three-piece for so long that it never really crossed my mind that he'd still play guitar. We were watching an Oasis tribute band where we're from and they were rubbish so I went outside, saw him and just went "Still play guitar, mate?" He was like "Yeah!" I was like "Do you want to audition for us?"
Lewis: One month later I was on the One Night Only tour, and two weeks later I was in the 'Believe' video! Deep end!
Conrad: So that's it, and we're still here now. We've only actually been a band as a collective for 3 years so it's still early doors, really. 

What did you grow up listening to, and did any of that inspire you to want to make music yourselves?
Sam: Mod stuff really, wasn't it?
Conrad: Yeah, me and Sam are kind of from the same musical background.
Lewis: Me and Conrad bonded over stuff like The Clash and Sex Pistols.
Conrad: Me and Sam are massive fans of The Beatles. We were mainly into the mod movement, so The Who, The Jam, The Beatles, Small Faces... mainly because Sams' family is. But going to school with Pusey, we bonded over punk music.
Sam: And then it turns out that Jake likes all of the same music, but even more so! He likes them and can name the songs! Him and Lewis are really into Queens of the Stone Age and stuff like that.
Lewis: It's weird because collectively we don't all have the same music taste. It's like four, different coloured pieces of lego slotting together!
Conrad: What a wonderful analogy!

You play quite a lot of house party gigs... people can apply through your site to have you go and gig for them. What kind of experiences have you had doing that? It must be so different to normal gigs, and you even went to play for someone in Paris, didn't you?
Sam: Paris was the first one! They're always really messy!
Conrad: Basically, we just wanted to do something different. We're just trying to take the music to the people and put it in peoples' faces because at the minute its kind of hard and there are a lot of sharks out there, promotion wise and there are a lot of gigs that end up shit and some people aren't paying attention.
Sam: We're basically cutting out all of the bullshit.
Conrad: Yeah, we're cutting out the middle man and taking it to the people. Any of the fans that want to see us, we'll go out and play to them right in front of their faces. It's rock n' roll, back to it's roots. It's rock n' roll as it should be... raw, and it's a very punk ethic way of doing things and it's literally just us going back to our roots. It's us doing what we used to do... just turning up and playing!
Sam: I think there's something special about playing in someones' kitchen as well!

What's the most memorable house party show you've ever played?
Sam: The kitchen one was quite memorable because no one could actually get to the beer so whenever anyone wanted anything, Jake had to go and grab it and then pass the beer along!
Conrad: That was London. What's good about most gigs as well is that we're not just doing it for our benefit, we're doing it for other peoples' benefit and we're making a lot of good friends by doing it which is important. Recently we played in London again and did another house party, and we still stay in touch with them. They come to our gigs, so it's a nice way for us to broaden our fanbase and make friends which is great because it can be quite lonely being in a band when you're on the road. You play for people, then you go and you're on to the next place. It's nice to build friendships.
Sam: I think it's going back to that punk ethic thing as well... playing anywhere and creating our own movement.

Your web show 'Listen To This' is all about bringing attention to up and coming bands/artists. It's such a great thing that you're doing... do you think there are a lot of challenges facing unsigned acts, especially guitar bands, in this day and age within the industry?
Conrad: There is a challenge, yeah. The challenge is only as hard as you set for yourself, but with regards to the show it's just a platform that we wanted to be able to give other bands because we were lucky enough to have the YouTube subscription and to use YouTube's bases. Rather than it just being a wasted opportunity that we did nothing with, we thought that because me and Sam are into different film things and generally being in front of the camera that it made sense to do something positive with it and give back and give something back to the industry that just isn't happening at the minute. If you think about it, MTV isn't what it used to be... it's all about Geordie Shore and fucking Ex On The Beach, which is absolutely shocking. Back in the day you used to have Gonzo and that's not out anymore, and it's a shame. We're not trying to be that, but I think it's nice for bands to be able to help each other out and scratch eachothers' backs. That's the way the music industry should work, we should all be helping each other and everyone should have their eggs in the same basket. We should be working together to make something better at the end of the day.
Sam: Again, it's all about making friends.
Lewis: In history, if you look at the impact of music... three of the biggest bands in the world, The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones... all three of them would play together and communicate. It's all about bringing that back rather than being like "We need to be bigger than you so we're not going to talk to you." It's making it a community again rather than it just being every band for themselves.

So far this year, you've done quite a lot of touring up and down the country. Is there anywhere in particular that you always look forward to playing?
Sam: Germany is one. We'll always go back to Germany because it's just mint! It's just mental, and every night is always totally different. Once again it's all about making friends, because everyone you meet wants to talk to you. I think because we're from England as well, they're already intrigued. Vice versa as well, because we're intrigued to find out about them.
Lewis: We play a gig over there and talk about the beer and stuff like that, and you'll have someone walk up to you and be like "You're staying at mine tonight!" You'll get to their place and they'll have put beds out for you and feed you breakfast and everything, and that's not just at the odd venue... that's their way of greeting bands.
Conrad: With gigs for me in that sense, I see every gig as a challenge. I like to go out and try to win people over. That's the biggest challenge and that's the most exciting thing about being at this stage because it's important to try and get everyones' attention. If you're not making noise and you're not in everyones' faces, then you're never going to get their attention.
Lewis: And we do make a lot of noise! Which helps!

So would you say that shows in somewhere such as Germany are quite different to playing shows here in the UK, in terms of the crowds and suchlike?
Sam: I'd say the difference really is that in England people will get drunk and just stand and watch where as over in Germany they get drunk and they really do let their hair down!
Lewis: What we find is that the dancing in every country is different! When we played the house party in Paris, within 2 minutes there was a full on mosh pit in this guys living room! But then when you play Germany, we can be playing some of our heavier tunes and they'll be dancing to it. It's interesting to see because in like Poland, Belgium... they all dance a little bit different!
Conrad: In the UK, people are trying too hard to look cool.
Lewis: Yeah, it's like they're worried that they're going to be judged if they get up and dance.
Sam: I think in Germany in general, they just don't give a hoot!

In turn, is there anywhere that you'd love to play but haven't had the chance to yet?
Conrad: I've got a bucket list. Top of my bucket list... I have not attended Glastonbury yet, and I won't ever go as a punter. The first time I ever go to Glastonbury will be as an artist. Manchester O2 Apollo as well... I love that venue! It's amazing, and I really want to play there. It's a beautiful building.
Lewis: I really want to do a tour of Northern America, as in like coast to coast, and I really want us to get out to Japan. In my mind, we know we're going in the right direction when it becomes a proper global thing, and we start to play in places like that or do festivals like Fuji Rocks and stuff like that. So yeah, that and the moon... I want us to be the first band that plays on the moon!
Sam: Summer Sonic in Japan. That would be incredible!
Jake: I don't really have any dream venues. If we sold out an academy... just to know that so many people have come to watch us would be enough for me.
Conrad: At the end of the day, deep down we just want to be playing in front of as many people as possible and that is it.

This has become somewhat of a trademark question for me and something that I ask in most of my interviews... but I love the variety of weird and wonderful responses that I get from it. So... tell me something about The Luka State that no one else knows... 
Lewis: There are individual moments and stuff like that... like the way me and Conrad met. It was in year 8 English. I had long hair at the time he turned around and was like "You look like a labrador," and then for about a week he would just turn round and stroke my hair every so often... and that's how our friendship started! To be fair to him, I actually did look like a labrador so I'll give that to him!
Conrad: I got pepper sprayed for trying to get into a strip club in Poland after a gig...
Lewis: No, no, no! I have to clarify that... we were not trying to get into the strip club, we were literally trying to stand under the shelter because it was raining! We were stood outside and the bouncer was like "Can you move on?" I asked if it was alright if we could wait until the rain stopped, which he said was fine. Out of nowhere... another bouncer came round, followed Conrad and pepper sprayed him!
Conrad: Never going back!
Sam: Don't say that, mate! We will go back!
Conrad: What else is there?
Sam: Don't you think that's enough?!
Conrad: What goes on tour stays on tour...

Music aside, has anyone in the band got any strange talents or interesting hobbies?
Lewis: I build my own guitars.
Sam: Lewis has got a higher IQ than our manager.
Lewis: Because he's probably going to see this, it was a wonderful moment when he was going on about IQ levels and I just dropped it in there...
Sam: I love acting. I've only been in one film but I do like it.
Conrad: I play a lot of squash but I'm not very good!
Jake: I don't do anything!
Sam: He can pump some iron!
Jake: That's all I do... pump iron and drum!
Lewis: You know like in the Rocky Montage? He goes out to the train station and just pulls a freight train! That's his workout for the week.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
Jake: I would go back to the 60's to see if the hippy movement was as real as the crazy kids today think it was.
Sam: It'd have to be the 60's for me too to go watch The Beatles.
Conrad: I really like World War II so I'd like to go back and be a fly on the wall. I was named after a soldier in the Gulf War.
Lewis: It's one of three for me... either the Isle of Wight Festival to see The Who, Hendrix, The Stones, Spike Island to see The Stone Roses or back to 1985 to see Everton pick up the FA Cup

Is there anything that you've done so far, whether that's a particular song, a certain show you've played or perhaps something else entirely, that you're either especially proud of or feel has been integral in getting you to where you are today?
Conrad: I'm very proud of the record we've just made. It was a long time in the making to get where we wanted it to be, and to sound how we wanted it to sound. Finally, we're there and I am immensely proud of it and can't wait to put it out. There's no date as of yet, though!
Lewis: In our first year as a band we went over to Canada and played a festival called Indie Week. The festival had been going well, but whilst playing this gig, a couple of songs in we stopped and it was the first time that I'd properly experienced the roar of a crowd because they were wanting more. I suppose it would be like the first hit of a really addictive drug or something, and I knew that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
Sam: Mine was a festival in Spain, again because of the crowd. I don't think we'd ever played to a crowd that big, and again the roar from the crowd after we'd finished and a lot of them were singing along to all of the tunes as well which was amazing. We didn't expect that at all. We weren't headliners or anything. I'd never had that kind of experience before, playing in the heat. It was all just crazy... we're not used to warm weather here, are we!
Jake: For me, recording the album. I can't wait to show it to everyone, because it's pretty good!

Do you believe in life after death- and if so, what would you do if you came back as a ghost? 
Lewis: I do have a theory about this! I am very passionate about this theory. When you dream, your brain releases a chemical, so you have rapid eye movement... a dream can feel like 3 hours, but it's only around 30 seconds. What I think is when you pass away, your brain will flood with all of that... so in your last hour, you are essentially living another lifetime, but it's a lucid dream. You can right all of your wrongs, so say you haven't spoken to a certain member of your family or something like that, you sort of do the whole thing again but all of the bullshit and all of the bad bits are missing from it. That's my thought.
Conrad: I'm an avid atheist, so I don't believe in God or religion. I believe in the forward thinking of Buddhism. I don't really believe in life after death, although I do believe that we have a spirit... I just haven't worked out what that is, yet.
Sam: I'd like to think that there is life after death in some shape or form. I do get quite scared of dying sometimes, but that's why you just have to live every moment and live for now. Just take it as it comes. This is getting deep! I'd come back and haunt everyone... but as Michael Jackson!
Jake: I don't watch enough films, so I don't have a theory or anything! I just don't believe in it.

Finally... what are the hopes, dreams and plans for the future of The Luka State?
Conrad: To release the record on a major label, and hopefully get a top 5 with it. That's where we're aiming. Other than that, just playing plenty of shows.
Lewis: The same thing we do every night, really... try and take over the world!

Watch the official music video for 'Bring This All Together' below

Where to find them...
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: TheLukaState 
Catch up on 'Listen To This' here.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

An Interview With RORY WYNNE ~ 30.03.17

Star quality. You either have it or you don't; cue 17 year old Rory Wynne from Stockport, who probably has more star quality in his little finger than most of us have in our entire bodies. Fresh from supporting Blossoms on their gargantuan UK tour, Rory is the embodiment of rock n' roll artistry... and what's more, I think he is fully aware of this. There's nothing wrong with having a little confidence in oneself... in fact, amongst the sea of up and coming bands and artists within the industry striving to be seen and heard, it's probably a necessary survival technique. Rory knows he's good, and certainly has talent and determination enough to deliver on his promises of becoming the rockstar of his generation. His recently released EP 'What Would Rory Wynne Do?' is the perfect example of his striking capabilities and potential as a musician. It's a collection of songs that give an intriguing insight into his life and mind, and from the subtly romantic 'In The Dark' to the bolshy 'After Me' (in which he croons 'You are the second greatest thing in the universe after me,') no one can deny his exceptional wit as a songwriter.

I saw Rory perform for the first time last Summer at Welcome to the North Festival in Leeds and was immediately impressed, which prompted me to get in touch with him via social media to try and set up an interview. He contacted me late last year with a date to keep free in my diary and hints about with whom he'd be playing alongside... one band who can boast a number 1 album, and another with a vegetable for a name who have become somewhat infamous for their crazy onstage demeanour. It could only be Blossoms and Cabbage!

With a date now set, the interview became something which we planned and discussed for the best part of a year, so it was a little odd when the big day finally came around. Blossoms, Cabbage and Rory on a single line up at Leeds' O2 Academy was always going to be a jaw-dropping night of live music, and I was able to meet with Rory beforehand for a chat about his already groundbreaking career; from discussing his cameo role in ITV's Cold Feet, to talking about how to make the perfect cup of tea... an interview with Rory Wynne was never going to be boring, was it?

What are your earliest memories of music? Both in terms of what you grew up listening to, and how you came to start making music yourself.
My first memories were probably my day playing guitar or something. But I really got into music once when it was the Summer holidays and I'd broken my leg or something so I was just sat inside watching MTV. My mum and dad bought me a guitar because they thought it'd be a good way to spend my time, so then I just learned how to play it.

You recently released your EP 'What Would Rory Wynne Do?' If you had to choose just one song from that which you feel best represents your personality, which would it be and why?
I think they all do! But I like the line in 'After Me' that says 'You are the second greatest thing in the universe after me.' So that one, yeah.

You've been on the road with Blossoms and Cabbage over the course of the last few weeks. What are the highs and lows of being on tour?
The highs... everything. The lows... lack of sleep. But you just get used to it!

I think you can learn a lot about a person based on how they take their tea, and I know you love your tea! So... what is the Rory Wynne way of making the perfect cuppa?
I'd say to leave the teabag in for about a minute, take it out and add the teeniest, tiniest bit of milk, two sugars... and you're done.

Music aside, what else interests you? Any strange talents or hobbies?
Just eating crisps. I like football, I support United. But other than that, just music really. I don't really do much else!

Which crisps are your favourite though? That's the question!
Ready Salted. Kettle Chips are my favourite type of crisps. More expensive though...

Would you rather be able to travel back in time or see into the future?
Travel back in time. I don't think I would, but out of the two that'd probably be better. If you could see into the future, the future is scary so I'd rather have the ability to go back in time... but I wouldn't do it. Everything happens for a reason.

Festival season is coming up, and I know that you've already got a fair few lined up. Do you approach festival performances differently to standalone gigs?
Not really, but I haven't done many. I think because I've mostly done support slots, where the people don't know who you are... and then at festivals they don't know who you are either so they're all the same, really. You just have to do your thing and hope it works! It usually does. I think people either hate me or they love me, and that's probably the best way.

What's the scariest thing to ever have happened to you... and have you recovered from it?
I'm scared of rollercoasters and I went on a really tame rollercoaster, but it was also the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. Have I recovered from it? I don't think so. I don't think I'll ever recover from it, to be honest.

You had a cameo role in Cold Feet on ITV1 last year. How did that come about?
Well because I'm such a great actor, they got in touch and were like 'We want a brilliant actor and you're the best there is,' so I said 'Go on then... how much are you paying me?' They said 'We'll give you 50 teabags and a packet of ginger biscuits.' I was like 'Go on then!' and then I was on TV.

Would you ever consider further pursuing acting?
No. It was horrible! It was just so awkward and there was lots of pressure. I like pressure as long as I'm in control... but I wasn't, it was the directors and the producers. Everyone was shouting. It wasn't nice!

If you could spend a day at the pub and have a good old fashioned knees up with absolutely anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I don't know... I'd like to learn something. Brian Cox because he's a very clever man. I feel like if I spent a day with him, I'd at least feel clever even if he didn't actually teach me anything.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing up and coming bands and artists within the music industry today?
I've not really had any challenges. I've been lucky but I think for most bands, it's just finding their own voice. When they're starting out, and I did the same, I think most bands just copy who they listen to and it's hard to evolve from that. I think finding your own sound is a big challenge, but also just getting a good management and getting heard, really. Once you do that, it's all fine!

Finally... what are your hopes, dreams and plans for the future? World domination?
Of course. I'm hoping to bring out my own shampoo! Just getting as big as I can, really. I need to release some more music because there's only eight songs on Spotify, which isn't a lot. I want to play lots more shows... bigger shows! Get more pedals, lights, smoke machines... get a better rider!

Is there new music in the works, then?
Yeah, and they're all absolutely amazing.

Any more Christmas songs on the cards?
Phil Taggart from Radio 1 said I need to record a song called 'Pre-Recording Christmas'. Then I might just do exclusively Chrismas songs after 2027.

Listen to Rory's EP 'What Would Rory Wynne Do?' here:

Where to find him...
Facebook: /Rory.Wynne
Twitter/Instagram: DrWynneof_Music

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Single Review: Paris ~ APOLLO JUNCTION

Having been together since 2011, Apollo Junction are by now old hands in the music industry- and that experience shows; they have become known and loved by fans and media outlets alike, with their music even having been featured on US television and in upcoming movie The Big Promise. Their shimmering, guitar led electro-indie soundscapes have seen them receive acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 2, The Sun, and music legend Steve Lamacq. Over the course of the last few years, the band have played live up and down the country- including support slots with Shed Seven, Cast and James, and a number of festival appearances to boot. 2017 most definitely looks set to be their year, and latest single 'Paris' is every inch the opulent and peremptory release.

'Paris' is one of those songs that you can really let go and have a bit of a dance to; it's dynamic, vibrant and tailor-made for festival season, complete with alluring instrumental vitality and killer vocals and lyricism. In terms of the tracks' introduction, I found myself immediately drawn in by the hauntingly powerful keys', which perfectly accompany the grittiness of frontman Jamies' voice in those first few moments. Moody riffs are in turn backed up by buoyant beats and a mellifluous and intrepid vocal vim, which means that it manages to become the most beautiful contradiction and is one of the finest electro-pop tracks that I have ever come across.

'Paris' is available for purchase and streaming now. Listen below:

How to find them...
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @ApolloJunction

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Single Review: Hot Minute ~ THE AMERICAS

There's something incredibly special about West Midlands based trio Alex Bradshaw, Aaron Whittaker and Harry Payne... aka The Americas. Having themselves described their sound rather interestingly as 'music to ride a motorcycle to', debut release 'Tenth Day Of May' proved that they are every inch the jubilant and delightfully extravagant rock n' roll unit that the music industry has been crying out for. The track won them praise from the likes of BBC Introducing, This Feeling and Fred Perry, and the early stages of 2017 have already seen them playing live to audiences across the UK and adding to the already nonpareil buzz surrounding their music. With a quintessentially classic yet excitingly contemporary sound to die for, they're back with stylish new single 'Hot Minute'... and it's just as brilliant as their first, if not more so.

'Hot Minute' is the kind of song that you want to listen to over and over when the sun is shining and you're full of the joys of Summer; it's four minutes of lush, sparkling soundscapes, complete with a bold, instrumental sonority and an energetic, bluesy feel which almost verges on eccentric in the best possible way. Accompanied by a bright and buoyant vocal vivacity, the track has an all around 'feel-good' vibe to it and is melodiously charming and upbeat.

'Hot Minute' is out now. Listen below:

Where to find them...
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: TheAmericasYeah